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Daily Devotion for April 19, 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 Lenten Hymn from our brethren in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer for Peace
May the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth.
May hunger disappear and terrorists cease their senseless acts.
May people live in freedom, worshiping as they see fit, loving others.
May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved.
May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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 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 
Pilate 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
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.