1478.) Psalms 11 and 12

December 31, 2014
In the Lord I take refuge . . .

In the Lord I take refuge . . .

Psalm 11

Song of Trust in God

1In the Lord I take refuge;

2 Corinthians 3:4 (New Living Translation)

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.

how can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to the mountains;

2for look, the wicked bend the bow, they have fitted their arrow to the string, to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.

3If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

4The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.

11. eyes of the Lord earth

2 Chronicles 16:9 (New Living Translation)

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

5The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence.

6On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur; a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

7For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
_________________________

Music:

HERE  Paul Wilbur sings about the God of truth and life in “Let the Weight of Your Glory Fall.”  It is a wonderful song for worshiping our Lord, as with the Psalmist we ask to behold his face.

We do not seek Your hand
We only seek Your face
We want to know You
We want to see You
Reveal Your glory in this place

_________________________

Psalm 12

12. fire for silver

Plea for Help in Evil Times

1Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly; the faithful have disappeared from humankind.

2They utter lies to each other; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

3May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

4those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail; our lips are our own—who is our master?”

5“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan, I will now rise up,” says the Lord; “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”

6The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,

John 8:26   (NRSV)

“The one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”

silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

Silver ingots

pure silver ingots, 10 troy ounces each

7You, O Lord, will protect us; you will guard us from this generation forever.

8On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Just one example of “vileness” being “exalted”:

Globally, porn is a $97 billion industry, according to Kassia Wosick, assistant professor of sociology at New Mexico State University. Between $10 billion and $12 billion of that comes from the United States.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/porn-industry-feeling-upbeat-about-2014-n9076

_________________________

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:
refuge.  http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps64-09.jpg
eyes of the Lord on the earth.  http://rlv.zcache.com/the_eyes_of_the_lord_poster-p228420788755933712qzz0_400.jpg
fire.  http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2519/3884836710_44dcac29b0.jpg
silver ingots.  http://www.nunemakers.com/images/silverbars10oz.JPG

1477.) Psalm 10

December 30, 2014

P10 v12 hands
Psalm 10

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

1Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

“The presence of God is the joy of his people, but any suspicion of his absence is distracting beyond measure. . . . It is not the trouble, but the hiding of our Father’s face, which cuts us to the quick.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

2In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor— let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.

3For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart, those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.

4In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”; all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Psalm 53:1 (English Standard Version)

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

5Their ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of their sight; as for their foes, they scoff at them.

6They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved; throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”

7Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.

How often the wicked speech of men –- which is often today regarded as no sin at all -– is regarded as sin in the Psalms. “Cursing, lying, threatening, and troubling and evil speech are all destructive. They flow from one who does not believe that God will hold him or her accountable.”

–James Montgomery Boice

8They sit in ambush in the villages; in hiding places they murder the innocent. Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;

"They are hungry lions hiding in the bushes . . ."

“They are hungry lions hiding in the bushes . . .”

9they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert; they lurk that they may seize the poor; they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.

10They stoop, they crouch, and the helpless fall by their might.

11They think in their heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed.

13Why do the wicked renounce God, and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?

“The long-suffering of God, instead of leading such a one to repentance, only hardens him in his iniquity. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, he thinks it will not be executed at all.”

–George Horne

14But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan.

“You are the helper of the fatherless” — children like these from Haiti.

15Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers; seek out their wickedness until you find none.

16The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land.

17O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear

18to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more.

In this psalm, the initial despair in times of trouble ends with calm confidence in God’s justice and victory.  The promises are sure:

  • You shall not always be forgotten at the mercy-seat; so keep praying.
  • You shall not always be forgotten in the Word; so keep reading.
  • You shall not always be forgotten from the pulpit; so keep hearing.
  • You shall not always be forgotten at the Lord’s Table; so keep receiving.
  • You shall not always be forgotten in your service; so keep serving.

—David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

Verse 16 says, “The Lord is king forever and ever.”  HERE  is “Jesus Shall Reign” written by Isaac Watts in 1719.

_________________________

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:
Arise, Lord!    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm10_12.jpg
lion.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/10-lion-in-grass.jpg?w=450
orphans in Haiti.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/orphans-haiti1.jpg

1476.) Psalm 9

December 29, 2014

P9 v10
Psalm 9

God’s Power and Justice

1I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

2I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Let us not be half-hearted in our praise to God!

Luke 1:46-48 (Contemporary English Version)

Mary said:

With all my heart

I praise the Lord,

and I am glad

because of God my Savior.

