Archives for posts with tag: Matthew

images (14)

Todays devotion consists entirely of an illustrated scripture reading from Matthew 27:1-60 as Jesus goes to the cross.

Matthew 27:1-60  

images (13)

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2 They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

 

 

 

images (19)3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”

5 Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” 7 After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.  9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

jesus_before_pilate_jekel11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.”

12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer.  13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?”  14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

15 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas.  17 So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”  18 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.  19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”

20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.  21 The

Pilate Ecce-Homo-Antonio-Ciseri-1880governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”

22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”   23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?”    But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”   25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!

26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

mocking of Christ 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him.  28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,  29 and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying,

“Hail, King of the Jews!”

30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.

 

stripping of our Lord

 

 

 

31 After mocking him,

they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him.

Then they led him away to crucify him.

 

 

 

 

download (7)32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.  33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.  35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots;  36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him.  37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

 

images (16) 38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying,  42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.  43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.'”

44 The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

download (4)

45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”

48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink.49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

 

Jesus on cross

 

50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.

 

 

 

 

 

Centurion4

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.  52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.

 

54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said,

“Truly this man was God’s Son!”

 

 

 

cvggo_entom_2

55 Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.  58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.

59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.

 

 

 

images (17)

 

He then rolled a great stone

to the door of the tomb

and went away.

 

 

 

Scripture

Matthew 26: 69-75images (12)

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”

70 But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”

71 When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.”

74 Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed.   75 Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

 

Reflection

As we enter into this Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, tradition has us focus upon Peter’s denial of Christ.   This is the enthusiastic disciple — the one who leaped into the water to walk to Christ;  the one who professed to Jesus “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”;  the one who said that HE would never deny his Lord.

But then we have our own moments, moments when people effectively say “You are with Jesus” and we deny it.  Moments when someone makes an off-color joke at someone else’s expense, but it’s just a joke so we keep silent.   Or when someone suggests cutting a corner in some enterprise which is not entirely legal or ethical, but we go along and keep silent.  Or when someone asks us for some help and we pretend not to see or hear them.  Or when we cling to old hurts and grudges rather than practice forgiveness.

Or when . . .

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

We want to follow you, but often we fail.   Sometimes we fail unwittingly, carelessly.  Sometimes we fail intentionally.  Forgive us for the ways that we deny you.  Forgive us and call upon us to be your disciples again.

Amen

 

p.s.  At some point along the way, I missed a day and so my devotions jump from day 36 to day 38.  Call today my “Leap Devotional”!

Scripture

Matthew 26: 61-64images

At last two came forward  61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'”

62 The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?”

63 But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

 

Reflection

How often it is that opponents of Jesus unwittingly say the most ironic things.   “I put you under oath before the living God,” says the high priest, “tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”   It conjures up images of George Burns on the witness stand in the movie “Oh God!” in which he takes the oath, saying “So help me, me.”

How many ways do we put God to the test?   How many times do we call on God to perform for us, so as to prove that God is God?    How do we put God on the stand when it is we who are to be judged?

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Forgive our insolence at times.

Forgive us for demanding explanations,

for putting you to the test,

for asking you to defend yourself,

for putting you on the stand.

 

We thank you for your patience,

forbearance,  and your mercy

as the one who is the judge,

and who rules with forgiveness

and love.

Amen

 

Scripture

Matthew 26: 57-60  images (10)

57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.  58 But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.

59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death,  60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.

 

Reflection

I had a great Aunt named Lillie Mae.   She grew up in Philadelphia and her father was an alcoholic.  Finally, her mother threw her father out of the house, so bad was his drinking.  When Lillie Mae became a teenager, she got a job at a retail store in downtown Philadelphia.  She had to work at night but she was afraid of making that trip each evening.  So she would run from her house until she reached the relative safety of the bus stop.   She would learn later in life that each night she worked, her father was waiting for her in the shadows.  And as she ran to the bus stop, he would run along with her from a distance behind.

Peter deserted his Lord, but not entirely.  He followed at a distance, walking in the shadows.  He could have abandoned Jesus altogether.  And as we know, he will proceed to deny Jesus three times.  And yet, there was a measure of faithfulness in him that night as he stood by, watching.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Sometimes we can only muster up a small amount of faithfulness.

We may have failed you in many ways, but we still have that longing deep within to stick with you.

Take that mustard seed within each of us and nurture it, we pray, until our faith blossoms and we find that we can stand with you in broad daylight.

Amen

Scripture

Matthew 26: 55-56images (1)

55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  56 But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.”

Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

 

Reflection

I expect that Jesus knew it would happen all along.  Even when he called out to them along the sea of Galilee to follow him, I expect he knew that this night would come when all, not some, all of the disciples would desert him.   Did they go as a group, or did they slink away one by one — each making the choice, by themselves, to flee.  Some may have stepped away quietly, covertly walking among the shadows of night so as to avoid notice.   But I imagine some of them may have just run.

