2056.) Psalms 100 and 101

March 20, 2017

Psalm 100   (NRSV)

All Lands Summoned to Praise God

This is the only Psalm entitled “A Psalm of Praise.”

1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

2Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

3Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

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Music:

Two choices for our first psalm:  In Latin Psalm 100 begins, Jubilate Deo, and it has frequently been put to music with that title.  HERE  is a beautiful composition by Peter Anglea (born in 1988 and a graduate of Bob Jones University in Church Music, piano and composition), sung by the Rivertree Singers, a choral ensemble of young professionals from Greenville, South Carolina.

HERE  is Messianic praise and worship musician Paul Wilbur and “Praise Adonai.”

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Psalm 101   (NRSV)

A Sovereign’s Pledge of Integrity and Justice

This psalm is a carefully balanced psalm of decision.  Carefully formed positive decisions are balanced equally with the negative decisions that enable the positive decisions to be carried out.

Making a choice involves two things.  It is the rejecting of one thing to do another.

1I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing.

2I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep His statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do His will!

3I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

4Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

Order my footsteps by Thy Word
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.

5One who secretly slanders a neighbor I will destroy. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate.

6I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, so that they may live with me; whoever walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.

Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget Thy way,
Restore Thy wandering sheep.

7No one who practices deceit shall remain in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue in my presence.

8Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord.

Make me to walk in Thy commands,
‘Tis a delightful road;
Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,
Offend against my God.

–Isaac Watts

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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:
Worship.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/psalm100-2cborders.jpg
Psalm 101.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sing-101.jpg?w=450

2055.) Luke 24:36-53

March 17, 2017
Oh, Jesus, how glad we are to see you, to know you are alive forevermore!

Oh, Jesus, how glad we are to see you, to know you are alive forevermore!

Luke 24:36-53   (NIV)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

The cross was not some unfortunate obstacle that had to be hurdled. It was a necessary part of God’s redemptive plan for man, and that it would be in the name of a crucified and risen Savior that repentance and remission of sins will be brought to the world.

–David Guzik

48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension

The Ascension of Christ, painted by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, 1758 — in a church in Sumeg, Hungary

50When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

“If he has blessed you, you shall be blessed, for there is no power in heaven, or earth, or hell, that can reverse the blessing which He gives.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Music:

Music for our ascended Lord!  HERE  is “Lord Most High.”

And  HERE  is “Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious.”

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52Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Psalm 84:10 (CEV)

One day in your temple

is better

than a thousand

anywhere else.

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The End of Luke’s Gospel. I invite you to share with our blogging online community anything that has touched your heart or mind in a fresh way as you have been DWELLING in the Word these few weeks with Luke.  Just reply and leave a comment below!  Thank you!

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Jesus appears to the disciples.   https://www.lds.org/bc/content/ldsorg/church/news/March%202013/29th/580-MesaEaster-Mar29.jpg
Ascension.    http://www.hung-art.hu/kep/m/maulbert/muvek/4sumeg/sumeg04.jpg
reading Bible.    http://www.gifs.net/Animation11/Religious/Christian/Reading_bible.gif

2054.) Luke 24:13-35

March 16, 2017

“The Road to Emmaus” by He Qi

Luke 24:13-35 (NIV)

 On the Road to Emmaus

13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.

17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

From David Guzik:  He told them that the Messiah was:

– The Seed of the Woman, whose heel was bruised.
– The blessing of Abraham to all nations.
– The High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
– The Man who wrestled with Jacob.
– The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
– The voice from the burning bush.
– The Passover Lamb.
– The Prophet greater than Moses.
– The captain of the Lord’s army to Joshua.
– The ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer mentioned in Ruth.
– The son of David who was a King greater than David.
– The suffering Savior of Psalm 22.
– The Good Shepherd of Psalm 23.
– The wisdom of Proverbs and the Lover of the Song of Solomon.
– The Savior described in the prophets and the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
– The Princely Messiah of Daniel who would establish a kingdom that would never end.

O for grace to study the Bible with Jesus as both our teacher and our lesson!

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.

The words are almost identical to those in Luke 22:19 at the Last Supper — “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them.”

31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

"Supper at Emmaus" by He Qi

“Supper at Emmaus” by He Qi

Open our eyes, Lord . . . we want to see Jesus.

32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

luke24-candles

Psalm 94:19 (NASB)

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.

33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

"The Disciples on the Road to Emmaus"  by Tissot

“The Disciples on the Road to Emmaus” by James Tissot (1836-1902)

We are all “on the road to Emmaus,” and all similarly preoccupied with our own woes in this world to see clearly to salvation at most times. Even when the answer is directly in front of me, I have trouble seeing it because I’m looking for a different answer — one within my experience, and one that I can assign within the taxonomy of my own reason, intellect, and will. This reminds me of a scene from the film Bruce Almighty, where the title character is imploring God to send him a sign … while driving behind a truck filled with STOP and WRONG WAY road signs.

