Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Lord Jesus Christ's Death on The Cross -- The Ultimate Lesson in Obedience


The Passion of Christ according to John seems to have the ability to draw me into its dramatic reality to a greater degree than the Synoptics. Why this is the case, I do not know. However, on this day, it is a great benefit to be able to identify or understand the depth of all that Christ has done in order to appreciate the gift of salvation in its fullness. One of the great sins of a consumer-driven age is forgetting to be grateful for what we have. We are seemingly driven to desire and get more and more things and we forget what we have and we even forget that we are offered the gift of salvation, the forgiveness of our sins, free of charge! This is the greatest gift we can ever receive; let us never forget this truth.

Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

John 18:1-19:42
1 Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. 2 Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. 6 When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground. 7 So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?” 12 So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, 13 and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people. 15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. 16 But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. 17 Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm. 19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. 21 Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed. 28 Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 At this, Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.” The Jews answered him, “We do not have the right to execute anyone,” 32 in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die. 33 So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” 37 So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary. 19: 1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, 3 and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly 4 Once more Pilate went out and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” 8 Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, 9 and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus did not answer him. 10 So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered [him], “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” 12 Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, “If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your king!” 15 They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.” 20 Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’ ” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. 24 So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to seewhose it will be,” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled  [that says]: “They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” This is what the soldiers did. 25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 28 After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” 29 There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. 31 Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may [come to] believe. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” 37 And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.” 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. 39 Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. 41 Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. 42 So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

my reflections
t h i n k : We are offered the gift of salvation, the forgiveness of our sins, free of charge! This is the greatest gift we can ever receive; let us never forget this truth.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jesus Christ: Love one another as I have loved you

I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.

John 13:1-15 (or Luke 4:16-21)
1 Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, 3 fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 4 he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master,  you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” 11 For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? 13 You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. 14 If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

my reflections
t h i n k : Jesus demonstrates that true leadership unequivocally has service at its base, and service in its more menial understanding.

Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ


Psalms 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18 (or Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27)
R: Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
12 How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? 13 The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. (R) 15 Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. 16 I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. (R) 17 To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 18 My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people, (R)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Honesty, Growth & Moving On

I think I can honestly say that I'm finally ready to move on. Crisis averted, I hope.

This is a small breakthrough cuz I've been looking back and wasted so much time on regrets and could've beens that I failed to appreciate the blessings that are right in front of me this whole time.

My family, for one. I never thought I'd say this but I missed them! Where on earth was I the past 17 years? Have I really been too self-involved? Too caught up in my own problems that I never realized that I already have awesome cousins who are so much fun to chill with. That I have a loving nephew who would've grown up right next door but I missed most of his growing years. That my family truly loves me and wants the best for me.

My friends are such gems too. They know me inside out. They know when to come calling and when to back off and give me space. Now I realize how truly blessed I am. Family and friends who truly love us? Thank God for sending these loving people into my life!

And my work, such bliss. I have a lot of fun, the toughies become biggies because of the affirmation that my workmates and clients offer. This is perhaps a sign that I truly have moved on. True, it was painful leaving two of the best companies that I've ever worked at, with people who I truly love. But looking back now, I guess I lost nothing but time. And I am determined to make up for that.

Another realization, time is something that, once lost, can never be taken back. So I'm taking back Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday. Thank God for Holy Week and Easter. A time for meditation and reflection. This is one opportunity that I'm not passing up on.

And so as I head off to dreamy land, I look forward to a new day. And a new week. And a new month. And a new year. Most of all, I look forward to a new me. Very excited here. Praise God for new beginnings. Amen. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

God is in control - Avalon - English Subtitled

Perfect Ending to a Perfect Day

Dear Kristina,

You've grown so much! It's wonderful to see all the changes that have happened in your life through the years.

Celebrating your victory,  

P.S. You make my day, Kristina. Keep growing. Heaven will be so exciting because you'll continue to grow there too.

Thank you Jesus. Praise you Jesus. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blessed is Your Name

What is your name? What does it mean?

Kristina - follower of Christ. (Wow!)
Thank You, Lord, for the wonder of my name. In Your holy name, I am blessed. Amen.

Gospel: Jesus, the Great I AM


The Jews are too concerned with this physical life in the world. Jesus is speaking here of eternal realities of which they seemingly know very little. It is time for them to look beyond the immediate worries of their lives and begin to position themselves for the goal of eternal life. Only from this perspective will they begin to understand the teachings of Jesus and be inclined to accept His message.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

John 8:51-59
51 Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” 52 [So] the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would  be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

my reflections
t h i n k : Let us seek to be sons and daughters of Abraham by being men and women of faith.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gospel: "The Truth Will Set You Free"


In many ways, I think John 8:31-32, the start of our Gospel Reading today, is the heart of John’s Gospel as it draws together so many of the themes of the Gospel – abiding in God’s Word, truth, freedom, discipleship, learning and so on. Let us pray for the grace to abide or live in God’s Word so that the truth will always be a part of our life and consequently true freedom as well. This is what a disciple’s life should look like.

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.

John 8:31-42
31 Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. 36 So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. 38 I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.” 39 They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. 40But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this.41 You are doing the works of your father!” So they said to him, “We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

my reflections
t h i n k : This is the benefit of living a holy life – you will actually look forward to and embrace death as the beginning of a new and better life.