Jesus is Buried Mark 15:42-47

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 237

Mark 15:42-47

Jesus is Buried

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Friday evening, observant Jews were now busy making preparations for the Sabbath and this one, a high holy Sabbath day because of the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, was about to begin.
  7. Joseph of Arimathea, a town the location of which is unknown but likely near modern Tel Aviv, goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus. (Roman practice was to let the body decay on the cross.)
  8. He was a disciple of Jesus (John 19:38) in addition to being a member of the Sanhedrin. Without that status it is doubtful he would have had access to Pilate.
  9. Joseph might well have been one who saw in John the Baptist to be the one prophesied in Malachi who would come to announce the arrival of the Messiah.
  10. Pilate was surprised to hear Jesus was already dead and so asked the centurion, who had been in charge of the execution detail, to make sure Jesus was actually dead.
  11. John 11:31–37 tells us of the certainty that Jesus was dead; His legs did not need to be broken to expedite His death, per Psalm 34:20.
  12. Joseph buys a linen shroud to bury Jesus in —Is this the Shroud of Turin? Jesus is buried in the tomb of a rich man though Himself is judged a criminal. (see Isaiah 53:9)
  13. Buried in Joseph’s tomb, sealed, secured, and night falls, which marks the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Our attention is called now to Romans 6:1-11.
  14. The burial is observed however, which sets the stage for something unheard of.

 

The Crucifixion Mark 15:21-32

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 235

The Crucifixion

Mark 15:21–32

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Simon of Cyrene (Libya) arrived for Passover just as Jesus is being lead away to be executed. (His son Rufus became well known in the early church, see Romans 16:13.)
  7. Golgotha (Aramaic)—means skull. The Greek version is cavalaria from which we get Calvary.
  8. The “women of Jerusalem” had empathy for those about to be executed and provided them with a mixture of wine and myrrh, which deadened the mind to pain. Jesus refused it and thus experienced the full measure of suffering.
  9. Psalm 22, written 1000 years before the event, in detail describes the death of a person crucified. Crucifixion learned by the Greeks from the Persians and the Romans from the Greeks.
  10. The third hour—Jewish time, our 9 am. John 19:14 has the sixth hour—Roman time, our 9 am.
  11. The inscription, a normal practice, was written in Aramaic, Greek, and Latin, and stated why Jesus was being crucified – Jesus is a revolutionary, an insurrectionist against Rome.
  12. Two robbers or insurrectionists are on either side. Was the center cross meant for Barabbas? Mark does not tell us that one of these would be in paradise with Jesus that very day. (see Luke 23:43)
  13. Verse 28, in some versions, is not original to Mark.
  14. Passersby accused Jesus of being a liar and a loser. The ‘near-dead’ revile the Word of Life.
  15. A miracle was what they wanted, what we always want; had there been one, then no substitutionary atonement.
  16. Salvation is never by proof, but only by the Holy Spirit.

 

Introduction to the Book of Acts

Gospel Meditation on Acts #1

An Introduction

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Part 2 of a two volume work is the Book of Acts.
  7. Lucas, or Luke, (name meaning ‘Light Giving’), a Gentile perhaps from Antioch of Syria; as a physician, likely having graduated from one of the universities of that day, maybe of Alexandria, Rome, or Tarsus, his home town.
  8. He may have been a proselyte of Judaism or a “God-fearer’. Less is known of him than any other Gospel writer.
  9. Acts is the longest book in the New Testament, 1007 verses. It has the best Greek in the N.T. Luke was a careful researcher, a reliable historian, having talked with a number of the Twelve including Mary the mother of Jesus. Luke is correct in his times, places, and persons.
  10. The “we” passages of Acts, like in 16:10, indicate he was a companion of Paul on at least two missionary trips.
  11. Luke was faithful to Paul—“Luke alone is with me” Paul tells Timothy, 2 Timothy 4:11.
  12. Luke abruptly ends his narrative of the early church probably about A.D. 62 or 63 while Paul was under house arrest in Rome. The book covers part of the history of the church from A.D. 30 to 63.
  13. “Acts”—the question is, Whose acts? The Apostles, the Holy Spirit, the early church, or the working of the early church to fulfill Acts 1:8?
  14. Acts 1:8 may be the key verse in all of the Book of Acts.
  15. There was no title or name of author on the book; these became attached to Acts after the middle of the 2nd How much we owe Brother Luke!

