“The Outside” is the sixth track from Taylor’s 2006 self-titled debut album, Taylor Swift. Continue reading
(1-5) Jesus Before Pilate
What kind of man was Pilate? The Bible doesn’t give any specifics, so it’s impossible for us to know for certain, but the Jewish philosopher Philo writes of “his venality, his violence, his thefts, his assaults, his abusive behavior, his frequent executions of untried prisoners, and his endless savage ferocity.” If Philo is telling the truth, then Pilate was by all means a cruel and emotionless person. In all his meanness, however, even he could not find fault with Jesus the Christ.
I have always imagined Pilate, not as a heartless monster, but as a seeker. It seems to me that he wanted to know more about the Man brought before him. Despite all the accusations laid against Him, Pilate sensed that there was something different about Jesus. If Pilate didn’t have so much power and if he hadn’t been under so much pressure, I think he would have sat down with Jesus and discovered the answer to his question, “What is truth?”
(6-16) Jesus Before Herod
There are a lot of people today who are like Herod. They demand a miracle from Jesus before they believe in Him. And if a miracle does not happen, then they make a mockery of Him. True belief in Christ does not require a sign, only faith.
(18-25) Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
The last verse of this passage reads that Pilate “delivered Jesus over to their will.” From a human perspective, that is exactly what he did. But from a heavenly perspective, Jesus was actually delivered over to the will of His Father. God used the angry, jealous, insistent actions of the religious leaders and the crowd to accomplish His eternal purpose of having salvation being made available for all mankind.
Favorite verse: (4) Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
King James Version (KJV)
(47-53) Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
Yes, Jesus could have ordered His disciples to fight or He could have simply called down a league of angels to rescue Him, but escaping from the inevitable fate of the cross was the last thing on Jesus’ mind. Jesus had already submitted Himself to His Father’s will and He was determined to fulfill it. His love for us was so much greater than the shame of mockery, the agony of crucifixion, and the horror of death.
(54-62) Peter Denies Jesus
We ought to consider how our reaction to Jesus the Christ can affect others’ faith. Peter’s angry, blatant denial of Jesus might have given his inquirers a bad image of Him. Without knowing the full story, they might have wondered why he was so adamant about not being associated with someone who many considered to be the Christ. They probably concluded that He was guilty of whatever crime He was currently on trial for. Because our words, actions, and attitudes make impressions on people, we should be careful that our reaction to Jesus is one of positive pride, not shame, and of devoted love and loyalty, not embarrassment.
Favorite verse: (61) And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
The book of Leviticus is full of instructions to and about the Levites of the tribe of Levi. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were all of the tribe of Levi. Aaron was the first high priest, and all of his descendants were appointed as the priestly class among the Israelites. The priests were expected to display Godly behavior and be faithful in carrying out sanctuary rituals that included making sin and guilt offerings and sacrificing animals on behalf of the people. The families of the priests were also expected to keep themselves pure and clean. If they did not, they could be punished by death. Leviticus 21:9 says:
If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.
We aren’t told specifically that any priest’s daughter disgraced her father by becoming a prostitute. The threat of being burned by fire probably kept such a thing from happening. Though we know none of them by name, the daughters of priests are distant examples for all who claim to believe in Christ because: Continue reading
(31-34) Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
Even though Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, He still prayed for him. He prayed that his faith would not utterly fail; that he would only stumble at Satan’s sifting, and not fall; that he would not forever remain turned from the Lord, but would be used by Him to strengthen others. Christ knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows the weak points of our faith, the temptations we are prone to give in to, and how Satan seeks to destroy us. It is with this knowledge and for many more reasons that He prays for us just as He prayed for Peter. He is at God’s right hand, constantly interceding for us.
(39-46) Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
Christ prayed for His Father to remove the cup of wrath from Him, if He was willing. But God was not willing to do so. That specific request was not granted, but Christ’s prayer was still answered because above wanting the cup to be removed, Christ wanted God’s will to be done. We can be certain that whenever we pray according to the will of God, even if it is not exactly what our heart desires, our prayer will be answered. Not our will, but His, be done. His kingdom come, not ours.
Favorite verse: (42) Saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Story Scripture: Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me. – Psalm 41:9
Story Saying: A fake friend is an enemy in disguise. – Ellen J. Barrier
Behind the Story: A cat and a mouse considered themselves such great friends that they decided to live and keep house together. They bought a pot of fat to store up for the winter when food would be scarce, and decided to keep it underneath the church altar because it would be safe from thieves there. After some time, the cat had a great yearning to taste the fat, so she told the mouse that her cousin had asked her to be godmother to her new-born kitten and she had to attend its christening. The mouse consented and agreed to stay at home and keep house while the cat went out. In reality, the cat had no cousin, was not asked to be anyone’s godmother, and there was no christening to attend. The cat sneaked off to the church and licked the top of the pot of fat off. Continue reading
(3-6) Judas to Betray Jesus
Judas had time to think over what he had agreed with the chief priests and the scribes to do to Jesus. If he had considered the consequences (heavy guilt and premature death) of his actions before he had acted, I doubt he would have gone through with his plan. If our foresight was as good as our hindsight, perhaps much of our behavior would be different and perhaps our choices would also be wiser.
(24-30) Who Is the Greatest?
Jesus again reminds His disciples that the greatest are those who serve.
Favorite verse: (19) And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
(25-28) The Coming of the Son of Man
If we live to see the beginning of the end of the world and are caught up in the distress and perplexity of that time, then would not be the time for us to lose heart or be fearful. Christ says that when the sea begins to roar and when the heavens begin to shake, we should straighten up and raise our heads. Why? Because He is about to come. Our redemption is drawing near.
(29-33) The Lesson of the Fig Tree
For believers, the destructive end is only a more glorious beginning. The passing away of this temporal Heaven and earth is the revealing of an eternal one.
Favorite verse: (27) And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.