2807.) John 20:19-31

January 21, 2020

“Christ Appearing to His Disciples after the Resurrection,” by William Blake, 1795 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

John 20:19-31   (NRSV)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews,

The disciples were full of fear when Jesus appeared in the locked house. They had seen what the Jewish leaders had done to Jesus, and they were afraid they might be next.

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

After their cowardly desertion of Jesus on Friday, they may have been expecting a rebuke from him. But our kindly Lord knows our weaknesses, and instead “stood among them” and offered peace. He does the same for us today. Peace be with you!

21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

He showed them His hands and His side: Jesus gives assurance to the disciples about who He is and that He really has risen from the dead.

As the Father has sent Me, I also send you: Jesus gives His disciples a mission, to continue His work on this earth.

Receive the Holy Spirit: Jesus gives His disciples the Holy Spirit, bringing new life and the ability to carry out their mission. Many people see the connection between this breathing on the disciples and when God created man, and breathed the breathe of life in him. This is a work of re-creation, even as God breathed life into the first man. This is where the disciples are born again.

If you forgive the sins of any: Jesus gives His disciples authority to announce forgiveness and to warn of guilt, as authorized by the Holy Spirit.

–David Guzik

Jesus and Thomas

“The Incredulity of Thomas” by Peter Paul Rubens, 1615 (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp)

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

To Thomas, the Cross was only what he had expected. When Jesus had proposed going to Bethany, after the news of Lazarus’ illness had come, Thomas’ reaction had been: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). Thomas never lacked courage, but he was the natural pessimist. There can never be any doubt that he loved Jesus. He loved him enough to be willing to go to Jerusalem and die with him when the other disciples were hesitant and afraid. What he had expected had happened, and when it came, for all that he had expected it, he was broken-hearted, so broken-hearted that he could not meet the eyes of men, but must be alone with his grief.

So it happened that, when Jesus came back again, Thomas was not there; and the news that he had come back seemed to him far too good to be true, and he refused to believe it. Belligerent in his pessimism, he said that he would never believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he had seen and handled the print of the nails in his hands and thrust his hand into the wound the spear had made in Jesus’ side.

–William Barclay

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Thomas is a good example for us in many ways. He refused to say he understood when he didn’t, he refused to pretend to believe when he didn’t. And when he did understand and believe, he went all the way and properly called Jesus Lord and God.

The Purpose of This Book

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

May we say with Thomas, “My Lord and my God! Yes, I believe!”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a musical benediction — “May the Peace of God.” Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend and sung by Kristyn Getty.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   Thomas missed seeing Jesus the first time because he was not meeting with the other believers. What does that say to you about the importance of Christian fellowship? Have you experienced the presence of Christ in the midst of a gathering of those who love the Lord?

2)  Lift up your hearts! We lift them up unto the Lord! Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God!  Thank God for Christ’s resurrection!
_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.  https://uploads4.wikiart.org/images/william-blake/christ-appearing-to-his-disciples-after-the-resurrection.jpg
Shalom.   http://hirnhomeschoolers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/shalom.jpg
Rubens.  http://www.wga.hu/art/r/rubens/10religi/12religi.jpg

2806.) John 20:1-18

January 20, 2020

“Easter Morning” by Maurice Denis

John 20:1-18   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

Had the Jewish leaders stolen the body? Had grave robbers visited during the night? What to do?! Mary goes to the leader of the group.

2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved,

John, the author, humbly does not refer to himself directly.

and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.

The disciples Peter and John running to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection — by Eugene Burnand, 1898 (Musee d’Orsay, Paris)

4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

The body was gone; of that there was no doubt at all. There was no evidence of haste or vandalism. Everything was orderly and in place, the grave clothes, the napkin just a little apart from the rest. It was as though the form of a dead man was preserved, but the body itself was gone. John took in all the items that called out for the incredible but inescapable conclusion. Jesus had risen from the dead. He had risen right through the grave clothes. of course! All the clues pointed to that conclusion. Then and there John believed. Jesus was alive!

–John Phillips

9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

1But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

William Barclay says that Mary did not recognize Jesus for two reasons: 1) Her tears were blinding her to the glory of heaven; and 2) she was facing the wrong direction — towards the tomb instead of the sky. 