I expect we’ve “been there, done that” at one point or another.  Are you the slink-away type?  Or do you prefer to just flat our run from Jesus?

Of course he always gives us the option.  So which will it be?  Will we slink back to Jesus, or will we run back to him?

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Forgive us for our weakness.

Forgive us for our fear.

Forgive us for our lack of conviction

to stand with you.  To not run.

Make us disciples anew, call us again,

give us the hope, the mercy, the challenge, the joy

to be your disciples again.

Amen

Scripture

Matthew 26: 50-54images (2)

50 Jesus said to him [Judas], “Friend, do what you are here to do.”

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

51 Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him,

“Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?  54 But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”

 

Reflection

What strikes me first is the address to Judas.  “Friend.”   Jesus could have said, “You rascal!”, “You traitor!” — or any other term befitting the circumstances.  But that wouldn’t be Jesus.

And then there’s a second response by Jesus which also flies in the face of how we usually behave.  “Put your sword back”.   We are quick for vengeance in our society, quick to reach for arms, quick to use force.   But that is not Jesus’ way.  While we tend to think of the Old Testament quote of  “an eye for an eye”  as a biblical endorsement of the use of force (it was actually meant to ensure moderation),  Jesus refuted that by saying  “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also” (Matt. 5:38-39).

Much as we seek to justify our militant ways, the one we follow to the cross is the Prince of Peace.  After all, if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be going to the cross.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Help us to put our swords back.

Those angry words.  Those mean actions.

Those real swords with which we too often seek to settle things in our society and in our world.

It may be difficult for us to see how we can live safely that way.

But help us to seek and find our security in you.

And if the world takes advantage of us in the process,

strengthen us and sustain us with your love and grace.

Amen

Scripture

Matthew 26: 40-44   images

40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?  41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.   45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?”

 

Reflection

You’ve that experience, I’m sure.   You’re sitting there, in a class room, a conference room, church (!) — and your head suddenly snaps back and you realize you’d been dozing.

Three times Jesus goes off to pray, three times he returns to find the disciples catching some z’s.   “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?”   We are nearing the beginning of Holy Week, a time when the temptation is great to think ahead to a glorious Easter service and resurrection, pretty dresses and hats, Easter Egg hunts and chocolate eggs.   But rushing past the darkness of Holy Week is akin to falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane.   Instead, Jesus bids us to stay awake and accompany him as he walks toward the cross.    It seems the least we can do.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Awaken us to your call this Lenten season.

If our eyes get droopy and our attention wanders,

shake us up,  refresh our devotion to you,

and lead us into the coming week of a triumphal entry,

an evening meal in that upstairs room,

and a dark Friday.

And only then, draw us forward to that first light of dawn

on a day the begins the rest of our lives.

Amen

 

gather us back

 

Scripture

Matthew 25: 37-40images (2)

37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?

38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?

39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

 

Reflection

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

It’s interesting to me that we are so shocked by the King’s (Jesus’) response to the righteous.   We readily accept the notion that Jesus died for US on the cross.   But the idea that Christ himself benefits or suffers as a result of how we treat our fellow human beings is stunning to us.

It suggests to me just how vastly we underestimate (a) God’s love for the world, (b) God’s complete empathy and identification with God’s creation and (c) our community with God.    It makes me pause to consider what I will say and how I will act with the people I’ll encounter today.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

With every word,  every touch, every act,

remind me that how I treat others

pleases or pains you.

Amen

Scripture220px-Christian_v_crown[1]

Matthew 21: 23-27

 23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.  25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?”

And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.”  27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”

And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

 Reflection

How often it is that opponents of Jesus put their finger on the heart of the matter.  “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”

That reminds me of the retort we used to say as kids when we thought that a sibling, friend or another peer was taking too much control of a situation.  We’d say:  “Who died and made you King (or Queen)?”   On what basis are you claiming this authority?    Or,  as a parent (or grandparent), when a child protests a direction of some sort (“but WHY do we have to do that?),  you may have used the phrase “Because I said so!”  Which is another way of claiming authority.

Of course this is a key theme of all the gospels.  Jesus asks his disciples — “who do the people say that I am” and “who do you say I am?”   He is asking whether they recognize his authority.

Do we recognize Jesus’ authority in our lives today?   Do we step back and ask our Lord to lead our life?  Do we yield to his commands to love one another, to put others first,  to forgive, to be peacemakers?    Or, do we claim the authority over our lives to do as we wish?

Thinking back to that childhood retort, someone of course did die and was made a king.  But it wasn’t you or me.

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Help us to know that you are our Lord, our Savior, our King.

Help us to turn our lives over to you,

and live!

Amen