Bob Beltz: Jesus’ final proclamation from the cross, paid in full

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Bob Beltz: Jesus’ final proclamation from the cross, paid in full

“In Jesus’ time, when a person owed a debt, a document was drawn up stating the exact terms of the debt and what needed to be done to pay off the debt. When the debt was completely repaid, one word was written across the document: tetelesthai. The word communicated that the debt had been “paid in full.”

This was the final cry of Jesus from the cross: “paid in full.” All that was required to abolish the “debt” of humanity’s rebellion against God had been paid by the hours Jesus had just spent on the cross and what was about to occur. With this final declaration, Jesus died. Atonement was complete. That which we could never do, Jesus did. As Paul says so simply, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).

Bob Beltz, email Good Friday point 3, April 2, 2010.

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Kenneth Bressett: The 30 Pieces of Silver

If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned. Exodus 21:32

So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. Genesis 37:28

“These examples confirm that there were established prices for a life in ancient times…The price that was agreed upon for the betrayal of Jesus was the usual price of a life taken by accident or of that of a slave being sold into captivity. It would equate to about 20 days’ pay, or approximately what one would spend for a months living expenses. There could be no justification for any amount of money given in exchange for such a life, but in that time and place, it was a standard price.”

“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. Matthew 26:15

Kenneth Bressett in Money of the Bible (Atlanta: Whitman, 2005) 82.

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Maundy Thursday Meditation

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, you also ought to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Maundy Thursday Meditation in U.S. Book of Common Prayer 1979.

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William Hanna on the Widow’s Mite: Another generosity lesson from the passion week

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

“She is not only the greatest giver of them all, she has cast in more than they all together, more, not in money value, but in moral worth. And what else, by giving such world-wide circulation to this her act, and this his sentence on it, did Jesus mean, than to give a world-wide circulation to the truth, that in his sight, in his Father’s sight, it is the motive which gives its true character to the act; that greatness in his estimate of things consists not in the doing of great acts that every eye must see, and that every tongue may be ready to praise, but in doing what may be little things, so small that they shall escape all human notice, and so insignificant that there may be none to think them worthy of any praise; but doing them in a great spirit, from a great motive, for a great and noble and holy end ? He is not the largest giver who, out of his abundance, and from many mixed motives, gives to this charity or to that, but he who, impelled by the pure love of God, and the desire to help on a good object, gives in largest relative proportion out of the surplus that remains to him after his own and his family’s wants have been provided for.”

William Hanna in The Passion Week (Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh, 1866) 138-139.

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Tertullian on the Teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ on Tuesday of Passion Week: Give Yourself to God

They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. Mark 12:16-17

“‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s;’ that is, give to Caesar his image stamped upon his coin, and give to God his own image stamped upon you; so that while you render to Caesar the coin which is his due, you may render your own self to God.”

Tertullian of Carthage as recounted by H.D.M. Spence in The Pulpit Commentary (London: Funk and Wagnalls).

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Warren Wiersbe on the Money Changers: Missionary business or mercenary business

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. Matthew 21:12

“Cleansing the temple (vv. 12–16). Jesus had opened His ministry with a similar act (John 2:13–25). Now, three years later, the temple was defiled again by the “religious business” of the leaders. They had turned the court of the Gentiles into a place where foreign Jews could exchange money and purchase sacrifices.

What had begun as a service and convenience for visitors from other lands soon turned into a lucrative business. The dealers charged exorbitant prices and no one could compete with them or oppose them. Historians tell us that Annas, the former high priest, was the manager of this enterprise, assisted by his sons.

The purpose of the court of the Gentiles in the temple was to give the “outcasts” an opportunity to enter the temple and learn from Israel about the true God. But the presence of this “religious market” turned many sensitive Gentiles away from the witness of Israel. The court of the Gentiles was used for mercenary business, not missionary business.”

Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Exposition Commentary on Mattthew 21:12 (Victor Books: Wheaton, 1989).

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T.L. Hargrave: Let us give our lives to God anew this week

“O matchless grace, that Jesus there alone
On Calvary’s cross, for sinners did atone:
To such a Friend our Saviour and King
Our lives for service we will gladly bring.”

T. L. Hargrave in The Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship by Stephen F. Olford (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2000) 51.

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Laurence Giustiniani: Gift Giving

“Lately, instead of giving actual gifts, many people are sending checks. The reasons cited are that it’s easier and that the recipient can pick out the exact gift he or she wants. While it is easier and you can pick out exactly what you want, something vital is lost when gift giving is reduced to monetary exchange.

St. Laurence Giustiniani understood the significance of giving actual goods, not just money. He willingly gave food and clothing to all who asked but was reluctant to hand out money because he knew cash has a way of evaporating into the wrong things.

How do you feel when you get a gift you know was chosen just for you?

St. Laurence Giustiniani (1381-1455) in 365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of their Lives by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1995), September 5 reading.

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Stephen Olford: Does all creation give?

God made the sun–it gives.
God made the moon–it gives.
God made the stars–they give.
God made the air–it gives.
God made the clouds–they give.
God made the earth–it gives.
God made the sea–it gives.
God made the trees–they give.
God made the flowers–they give.
God made the fish–they give.
God made the fowls–they give.
God made the the beasts–they give.
God made man and woman–they ?
God made me–I ?

Anonymous quote adapted in Stephen F. Olford in The Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2000) 113.

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A.W. Tozer: The Transmutation of Wealth

“It is one of the glories of the Christian religion that faith and love can transmute lower values into higher values. Earthly possessions can be turned into heavenly treasures.

It is like this. A twenty-dollar bill, useless in itself, can be transmuted into milk and eggs and fruit to feed hungry children. Physical and mental powers valuable in themselves, can be transmuted into still higher values, such as home and an education for a growing family. Human speech, a very gift from God to mankind, can become consolation for the bereaved or hope for the disconsolate, and it can rise higher and break into prayer and praise of the Most High God.

As base a thing as money often is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values.

Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality. Hosanna to God in the highest.”

A.W. Tozer in “The Transmutation of Wealth” in The Alliance Witness (October 8, 1958).

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