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Daily Devotion for April 16, 2011
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.
A traditional Lenten hymn with the beautiful voice of Ann Murray.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
Jesus Questioned by Annas; Peter Denies Him Twice More
John 18:19-27 (NKJV)
The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.
Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.” And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”
Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!”
One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.
Notes on the Scripture
The gospel here calls Annas the "high priest", but he was not the High Priest; Caiaphas was the religious ruler, the top man in the hierarchical structure of Judaism back then. But Annas clearly retained a lot of power, enough to sit as the inquisitor of an uppity heretic. And Jesus, predictably, is as cheeky with Annas as he had been with all the lower-level Pharisee officials who had previously tried to question him.
Annas, however, is a sort of religious aristocrat; to be hauled before him on charges of heresy would be akin to being brought before the Archbishop of Canterbury in 14th Century England. So when Jesus sasses him, a guard deals out a taste of physical punishment. He is told, basically, "keep a civil tone with the high priest".
But Christ is unbowed. He will not speak deferentially and will not accept punishment for the tone he takes with Annas. Instead, he insists they judge him on his words. If he has spoken evil, they can bear witness of it; that is, they can use what he has said to convict him. But he has not said anything that would convict him; and he demands to know why he has been struck by a court officer, when he has said nothing against the law.
The last part of the lesson is the most important, in terms of Christian theology. Christ has told Peter that he will deny him three times before the cock crows. When Peter denies that he is one of Christ's disciples, the third time he has done so, he hears a rooster crow.
Peter had a lesson to learn. And we can say that he learned it, as he was ultimately to give his own life for preaching Christian doctrine. But his experience gives us a lesson today. If we feel we have failed in our obligation to spread Christ's truth, or have acted in a way inconsistent with our true beliefs, it is never too late to change. The Holy Spirit will work within us, to give us the courage we need.