Tag Archives: sacrifice

Good Friday- Finale


Excerpts from John 18 & 19

It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.


Good Friday- Part 3


Excerpts from John 18 & 19

It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”

“Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.

It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”

“Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.

Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”

Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.


Good Friday- Part 2


Excerpts from John 18 & 19

So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?”

“We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted.

“Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them.

“Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.)

Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.

Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?”

But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)

hen Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.

Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”

Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”

When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”

“Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.


Hungry


We are now one week into the season of Lent. It was a week ago that some of us decided to sacrifice something for the season. Some of us may have decided to take up a practice during these days that lead to Easter. I am curious- how is it going for you?

I was reflecting on how this week has gone while I read today’s passages. They are not very long passages, from Deuteronomy 8:3 and Psalm 51:17. The questions I wrestled with while reading were: When I’m hungry for what I have given up, am I allowing that to remind me of my deep need for Jesus? Am I just following through with this practice of Lent, or is it helping to soften my heart and create a desire for Jesus? What is happening in my heart during this season? Am I being broken and drawn closer to Jesus? And what about the practice that I have taken up? Is it just another part of my to-do-list? Or am I allow the practice to really get into my core and help me become more like Jesus?

I hope that this journey is challenging you. What I am discovering is that it can be a fantastic time of drawing closer to Jesus. I’m thankful for the season. It is helping me to focus on the sacrifice of Jesus and be challenge to live with a softened heart towards God. I pray it is doing the same for you.


Four Days In…


Today is the fourth day of Lent. Four days into a journey of sacrifice and reflection. Here is today’s passage along with a quote I read. It is early in the journey, these readings caused me to pause and reflect on the purpose of sacrifice and reflection during Lent…

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

   ‘People do not live by bread alone,
      but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

   ‘He will order his angels to protect you.
   And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’”

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

  “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

   ‘You must worship the LORD your God
      and serve only him.’”

  Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

“It’s difficult to grasp what our sense of entitlement does to our bodies and souls. Our culture worships at the feet of pleasure. As we ‘shovel it in,’ we can become desensitized to our needs- the realhungers in our lives. Observing Lent can help us wrestle with the causes of our perpetual consumption. When we decide to relinquish what fails to truly satisfy, we come face-to-face with some tough questions. Can we believe Jesus when he says, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’? How can we make room for the Savior in our lives?” (Eileen Button, “Holy Sacrifice,” Holy Bible: Mosaic.)

That is the question I have been wrestling with leading into Lent and have continued to consider this week: How am I making room for the Savior in my life? I just keep thinking along those lines. Am I using my sacrifice during Lent to create space to be filled by Jesus? Or is it just a practice?… I am discovering a lot about my relationship with Jesus just by asking these questions, being still, and listening for him in the space I’ve created.


Ash Wednesday


Today marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. Lent is the season on the Church calendar that leads up to Easter. For the next 46 days, the focus of the Church will be to prepare for Easter… to prepare to remember the death and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

More specifically, today is Ash Wednesday. For many years, the tradition for the Church has been to mark Ash Wednesday by starting a journey which prepares us as individuals and a congregation for Easter. One part of this journey is sacrifice. Many Christians observe the season by fasting, or giving something up, for the 40 days that lead to Easter. (Many people do not observe their fast on Sundays because Sunday is recognized as a day of celebration with the congregation. Therefore, it’s a 40 day fast.)

The sacrifice that a person makes for the season is supposed to help focus his or her attention on the sacrifice that Jesus made. The longing for whatever it is that has been sacrificed should awaken a longing for Jesus instead. The journey is intended not to just be a random practice, but an opportunity to draw closer to who Jesus is by identifying with Him through sacrifice and longing.

The other part of the journey is the act of taking up a practice. If I give up something for the next 40 days, I need to consider what I am taking up to replace it…. What practice am I going to take up that will help me draw closer to Jesus? In giving something up, I’m creating space in my life. The space will be filled with something… the question is with what will I fill it?

I would encourage you to consider what Ash Wednesday will mean for you. What will you do during this season to prepare for Easter?

Scripture readings for today:

Joel 2:12-17

Return to the Lord

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13     and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
14  Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?

15  Blow the trumpet in Zion;
consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16     gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders;
gather the children,
even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her chamber.

17  Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep
and say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Matthew 6:16-12

Fasting

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


October 8, 2011 Engage the Word


Read: Genesis 21:1-22:19 

Reflect: What happened in today’s story? Who are the characters and what happened? Have you ever heard this story before? How would you have reacted if you were the main character[s]? What do you think God wants us to learn from this story? Does this story or our discussion change they way you think or what you knew about the Bible?

Pray: Spend time thanking God for good gifts in your life. Praying for your friends and family members. Pray for God to continue to teach you through scripture.