2303.) John 19:31-42

February 28, 2018

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.

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.”

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. 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
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2302.) John 19:17-30

February 27, 2018

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.

_________________________

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?

_________________________

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

2301.) John 19:1-16

February 26, 2018

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.”

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

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 crowds and lets them kill an innocent man.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a tribute to our Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of the universe, yet willing to go to the cross — “No Other Name,” by Hillsong.

_________________________

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?

_________________________

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

2300.) John 18:28-40

February 23, 2018

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?”

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.

_________________________

Music:

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

_________________________

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?

_________________________

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

2299.) John 18:15-27

February 22, 2018

John 18:15-27   (NRSV)

Peter Denies Jesus

How is it, Lord, that we are cowards in everything save in opposing Thee?

– Teresa of Avila

15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.

17The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

“Jesus before the High Priest” by Alessandro Mantovani (Italian painter, 1814-1892)

19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

23Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

In saying this, Jesus wasn’t being uncooperative, only asserting His legal right. There was to be no formal charge until witnesses had been heard and been found to be truthful. And there is the problem, since it was the High Priest’s duty to call forth the witnesses first, beginning with those for the defense. These basic legal protections for the accused under Jewish law were not observed in the trial of Jesus.

–David Guzik

Peter Denies Jesus Again

“Peter’s Betrayal” by Carl Heinrich Bloch (Danish painter, 1834-1890)

25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not.”

26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”

27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Oh, Peter! How often we remember your failings! As Antony said while eulogizing Caesar in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act III, scene 2: 

The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones.

So let’s instead remember some of the good of Peter. Remember he alone of the disciples had drawn his sword to defend Jesus when the soldiers arrived. Remember Peter followed Jesus after the arrest, when the remaining disciples scattered. Remember that Peter stayed with the group and was there when Jesus returned to them after the resurrection, whereas Judas removed himself from their company permanently. As William Barclay says, Jesus saw the true faithful disciple under this crack of the denial, and loved him back into fellowship and leadership.  Oh, the strong, sweet  love of Jesus!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Fernando Ortega and his version of “O Holy Jesus.”  Especially verse 2: “Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied you.”

(It seems to be finished — after an instrumental interlude the screen goes black at about 3:30 — but the last verse is still to come.)

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   Do you see any similarities between yourself and Peter?

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

_________________________

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:
Peter denies Jesus.    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/23/fe/ec/23feec89e138e4c212af3e28d9fef8bc.jpg
Mantovani.   https://goodnewsshared.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/alessandro_mantovani_jesus_before_the_high_priest_700.jpg?w=326&h=244
legal scales.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/legalscales5b15d.gif
Bloch.     https://i.pinimg.com/originals/14/3f/1b/143f1b006934add267e4d2288a0d2c2a.jpg

2298.) John 18:1-14

February 21, 2018

Very old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.

John 18:1-14   (NRSV)

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

When the last meal was finished and when Jesus’s talk and prayer with his disciples were ended, he and his friends left the upper room. They were bound for the Garden of Gethsemane. They would leave by the gate, go down the steep valley and cross the channel of the brook Kidron. There a symbolic thing must have happened. All the Passover lambs were killed in the Temple, and the blood of the lambs was poured on the altar as an offering to God. The number of lambs slain for the Passover was immense. On one occasion, thirty years later than the time of Jesus, a census was taken and the number was 256,000. We may imagine what the Temple courts were like when the blood of all these lambs was dashed on to the altar. From the altar there was a channel down to the brook Kidron, and through that channel the blood of the Passover lambs drained away. When Jesus crossed the brook Kidron, it would still be red with the blood of the lambs which had been sacrificed; and as he did so, the thought of his own sacrifice would surely be vivid in his mind.

–William Barclay

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”

5They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus replied, “I am he.”

See the courage of Jesus:  he gives himself up to the authorities.

Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

See the authority of Jesus:  one single, unarmed figure before whom the Roman soldiers and Jewish police retreated and fell to the ground.

7Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”

See the protective love of Jesus:  his thought was not to protect himself, but to shield his friends.

10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

See the utter obedience of Jesus:  if this was God’s will, that was enough for him.

Two gardens.

The entrance of Christ into the Garden at once reminds us of Eden. The contrasts between them are indeed striking.

In Eden, all was delightful; in Gethsemane, all was terrible.

In Eden, Adam and Eve parlayed with Satan; in Gethsemane, the last Adam sought the face of His Father.

In Eden, Adam sinned; in Gethsemane, the Savior suffered.

In Eden, Adam fell; in Gethsemane, the Redeemer conquered.

The conflict in Eden took place by day; the conflict in Gethsemane was waged at night.

In the one, Adam fell before Satan; in the other, the soldiers fell before Christ.

In Eden the race was lost; in Gethsemane Christ announced, “Of them whom thou givest me have I lost none” (John 18:9).

In Eden, Adam took the fruit from Eve’s hand; in Gethsemane, Christ received the cup from His Father’s hand.

In Eden, Adam hid himself; in Gethsemane, Christ boldly showed Himself.

In Eden, God sought Adam; in Gethsemane, the last Adam sought God!

From Eden Adam was “driven”; from Gethsemane Christ was “led.”

In Eden the sword was drawn (Gen. 3:24); in Gethsemane the sword was sheathed (John 18:11).

–Arthur W. Pink

Jesus before the High Priest

12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 

“The Taking of Christ” — alabaster, from the early 1300’s (Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp)

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

CAN MAN SEIZE GOD?

