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Daily Devotion for March 31, 2018

Holy Saturday


<i>Mourning Christ</i> by Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1618.
Mourning Christ, by Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1618. The three central figures are clearly Mary Magdelene, with the red hair and revealing blouse; the apostle John; and Mary, Jesus' mother, with her iconic blue robe. One would think the person behind Jesus is Joseph of Arimathea (or possibly Nicodemus). The other woman might be Salome, Joanna, Martha, or Martha’s sister Mary.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

There are a handful of music clips in our Library that I cannot wait to play, and this “Gospel Hallelujah Chorus” is one of them. If you have never heard it, turn up the volume and get ready to be blown away.




Prayer of St. Edmund

O  Lord, into your hands and into the hands of your holy angels, this day I entrust my soul, my relatives, my benefactors, my friends and enemies, and all who confess your holy name.

O Lord, by the merits and prayers of your son, Jesus Christ, keep me today from all evil and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, from a sudden and unprovided death, and from the pains of hell. Enlighten my heart with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Grant that I may ever be obedient to your commandments. Let me never be separated from you, O God, who lives and reigns forever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Prayer to Rise with Christ

Blessed Lord Christ, like the seed buried in the ground, you have produced the harvest of eternal life for me; make me always dead to sin and alive to God. Shepard of all, in death you remained hidden from the world; teach us to love our hidden spiritual life with you and the Father. In your role as the new Adam, you went down among the dead to release all the just there since the beginning; grant that all who are dead in sin may hear your voice and rise to new life. Son of the living God, you have allowed me through baptism to be buried with you; grant that I may also rise with you and walk in newness of life.

Amen.

Meditation

[The man who saw it has given testimony. (John 19:35)]


Dedication

O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,

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 and Woman with Crosses</i>, contemporary, artist unknown.
Jesus and Woman with Crosses, by leti, contemporary.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (ESV)

And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree [or a stake], his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.


Blue Latin Cross

John 19:31-42 (ESV)

The Burial of Jesus
S

ince it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.

Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.


Notes on the Scripture

Without going into the gory details of death by crucifixion, the reason the legs of the crucified were broken is that it guaranteed they would die quickly. Under Mosaic Law, a man hanged from a tree had to be taken down before sunset. (Deut 21:23) Piercing a body with a spear was a standard test of death by Roman soldiers, since blood and especially water flow faster from a corpse. Notice that the Pharisees compounded their hypocrisy by completely avoiding Jesus' dead body, which would have made them ritually unclean, and the Sabbath of Passover was a big day for them to strut around.

Resurrection by Wm. Blake

The phrase “the man who saw it” adds a bit of mystery. Did John write his account based on a story told to him by an unnamed person, who was present for the events? Most scholars believe that this is John himself, too modest to use his name, just as with his other references to an unnamed person: e.g., “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23 ) and the “other disciple” who followed Jesus from Gethsemane (John 18:15-16).

Nicodemus is an interesting character. He was a member of the Sanhedrin and is mentioned in the Gospel of John (but not the other gospels) three times. It was he who insisted that Jesus have a trial before he could be condemned. (John 7:51). And at the end, Nicodemus proves to be a secret admirer of Christ, by spending a great deal of money, and risking his life, to care for Christ's body.

Fear was rampant among Christ's followers. None of the apostles dared to get involved. As we learn later, they were hiding in a locked room. Joseph of Arimathea was a bit braver, perhaps because he was not as well-known as the twelve apostles, or because he was rich and powerful. But still, he showed discretion, getting Christ's body without exposing himself to other Jewish officials. He therefore went to Pilate, who really did not want to see Jesus crucified in the first place. He knew that Pilate was unlikely to stir things up further by accusing any of Christ's sympathizers; Pilate's primary concern was to prevent public unrest.

Jewish law requires that a person be buried as quickly as possible in general, and probably before nightfall for a victim of crucifixion; however, burial is a task that cannot be performed on the Sabbath. So the two men hurried to get Jesus into an empty tomb (most likely before nightfall) for storage, until a proper burial could be performed.





endless knot

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“The Substitute”

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Acts 23:5: You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.



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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Mar 31, 2018 were:
Norman Daniels (11)
Tom Kraft (11)
Michael Lockhart (11)
Gary Swart (10)
randall martin (10)
Margaret Entwistle (10)


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