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1. Share any comments on the above.

2. What plan do you have to make this week as meaningful as possible? Jesus was on the cross on Good Friday from 9 to 3 — what might you do to remember Him during that time?




3. Read John 19:1-16

A. What did Pilate do (verse 1) and why, since he believed Jesus was innocent? What was his sin beneath the sin, do you think?

B. According to verses 2 and 3, what did the soldiers do, and what point were they trying to make?

C. Give examples from this passage of Pilate fearing God, yet not as much as he feared the people.

D. Why do you think Jesus was silent before His accusers?

E. Describe the exchange between Jesus and Pilate in verses 10-11.

F. Sometimes I have heard it said, “All sin is the same in God’s eyes.” How do the words of Jesus to Pilate seem to contradict that?

G. How was this passage a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7?

holyground4. If anything quickened you in the above passage, turn it over in your mind, press it into your heart, and use it as a springboard here for worship.





Pilate caves, now declaring guilty the One he said was innocent, delivering him to be crucified.

The Chief Priests fall upon Jesus like greedy lions on their prey:

Many bulls encompass me,

strong bulls of Bashan surround me,

they open wide their mouths at me,

like a ravening and roaring lion.

Psalm 22:12-13

hunting Then they strip him of his garments,

his robe and his seamless undergarment.

He was raised on the cross,

despising the shame:

all for us.

strippedFor dogs encompass me;

a company of evildoers encircles me;

they have pierced my hands and feet —

I can count all my bones —

they stare and gloat over me;

they divide my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.

Psalm 22:16-18

Psalm 22 was a mystery before the crucifixion of Jesus — for none of this ever happened to David. But how closely John’s gospel account follows Psalm 22. Let us contemplate what the nakedness of Christ on the cross meant for us.

5. Read John 19:17-22

A. What had Jesus already endured physically before this? (John 19:1)

B. Now what must He do according to verse 17? (This was probably the crosspiece, weighing about 110 pounds. He would then lie on it while they nailed his wrists to it, and they would hoist him to the perpendicular piece in the ground before they nailed his feet.)

C. How does Pilate attempt to absolve himself of guilt for delivering Christ to be crucified?

6. Read John 19:23-27

A. What did the soldiers now do with the garments of which they had stripped Jesus? 

B. In the midst of His suffering, what does Jesus do according to verses 26-27 and why?

sls-1-third-saying-thumbnail (1)

“Men were ordinarily crucified naked (Artemidorus II. 61). Jewish sensitivities, however, dictated that men ought not to be publicly executed completely naked, and men condemned to stoning were permitted a loin-cloth (M. Sanhedrin VI. 3). Whether the Romans were considerate of Jewish feelings in this matter is unknown.” (The Gospel According to Mark, comment at Mark 15:24). Many, such as John MacArthur, feel that the hatred toward Jesus would have prevented consideration and Hebrews 12:2 talks about his shame. We do not know whether he was naked or had a small bit of covering, but in any case, he was stripped, vulnerable, and exposed. In the sermon this week, Keller seemed to believe he was naked and talks about what that means for us — that He was naked so we would not need to be. You are your most vulnerable when you are naked — to elements and to eyes. He takes us back to the garden, when Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Our fig leaves are our idols, but because Christ bore our shame, we are now covered, not with fig leaves, but with His righteousness. Listen to this week’s sermon. (It is not free — but excellent. There is a free optional sermon on Good Friday if you choose to listen.) Here is the link: (We’ve been having trouble with this link – but it works if you cut and paste it in your browser.




holyground7. If anything quickened you in the above passage or sermon, turn it over in your mind, press it into your heart, and use it as a springboard here for worship.






 7. The Bound Lamb-1

Psalm 22:1 begins with:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Psalm 22:29-31 closes with:

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship,

before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,

even the one who could not keep himself alive.

Posterity shall serve him;

it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;

they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,

that he was done it.

Jesus was on the cross the same hours the Passover Lambs were sacrificed: 9 to 3. You may want to listen to this sermon and comment on it during that time. It is free:

      The Crucifixion - Timothy Keller



holyground7. If anything quickened you in the above passage or sermon, turn it over in your mind, press it into your heart, and use it as a springboard here for worship.




Saturday: Low in the Grave He Lay, Jesus My Savior, Waiting the Coming Day, Jesus my Lord:

We studied the crucifixion in our Bible study and one of our members, who has not yet placed her trust in Christ, said it was so sad she had to go home and read what happened next. Oh our anticipation for tomorrow!

8. What is your take-a-way this week and how can you use it to prepare your heart for tomorrow?



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  1. 5. Read John 19:17-22
    A. What had Jesus already endured physically before this? (John 19:1)
    He was flogged.
    B. Now what must He do according to verse 17? (This was probably the crosspiece, weighing about 110 pounds. He would then lie on it while they nailed his wrists to it, and they would hoist him to the perpendicular piece in the ground before they nailed his feet.)
    He would carry the cross on which He would die.
    C. How does Pilate attempt to absolve himself of guilt for delivering Christ to be crucified?
    He had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross that read Jesus of Nazareth , the king of the Jews.
    6. Read John 19:23-27
    A. What did the soldiers now do with the garments of which they had stripped Jesus? 
    They divided his garments among them and cast lots for his undergarment.
    B. In the midst of His suffering, what does Jesus do according to verses 26-27 and why?
    He asked John to take care of his mother, Mary because He loved her. My commentary says that Jesus’ brothers may not believe in Him yet so He wants Mary to be taken care of by John.
    P.S. I am again brought to a flood of overwhelming emotions as I envision Jesus’ nakedness in front of so many. What love He has for us… “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 I so easily lose heart. Jesus’ example is a beacon of hope when the going gets hard and pain is my company.

