Forsaken by God?

Mar. 31, 2012

Mark 15:33-34, 39

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”

When we hear these words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we think of when we feel God has abandoned us. There are a thousand ways we feel God was conspicuously silent and absent. Christ’s words often become our words. As Jesus says these words, he identifies with and has compassion when we walk through dark and difficult places. Jesus knows how this feels. He experiences our loneliness.

In this prayer, we have a Savior who completely and fully understands us. Because of his love, Jesus suffers greatly for us. He knows what he is doing and marches with his eyes wide open. When he lays down his life for us, we see grace’s costliness. Jesus bucked physical pain as well as the emotional, mental and spiritual pain of being obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Did Jesus really think God abandoned him? If we answer “Yes,” we deny Jesus’ divinity. Through the Trinity, God is three persons who act as one. In this moment, the Son can’t experience the Father’s presence. How can someone fully human and fully God be abandoned by God? If this happened, Jesus’ two natures would be split. How else do we ponder the impossible proposition that on a certain Friday afternoon God died?

 

At the cross, the Father is with the Son. But heaven is silent. There is no answer. As Jesus cried out, I envision a big tear falling from the Father. When one person of the Trinity suffers, all three persons suffer. It was not just Jesus on the cross. It was the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who hung between good and evil, life and death, darkness and light.

 

At the cross, God is a suffering servant. He’s the one willing to be hung up and publically humiliated. Jesus teaches us true love. He wants us to understand the world will be changed through sacrificial love. With these words, Jesus invites us extend sacrificial love.

What have you sacrificed to show God’s love to another? What are you willing to give up to demonstrate God’s love?  We say, “I should go visit that person, let them know I’m praying for them, offer to do something for them.” We justify our lack of action. “I don’t want to offend them. What if they ask me to do something? I don’t have time. I can’t do that.”

When disappointed in God, our normal response is to ignore God and turn away. On the cross, Jesus doesn’t curse God, choose not to pray and pretend God doesn’t exist. When he feels most forsaken, he prays. Even if confused and unsure about faith, speaking to God is an act of faith. Jesus also worships God. The words we spoke were familiar. He learned them as a child in the first stanza of a well-known Jewish hymn. They are the opening words to Psalm 22 and could be paraphrased, “God, where are you when I need you?” When we pray, our prayers go like, “God give me this. God, grant me this. God deliver me, preserve me, rescue me, save me.” In his dying moments, Jesus did not ask for deliverance. He asked for God’s presence, “God, where are you?”

In death, Jesus thinks of this hymn and prays these words. Read Psalm 22 and see the references to Jesus’ crucifixion, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ death. After Jesus cries out, we hear a centurion, a non-Jewish Roman guard who would not have had Jewish understanding of a promised Messiah, declare, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

Who is Jesus for you?

Let us pray: I’m forever grateful to You. I’m forever grateful for the cross. I’m forever grateful to You that You came to seek and save the lost. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Your Mother, Brothers and Sisters

Mar. 30, 2012

John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

No mother should have to watch their son die the agonizing death of crucifixion. But Mary did. Fortunately, she was not alone. Three other women and the disciple Jesus loved, John, were with her.

Mary never had a normal life. She gave up her dreams when she agreed to carry, deliver and raise the Messiah. Like all mothers, Mary raised her son with a preconceived notion of what his life would look like. But Jesus broke these notions. Her expectations had to change. She had to set aside being his mother and become one of his followers. She was an ordinary woman with an extraordinary vocation and faith.

As Jesus began his ministry, the disciples and Mary were with him at a wedding in Cana. The wine was running out. Mary asked Jesus to make more wine. He says, “Woman, what concern of this is yours? My hour has not come.” Jesus now took direction only from his Father. Mary must take a back seat. This had to be hard.

Jesus had brothers and sisters. It wasn’t until after his resurrection they began to understand who he was. We assume Mary’s family was torn in two because of this. Mary had to choose whether to follow Jesus or not. We see her choice at the foot of the cross.

As Mary watched her son die, imagine her recalling the words the old man Simeon told her at the Temple. With Jesus just eight days old, Simeon told Mary a sword would pierce her heart. At the cross, Jesus sees and feels Mary’s pain. As the soldiers roll dice and gamble for his cloths, he knows she is thinking of the child she bathed and dried. She’s thinking of the little boy she showered with kisses. She’s thinking of the man he’d become.

As her oldest son, it is Jesus’ obligation to care for her mother. Before he dies, Jesus ensures Mary’s care. He upholds the fifth commandment and honors his mother. He sees John nearby. He lovingly says: “Woman, here is your son.” To John, “Here is your mother.”

