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Prepare

Do you find it hard to wait? ‘Why have you kept me waiting?’ we say. But waiting can be a creative experience once we stop fidgeting! On this most precious day, will you wait as long as you can before the cross?


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Bible passage John 19:28–37


The Death of Jesus

 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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A final thirst
As we wait, two more words are heard.

‘I am thirsty.’ The experience of intense physical thirst was one of the worst agonies of crucifixion. But things are never quite as they seem with John.

As the end approaches, the physical thirst Jesus experiences is matched by a deep spiritual longing to see the work of redemption completed as the cup assigned to him is drunk and a lost world is restored to the heart of the Father. ‘Lord, help me this day to thirst more deeply for your presence.’

A new victory
Then the cheap wine is mercifully put to his lips, and the final cry rings out: ‘It is finished.’ It is a loud shout of victory as Satan is finally beaten down (Colossians 2:15); the old order of sin and death is defeated and a new world of forgiveness and freedom is born.

The end is a new beginning. Jesus bows his head in death so that ours can be lifted into new life. ‘Lord, help me this day to take hold of eternal life.’


Respond


Surely these truths are worth waiting for. So don’t rush away. Stay, wait and think on these things.

David Bracewell


Deeper Bible study


Reflect further on the scriptural link between suffering and glory, between crucifixion and exaltation.

Jesus was in control of himself and his situation to the very end. Notice the emphasis here on the fulfilment of Scripture. Verse 28 juxtaposes two words nearly identical in Greek (teleo and teleio), translated ‘finished’ and ‘fulfilled’ in the NIV. Jesus’ work was now ended and the Scriptures were fulfilled.

It’s hard today to see what was ‘fulfilled’ when he said ‘I am thirsty’ (v 28). Commentators point to Psalm 69:3, but perhaps Jesus had something else in mind, which, not surprisingly, escaped the soldiers, who gave him cheap wine. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of Psalms 42 and 43, with the words ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God’ (Psalm 42:1). No doubt he was physically thirsty, but more desperately he desired the presence of the Father, whose face was hidden as his Son bore the weight of the world’s sin. ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ he quotes from Psalm 22 (in Matthew 27:46). When the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they often had in mind the whole of the original context, and this is no exception. Psalms 42 and 43 (which belong together) speak in their entirety to Jesus’ suffering.

He drank the wine – and the metaphorical cup that the Father had given him. His Father’s will was indeed ‘fulfilled’. So, in control to the last, he ‘gave up his spirit’ (v 30). As he had said to the Jewish crowds, ‘The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again’ (John 10:17,18). Jesus’ life on earth was ended, but, as we know, that was not the end of the story.

Annabel Robinson


Background: Cross purposes


● Crucifixion as a form of capital punishment originated with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians and was later used extensively by the Romans. It was reserved for those of lower social status and rarely used for Roman citizens.

● It was primarily used against rebels and designed as a deterrent, victims being crucified in public view.

● Four sorts of ‘cross’ were used: a simple stake, a T shape, the traditional shape and one shaped like an x.

● Those who were crucified were normally flogged first. The whip or flagellum consisted of leather thongs with fragments of bone embedded in them. A flogging resulted in severe laceration. Some did not survive.

● Victims were then led outside the city, often being forced to carry the cross beam. Pictures which depict Jesus carrying the whole cross do not reflect historical reality.

● They were then nailed or tied to the cross and would be left hanging in full view. Sometimes the body was supported on a small seat. Sometimes the legs being bent at the knees and the feet doubled back and nailed to the upright. The victim was normally only just off the ground.

● The death was drawn out and painful. The victim might die of suffocation, the arms eventually being unable to bear the weight of the body and the chest being crushed, or of hunger and exhaustion. Occasionally to speed up the process the legs would be broken (John 19:31–33).

● Crucifixion was a shameful, painful, degrading form of punishment, a (literally) excruciating way of dying.

John Grayston

Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Judges 9,10

Mark 3
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Empathy


Suffering? He’s been there… Spend some time talking to God about any difficult things in your life as you listen to this audio meditation.