    1. Ernema, thank you for adding the information from your commentary regarding Jesus providing for Mary via John rather than His brothers…that was an outstanding question I had (i.e., why John and not James or Jude?)…this explains it…:)  Thanks for the answer.

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLDGVl8D5UU
    So rich.  Fernando Ortega’s  ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
    Worshiping with this song tonight.
    “Why should I gain from His reward?    I cannot give an answer.
    But this I know with all my heart.   His wounds have paid my ransom.

  3. C. How does Pilate attempt to absolve himself of guilt for delivering Christ to be crucified?
    I feel like in other scripture Pilate washes his hands “clean,” but not in this scripture. Here he only writes the phrase,”the King of the Jews” and refuses to change it. 

    1. Laura, that was what came to mind for me too…Pilate taking the water and washing his hands declaring himself innocent of Jesus’ blood.  I checked, that is from the Matthew 27:24.

  4. 6. Read John 19:23-27
    A. What did the soldiers now do with the garments of which they had stripped Jesus?
    The soldiers took His clothes and divided them into four shares. The seamless undergarment they did not want to tear apart, so they gambled to see who would get it.
    B. In the midst of His suffering, what does Jesus do according to verses 26-27 and why?
    He feels compassion for His mother, Mary, who was standing nearby. He speaks to her and says, “Dear woman, here is your son”, meaning His disciple John, and he says to John, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, Mary lived with John. I’ve always been a little curious about this because we know that Jesus had other brothers and sisters. At that time they may not have been believers yet, but we know that James became one. Why didn’t one of her other sons or even a married daughter and her husband take her in? At any rate, Jesus was making provision for his mother after his death. He entrusted John with the special care of His mother.

    1. Susan – your words were such a wonderful springboard for my pondering this passage anew.  I mentioned some of my thoughts below in my reply to Wanda’s reply to Laura!  (Is that confusing enough yet??  🙂  )   It got me further thinking about how John is uniquely described as “the disciple Jesus loved”.  We clearly see such a special relationship between Jesus and John – it seems to me that John “gets” who Jesus truly is on a heart level early on.  From John’s later epistles we see how much “love” keeps bubbling up in his words and his life…..and how tender of Jesus to place his mother in a home undoubtedly overflowing with HIS love!  I can only imagine how John’s love would nourish her soul in her last years on earth!  For she yet had to endure her son James being martyred for his faith in Christ……and John would be the only apostle to live to old age.  No matter the abundance of “hints” that the Scriptures give us, Jesus surely placed his mother in the best possible home for what would yet be coming in her life.  
      This even got me to thinking just a bit about the life and death of Kara Tippetts recently and how this so glorified the Lord……. even though clearly her family ministered greatly to her in her time of need, it was the body of Christ who carried them all along through the power of His Spirit…..especially her dear Mickey comes to mind.  This godly woman basically left her home and moved in with Kara’s family for several months and served them all – even their dog!!  🙂  As Kara herself commented “She spends it all!” – next to a poignant photo of Mickey sprawled out on the couch fast asleep with the family dog!  I just have to believe that Jesus placed his dear, dear mother into a home where they would “spend it all” on Him….and by extension, on his mother!  Oh, how he LOVED her.  

      1. Jackie, what beautiful thoughts about Jesus’ words, “Woman, Behold Your Son, Behold Your Mother!
        This is such a touching scene and showed the depth of Jesus’ amazing love for Mary. You have said it so well.

  5. Read John 19:1-16
    A. What did Pilate do (verse 1) and why, since he believed Jesus was innocent? What was his sin beneath the sin, do you think? Reading the account in all the gospels I find a struggle within Pilate. Pilate knows that the chief priests have handed over Jesus “out of envy” (Mark 15:10) but he wants to “satisfy the crowd” (Mark 15:15). Pilate “wanted to release Jesus (Luke 23:20) and so the internal struggle  I had always thought Pilate had Jesus flogged to appease the crowd out of crucifying Him but the accounts in Matthew and Mark say the flogging occurs after Pilate “washes his hands” of the situation and sends him to be crucified. Was it normal for a man doomed to crucifixion to be flogged first? Pilate’s sin beneath the sin was either control (he wanted to prevent an uprising which would be difficult to deal with and regain respect and authority) or approval (he wanted to satisfy the crowd so they would not think ill of him). I see true wrestling in his heart since he continually tries to not crucify him  and Christ spoke to him, not to Herod, which makes me wonder about his heart as well, for the better. I think back to Pharoah and how God hardened his heart, I do not find this said about Pilate  

    1. So many good observations about Pilate.  I think too, that both control and approval were there.  I hadn’t thought through it as well as you did though.  The contrast of Pilate and Pharoah intrigues me too.

  6. B. According to verses 2 and 3, what did the soldiers do, and what point were they trying to make? That the leader of the Jews was only obviously not powerful – to be apprehended and killed. An insult to the Jews (showing political superiority of Rome vs Israel?) Or trying to disprove what Jesus, Himself, claimed. But they are only looking at the external image, focussed on success and comfort to indicate power and goodness in life.

    C. Give examples from this passage of Pilate fearing God, yet not as much as he feared the people The fact that he continually tried to set Jesus free. When Pilate heard that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God he was “even more afraid.” I wonder if Pilate sitting down (v 13) was indicative of feeling weary and defeated… A feeling of “I have to do something I do not want to do.” Or what other significance “sat on the judge’s seat” and declaring “Here is your king!” Was he “giving Jesus back” to them? … They argue with Pilate in the next verse meaning they won’t accept the proclamation??

