Monthly Archives: October 2014

Matthew 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-30 — Paid in full

If there is one thing I hate to do, it’s pay taxes.  Every year, I have to go down to the tax office to declare my income, and then a month later, I collect my refund…only to have to give … Continue reading

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John 19:25-27 — Seeing beyond our misery

I suppose one of the biggest tests of how selfish we are is how we respond in times of misery.  When we are suffering, when we are going through trials, where is our focus?  Is it on us?  That would … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:38, 44; Mark 15:27, 32; Luke 23:32-33, 39-43; John 19:18 — Railing at God, humbling ourselves before him

This is one of the most famous stories from the cross.  Along with Jesus, two robbers were crucified by his side.  And at first, both mocked him.  In the ESV, it says One of the criminals who were hanged railed … Continue reading

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Luke 23:34 — Forgive them

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things people struggle with.  The reason is that the hurts we experience go straight to the depths of our hearts.  And as deep as our wounds go, they can be very difficult to heal. … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:33-37; Mark 15:22-26; Luke 23:38; John 19:18-22 — What has been written

The interaction between Pilate and the chief priests is very interesting.  Pilate put up the “charge” against Jesus, calling him the “King of the Jews.” The priests immediately went up to Pilate, asking him to change it to, “He claimed … Continue reading

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Luke 23:27-31 — The heart of Jesus

If there is one thing that always astonishes me, it’s the heart of Jesus.  And it is as he goes to his death, that we see the compassion that caused him go to the cross in the first place. On … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26; John 19:16-17 — If we were forced to bear the cross Christ bore

We know very little of this man of Cyrene, this Simon.  It is conjectured that he is the father of the Rufus mentioned in Romans 16:13, the only other Rufus mentioned in the Bible. In all probability, he was a … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:22-26 — His blood upon us

As I look at all the gospel accounts, the cries of the crowd shouting “Crucify!  Crucify!” resonate with me. How it must have broken the heart of Jesus to see the ones he loved reject him so. Pilate, in his … Continue reading

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John 19:14-15 — Who is your king?

As we look at the interaction between Pilate and the chief priests, we see one of the great ironies of scripture.  On one hand, we have this pagan governor who has little or no concept of who God really is, … Continue reading

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Luke 23:7-12 — Those to whom Jesus has nothing to say

We now see in this passage Herod’s response to Jesus.  Perhaps, though, it would be better to call it Jesus’ response to Herod. This was the same Herod that had beheaded John the Baptist, and had wondered if Jesus was … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-25; John 18-19 — When we have nothing to stand on

I will start by saying that it’s a bit hard to harmonize these passages.  Here’s how I see it, but I encourage you to look at it yourself, and come to your own conclusions. The priests and council members bring … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:1-10 — A sorrow that leads to death

Here we see the end of Judas Iscariot’s life. Upon seeing that Jesus had been condemned to death, he became remorseful, and went to the priests and elders saying, I have sinned…for I have betrayed innocent blood.  (4) He even … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:63-71 — The ultimate question

The trial of Jesus was an atrocity on many levels.  Among them, the priests and Sanhedrin knew Jesus was innocent.  Yet because of their jealousy and hatred of Jesus, they were desperate to find a reason to kill him. Jewish … Continue reading

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John 18:12-14, 19-24 – Striking those who tell us the truth

We now go to the first hearing Jesus had, this one before Annas.  Annas had been the high priest before Caiaphas but had been deposed from his position by the Roman government.  Nevertheless, he was still held in high regard … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18, 25-27 — Taking a hard look at ourselves

We’ll get to the trial of Jesus in the next few blogs, but first, I’d like to deal with Peter.  It’s a bit tricky trying to harmonize the gospels on this point because there are variations in the testimony.  If … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12 — Power and authority, mercy and grace

In this passage, there are three things I see in Jesus. 1.  His power and authority.  Though surrounded by his enemies, he was in total command of the situation.  Standing to face his enemies, he asked them, “Who are you … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46 — When my will is not God’s will

There are times in our lives when we go through trials and suffering.  It may be an illness.  It may be family troubles because of our Christian faith.  It may be problems in our ministry.  And so we pray for … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1 — Weak

Nobody ever said Satan fights fair.  And he doesn’t.  When he sees us in our weakness, whether it be physically or emotionally, he will attack. You see this in these passages.  When Jesus and his disciples arrived at the Garden … Continue reading

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John 17:20-23 — Jesus’ desire for us

I wonder just how much people in the church really know the deepest desires of Jesus?  We saw one of those desires a few days ago, that he really desired an intimate relationship with us.  That eternal life is all … Continue reading

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John 17:16-19 — Sanctified, being sanctified

Sanctification. It’s one of those words that could best be described as “Christianese.”  A word that has meaning in the church, and very little outside of it.  It’s a word you often see in scripture, and one that you might … Continue reading

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John 17:11-15 — Prayed for in the midst of a hostile world

If there’s one thing I see in this passage, it’s the tender care that Jesus has for us as he prays for us. And he does pray for us. So often we pray for others.  But Jesus, as our high … Continue reading

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John 17 — What eternal life truly is

A lot of times, we think of eternal life as simply living forever in heavenly bliss.  Certainly we will experience that, but to many people, strangely enough, it’s a life devoid of God. Oh, they have some concept that God … Continue reading

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John 16:16-33 — Finding peace and joy

It’s very clear from this passage that all that Jesus was saying was weighing heavily on the disciples, mostly because they were so focused on the idea that Jesus was leaving.  As a result, it overshadowed everything else he was saying. … Continue reading

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John 16:5-15 — The work of the Spirit

Who is the Holy Spirit?  Even today, many Christians are confused as to who he is. And that’s one thing to remember.  The Holy Spirit is a “he”, not that he’s literally of the male gender although God chooses to … Continue reading

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John 15:18-16:4 — An occupational hazard

I remember one time working for a church here in Japan, and the pastor’s daughter was working at a Christian pre-school.  But one day, she complained that one of her students stabbed her hand with a pair of scissors (fortunately, … Continue reading

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John 15:12-17 — The command of love

I wonder if we really understand the implications of Jesus’ command that we love one another. One of the clear implications is that love is not merely a feeling but a choice. No one can command a feeling, not even God … Continue reading

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John 15:7-17 — Asking that we might bear fruit

In this passage, Jesus makes a very powerful promise. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  (7) A lot of people take these kinds of words to … Continue reading

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John 15:1-11 — The need to abide

Yesterday I talked about the Father’s work in our lives.  That our righteousness, our fruit, does not come from our own efforts but through his work in us.  He cleans us through his Word (verse 3), he lifts us up … Continue reading

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John 15:1-2 — Lifted up and pruned

One of the biggest differences between Christianity and every other religion is that our righteousness does not depend on our own efforts.  Rather, it comes from God’s work in us, changing us from the inside out. God first introduces that concept in … Continue reading

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John 15:1-17 — Chosen to be fruitful

This is one of the most famous passages in the Gospels in which Jesus shows us a beautiful illustration of our relationship with God. Here he calls himself the vine.  In the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as a vine. … Continue reading

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Luke 22:35-38 — Preparing to face a hostile world

As Jesus led his disciples out of the upper room, he asked them, When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?  (35) This is referring to the two times he sent out the disciples to preach … Continue reading

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