15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

16Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

“The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene” by Alexander Ivanov, 1834 (State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg)

One Bible scholar has written:  “Never was a one-word utterance more charged with emotion than this.”

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

The fact that Jesus makes a woman the first witness of His resurrection is significant. The law courts of that day would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did. This also argues for the historic truth of this account. If someone fabricated this story, would they make the first witnesses to the resurrection women, who were commonly (if unfairly) regarded as unreliable witnesses?

*      *     *

Resur Rose Grove

When I was a child our family went to Rose Grove Lutheran, pictured here — a small church and cemetery out in the farmland of Hamilton County, Iowa. (My parents were married there in 1946; my mother was buried there in 1999 and my father in 2014.) The picture behind the altar was from the passage above — Mary reaching for the risen Lord just outside the tomb — similar to the picture above, but Mary’s face was filled with such joy!

I have never forgotten that picture. Now, half a century later, I realize it has continued to impact my life in several ways:

1)  a fervent interest in the women of the Bible;

2)  a grateful heart because Jesus knows my name, just as He knew Mary’s;

3)  a strong belief that the death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of a life of significance;

4)   a deep confidence that the Lord is the source of true joy; and

5)  a bold proclamation which I learned from Mary and from Job — “I know that my Redeemer lives!”

*     *     *

AND THE GLORY
by Ann Weems

The silence breaks into morning.
The One Star lights the world.
The lily springs to life and
      not even Solomon . . .

Let it begin with singing
      and never end!
Oh, angels, quit your lamenting!
Oh, pilgrims,
      upon your knees in tearful prayer,
           rise up
                and take your hearts
                     and run!
We who were no people
      are named anew
           God’s people,
for he who was no more
      is forevermore.

_________________________

Music:

This song tells the story of the resurrection from the point of view of Peter.  HERE  is “He’s Alive” sung by Dolly Parton.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   The resurrection can seem incredible, if not impossible, to our scientific minds. What are some images you can use to explain resurrection to someone who is not familiar with John’s Gospel?

2)  Lift up your hearts! We lift them up unto the Lord! Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God!  Thank God for Christ’s resurrection!
_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Denis.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/denis-matin-de-paques.jpg
Burnand.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BurnandJeanPierre.jpg
Mary weeping at the tomb.   https://www.daily-prayers.org/day-prayer/jesus-appears-to-mary-magdalene-2/
Ivanov.  http://www.abcgallery.com/I/ivanov/ivanov3.html
Easter lilies.    http://sunnyside-gardens.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Easter-Lily-4.jpeg

2805.) Psalm 22

January 17, 2020

“The Christ of Saint John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali, 1951 (Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland)

Psalm 22 (ESV)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Here we see Jesus.

“This is a kind of gem among the Psalms, and is peculiarly excellent and remarkable. It contains those deep, sublime, and heavy sufferings of Christ, when agonizing in the midst of the terrors and pangs of divine wrath and death which surpass all human thought and comprehension.” 

–Martin Luther

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Mark 15:34 (NIV)

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Mark 15:29-32  (NLT)

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.

9Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10
On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm, one of those in which we hear the voice of the Son in the agony of his crucifixion pleading for the presence and rescue of the Father. “It was you,” he prays, “who brought me safely through birth”—in a manger at the end of a dreary journey. “And when I was a baby, you kept me safe”—from the soldiers of Herod and on the long journey to Egypt. Love followed him—the love of God and his human father, Joseph; the love of God and his human mother, Mary. There was the fullness of the love of God, beyond our ability to fully comprehend, and the beauty of the most admirable of human love from Mary and the no-doubt-amazed Joseph, trying to understand what his marriage to Mary had brought into his life.

“I have relied on you since the day I was born, and you have always been my God,” the psalmist says. That reliance and constancy give to life the experience of love that can make of it a great experience, whether we refer to the love and care of a devoted mother such as Mary was, or to the “steadfast love of the Lord.” His constancy surpasses even hers. In that love, we experience the support and nourishment that leads us to victory in an unsteady and often frightening world.

–unknown

11Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

12Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

John 19:28 (NLT)

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”

you lay me in the dust of death.

