Tuesday 31 May, 2016

Luke 23:44-49

44 It was now about noon. Then darkness covered the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my life.” After he said this, he took his last breath. 47 The Roman commander saw what had happened. He praised God and said, “Jesus was surely a man who did what was right.” 48 The people had gathered to watch this sight. When they saw what happened, they felt very sad. Then they went away. 49 But all those who knew Jesus stood not very far away, watching these things. They included the women who had followed him from Galilee.

Jesus died – he really died.  It’s true.  You can rely on it.  Luke has been at pains to take Theophilus and also us through the account of Jesus’ life and he is coming to the pinnacle, Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension.  Luke reminds us that we can rely on these facts – they are from eye-witnesses.  The fact of Jesus’ death is presented to us and we have witnesses to testify to us that Jesus died.  The centurion commented that that Jesus must have been righteous – to die in agony on a cross yet with grace, strength and humility, giving up His spirit when the time had come – the centurion realised something special had just taken place.  The gathered people who had stood by were now beating their breasts which in those days was an act of abject grief – they realised now that Jesus really was the special One, the Messiah, the hope of the world, the saviour.  Of course the women were there as well, if at a distance, watching.

And what of you and I what do we do with these facts.  Do I run to Jesus as my Lord or run from Jesus as my judge – there is now no middle ground – we are either for or against Him – what He has done is not only the centre-point of time it is the centre-point of human existence.  We can no longer sit on the fence, having a bet each way – maybe a win maybe a place – we need to decide.  The facts are undeniable – it’s time to place our faith in Jesus as our Saviour and be obedient to Him as our Lord.

Father, I bow my knees afresh to you as my Saviour and Lord – I owe you all that I am, all that I hope to be.  I give You my life, I dedicate myself to following You and doing all You want me to do and being all You want me to be.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

2 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    This moment is a moment in time possibly more important than any other in history. The death of one man has changed forever the fate of humanity from hopelessness to hope. By His death we can live. In that moment he became our sin so that we could have his perfect righteousness. In that moment he not only fulfilled every letter and spirit contained within the Old Testament law, but he also made a way to fulfill all the requirements of the law on my behalf and on your behalf too. The darkness that fell supernaturally across the land at the time of his death has been replaced with blazing spiritual light that cannot be quenched.

    Lord, thanksgiving with words is not enough to convey the gratitude that I have for the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the cross. Because of this moment, I can have assurance that I will see the streets of heaven and experience the blazing light of Christ lighting everything that John describes in Revelation 21!

    When this

  2. Sam S says:

    Great post Richard – a profound reminder and vivid re-telling… of the eye-witness re-telling! Again: profound.

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Monday 30 May, 2016

Luke 23:44-49

44 It was now about noon. Then darkness covered the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my life.” After he said this, he took his last breath. 47 The Roman commander saw what had happened. He praised God and said, “Jesus was surely a man who did what was right.” 48 The people had gathered to watch this sight. When they saw what happened, they felt very sad. Then they went away. 49 But all those who knew Jesus stood not very far away, watching these things. They included the women who had followed him from Galilee.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like for Jesus’ friends that day. I know how the story ends. They didn’t. After everything they had seen and heard, this day must have been distressing and impossible to comprehend. They had grasped the truth that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who came to save them – and now this? How could this possibly be part of God’s plan? When the onlookers went home, His friends stood at a distance watching… waiting… hoping…

There are days in my life when I am unable to comprehend what is going on, I am distressed at the circumstances I find myself in and cannot see where my Saviour is or what He is doing. Like Jesus friends, I stand at a distance, watching, waiting, hoping.

But when I choose to lift my eyes to the cross, I don’t see a defeated friend, I see a resurrected Saviour whose love never fails. I choose to put my trust in You Lord Jesus, knowing that you are able to overcome even death.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    thank you Jesus for dying for me on that “wondrous cross”. You weren’t defeated, death and judgment were.

