It is finished.

John 19:28-37

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.  For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.”  And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

 The work Jesus came to do, his assignment, is done.   Our sins are paid for, the message of the kingdom of God is given and continues to be told.  He paid the sacrifice needed to reunite mankind, all of humanity with the God who created them.  His love put into action has provided the way back to a personal relationship with the Lord.  The barrier between the sinner and the creator placed there by disobedience is brought down by obedience.  And the one who came in love, to reunite is treated with contempt and shamed by the masses.  He still is, in word and deed.  When God brings it all to an end,

“They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

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A love that transcends all else…

John 19:16-27

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, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ”

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.  They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:

“They divided My garments among them,

And for My clothing they cast lots.”

Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

Two things noted here: the fulfillment of scripture and continued evidence of the loving nature of Jesus.  The handling of his clothes provide further confirmation that he fulfills all the statements foretold about him.  Providing for the care of his mother when in the middle of pain, rejection, and shame gives further indication of his deep love.  We can do likewise even though it is easier to focus on our own situation and we want to lash out, or simply draw attention to how harsh we have it; we can love as he loved with a love that transcends ourselves and our personal pain and rejection.  We too can love and care regardless of our own circumstances.  How deep is that love of Christ!

the soft sound of peace…

John 19:1-16

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said,  “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.

Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

 But 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!”

Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

Fear reigns supreme in this passage.  The Jews, God’s chosen people, have sold out to an enemy king, have given themselves over to an attempt to preserve their own small positions of power  among their people.  Pilate toys with them and yet at the same time is in fear of the unknown, the possibility of angering a powerful God.  The contrast is Christ, who is the object of abuse but shows only peace and calm. This passage clearly shows him rising  above all the noise of fear.  His silence speaks volumes in terms of confidence and assurance and casts the spotlight of guilt on the rest.  There is near hysteria among the crowd and peace surrounds Jesus.  We live in a world of chaos and the noise of a clamoring crowd, each claiming to possess truth.  We do not have a need to participate in the harsh sound of discord for we possess the soft sound of peace.

What is truth? humanity asks…

John 18:23-40

Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.  Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”

They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”

Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.”

Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”

 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

 “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice…” “What is truth?”  The contrast is set; black and white fight for the same space.  And a felon, charged, convicted and sentenced to die is given freedom with all charges dropped while an innocent, falsely charged, not convicted, not sentenced, one who raised others from death, is destined to die. 

“What is truth?” The masses of humanity ask and answer with untruth based upon their own faulty logic.  “Everyone who is of truth hears my voice…” and the battle lines are drawn.  With the presence of the Holy Spirit we have truth and those without the Spirit cannot see, hear, nor understand.  We hear his voice, they do not.  He came, and the world is divided.  On which side are we?  Truth or untruth?  Is it evident?  If we are truly on the side of truth it will show and we will experience the division between us and the rest of mankind.  What is truth?  Everyone who is of truth hears my voice…

What would you have done?

John 18:25-27

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.

 Self-preservation, perhaps a God-given survival instinct, yet also a denial of trust or faith in God at this point could describe the actions we see Peter committing at this time.  Fear is the driving factor and allowing the fear creates a wall that hinders or blocks the  ability of the spirit of the man to exercise faith.  Jesus was aware that this would occur and prayed protection over his disciples.  Here Peter stands accused by a relative of the one he attacked and the accusations went no  further.  Even while he denies Christ, Christ is protecting him.  This denial process is another chip off the block of stone which is Peter.  The chisel in the hand of God is shaping him for service to Christ later.

 In our humanity, we look and we judge without knowing the full picture.  Trust in God allows the process he sets in motion to come to completion.  Therefore, Christ’s commands to love rather than judge another bring into focus  the working of the will of God.  Jesus loved his disciples including Peter, the impetuous one.  He was patient with them, their shortcomings, their learning disabilities, if you will.  He loved, cared, and provided and continues to do so for us.  We can do no less for each other…

Bound? by chains of humanity…?

John 18:12-24

Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.  And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.  Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.

 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.

Jesus is bound.  Can one bind and contain God?  Even though bound, those around him react in ways driven by fear.  Fear of what?   They had the false sense of being in control and that Christ was at their mercy.  The reality was He was there by choice.  His very presence revealed the evil in the place.  Actions of violence, denial of truth, using the cover of night and secrecy, a trial when most are asleep by the few determined to get rid of the thorn in their midst. 

 Jesus highlights the  difference between his methods and theirs.  He spoke openly, in public places whereas they are conducting their business at night in private quarters.  Jesus halted the use of violence by his followers in the open against armed men; whereas we see the beginning of violent behavior against a bound man in the slapping of his face. 

 There is a quiet confidence in the demeanor of Christ, he knows who he is and what he must do.  There is no such confidence in the demeanor of his accusers, for they do not know who he is, they do not know what he will do.  When we possess the same spirit of confidence, based upon our faith in Him, we too can face opposition without fear, without irrational behavior, without violence.  Can we contain God?  Can the Spirit of God be bound?  “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You.”

Capture the wind

Gentle breeze

Hurricane force

Rippling through the trees

Tearing all in its course

Can we contain the wind?

Can we bind the change?

Can we hold it within?

Can we determine its range?

The Spirit of God

Ebbs and flows

At its own will

Reveals and shows

We do not contain

We do not refrain

We cannot detain

The will of God

                          -gracie

This is love…

John 18:1-11

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”

They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?”

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

 How well do we know Him?  Jesus gave us his words, but more than that He put action to his words; he demonstrated just how truthful they were.  He gave himself; they came to take him but he denied them that action and gave himself to them.  Facing the opposition head-on, Jesus confronts them and gives himself to them.  He was not taken, he went freely.  He had a ‘cup’ to drink; he willingly accepted it and in that gesture modeled for us the ultimate in love and submission.  He could have done differently; they expected him to resist.  He was capable; they had heard and witnessed his miracles.  What was required was obedience and he was found faithful.  He showed us it could be done.  He connected submission to obedience; obedience to a higher power.  Jesus spoke of love and in his final act revealed the full scope of true love.  His words were: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Another place tells us this: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”  This was the cup he was given, this was the cup he accepted and drank, for us…  Each of us will when faithful and obedient, do the same.  It is packaged differently for each one, but within the acceptance of the love extended to us is an obligation to submission and that is the giving up of self.  When we continue to see the word ‘I’ in our conversation, our discourse with one another, and the ‘I’ far out numbers any other pronoun, we have not given up self as asked.  We still operate within the scope and realm of our own space and world.  This is often even evident when superficially we are working for others.  How dedicated are we?  To the exclusion of our own desires, demands, designs?   ” He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? “