16For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—

John 20:25 (NASB)

So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

17I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me;
18
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

Matthew 27:35 (NIRV)

When they had nailed him to the cross, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

19But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!

21Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

Colossians 3:16 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)

Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts, making you rich in the true wisdom. Teach and help one another along the right road with your psalms and hymns and Christian songs, singing God’s praises with joyful hearts. And whatever you may have to do, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.

23You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

25From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.

Hebrews 12:2 says of Jesus: who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. Psalm 22 powerfully displays that joy, both in His obedience to and glorifying of His God and Father, and the joy of rescuing and loving those who would trust on Him. And that joy leads to salvation; there would be brethren that He declared the name of God unto (Psalm 22:22).

–David Guzik

28For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.

29All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

John 19:30 (CEV)

After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died.

_________________________

Music:

From Handel’s Messiah —  HERE  is “Behold the Lamb of God,”  performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

________________________

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Dali.    http://2churchmice.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/christ_of_saint_john_of_the_cross.jpg
clock.    http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/17500/17508/300_17508_md.gif
Mary holding Jesus.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c1/c6/18/c1c618b25fb2727ff1623b811a63d496.jpg
Jesus on the cross:  I thirst.  http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/images/religious%20general/Ithirst.jpg
nail-scarred hands.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/nailscarredhands.jpg
casting lots for Jesus’ clothing.    http://www.thevictor.org/story/97221901.jpg
“It is finished.”     https://elizabethfbabatunde.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/it_is_finished.jpg

2804.) John 19:31-42

January 16, 2020

John 19:31-42   (NRSV)

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

31Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

John draws the connection between Christ and the rules regarding the Passover lamb:

Numbers 9:12   (NIV)

They must not . . . break any of its bones.

34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

Jesus’ side is pierced with a spear, Fra Angelico (c. 1440), Dominican monastery of San Marco, Florence.

Zechariah 12:10   (NIV)

Mourning for the One They Pierced

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

We cannot be sure, but it may well be that Jesus died literally of a broken heart. Normally, of course, the body of a dead man will not bleed. It is suggested that what happened was that Jesus’ experiences, physical and emotional, were so terrible that his heart was ruptured. When that happened the blood of the heart mingled with the fluid of the pericardium which surrounds the heart. The spear of the soldier pierced the pericardium and the mingled fluid and blood came forth. It would be a poignant thing to believe that Jesus, in the literal sense of the term, died of a broken heart.

–William Barclay

35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

The Burial of Jesus

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

There is both tragedy and glory here.

There is tragedy. Both Nicodemus and Joseph were members of the Sanhedrin, but they were secret disciples of Jesus. Either they had absented themselves from the meeting of the Sanhedrin which examined him and formulated the charge against him, or they had sat silent through it all. What a difference it would have made to Jesus, if, among these condemning, hectoring voices, one voice had been raised in his support. What a difference it would have made to see loyalty on one face amidst that sea of bleak, envenomed faces. But Nicodemus and Joseph were afraid.

But there is glory here, too. The death of Jesus had done for Joseph and Nicodemus what not even his life could do. No sooner had Jesus died on the Cross than Joseph forgot his fear and came to the Roman governor with a request for the body. No sooner had Jesus died on the Cross than Nicodemus was there to bring a tribute that all men could see. The cowardice, the hesitation, the prudent concealment were gone. Those who had been afraid when Jesus was alive declared for him in a way that everyone could see as soon as he was dead. Jesus had not been dead an hour when his own prophecy came true: “I when I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). 

–William Barclay

41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

A Roman period tomb with a rolling stone, discovered near Mount Carmel in Israel.

With thanks to Joseph of Arimathea for the provision of a tomb — Jesus won’t be needing it long!

_________________________

FRIDAY
by Ann Weems

The sky peels back to purple
      and thunder slaps the thighs of heaven,
and all the tears of those who grieve
      fly up to the clouds and are released
and drench the earth.
The ones who see and hear
           know
      that all is lost.
The only One named Savior
           died
      upon a cross.
The ones who believed and loved
      huddle together
           stunned.
All night long
      the angels weep.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Were You There?” by the Annie Moses Band — sorrowful but with a joyful closing!  Annie Moses Band is a musical ensemble known for their virtuosic strings and creative re-imaginings of American classics. Their style spans classical crossover, Americana, folk, and jazz influences. And — they are siblings!

