Kill Him! Kill Him! Crucify Him!
Today’s reflection draws us closer to our end. Yes our end! What comes to your mind when you think about judgement? On what yardstick would we be judged? Everybody would die and after death comes Judgement. The judgment that befalls us before death is not at important as the one that comes after it. When we are quick to label others and slow to identify our faults, we must know that we are not acting out of love. When we are blinded with pride, we are surrounded with vain glory and see others as unworthy. Let’s click below to read the full text of our psalm for reflection
21 Day Lighting Experience – Psalm 36 (GNT)
Sin speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; they reject God and do not have reverence for him. 2 Because they think so highly of themselves, they think that God will not discover their sin and condemn it. 3 Their speech is wicked and full of lies; they no longer do what is wise and good. 4 They make evil plans as they lie in bed; nothing they do is good, and they never reject anything evil.
The Goodness of God
5 Lord, your constant love reaches the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is towering like the mountains; your justice is like the depths of the sea. People and animals are in your care. 7 How precious, O God, is your constant love! We find[b] protection under the shadow of your wings. 8 We feast on the abundant food you provide; you let us drink from the river of your goodness. 9 You are the source of all life, and because of your light we see the light. 10 Continue to love those who know you and to do good to those who are righteous. 11 Do not let proud people attack me or the wicked make me run away. 12 See where evil people have fallen. There they lie, unable to rise.
Psalm 36 points out the frailties of the human heart. Especially the heart that thinks so highly of self. This heart is bound to be surrounded by wickedness and evil decisions. In the contrary, the heart that looks up to God and depends on the righteousness of God opens up the heart to experience the love of God. This heart acknowledges God to be the source of life and light. This heart desires to experience the light.
In yesterday’s reflection on Day 18, we explained that those who lie (hate the truth) do not have conviction but intimidation. Psalm 36:11 says a gentile prayer: Do not let the proud people attack me or the wicked make me run away. Our prayer is to remain steadfast in faith and have the resolve to promote the truth at all times. Our hope is that the plans of the wicked should not overcome us. In the same vain, the psalmist reminds us that regardless of the power or plan of the wicked, it would come to naught at the end. Verse 12 says that where the evil people have fallen, there they lie unable to rise.
Intimidations sometimes may lead to death or disaster of the righteous. This is the case of Jesus in John’s gospel chapter 19. Click below to read full text.
21 Day Lighting Experience – John Chapter 19
Jesus Is Crucified
So they took charge of Jesus. 17 He went out, carrying his cross, and came to “The Place of the Skull,” as it is called. (In Hebrew it is called “Golgotha.”) 18 There they crucified him; and they also crucified two other men, one on each side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate wrote a notice and had it put on the cross. “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” is what he wrote. 20 Many people read it, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city. The notice was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21 The chief priests said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am the King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written stays written.” 23 After the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier. They also took the robe, which was made of one piece of woven cloth without any seams in it. 24 The soldiers said to one another, “Let's not tear it; let's throw dice to see who will get it.” This happened in order to make the scripture come true: “They divided my clothes among themselves and gambled for my robe.” And this is what the soldiers did. 25 Standing close to Jesus' cross were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, “He is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “She is your mother.” From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that by now everything had been completed; and in order to make the scripture come true, he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A bowl was there, full of cheap wine; so a sponge was soaked in the wine, put on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted up to his lips. 30 Jesus drank the wine and said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus' Side Is Pierced,
31 Then the Jewish authorities asked Pilate to allow them to break the legs of the men who had been crucified, and to take the bodies down from the crosses. They requested this because it was Friday, and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses on the Sabbath, since the coming Sabbath was especially holy. 32 So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and then of the other man who had been crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, plunged his spear into Jesus' side, and at once blood and water poured out. (35 The one who saw this happen has spoken of it, so that you also may believe.[a] What he said is true, and he knows that he speaks the truth.) 36 This was done to make the scripture come true: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And there is another scripture that says, “People will look at him whom they pierced.”