  7. D. Why do you think Jesus was silent before His accusers? Jesus only said what needed to be said. He had no reason to try and evade sentencing because He knew the cup He had to drink. He had no reason to “prove Himself” as it was already proven and declared and would further be declared by this path. 
    E. Describe the exchange between Jesus and Pilate in verses 10-11. Pilate warns Jesus that he has the power to release or kill Him. But Jesus reminds Pilate that all authority is given by God. This seems to change something in Pilate for it says “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus feee.”
    F. Sometimes I have heard it said, “All sin is the same in God’s eyes.” How do the words of Jesus to Pilate seem to contradict that? Jesus names one sin greater than another  I really like what Dee said in response to Laura on the first page – “I think the confusion has come from the truth that All sin, no matter what, deserves death. In that way it is the same — but some sin grieves God more than others (though all grieves Him and should not be taken lightly.” 
    G. How was this passage a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7? “He was oppressed and afflicted but did not open His mouth.” so many cry out to God for aid and comfort during oppression and affliction but Christ already had the full comfort of God and knew what would happen and so accepted The Cup as it came, not crying out (till the lament at the end). 

  8. 4. If anything quickened you in the above passage, turn it over in your mind, press it into your heart, and use it as a springboard here for worship. God, I am amazed at Your plan.  That despite sinners and sin You still hold The Story, my story, my children’s story squarely in Your hand.  I am intrigued by Pilate’s internal struggle and it is easy to say… “What if…” But the matter of fact is that You were in control. I get frustrated and defeated by events but You, who sees the universe in a single glance, are still in control, still lovingly monitoring each decision, each hardship, each oppression and affliction in order for Your glory to be lifted high. God, may I give You glory, You alone! May I hear Your voice, feel Your hand, and when I do not …may I trust Your neverending faithfulness, Your new-every-morning mercies. May my desire to please You repulse my desire to please men.  Keep my eyes on You, Lord. and thank you…  thank you for the amazing story that had You and me reunite, that had You, the hero, come running to my aid and rescue.  Thank you for Your Rescue Plan. Amen. 

  9. Jesus’ nakedness caught my attention.  The power of this image is vulnerability.  When everything we have is stripped away, where is our heart?  If it is trying to protect our reputation, then we may not be allowing Christ into enough areas of our life.  Remember, the image in the Garden of sin is the human need to hide our nakedness, our wrongdoing.  When we are willing to follow Christ’s example of being stripped, then our sin is dealt with.  We are ready to experience God’s forgiveness and receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us to follow Christ to the cross of vulnerability.  This process of continually dealing with our own sin nature is what makes us able to be the spokespeople for the Gospel.  As we allow God to work the healing power of the cross daily in our lives, we move toward becoming more like Christ.

    1. Sherryl – so well said.  thank you.  you put succinct words to some things I’ve been chewing on.  

    2. Your description of the vulnerability of Jesus and how we need to be stripped and our sin exposed to be clean and the reference to the attempts to hide sin in the garden of Eden.  So many images and layers of truth.  As Jackie said.  So succinctly said.  Helps my understanding.

    3. Sherryl, 
      Me too! His nakedness..Holy God making himself vulnerable for us-naked on the cross–what love??!.
      What struck me also was when Keller said, while he was on the cross he didn’t say “oh my arms, my legs”-not once! Rather he screamed, MY GOD MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME? Yes, I have heard this a lot, but for some reason the other day while listeniing to Keller the penny started to drop and passion for Him inside arose because He was willing to be torn apart from God-forsook- so that I would never be forsaken-so that I could be one with Him. I mean, just to know Jesus wants me-to be one with me. oh..that is enough to overwhelm me but to be ripped apart from God so He could have me? Why would I ever begin to think He would forsake me when I mess up, or when I struggle with sin? This was so powerful for me. He has clothed me in His righteousness-He loves me in my mess. He, who is Holy, took on hell for the whore to become his bride..now that stops me in my tracks.  Melt our hearts God! 

  10. This is the song I keep coming back to:
    “Your Great Name”
    Lost are saved find their way at the sound of your great name
    All condemned feel no shame at the sound of your great name
    Every fear has no place at the sound of your great name
    The enemy—he has to leave at the sound of your great name
    All the weak find their strength at the sound of your great name
    Hungry souls receive grace at the sound of your great name
    The fatherless—they find their rest at the sound of your great name
    The sick are healed and the dead are raised at the sound of your great name
    Worthy is the Lamb
    That was slain for us,
    Son of God and Man
    You are high and lifted up and all the world will praise your great name
    My sister Marsha’s memorial service will be this Saturday. She had her 56th birthday one week ago today. So many of the people who I pray for, who I long to see come to be undeniable Christ followers, will be at the memorial service. They will hear the gospel. The wonder and mystery of grace and the cross and Easter, the way the a funeral, the pain of death and loss, makes people stop the busyness for a moment and consider eternal things. I am praying for the Holy Spirit to be powerfully felt, for Pastor Mark’s message to draw their hearts to a breaking point. I feel afraid to hope too much and ashamed of that fear. It was a gift that the chronological reading today was Gideon’s story. Gideon was afraid to trust too, but the story and the power were God’s and not Gideon’s. God is not willing that any should perish, He is the Father in the Prodigal story, lifting His robe, running to pay the cost, bear the shame, to lay out a feast at the slightest hint of turning from sin. I have realized a little more this week something of the mystery of grace, I really do stand amazed.

    1. Chris, this is so inspiring to me right now….your holding on to the Father’s robe in the midst of the storm. I will pray for a beautiful ceremony and that out of these ashes comes beauty for all there.

    2. Chris, praying for the memorial service, the many you long to follow Christ and specifically for Pastor Mark.

    3. Chris, one of my favorite songs! Was singing it all morning yesterday after spotting the lyrics here. Thank you. You remain in my prayers as well as the service on Saturday. 

    4. Continuing to pray for your family,  Chris.  What a huge loss you are carrying.  I am heartened to see your deep love for others and wanting them to recognize the God of eternity and to know Him.  Blessings to you and yours.

