Archive for April 6th, 2007


Friday, April 6th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 19:16-42 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Julie Benson):

Women in poor Asian countries are tricked into coming into places like Saudi Arabia with promises of jobs. When they get there they are forced to become permanent household slaves, without pay. They are not permitted to leave and are beaten often to control obedience.

In Africa, about 3 million deaths occur each year due to HIV and about 12 million children have become orphans. The AIDS epidemic could be slowed and perhaps even stopped if access to treatments and education were drastically increased.

A 48 year old woman, Fatima, had eight children. All of them were killed with her husband as they ran during a raid in Darfur. The village was burned to the ground and she was gang-raped by the Janjaweed, having been bound and badly beaten.

In Florida, a homeless Army veteran is recovering in a hospital after two 10-year-old boys and a teenager were accused of attacking him on a street and smashing a concrete block into his face.

Diane Schroer was an Airborne Ranger who completed more than 450 parachute jumps, received numerous decorations, and was handpicked to head up a classified national security operation. Shortly after retiring as a colonel after 25 years of distinguished service in the army, she accepted a job as a terrorism research analyst. But when Schroer told her future supervisor that she was in the process of a gender transition to female, the job offer was rescinded.

Jesus Christ was accused of calling Himself king; of proclaiming that God was His Father; that the Pharisees were an adulterous generation; that He caused insurrection among the people; that He cured the sick by the help of the devil on the Sabbath; that He allowed Himself to be called the Son of God, Savior, and Prophet; that He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem; that He did not fast; and that He ate with sinners, pagans, and associated with women of ill repute.

Jesus was mocked and beaten by the temple soldiers and a mob of hateful Jews. On the way to trial, Jesus was humiliated, scourged, and spat upon by the angry mob and was already bleeding profusely.

Jesus was dragged through six trial courts: Once before the retired high priest, Annas; once before the son-in-law of Annas, Caiaphas; once before the Sanhedrin; once before Herod Antipas; then twice before the Roman procurator, Pilate.

Laws were broken by those who responsible for keeping the law in order to convict Jesus:

  • It was against Jewish law to initiate legal procedures on a Jewish Sabbath or on a feast day, yet Jesus was arrested on the Passover Feast Day.
  • The Sanhedrin had no jurisdiction concerning capital punishment situations. The Jewish court had been divested of that authority some 40 years prior by the Romans.
  • The Roman Empire stipulated that trials were to be public, yet Jesus was questioned before Annas and Caiaphas in private.
  • It was not legal for the Sanhedrin to convict an individual on the same day of the trial. The Court could acquit on the same day but it had to wait at least two days for a verdict of guilty concerning capital punishment cases.
  • Pilate, having taken the position that Jesus was not guilty, allowed the crazed mob to win out and overrule his judgment due solely on their insistence.

And if that’s not enough, Jesus Christ, an innocent man, received the punishment for sins — thoughts, words, and deeds — that did not belong to Him.

Jesus knew injustice very well! In His final hours, Jesus kept His heart focused on God, despite the injustice that enveloped Him. We, too, have been called to remain focused on God and to do the work of Jesus, including fighting in love against the injustice that’s all around us. When Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me,” there was no “escape clause” that let us do so only when it is convenient for us. We must carry the crosses that we face in life and keep moving forward.

Jesus sacrificed His own life so that we could be saved. It is our responsibility to answer the call of Christ and to live daily for Him!

Thought for the day: Remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for you. Take a moment to give thanks and to recommit to following the path of Jesus, wherever it may lead.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need help getting started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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