Devotional: Road to the Cross-Part Five

But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered. So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified. (John 19:15-16 HCSB)

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When my kids want something, they always come to me before they go to their dad. If I say no, they often keep asking. Actually, they always keep asking. They can’t seem to take no for an answer. I often give in, but sometimes I get tired of it and tell them to ask their dad. Our conversation usually goes something like this:

Son: “Can I go to So-and-so’s house?”
Mom: “No.”
Son: “Why not?”
Mom: “Your uncle’s in town.”
Son: “But I saw them last night. Why can’t I go to So-and-so’s house?”
Mom: “Your uncle will only be here for a few more days and then we don’t know when we will get to see him again.”
Son: “But I want to meet So-and-so’s dad. So, can I?”
Mom: “No.”
Son: “Why not?”
Mom: “Because your uncle is here.”
Son: “But I’ve already seen him. I want to meet So-and-so’s dad.”
(At this point, I think about ignoring my son.)
Son: “So, can I?”
Mom: “No.”
Son: “Why not?”
Mom: “Because I said no.”
Son: “But why not?”
(I ignore my son.)
Son: “Mom. Can I go?”
Mom: “Go ask your dad.”

Why did I pass the situation to my husband? Because I was tired of being the one responsible for letting him do or not do something. I know I would have given into the pressure.

When Jesus was handed over to Pilate, the religious leaders were trying to get out of taking responsibility for putting Jesus to death. They claimed it was unlawful for them to put anyone to death. So they fostered the responsibility on Pilate.

Pilate talked to Jesus and asked him questions. Jesus talked about being the King of a “Kingdom that does not have its origin here.” Nothing in Jesus’ answers led Pilate to believe he had done anything wrong. Pilate could see that the Jewish leaders were jealous.

Pilate tried to pass the responsibility back to the Jews. He told them he didn’t see where Jesus had committed any crime, but the Jews argued back that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. The Jewish leaders told Pilate that it was against their law to make yourself the Son of God.

Again Pilate talked to Jesus. This time, because he was afraid. He wanted to know where Jesus was from, but Jesus wouldn’t talk this time. Pilate tried to pull rank on Jesus, but it didn’t work. Jesus told him he wouldn’t have his rank if God didn’t want him there.

John 19:12 says: From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him.

But eventually, Pilate gave into the pressure.

So, the truth is, I’m just as responsible for the decision as my husband, even though I sent our son to him.

I tell myself that I would stand my ground on things that are really important, but given my track record, I’m going to really have to pray for strength when those times come. Our son, won’t give up easily.

Lord, help me to see the times when it’s real important for me to stand my ground. Thank you for the strength you provide. Help me to lean on you.

Devotional: The Road to the Cross-Part Four

How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Psalms 32:1 (HCSB)

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When my kids were young, we were staying with my family in a cabin at a State Park. My youngest brother and his wife were there with my parents. The kids were sitting around the coffee table playing a game.

My youngest was about two at the time. While he was sitting in the chair, he was tilting it forward. I thought to myself, I should have him put it down. But I didn’t. Instead, I thought it would be fine.

In the next instant, the chair flipped out from under him. His chin hit the table and cut open. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the hospital getting stitches.

I felt terrible. If I had just had him put his chair down flat when I had thought to, it would never have happened. But it was too late to take back what I hadn’t done.

Have you ever done something and then wished you hadn’t done it? I think one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, did.

Peter was a close friend of Jesus. Along with his brother, he was the first to be called to Jesus’ ministry. Weeks before Jesus’ death, Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God. When Jesus began to predict His death, Peter felt he could chastise Him for it.

Yet in the last twenty-four hours of Jesus’ death, what does Peter do? He denies ever knowing Jesus, not just one time, but three. But here is the kicker: Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed twice.

The account of Peter’s denial is recounted in all four Gospels: Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-18, and 25-27. Reading all four gives you four different points of view. It’s like watching a show from different angles. I’ll try to put it all in one point of view.

When Jesus was arrested they brought Him to the high priest. Peter and John followed at a distance. When they arrived, John went inside because he was an acquaintance of the high priest. When he realized Peter was still outside, he went back out and brought him in.

It was cold, so the temple police had started a fire in the courtyard. While Peter stood warming himself, the slave girl, who was the doorkeeper, asked him if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter said, “Woman I am not!” A rooster crowed.

Peter continued to warm himself because he wanted to see what was happening with Jesus. They kept looking at him and asked him again if he was a disciple. Peter denied it a second time.

They noticed his accent and told him he must be one of Jesus’ disciples because he was a Galilean. Peter not only denied it but did it with curses and swearing.

The rooster crowed a second time. Jesus looked into Peter’s eyes. Then Peter remembered what Jesus said. He went out and cried.

I can’t imagine the emotions going through him. All this time, he believed himself a friend of Jesus only to turn his back on Him. The wonderful thing is this, Jesus didn’t stay dead. Peter’s guilt was redeemed and forgiven when Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead. Peter was able to continue being a friend of Jesus and became one of the greatest leaders of the early church.

Lord, I thank You for this lesson in forgiveness. No matter the things I’ve done wrong, I can always ask You to make them right.

Devotional: The Road to the Cross-Part Three

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Tell Daughter Zion,
“Look, your King is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt,
The foal of a beast of burden.”
Matthew 21:5 HCSB)

My weeks are usually very busy. Every night I’m bringing or picking my kids up from some event; Boy Scouts, soccer practice, Church, band practice, soccer games, or refereeing soccer games. Having a night to stay home seems like a blessing. I know I put it all on myself, but I believe I’m in the business of making boys into men and activities like these are often the building blocks to this goal.

Whether or not my kids are too busy or not isn’t the issue. The issue is whether they are learning what they need to learn. That is a God issue. I take them to these things and me, being the mom I believe God wants me to be. Ultimately, it is God who helps them learn what they need to learn.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it was the day after visiting His friend Lazarus. Jesus entered the temple and found it full of people selling animals at high prices. It angered him and he drove them out. After that, he healed the blind and the lame.

The next day, he went to the temple and told parable after parable. The chief priests and elders questioned His authority, but Jesus told more parables which they didn’t like because the stories were about them.

Then the Pharisees began to plot against Jesus. They tried to trap him by asking him about taxes to Caesar. Jesus knew their hearts and gave them a wise answer. One that was beyond what they expected from a simple carpenter.

Next, came the Sadducees questioning him. Then again the Pharisees. Eventually, Jesus put a stop to all their questions by asking a question they couldn’t answer. Then he basically chewed them out before telling more parables.

Jesus stayed at someone’s house where his head was anointed with a different woman’s perfume, He washes His disciples’ feet, and they celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. He broke the bread and passed around the cup which symbolizing his body and blood. Finally, Judas left to plot with the Chief priest and elders.

Seems like Jesus had a busy week. All of it was intended to be a lesson. It teaches us about a lot of different things. It molds us into who God wants us to be. Children of God.

Lord, help me to learn and teach during the busyness of my life. Don’t let it just be busyness to be busy, but a time to learn and teach. Thank You for the lesson Jesus left us to learn. Give me the wisdom to understand them.