Category Archives: Easter

The King on trial

Passage:  John 18:33-40

Key verse:  John 18:37  Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

After He had been betrayed by one of His closest friends, Jesus was sent to trial before the leaders of both the empire and the kingdom.  Tossed back and forth between Herod and Pilate, Jesus remained quiet and did not defend Himself, though at any moment He could have burst out of His chains and ascended into heaven or done some other sort of miraculous act.  He acted in complete humility, though He was a king.

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords stood on trial before earthly leaders as corrupt as they come, as though they had any real right to judge Him.  As though they had any authority over Him.  In an instant, Jesus could have put them in their place, but He remained quiet.  Then, when He chose to speak, He revealed His purpose.

Jesus came to bear witness to the truth.  He came to reveal God to man.  He was and is the true image-bearer of God.  He is the image of the invisible God, come to earth as a lowly man.  He gave up His rights to a kingdom on earth to fulfill His real purpose.  A purpose that involves a heavenly kingdom, far beyond anything Herod or Pilate could ever imagine.

The High Priestly prayer

Passage:  John 17:1-26

Key verse:  John 17:1:24  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Before the creation of the world, Jesus was.  Before time began, Jesus was.  And then, the Eternal One who holds all things in balance did something extraordinary – He stepped into time and took on human flesh.  He gave up all the glory of heaven so that we could know God.  He gave up many of His rights as God, but one thing He did not give up – His love for us.

While on this earth, Jesus loved His own just as He loved them in heaven.  In His last hours, He prayed a beautiful prayer, first for His close followers and then for you and me.  He knew He was betrayed, He knew He would die, and He knew that you and I would sin against Him.  But He prayed a high priestly prayer for our joy in Him, our unity in Him, our sanctification in Him.

Then Jesus gave us an idea of what salvation is all about.  He died that we might be where He is, that we may see His glory and therefore glorify the Father.  This was the plan before time began.  He’s always loved us, before we even existed.  And though we have sinned against Him, He chose to die in our place, taking our sins onto Himself, so that we can experience eternal life with Him.  Oh what love He has for us.

Denied


Passage:  Luke 22:54-62

Key verses:  Luke 22:61-62  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

After all Jesus had done for Peter, how could he deny his Lord?  That’s the question we all ask, isn’t it?  How could this man who walked so closely with the Son of God deny even knowing Him?  But the truth is, Jesus did more for you and me than He did for Peter and even we deny Him.  The real question is: How could WE?

At the time of Peter’s denial, Jesus had yet to suffer on a cross, taking on the sins of the world, dying that we might have reconciliation with God.  But in our time, He has already paid that price, finished that purpose.  We have all the more reason to give Him the praise due Him, but instead we sometimes choose our own way and leave Him out of the equation.

The good news for Peter is that Christ still died for him, despite his denial.  Later, He even gave Peter a chance to redeem himself (John 21:15-19).  The good news for us is that He did die for our sake and we’re still able to call on Him.  Just like for Peter, our denial is not the end of the story.  Right now, at this moment, we can follow Him.

Betrayed beyond belief

Passage:  John 13:1-20

Key verse: Matthew 26:21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

No one, in the history of mankind, ever experienced the level of betrayal that the Son of God did.  Would you agree?  Nothing you’ve ever faced comes close to His time on earth.  Yet look at how Jesus dealt with those who betrayed Him, denied Him, abandoned Him, falsely accused Him, beat Him, tortured Him, and killed Him.

In light of the fact that Jesus knew all things before they occurred, John 13:1 is particularly powerful.  Knowing full well how His own disciples would treat Him, He “loved them to the end”.  Wow.  Park there for a minute.

With all knowledge that Peter would deny Him, that Judas would betray Him, and that the rest would run away, Jesus knelt down before each of them, taking on the role of a servant, and washed the feet of each man.

What right on this earth do you and I have to be unforgiving toward anyone who’s wronged us?  We have to be amazed at this action and attitude by Jesus because He of all people did have the right to judge and withhold forgiveness.  Can we follow His example?

The new covenant

Passage: Matthew 26:26-29

Key verse: Matthew 26:28  for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Long before Jesus’ earthly ministry, God made a covenant with His people (Exodus 24:8).  In Christ, that covenant was fulfilled and a new covenant was made.  No longer would the Lord’s people be forced to make sacrifices upon an altar.  Once and for all, the ultimate sacrifice was paid.  Jesus was sent to be the only sacrifice that could ever truly cleanse us of our sin.  He is the spotless lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Before being led off to die a horrifying death, Jesus ate one last meal with His closest followers.  Here He gave them a picture of what was to happen, whether they understood it or not.  His instructions to them were to remember Him through the practice of taking communion, the Lord’s Supper.  The bread is symbolic of His broken body that was sacrificially given for our sake.  The wine, His blood, that poured out as He was tortured in our place.

As Easter approaches, reflect on what Christ gave so that you and I can live free and in communion with God.  We have life because He gave His, let’s remember all that entails regularly and practice that remembrance with others.

The cross

John 19:16-18  16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them

Oh the cross.  The symbol we uphold as a wonderful sign of God’s love for us was viewed as a symbol of torture for the people of Jesus’ day.  What we wear around our necks as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice was used by the Romans as a reminder of who was in control.  Or so they thought they were in control.

The beauty of the cross is that it was not forced upon Jesus.  He knew full well when He stepped out of eternity into time and space that He would face the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, the denial of Peter, the abandonment by the rest of the twelve, the scourge of the whip, and the torture of the cross.  He knew it, and He chose to come anyway.  His love for mankind compelled Him to do so.  God’s plan of redemption from the beginning was completed in Jesus’ act of willingness to go to the cross.

He endured every moment of pain for you and for me, that we might be reconciled to God.  There’s no greater gift ever given in all the world that God becoming a man to die for our sins.  We so often look to Jesus for what He can do for us – and not what He DID for us.  We look to Him for what He can give us – and not what He GAVE us.  He gave us himself, and there is nothing that compares.

We don’t need treasures.  Jesus is our treasure. We don’t need pleasures.  We can delight in Christ.  We don’t need respect and position, the humble, suffering servant bought and paid for our standing with God.  He is our gift.  If we accept the offer.

The High Priestly Prayer

John 17:1-26  

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.t 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,t that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Before the world was created, Jesus was.  Before time began, Jesus was.  And then, the Eternal One who holds all things in balance did something extraordinary – He stepped into time and took on human flesh.  He gave up all the glory of heaven so that we could know God.  He gave up many of His rights as God, but one thing He did not give up – His love for us.

While on this earth, Jesus loved His own just as He loved them in heaven.  In His last hours, He prayed a beautiful prayer, first for His close followers and then for you and me.  He knew He was betrayed, He knew He would die, and He knew that you and I would sin against Him.  But He prayed a high priestly prayer for our joy in Him, our unity in Him, our sanctification in Him.

Then Jesus gave us an idea of what salvation is all about.  He died that we might be where He is, that we may see His glory and therefore glorify the Father.  This was the plan before time began.  He’s always loved us, before we even existed.  And though we have sinned against Him, He chose to die in our place, taking our sins onto Himself, so that we can experience eternal life with Him.  Oh what love He has for us.