On the night of Jesus’ arrest, what was it that bound the Lord to those Roman soldiers? Surely the ropes and cords were not strong enough to hold the Creator of the universe. If Sampson could break the ropes of the Philistines, certainly the Son of God could do the same. No, Christ was not bound by the soldiers; he was bound by his own compassionate, divine, loving heart that caused him to give himself to them. It was Christ’s love for you and me that caused him to go with those soldiers who eventually nailed his body to the cross.

Can man seize God? Never! God gave himself away that night. Jesus was in perfect control all throughout his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

God will never let you get into a situation in which he is not in perfect control. When you find yourself in circumstances that seem to be full of chaos and confusion, look to Christ. If you belong to him, you will find him there in perfect control of your situation.

It was Jesus, the One in whom all things exist, who sustained the Roman soldier’s life while he roughly placed the Son of God on the cross, and it was Jesus who gave that soldier the physical strength to drive the spikes into his hands.

13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Annas was a former high priest; four of his sons had also been high priest and Caiaphas is his son-in-law. His family was immensely rich and they had, over the years, bought the position of high priest from the Romans, who sold it to the highest bidder and most active collaborator. Jesus is certainly not expecting anything close to justice here.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is the St. Olaf Choir from Northfield, Minnesota, and “What Wondrous Love Is This.”

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   One technique for studying Scripture is to read with your senses alert. I think that method is particularly rich in this passage. Imagine what the garden with its old trees looked like in the moonlight that night, what it smelled like. Can you hear the approach of the soldiers? Was there a gasp from the disciples when Judas came in view? Did the tension rise when the ear was sliced off and the blood spurted? What was the look on Jesus’ face as he spoke to Peter? What was the look on Annas’ face when he saw the bound Jesus arrive? How does his house look, and smell? And so on.

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

_________________________

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:
olive trees.    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/jcm/JC-olives.jpg
Kidron Valley.   http://templesecrets.info/jnbldwtr/jnbldwtr2.gif
garden greenery.   http://www.greeninfluence.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/goeden.jpg
“The Taking of Christ.”    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/christ-arrested1.jpg

2297.) John 17

February 20, 2018

John 17   (NRSV)

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,

How does the cross glorify the Father?

“The Son glorified the Father by revealing in the act the sovereignty of God over evil, the compassion of God for men, and the finality of redemption for believers.”

–Dr. Merrill Tenney

Matthew 27:54   (ESV)

“Truly this was the Son of God!”

2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

We know what God is like because Jesus has revealed him to us. And Jesus has modeled that the way to know God is to be obedient to what he asks of us, by finishing the work that lies in front of us for his sake.

4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Jesus says of them, “They have kept your word.” When we think of all the failures and disappointments Christ experienced with the disciples, this is a kind assessment from Jesus. He generously judges His disciples. And Christ generously judges us, for he is our Savior as well as our Judge.

How, then, ought I treat others?

7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11“And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

THE JOY OF CHRIST

If there is anything that ought to characterize the life of a Christian, it is joy! Jesus spoke many times to his disciples about His joy being complete and full in them. His disciples were filled with joy as they realized who they were:  children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). They had been dead in their sins but were now made alive in Christ (Romans 6:4). They had once been helpless victims of death, but now death had no hold over them (1 Corinthians 15:55-58). With such a marvelous salvation experience with Christ, how could the disciples be anything less than joyful?

Don’t deny yourself that which is your birthright as a child of God. Don’t be satisfied with a joyless life. There ought to be in every Christian a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ that no circumstance of life can dispel. This comes as you allow the Holy Spirit to express Himself in your life. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22). This joy is unlike any happiness that is produced by the world. It fills you and permeates everything you do.

Jesus did not pray that you would merely be happy or even that you would escape grief. He prayed that you would have the same joy that the Father had given Him:  a divine joy, a joy that comes from a deep and unwavering relationship with the Father. It is a joy that is grounded so firmly in a relationship with God that no change in circumstances could ever shake it. This is the kind of joy that Christ is praying will be in you.

14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

I remember, as a child, hearing the pastor open his sermon Sunday after Sunday with this prayer:  “Sanctify us in the truth; thy word is truth.” Obviously this made an impact on me, since it is many decades later that I still hear that plea in my mind. In such a simple way I was taught that the word of God, both the written words of Scripture and the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ, is ultimate truth. Such an idea is not so popular today in a society which readily accepts relativism and falsehood. But with Martin Luther and millions of other believers through the ages I say, “Here I stand.”

18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one.

This verse is one of the most wonderfully amazing verses in all the Bible, I think, for here Jesus prays for us! We are among those who believe because of the word of the apostles as found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. Jesus prayed then, and continues to intercede now, for you!

As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24“Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

From this prayer Jesus was to go straight out to the betrayal, the trial, and the Cross. He was not to speak to his disciples again. It is a wonderful and a precious thing to remember that before those terrible hours his last words were not of despair but of glory.

–William Barclay

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Music:

HERE  is a simple song which grows out of our passage today as well as other Scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament:  “Glorify Thy Name.”  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

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Reflections:

1)  John writes at length about the oppositions to Jesus, as in John 15:18-25, John 16:29-33, and John 17:12-16. Who/what might he see as Jesus’ opposition today?

2)  Verse 26 gives us the “secret” of a faithful Christian life:  God’s love, in Jesus Christ, in us. How can you live that out today

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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:
Sanctify them by the truth.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/john-17-17.jpg
“Be kind.”  Calligraphy by Michael Noyes.  http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_152_border.png
fruit of the spirit – joy.   http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u62/ParkcrestHSM/blogg/FruitoftheSpirit02JoyTitle.jpg
I pray for them.   http://revphil2011.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/iprayforthem.gif