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21 November 2018

GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Jim Stephens

Scripture: John 19:31-37 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)

31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) 36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.” (John 19:31-37 NLT)

Just three things and we’ll be done with the crucifixion story, friends:
1) Brutality. No matter how often I read the Gospel versions of the crucifixion story, I’m surprised and angered by the brutality of which our human hearts are capable. I served in Vietnam and I’ve lived and ministered in Third World countries where life is lived pretty close to the bone, so I’ve seen some brutality. But it never gets any easier to contemplate and it always grieves me. I long for a world in which brutality gives way to compassion. May compassion begin in my heart and yours and spread forever!

2) Fulfilled. Jesus, in a way that must remain part mystery, fulfilled everything prophesied by the messengers and written in the Scriptures about God’s redemptive plan for the Messiah to come and save his people and God’s atoning sacrifice whereby the Lamb of God would take away the sins of the world. It was written but not scripted, and each player in the drama acted as a free agent from their own heart and will and Jesus, moment by moment, word by word, and act by act, fulfilled it all. And when he said, “It is finished, it was!”

3) Eyewitness. John was eyewitness to the entire process. Three years following Jesus, present in the room when Jesus washed their feet, in the Garden as the mob took Jesus, in the courtyard as Jesus was mocked and beaten, nearby as the soldiers nailed him to the cross, and at the foot of Jesus’ cross as he died. And he wrote this account so we may continue to believe! I believe!

Prayer:

Father, I believe! Sometimes I struggle with some of this, but I believe! Amen!

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