The Emmaus story tells us one way in which we can find the voice of God. The two disciples on the road walk with the stranger and spend the time telling him of their tragic week in Jerusalem. They are trying to fill the empty space with their own voices, and for very understandable reasons — they are stricken with grief, loss, and incomprehension.  Even though the sign of all signs has been related to them — the empty tomb — it doesn’t fit within their human reason and comprehension. But they do not begin to achieve understanding until they listen rather than talk, and reflect rather than lament.

Jesus appears to the two disciples in their grief to allow them to lean on him, but also to explain salvation history in order to increase their comprehension. We must also walk through salvation history through the readings of Scripture. This is the context which Jesus gives the two disciples after they quiet themselves and open up to hearing the Word of God — even though they are not quite aware that this is what is happening until their eyes are finally opened in the breaking of the bread. As the two disciples learned, if we want to understand salvation and invite God to speak to us, we need to stop talking and start listening.

–Ed Morrissey

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Music:

HERE  is “I’ve Just Seen Jesus,”  sung by Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
He Qi, Road.     http://www.heqiart.com/uploads/2/3/5/9/23595908/s463025724710779803_p176_i66_w600.jpeg
Walk Thru the Old Testament.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/wt-ot.jpg
He Qi, Supper.   http://www.heqiart.com/uploads/2/3/5/9/23595908/s463025724710779803_p91_i76_w700.jpeg
candles burning.    http://lh4.ggpht.com/_TFsBS8u3bpk/TO7KnJed3JI/AAAAAAAADqs/6zI_6tuAS9g/imagesCAS68SVY_thumb%5B2%5D.jpg?imgmax=800
Tissot.   http://paintingandframe.com/uploadpic/tissot/big/the_disciples_on_the_road_to_emmaus.jpg

2053.) Luke 24:1-12

March 15, 2017

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, a popular site for pilgrims.

Luke 24:1-12 (NIV)

The Resurrection

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

Even as angels announced the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:8-15), so they also announced the resurrection of Jesus.

5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8Then they remembered his words.

Psalm 27:13 (ESV)

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!

“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”

–N. T. Wright

Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, ‘Christ is risen,’ but ‘I shall rise.’

–Phillips Brooks

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Music:

GLAD sings one of their classics, “The Easter Song,”  HERE.

The progressive Christian rock band GLAD was formed on the campus of West Chester State University near Philadelphia during the early ’70s.

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9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

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B.C.  —  by Johnny Hart:  a comic for Easter Sunday.

luke24-wizard-of-id

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.    http://gointosail.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/garden_tomb_sunshine-729942.jpg
Hart.   https://twitter.com/thedanielmartin/status/714094793924546561

2052.) Luke 23:44-56

March 14, 2017
"The Burial in the Tomb" by Guercino

“The Burial in the Tomb” by Guercino (1591-1666)

Luke 23:44-56 (NIV)

Jesus’ Death

44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun stopped shining.

The remarkable darkness all over the earth showed the agony of creation itself in the Creator’s suffering.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

luke23-temple-veil-torn

The tearing of the temple veil signified at least two things. First, now we have free access to the throne of grace by the cross. Second, no one should ever think again that God dwells in temples made with hands.

46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

This shows that Jesus gave up His life when He wanted to and how He wanted to. No one took His life from Him; He gave it up when His work was finished. Jesus is not a victim we should pity, but a conqueror we should admire.

Rather save your pity for those who reject the complete work of Jesus on the cross at Calvary; for those preachers who do not have the heart of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:23, when he proclaimed the center of the Christian message: we preach Christ crucified.

When we die, our Spirit goes to be with God. We give our Spirit up into the living and loving hands of God. We don’t become simply dust and ashes. We don’t simply say, “sayonara,” or “close the door on life,” or wave goodbye. Rather, we commit our Spirit into the loving care of our Father God.

–Pastor Edward F. Markquart

47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Duncanson

“At the Foot of the Cross” by the 19th-century African-American artist  Robert Scott Duncanson (Detroit Institute of Arts)

GOOD FRIDAY
by Christina G. Rossetti

Am I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?


Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;


Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon–-
I, only I.


Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Jesus’ Burial

“The Entombment of Christ” by Sisto Badallochio, 1610 (Galleria Borghese, Rome)

50Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.

Customarily, the bodies of crucified criminals were left on their crosses to rot or be eaten by wild animals. But the Jews wanted no such horror displayed during the Passover season, and Romans were known to grant the corpses to friends or relatives for proper burial.

53Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

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Music:

HERE  Selah sings, so mournfully, “Were You There?”

