Forgive Them

When the crowd caused Jesus to be crucified, Jesus asked God to forgive them because they didn’t realize what they were doing.

Luke 23 ~

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull,[a]they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”[b]And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.[c]

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

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World Changed

At my church, we say we can change the world from here. I believe that. I’m glad somebody is stepping forward!

I prayed this morning for my Christian brothers and sisters who live in countries hostile to the Gospel. I use the words written in Psalm 96. Let world wide happen today!

Psalm 96 ~

Sing a new song to the Lord!
    Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
    Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
    Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
    He is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of other nations are mere idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround him;
    strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.

O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;
    recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
    Bring your offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
    Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
    The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
    He will judge all peoples fairly.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
    Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
    Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he is coming!
    He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
    and the nations with his truth.

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Mercy’s Success

I found an interesting detail about when Peter denied Jesus three times. After the third time, a rooster crowed. Here’s the detail, roosters are known to crow early at the beginning of day. God’s mercies are new every morning. Peter sinned and denied Jesus and then God’s mercy took over. That’s a great example of how much God loves us and how much He is eager to forgive so we can start brand new.

Jeremiah wrote the Old Testament book of Lamentations because God was greatly saddened by the continuous sin of His people, the Israelites. But in Peters story, he turned his failure into a success story for God. A great verse from Lamentations can be applied to Peter and to our lives every day!

Luke 22 ~

54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. 56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.

59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

61 At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

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Restrained Power

Words impact. Jesus has all power and authority.

In the book of Luke, Jesus was brought to trial and the elders and leaders asked Him if He was the Messiah. Then Jesus told them from now on the Son of man would be seated in the place of power at God’s righthand. Then Jesus replied to their question, “You say that I am.” After that Jesus went to Pilate and he asked if Jesus was the King of the Jews and Jesus replied,”You have said it.”

I believe Jesus was steering those who questioned Him to confess Him as Lord. And until today, I never noticed that Jesus said from that moment on He was seated at the righthand of God. It seems logical that Jesus would have said that after His victory over death. But I trust God and rest in what He proclaimed in that moment. It just revealed more of His power.

Luke 22 ~

66 At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council,[f] 67 and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?”

But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. 68 And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.[g]

70 They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?”

And he replied, “You say that I am.”

71 “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.”

Luke 23 ~

1Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!”

Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!”

“Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked.When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. 10 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.12 (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)

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Sri Lanka

I heard on the news that ten percent of the population in Sri Lanka is Christian. Last week on Easter Sunday, Christians were massacred by terrorists as they went to church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Psalm 94 speaks of those who do such wicked deeds. Vengeance belongs to God and He has the best plan to punish these evildoers. Sri Lanka is in the forefront today of how Christians are persecuted all over the world. I pray the words of Psalm 94 for my brothers and sisters under oppression for following Jesus.

Psalm 94 ~

O Lord, the God of vengeance,
    O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice shine forth!
Arise, O Judge of the earth.
    Give the proud what they deserve.
How long, O Lord?
    How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?
How long will they speak with arrogance?
    How long will these evil people boast?
They crush your people, Lord,
    hurting those you claim as your own.
They kill widows and foreigners
    and murder orphans.
“The Lord isn’t looking,” they say,
    “and besides, the God of Israel[a] doesn’t care.”

Think again, you fools!
    When will you finally catch on?
Is he deaf—the one who made your ears?
    Is he blind—the one who formed your eyes?
10 He punishes the nations—won’t he also punish you?
    He knows everything—doesn’t he also know what you are doing?
11 The Lord knows people’s thoughts;
    he knows they are worthless!

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The Rebel Healed

Jesus was arrested falsely. They considered him a rebel. He was about to be taken away. In the turmoil, one of his disciples cut off another man’s ear. Jesus stopped and healed the man’s ear.

Luke 22 ~

47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.

51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.”And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”

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Rebel

Judas was about to deceptively turn Jesus in to the authorities. Jesus told his disciples to prepare. In the past when they traveled, it was without a sword, telling others about the Gospel. But now Jesus told them to get a sword. Prophetic words from the Old Testament saying they would call Jesus a rebel would be fulfilled.

Luke 22 ~

35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?”

“No,” they replied.

36 “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! 37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’[a] Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”

38 “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”

“That’s enough,” he said.

39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”

41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.[b]

45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief.46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”

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