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Sunday 29 May, 2016

Luke 23:32-43

32 Two other men were also led out with Jesus to be killed. Both of them had broken the law. 33 The soldiers brought them to the place called the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood there watching. The rulers even made fun of Jesus. They said, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him. They offered him wine vinegar. 37 They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 A written sign had been placed above him. It read, this is the king of the jews. 39 One of the criminals hanging there made fun of Jesus. He said, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself! Save us!” 40 But the other criminal scolded him. “Don’t you have any respect for God?” he said. “Remember, you are under the same sentence of death. 41 We are being punished fairly. We are getting just what our actions call for. But this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Our picture of the right outcome in any situation is not always God’s picture. How amazing is His love for us that He could watch Jesus going through this.  Jesus too – He could have gotten down from the cross but He chose to stick it out to save each and every one of us.

So often we have people around us saying – if God is real then this is how the situation should turn out – when it doesn’t they ask how we can continue to believe in God.  God is so much bigger than just making things turn out well – how we want them too.  His picture has so much more to it than we can imagine.

I want a BIG God who has more than just my comfort and happiness in mind.  I want a God who does the hard things because they are the right things.  I want a God that stands up for the oppressed, who brings mercy, grace, love and peace to life, who loves each of us so much that He did the most difficult thing so that we could still be His friends.

Praise Him – that is who we have.

Written by Therese Manning

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Saturday 28 May, 2016

Luke 23:26-31

26 As the soldiers led Jesus away, they took hold of Simon. Simon was from Cyrene. He was on his way in from the country. They put a wooden cross on his shoulders. Then they made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed Jesus. Some were women whose hearts were filled with sorrow. They cried loudly because of him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 The time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the women who can’t have children! Blessed are those who never gave birth or nursed babies!’ 30 It is written, “ ‘The people will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” They’ll say to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ (Hosea 10:8) 31 People do these things when trees are green. So what will happen when trees are dry?”

The scene is Jesus, beaten and bloodied, on the way to be finally hung on the cross he was carrying. They randomly rope Simon the Cyrene (poor guy) in to carry the cross behind Jesus. And there are the women…”wailing for him” the scriptures say.

What is striking to me is Jesus’ words that follow. It’s an incredible eye-witness moment. Striking, and abrupt. In the middle of his pain, agony, and with the dark weight of death looming ever so closely over him, Jesus has clarity of mind enough to warn these mourning women…Don’t miss who I am, and what is happening in these days.

I sense an incredible compassion from Jesus here. A firm compassion. But still, compassion. Jesus, on his way to the cross, wavering in and out of pain-fuelled delerium, is still giving the people He was sent to opportunity to realise the error of their ways, consider who He really was, and repent.

I am challenged and inspired. Even in the deepest moments of His pain and torment, Christ was thinking of His people. And the same Christ of this deepest love is at work in our world today. If Christ, on his pained way to the Cross, was still thinking of others and reaching out to them with love, grace and truth, then there is no circumstance in my life that should prevent me from doing the same. I am called by this passage to be prepared to selflessly care and speak the truth in love to those who need to hear it. Even if they are sending me to my proverbial cross.

Lord, fill me with your love, keep me aware each day of who you send me to, and help me to live your selfless love in actions and in words.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

1 (reply)
  1. S Fell says:

    Thanks Rob for your insight. To watch out for others, even in the midst of difficulty, is such a trait of Christ and he calls us to this as well. A challenging thought

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Friday 27 May, 2016

Luke 23:13-25

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people. 14 He said to them, “You brought me this man. You said he was turning the people against the authorities. I have questioned him in front of you. I have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Herod hasn’t either. So he sent Jesus back to us. As you can see, Jesus has done nothing that is worthy of death. 16-17 So I will just have him whipped and let him go.” 18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Kill this man! But let Barabbas go!” 19 Barabbas had been thrown into prison. He had taken part in a struggle in the city against the authorities. He had also committed murder. 20 Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22 Pilate spoke to them for the third time. “Why?” he asked. “What wrong has this man done? I have found no reason to have him put to death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go.” 23 But with loud shouts they kept calling for Jesus to be crucified. The people’s shouts won out. 24 So Pilate decided to give them what they wanted. 25 He set free the man they asked for. The man had been thrown in prison for murder and for fighting against the authorities. Pilate handed Jesus over to them so they could carry out their plans.