 

The Promise of the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:1-5

GOSPEL MEDITATION on Acts # 2

Acts 1:1-5

(Also see Jer. 31:31-34, Ez. 36:22-26; & Joel 2:28-29)

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Volume 2 from Luke. First the account of Jesus’ words and deeds then the record or how part of the Church covered by Luke began to carry out the charge He gave that Church.
  8. After the ascension Jesus appeared to the apostles, and a host of others for forty days from Passover, proving that He was indeed alive. The Greek word for “alive” in verse 3 is from zoe meaning life in its complete, fullest sense.
  9. The chosen, hand picked, received His words. Today we are the chosen, and we still hear His words.
  10. Jesus talked to His disciples about “the kingdom of God” during those forty days. What was He saying to them? is a question not easily answered. A best guess is that it is what we have Jesus saying as recorded in the Gospels.
  11. Jesus gave orders, (verse 4) and so He will since He is Lord. Knowing this makes so much difference while living in such a confused world. The order was to wait for the “promise of the Father.” This promise is spoken of in the prophetic passages, among others, listed above.
  12. Jesus had affirmed the empowering event of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:1-12. Soon (it would be in10 days) this promise would be made real—the Holy Spirit’s baptism.
  13. Indeed, the apostles, and by extension we as well, will be baptized IN (not with as found in many translations), that is, plunged into and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

 

Pilate Delivers Jesus to be Crucified & Jesus is Mocked

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 234

Pilate Delivers Jesus to be Crucified & Jesus is Mocked

Mark 15:6-20

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. At the feast of Passover Pilate had begun a tradition of releasing one prisoner selected by the people. There was a notorious “rebel” not robber as in most English translations, named Barabbas (Aramaic for “son of the father”).
  7. At this time Pilate hopes the crowd/mob will select Jesus to be released. Pilate asks if they want the “King of the Jews” set free. But it was not to be and we are not privy to the machinations beyond the scenes.
  8. Pilate goes so far as to ask what the crowd what they wanted to do with Jesus, perhaps trying to find a way out of the mess he was in.
  9. “Crucify him” is the single shout; Pilate wants to know what evil he has done. Just more, “Crucify him.”
  10. Pilate plays every inch the politician, and for unknown reasons orders Jesus to be scourged, which kills many.
  11. This event takes place in the open air, but now the soldiers take Jesus out of view, into the governor’s palace, to be mocked by the whole garrison of Roman soldiers, and this after He had been scourged.
  12. What evil lies within us that we, and we must say—“we”— could do such a thing. We do not understand neither the depths of our own depravity nor the influence of that “hideous strength”.
  13. A purple cloak or gown, the color of royalty as a king would wear, is placed on Jesus. The soldiers knelt down before Him, as they will do again one day and that on the judgment day. Little did they know. Will they will recall that day? I suspect so.

Now Jesus is taken away, bloody and bruised, but not humiliated or defeated.