    5. Chris, you will be in my prayers through this time and the service for your sister.

    6. Oh Chris, 
      I am just getting to the blog this morning after a busy week and oh..I read this. I am so sorry-you have experienced such loss-the deepest valley in life to walk through yet you cling. Your faith is such an inspiration to me-He is so glorified through your humility and suffering Chris.

      1. Chris, my heart aches at the loss of your sister. I do pray that the Memorial Service was a time for those you love to have seen the love of Jesus and heard the gospel message. Yes, He desires for all to come to him. My love goes out to you.

  11. 6. Read John 19:23-27
    A. What did the soldiers now do with the garments of which they had stripped Jesus? 
    The soldiers took the garments and divided them into 4 parts (one for each soldier). They cast lots for the tunic since it was in one piece. 
    B. In the midst of His suffering, what does Jesus do according to verses 26-27 and why?
    He proposes a “new” son for Mary, His mother. I don’t really know why, other than she might need a support system? Women of those times needed a man to help them survive…but my question is where was Joseph? Did I miss something earlier in the story about his whereabouts?

    1. Laura – I think most who have looked carefully at this believe that Joseph died prior to Jesus’ ministry.  ?  The New Testament doesn’t specifically tell us that, but even the fact that Jesus placed her into the care of John and John took her into his own home would strongly hint at this.  Also, Joseph never appears during Jesus’ ministry – though Mary and Jesus’ brothers are mentioned several times.  ?  I guess the last time we see Joseph would be when Jesus was left behind at the temple when he was 12 yrs of age(Luke 2;46).  ?   All of the question marks because I am no scholar!  Just what I have been taught over the years and seems consistent.  🙂

      1. Thanks Jackie! Your explaining helps a bunch 🙂

      2. That IS helpful, Jackie.  I’m so glad Laura asks these questions, because I can breeze right past some of the obvious.  I think in the back of my mind I assumed Joseph was gone but never thought about the rest of Jesus’ family/ his siblings.  So glad for all the help others bring here!  Susan had good insight about his brothers too.

        1. Wanda – I too was thinking on what Susan brought up about Jesus’ brothers.  Clearly Jesus had his perfect reasons for bypassing them and placing his mother into John’s care. It’s interesting to me to note that at the cross John and his mother were already together – but his brothers evidently were not there.  And I wonder if the words of Jesus ever came back to John and Mary…..from Matthew 12:49&50,,,”And stretching out his hand toward his disciples he said ‘ here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’ ”   That of course was his response to the man who told him that his mother and brothers were standing outside, asking to speak to him.  Much of what Jesus says about our familial relationships falls harsh on our ears, but He saw relationships in an eternal way and modeled that for us.  And of course, it can’t be missed that He DID care for his mother and her provision for the rest of her days on earth.  🙂    

    2. Laura, I don’t know if you were able to listen to the first Keller sermon, They Divided My Garments, but Keller addresses this at the end of the sermon. Jesus as the oldest brother was the one responsible for his mother’s care. In our western culture, the individual’s rights take first place over the family, but Jesus “rebukes” that as He is dying, thinks of His mother and makes provision for her. In Eastern cultures, the family is the idol, surpassing the rights of the individual. Jesus “rebukes” this, too, in that in placing Mary with John, He shows that our bond with other Christians is closer than even our blood-ties.

      1. Thanks Susan.  I haven’t listened yet and this says a lot to me.  Again, I’ve missed the obvious all these years.  Hadn’t thought of Jesus’ family members and where they were, why they were not at the cross.  Such good insight into all the reasons for Jesus to give Mary into John’s care.  Also, Jackie….as you pointed out, John lived to be an old man.  He would have been able to care for Mary her whole life.  Isn’t it amazing to think of all that isn’t included in writing?  I wonder what their lives were like?  Mary’s continued relationships with her children?   Jesus’ nieces and nephews.  Who will we meet in heaven?   It boggles the mind to think of having Jesus as an uncle or a brother in law.  Thinking about this makes it all so real!

  12. 5. Read John 19:17-22
    A. What had Jesus already endured physically before this? (John 19:1)
    He had been whipped,  The soldiers had placed a crown of thorns on His head, dressed Him in a purple robe, and mocked Him, slapping Him in the face.
    B. Now what must He do according to verse 17? (This was probably the crosspiece, weighing about 110 pounds. He would then lie on it while they nailed his wrists to it, and they would hoist him to the perpendicular piece in the ground before they nailed his feet.)
    They made him carry His own cross (or the crossbar — either way it was enormously heavy!).  One version I have heard is that He carried the whole cross, they nailed Him to it, and then they hoisted the cross upright and let it drop in the hole, which would cause great pain and tearing.   The other way it would be has Dee has written above, using just the crossbar, and there would be great jarring when they hoisted Him up on the perpendicular, and then nailed His feet.    It makes no difference — either way it is horrendous to think about it!   
    C. How does Pilate attempt to absolve himself of guilt for delivering Christ to be crucified?
    I don’t know how much it would assuage his conscience, but what he did was to  order a sign to be made  in three languages,  Aramaic, Latin, and Greek, that stated “The King of the Jews, ” and it was posted on the cross.   
    6. Read John 19:23-27
    A. What did the soldiers now do with the garments of which they had stripped Jesus? 
    Evidently there were four soldiers, and they divided his garments equally between the four of them.  However, His robe/shirt (depending on version) was seamless, and that made it more unique/ valuable, so instead of tearing it into fourths, they cast lots for it.  
    B. In the midst of His suffering, what does Jesus do according to verses 26-27 and why?
    He designated his disciple, John, to care for his mother, saying to her “Behold your son,” and to him “Behold your mother.”   Not only was it a great responsibility for John, but it was also probably the greatest honor Jesus could have bestowed on him.   It is no wonder that John includes this item  in his gospel!   

