March 31, 2018

Righteousness Outside Jerusalem

Psalm 11; Luke 23:44-49

Surely this was a righteous man.

—  Luke 23:47

When Jesus turned his face to Jerusalem in order “to be taken up to heaven” (Luke 9:51), he in effect declared that his death was the planned end of his mission. The rulers in Jerusalem believed that they had gotten rid of a blasphemer and someone who was disrupting the people, but a Roman officer declared what he witnessed: the crucifixion of a righteous man.

Someone who is righteous has the love of God in their heart and shows it by doing what’s right. That person’s purpose in life is to do the will of the heavenly Father. Jesus accomplished all of that with determination and without sin.

The righteous Christ died on a cross outside Jerusalem to pay for human sin and to give new life to all who believe in him. And all who are made right with God in Christ will live with him in the presence of God forever, in the new heaven and new earth.

Those who condemned Jesus to be crucified had given false testimony against him. But the officer who had witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion praised God when he declared Jesus a righteous man.

Where are you today? If God were to ask you—as he asked Adam in the Garden of Eden—“Where are you?” what would you say?

Are you a follower of Jesus, who was crucified for your sins?

Lord Jesus, thank you for laying down your life for our sake, and thank you for rising from the dead with the promise of new life for us all. May we forever follow you. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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