WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 8, 2022
TOPIC: BE CAREFUL OF THE CHOICES YOU MAKE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:50-51 New King James Version).
One of the lessons of Easter is to be careful of the choices you make. You may be a husband, wife, parent, child, or solopreneur, or you are an entrepreneur, a student, or a pastor. Be careful of the choices you make. Life is about choices and the choices you make today will determine your future. Your choices don’t affect you alone; they affect other people, especially those who have relationships with you. Also, some choices have greater consequences than others. Be careful!
The chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes to ask Pilate to release Barabbas, a criminal, to them and Jesus, the innocent, the righteous man to be crucified (Matthew 27:20). Not mindful of their choice in asking that Jesus be crucified, the people even put a curse on themselves and their children: “And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children’” (verse 25 New King James Version). They cursed themselves and their offspring.
Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, a prominent member of the Jewish High Council, the Sanhedrin (John 19:38; Mark 15:43), did not support the Council in their decision to condemn Jesus to be crucified. “Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:50-51 New King James Version).
He further took a risk to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus, who had been crucified on a charge of treason, and went to bring down His body, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. (Luke 23:52-53). Mark 15:43-46 and John 19:38 also record this. Joseph of Arimathea took a risk by making himself vulnerable to attacks from his colleagues, other Jews and the Roman government for associating himself with a ‘criminal’ executed for treason.
Joseph made the right choice of identifying with Jesus, just like Nicodemus, obviously, another secret disciple of Jesus and fellow Council member. Nicodemus had, in John 7:51, spoken in favour of Jesus, saying, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (New King James Version).
It was clear that Nicodemus did not support the conviction of Jesus by the Jewish High Council or the Sanhedrin. After Jesus’ death, he, together with Joseph of Arimathea, gave Jesus’ body a decent burial. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. They both wrapped Jesus’ body in a long linen cloth with the spices according to the Jewish custom of burial (John 19:38-40).
These two members of the Great Sanhedrin, which consisted of seventy-one members including the High Priest, made the right choice. The Great Sanhedrin was like the Supreme Court. Each city has a lesser Sanhedrin comprising twenty-three judges. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were not influenced by the decision of the majority. Make the right choice wherever you are. Don’t use others’ negative influence as an excuse for making wrong decisions. Don’t follow a crowd to do evil (Exodus 23:2a).
This Easter season, the most important decision you must make is about Jesus Christ. Have you accepted Him as Your Lord and Saviour? Are you born again? Nicodemus, whom we read about earlier had to make this decision when Jesus said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 New King James Version). He became a secret disciple of Jesus while remaining a member of the Sanhedrin.
You must be born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23). If you have decided to live the rest of your life for Jesus, don’t look back. As Jesus said, no one, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
You might have made some wrong decisions in the past. Don’t continue in the wrong direction. Don’t progress in error. Review the decisions now before it is too late and do the right thing. Some decisions could be irreversible but most decisions are. God is a merciful God. You may have stumbled; He will uphold you. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-24 New King James Version).
Be careful of the choices you make. Don’t be rash in making choices. Don’t follow the crowd. Let the Word of God be your guide. Let God’s Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). Listen to Godly counsel; don’t be wise in your eyes. Most importantly, commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5). Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for the wrong choices I have made in the past. Holy Spirit, I receive Your guidance and power to make the right choices in place of my wrong choices. Father, deliver me from the consequences of past choices as I make amends. Holy Spirit, help me henceforth to make the right choices. Father, this season, help all those who need to make Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour to do so and not delay further in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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