Good Friday B

Lessons:
Psalm 22

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1 – 19:42

The passage in John (18:28-40) affords us a look at the exchange between Jesus and Pilate (the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Caesar Tiberius from AD 26 to 36). Pontius Pilate would rather not be the one to have to handle this irritating problem (what to do with Jesus), which he viewed as a religious quarrel. He wanted the Jews to sort it out themselves.  But they kept forcing the situation upon him.

When he interviewed Jesus, he found nothing worthy of a death sentence.  His interrogation leaves him frustrated and annoyed.  I can hear his tone.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

The two questions Pilate asks Jesus are important ones.
The first question, “Are you a king?” questions Jesus’ authority.
The second question, “What is truth?” questions Jesus’ relativity.

And I have to ask myself:
Do I give Jesus authority over my life?
Is Jesus relevant in my life?

And I believe our world is crying out for perfect authority and truth.
We wander around without direction.  We manufacture our own “truth” which sounds good to our ears but is not satisfying.  And it is frustrating when everyone has their own truth.  We need something absolute onto which we can cling, something greater than ourselves that will not change with the direction of the wind.

Manufactured truth is a little like processed sugar.  It tastes good and is satisfying, but only for a very short time, causing havoc later, because in actual fact it is empty (and addictive).

 

Palm Sunday B

Lessons:
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
John 12:12-16
Mark 11:1-11

Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.
The name Jerusalem means “City of Peace.”
In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they came in might, threatening war.  They rode donkeys if they came in peace. The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be “righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding to conquer, this king would enter in peace.
Jesus enters the place of peace, in peace, the Prince of Peace.

But his entrance didn’t bring peace.  His coming brought agitation and disquiet.  As he rode into the city, the people shouted “Hosanna!”  This means “Save us!”  The people thought Jesus came to oust the Roman government and to place himself upon the throne of his ancestor David.  When they realised that Jesus was not going to take the city for Israel, their cries of “Hosanna” turned to “Crucify!”

They were looking for someone to RULE, to free the nation from Roman tyranny.
Jesus came to RULE over our hearts, to free us from Satan’s tyranny.