He cares for me,

his humble servant.

3When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before you.

4For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.

5You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.

Proverbs 10:7 (New International Version)

The memory of the righteous will be a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.

6The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins; their cities you have rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.

7But the Lord sits enthroned forever, he has established his throne for judgment.

8He judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with equity.

P9 globe

from the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ . . .
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

9The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

10And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

To know God’s name(s) is to know who He is and what He does.  Here are three of God’s names:

Jehovah-Ropheka — The Lord our Healer

El-Shaddai — The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People

Jehovah-Jireh — The Lord our Provider

11Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion. Declare his deeds among the peoples.

12For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13Be gracious to me, O Lord. See what I suffer from those who hate me; you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,

14so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance.

Years ago, when I was a teacher in Izmir, Turkey, I saw a poster on the door of the US military chaplain’s office there.  I have never forgotten it.  It said:

Let nothing so fill you with sorrow that you forget the joy of Christ risen!

Which is another way of saying, “I will rejoice in your deliverance.”

15The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.

16The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

17The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.

18For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

9. Hope is the Thing Art

(Read the Emily Dickinson poem in the poster above!)

Proverbs 23:18 (New International Version)

There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” by the lovely Cadet Sisters.

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19Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

20Put them in fear, O Lord; let the nations know that they are only human. Selah

Resources:

9. Shawshank

The Shawshank Redemption is a story that speaks to many of the the themes the Psalmist has brought up in this chapter:  the suffering of the innocent, justice, judgment on the wicked, hope for those oppressed, a time of great loss followed by a new future.  Starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins and released in 1994, the movie follows two imprisoned men who learn to trust each other and choose life.  My favorite line — “Fear can hold you prisoner.  Hope can set you free.”

_________________________

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:
Psalm 9:10.  http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Psalm-9-10.jpg
whole heart.    http://withmywholeheart.net/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/with_my_whole_heart_logo.49180139.JPG
globe.  http://www.geographicguide.com/pictures/maps/globe-africa-countries.jpg
Rejoice in the Lord always.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/rejoice.jpg?w=450
“Hope is the thing with feathers / that perches in the soul / and sings the tune without the words / and never stops at all.” — from a poem by Emily Dickinson.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/hopeisthethingart.jpg
The Shawshank Redemptionhttp://image.mcomet.com/iw/1994/0111161/2007_10_26_01_28_32_48437_0_4.jpg

1475.) Psalm 110

December 26, 2014

Psalm 110   (NLT)

A psalm of David.

There can be no doubt that this psalm looks forward to Christ.  Jesus Himself cites it to show that David knew that its ultimate fulfillment would come with One who is greater than he (Mark 12:35-37).  Even before Christ’s coming, a prophetic-messianic interpretation of the psalm was well known among Jewish interpreters.

–R. C. Sproul

The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand (the place of honor)
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet (a place of disgrace).”

The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem;
you will rule over your enemies.
When you go to war,
your people will serve you willingly.
You are arrayed in holy garments,
and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew.

The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

The story of Melchizedek and Abraham is found in Genesis 14;
click  HERE  to read it.

“In Jesus, uncorrupted kingship and spiritual priesthood
will give the world an administration
such as it has longed for but has never known.”
–William MacDonald

The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you.
He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts.
He will punish the nations
and fill their lands with corpses;
he will shatter heads over the whole earth.
But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.
He will be victorious.

_________________________

Music:

The baby Jesus was not an ordinary baby!  When the wise men came, they brought him gifts:

  • Gold is a noble metal – a gift suggesting kingship
  • Frankincense was burned in religious ceremonies – a gift suggesting divinity
  • Myrrh was used to prepare bodies for burial – a gift suggesting death

HERE  is a hymn with references to Christ’s three offices as listed above.  “O Worship the King” is a familiar hymn to the Lord with an interesting author.  Charles Grant (1778-1838) was born in India. His family moved back to England when he was seven years old. He became a lawyer at age 29. He became a member of Parliament at 48 and was elected Judge Advocate General at 54. At age 56 he was knighted and then appointed Governor of Bombay, India. He died at the age of 60, while serving in India.

Grant was a politician and a public servant of England. He was also a devout Christian who took every opportunity to share the Good News. He was a financial supporter of missionaries, and was loved by the people of India, who established a Medical College in his honor.

