The New Testament - John 16-19
Did you know the Gospel of John has more chapters about the Passion Week than any other Gospel? I think John wanted to give everyone as much of Jesus' teaching as possible, and my oh my! wasn't that last week chock full of God's love for us!
He was also saying goodbye to His disciples. They were a motley crew, to be sure, but they had been His constant companions for the better part of three years. Jesus was a human being after all, with all the emotions, distractions, temptations and frustrations that I have. This is why John's Gospel is directed to all people - every single one of us has all of this inside us, and Jesus understands, sympathizes, empathizes. He felt everything we feel, and he hasn't forgotten it since then. He's eternal, He always was and always is and always will be. So no, God hasn't forgotten you, nor what it feels like to be lonely, angry, sad, happy, hungry, tired - you name it, He knows exactly what you're going through every moment.
John, at this point, is narrating pretty much everything Jesus taught throughout His ministry. When the Holy Spirit gave John the words, it didn't really matter whether he heard them at the Last Supper or the Cross or the Tomb. The words were the truth - The Word is Truth - and Jesus is The Word.
Chapter 17 is one long prayer to the Father for mercy - the strength to carry out what had to be done, and the love to remember who He was doing it for; basically everyone. Jesus' heart was crying out for mercy from the Lord. John 17 is a Master Class in prayer for anyone who has trouble with it.
Changing the subject abruptly . . . I really feel for Pilate. He's been sent out to the backwaters of the empire, relegated to arbitrating the endless petty squabbles of a people who believed themselves to be God's chosen ones. He doesn't want to get involved with this one - it's a religious matter, and Pilate's not about to stir them up even further.
Too late he realizes that these stiff-necked people are noisy, disruptive, arrogant and just plain rioting in the streets. "I have tested this man, I see no wrong-doing." Scripture says he was afraid. I believe Pilate was afraid for his own soul at this point, not just politically scared of being punished by Rome.
"What I have written I have written."
That statement tells quite a story, at least to me.
Five Weeks Later:
I apologize to anyone who has been reading this blog. It's been an eventful summer, during which I was settling into a new apartment, watched my granddaughters for a week while my son and daughter-in-law went on a cruise, organized and executed a Church Choir Retreat, helped at VBS and other numerous things. This past week, I've been sorting through several bags and boxes of quilting supplies one of my dear older ladies at church gave me; and my oldest daughter is on a volunteer medical/dental trip to Honduras. I'm a little distracted.
Suffice to say, I've been putting off finishing even this post. I have been reading my Bible in the mornings, tho - not every morning, I must confess, but doing my best to be diligent. I will update more about what I'm reading another time - I wanted to let everyone know that I haven't given up, and I know the Lord hasn't given up on me. Much loves.