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Guercino.   http://www.catholicviral.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/The-Burial-in-the-Tomb-Guercino-838×541.jpg
curtain of the Temple torn in two.   http://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Temple-veil-torn.jpg
Duncanson.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/63/8a/47/638a473f88b87c2e4f2c74b9daa89fb9.jpg
Badallochio.     http://www.wga.hu/art/b/badalocc/entombme.jpg

2051.) Luke 23:26-43

March 13, 2017

“Crucifixion”  by Harry Anderson (1906-1996)

Luke 23:26-43 (NIV)

The Crucifixion

26As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

“Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross” by Eric Gill, 1917 (Tate Collection, London)

Before Jesus took the cross, He was whipped—scourged—as Pilate had earlier promised (I will therefore chastise Him, Luke 23:16).

“Scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt.” (Edwards)

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.” (Edwards)

“The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a pre-shock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse meted out by the Jews and the Romans, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to his generally weakened state. Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus’ physical condition was at least serious and possibly critical.” (Edwards)

Before Jesus was led away, His clothes were stripped off. “When the soldiers tore the robe from Jesus’ back, the probably reopened the scourging wounds.” (Edwards)

As Jesus was led away to be crucified, He was—like all victims of crucifixion—forced to carry the wood He would hang upon. The weight of the entire cross was typically 300 pounds. The victim only carried the crossbar, which weighed anywhere from 75 to 125 pounds. When the victim carried the crossbar, he was usually stripped naked, and his hands were often tied to the wood.

The upright beams of a cross were usually permanently fixed in a visible place outside of the city walls, beside a major road. It is likely that on many occasions, Jesus passed by the very upright He would hang upon.

So, because Jesus was in such a weakened condition, the soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Him.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.

luke-23-daughters-of-jerusalem

28Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30Then

” ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘

31For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

It was customary for a great multitude to follow a condemned criminal on his way to crucifixion.

As they made their way, a Roman guard led with a sign that carried the man’s name and crime, and called out the name and the crime along the way to the place of crucifixion. They usually didn’t take the shortest way to the place of crucifixion, so as many people as possible could see how the Roman Empire treated its enemies.

32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

"Crucifixion" by Tintoretto, 1568

“Crucifixion” by Tintoretto, 1568

What was it like to be crucified? In days the New Testament was first written, the practice needed no explanation. But we would do well to appreciate just what happened when someone was crucified.

“Although the Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering.” (Edwards)

The combination of scourging and crucifixion made death on the cross especially brutal. The victim’s back was first torn open by the scourging, then the clotting blood was ripped open again when the clothes were torn off before crucifixion. The victim was thrown on the ground to fix his hands to the crossbeam, and the wounds on the back were again be torn open and contaminated with dirt. Then, as he hung on the cross, with each breath, the painful wounds on the back scraped against the rough wood of the upright beam and were further aggravated.

When the nail was driven through the wrists, it severed the large median nerve. This stimulated nerve produced excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms, and often gave the victim a claw-like grip in the hands.

Beyond the excruciating pain, the major effect of crucifixion was to inhibit normal breathing. The weight of the body, pulling down on the arms and shoulders, tended to fix the respiratory muscles in an inhalation state, and hindered exhalation. The lack of adequate respiration resulted in severe muscle cramps, which hindered breathing even further. To get a good breath, the victim had to push against the feet, and flex the elbows, pulling from the shoulders. Putting the weight of the body on the feet produced searing pain, and flexing of the elbows twisted the hands hanging on the nails. Lifting the body for a breath also painfully scraped the back against the rough wooden post. Each effort to get a proper breath was agonizing, exhausting, and led to a sooner death.

“Not uncommonly, insects would light upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites. Moreover, it was customary to leave the corpse on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals.” (Edwards)

Death from crucifixion could come from many sources: acute shock from blood loss; being too exhausted to breathe any longer; dehydration; stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture. If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe.

How bad was crucifixion? We get our English word excruciating from the Roman word “out of the cross.” “Consider how heinous sin must be in the sight of God, when it requires such a sacrifice!” (Clarke)

The most significant thing about Jesus’ suffering was that He was not, in any sense, the victim of circumstances. He was in control. Jesus said of His life in John 10:18, no one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. It is terrible to be forced to endure such torture, but to freely choose it out of love is remarkable.

34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

luke23-forgive-them

Pure grace. A word of pure grace. This is the most powerful example of grace and forgiving love in the whole Bible. While in so much pain, Jesus asked God to forgive his tormentors. In this Jesus fulfilled His own command to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good for those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

It is precisely because He did not save Himself that He can save others. Love kept Jesus on the cross, not nails!

38There was a written notice above him, which read:  THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

luke23-remember-me

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Music:

A Taize song —  HERE  is “Jesus, Remember Me.” Lord, in your great mercy, hear our prayer.

