Daily Devotion for April 4, 2012
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.
One of Bach's greatest works in a tremendous performance by Kurt Ison.
Prayer for the Morning
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done.
All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
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.
He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.
John 19:16-22 (NKJV)
Jesus is Crucified
Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews', but rather, 'He said I am the King of the Jews'." Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Notes on the Scripture
Having read through John from the first verse, it is a shock (to me at least) to see Jesus actually crucified. Despite knowing that this is his destiny, and the preparation he gave to his followers, despite knowing that this is what is necessary to save the world, that this is the very reason he was sent to earth in the first place, and that he will be resurrected in three days, it is shocking.
This gentle simple man. He may have seemed a bit proud or sharp-tongued at times, to those who didn't believe his message, but still. Imagine grabbing one of your neighbors and hanging him up on a cross, to die of torture, because you don't like him inferring that he is the Son of God. Or because he heals people on Sunday. And especially, a man with such a beautiful message of peace and hope. It was a terrible thing.
We fast for the forty days before hand, because we know how terrible it will be to remember. It was so horrible for a reason, though. It reminds us of the sins of the entire world. In this one action lies a symbol of all the evil man is capable of doing. Every lynched "Negro", every gassed Jew, every peasant tortured and starved to death by Mao Tse Tung or Josef Stalin. Every Huguenot hung on a cross by the side of a French road, every Roman Catholic burned by Oliver Cromwell, every early Christian thrown onto the sand-covered floor of an arena with a pack of hungry lions, while the onlooking crowd cheered in amusement. Every witch burned by Puritans and every Puritan burned in England. Murder does not know race, or politics, or religious affiliation.
This is the time to remember the terror of sin. Sins we have committed in our lives. Sins others have committed, especially atrocities of hatred — many of which were (and still are) committed by persons who claim to be acting in the name of Christ.
It is important that we remember all of this. "For everything there is a season", and this is the season where we remember. It is important, because without it, we cannot fully appreciate the glory to come.