Through the glories of the Intertubes, I’ve had a section of Scripture arrive in my In Box each morning all through the new year. (BibleGateway.com can help you get the same thing.) I try to ask God to show me the one idea, one phrase, one challenge He wants me to get from that day’s section of His word. Today’s really got me. It’s the section of the Gospel of Matthew that describes the end of Jesus’ life on earth. It wasn’t until the last line of the section that I found my “one thing” for today.
Matthew 27: 45-50 – The Death of Jesus
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
That’s the part that got me. He gave up His spirit. Even at that point, when His human body was broken and battered and beyond all endurance, Jesus (as the Son of God) was still in control. He gave up His spirit. He chose when it all ended. As He had chosen to come to Earth to give Himself up for us.
It reinforced for me how much of our attitudes and emotions are in our control. I can’t dictate what life is going to throw at me. I can’t control the economy, the actions of nations, even whether or not my car is going to break down today. But I can choose what I do in response to each of these things. I can choose to keep my focus on the cross. I can choose to seek Jesus in every one of those situations, and ask Him to show me what He wants me to see and learn and say in response to these things.
I’ve said before that free will – the power to choose – is the best and worst gift God could have given us. We get to choose, and God knew that many times we wouldn’t choose Him. And He did it anyway. Jesus came, knowing He’d have to face the moment when He chose to give up His spirit, and that we wouldn’t always choose Him.
He chose to give up His spirit. I choose to seek His spirit. I choose to ask Him into every one of my days. And that choice makes all the difference.