Mary will not have to worry about food, shelter or needs as John accepts responsibility. Mary, her friends and John stand beneath the cross for you and me; for all who believe. Here are your mother, brothers and sisters of God. Family is not based on blood but on faith and belief. Jesus broadens God’s family and elevates our understanding of community. Your “family” just got bigger! We can’t claim disinterest for each other when we share life through Jesus. We’re in this together, even when we don’t agree, like each other or appreciate each other. In God’s family, we are all equal.

As a Christian, I pray you will discover that no matter where you are, you are with family. Your relationship with God allows you to connect with others normally you would not be able to. Our lives might be different but we are family. God needs people who will say, “I will” help someone else. I will sacrifice time and resources to support the ministry of God’s church. I will tutor a child; I will visit the feeble and frail. I will make a phone call. I will give more than receive.

Jesus knew how difficult it would be for us to live into this new way. Let us learn courageous faith and hope that it is enough to trust. Let us work together as God’s family and become what God has called us to be.

Let us pray: I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod; for I’m part of the family, the family of God. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Remember Me

Mar. 29, 2012

Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It’s been said a lot can be learned by the company a person keeps. And it’s true. A lot can be known about Jesus by who he hangs around with. Most often, his company was sinners; people far from God like reprobates, crafty, ill-reputable folks. The religious leaders, well, they most often were grumbling about Jesus.

Should it be any surprise that as Jesus is dying, one of the last conversations he has is with a big-time sinner? Different gospels use various words to describe the two mean crucified with Jesus. Luke’s gospel uses criminals, some use thief. We know these guys did bad stuff. We know they used violence when committing crimes. They are the worse of the worst.

Jesus’ life mission was to seek out and save the lost. As Jesus hangs on a cross, barely able to speak, he reaches out to the worse of the worst. Up to the end, Jesus still seeks and saves the lost. He never stops his life mission.

As you are dying, would you choose to have your last conversation with the worst sinner you can imagine? This is what Jesus does. And if this is almost too much, Jesus offers him everything. He offers paradise.

When Jesus was a live, paradise in Persian terms, meant a walled garden. Kings often had beautiful walled gardens. They were considered the most beautiful places on earth, a little piece of paradise on earth.

In the Old Testament, the most famous garden is the Garden of Eden. Human beings were banished from this garden, from this paradise, because they sinned. When Jesus speaks of “paradise” with the thief, he is removing the ban that keeps human beings from paradise. As a result of his death, people will once again be able to experience paradise. The ban is lifted.

Who is the first person Jesus invites into paradise? A thief. If Jesus is willing to allow this person, who intentionally committed crimes with violence forgiveness, I pray that you see how willing he is to extend you forgiveness.

Jesus is a God of second chances. One thief asks for a second chance. Even though he knew very little of Jesus, he takes a chance. He probably had not been baptized, didn’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity or had any theological training. He simply asks Jesus to let him into his kingdom. It was the only question he knew to ask. With faith barely the size of a mustard seed, he simply says, “Jesus, remember me.” And Jesus does.

Notice Jesus’ reply, “Today.” Did the thief go to heaven that very day? I don’t know. What I do believe is the thief discovered he could experience God today. We envision having to wait until we die to experience God’s kingdom, God’s paradise. As Jesus speaks of paradise here, he’s stretching us to say that we can begin to experience God NOW. We don’t have to wait until we die to experience God. For the thief, he began feeling peace, joy and contentment immediately.

Likewise, we can experience God now. Today, you can begin to experience Jesus’ paradise, just as this thief did. Simply ask.

Let us pray: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Labeled: “The King of the Jews”

Mar. 28, 2012

Luke 23:38

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

People are often quite particular about their name. We like to have our name spelt right, pronounced correctly and personalized. When mail comes addressed to “The Vielhuber Household,” I know we are one of a whole bunch of people who have received this impersonalized letter.

I’ve spent much of my life as Diane; even though it really is Dianne. I can spot a telemarketer within five seconds of answering the phone because they never quite know how to pronounce our last name. And when I met someone who knows Rick for the first time, I can often tell what era he or she first became acquainted with him. If they knew him in grade school or younger, he is Ricky. A high school classmate? They call him Rich. Folks after high school call him Rick. I’ve never heard him called Dick, who is my Dad, even though they both have the proper name of Richard.