  13. God gave me an inspiration through the comments here. I listed all the songs mentioned here and I will listen to them all this week-end! Will be THINKING OF YOU  as I listen to your favorite songs. Of course, thoughts of Jesus will come as all the songs point to Him. Thank you  and love to all! Bing

  14. Sometimes I just need to get out my guitar and sing the truth of his mercy.   This has been one of those songs~ 

    1. Nila, I love imagining you playing your guitar. Next time I go to Montana I hope to hear you play. =)
      Thank you for sharing. 

      1. Jill,
        I’d love to meet you on the Bighorn Mountains for a picnic and sing together around the campfire 🙂  I grew up doing that 🙂

        1. Nila and Jill – I love the Bighorn Mountains!  I love campfires!!  Me too, me too!!  Road trip, Jill??  Don’t you just love the way I just horn right in?  Get it?  Bighorn….???  Oh dear, I’ve gone off the map here….sorry, WAY too little sleep this week!  🙂  

        2. =)
           (to both of you, Nila and Jackie)

        3. From where you are,  Jill and Jackie my house could be right on the way to Nila’s.  Just sayin’  🙂   Ahh.  Fun to dream!

        4. 🙂  wow, Jackie!  But, seriously, would love this kind of time together with sisters here.

        5. p.s.  Jill, Jackie, Wanda and others….. And my house is one big Bed & Breakfast at this point….. Maybe a meeting in the west some time.   The Lord knows.  

      2. I saw the first post and thought Montana is close, maybe “me too” as I would love to meet all of you in person.  I had to look up where the Big Horn Mountains were in Montana and they are on the south part of the state.  Kalispell is a 6 hour drive (plus a border crossing) for me, so southern Montana is just a bit too far.  My “me too” went to “oh well”. I do hope you get together for that picnic, it would be so lovely. However, if you ever make it to Banff, count me in.

        1. Smiles to all of the above.  You’re right, Nila…..the Lord knows.  Maybe someday……Well, for sure someday in heaven if not before! But your bed and breakfast sounds so inviting!

        2. Love to all you sisters. Though I am nowhere near Montana, it sounds so wonderful to be in one group and enjoying the fellowship and singing. Yes, I’ll be with you, too- in spirit!

  15. Read John 19:17-22
    A. What had Jesus already endured physically before this? (John 19:1) He was flogged, ridiculed, and mocked.  I have heard teaching that this flogging was as close to death as you could get  39 lashes because 40 would kill a man. 
    B. Now what must He do according to verse 17? He had to carry His own cross.
    C. How does Pilate attempt to absolve himself of guilt for delivering Christ to be crucified? He put up a sign declaring Jesus the King of the Jews. The chief priests protested saying that Jesus only claimed to be the King (and implying that He was not King) but Pilate is convinced that Jesus was in fact who He said He was. So much so that he declared it in three languages (essentially to all living there since those were the languages spoken, right?). I am really struck by the encounter between Jesus and Pilate in John. 

  16. So here’s the thing: I can see Pilate in myself…. Convinced that Jesus is who He says He is and declaring Him but at the same time bending to the approval of man. Even under the mask of “I have no choice.” Or “I didn’t know better.” it is still sin. Turning this over in my mind and heart today. I am grateful for His continual refining process and drawing me close, opening my eyes, changing my heart to bend to His approval and be mindful NOT of man’s approval. 

    1. Me too, Jill:  continual refining process.

    2. Thanks, Jill. I guess I have never seen myself in Pilate but now I do. May it be that Jesus would be my choice and not man’s approval. And even as I write this, I am certain temptations to seek man’s approval would always be there for me. Grateful for the gospel-I do not need to be shackled by performing nor by sin. God gives grace again and again.

      1.  Grateful for the gospel-I do not need to be shackled by performing nor by sin. God gives grace again and again.

        Amen!  Ernema

      2. As I was driving to/from work on Thursday, I was pondering the brutality Jesus suffered at the hands of the pharisees/religious leadership and Roman leadership and guards…it truly sickens me to think of the physical pain Jesus endured (to say nothing of the spiritual pain of separation from God).  I so hate mistreatment…I thought to myself “how could this have occurred?…how could people treat others with such cruelty, so inhumanely?” and then I thought of the Jewish holocaust, the genocides, wars, human trafficking, slavery, etc.  My thoughts went to the evil of this world…the evil embers fanned into a flame and then to a ragging inferno.  I started thinking of what the root was/is?…it all stems from those dastardly idols!…oh that the world might be overcome by our Lord (yes, absolutely, Jesus is coming again and will set everything right once and for all, but in the mean time…) and live by the gospel of our Lord in repentance, peace and love, treating others how we would like to be treated, love the Lord as #1 second to none.

    3. Jill, the way you described Pilate could be me as well.  I too am grateful.  I find being part of this group is part of that continual refining process for me.  The questions and comments drive me to think and contemplate things in different ways that I would not have considered otherwise.  Thank you for this.