In this passage there are three people. First is Barabbas, (his name means ‘son of the father’). As a boy, did his mother ever dream her son would be a rebel and a murderer? In a society where Roman rule was absolute, he grew up to believe that change could be bought about through rioting, the sword, and blood; the progression from this is that he became a murderer. Do we have anything in common with Barabbas? He was a man who lived life the way he thought best for him, he also knew the wrongs he had done and was waiting for his execution day. Barabbas represents us; everyone on this planet is a Barabbas. We know the wrongs we have done, that we have lived our lives as a rebel against God, and according to Gods law, we deserve execution.

Next is Pilate; he was a Roman, an idol worshipper, and an efficient and ruthless bureaucrat. He declares Jesus innocent; however, he sits in a judgement seat, crumbling under self preservation, fear and pressure. His character failed him at this moment in history and he thought if he compared Jesus to Barabbas, the crowd would choose the murderer and the rebel.

Now there is Jesus; He is also Jesus Bar-Abbas, the Son of the Father. He is man, but also God as testified to by God, man, angels and the devil. There is no comparison between Jesus and man; however in this, we see the greatest love of all in action. Scripture clearly says that no-one took Jesus’ life from him. He gave it willingly; to pay for our treason, our rebellion, and our failures of character. Because of the greatest love ever, we are now able to come to the throne room of God and say ‘Abba Father’.

Written by Cath Croft

2 replies
  1. Dimity milne says:

    Never thought of us all being barrabas before. Another analogy. The bible is full of them. This emphasises and illustrates the
    Point that Jesus was the rescuer even before he died. So many signs point to this

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Thursday 26 May, 2016

Luke 23:1-12

23 Then the whole group got up and led Jesus off to Pilate. 2 They began to bring charges against Jesus. They said, “We have found this man misleading our people. He is against paying taxes to Caesar. And he claims to be Messiah, a king.” 3 So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 4 Then Pilate spoke to the chief priests and the crowd. He announced, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” 5 But they kept it up. They said, “His teaching stirs up the people all over Judea. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.” 6 When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was from Galilee. 7 He learned that Jesus was from Herod’s area of authority. So Pilate sent Jesus to Herod. At that time Herod was also in Jerusalem. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very pleased. He had been wanting to see Jesus for a long time. He had heard much about him. He hoped to see Jesus perform a sign of some kind. 9 Herod asked him many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there. With loud shouts they brought charges against him. 11 Herod and his soldiers laughed at him and made fun of him. They dressed him in a beautiful robe. Then they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends. Before this time they had been enemies.

After the whole assembly rose and led Jesus to Pilate, they tried every way (subverting our nation, opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king) to accuse him. But both Pilate and Herod couldn’t find any thing wrong with Jesus.

Proverbs 10:12 says: Hatred stirs up conflict.

Hatred controlled the whole assembly and they just closed their ears and eyes (heart) and wouldn’t listen to anyone.

There is also an interesting thing that happened between Pilate and Herod à They became friends because of Jesus’ case (previously they had been at enmity with each other).

No wonder Jesus said: “If the WORLD hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (John 15:18)

Holy Spirit, please fill my heart with God’s love and open my eyes to see Your glory. Amen.

Written by Allen Leu

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Wednesday 25 May, 2016

Luke 22:66-71

66 At dawn the elders of the people met together. These included the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Jesus was led to them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me. 68 And if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” 70 They all asked, “Are you the Son of God then?” He replied, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more witnesses? We have heard it from his own lips.”

Jesus had given the council long enough to watch him and listen to Him and recognise who he was by the prophesies He fulfilled. Two agendas are coming to a climax here: that of the Jews to get rid of Jesus permanently; and that of God to forgive all of our sins through the death and resurrection of His son. God’s agenda was what mattered to Jesus; not playing the games of the elders and priests.
I find so many things that happen in day to day life much less stressful when I choose Gods agenda for my life over the demands of worldly people. I am reminded by Jesus’ actions and responses to his accusers that I don’t have to get revenge, I don’t have to justify myself, I don’t need to take the hurt they cause me.  I am justified in God’s eyes. He will take me out of this world one day to be with Him and nothing the world can do can change that.

But I am here and things go wrong and people are mean and life is unfair. Despite this I hold to the truth that Jesus chose the will of the father and kept His integrity to the end, and is seated at the right hand of God. I have a victorious saviour who has my back and has all things in His control, and that is enough for me, enough for now.

Lord Jesus, I ask you to help me keep your example in the front of my mind as I deal with the everyday. Keep me from anger, from retaliation and from following the wrong agendas. Show me your way, for You alone are victorious.

