Evening Devotion for April 8, 2020
Wednesday Before Easter
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.
The wonderful Antrim Mennonite Choir sings this Easter-themed hymn.
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
For our restful sleep at night,
for the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
Save Me Lord
My Savior, do you invite me to share in the glory of the resurrection? Stay with me as I struggle to see how accepting the crosses of my life will free me from the power of the one who wants only to destroy my love and trust in you. Help me to be humble and accepting like your son, Jesus. I want to turn to you with the same trust he had in your love. Save me, Lord. Only you can save me.
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good, and since you have inclined my soul in this way show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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.
Hebrews 5:9 (ESV)
“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
John 19:9-15 (NASB)
Jesus is Questioned by Pontius Pilate 
ilate entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”
Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”
Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
Notes on the Scripture
Editor’s Note: We apologize for presenting this out of order, but we wanted to look at the fascinating accounts of the interaction of Jesus and Pontius Pilate and there simply is no room for it later in the week. The Scripture for Maundy Thursday through Easter is thousands of words!
Today’s Scripture continues the struggle of Pontius Pilate, to reconcile his own belief in Christ’s innocence with the crowd’s demand that he be crucified. Pilate has tried to release Jesus under the Passover amnesty, but the crowd demanded a common thief, Barabbas, instead. So Pilate brings Jesus back into the local Roman government building, away from the crowd. (The Roman capital was in another city, Caesarea Maritima.)
Pilate’s reaction to Jesus’ answers is markedly different from the reaction of Annas and Caiaphas. Jesus is as uppity with Pilate as he was with the high priests; but instead of punishing him for lack of respect, Pilate is impressed by his answers. Pilate points out his obvious power: He can do to Jesus whatever he wants. He can set him free, or release him, or anything in between. But when Jesus shows no fear of his authority, it moves Pilate in his favor.
Was Pilate tempted to believe that Jesus was actually the Son of God? It is not impossible. Something stirred him to try to set Jesus free, repeatedly, despite an angry mob yelling for his crucifixion. And Pilate insists on calling Jesus the “King of the Jews”. It is also possible that Pilate was simply somewhat amused by Jesus’ sheer gall; that he liked him, and did not see him as a political threat.
But Pilate was a political animal. He was no doubt ambitious, and also, afraid of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius Caesar. Thus, he is swayed by the crowd’s implied threat: That to release someone who calls himself a king might sit poorly with Caesar. The crowd repeatedly manipulates Pilate with this threat. If Pilate does not find Jesus guilty, they will inform Rome that Pilate is soft on sedition. Politics wins out. Pilate finds himself sentencing a man to death, although he believes the man to be innocent.