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Archive for December 2016

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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 81 - John 19:16
Who is involved?
 
Before we leave John’s account of the trials of Jesus we need to note two further things. Both of them arise from the careful way in which John structured his narrative.

The discussions, bordering on arguments, between Jesus and Pilate come in two sets of three each. In both of them Pilate moves in and out of his palace in a quite extraordinary way. One would expect a Roman governor, lord of all in that area, to require people to come to him rather than him going to them. But it is not so in this case. Such was the power and authority that Jesus wielded.

So, in 18: 28 - 40 Pilate ‘came out’ in v29; ‘went back inside’ v33; ‘went out again’ v38. In 19: 4 - 13 he ‘’came out’ v4; ‘went back inside’ v8; and finally ‘he brought Jesus out’ for judgement v13.

All that is very clearly laid out to get our attention - to two things in particular. The first is that we should see that neither the Jews, that is the leaders of the Jews in Jerusalem at that particular time, nor Pilate, as the representative Gentile non-Jew, was exclusively responsible for the condemnation and death of Jesus. John has sometimes been accused of laying the blame for what happened on the Jews and that has contributed to the persecution of Jewish peoples at certain times throughout history - some of which still goes on. This is clearly very unjust. John could not have laid out the sequence of what happened more clearly to show that although Pilate was acting as a tool of the Jews he did not need to do so and would not have done so if he could have avoided the serious political blackmail he was subject to.

The second thing John would have us see is what he emphasizes at the centre, the focal point, of his account. In 19: 1 - 3 we read: “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”. Jesus is king. But not the sort of king we, and they, expected him to be. It is all in very conscious imitation of Isaiah 53, where we read, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. … he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. … He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

All of which John must have had in mind as he wrote his description of the suffering servant king. It is strange, but clearly deliberate, that up to this point John has said very little about the kingship of Jesus and about the kingdom, so very unlike the other three Gospel-writers. He makes up for it at this point.

This is who we follow and serve: this totally unique figure, the great King of all creation, the servant of all mankind, the bruised and bleeding one.

Stop. Think. Wonder.

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Friday Prayers

 

 Christmas Dinner prayer of Martin Luther...

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make yourself a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for You.

My heart for very joy does leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient song,

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who to man His Son has given
While angels sing with pious mirth.
A glad new year to all the earth!

Amen

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Jesus Now - 11

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Christmas 2016

Jesus Now! Part 11

Welcome to our Christmas 2016 series, we are doing something different! We are looking at Christmas through the consequences of Jesus' birth - from the reigning King back to His birth and beyond!

Last time we looked at the shepherds. Today we look at the visit of the Magi or Wise Men from Matthew 2:1-18. These learned men encountered angels, the earthly king Herod as well as the King they were seeking - Jesus!

 

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Jesus Now - 10

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Christmas 2016

Jesus Now! Part 10

Welcome to our Christmas 2016 series, we are doing something different! We are looking at Christmas through the consequences of Jesus' birth - from the reigning King back to His birth and beyond!

Last time we looked at Jesus' father, Joseph. Today we look at the shepherds from Luke 2:8-20. These ordinary men who encountered angels and the baby Jesus!

 

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Jesus Now - 09

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Christmas 2016

Jesus Now! Part 9

Welcome to our Christmas 2016 series, we are doing something different! We are looking at Christmas through the consequences of Jesus' birth - from the reigning King back to His birth and beyond!

Last time we looked at Jesus' mother, Mary. Today we look at His father, Joseph from Matthew 1:1-17. Come on in to find out a little more about this quiet man!

 

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Jesus Now - 08

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Christmas 2016

Jesus Now! Part 8

Welcome to our Christmas 2016 series, we are doing something different! We are looking at Christmas through the consequences of Jesus' birth - from the reigning King back to His birth and beyond!

Last time we looked at Jesus and His birth. Today we look at His mother, Mary from Luke 1:26-38. Come on in to find out!

 

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