Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
     The underground caves, under Caiaphas’ house, were rediscovered in 1889 and – because they fit the description and location of the fourth century Jewish tradition – some scholars believe that this was the “prison” (pit or dungeon) where Jesus was kept while awaiting His Jewish sentencing.  The “sacred pit” consisted of a small area, hewn out of bedrock, about 15 by 15 square feet and about 20 feet deep.  No windows.  No doors.  No light.  The prisoner had a rope tied around his chest and shoulders and was lowered into this pit through a small hole in the floor.

     It is believed that Jesus very well may have spent the hours before His Roman trials, and eventual crucifixion, in this lonely, dark, damp, and undoubtedly cold dungeon.  Remember, Jesus was arrested around midnight – He had neither slept nor eaten.  By this point Jesus had already been betrayed, arrested, denied, interrogated, tortured, mocked, slandered, spat upon, lied about, punched, bound, and beaten.  Before Him now were even more slander, questioning, accusations, and persecution – scourging (flogging), crown of thorns, purple robe, and crucifixion.  While He awaited further mocking and torture, and eventually execution, He may have been lowered into a pit where He would have remained – in dark, damp, solitary confinement – for hours.

     Some scholars believe that Psalm 88, a song written by Ethan the Ezrachite, also serves as a Messianic Psalm alluding to the anguish Christ suffered while in the pit.  Andrew Bonar titled this Psalm, “The Sorrowful days and nights of the Man of Sorrows.”  Martin Luther stated that this Psalm “is a prayer, as in the person of Christ and of all the saints.”  Bishop Horne said, “We have in this Psalm the voice of our suffering Redeemer.”  Augustine said of this Psalm, “the Passion of our Lord is here prophesied … Let us therefore now hear the voice of Christ singing before us in prophecy.”
 
     This is a Psalm of incredible anguish and gloom.  Spurgeon wrote: “I think that this is the darkest of all the Psalms; it has hardly a spot of light in it.”  The very first words (“O Lord, God of my salvation”) are the only words of comfort and hope.  The Psalmist is lamenting, perhaps weeping, and wailing, over the loneliness and hopelessness he feels.  He is overwhelmed and undone, feeling rejected and forsaken.  The silence from God is deafening, and the apparent idleness from God (from a human perspective) is overwhelming.  So he pleads, he protests, he grieves … but seemingly all to no avail.

     We dare not “skip over”, or think lightly of, the accounts of Good Friday.  Rather, we must welcome these into our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We must embrace the Suffering Savior before we can truly embrace the Conquering Christ.  We must appreciate the cross before we can truly appreciate the empty tomb.  We must understand Good Friday, before we can truly understand Resurrection Sunday.  The death of Christ graphically displays God’s intense hatred of sin, and His immense love for sinners.
 
     Jesus’ gruesome, excruciating, and humiliating death was necessary for us to be forgiven of our sin (Is.53:4-6; Rom.6:23; Gal.3:13).  The death of Jesus graphically, and appropriately, illustrates our sin before God.  We have no hope of salvation, of God’s forgiveness, if it were not for Jesus dying for our sins.  Whether Psalm 88 is Messianic or not, one thing is for sure: Jesus suffered unspeakable emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical torment for us – in our place – for our sin.

“For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #15):
Exodus 5-8; 1 Samuel 21-25; Psalm 42-44; Job 29-30; Jeremiah 12-16; Mark 9-10; 1 Corinthians 13-14
Recommended Reading: “The Truth of the Cross” by R.C. Sproul

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