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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Daily Devotion for April 22, 2014


<i>Head of Christ</i> by Rembrandt, ca. 1648.
Head of Christ by Rembrandt, ca. 1648.

Prayers

Scripture

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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.


Prayer for the Guidance During the Day

Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

[God knows my weaknesses.]


Prayer for the Mentally Ill

Lord Christ, unto whom every life is precious: Your eye is on the littlest sparrow, and I know you watch over me and all my fellow beings, hoping at every turn that we may be free from the price of sin. I pray today for all those who suffer from darkness of mind. Be with them, I pray, in their torment; comfort them and their friends and families.

And if it be your will, free them from the demons of the mind, that we understand so little about. Bless the doctors and scientists who work to relieve mental illness and the people who care for the ill, and let your Spirit guide them to the alleviation of human suffering. And where a person cannot be healed, bless and keep his soul, I pray, that his lost mind may not be held against the salvation of his soul, and the eventual perfection he might find by your grace. Oh Holy Jesus, look down upon your lost sheep with mercy, I pray.

Amen.

Parting Prayer

Oh Lord as I face creation
Let me see with eyes made clear
By Your promise of salvation,
Never to return to fear.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



<i>Jesus Before the Sanhedrin</i> by William Hole, ca. 1905.
Jesus Before the Sanhedrin by William Hole, ca. 1905.

Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV)

“I saw visions in the night, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.

And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;

His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 26:57-68 (ESV)

Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council

Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.

Now the chief priests and the whole council [Sanhedrin] were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent.

And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?”

They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”


Notes on the Scripture

The Sanhedrin was the highest court of Israel, and being (to the degree that the Romans gave them autonomy) a theocracy based on the law of Moses, had correspondingly more authority than we would associate with a court today.

It had 71 members, the most learned scribes and elders of Israel, many of them Sadducees and Pharisees. The presiding officer was the high priest, an office firmly in the grip of Annas, a prominent and corrupt Sadducee; Caiphas was his son-in-law. A brief recitation of the Sanhedrin's rules shows that Jesus' trial was actually even worse than one might think from reading Matthew.


Annas and Caiphas

All criminal trials had to be begun, heard, and finished in the daytime. Criminal proceedings could not be held during the Passover season at all. Only if the verdict were “not guilty” could a case be terminated on the day it started. If a defendant were found guilty, he could not be sentenced until the next day, so that the sentencing would not be accomplished in the heat of passion and feelings of mercy might have time to arise. The proceedings had to be held in the official courtroom, the Hall of Hewn Stone.

Jesus' trial violated every one of these rules; it was egregiously illegal under Jewish law. The proceedings, here and to come, were the acts of a lynch mob in judicial robes; a pig wearing lipstick. Caiphas had already decided that Jesus must die, as we learn from John 11:47-50:

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

But, in the end, no matter how badly the Sanhedrin comes off in this, it is Christ who bore the final responsibility for his conviction. His statement quoted Daniel 7:13, something the learned Jews would have immediately recognized and fairly concluded to mean that Jesus was claiming to be the messiah of Jewish prophecy. And the expression “You have said so,” (which in modern English might sound like a sarcastic denial) was an idiomatic expression of affirmation. It meant, roughly, “you speak correctly” or “you said it, but I cannot disagree.”

So Christ, who has spent his ministry dodging questions about his divinity, finally admits outright and in public that he is the Son of God; and he does so at the most critical time, the very point in his life where he would be immediately killed for saying it. His hour has come.



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 15:3 (ESV): For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.


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