Several of Grant’s writings, prose and poetry, were published during his lifetime. After his death, his brother gathered 12 of Grant’s poems into a book titled Sacred Poems. One of those poems, O Worship the King was set to music by Johann Michael Hadyn (1737-1806), and has appeared in church hymnals ever since.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
“Who sits on the right hand of the Father.”   http://jesusisyhwh.blogspot.com/2010/04/re-who-is-this-lord-mentioned-in-psalm.html
Rubens.   http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5041/5316364012_57e416acc4.jpg

Christmas Day 2014

December 25, 2014
"The Birth of Christ,"  by Federico Barocci, 1597

“The Birth of Christ,” by Federico Barocci, 1597 (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid)

Christmas Day!

It has been interesting for me to be going through Matthew’s Gospel just as we come up to Christmas — to be reading about Christ’s Triumphal Entry, Last Supper, and Crucifixion while listening to Christmas carols — to juxtapose the Child laid in a manger and the Savior nailed to the cross.  So what is clearer to me now?

It is a hard truth, but it is important to remember that He was born to die:

manger-cross

Hebrews 10:5-7 (NLT)

That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

The story of his birth is only significant in relation to His sacrificial death:

cross over manger

Mark 8:27-33 (NLT)

Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Bethlehem leads directly to Calvary:

Ecclesiastes 7:1 (NLT)

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
    And the day you die is better than the day you are born.

Thank You, Jesus, that You emptied Yourself of all Your regal glory and power to be clothed in human flesh in order to die as our sin offering before the Father.

"There are some defeats more triumphant than victories."  Calligraphy by Michael Podesta

“There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.” Calligraphy by Michael Podesta

1 Timothy 1:15 (NLT)

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is John Rutter’s arrangement of “I Wonder as I Wander,” performed by the Cambridge Singers.

 _________________________

I want to remember that the joy of Christmas is more than the lovely music and the pleasure of giving and the reminder that Mary had a baby boy.  The truer, more amazing joy is that the Child grew up and by His death and resurrection became the Redeemer of the world, opening for us the doors of meaningful life on earth and everlasting life in heaven!  So let us rejoice with great joy!  Merry Christmas, dear readers!

_________________________

Images courtesy of:
Barocci.   http://www.jesus-story.net/images/1597Federico_BarocciBirthofChrist.jpg
 shadow of cross on manger.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/600dd-manger-cross.jpg
cross behind manger.   http://godstuff.webs.com/manger%20cross.jpg
Podesta.    http://www.michaelpodesta.com/images/products/249.jpg

1473.) Matthew 28

December 24, 2014

What Happened on the Cross

by John Damascene (c. 675 – 749)

By nothing else except the death of our Lord Jesus Christ
has death been brought low:

The sin of our first parent destroyed,
hell plundered,
resurrection bestowed,
the power given us to despise the things of this world,
even death itself,
the road back to the former blessedness made smooth,
the gates of paradise opened,
our perfected nature seated at the right hand of God,
and we made children and heirs of God.
.   .   .

Matthew 28   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today”  sung by Steve Green.

_________________________

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

28. jesus'_tomb_&_angel_1

from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Mark 16: 3,4 — [The women] said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away:  for it was very great.

Matthew 28: 2 — And the angel of the Lord . . . came . . .and sat upon it.

Let us look out for angels when impossible things lie ahead.  Think of impossibilities being turned into seats for angels!  Have we not a wonderful God?  So whatever the difficulty is–something we do not know how to do, or some inward matter–we shall see it rolled away, and more than that, turned to some unexpected good.  I do enjoy that calm word, And the angel sat upon it.

5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.

There are several examples in the Bible of people being resuscitated before this, such as the widow’s son in the days of Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Lazarus (John 11:38-44).  Each of these was resuscitated from death, but none of them were resurrected.   Each of them was raised in the same body they died in, and raised from the dead to eventually die again.  Resurrection isn’t just living again; it is living again in a new body, based on our old body, perfectly suited for life in eternity.   Jesus was not the first one brought back from the dead, but He was the first one resurrected.

–David Guzik

Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem

8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 4)

Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is ris’n!  He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Report of the Guard

11While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

28-6. BC cartoon

The power of God is now and has always been the power to raise us from the dead.  Period.  It is not about us.  It is about God.  Our only role is to stick our feet straight up in the air and admit that without God we might as well be put to bed with a shovel.  Now that is a message that can empty a church out fast.

–from God in Pain, by Barbara Brown Taylor

The Commissioning of the Disciples

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

“We believe in this power, and we rest in it.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“When Christ saith, ‘I will be with you,’ you may add what you will; to protect you, to direct you, to comfort you, to carry on the work of grace in you, and in the end to crown you with immortality and glory. All this and more is included in this precious promise.”

