I’m letting the Word speak for itself today. Thanks, BibleGateway!
John 19:1-37 (New Living Translation)
Jesus Sentenced to Death
1 Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. 3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. 4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. 9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters[a] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’[b]Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). 14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people,[c] “Look, here is your king!”
15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew,Golgotha). 18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 And Pilate posted a sign over him that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[d] the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. 21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice[e] for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.”[f] So that is what they did.
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”[g] 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. 31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.[h])36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[i] 37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”[j]
- John 19:9 Greek the Praetorium.
- John 19:12 “Friend of Caesar” is a technical term that refers to an ally of the emperor.
- John 19:14 Greek Jewish people; also in 19:20.
- John 19:19 Or Jesus the Nazarene.
- John 19:24 Greek cast lots.
- John 19:24 Ps 22:18.
- John 19:28 See Pss 22:15; 69:21.
- John 19:35 Some manuscripts read can continue to believe.
- John 19:36 Exod 12:46; Num 9:12; Ps 34:20.
- John 19:37 Zech 12:10.
We had a great day with friends and family on Easter! Louis’ church has a lovely tradition of decorating a cross with flowers. We brought it home to bless SBH by placing it on the front porch for all to enjoy! Some neighbors invited us for a cookout of all kinds of goodness! Ms. G (Frank’s mom) came by for a visit and my family came over for traditional Easter dinner consisting of Lamb with lots of tomatoes and onions plus all the sides of mashed tators, green beans, etc. I’m thankful for all of my neighbors, friends and family!
What a blessed day!!! It was a BEAUTIFUL day at Richmond Hill. We really could not have asked for a better…a more wonderful day…following our moving foot washing Maundy Thursday service last night at Commonwealth Chapel. Now, we look forward and prepare for the 8pm Good Friday Service at Commonwealth Chapel. We are attending with some of Louis’ church members from the Petersburg area. So, here is just a quick sneak peek of our day at Richmond Hill. Enjoy! More to come!!! Thank you God for Richmond Hill! Thank you for my wonderful, loving and God-fearing hubby. Thank you for the CROSS!
I’m gonna let it shine!
2006 starts off to be a good year. I became more and more engrossed in my community. It was a time of building relationships…and just living. My neighbors were now my friends…having cook-outs, walking, community civic meetings, etc. I was now officially ‘Miss Marti’ and the neighborhood kids were now ‘Miss Marti’s Kids’. It became quite normal to have a bunch of middle and high school boys coming in and out of the house. God had called me to this community…to live…and to love. Nothing more.
I was encouraged. The Wall of Crosses have been used more than once. Shortly after Kevin’s visit, I moved the crosses (begrudgingly) from the front room in the house to my den at the back of the house. All because I hung a candelabra that would block the view. On the day of our joint cookout Memorial Day 2006, Nichelle, my next door neighbor, shared with me that her friend wanted to meet me. I was like “Why does he want to meet me? He wants to meet the crazy white woman on the corner?”
Come to find out, he had driven down Barton Avenue one evening…in need of a lift, when he looked in my breakfast nook windows and saw my Wall of Crosses in my den….on the other side of the house. The corner lot has been such a blessing!!! He stated that the crosses brought him peace and comfort in a time of need. Now, some would be totally freaked that someone was looking in their house. Me? I was thrilled!! I was wowed at God’s goodness.
I had begrudgingly moved the crosses…grumbling as I put each nail in the wall…due to a stupid candelabra…only to find out that God had something else in store. Before, you had to come IN my house to see the Crosses. Now, you could see them OUTside while walking or driving down the road. That very day, I set my light timer in my den to come on at sunset and to cut off at sunrise, allowing the crosses to be seen 24 hours a day, every day.
It reminds me….how people look at me on the OUTside…they don’t need to look at the INside. I have some family, friends, neighbors, colleagues who don’t know me up close and personal. Who don’t necessarily know my heart, because they only see me on the outside. But…does my outside shine brightly? Doesn’t that sometimes speak louder than any words? Is my timer set to shine in the darkness and light the way to the cross?