  17. i want to share with you what my morning devotional Has to say this morning. I was unaware of the meaning of the sign referenced and it is so very fitting as we step into Good Friday tomorrow and remember how Jesus is our sacrificial lamb. Blessings to you all in the next 4 days!
    The Lamb, Yahwehby Michael Norten
    A number of years ago I heard Jimmy DeYoung, an outstanding news commentator and Bible teacher, make a presentation at a Bible prophecy conference. Since it was during the Christmas season, he was teaching about the birth of Jesus in the first chapter of Luke. He read to us Luke 2:8-12:
    In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’
    Dr. DeYoung then asked the audience a surprising question: “Did you ever wonder why this was a sign?” This left us all speechless. I had to admit to myself that I had never even questioned it. Why was it a sign? Dr. DeYoung had us turn to the book of Micah. We were all familiar with Micah 5:2, which prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but many of us were not familiar with Micah 4:8, which prophesied that He would be announced at the tower of the flock (Migdal Eder). Dr. DeYoung, who had lived in Jerusalem for a number of years, told us that Migdal Eder was a two-story tower that had been built in a pasture outside Bethlehem. The remains of the tower had recently been discovered.
    Dr. DeYoung explained that the shepherds in the field had not all been the lowly shepherds that we had always assumed. They were actually priests from the temple who were doing shepherding work to assist in the birthing of the sacrificial lambs so that they would be unblemished for sacrifice. While the shepherds were keeping watch over the flock from the top floor of the tower, the shepherd-priests would bring the pregnant sheep in from the field to the tower’s bottom floor, where the sheep would give birth. As soon as a lamb was born, the priests would wrap it with strips of cloths made from old priestly undergarments. This was done to keep the lamb from getting blemished. The priests would then place the lamb onto a manger to make sure it would not get trampled. Wow! So when these shepherd-priests went into Bethlehem and saw the baby Jesus wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger, they must have exclaimed, “There is the Lamb of God, prepared for sacrifice, unblemished!” They had to be excited beyond description, because they were the only ones who could have understood the sign. It was just for them from God. It was waspersonal!
    I presume that Jesus’ swaddling cloths were from the same source as the lambs’ cloths. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, was married to the priest Zacharias. Elizabeth could have given her the cloths made from the priestly undergarments. It is highly probable that the first clothes that Jesus wore were the clothes of a priest. What a sign! I was so intrigued by this that I did some further research. These historical observations and parallels were confirmed by many messianic rabbis and the renowned historical writer Alfred Edersheim. I also sought out help from Bob Ibach, an experienced archaeologist, who had done some digs in Israel. He found the written account and pictures of the discovery of “the tower of the flock,” Migdal Eder. This whole insight made the account of the announcement of Jesus’ birth astounding and even more exciting!
    More and more facts began to unfold in my research. I was talking further with David Schiller, my Jewish teacher and friend, about what I had learned about the shepherds and the lambs. He amazed me with some more historical insights. He explained that each Jewish family would put the family name around the neck of their lamb that they took to the Temple to be sacrificed. They did this to make sure they received their own lamb back for the Passover dinner. I wondered if there was any significance to this piece of trivia. As I was contemplating this, Schiller pointed out to me a particular object found in most of the paintings of Christ on the cross. There was a small sign at the top of the cross that looked like four letters: “INRI.” I discovered that this was an abbreviation of the sign that Pontius Pilot placed on the cross as seen in John 19:19:
    Pilate also wrote an inscription, and put it on the cross. It was written, ‘JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.’
    I learned that the letters were the first letters of each of the nouns in the inscription in Latin. I contacted my daughter Ruth, who is very good with Latin, and asked her to show me the inscription in the Latin Vulgate. That confirmed it: “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” (INRI).
    Then Schiller opened my eyes to an incredible observation. Since the inscription had been in three languages — Latin, Greek, and Hebrew — he transliterated it for me from Hebrew to English. I saw before me these words: “Y’Shua HaNatzri V’Melech HaYehudim.” I was absolutely stunned when I took the first letters of each of these words. It spelled “YHVH,” the Tetragrammaton form of the name of God! YHVH and YHWH can be used interchangeably. When this technique of abbreviating is used, the title on the cross in the actual Hebraic script undeniably reveals the name of God. In English, the name is pronounced “Yahweh!”
    Just like the Jews put their family name on their lamb for sacrifice at the Temple, God put His name on His Lamb for His family, which includes you and me!
    God gave us so many pictures in order that we could understand the magnitude of His loving grace!
    Excerpted with permission from Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts by Michael Norten, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2015.

    1. Carol, this was so interesting to read.  I had always thought about the sign saying that Jesus died for being King of the Jews, which is from a human perspective  “God put His name on His Lamb” is the total opposite. I will have to contemplate that a bit more.

    2. So intriguing and compelling, Carol.  The depth of the Father’s love; so astounding.  The symbolism of the sacrificial lamb and the reality of the Lamb of God.  Amazing Grace.  

    3. Carol, thank you for sharing this. Amazing love, how can it be! I will add Norten’s book on my list of book in our FB page.

      1. Carol, this is such a wonderful post. Jimmy DeYoung has such incredible teaching and this really is amazing to read.

  18. What a week it has been.  And there is still so much to come.  I’ve been reading and thinking through these questions off line and listening to much of the music that has been posted.  Such a treasure trove here.  
    I know many are experiencing trial and sorrow.  Thinking of Chris saying goodbye to her sister, Joyce whose daughter, Kendra lost a dear friend and thinking of those here who are grieving poor health of themselves and loved ones.  And very dear to my heart, are the moms here who struggle daily, as I do, with knowing that some of their own beloved children do not love and trust our dear Lord as we do.  
    In the midst of the sadness and sorrow of this week, God has given my family a precious gift.  Our granddaughter, Adelyn Faith, was born, on her due date, April 1st.  The story very nearly reads like a cheesy Hallmark movie as things did not go at all as planned.  But oh what a happy ending, just in the ‘nick of time’!    I can’t write it all here, but the short of it is that, though my son and daughter in law were abundantly prepared for the home birth they had chosen, while the midwife was enroute, still 10 minutes away, baby Adelyn could wait no longer!  But God knew this would happen!  Just the night before, the Lord had graciously and tenderly allowed my son and daughter in law to casually meet a visiting OB doctor, who was staying a few houses away, with her elderly father, on their Christian campus.  Knowing that Adelyns birth was imminent, Seth called the house where she was staying and she arrived just in time to wash her hands and deliver the baby, while an extremely grateful and relieved daddy breathed a sigh of relief!   After thanking them profusely, he kept asking ‘what can we do for you?’ To which the doctor and her husband said, ‘Could we hold the baby?”  and my son observed that as they held her near, they both prayed God’s blessing over her.  There are more humorous and amazing moments, but I am so struck by how God orchestrated all of these details.  For months, I have prayed for this birth to go smoothly.  I had no idea.  They had no idea.  But God knew absolutely, precisely what would happen.   
    God is using this story of little Adelyn Faith to grow my own faith.  Two days before her birth, I was in such deep sorrow concerning my unbelieving loved ones.  I sometimes come to the place where I don’t see even a tiny glimmer of hope of a change in their lives.  And now, I am thinking about how I did not see even a glimmer of the circumstances of our granddaughter’s birth happening as they did.  God knew the tapestry.  He sees the upper side.  For all of us.  Just as He knew always that His Son would have to suffer and die to redeem us.  
    “Oh the love that drew salvation’s plan.    Oh, the grace that brought it down to man.   Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span.   At Calvary.
    Mercy there was great and grace was free.  Pardon there was multiplied to me.  There, my burdened soul found liberty.  At Calvary.”

