2308.) John 21

March 7, 2018

“The Second Miraculous Draught of Fish” by James Tissot, 1886 (Brooklyn Museum, New York)

John 21   (NRSV)

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

This chapter is here to demonstrate once and for all the reality of the Resurrection. There were many who said that the appearances of the Risen Christ were nothing more than visions which the disciples had. Many would admit the reality of the visions but insist that they were still only visions. Some would go further and say that they were not visions but hallucinations. The gospels go far out of their way to insist that the Risen Christ was not a vision, not an hallucination, not even a spirit, but a real person. They insist that the tomb was empty and that the Risen Christ had a real body which still bore the marks of the nails and the spear thrust in his side.

But this story goes a step further. A vision or a spirit would not be likely to point out a shoal of fish to a party of fishermen. A vision or a spirit would not be likely to kindle a charcoal fire on the seashore. A vision or a spirit would not be likely to cook a meal and to share it out. And yet, as this story has it, the Risen Christ did all these things. When John tells how Jesus came back to his disciples when the doors were shut, he says: “He showed them his hands and his side” )John 20:20). 

The first and simplest aim of this story is to make quite clear the reality of the resurrection. The Risen Lord was not a vision, nor the figment of someone’s excited imagination, nor the appearance of a spirit or a ghost; it was Jesus who had conquered death and come back.

–William Barclay

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?”

They answered him, “No.”

6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.

They cast their nets in Galilee
just off the hills of brown;
such happy, simple fisherfolk,
before the Lord came down.

Contented, peaceful fishermen,
before they ever knew
the peace of God that filled their hearts
brimful, and broke them too.

Young John who trimmed
the flapping sail,
homeless in Patmos died,
Peter, who hauled the teeming net,
head-down was crucified.

The peace of God, it is no peace,
but strife closed in the sod,
Yet let us pray for but one thing—
the marvelous peace of God.

–William A. Percy

7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.

10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them;

Why 153 fish?

This number has been a field day for speculative interpretations of the Bible since the early church.

153 is the sum of numbers 1 to 17. Some (like Augustine) say that it is a number representing the number of commandments (10) added to the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.

153 is the added numerical value of the Greek words “Peter” and “fish.”

Some ancient writers (such as Jerome) held that there were 153 different types of fish in the world; this represents a “full harvest” of all of the world.

Some (like Cyril of Alexandria) say that 100 stands for the Gentiles, 50 for Israel and 3 for the Trinity.

The truth is that all we know for certain is that 153 stands for the number of fish that they caught! We must always be careful of manufacturing “hidden meanings” in the Word of God.

–David Guzik

and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

Revelation 3:20 (KJV)

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus and Peter

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

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

RESOLUTIONS

Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him! He does not humiliate us. He does not criticize us. He does not ask us to make a resolution to try harder. Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him.

Peter miserably failed his Lord when he fled with the other disciples from the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, he publicly denied that he even knew Jesus. Peter must have wondered if he was even capable of being Jesus’ disciple when he was unfaithful to Jesus in His most crucial hour.

You may be painfully aware that you have failed your Lord in many ways. Perhaps you were not faithful. Perhaps you disobeyed His word to you. Perhaps you denied Him by the way you lived. Jesus will not berate you. He will not humiliate you. He will ask you to examine your love for Him. He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” If your answer, like Peter’s, is “Yes, Lord,” He will reaffirm His will for you. If you truly love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:15). Jesus does not need your resolutions, your re-commitments, your promises to try harder. Jesus asks for your love. Then your service to Him will be what He desires.

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.)

Peter remained faithful to the Lord and was crucified upside down during the reign of Nero.

After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus and the Beloved Disciple

20Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”

21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

22Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

How easily we get distracted from our own responsibilities and calling by wondering about the details of someone else’s walk with the Lord. We critique, we second-guess, we opine. Jesus says to us what he said to Peter:  “What is that to you?” Let us serve others, but mind our own business! 

23So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

So, at the end, this gospel takes two of the great figures of the Church, Peter and John. To each Jesus had given his function. It was Peter’s to shepherd the sheep of Christ, and in the end to die for him. It was John’s to witness to the story of Christ, and to live to a great old age and to come to the end in peace. That did not make them rivals in honour and prestige, nor make the one greater or less than the other; it made them both servants of Christ.

–William Barclay

24This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.

25But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

_________________________

Music:

This song is, I think, a good one to hear as we close our reading of the Gospel of John.  HERE  is MercyMe and “The Love of God.”  Frederick M. Lehman wrote this hymn in 1917 in Pasadena, California.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   What can you learn from Peter and Christ’s exchange? How can you “Feed my sheep”?

2)   At the close of our DWELLING in John’s Gospel, how has your understanding of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus been changed?

_________________________

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:
Tissot.  http://www.atsvirtual.org/Websites/atsvirtual/Images/tissot-second-miraculous-catch-of-fish.jpg
Swanson.   http://www.johnaugustswanson.com/www.johnaugustswanson.com/ImagesUpload/fishermenwebmain.jpg
fish plate.  http://www.englishcountrypottery.net/catalog/images/fishplate.JPG
Do you love me?    http://www.mytinyphone.com/uploads/users/sexy_boy/420277.jpg
Advertisements

2307.) John 20:19-31

March 6, 2018

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

John 20:19-31   (NRSV)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–David Guzik

Jesus and Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

–William Barclay

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

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

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

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

The Purpose of This Book

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

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

_________________________

Music:

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

_________________________

Reflections:

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

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

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

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

2306.) John 20:1-18

March 5, 2018

“Easter Morning” by Maurice Denis

John 20:1-18   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–John Phillips

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

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

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

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

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

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

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

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

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

16Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

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

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

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

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

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

*      *     *

Resur Rose Grove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*     *     *

AND THE GLORY
by Ann Weems

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

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

_________________________

Music:

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

_________________________

Reflections:

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

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

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

Images courtesy of:
Denis.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/denis-matin-de-paques.jpg
Burnand.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BurnandJeanPierre.jpg
Ivanov.  http://www.abcgallery.com/I/ivanov/ivanov3.html
Easter lilies.    http://sunnyside-gardens.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Easter-Lily-4.jpeg

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

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