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43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

luke23-in-paradise

Jesus makes a huge promise to the robber next to him on the cross: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Today. In your hearts, write down the word, “today.” Immediately. Instantaneously. Now. Not tomorrow. Not in a hundred years. Not in a thousand years. Not in a in a million years. But today.

You. In your hearts, write down the word, “you.” That means you and me. We too will be in paradise with God when we die. At Christmas time, we often say, your name needs to be on the present for you to receive the gift. Christ’s promise is not only towards the thief on the cross but Christ’s promise is directed towards you and me as well. To be a Christian, you need to realize that God’s gift is for you personally.

With me. In your heart, write down the words, “with me.”  We then go to paradise to be reunited with our long lost mother, father, brother, sister, spouse who have died before us. But that is not the emphasis in the Bible. What the Bible emphasizes is better, much better. We will be with Christ, and when we are with Christ in paradise, we are with pure grace, with God’s Presence which is pure love, who forgives us all our sins.

In paradise. There is that word again, that word found in the very beginning of the Bible and at the very end of the Bible. “Paradise.”  We will see the incredible beauty all around us. We will seen the face and glory of God. We will be with loved ones. There will no war nor starvation nor evil for these things will have been all destroyed. And our hearts, knowing all of this, will be filled with praise and thanksgiving.

–Rev. Edward Markquart

Psalm 17:7   (NRSV)

Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries.

We see Jesus functioning as prophet, priest and king, at His death.

He was a Prophet to the Daughters of Jerusalem.

He was a Priest when He forgave those who nailed Him to the cross.

He was a King when He authoritatively assured the penitent criminal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Anderson.    http://www.dst-corp.com/james/PaintingsOfJesus/Jesus13.jpg
Gill.     http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=5225&searchid=4721&tabview=image
daughters of Jerusalem.   https://faithlutheranofjackson.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/women-of-the-passion-daughters-of-jerusalem.jpg
Tintoretto.    https://mudpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/crucifixion.jpg
forgive them.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c1/ec/6c/c1ec6c8aa44ecfe9e9a83546552b1099.jpg
remember me.   https://i.ytimg.com/vi/RGB2E0NzO2A/hqdefault.jpg
in paradise.   https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51GEfnVcrOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

2050.) Luke 23:1-25

March 10, 2017

“Jesus before Pilate” by Corinne Vonaesch

Luke 23:1-25 (NIV)

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod

1Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar

luke23-denarius

Wait a minute!  Didn’t Jesus just say, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” ?!  (See Luke 20:25.)

and claims to be Christ, a king.”

3So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

4Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

5But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

6On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

John baptizes Jesus

This Herod, Herod Antipas, is the son of Herod the Great, who had met with the Wise Men and had ordered the killing of the baby boys in Bethlehem.  Herod Antipas, who ruled the region of Galilee for the Romans, was responsible for the death of John the Baptist.  Upon hearing news about the work of Christ, Herod was afraid that Jesus was actually John come back from the dead (Mark 6:16).

Herod heard truth from John, and saw the one who is “the way, the truth, and the life” in Jesus.  He disregarded them both.

8When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

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Music:

I was in high school the first time I heard the rock opera Jesus Christ  Superstar.  One song that has stayed with me through the years is King Herod’s Song, perhaps because Herod was so outrageous. I had not realized that Jesus had been treated so disrespectfully (although how I thought the Romans would crucify someone respectfully is lost to me now!). Anyway,  HERE  is the song that shaped some of my understanding of the humiliation and mockery Christ suffered in going to the cross so that my sins, and the sins of all the world, could be forgiven.

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13Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

18With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19(Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

luke23-barabbas

from Peculiar Treasures:  A Biblical Who’s Who
by Frederick Buechner

BARABBAS

Pilate told the people that they could choose to spare the life of either a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus of Nazareth, and they chose Barabbas.  Given the same choice, Jesus, of course, would have chosen to spare Barabbas too.

To understand the reason in each case would be to understand much of what the New Testament means by saying that Jesus is the Savior, and much of what it means too by saying that, by and large, people are in bad need of being saved.

20Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

“Jesus with a crown of thorns” penciled by Julio Molina-Muscara, 2004.

Ah, Holy Jesus, how hast thou offended?
That man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty?  Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
for man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter Passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee;
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

–written by Johann Heermann, translated by Robert Bridges

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Vonaesch.    http://whitestonegallery.com/artists/vonaesch/von-john15a.jpg
coin.   https://en.numista.com/catalogue/photos/rome/g2698.jpg
John baptizes Jesus.    http://www.crystalinks.com/johnthebaptist.jpg
Give us Barabbas.   http://www.fbckenova.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/give-us-barabbas-560×250.jpg
Molina-Muscara.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/jesus-with-crown-of-thorns1.jpg