All four gospel accounts mention a sign identifying who Jesus is. But each gospel has the inscription just slightly different:

Matthew’s Gospel: This is Jesus the King of the Jews

Mark’s Gospel: The King of the Jews

Luke’s Gospel: This is the King of the Jews

John’s Gospel: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews

People who love details may question why the four authors can’t agree on something seemingly so simple. But then again, how many pieces of mail do you or I receive in a year with the wrong name?

I believe the chosen words have to do with who the desired audience the gospel author is writing to. What they do all agree is that this man is the King of the Jews. Did Pilate really believe this when he asked for the inscription to state this? I view it more as a taunt than a declaration.

In some ways, this insignia becomes Jesus’ grave marker. When we die, our remains are buried in a specific location and a marker is put on this sight to designate whose remains are located in this plot. While Jesus’ body goes into a garden tomb, it’s not necessary to have a marker outside the tomb after the body is gone. It is only at the crucifixion that he is identified.

So many details that happened as a part of Jesus’ crucifixion seem ironic or odd to be recorded. As a detail lover myself, I sometimes wish for more details. As we continue to explore this story, may we ponder why specific details are included and their importance. Through details, each gospel account becomes more personalized. No, the details will not all be the same. But that’s OK because I know Ricky, Rich and Rick are all my husband.

Let us pray: We will glorify the King of kings; we will glorify the Lamb. We will glorify the Lord of lords, who is the great I Am. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Sticks, Stones and Words

Mar. 27, 2012

Luke 23:35-37

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

We see the peak of the opposition to Jesus. I imagine the folks basically spitting their sneers towards Jesus. He’s hanging on a cross and dying. What can he do in retaliation? Very little. Almost nothing.

Growing up, I remember being told and saying to myself, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” While this sounds great when you are 8 or 9, believing this at any age is really much more difficult. This is because words do hurt. I’m confident you can quickly recall a situation in which spoken words still hurt you to this day.

“Let him save himself,” the crowd roars. The remark drips with sarcasm. In tense situations, we often use sarcasm. Sometimes it does break the tension, sometimes it ignites a laugh. But I’ve also been the giver and receiver of sarcasm that only hurt and offended more. In these situations, we often dig deeper holes then mend the broken relationships.

As these events unveil, I cannot help but imagine Jesus reciting various Old Testament scriptures in his mind. He’s now fulfilling these words. Observe:

All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him.” (Psalm 22:7-8)

Psalm 22 is a prophetic lens into Jesus’ crucifixion. Turn to it this day. Read all the words. Underline lines and phrases that remind you of the crucifixion story. This Psalm was a hymn the Jewish people sang when they felt abandoned by God. We hear the people abandon Jesus with their words. “How could have their words not hurt?” I wonder. And then I’m humbled by the times my words have hurt others. I’m dismayed that I’ve used sarcasm too often to deflect a tense moment and it didn’t work. Try as I might to save myself in these situations, I can’t.

I would not have been as strong as Jesus. The crowd’s hurtful words would have broken me and humiliated me. I would have prayed for a speedy death, just to escape their hurtful snares.

But then again, Jesus wasn’t just a human. He was the Messiah, the Chosen One. Thanks be to God.

Let us pray: But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe; Here, Lord, I give myself away, ‘tis all that I can do. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Who is the “them?”

Mar. 26, 2012

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his cloths by casting lots.

This is the first phrase Jesus says as from the cross; the first of his seven words or phrases from the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Who is the “them” Jesus is talking about? As he looks down from the cross, Jesus sees various people. He sees Roman soldiers laughing, shaking dice and gambling for his clothes. Merchants and money changers thrown out of the Temple earlier in the week are still angry at Jesus for stopping their income source. He sees the people responsible for his death and asks for them to be forgiven; the priests and the Pharisees, the people convinced he had to die. Even Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ultimately turns Jesus over to be crucified is forgiven. No, he’s not at the foot of the cross. He’s back in his palace where he washed his hands of the whole deal.

Is there anyone else Jesus was praying for? The church believes he was praying for us; praying for every human being ever born. There’s a song that says, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Yes, you were there. I was there. Jesus is the Lord of time and space. From the cross, Jesus is staring through history, until he comes to me and he cries out my name, Dianne, Father forgive Dianne, for she doesn’t know what she has done. Likewise, this statement is for you.

When we say “I forgive you,” we imply the person sinned against you. As Jesus says this, he makes it clear people have violated God’s path. They need forgiveness. We are broken and we need to be fixed. As Jesus says these words, he’s not focusing on you as a sinner. He’s offering you grace.

