Re:Verse passage – John 20:1-18 (day tw0) So the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping vs. 10-11a
It’s impossible to know what kind of inner turmoil and confusion these three must have been experiencing, but their reactions produced vastly different results. The disciples went home. They gathered together and waited for some direction as to how to move next.
Mary, however, stayed where she knew Jesus had been. She came to care for Jesus, and she wanted to carry out that last act of kindness. She wanted answers. She was rewarded, first by seeing the angels, and then by seeing and speaking to Jesus himself. It was her determination to find Jesus that allowed her to be the one to declare to the disciples:
Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” vs. 18a
We don’t know the motivation of John and Peter in their return home, but we can see how Mary was blessed by her perseverance. Go to where you know Jesus to be. Wait for him, call on him. He will be found.
Re:Verse passage – John 19:38-42 (day two)
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. vs. 38
It has become a common occurrence today to refer to your faith as ‘a private matter.’ This is often the case when you hear public officials talk about their own personal beliefs. We see people willing to take a stand on any number of issues, but when it comes to a personal conviction about their relationship to Jesus Christ, they obfuscate. This is not what John meant when he referred to Joseph and Nicodemus as ‘secret disciples.’ Their reality dealt with not just popular opinion, but life itself. There are places where the mention of your trust in Jesus will still bring retribution. That is distinctly different from making people feel uncomfortable. There are times when it is prudent to hold your tongue, but we should be careful not to hide behind some social nicety when it comes to sharing our faith.
Re:Verse passage – John 19:31-37 (day two)
Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. vs. 31
This verse reminds me of of Matthew 7:3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Or James 3:10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
Those who were in leadership, who were responsible for Jesus’, death were fastidious about keeping Sabbath rules, but had little regard for the atrocity they had just committed. We all have our areas that we keep neat and orderly. Oftentimes it is to have a good outward appearance, and yet there are other areas where we may have no regard for propriety, right, or truth. The Jewish officials reconciled in their own minds how what they were doing was ‘good’ for the people. We, similarly, justify our actions in an attempt to turn our faces from our own sinful nature. Where are those places in your heart that need a radical reshaping?
Re:Verse passage – John 19:28-30 (day two)
He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. vs. 30b
“Don’t cry for me, for I go where music is born…” These were Johann Sebastian Bach’s last words. I, along with many musicians, believe Bach was the greatest composer to ever live. What a poetic ending to his devout life. Have you given thought to what your last words might be? Imagined the scene, surrounded by family, trying to encourage and comfort them as you transition to eternity?
None of these thoughts, or Bach’s poetry are possible with out Jesus first finishing what he came to do. Without Jesus ultimate, once for all, sacrifice all ‘last words’ are empty and hollow. Take a moment to thank Jesus for giving us an opportunity for hope, and even a little poetry.
Re:Verse passage – John 19:17-27 (day two) Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. vs 23
If we are humble or display humility we ‘bring ourselves low’. We do this out of reverence or deference to authority or respect. The root of humiliation is the same, but it is something done to you. Christ shows an incredible amount of humility in his discourse with Pilate and in all the mock proceedings. He also allows this death penalty theatre to play out in a way that had to be hard to watch at any level. The soldiers after they had done driven spikes into human flesh and hoisted them up on display went about the business of gambling over the garments. Jesus’ mother and friends we witness to this, and had to stand in horror. Jesus, meanwhile, endured the scene. More than that, he allowed it. In light of the resurrection power to come, this humility should overwhelm us. We too often sanitize the passion of Jesus as we tell the story again and again, but it was gruesome. Take a moment to that the Lord for enduring the agony in order that we may have eternal life.
Re:Verse passage – John 19:5-16 (day tw0) As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” vs. 12
No one is past redemption. There are times and circumstances, however, where the weight of your sin compounds and leads inexorably to more sin. This is where Pilate found himself, and this is where the mob found themselves as well. No amount of rhetoric, argument, or reason would stop this train…it had already left the station. Jesus was going to die. This was how it was designed. Jesus must endure this so that we might have the hope of salvation. It was the ‘joy set before him’ that kept his focus.
It is because of what Jesus did for us that we can escape the crushing load of sin. You may find yourself in a similar position as Pilate where you are trying to do the right thing, but the world is set against you. It is here that Christ intercedes. Jesus will make a way for you. Look to the cross as a way of hope not as the end. Jesus paid that price of sin so you/we don’t have to.
As you make final preparations for your Christmas celebrations, don’t ever forget as you read Luke 2 that he had John 19 in mind the whole time.
Re:Verse passage – John 19:1-5 (day one) Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” vs. 4
This isn’t leadership; this is cowardice. We must ask ourselves, however, how often we make similar choices. Making someone else make the call when you know the right thing to do doesn’t get you off the hook. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing, but there are many times when doing the right thing will force us into a difficult position. Pilate was unwilling to put himself in that kind of political maelstrom, and if we are honest his decision is one we make time and time again. Faced with a choice to be ridiculed and hated is never easy, and each situation has nuance, but I would posit that more often than not we choose a path that causes us the least amount of friction. Perhaps we can re-examine Pilate’s choices and prayerfully consider which path to take the next time we are confronted with a choice.
Re:Verse passage – John 18:33-40 (day two)
Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” vs. 37
Joy to the world, the Lord has come; Let earth receive her King
As I prepared the hymnody for this week’s scripture I was looking at different scripture references specifically describing Jesus as King. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many carols included in the list. Jesus’ words to Pilate indicate in no uncertain terms that he came as a child as King. Let it be clearly understood that Jesus knew of his divinity and his purpose. The dignity he displays at this interrogation is remarkable. Meek and humble yes, but with all the authority of heaven and earth at his command. All so we could have the hope of heaven. As we celebrate this coming of the Christ child, may we never forget to honor Christ the King.
Re:Verse passage – John 18:15-18, 25-27 (day two) “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” vs. 17b
Taking a hard look at our own journey, we deny Christ countless times, and rarely, if ever, are we publicly castigated for it. We deny him when we are dishonest, when we are unkind or unfair. We deny him when we do not confess sin that we know is impacting our testimony. We deny him when we fail to witness with a lost soul. We deny him daily.
Thanks be to God that this is not the end of our story. It was not the end of Peters. We just finished a study with the redeemed and restored Apostle Peter and his incredible letter speaking of how to treat others and to embrace the sufferings of Christ. Do not let the denials define you. They didn’t define Peter. Let us be defined by the restorative power of Jesus to be more like him every day.
Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 5:7-14 (day two) But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. vs. 9
Have you ever broken a bone? Had a knee replacement, or rotator cuff surgery? If you’ve ever had a traumatic experience and find someone else who has gone through something similar, you are automatically connected. You sway stories of scars and rehab. You talk about the process of healing. The same should be true for what you are experiencing in the faith. Mind you, this isn’t an opportunity to ‘one up’ each other in terms of suffering, but rather this is a chance to recognize that you are not alone. Peter has assured us that suffering is something that actually connects us. We can gain confidence as we endure trials, and perhaps, pray for others whose faces we may never see who are enduring in the same way.