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Daily Devotion for April 28, 2014
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.
There is no mountain too tall He cannot move it.
And there is no storm too dark God cannot calm it.
There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe it.
And if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know my brother that He will carry you.
And if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know my sister that He will carry you.
He said, "Come unto Me all who are weary, and I will give you rest."
I know my brother and I know my sister,
That He, He’s going to carry you.
Oh yes, He will,
He’s going to carry you.
Music and Lyrics by Scott Wesley Brown
Ancient Prayer - For Support of the Holy Spirit
O Educator, be gracious to thy children, O Educator, Father, Guide of Israel, Son and Father, both one, Lord. Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh. Do thou thyself bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and supported by the Holy Spirit, the unutterable Wisdom, by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher with the Holy Spirit.
[Fulfilling the likeness of God’s image.]
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
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.
Psalm 22:6-8 (ESV)
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Matthew 27:15-23 (ESV)
The Crowd Chooses Barabbas
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.
Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”
Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!”
And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
Notes on the Scripture
Barabbas is, in the Greek original, spelled “Bar-abbas”, which makes the meaning of his name clear: Son of the father. Moreover, scholars believe that his first name was probably “Jesus”. Jesus is the Hellenized version of Joshua — in other words, the names are identical and were differentiated by the evangelists only to prevent confusion. It was a common name. But the upshot is, one could fairly say that the crowd was yelling, “Give us Jesus the son of the father.” Nobody today knows quite what to make of this oddity. It might be sheer accident, or it might have some symbolism lost over the centuries. But this is most likely why Pilate differentiates Jesus as “Jesus who is called Christ.”
One thing is quite clear, although you can't tell it from Matthew. Barabbas was not a street criminal, but a revolutionary (possibly a Zealot). Thus, he is something more akin to the messiah that the Jews were anticipating, that is, a political leader who wanted to overthrow Roman rule and return the Kingdom of Israel to the glory it had enjoyed under David and Solomon. One might, therefore, speculate that the striking similarity of Barabbas' name to Jesus' is symbolic; the Jews want to crucify the true Messiah, who brings a message of peace and submission, in favor of a political messiah.
Matthew gives us a reason for Pilate's reluctance to crucify Christ, in addition to his possible sense of justice or his simply not wanting to be bothered with something as unimportant to him as blasphemy against the Jewish religion. His wife had had nightmares about Jesus, that had agitated her sufficiently to warn Pilate away from him.
The crowd is surely fickle; for remember, Christ had many admirers in Jerusalem, sufficient that the Sanhedrin had refrained from arresting him in public. The ease with which their religious thought is swayed to evil might be an object lesson for us all.