Daily Reading & Meditation

Friday (June 12):  "They shall look on him whom they have pierced"

Scripture:  John 19:31-37  [alternate reading: Matthew 5:27-32]

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high  day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that  they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness -- his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of him shall be broken." 37 And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced."

Meditation: Do you know the heart of Jesus - a heart that was pierced for your sake and mine? Of all the Gospel accounts of Jesus' death, John mentions that the soldiers pierced his heart with a lance. This was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10: "when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him." The heart of Jesus was pierced for our sake. He willingly went to the cross and laid down his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. If we want to understand the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us, then look upon the heart that was pierced for you and for me. That is the reason Jesus went to the cross, to redeem us from slavery to sin and death.

True love does not count the cost, but gives everything for the beloved. God proved his love for us by sending us his beloved Son who withheld nothing from us but gave everything he had for our sake. Paul the Apostle tells us that "Jesus loved us and gave himself up for us - a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2). God's love is perfect and complete because God is merciful, just, and forgiving.

Do you know the love and mercy of Christ for you? Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said that “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.” In the cross of Christ we see the love of God broken and pierced for our sake. The Lord Jesus who died for our sake now reigns triumphant at the right hand of the Father. He has risen in glory and he now intercedes for us in heaven. He stands before the throne of heaven with his marks of victory - his pierced side, hands, and feet.

Who can fathom the love of God? For all eternity we will gaze upon him who was crucified and who rose - never to die again - for our sake. Only a broken and contrite heart can fathom the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus calls us to lay down our lives in sacrificial love for one another. Do you love as Jesus loves, with a broken heart that yearns for all to know the love and mercy of God?

“Lord Jesus, your love knows no bounds. Break my heart with the things that break your heart that I may love generously as you love.”

Psalm 34:19-22

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: God gave us what was most precious, by Isaac of Nineveh (a Syrian monk, teacher, and bishop), 613-700 A.D.

"The sum of all is God, the Lord of all, who from love of his creatures has delivered his Son to death on the cross. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son for it. Not that he was unable to save us in another way, but in this way it was possible to show us his abundant love abundantly, namely, by bringing us near to him by the death of his Son. If he had anything more dear to him, he would have given it to us, in order that by it our race might be his. And out of his great love he did not even choose to urge our freedom by compulsion, though he was able to do so. But his aim was that we should come near to him by the love of our mind. And our Lord obeyed his Father out of love for us." (excerpt from ASCETICAL HOMILY 74.28)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use - please cite: 
copyright (c) 2015 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.

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