Daily Devotion for April 17, 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.
The ancient Catholic Lenten chant Attende Domine, the cry of a sinner for forgiveness.
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.
"But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness."
John 18:28-38 (NCV)
Jesus Is Questioned by Pontius Pilate 
Early in the morning they led Jesus from Caiaphas's house to the Roman governor's palace. They would not go inside the palace, because they did not want to make themselves unclean; they wanted to eat the Passover meal. So Pilate went outside to them and asked, "What charges do you bring against this man?"
They answered, "If he were not a criminal, we wouldn't have brought him to you."
Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." "But we are not allowed to put anyone to death," the Jews answered. (This happened so that what Jesus said about how he would die would come true.)
Then Pilate went back inside the palace and called Jesus to him and asked, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus said, "Is that your own question, or did others tell you about me?"
Pilate answered, "I am not one of you. It was your own people and their leading priests who handed you over to me. What have you done wrong?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If it belonged to this world, my servants would have fought to keep me from being given over to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place." Pilate said, "So you are a king!"
Jesus answered, "You are the one saying I am a king. This is why I was born and came into the world: to tell people the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me."
Notes on the Scripture
Judea, the Roman colony that included the ancient Hebrew kingdom of Judah (the south part of modern Israel), was a "client state" of Rome. The Romans allowed the Hebrews to have their own government, their own religion, their own customs, and even, in some cases, their own king, as long as they paid taxes to Rome and did not rebel. A Roman governor — Pontius Pilate — and a garrison of Roman soldiers ensured that the taxes were paid and that Roman laws against sedition were followed. (At the time of Jesus' death, Rome's governor ruled more directly than during other periods.)
The Jews thus bring Jesus to be tried by Roman law, claiming that he is a "king". That is, they try to show that Jesus is fomenting a political rebellion against Rome, for which Rome would execute him. But Jesus tell Pilate the truth — basically, he lets Pilate know that he has no desire to become what Pilate would call a "king", even though he calls heaven a "kingdom".
The irony of John's account of Jesus' trial is heavy with irony. The Jews, who are dragging the Son of God to be killed, do not want to make themselves "unclean" by entering a Roman household. Then, they want the Romans to execute Jesus for them, again, because they do not want to soil their hands with the sin of murder. They cannot kill Jesus because the high priests are supposed to be holy men, so with unmitigated hypocrisy, they arrest him and try to convince Pilate to convict him under Roman law, and do their dirty work for them.