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Category Archives: Biblical

Crying out to God

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
9Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
12Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;
17I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;
18they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.
19But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
21Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
25From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
29To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
31and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.
(Psalm 22:1-11, NRSV)

Here we see the writer crying out to be saved and at first, it seems like God is not going to be there, he is mocked and seemingly left to die…

Yet read it again and see that God never left and through God there is victory!

 

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The Crucifixion

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. 32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. 45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”55Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:27-61, NRSV)

My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me? Why did Jesus say this if he was God? How can God forsake God? Some say this is the point where God had to leave Jesus in order that he could die, or that Jesus wasn’t actually God all along, or that maybe this wasn’t Jesus on the cross. Besides the fact that it would be physiologically impossible for a man who was on the cross as long as Jesus was here to even mutter a sound, we are hung up on the words Jesus says. But here Jesus says the first line os Psalm 22. And it is my understanding that in Jesus day for a person to pray the entirety of a psalm all they had to do was say the first line. So maybe Jesus was praying Psalm 22, which is a psalm that starts out it seems with God forsaking the person, but in the end, it is that God has never left them at all and has vindicated them. So is Jesus asking why he was left, or saying hold on, I’ll be right back?

 

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The Last Supper

17On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. 20When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; 21and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” 25Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.” 26While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”27Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:17-30, NRSV)

All of us think I never would have handed Jesus over or betrayed him. I never would have done that. But what if Judas was doing what he thought he had to? And even here Judas asks Jesus, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Did he know what he was doing?

But all of that aside, who is still there when Jesus blesses and breaks the bread and blesses and shares the wine? Judas is still there. He is a part of the feast. They ate and sang a hymn then they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus included the one that was going to hand him over.

Do we include those who have hurt us? How can we better show the love that God has given us?

 

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Thirty Pieces of Silver

14Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16, NRSV)

So what made Judas go to the chief priests? In John’s gospel, it says the devil entered him, but Matthew doesn’t say anything. The story before this passage is the woman anointing Jesus’ head. So why would Judas want to betray Jesus?

And remember the word here for betray is παραδίδωμι which means hand over. Maybe Judas thought that Jesus would call down an army of angels to stop anything from happening and bring about the Messiah they were all waiting for, the victorious military leader.

Maybe he had had enough of what was going on and wanted out but didn’t want to go home.

Why do you think Judas handed Jesus over?

 

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An Extravagant Anointing

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.” 6Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? 9For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.”10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” (Matthew 26:1-13, NRSV)

Let us not get this story confused with the one in Luke where the woman comes and washes Jesus feet with her tears and then dries them with her hair. Because when I did a search for an image, there was only this image I found that was of someone anointing His head. The rest of the images are of a woman washing Jesus’ feet. But now that is the story in Luke which gets confused with the earlier story in Luke 7:36-50.

Herein all of the gospels a jar of ointment here and is named as spikenard in other gospels is used on Jesus and that would have cost around a year’s wages. it was not cheap. and the money from its sale could have fed a lot of people, but it was used for a purpose to make Jesus ready for his burial. It was extravagant, this woman knew Jesus was worth this and she anointed Jesus. And she will always be remembered as the woman who anointed Jesus.

What have you anointed Jesus with?

 

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Teaching is the Temple

23When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him. (Matthew 21:23-32, NRSV)

Why do they want to know by what authority? Isn’t it pretty clear to everyone by now that Jesus is working under the authority of God?

But Jesus asks them a  question and they feel trapped, they can not give either answer because either answer will mean that they should have done something or that they are going against the people. They can not give an answer because it will put them in a bad place. Have you ever had to answer a question and you knew the answer you gave would not be received well? It’s hard to do, but if it is the answer you have to give it.

And neither of the sons did what the father asked, the first one told the father he didn’t want to go to the field and didn’t and then felt bad so he went, he didn’t do what the father asked but was moved by remorse. He didn’t do it because he needed to, or should have, but to make himself feel better. The second one just lied to the father and told him he would go and then did whatever he wanted. Neither of these 2 have a respect for authority and do whatever makes them feel good. God calls us to go and to follow where He leads so that his love may be made known to all the world.

So do you follow after God and go where He leads, or do you tell Him you will and then do your own thing?

 

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Triumphal Entry

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5“Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” 6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?” 17He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. (Matthew 21:1-17, NRSV)

This is the beginning of Holy Week, the last week Jesus is alive before the crucifixion. Jesus knows what is coming and so he tells the disciples to go into the village ahead and they will find a donkey and her colt tied together, they are to untie them and bring them back to Jesus so he can ride them into Jerusalem. And if anyone stops them, the disciples are to tell them that the Lord needs them.

So what do you need? A new phone, a new car, a bigger house, a new couch, a different job…

In all of the New Testament, there is only 1 time that Jesus ever says he needs something, and here it is, a donkey and her colt so that he can fulfill the prophecy about the Messiah in Zachariah.

So the next time you need something think about how much you really need it and know that God truly is providing you everything you actually need.

 

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