Friday, March 25, 2016

Read John 19-20

Highlight: John 19:1-6

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

 

Racial tensions at political rallies in this country. In South Sudan, heinous crimes against young girls and innocent civilians, with thousands killed. Child abuse. Murder. Rising floodwaters trapping motorists and residents. Bad news and more bad news as people are hurt or abducted or killed at the hands of others. They don’t deserve it, didn’t ask for it, but it happened anyway.

Jesus endured extreme suffering – ordered flogged by Pilate, soldiers mocked and hit Jesus repeatedly, and a crowd influenced by the chief priests and officials called for his crucifixion. Jesus suffered for each person singled out and mocked by a bully, for every child victimized by one charged with his care, for any innocent who is maimed and harmed irreparably. Jesus did not deserve the punishment he received, and neither did these. His heart must ache for those enduring their own brand of suffering.

Crucifixion was the ultimate torture machine of Jesus’ day, although humanity has invented a new batch in recent years – genocide and gas chambers come to mind. Humanity’s evil does not change, even if it takes on a different face. We have to wonder when God will say, “Enough!”

We pray for all who suffer unjustly throughout the world. Jesus knows and understands their pain, for he endured it too. May we who suffer keep our gaze on the cross, for he who suffered and died took on the worst evil the world could throw at him and remained faithful to the end. His victory is ours.

 

Prayer

Loving Father, lift up those who have lost hope in the midst of great pain. Strengthen those who are paralyzed with fear. Comfort those who are overwhelmed by recent loss. Surround them with your amazing peace, which is beyond our understanding. Because Jesus remained steadfast, help us keep our gaze on him, for he promises greater things in our life to come. He was forsaken, so we will not be. We give you praise in Jesus Christ our savior. Amen.

 

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