Jesus Before Pilate Mark 15:1-15

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 233

Mark 15:1-15

Jesus before Pilate

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Friday morning early, the Sanhedrin is ready to proceed with the killing of Jesus. Bound once more, Jesus is taken to Pilate.
  7. Mark cuts right to the critical question. Pilate asks: “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus quickly and assertively answers “yes.”
  8. Why the chief priestly faction continued to accuse Jesus is not plain. But Pilate must have seen something so he asks Jesus if He has anything to say. Jesus, to Pilate’s surprise, remains silent.
  9. It so happened that a tradition had developed, which Pilate may have initiated, that a prisoner would be released at the Feast of Passover—perhaps a good will gesture to appease the Jewish population.
  10. Barabbas, meaning ‘son of the father,’ a notorious revolutionary who had failed in a murderous attempt to revolt against Rome, was a possible candidate to be freed.
  11. Pilate saw a chance to escape having to hand Jesus over to be crucified, so in desperation because he did not want to see Jesus dead (see Matthew 27:19) wanted to grant the release of Jesus. The crowd would not have it and all the more demanded that Jesus be put to death.
  12. The Mob mentality had taken hold and there might have been some of Barabbas’ followers amongst those shouting to have Jesus crucified, not mentioned in the text, and Pilate the politician gave in. We must wonder what we might have done.
  13. The stage is now completely set—Jesus would die.

 

 

Jesus Before the Council Mark 14:53-65

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 232

Mark 14:53-65

Jesus Before the Council

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. After a brief stop at the house of Annas, the former high priest, Jesus is now taken to Caiaphas, Annas’ son-in-law.
  8. All or part of the 71 member Sanhedrin is in place and ready to deal with Jesus. All done in secret for fear of the people.
  9. Peter has recovered his courage and risks entering into the courtyard of Caiaphas’s house.
  10. The Sanhedrin needed a list of charges against Jesus in order to then send Him to Pilate, who alone had the power to condemn Him to death.
  11. Witness after witness, however prepared, did not produce enough substance that would convince Pilate of the need to kill Jesus.
  12. The high priest, and we notice in this passage the name Caiaphas does not appear, is desperate to find something incriminating.
  13. Some witnesses either lied or misunderstood the statement Jesus made as we find in Matthew 24:2 about the Temple’s destruction.
  14. As predicted in Isaiah 53:7, Jesus remains silent and offers no defense.
  15. What angered the religious leaders was Jesus’ not so subtle claim to being the Son of Man or Messiah—the King of the Jews. So the high priest asked Jesus directly who He was.
  16. Whenever questioned about who He was, Jesus answered.
  17. “I Am” Jesus said, and this is the English rendering for the Greek for Tetragrammaton, the four letters in Hebrew found in Exodus 3:14, and is very name of God, which we know now as Yahweh.
  18. The high priest, either as a genuine gesture or as an act put on for the rest, tears his tunics, quite a feat really, to express his utter disgust. Blasphemy, here is a man claiming to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, indeed the God of Israel. The Sanhedrin now has no trouble sending Jesus to Pilate and His certain death.
  19. Now begins the humiliation of the King of the Jews.

 

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus Mark 14:41-50

GOSPEL MEDITATION #231

Mark 14:41-50

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. In Gethsemane, late at night, so Friday, the Sabbath.
  8. Peter, James, and John still with Jesus when Judas arrives with what was probably the temple guard, a detachment of Roman soldiers assigned to the Temple and under the authority of the high priest.
  9. Present with the soldiers are members of the family of the high priest, scribes (mostly belonging to the party of the Pharisees), and elders (tribal leaders of whatever religious party), thus the leaders of the Sanhedrin.
  10. Judas had given the contingent a sign — a kiss. A kiss would not have been unusual but customary when meeting a leader. (Such is still done today and widely.) Judas, what a bum!
  11. “Why the need for a sign?” is a legitimate question. An answer may be that Jesus did not look different from other men, not different from Peter, James, John, or any of the other disciples. An ordinary looking man. (The image on the Shroud of Turin, which I think is Jesus, is that of an ordinary looking middle eastern man.)
  12. After the kiss, Jesus is seized, to prevent escape. It was likely rough handling.
  13. Someone, and John (18:10) tells us it was Peter, draws a sword and cuts the ear off the slave of the high priest. Was the devil busy here as such an aggressive, murderous attempt, might have resulted in the slaughter of the four right then and there — thus no cross?
  14. Luke (22:51) informs us that Jesus heals the ear injury.
  15. Jesus’ question in verse 48 may be variously understood. Is it an accusation, sarcasm, a seeking actual information, a rebuke to the religious leaders, or something else?
  16. Perhaps it is that Jesus lets them know He is not a victim, surprised like a criminal would be. No, He is ready and He is in control.
  17. Scripture will be fulfilled. Now the disciples flee.

