(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: John Ch. 19 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-16) Jesus now wears a crown of thorns on his head and the purple robe stained with blood. The soldiers struck him with their hands and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” The chief priests and the officers cried out: “Crucify him, crucify him!” and “He ought to die” because “He has made himself the Son of God.” What an ironic, ruthless, and indifferent picture!
A man, perfectly pure and flawless, seated on the throne of glory; the King and Messiah that the Jews had hoped for; the Son of God that the world had never seen before; the One came and traveled all over the cities and towns to save His people from sins; a person who had no intention of confronting the government and who had no guilt, but suffered such a great humiliation.
What Jesus was facing right now was a group of angry and ignorant people who were “his own people”. The chief priests took the lead and shouted: “We have no king but Caesar”. It was as if they forgot that some of them asked Jesus, “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” (Luke 20:22). The purpose was to frame Jesus and crucify him using extreme methods; on the other hand, Pilate, who was allowed to hold the authority of judgment during that time, feared the threats of the crowds and chose to succumb to the will of the people. He did not know he should fear Jesus, the Lord who will judge him in the future. “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” (John 19:12) In this way, Jesus was handed over and nailed to the cross, which was extremely cruel and unkind.
No one will choose not to defend his own life when given the opportunity to do so. Jesus once said that He would make such a sacrifice, and as He promised, He carried out the Father’s plan. Jesus would not sacrifice Himself unless His true identity was God, and unless He knew that His mission was to sacrifice Himself so that the sins of the world could be forgiven. Indeed, the sins of the world could only be forgiven by God! In verse 11, Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” Jesus had authority to lay down His life and authority to raise it up again. He received the charge from the Father (John 10:18). Brothers and sisters, this is the Lord we follow. He sacrificed His life for you and for me!
(vv. 17-30) According to the records of the four Gospels, when Jesus was nailed to the cross, there was a group of women who followed Him to the end including: Mary Magdalene, Mary – the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Clopas, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. If you compared these names, you could infer that Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, was Mary, the wife of Clopas; only the book of John mentioned the “mother of Jesus.” In verse 25, it said, “but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister… “. Some speculate that Salome was the sister of Jesus’ mother. If this was the case, Jesus, James, and John were also related to one another.
|Matthew 27:56||Mark 15:40||John 19:25|
|Mary Magdalene||Mary Magdalene||Mary Magdalene
|the mother of James and Joseph||Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses
|the wife of Clopas
|the mother of the sons of Zebedee||Salome
|his mother’s sister
Jesus entrusted His mother to His disciple John and said to Mary, “Woman, behold, your son!”
Then he said to John, “Behold, your mother!” This was very moving. In Mary’s own words, we learned of her respect for the Lord through “Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat.” (Luke 1:46-55); before Jesus said, “It is finished!” He made future arrangements for His mother. This point is worth letting us consider: What else can I do for my parents?
(vv. 31-42) If you find a modern forensic doctor or coroner to issue a death certificate for Jesus, the causes of death may include: excessive blood loss, physically unable to handle crucifixion, heart failure, and eventually respiratory failure and death, etc. This diagnosis may be used to describe the cause of other people’s death, but it cannot be established in Jesus at all!
The reason why Jesus died on the cross is completely different from the reasons why other prisoners died on the cross. The aforementioned are only diagnoses that can be made from medical science and physiology. Although they are all true, they are not enough to render Jesus’ death! Remember how many miracles Jesus had performed that surpassed all nature, material, time, space, quantity, etc. Not long ago, Jesus raised Lazarus from his tomb. Jesus repeatedly predicted His suffering. He didn’t need to die at all, but He died!
God’s love for us is described as long, wide, high, and deep. Thus, the true cause of Jesus’ death was because He had to bear the sins of the world – including yours and mine. If one verse could issue a death certificate for Jesus, this should be: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). If it weren’t for the sins of man, Jesus wouldn’t have to shed a drop of blood; if it wasn’t for God’s love for you and I, there was no need to sacrifice His life, become the lamb of atonement, and die for our sins!
In today’s devotional time, let us imagine going to the morgue and look through the death certificate of Jesus: What was written on it because of our sins? Thank you, Savior Jesus! Your pain is for me!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)