Tuesday, March 28
Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
Monday, March 27
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.”
It is the proverbial “dead of night”. I awake from a disturbing dream. I am alone in the dark. The room is silent, and not a sound can be heard in the house or outside. All is still.
But my heart is beating wildly and my soul is troubled. I have heard voices in my dreams. The voices of the dead are calling to me. Are they accusing me of not fulfilling my obligations to them? Of some act of disrespect? Of some unresolved difficulty?
Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 26
Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 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?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.
What Our Lord Saw from the Cross; James Tissot, 1890
There are many beautiful and disturbing paintings of the three crosses on the hill but this painting tore at my heart. When I think of Jesus on the cross, I imagine Him having his eyes closed or staring up to heaven but at some point he must have looked at the crowd.
My prayer for this day…Dear Lord, help me to see all the people around me, really see them and care about them. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of beautiful people at Holy Trinity. Thank you for that gift. Amen.
Saturday, March 25
Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Let us pray…Dear God, may we take heed of Jesus’ actions and recognize the power of silence during this season of Lent, a period of reflection and repentance. May we be mindful of our own actions and the effect they have on others. Help us to see and to hear your message. In your name we pray. AMEN.
Friday, March 24
Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer.
I am always struck by how few words Jesus uttered in his final hours of life.
If I were gasping for my final breaths and people were spewing forth all manner of nauseating things about me, I am certain I would have plenty to say.
But Jesus, he said so little, often nothing at all. Listen to him as his final days drew near, notice how his most poignant words were often no words at all.
Quiet, quiet, quiet…Listen, listen, listen…absolute silence…
Even when Jesus did not speak, his words continue to bewilder us—they do not slam his adversaries with bombast, rancor, and ridicule. Even when Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” he did not reply, “What kind of fool are you?” He simply said, “You say so.” When all manner of venom was spit at him, according to Matthew, Jesus “did not answer.”
As the old African American spiritual would have it, “Jesus never said a mumblin’ word.”
Sometimes, in our deepest hour of need, the greatest grace is not to say a mumblin’ word and to let God do the talking.
Let us pray…“For God alone my soul waits in silence. Amen.”
Pastor Wilbert Miller