The Burial of Jesus
38 After this, Joseph, who was from the town of Arimathea, asked Pilate if he could take Jesus' body. (Joseph was a follower of Jesus, but in secret, because he was afraid of the Jewish authorities.) Pilate told him he could have the body, so Joseph went and took it away. 39 Nicodemus, who at first had gone to see Jesus at night, went with Joseph, taking with him about one hundred pounds of spices, a mixture of myrrh and aloes. 40 The two men took Jesus' body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices according to the Jewish custom of preparing a body for burial. 41 There was a garden in the place where Jesus had been put to death, and in it there was a new tomb where no one had ever been buried. 42 Since it was the day before the Sabbath and because the tomb was close by, they placed Jesus' body there.
Today the Pharisees are determined to condemn Jesus to death. Their defence is on this issue of the law. In Verse 7 it states; “We have a law that says he ought to die…” The same law which they used as a yardstick to condemn the adulterous woman in chapter 8 (check Day 8) but they left the scene guilty as well. After Jesus was tortured and humiliated by the soldiers, he was presented to the people to show that Jesus had undergone some punishment. Unfortunately, the people were determined to do away with Jesus. So let me ask, what was Jesus’ crime? Were his faults greater than his goodness, if at all his was guilty?
Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Kill Him! This is what the evil heart desires, the death of another. Jesus reminded us in John Chapter 8 that the Devil has come to Kill, to steal, and to destroy! The children of Lies do the same; their heart is bent on destruction. This begs the question, are we often moved to the condemnation of those whom we think have offended us or have contravened the law? Do we seek restitution for others or death. Do we see light at the end of the tunnel for self and/or others. Do we understand this message of hope? God desires that everyone is saved. The spirit of the law is love and we must pronounce the judgement of the law based on love and the salvation of others.
Today again, like yesterday, we are presented with the choices we often go for at critical times. During elections and life changing decisions who and what choice do we go for? Yesterday the Jewish Authorities chose Barabbas (a criminal) over Jesus. Today, they choose Caesar (the Roman Emperor) over Jesus, their messiah and King. The same roman authority, who is distant from them and who they have loathed for so long, is widely accepted and proclaimed as their king. And Jesus who had lived among them, worked among them and done a lot of miracles among them, is rejected and condemned. Truly as it is written, a prophet is with honour except in his own place. Yes, our choice is beclouded by pride.
We are children of truth and children of the light, so we must always bear the light.
But we must have our own solemn reflection! Have we also rejected Jesus? Do we choose bad influence over good influence in our lives? Do we choose a lie over the truth? Are we drawn to being politically correct in the midst of intense political debates or do we say the truth because we must bear the light of God? How often do we reject Jesus? How often do we reject the truth? How often do we bring darkness upon our land instead of proclaiming God’s light? Before we condemn the Pharisees let us see how well we have faired in our own decision making or in our condemnation of others. Yes! We are children of truth and children of the light, so we must always bear the light.
We know that the intimidation of the wicked it very strong and loud. We know that we may often be weak or scared of the advances of the wicked. Maybe we are often bound by the laws or sanctions that may be meted on us for doing good/the right thing. How do we remedy the problem? Where can we be of assistance? We see two (2) secret disciples of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who act in the heat of the moment. They play a critical role of receiving the body of Jesus and burying Jesus. These men were able to use their influence and position positively. Everyone has a role to play! We are all meant to use our influence and position positively; to better the lot of others and where possible to save the situation. To bring hope and encourage good. May God help us to act when the opportunity arises. Amen!
One last thing, would you desire to be crucified for the same faults you have condemned others for? Is your voice the loudest when it is time for the condemnation of others? How often do you pronounce – Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Kill Him! When it’s time for our end, time for our judgment, what words do we expect to hear? But remember, our judgement here is not as important as the judgement hereafter!
Join us tomorrow, 20th February for Lighting Experience – Day 20