Daily Devotionals

Stages of the Cross: Week 3 - Monday

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I went to Target the other day searching for a waffle maker. I found a recipe for healthy waffles I wanted to try out. When I was looking, I searched for the cheapest one I could find, and I found a mini waffle maker for only ten dollars. It was a steal! And for those of you doubting that the waffle maker actually works well, let me assure you, it works great! When I purchased the waffle maker, I did not try to bargain with one of the employees of Target because the price had already been set. The payment required for my new waffle maker was $10. Though the price I paid for my waffle maker was really cheap, let me assure you that our sin, or acting against God's will, has an infinitely higher price. Scripture teaches in Romans 6:23 that the price demanded as a result of sin is death. In other words, when we buy in to sin, the payment required for that sin is death.

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death." There is no questioning the price demanded when we buy in to sin. There is no bargaining. The price demanded when we buy in to sin is death, plain and simple. This verse starts out bleakly, but it ends on a celebratory note. Paul continues: "but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." In other words, Paul is telling us that Jesus paid the price sin demanded so we would not have to pay it. He is referring to Jesus' death on a cross, which we can read about in John 19. Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life. He did not sin. He was innocent. Despite His innocence, He died a grueling death on a cross at the hands of Roman soldiers. When He died after living a perfect life, He took on the punishment that we deserved because of our sin. He died so that we could live eternally with Him forever.

Romans 6:23 and the story of Jesus' death is a reminder to us to take sin seriously. Sin is costly to the utmost extent. It leads to death. When we disobey God and do something contrary to His will, it is no small matter. It is a big deal. It's such a big deal that it cost Jesus His very life. As we talk this week about forgiveness, the first thing we must understand is how much we have been forgiven. And, my friend, we have been forgiven so, so much.

Laura Courtney
Sagebrush Staff Writer

Moving Toward Action

When you consider your sin, do you take it seriously? Do you understand the costly effect that sin has? Take a few minutes to meditate on what Jesus did for us when He paid the price demanded because of our sin. Thank God for sending Jesus, who paid the price owed for your sin.

Going Deeper

Read John 19:1-42 (NLT)

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.

Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”

Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”

When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”

“Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.

Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”

Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.