Written by Dimity Milne

3 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    ‘I find so many things that happen in day to day life much less stressful when I choose Gods agenda’ – This has to be the quote of the day.
    Thanks Dimity

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Tuesday 24 May, 2016

Luke 22:54-62

54 Then the men arrested Jesus and led him away. They took him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed from far away. 55 Some people there started a fire in the middle of the courtyard. Then they sat down together. Peter sat down with them. 56 A female servant saw him sitting there in the firelight. She looked closely at him. Then she said, “This man was with Jesus.” 57 But Peter said he had not been with him. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw Peter. “You also are one of them,” he said. “No,” Peter replied. “I’m not!” 59 About an hour later, another person spoke up. “This fellow must have been with Jesus,” he said. “He is from Galilee.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked right at Peter. Then Peter remembered what the Lord had spoken to him. “The rooster will crow today,” Jesus had said. “Before it does, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” 62 Peter went outside. He broke down and cried.

Fire-light is not great for seeing things clearly.  It’s shadowy, transient and unpredictable.  It may be bright on one side and pitch black on the other.

Peter was sitting in fire-light the night he denied Jesus.  He sat himself there.  And in the shadowy light, he was able to lie about who he really was – a follower of Jesus.  Or so he thought…

It makes me wonder… what ‘shadowy places’ do I frequent?

What’s my attitude like?  What kind of language comes out of my mouth?  How do I react to people?  What kind of movies do I watch?  How do I treat my kids?  How do I speak to my wife?  What kind of person am I when I think no-one is watching?

The thing is, there is always someone watching us and just like in Peter’s situation they are wondering “Isn’t he with Jesus?”

I want to be the man that, in every area of my life, steps out the shadows into the broad day-light and says “I am a follower of Jesus.  Let there be no doubt!”

Lord, by your Spirit, please help me not deny You by the way I live.  Help me live right, make right choices, and in everything I do glorify You.

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

2 replies
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Monday 23 May, 2016

Luke 22:47-53

47 While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. The man named Judas was leading them. He was one of the 12 disciples. Judas approached Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you handing over the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen. So they said, “Lord, should we use our swords against them?” 50 One of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “Stop this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders. They had all come for him. “Am I leading a band of armed men against you?” he asked. “Do you have to come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courtyard. And you didn’t lay a hand on me. But this is your hour. This is when darkness rules.”

Even though I know where this is leading, it still saddens me every time I read this section of passage.  How could a friend betray Jesus in this manner… Journey with Him for many years, minister, share life experiences & then betray Him for money.

Then we see the other disciples fight for Jesus by cutting off the ear of one of the mob.  The two extremes of being a disciple…

I want my life to count for something positive, to be known for getting on with the things that God has planned for me. I know to achieve this, I need to make good & wise choices, I can’t just sit back and wait for God to make my next move.  We know that Judas made his own choice in his part of Jesus arrest.  We also know that it was part of a bigger plan God had for mankind.

One of God’s promises to us is that He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose for them.

I thank you God for your perfect plan!

Written by Ps. Mandy Miller

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Sunday 22 May, 2016

Luke 22:39–46

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives. His disciples followed him. 40 When they reached the place, Jesus spoke. “Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted,” he said to them. 41 Then he went a short distance away from them. There he got down on his knees and prayed. 42 He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering away from me. But do what you want, not what I want.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and gave him strength. 44 Because he was very sad and troubled, he prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 After that, he got up from prayer and went back to the disciples. He found them sleeping. They were worn out because they were very sad. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up! Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted.”

In this time of extreme anguish, when Jesus knew what he would suffer in order to be obedient to His Father, He still chose to do it. As humans we focus on the physical pain He suffered, but I believe that for Jesus separation from His Father would be the most extreme suffering for Him. We cannot fully comprehend what that is like. His love for us is so self-sacrificial. We need to ponder that anew and never take it for granted. Then we will not lose “our first love” for him.

Secondly, in the midst of all that was happening to him Jesus was urging the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation. Despite the suffering He was facing He was still teaching and looking after his followers first.

Jesus thank you, thank you, thank you. Help me to make choices of obedience, not convenience.

Written by Megan Cornell

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