Christian Faith

Matthew 20 & The Hallway Whiteboard

Matthew 2018-19

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

— Matthew 20:18-19

There is a whiteboard in our bedroom hallway that was installed exclusively to share Scripture. At first, I had targeted the whiteboard’s mission to be geared more towards my kids. My daughter is 12, my son is 8, and so I thought it was a solid mechanism to ensure that both children encounter a taste of God’s Word throughout the day, even if just briefly. It’s a high-traffic area of the house, after all. Prime location.

not all roads lead to gold, parent edition, jim gruenwald

When the board was new, I would change the passage or quote nearly every night. Lately, I have been waiting for a couple of days to pass before updating, because it had occurred to me that maybe one day per Scriptural quote or passage is not enough time for absorption. Then again, there is Isaiah 55:11 in which the Lord says, “So shall My word that goes forth from My mouth, it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” 

So perhaps I think too much. 

But for this week leading up to both Good Friday and Resurrection Day, I have efforted to update the whiteboard nightly with verses which describe Christ’s crucifixion as well as His rising from the grave. The first one of the week was Matthew 20:18-19, as seen above.

We shouldn’t get it twisted: I can fool myself, pretty easily, in fact, into thinking that I have something to do with the board. I don’t. It’s God’s board. I trust that He decides what should be written on it.

Whenever I’m writing words which come directly from Jesus in the Scriptures, I take the “red-letter” approach. You know a “red-letter” Bible? That’s what I do, I use a red marker on the whiteboard to emphasize that the words are from the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so there I was the other night, in the hallway with the red dry-erase marker copying Matthew 20:18-19 onto the board, when something startled me. It was not a thought, but a realization that was accompanied by a jolt. Got my attention. Clearly, it was impactful, for if it were not, then I would not be writing about it.

I was just about done with finishing verse 18, which closes with “… and they will condemn Him to death”. I felt a twinge in my heart for my Lord and Savior, who went through humiliation and hell, torture and execution, just so that I could be reconciled back to Him. Which is the other half of that twinge, so to speak, as in my mind also flashed a question: Do you know who else was condemned to death? I immediately had the answer: me. 

Obviously, Jesus Christ – Lord, Savior, Creator, the One Who Was, Is, and Will Come Again – was unjustly sentenced to die. But not me. Death for me is justice. Death on this earth and then again after that, and we all know what that means. Jesus did not die to save us from death on earth. He died and rose again to save us from spending eternity in torment separated from Him.

To understand Christ’s saving grace is to first understand that without it, we are lost. Hopelessly lost. We are condemned. We are condemned to an existence on earth devoid of true peace, strength, and comfort, and condemned to an eternity of punishment in hell once our physical bodies hit shutdown. That punishment, mind you, is your choice. Some hard-hearted folks, especially atheists, like to strut around with ‘Oh, if your God is so loving, why does He send people to hell?’ Here’s news for the uninitiated: He doesn’t. People who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ and choose to live without His presence in their lives, people who trade the truth for a lie (Romans 1:25) – they send themselves to hell. The Almighty God of justice is likewise the Almighty God of love and forgiveness. Your Creator wants to spend eternity with you, but you have to also want to spend it with Him. As the expression goes, God is not going to force you to be with Him.

But when you understand the price paid, and for whom it was paid (namely, you and I), why would He need to “force” you, anyway? Like, a flicker of faith. That’s it. A mustard seed of faith and the Spirit will open this entire wondrous gift for you. You need only to accept said gift and discern the trappings of the flesh, which also includes our corrupted earthly minds and all of its desires. We are rebellious and sinful in nature. Hence why we are condemned, but that is no longer true for those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus. Continuing his points from Romans 7 into chapter 8, Paul summarizes this perfectly – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 8 quote

We are condemned on this earth, one way or another. Death will stalk me through the rest of my days like an enemy in the shadows. But because Jesus Himself was condemned to die, and proved His victory over death by gloriously rising from the dead, you can have life forever more in His name. Some months ago, a pastor from my church was speaking at one of the men’s group meetings and said, “Guys, you’re not gonna get a better deal than that.” Right he is, because no better deal exists or even could. 

The trusty whiteboard, which I had originally put up mainly for my kids, had been used by my Savior to tug at me, and not in a small way. But that board in our hallway is comprised of plastic and aluminum. Each of us has another whiteboard and it is located inside the confines of the heart. You can let the world write on it, although the language of the world is seductive, temporal, and corrupting. Or you can open up to God, give Him the marker, and hold fast to His love. A love for you that is so overwhelming, He demonstrated it by dying on a cross. He then proved that He was God, and that all of His promises can be trusted, by walking out of the tomb.

To Christ belongs all love, glory, and honor forever and ever. Amen. 

five point move podcast, latest episodes banner

Listen to “5PM57: Kamal Bey and David Stepanyan” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM56: Rich Carlson and Spencer Woods” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

iTunes | Stitcher | Spreaker | Google Play Music

Recent Popular

To Top