I pray that my Wall of Crosses…and my life…my home…bring Peace to Southern Barton Heights. That my life shines BRIGHTLY and points to the Cross.
6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
I went on to work on that 2nd day of praying in Jesus name over my singleness. Within just a couple of hours…my phone rang. A colleague of mine, Steve, called to ask me if I wouldn’t mind hanging out with a friend of his, Kevin. Kevin just happened to be coming to town from the West Coast. Steve and his wife had plans that had them tied up on Friday night, that would leave Kevin alone for the evening. So, he wanted me to go to dinner with him so that he wouldn’t have to hang out in the hotel by himself. Needless to say…I stopped and literally looked at the phone…and said, ‘did God just answer my prayer in a matter of hours?’ Why is it that I, and maybe you to, find it surprising that God answers our prayers? Shouldn’t we expect the answer to our prayers?
After being in shock (and scared to death!!!) for a few days, I finally gave in to Steve…and to God. I picked up Kevin at the hotel (another funny…but long story…). Because I hadn’t gotten to go home yet, I asked Kevin if he minded if we stopped by my house so that I could freshen up. We walked into my house, where I had a wall of crosses on the left inside the front door (so they wouldn’t be missed). The wall of crosses started as a small collection representing each member of my family. I understand that it is a Latin American tradition. It has now grown to a wall of about 40 crosses of different sizes and materials. Kevin was captivated by it. I could tell that this was a God moment, as Kevin was literally drawn to the wall and proceeded to take them in. I said a quick silent prayer and left Kevin alone…with God and the crosses, and went upstairs to change and freshen up.
Kevin later described his moment as ‘holy’ and ‘warm’. We had a great conversation about the wall, its meaning, and its impact. He shared his favorite with me…and how it reminded him of Peter or one of the other disciples crafting it while sitting on a hill listening to the word of Jesus. He then shared his ‘life scripture’ with me….Deuteronomy 8. Kevin owns his own company…where times have been good and bad. But, regardless of the time, God is always faithful. These are notes from my journal… “God is bringing you into a good land where you will lack nothing. Praise the Lord for the good land. Do not forget the Lord or stop following His commandments. Do not become proud. Remember the Lord who provided this, gave you the ability to do this – produce wealth . Remember the Lord, your God, or face destruction.”
I meditated on this Word every day for the next week or so when I received a sizable amount of money that I was not expecting. I was totally shocked! What was I going to do with this money? I wanted a fence. I wanted a shed. I wanted a new car. (almost NEEDED a new car). But, I knew I needed to be sacrificial with the money.
After giving money to some needs in my family, I also wrote Rob (remember Rob….my pastor at the new church?) to let him know that I was going to be giving a ‘chunk of change’ to my church. Didn’t care what it went to, as I trusted him and our board, but I just felt led that day at that exact moment to let him know..as it was about a month later. I felt like there was more to the story. God was up to something! Because I was overwhelmed with the need to e-mail Robby on that Thursday even though it was his day off.
Rob e-mailed the next day following a church planning meeting. Later, at Starbucks, Rob shared that there had been a struggle between a list of projects/ministries they felt we were being led to do in 2006 and the budget…the fine line between faith and using the common sense that God gave us. God has used me (and Kevin…and Steve…and the provider of the money) to send a message to our church leadership….not that my money would solve the problem because it wasn’t THAT much!!!…but, to let them know that God would provide and to walk in faith.
When you take God seriously in your life…as a living sacrifice…He will use you. Hold on!!! Praise the Lord! As my friend Marcus taught me…”Hold my rope while I shout!”-Shirley Ceasar. My encouragement to you….when you take God seriously and read and meditate on the Word, expect God to use you….and be obedient to that which he asks – be ready! I often wonder…did these moments happen in the past? Did I miss them? How many God-moments had I missed in my life? How many times had I ignored what He asked me to do? What would have happened if at any point one of us didn’t do what He asked us to do?
Lord…forgive me for the many God-moments I have missed and for the many times that I haven’t been obedient!
Friends, co-workers, strangers, etc…forgive me…for not always being obedient to what God has asked me to do.
I pray that He will give me another chance to be obedient again…for each time I have missed. And I pray…that I don’t miss them again.