    1. Wow-Wanda! Did you experience mysterium tremendum? Awesome answer to prayer and the powerful insight you shared: “God knew the tapestry.  He sees the upper side.  For all of us.  Just as He knew always that His Son would have to suffer and die to redeem us.”
      Hugs to you, Grandma!

      1. At first, we laughed a lot when we heard the story…..but when I began to pause and really think about it.  YES!   If the unexpected doctor didn’t have a father living on campus, we would have been convinced she was an angel sent just at the right time!  

        1. Congratulations, Wanda. I love this story of the birth of Adalyn.  Blessings to all. God knew the need and he provided!

      1. Thanks, Dee.   Seth told me he was going to sit down and write the whole story before he forgets anything.  They do Shutterfly books a lot.  I will pass on the idea of adding the story along with the photos!  

    2. Oh Wanda! Beautiful story and Congratulations!!!! =D

    3. Wonderful story Wanda and congratulations Grandma:) 

    1. Dee – amen.  I remember as a little girl growing up in rural wisconsin how the stores would all close for three hours midday.  that tradition has been long lost, but maybe it’s for the best as we then are forced to be more intentional in setting aside the busyness in our own hearts to simply worship.  🙂

      1. Was thinking of this too, Jackie.  It used to be protocol to allow employees time off during those hours to attend a service.  My husband doesn’t always have to go into the office on Fridays but came home this week saying the only time he has to go in today is for a meeting from 1-3.  Irony.  But you’re right about setting our hearts aside at any time to honor and worship.

    2. Yes, Dee. Gratitude and worship. “May your great love flow from us.” Lord, I have a few distractions right now. Help me center my thoughts on you and lead me to your will for the day. Be with my friend, Marcia who was just diagnosed with lung cancer. My heart is aching, Lord for her and her girls with this diagnosis. You called her pastor husband home 3 years ago and now this. I plead for grace and for trust in your mysterious, sovereign ways.
      Thanks for the song (I don’t remember who shared it here), “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on his wonderful face; and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

    3. Amen.    
      And Dee,
      …thank you again and again, for giving us this place to come together and to be of one heart.  Thank you for leading us to the cross in such meaningful ways as we grow in our love and understanding of our Lord’s great sacrifice on our behalf.  

    4. Amen

  19. Yes, Dee…Good Friday is here. May the Lord draw near to each one of us as we draw near to Him, no matter where we are or what we are doing today. May each of us find communion with Him in the simple tasks of our day, looking beneath the ordinary things we do for the deeper meaning.
    Ladies, I just received a phone call from my dad. He is bleeding through the rectum and on the way to the emergency room. This has happened twice in the past, the last time about 3 years ago. He’s had some health challenges lately since he turned 87. Last week his legs gave out and he fell; his legs have been getting worse due to the neuropathy. He feels okay but the bleeding is worrisome. I am going to keep my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, with me today. So, my “plans” for Good Friday have been upended…but this is no surprise to Him. Please keep my dad in your prayers!

    1. Susan, keeping you in my prayers for today. Yes, God is not surprised with our circumstances. May He be your circumstance today and mine as well. Father, thank you for the gift of your Son. May we dwell deeply in your love.

    2. Stopping to pray for your dad now, Susan.   And also for you as you spend your day with your mom.  Prayers for those special touches from His hand as you commune with our Lord in the midst of your day.  Blessings and peace, Susan.  

    3. Praying for you and your parents

    4. Yes, Susan, may God give you grace.  

    5. Susan, 
      I just read this..praying..how is he??

    6. Susan – “looking beneath the ordinary things we do for the deeper meaning.”  That blessed me.  Praying that you are doing well in the midst of the storm.  As you stated, the Lord knew His plans for you for Good Friday…..and your father and mother…..praying right now.  

    7. Just seeing this now. Praying that God has been and will be with you and your parents during these stressful days. Any news?

  20. Its been eleven years since I watched the movie The Passion of the Christ.  Listening/watching this by Natalie Grant here this morning:  
    And this remarkable interview with Jim Caviezel who did the part of Christ in that movie and how it affected him.  His shoulder was separated, he was struck by lightning, he suffered hypothermia, he had to have heart surgery after the move was completed.     Such a thought provoking, sobering, life-giving interview:

    1. Thank you for these links on The Passion. They are truly awesome!

  21. Anyone else having trouble seeing posts?  (I haven’t been able to see any posts beyond early yesterday (Friday) morning.)

    1. There haven’t been many that I see.  I can see a couple from today, Saturday.  Maybe you can’t see this!  though until you wrote this question, the last one on the page was Dee’s but there’s nothing written in the comment so I did wonder too. I see one from this morning that Rebecca wrote to Susan.

