A LENTEN ADVENTURE for 2024: He Chose The Nails - Part 4, The Gift of the Sign

A LENTEN ADVENTURE for 2024: He Chose The Nails - Part 4, The Gift of the Sign

A LENTEN ADVENTURE for 2024 - Thursday March 21


What are some of the signs that God has given us throughout history?

Genesis 9:12-17 speaks of the rainbow that was the sign of the covenant between God and the earth – “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”  

Genesis 17:8,10,11 speak of circumcision which was the sign of the covenant between God and His people Israel – God would always be the God of Israel and the circumcised ones would always be His people.  

Exodus 12:13 speaks of the blood of the sacrificed lamb applied on the doors of the houses of the Israelites living in Egypt – “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”  

Isaiah 7:14 speaks of a sign given by the Lord – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Luke 2:12 speaks of a sign to shepherds that were keeping their flocks by night – “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  

“Even today, we see signs in the New Testament church. Communion is a sign of his death, and baptism is a sign of our spiritual birth. Each of these signs symbolizes a greater spiritual truth.  The most poignant sign, however, was found on the cross.  A trilingual, hand-painted, Roman-commissioned sign.” (ML)

Let’s read John 19:19-22.

“Why is a sign placed over the head of Jesus?  Why does its wording trouble the Jews, and why does Pilate refuse to change it?  Why are the words written in three languages, and why is the sign mentioned in all four Gospels? … Could it be that this piece of wood is a picture of God’s devotion?  A symbol of his passion to tell the world about his Son?  A reminder that God will do whatever it takes to share with you the message of this sign?  I suggest that the sign reveals two truths about God’s desire to reach the world.” (ML)

  1. There is no person He will not use.

In Luke 23:38-43, we read about the sign and the two criminals hanging on each side of Jesus.  In verse 42, the second thief said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.

“What an interesting choice of words. He doesn’t plead, ‘Save me.’  He doesn’t beg, ‘Have mercy on my soul.’  His appeal is that of a servant to a king.  Why?  Why does he refer to Jesus’ kingdom? Perhaps he had heard Jesus speak. Maybe he was acquainted with Jesus’ claims.  Or, more likely, he read the sign:  ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’  … the sign was the first tool used to proclaim the message of the cross. Countless others have followed, from the printing press to the radio to the stadium crusade to the book you are holding. But a crude wooden sign preceded them all. And because of that sign, a soul was saved. All because someone posted a sign on the cross … Don’t be surprised. God used a bush to call Moses and a donkey to convict a prophet. To get Jonah’s attention, God used a big fish. There is no person he won’t use … Pilate did not intend to spread the gospel … Pilate had intended the sign to threaten and mock the Jews. But God had another purpose … Pilate was God’s instrument for spreading the gospel … He took dictation from God and wrote it on a sign. And the sign changed the destiny of a reader.” (ML)

  1. There is no language God will not speak.

The day that Jesus was crucified “every passerby could read the sign, for every passerby could read Hebrew, Latin, or Greek – the three great languages of the ancient world.  ‘Hebrew was the language of Israel, the language of religion; Latin the language of the Romans, the language of Law and government; and Greek the language of Greece, the language of culture.  Christ was declared king in them all.’ God had a message for each. ‘Christ is king.’ The message was the same, but the languages were different. Since Jesus was a king for all people, the message would be in the tongues of all people.” (ML)

“There is no language He will not speak … What language is He speaking to you?  There are times He speaks the ‘language of abundance’ … Could it be you have much so you can give much? ... Are you hearing the ‘language of need’?  Or how about the ‘language of affliction’?”  (ML) Or perhaps it is the language of loneliness? There is nothing better than an anxious mind, or a weak body or a broken heart to lend ears to heaven.  Let’s listen to what God wants to say to us.  He is a God who speaks to us, who wants to teach us and guide us, who wants to reveal the mystery of the kingdom of heaven to us, as Matthew 13:11 says.