Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The den of vipers

Today’s Reading: John 19:6 (NIV)

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take Him and crucify Him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against Him.”

Good morning!

Young Benny grew up on a farm several miles from town. He loved playing outside in the woods each day. Like most little boys, Benny was fascinated with bugs and worms, buzzing bees, and baby snakes. Anything that crawled on its belly or flew in the air was a fair target for one curious boy in a great big world. His Father repeatedly warned Benny of the dangers in playing too near the bee hive, or chasing the snakes slithering on the ground. He told Benny that a snake bite or bee sting could kill him. But did Benny care to listen and obey His Father? When he thought Daddy wasn’t looking, Benny tried to pick up a slithering snake, hoping to play with a new found friend and prove His Father wrong.

Have you ever made a decision simply to prove that you are right and Your Father is wrong?

Pilate was in a position to judge right from wrong. He found himself stuck in a viper’s pit, and He knew the choice He made about Jesus that day would have everlasting consequences. Pilate could have protected the Nazarene. He found no basis for a charge that warranted his death. It would have been far easier on Pilate’s guilty conscience had Jesus died during the flogging. Many people could not have withstood such a beating. But the crowd seemed totally unsatisfied with just a near death beating. They wanted to see Jesus suffer and die, completely blinded to the slithering lies of Satan lurking near their feet. When Pilate failed to convince the accusers, he simply turned and walked away, giving the crowd a license to kill. It seemed as if Satan had won after all.

Ignoring His Father’s instruction, Benny reached down and grabbed the snake by its tail. No one was more surprised than young Benny as the snake recoiled and bit Benny in the arm. The pain that comes from disobedience has far reaching consequences. As Benny screamed in agony, the Father heard the Son crying out for help. He came running into the woods, looking for His Son.

Our Father sent His only begotten Son into the viper’s den to reclaim the children He loves. When Jesus grabbed the devil by its tail, Satan struck back with the full force of hell behind him. His venom was not enough to hold the Lord in a tomb of death. What Satan counted as a mere victory that morning, became his utter defeat just three days later.

Benny woke up in a hospital bed, with His Daddy there, right by his side. The young boy had been saved because His Father knew where to find the anecdote to the poisonous venom. Benny received a second chance at new life, not because he deserved it, but because His Father cared enough to rescue Benny from himself.

This is just how much our Heavenly Father loves you and me. Who could imagine that God would send His Only Son into a den of vipers, just to save us from ourselves?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO



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