      1. actually I only see one from April 4; Rebecca’s to Susan.  Dee’s post that is empty is from April 3 at 9:18.  That’s the bottom of what I see, before you wrote, Nila.

    2. I agree totally with Wanda!    I’m thinking maybe people are just so busy getting ready for Easter that they can’t post.  That’s my case.  I downloaded Friday’s sermon, but I haven’t listened to it yet.    I’m not sure when that is going to happen.   Perhaps others are in the same boat.   I did think Dee’s empty post was peculiar — don’t know what that is all about.   Happy Easter to anyone who can see this post!   🙂    

  22. Thanks, Dee, for explaining the mystery post. 🙂  
    Takeaway:    So, so much this week that has spoken to my heart.  I can’t thank you all enough for giving me this chance for an all week focus on Jesus’ last week.  My college daughter and I went to Maundy Thursday service (at the church we have been visiting) and she and I and my husband went to Good Friday service (at our current church home)  One thing that struck me at both services was that as the long portions of scripture were read (both read the whole story from John), my mind was bursting with all that we’ve discussed here this week.  It felt more familiar to me than ever.   (which made me so grateful for our time here).  
    But I am reminded of Dee’s words that there is a danger when scriptures are so familiar that we may overlook important things.  And as we shared our thoughts and what the Lord was teaching us this week, I DID learn and ponder MANY things that had slipped right past me before.  
    Once again, Keller’s sermon had me hanging on every word (and my wrist aching from writing it all down!)  I  listened to ‘the Crucifixion’ sermon where he unpacks the cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ”
    Again, I thought, ‘OH, I want so many people to hear this!”  I think I WILL order some CD’s of a few sermons because it just seems easier to share them that way than ask someone to open an account and order them.    I was so taken by his explanation of how our society has removed guilt by valuing personal comfort and choice in beliefs and values.  And, I could so clearly see this in what I’ve heard in a painful conversation with someone I love,  earlier in the week.  
    I was blown away by Amos 8: 9 and 10.   I don’t think I’ve ever realized these verses were there!  
    “In that day, declares the Sovereign Lord,  “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.  …….  I will make that time like mourning for an only Son, and the end of it like a bitter day.”   
    What a detailed description of the darkness that covered the earth on the day God mourned and wept for His beloved Son.  Another incredible confirmation of the whole of Scripture.  I am still amazed by these verses.  
    Also, hadn’t thought about the song ‘Alas and Did My Savior Bleed’ for a long time.  Keller quoted this stanza.
    Well might the sun in darkness hide
    And shut his glories in,
    When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
    For man the creature’s sin.

    For as deep as our discussions and study has been this week,  we can never plumb the depths of Jesus’ love for us.   That truth is what I will carry with me into tomorrow. 
    EASTER JOY and blessing to each of you!

    1. Wanda, I meant to tell you congratulations on the birth of Adelyn Faith!

  23. On Saturday mornings, my alarm goes off at the time of Paws & Tales radio program from Insight for Living.  Even though it’s a kids program I really enjoy lying in bed just listening.  This morning was about Holy Week.  At the end there was a song by Dick & Mel Tunney called “May I Not Forget” that to me really appropriate for this week.  I tried looking for it on you tube for a link, but couldn’t find it, so I am providing the link for the paws & tales program.  If you fast forward to the end (unless you want to hear the program) you will hear the song.  It has children singing in the song (which I presume is because it’s a kids program) but the words were powerful to me.

  24. For some reason, I can not open the link to the crucifixion message. Listened to a couple of Alistair Begg and he had some insight into the presence of 4 women at the cross. Even up to the end, Jesus was up-ending the traditions of the day. Women are not given much status during that time but here, the inclusion of the women’s presence is no coincidence. And early next morning, the first “missionary” was a woman-Mary Magdalene! Wow! 
    Love the historical lesson given by Carol based on Norten’s book. “Just like the Jews put their family name on their lamb for sacrifice at the Temple, God put His name on His Lamb for His family, which includes you and me!   God gave us so many pictures in order that we could understand the magnitude of His loving grace! “
    Wanda, I did look up Amos and wow-that just blows my mind! Whizzed by those words before and never ever have given it a thought!
    Dee, thank you so much for leading us in a holy experience of Easter. Hallelujah-He is risen! I am planning to wake up early tomorrow and see the sun rise.

  25. Thank you all for praying! My dad was released this am from the hospital as the bleeding stopped. He is staying with my sister, and my mom is still with me. The hardest thing is her confusion about my dad (not remembering he was in the hospital even though we went to see him there) and why he is there and she is here! Blessing – we are taking mom to church tomorrow…can’t remember the last time she was in church…she is so hard of hearing but I pray she will hear the gospel! I was so sad last evening because I missed the Good Friday Tenebrae service that I was so looking forward to! But, as I was driving us home from the hospital last evening and having this conversation with God in my mind, I felt it impressed upon me that attending a religious service, beautiful as it is, was not as important as being with my mom and taking care of her. In being with her, I was being with Him. That’s where Jesus shows up.

  26. Susan, I am so glad you were with your Mom. May your time with her be blessed. And I am thankful that your Dad’s bleeding stopped. Our parents are so needy and this time of life is a special time of bonding, even when we don’t understand why. May God’s love surround you.

  27. My take away: I am hoping that the woman coming to the Bible study will have her heart open to the Resurrection story. This Bible study you are doing is wonderful, Dee.
    My Good Friday service was a special fellowship time and I took a friend. She listened intently and on the way home said, I do have Jesus in my heart. Years ago she was hurt by a priest’s words when she divorced her alcoholic husband. She never returned to the church after that.
    But this makes me think how important it is to have both Truth and Grace, balanced.