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   As Frederick Buechner states in Beyond Words, “Jesus Christ is what God does, and the cross is where God did it.” What all does God do at the cross?

2)  Of all the possible adjectives, why does “Good” precede “Friday” for the day Christ died?

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
John 3:16.  http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/john3-16.jpg
Fra Angelico.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/angelico.jpg
tomb.   http://ferrelljenkins.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/tomb_153-t.jpg
crucified Jesus, face.   http://newparadigmthinkers.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/crucified_jesus__the_face_by_devcager.jpg

2803.) John 19:17-30

January 15, 2020

John 19:17-30   (NRSV)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”

22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

The inscription on Jesus’s Cross was “in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.” These were the three great languages of the ancient world and they stood for three great nations. In the economy of God every nation has something to teach the world, and these three stood for three great contributions to the world and to world history. Greece taught the world beauty of form and of thought; Rome taught the world law and good government; the Hebrews taught the world religion and the worship of the true God. The consummation of all these things is seen in Jesus. In him was the supreme beauty and the highest thought of God. In him was the law of God and the kingdom of God. In him was the very image of God. All the world’s seekings and strivings found their consummation in him. It was symbolic that the three great languages of the world should call him king.

–William Barclay

23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.

24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

“Jesus looked down from the cross to see his mother standing nearby. As far as we know, only one of the twelve apostles was there at the foot of the cross: “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” usually identified as John. Naked and in horrible pain, Jesus thought not of himself but was concerned for the well-being of his mother after his death. This shows Jesus’ humanity and the depth of love he had for his mother and the disciple into whose care he entrusted her.”

–Adam Hamilton, 24 Hours That Changed the World

28After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.

Psalm 69:21 (NIV)

They put gall in my food
    and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.”

Jesus’ final word (tetelestai in the ancient Greek) is the cry of a winner. Jesus had finished the eternal purpose of the cross. It stands today as a finished work, the foundation of all Christian peace and faith, paying in full the debt we righteously owe to God.

–David Guzik

Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

_________________________

Music:

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” — one of the most poignant, moving hymns ever sung.  It was written by Isaac Watts and first published in Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs in 1707.  Charles Wes­ley reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one.  HERE  it is sung by Kathryn Scott, with pictures of “the whole realm of nature” by C. E. Price.

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Reflections:

1)  John records Jesus saying three things:  giving his mother into John’s care and keeping, expressing his thirst, and announcing his completion of his work.  What do these three statements tell you about Christ?

2)  What does a picture of Jesus on the cross say to you?  If you could be there then, what would you say to Jesus while he is hanging on the cross?

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
John 3:16.  http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/john3-16.jpg
stained glass – nailed hand.  http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/jcpjr/jcpjr0908/jcpjr090800001/5299375-stained-glass-window-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus.jpg
inscription in three languages.   https://i.pinimg.com/736x/02/43/62/024362984138942e4c71fdd0700005fe–the-s-pilates.jpg
Behold your son/mother.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dfead-11th.jpg
I thirst.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/10a4a-ithirst2.jpg
Finished.   http://rlcnotes.com/files/john1930.jpg

2802.) John 19:1-16

January 14, 2020

John 19:1-16   (NRSV)

Jesus Sentenced to Death

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.

Scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt. In regard to crucifixion, the goal of the scourging was to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse and death. As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive the cross.

–David Guzik

2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face.

4Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.”

7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

If the Jews had themselves been able to carry out the death penalty, it would have been by stoning. The Law lays it down: “And he who blasphemes the name of the Lord, shall be put to death, all the congregation shall stone him” (Leviticus 24:16). But in the time of Jesus the Jews were subject to the Romans. The Romans allowed them a good deal of self-government, but they had not the right to carry out the death penalty. The ius gladii, as it was called, the right of the sword, belonged only to the Romans. So since the Jews could not kill Jesus themselves, they were determined that the Romans would kill him for them.

