Lent Devotion for April 4
"They Seek His Death"
Reader: "This is the word of the Lord."
Response: "Thanks be to God.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 22:12-13
12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13 Like lions they open their jaws against me,
roaring and tearing into their prey.
SCRIPTURE: John 19:4-7
4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord."
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Again in the psalm, we read of the hatred and moral intention to end the life of the victim. Trust me again as a farm boy. A herd of bulls is not something you want to mess with. Have you ever watched bull riding in a rodeo? The bulls are not acting! And lions? Enough said. In reference to these fierce animals, we have an idea of the determination to kill Jesus by the Jewish leaders. There is no grace, but genuine evil intention. The mockery and cruelty are evident everywhere. Have you wondered why the Jewish priests were so eager to crucify him? It is hard to imagine being so full of hate as to want someone to be crucified, though horrendous such acts occur in our world today driven by hatred. The last part of verse seven gives us some reason for the murderous zeal. The Jewish law requires death for blasphemy. They did understand Jesus claimed to be God. Also in the thinking was that being hung on a cross was a sign to all that the curse of God was upon that person. The priests were so convinced that they were right, they immediately shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” In their shouting, they assumed full responsibility for the shedding of blood. Jesus was mocked as a prophet in His trial. He was mocked as king in the crucifixion, and here He is condemned to die by the priests. In His death, Jesus was rejected as prophet, priest, and king by those who would not believe. That same rejection occurs to this day.
MUSIC: “Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted” by Fernando Ortega (This is outstanding.)
Use me then, my Savior, for whatever purpose, and in whatever way, you may require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel; fill it with your grace. Here is my sinful and troubled soul; quicken it and refresh it with your love. Take my heart for your abode; my mouth to spread abroad the glory of your name; my love and all my powers, for the advancement of your believing people; and never suffer the steadfastness and confidence of my faith to abate; so that at all times I may be enabled from the heart to say, ‘Jesus needs me, and I am his.’
–Dwight L. Moody