We should be overwhelmed as we realize that Jesus is dying an incredibly painful and slow death. Speaking from the cross is extremely difficult. Yet, his first words from the cross are a prayer in which he asks his heavenly Father to forgive you, long before you were even born.

When a person has a heart condition, they usually go to the doctor. If the doctor discovers there is serious blockage, surgery may be necessary. Jesus has diagnosed our need for forgiveness and offers us the cure. From the cross, Jesus looks down through swollen, blood-shot eyes. His body is breaking down and cannot withstand more pain. But he doesn’t get angry or desire to get even. He simply prays for forgiveness. God answers Jesus’ prayer by offering a cure. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are the “them.” We’re sinners. We need forgiveness. Jesus came to save you and prayed for you. God has already answered the prayer through heart surgery conducted by the divine physician who laid down his life.

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. We are the “them.” Thank God there is a diagnosis and a cure.

Let us pray: Were you there when they crucified my Lord?  Were you there when they crucified my Lord? O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble! Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

The Unnamed Thieves

Mar. 25, 2012

Luke 23:32-33

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left.

They are not named. We’re not sure what crime they committed. We simply know them as the thief on the right and the thief on the left.

At some point, a judge had determined they were hopeless causes and sentenced them to die. The judge saw no possibility that these two thieves would ever be anything but criminals and so they were condemned to die on crosses.

I’m not quite sure how a person prepares or approaches execution. My guess is these men approached death like another crime: no emotion, no expression. Just get it over with. While on the outside, they appeared hardened and tough, I’m thinking that inside they had to quiet their fears. They had to be afraid to die and certainly didn’t want anyone to see this fear.

Had they heard of Jesus of Nazareth before the day of the crucifixion? We don’t know. We can assume that most everyone in Jerusalem had. But they might not have seen him. Maybe some of their friends had gone to see Jesus teach; watch him heal the sick and lame, see if what people said about him was true. Maybe some of these friends came back and said he was different from all the other rabbis and peddlers of truth. Maybe the unnamed thieves had heard that Jesus acted different. Maybe they had discovered that Jesus would actually sit down and eat with their low-life friends.

Like Jesus, the thieves had to carry their cross-beams through the Jerusalem streets, outside the city gates to Golgotha. Like Jesus, they were laid across the wooden cross by the Roman soldiers. Like Jesus, their crosses were raised skyward and they had to endure the pain, agony and discomfort of crucifixion.

Yet, they were someone’s son. They were someone’s friends. Maybe they had wives and children. They had lived lives and now they were dying. While unnamed in the Bible, these two thieves did have names. And God knew them. Jesus knew them. And he loved them to the bitter end. Who does this? Only the Son of God.

Let us pray: O how marvelous, O how wonderful! And my song shall ever be: O how marvelous, O how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

The Ministry of Presence

Mar. 24, 2012

Luke 23:27-31

A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, “Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed! Then ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Maybe you are thinking: “What? None of this makes sense!” Or “You’ve got to be kidding me! Jesus wasn’t a woman. How can he ever know what it’s like to bear children!” Or “THIS is why I don’t read the Bible.  I can’t relate to it!”

And you are all right. Jesus’ words do not make sense to us.

Before giving up completely, let’s try to see if there is something we can grasp out of this. Who might be the loudest mourner, the person who would be experiencing almost as much pain as Jesus through this whole ordeal? His mother Mary. While we aren’t told specifically that Mary is part of this group, we know she was present at the crucifixion. I’m guessing there is a good chance she was present along the path to Golgotha. And I’m guessing her closest friends were with her, wailing along side of her. That’s what friends do when a friend looses a loved one.

Just a couple weeks ago, my oldest friend, Pam, lost her Dad. Pam is not my oldest friend in age; she’s my oldest friend in length of time. When my parents moved to Wisconsin in the early 1960’s, some of the first people they met were Pam’s parents. They met at the little Augusta EUB church. Pam was born four months before I was in September. She was the last baby baptized in the little EUB church, which closed the end of the year. It merged with the Augusta Methodist Church, which eventually became the Augusta United Methodist Church. I was the first baby baptized at the conjoined church. That’s how long we’ve been friends.

Rick and I went to Pam’s Dad’s visitation and funeral. After the service on the way home, Rick commented about how impressed he was that so many of my high school classmates and friends came to either the visitation or funeral. But that’s what friends do. One of the most important lessons I have learned as a pastor is that ministry is often less about what is spoken and often more about presence.