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Audio


How deep the father’s love for us
Stuart Townend
Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com

The lamb has conquered
Mike Pearson
Copyright© 2010 Vineyard Song (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.vineyardrecords.co.uk




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 13 April 2017

    For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame ..... Complete, utter, abject humiliation and unimaginable suffering of body, soul, and spirit. A recorded eclipse accounts for the 3 hours of darkness. How appropriate as 'the Father turns His face away, as wounds that marred the chosen One, bring many sons to glory.' With His eyes on the invisible world surely Jesus saw the devils dancing and delighting in their victory during that terrible day. But the tables turned at that final triumphant cry when Jesus 'disarmed the powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them on the cross.' Col 2:15. For US! For all time! O praise you. Jesus!

  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 13 April 2017

    Thank you WL family for your sharing, and for those who do not comment, thank you for your presence with us and your prayers. Ruth, Jane, Dorothy, Valerie, thank you for your encouragement. JANE, it is sad not to be able to share your sister's baptism. We pray that clot is quickly dealt with and hope it does not interfere with your proposed hip surgery. We pray abundant blessings on all Easter baptisms, remembering KARAM too. May their joy overflow! Valerie, thank you for that accurate reference! It's good to share your tour with you HELEN. RUTH L, lovely to have your message. Wherever we are, and whether Easter holds grief or joy for us, may our hearts be filled with worship and thankfulness for the gift of Jesus.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 14 April 2017

    When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He was not referring to the whole plan of salvation as being completed. He still had to descend into the lower parts of the earth and lead the captives out (Eph 4:8-9) as well as come back from the dead and ascend to the Father to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25). Paul made it very clear in 1 Cor 15:14 and 17 that if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, then our faith is vain, and we are yet in our sins. Therefore, Jesus must have been referring to His ministry here on earth and the Old Covenant Law that had now been fulfilled in Christ (Matt 5:17). With 9 extra family members in the house I am hoping to get some time to reflect.

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Today we are sad as we remember the innocent young man nailed to a cross, bearing its shame and humiliation. Jesus endured such cruel and false accusations; He looked down to see who had stayed wth Him. Satan still lurks in his love-less state, seeking to disrupt and destroy all that is good. May our world know the peaceful love of God. I thank God for everyone at Wordlive who is on the same journey as me and I value your comments and support; I trust that God is building a strong, loving community.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 14 April 2017

    When John talks of the man, he probably is referring to himself in the third party again. "He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe." (v35). Angela is right about false accusation being cruel. The capacity for truth and cruelty lies within all of us. Let us then in keeping with that God wants to do in community here be comforting, encouraging and strengthening speaking truth and love and pushing back against lies and false accusations. And be testifying about Jesus, and giving him his rightful place as Lord that he is worthy of.

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Adam, interested in your statement that we should push back against false accusations. False accusations are tied same

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Fat finger again. The commandment is that we should not bear false witness. It is usually lies. It is of the devil, and I must say that it is very difficult to " push back" against . Notice how quietly Jesus failed to answer the lies of his accusers?

  • Derek Forster | Friday, 14 April 2017

    ‘Man of sorrows!’ what a name For the Son of God who came Ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah, what a Savior! Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood, Seal’d my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah, what a Savior! Guilty vile, and helpless we, Spotless Lamb of God was He; Full atonement! can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior! Lifted up was He to die, ‘It is finished,’ was His cry; Now in heav’n exalted high, Hallelujah, What a Savior! When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring, Then anew this song we’ll sing, Hallelujah, what a Savior!

  • Kath Prior | Friday, 14 April 2017

    #Empathy - Thank you for this wonderful meditation. A friend had shared on Facebook this morning a painting of a Nativity scene and a comment about Jesus being Immanuel (at first I thought how strange), the same thought is in this mediation. Praise Jesus that in his Passion he shows us what it means to be truly 'with us' in our humanity.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Roger thank you for your response to the comment about pushing back against false accusations. Of course there are many scriptural references that will affirm as the right thing to do as a soldier of Christ. And you will know that in that you are equipped with salvation, righteousness, truth, Spirit (which is the Word of God) and the readiness to announce the good news of Christ. Like you, I am not ashamed of this. You rightly say what you have about not bearing false witness. The other side of the coin from that is resisting the devil and he will flee. Yes there is a point where Jesus doesn't answer the lies of his accusers and with his mockers he prays to the father for their forgiveness. At the same time consider his responses to the Sanhedrin and Pilate. He was no doormat, but someone who subverted their power. To not act likewise is to give the devil a foothold. To resist the devil is to be tough in the face of his adversity and to push back in the power of the Spirit, like a mighty river. And Satan is a bully and like every bully he is a coward and will run away from the power of God in you. Praise the Lord!