–William Barclay

8Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.

Pilate by this world’s standards was a successful man. He had come almost to the top of the Roman civil service; he was governor-general of a Roman province; but there was something missing. Here in the presence of this simple, disturbing, hated Galilaean, Pilate felt that for him the truth was still a mystery–and that now he had got himself into a situation where there was no chance to learn it. It may be he jested, but it was the jest of despair. 

That day Pilate might have found all that he had missed; but he had not the courage to defy the world in spite of his past, and to take his stand with Christ and a future which was glorious.

–William Barclay

9He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”

11Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!”

15They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!”

Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Actions speak louder than words.  Funny — they wanted a Messiah to save them from the Romans, yet now they embrace Caesar as their king.

16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Actions speak louder than words.  After declaring several times that he could find no guilt in Jesus, Pilate yields to the crowd and lets them kill an innocent man.

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Music:

HERE  is Don Moen and an old hymn — “Lead Me to Calvary.”

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Reflections:

1)  Consider Pilate. How would you describe him here? I’ll start you off: he is unwilling (to assume the responsibility of dealing with Jesus); seeking to compromise (will a scourging be enough?);  appealing to the crowd (let them make the decision); superior (hear his demeaning attitude towards the Jews?) . . . You continue!

2)  Consider Jesus. Describe him in this exchange. Barclay mentions his “sheer majesty” and “utter directness” in addition to his “physical courage.” How does studying Jesus at this moment add to your own humility and to his glory?

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
John 3:16.  http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/john3-16.jpg
Jesus flogged.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/9a5c6-1.jpg
Jesus before Pilate.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/jesusandpilate.jpg

2801.) John 18:28-40

January 13, 2020

John 18:28-40   (NRSV)

Jesus before Pilate

28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”

Pilate wants to understand the charges being brought against Jesus.

30They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

31Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”

Once Pilate realized it was a religious matter, he dismissed it. Let the Jews take care of their own problems.

The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

The Jews would have killed him by stoning; Jesus said he would be “lifted up” on a cross.

33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”

35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Pilate is not used to having the accused question him!

36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Augustine observed from this verse that earthly kingdoms are based upon force, pride, the love of human praise, the desire for domination, and self interest — all displayed by Pilate and the Roman Empire.

The heavenly kingdom, exemplified by Jesus and the cross, is based on love, sacrifice, humility, and righteousness.

–David Guzik

37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

38Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.

–Francis Bacon, Essay “Of Truth”

It is often observed that Jesus did not answer Pilate when he asked his famous question, “What is truth?” We may think of the entire passion, however, as Jesus’ answer. The right human relation to the one true God is that of trusting in the life-giving power of the Spirit of the Father, even in the face of hostile enemies. 

— Shults and Sandage, Transforming Spirituality

Jesus Sentenced to Death

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”

40They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

About Barabbas — John tells very briefly indeed. Of the custom of freeing a prisoner at Passover we know nothing more than the gospels tell us. The other gospels to some extent fill out John’s brief picture and when we put all our information together we find that Barabbas was a notable prisoner, a brigand, who had taken part in a certain insurrection in the city and had committed murder (Matthew 27:15-26Mark 15:6-15Luke 23:17-25Acts 3:14).

The choice of the mob has been the eternal choice. Barabbas was the man of force and blood, the man who chose to reach his end by violent means. Jesus was the man of love and of gentleness, whose kingdom was in the hearts of men. It is the tragic fact of history that all through the ages men have chosen the way of Barabbas and refused the way of Jesus.

–William Barclay

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Music:

HERE  is “There is a Redeemer,” sung by Keith Green. Simple and powerful.

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Reflections:

1)   “What is truth?”  Suppose Pilate asked you the same question he asked of Jesus — how would you answer it?

2)   Are you seeing more of what it cost Christ to be your Savior?

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
 Jesus stands before Pilate.   http://www.thecollectionshop.com/Image_Resize_Detail_Image.asp?MiscImage=17188UF
My kingdom.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b1/19/94/b11994a39ca301f1e9ae58cd932460ff.jpg
What is truth?   http://www.ramsteinchurchofchrist.org/data/ramstein/WhatIsTruth885x339.jpg