–John Trapp

I CAN TELL MY WORLD about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

_________________________

Please share with your online “DWELLING in the Word” Bible-reading community what the Gospel of Matthew has said to your heart, soul, and mind.  Click on  “Leave a Comment”  below.  Thank you!

_________________________

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:
Easter lily.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/easterlily.jpg
angel at the tomb.  http://www.clipartheaven.com/clipart/religion/biblical_scenes/jesus%27_tomb_&_angel_1.gif
Garden Tomb.   http://gointosail.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/garden_tomb_sunshine-729942.jpg
BC cartoon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/28-6-bc-cartoon.gif?w=450
globe.   http://www.ecm.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/image/0003/2190549/globe.jpg

1472.) Matthew 27

December 23, 2014

contemporary Mexican icon

Matthew 27  (NRSV)

Jesus Brought before Pilate

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

Various scholars on Pontius Pilate:

“Pilate was in fact appointed prefect or procurator by Tiberius Caesar in a.d. 26. Prefects governed small, troubled areas; and in judicial matters they possessed powers like those of the far more powerful proconsuls and imperial legates; in short, they held the power of life and death.”

–D. A. Carson

“The ordinary residence of procurators was Caesarea, on the sea coast, but it was their custom to be in Jerusalem at Passover time, with a detachment of soldiers, to watch over the public peace.”

–F. F. Bruce

“Philo, the ancient Jewish scholar from Alexandria, described Pilate: ‘His corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity.'”

–William Barclay

The Suicide of Judas

3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”

5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

“Judas Hangs Himself” by Jean Colombe, 1485 (Musee Conde, Chantilly)

6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” 7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Pilate Questions Jesus

11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus said, “You say so.”

12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Barabbas or Jesus?

15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.

19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”

“Le Rêve de la femme de Pilate” (“The dream of Pilate’s wife”). Engraving by Alphonse François (1814-1888) after Gustave Doré.

20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.

21The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”

And they said, “Barabbas.”

22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”

23Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?”

But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

“Jesus Before Pilate” charcoal print by Jan Richardson

24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

Spurgeon marvels that Pilate could commit murder, and then disclaim it.  Oh, the lies we tell ourselves about our own sins!

25Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 2)

Follow to the judgment hall,
View the Lord of life arraigned.
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn from him to bear the cross.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

“Le Christ aux injures” by contemporary French artist Macha Chmakoff

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Music:

HERE  is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”  — Fernando Ortega, with verses of Scripture and pictures from the movie The Passion of Christ.

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27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

“Jesus is nailed to the cross” stained glass window from St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Layton, Utah.

32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.

There is reason to believe that Simon came to know what it really meant to take up one’s cross and follow Jesus, for there is some evidence to suggest that his sons became leaders among the early Christians (Mark 15:21 and Romans 16:13).

33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.

Psalm 69:21 (New American Standard Bible)

They also gave me gall for my food
And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him.

Psalm 22:18 (New American Standard Bible)

They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.

37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

Psalm 22:7 (New American Standard Bible)

All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head.

The Death of Jesus

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o”clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Psalm 22:1 (New American Standard Bible)

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”

48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.

54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

55Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 3)

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
There, adoring at his feet
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!”  hear him cry;
Learn from Jesus Christ to die.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Burial of Jesus

57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The tomb of Jesus, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

The Guard at the Tomb

62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”

65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

from Meditations on the Cross,
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945):

We stand between Good Friday and Easter, the days of God’s overpowering deeds in history, the deeds in which God judgment and grace were made visible to the world:
–Judgment, in those hours when Jesus Christ, the Lord, hung on the cross;
–Grace, in the hour when death was devoured by victory.
No human beings acted here.  No, God alone did this.  He walked the path to the people in endless love.  He judged what is human.  And He gave grace beyond merit.

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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:
Mexican crucifixion.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/27-mexican-crucifixion.gif?w=450
Colombe.   http://www.christusrex.org/www2/berry/DB-f147v.jpg
Francois.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_dream_of_Pilate%27s_wife_by_Alphonse_Fran%C3%A7ois.jpg
Richardson.   http://janrichardson.com/lentencharcoalseries.html
Chmakoff.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/27le-christ-aux-injures.jpg?w=450
hand nailed to cross.   http://www.stroseoflimacatholic.net/Station10.jpg
Holy Sepulcher.   http://www.jerusalemshots.com/i/holly_sepulcher/Holly_Sepulcher72.jpg