  • Anthony H | Friday, 14 April 2017

    John Grayston says of crucifixion: "The victim was normally only just off the ground." I did not know this, but it would seem to follow that: (a) the Romans probably saved money on tall crosses; (b) the loaded cross would be easier for them to manhandle; (c) Pilate's label would be easier to read; (d) many would have easily overheard Jesus saying "Today you will be with me in Paradise"; and (e) passers-by would see the dying victim face-to-face. Led by stained glass windows etc, I am used to thinking of myself looking up at Jesus' feet. If JG is right, I should instead imagine myself looking across at him, eye-to-eye. I do not find this an easy thought: what can I reply?

  • Andrea Harris | Friday, 14 April 2017

    I am asking for prayer for my Dad and myself and family. I posted a few weeks ago that dad was going into hospital for a heart valve replacement. They gave him the date of 12 April and he was in hospital a full four weeks before that date just waiting but unfortunately he didn't make it and he died last Monday morning just two days before the procedure was due. You can probably feel my anger so I would like you to pray for that anger can be taken away so that we can just remember dad for the lovely lovely man that he was and to give our thanks to God for having him in our lives for so long. Your prayers would be very much appreciated. Thankyou.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Andrea, I am sad to hear of your Dad's passing and I hear your anger. It's normal and natural to be angry as part of the grieving process before coming to acceptance. I know my mother went through this for some time after my father died. I pray you will know the comfort of the Lord at this time and I am sure you can remember your dad over time in the peace that passes understanding that Jesus gives.

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Dear Andrea, your father was for some reason taken by the Lord, and believe me, not unkindly. It is very distressing for you, and I have no doubt that one of the things you will be doing is feeling that you've let your Dad, and the Lord down and unable to express your feelings. It may take ages, but sooner or later, you will be able to rejoice when you realise that you can give thanks for the years of your Dear Pater! My own mother, stalwart in faith as a Vicar's Wife, was so overcome that he had gone first, it was nearly a year later that she said to me, "I've been silly, I ought to be thanking the Lord for our wonderful life together." from that moment, I knew that it would only be a matter of days until she was also called home. It's a hard time, but your help is also the Rock of our salvation!

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 14 April 2017

    As Jesus was dying on the cross for us the Jews His people were preparing the Passover a person blew the shofar horn three times in the temple ,it indicated that the lamb's throat had been slit. Jesus would hear the shofar and at the same time he said 'it is finished' The perfect lamb of God had died and had take on himself the sins of the world.Proverbs 14:)28 In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, The blowing of the shofar signifies the coronation of a king. https://youtu.be/dM2eGZj15Kk

  • Helen Humby | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Holy Land tour took us today to the western wall and the Holocaust musuem at Yad Vashem. Two observations for good Friday. Firstly, seeing the devotion of the devout jewish community is truly humbling and challenging. Secondly, on this day when we remember Jesus suffering, may we never forget too, the millions of innocent jewish people who suffered and died unjustly, cruelly and without a chance to save themselves. A truly remarkable and moving memorial to them

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Thank you HELEN I shall never forget the devotion of the Jewish people at the Wall a gentleman commented to me that there was little wonder the devil was causing all the trouble in the world with the continuous prayer that was going up to God every day in Jerusalem. We must continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as told in God's Word.

  • Hilary Dale | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Thelma, I hope and pray your easter weekend at the locks is going well!

  • Barbara Owen | Friday, 14 April 2017

    Dear Andrea I hope the following will begin to comfort you. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4Amplified Bible (AMP) 3 Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

  • Lynn Creation | Saturday, 15 April 2017

    Dear ANDREA, I have just seen your comment about your Dad, I'm so sorry for you. I do know how you feel, (as do many others), as I was angry about the circumstances in which my Dad died, which, I felt, could have been avoided also. But the Lord knows what He is doing and does have His reasons for doing so and He knows best, we must trust in that. I prayer that you and your family will know the Lord's comfort at this time, that He will calm your anger, and you will find support in each other too. God bless.

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