 

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane, Mark 14:32-42

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 230

Mark 14:32-42

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Late Thursday evening, following the Passover meal, Jesus crosses the Kidron Valley and winds His way up the slopes of The Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane, or the Garden of the olive press.
  8. Leaving 8 of the disciples, Jesus brings Peter, James, and John a little further on and asks that they wait while He prays. And Jesus does not hide the fact that He is very disturbed.
  9. Perhaps due to too much of the dinner in them and the lateness of the hour, the 3 cannot stay awake.
  10. The disciples had likely never seen their Master so troubled and may not have known how to comfort Him.
  11. Jesus’ prayer is not like anything He had ever prayed before. How the 3 knew what He was praying is a mystery. Some say one of them, maybe John, overheard. But however it was, we can only guess.
  12. Jesus is truly grieved, which the language in all the Gospels makes abundantly clear. Here is a man in pain.
  13. Perhaps never before have we seen a reminder of the compete humanness of Jesus, the Word become flesh.
  14. His prayer begins with, “Abba, Father.” “Abba” from the Aramaic and means something close to “Daddy.” “Father,” and is pater in the Greek. (Some commentators suggest pater is added for Mark’s Greek reader. Neither Matthew nor Luke have Abba.)
  15. Jesus prays the same prayer each time, essentially that if it be possible may the hour pass and the cup removed from Him.
  16. The “if” as to the hour passing is a first class condition meaning that Jesus knew the Father could do that—let it pass. But He knew that was not the Father’s will as the whole of salvation would collapse.
  17. Taking our sin upon Himself, that separation from the Father, was the crux of the agony in the garden. This is very far beyond our comprehension. We can only read of it and catch a glimpse only of what full fellowship with the Triune God will be like.

 

Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial & Peter Denies Jesus – Mark 14:26-31, 66-72

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 229

Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial & Peter Denies Jesus

Mark 14:26-31, 66-72

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The hymn sung, perhaps from Psalm chapters 115 to 118, the Hallel Pslams. Like to have recorded that one.
  8. Thursday evening, Jesus would be in the tomb in a. 20 hours.
  9. The last ‘full disclosure’ from Jesus to His disciples.
  10. “All” would fall away! How does Jesus know this?
  11. Peter underestimates his friends and overestimates himself.
  12. The “rooster” – a real critter or a watch in the night, it will come twice before Peter denies Jesus three times. Very shocking.
  13. Peter strongly rejects Jesus’ statement and insists that he is above it all. The others have little course but to assert the same.
  14. Peter apparently was known to Caiaphas, the high priest, (see John 18:15-18), and once inside the grounds of the high priest is recognized by a maid who accuses Peter of being a companion of Jesus. Here is the first denial. Peter blatantly lies.
  15. In verse 68, the words, “and the rooster crowed” are not in the best manuscripts and should be ignored.
  16. The same servant girl once again, but this time more vigorously points Peter out as being one of Jesus’ followers. Peter, for the second time, lies about knowing Jesus.
  17. “Bystanders” are certain Peter was a part of Jesus’ party and are assured of this by Peter’s being a Galilean. Now to more than a servant girl, but before a group of people, Peter places a curse upon himself if he is not telling the truth and swears, maybe upon the temple or the altar, or some other sacred place, that he does not know Jesus. This, the third and final denial.
  18. At that moment the rooster crowed a second time, just as Jesus had stated would be the case.
  19. Peter now can only fall on his face and cry.