Sometimes, people tell me that they don’t know if they should go to a funeral, call someone or stop by a friend’s house when a friend is going through a terrible time. The most common reason why they don’t know if they should go? They don’t know what to say. I try to encourage them and simply be present. Words aren’t always necessary.  Sometimes fewer words are even better.

Mary is enduring the great sadness, heartache and grief mother’s experience that looses a child. Her soul will be parched completely dry through the next several hours. But her soul will be covered. She will not be alone for God will be with her. But sometimes God needs assistants. Mary had them in the other women who mourned and wailed with her. I’m confident their presence was meaningful for her. Let us not be afraid to be God’s assistants and just be present.

Let us pray: It is well, it is well. It is well, it is well with my soul. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Wrong Guy at the Wrong Time

Mar. 23, 2012

Luke 23:26

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Every Jewish man, at sometime in his life, is to celebrate the Jewish Passover in Jerusalem. This was Simon’s year; for him and his two young boys, Alexander and Rufus. They made the pilgrimage from their hometown of Cyrene, in our modern-day Libya. It was a trip of a lifetime. Think of it in terms of taking young children to Disney.

On Friday, the family was excited to go into Jerusalem, visit the Temple and observe the Passover remembrance. Excitement filled the air. Just a short distance from the city, they came upon something like a parade. Maybe one son asked if they could watch. As people formed a line, they joined.

Simon noticed this was not a regular parade. The procession was led by Roman soldiers, driving three people, caring heavy beams across their shoulders; the beams used as the cross beam for a cross. These men were going to be crucified.

One man was stumbling. His bloodied body had been beaten and whipped. Simon didn’t want his sons to see him. As he tried to pulled Rufus and Alexander away, the wounded man stumbled and fell at his feet. He couldn’t get up. A Roman soldier looked at Simon and said, “You there. You carry the cross.”

Simon looked at him. “Me?”

“Yes, you! Carry the cross!”

Simon told his sons to stay close. The soldier yelled again, “Pick it up!” Not knowing what else to do, Simon picked up the beam. Its heavy weight nearly made him sink to the ground. He noticed the crown of thorns around the man’s brow. Maybe Simon realized this must be the Jesus Christ he had been hearing about. Some thought he might be the Messiah. Simon extended his hand to him. He took it. With strength and courage, Jesus stood, composed himself and together, they walked forward.

It was a short distance to the Skull, the place where people were crucified. When they got there, Simon dropped the beam. Roman soldiers assembled the crosses for the three men being crucified. Two executioners assembled Jesus’ cross. He was stripped naked and soldiers forced his bloody body on top of the cross. They stretched his arms across the cross-bar before they took spikes and a mallet to attach him. Simon covered his son’s eyes as the mallet struck Jesus’ skin. Rufus cried out. Alexander became nauseous. They heard a cry of agony as the spike went through Jesus’ wrist. More spikes went through his ankles. As the cross was raised, they heard another groan of agony. Simon and his sons watched as a man die. They heard him speak. They witnessed these awful events.

We don’t hear of Simon again. Yet, watching the crucifixion must have had significant impact on him and his son’s lives. Mark’s gospel names Simon’s sons. They would have only been listed if people knew who they were. In Romans 16:13, Rufus is named again. He must be living in Rome with his mother; possibly a leader of the Christian movement in Rome.

Simon was the wrong guy at the wrong place at the wrong time. But those moments changed his life; forever.

Let us pray: Thus might I hide my blushing face while Calvary’s cross appears. Dissolve my heart in thankfulness and melt mine eyes to tears.. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

The White Flag

Mar. 22, 2012

Luke 23:24-25

So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

When two enemies are at war with each other, the universal signal that one surrenders is a white flag. As Pilate “surrenders” Jesus, in essence he waves a white flag.

Surrender. Often it’s the choice of last resort. Sometimes we get worn down and one side has to cave in. That’s the side that surrenders.

When had you had to surrender in your life? People who deal with addictions have to surrender in order to get the addiction under control. Sometimes we give up things that are important … or not so important. The higher the stakes, the harder it is to surrender.

I think it would be fascinating to speak to someone who had to decide to raise the white flag while in battle and surrender. After the flag was raised, what emotion was felt? Despair? Relief? Defeat? Peace?

Ultimately, it wasn’t Pilate that surrendered; it was Jesus. He had to choose to surrender his life for us … or not. What emotion did he feel when Pilate finally released him for crucifixion? Despair? Relief? Defeat? Peace?

We choose whether we believe and accept his surrender … or not. Jesus waved the white flag just for you. Lent is about coming to grips with whether this means anything to you … or not.

Let us pray: Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin has left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne