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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Daily Devotion for November 9, 2018

<i>Ecce Homo! (Behold the Man!)</i>, by  Mihaly Munkacsy (Hungarian), 1896.
Ecce Homo! (Behold the Man!), by Mihaly Munkacsy (Hungarian), 1896.



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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.


To Walk in the Path

Dear Lord, I don’t know who or what will cross my path today. But I do know that You are my rock and my fortress. You are my shield and my strong tower. Help me to anchor myself to You today. Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today. Help me walk by Your truth and not my feelings. Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as opportunity to point others to You. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ,


Prayer to Cease Hypocrisy

Holy God, I am only human. I know that there are sins that I commit, in my thinking and in my life, that my eye cannot bear to see. I am so afraid of losing self-esteem that I cannot even think about them. Open my eyes and ears to your word, Lord God, that I might hear what I do not want to hear and face my faults with courage. Educate me, O Holy Spirit. Let me hear your voice instead of my own. Stop me dead in my tracks when I start to rationalize my bad conduct.

And when my mind starts to focus on the sins of others — especially sins that hold little temptation for me — take the beam out of my eye. Let me learn my own fault, before I try to correct others of theirs. Lead me to see the sin that I refuse to see, so that I can repent. Restrain me from filtering your word to conform to my will; instead, help me to hear your true word, no matter how it might pain me, that I may conform my conduct to your will. For the sake of Christ, who would bring us to perfect obedience, I pray,



[Why is so easy to see other people’s sins, and so difficult to see our own?]


Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.


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.

endless knot

Psalm 119:10-11 (NKJV)

With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

Blue Latin Cross

John 18:38-40; John 19:1-8 (ESV)

Jesus is Questioned by Pontius Pilate [2]

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”


fter he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robberThis word also refers to a political revolutionary. Luke 23 tells us that Barabbas was convicted of rioting..

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.

Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”

When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.

Notes on the Scripture

John’s account of Jesus’ trial is full of ambiguities. But it seems that Pilate did not believe Jesus was guilty of any breach of Roman law. He was obliged, however, to cooperate with the Sanhedrin, of which the High Priest Caiaphas was the leader. Where Roman law was not involved, he would cooperate in enforcing local laws.

Give us Barabbas
Give us Barrabas!

Pilate is a bit fascinated by Jesus. He appears to have been schooled in Greek philosophy and he wants to take the opportunity to engage Jesus in dialogue. When Jesus tells him that he has come to tell people the truth, Pilate responds with the cryptic question: “What is truth?” It’s a very Greek question, the kind of subject that philosophers would spend hours and days at a time debating. But we do not have any record of a response from Jesus.

At any rate, practical considerations overwhelm Pilate’s curiosity. John tells us in 19:8 that Pilate is afraid of something; at least in part, it is the crowd of Jews demanding Jesus’ death, for it was his duty to prevent civil turmoil. Rome would not have been pleased with Pilate if a riot had broken out in Jerusalem. Also, however, he seems to fear condemning Christ. (In Matthew, we learn that Pilate’s wife has had a bad dream about killing Jesus.)

Pilate tries to save Jesus’ life by offering to release him under the custom, that one criminal should be set free at Passover. The crowd of urban Pharisees and Sadducees, however, is intent on seeing him killed, and demands the release of the thief Barabbas.

Also clear from John’s account is that Jesus is depicted as an innocent sacrifice. At Passover, the most innocent of animals, an unblemished lamb, was sacrificed. (Exodus 12:3) This commemorated the Hebrews in Egypt painting their doors with lambs’ blood, so that the spirit sent to kill the eldest male child would pass over their houses. Exodus recounted freeing the Hebrews from slavery on earth; Christ became the sacrificial lamb, in order to free the Hebrews and the world from the slavery of sin.

Quod es veritas (what is truth), painting of Jesus and Pilate, Nikolai Ge c. 1890
Quod es veritas? (“What is Truth?”) Pilate poses a philosophical question to Christ. Painting by Nikolai Ge, c. 1890

Daily Inspiration

“Calling the Unqualified”

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