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.
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
Thursday, March 23
But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
What would you do with these 30 pieces of silver?
Wednesday, March 22
When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
“Oh, dear Judas, why ever did you lose hope?”
Over and over again, people come to my office, close the door, and weep. Almost always they say something like, “Pastor, you are never going to believe what I am about to tell you. When you hear it, you will never respect me again.”
Oh, poor Judas…
Never are our sins so bad that we can’t be redeemed. Never!
If only Judas had remained a bit longer, stood at Calvary and stared into Jesus’ eyes. If only he could have heard Jesus say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Oh, poor Judas, if only he could have listened, if only he could have heard what I pray we all hear week after week…“In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. Amen.”
Pastor Wilbert Miller