OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[June 14]--Some Thoughts On Pilate And Barabbas

Mark 15:1-15

I don’t have it on my list of recommended books, but I really like Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison. It’s a classic apologetic by an archeologist who examined the historical evidence of the Resurrection from a scientific standpoint. He started out as a hardcore skeptic and ended up a fervent Christian after he looked at the available evidence. Another interesting aspect of his book, however, is that he offers an insight into Pontius Pilate and a theory about the “behind the scenes” story regarding the trials.

Morison asks a good question: Is it reasonable to think that the Sanhedrin just dropped Jesus at Pilate’s “doorstep” (so to speak) without consulting Pilate at all beforehand? We know that they officially couldn’t administer the death penalty themselves under any circumstances. They brought Jesus to trial, “found” him guilty (we’ve talked before about the blatant illegalities of the trials), and then brought him to Pilate. Pilate tries at least three times to let Jesus go, appearing exactly like a man looking for an excuse to free him or at least pass off responsibility for his case. And the Sanhedrin representatives are completely taken aback by this, which would make sense if they had a prior arrangement with Pilate concerning the rabbi from Nazareth. What causes Pilate’s change of heart? Why did he suddenly not want to have anything to do with the case? The best explanation, in fact the only one that makes sense to me—A note from his wife urging him to stay away from all this, precipitated by her dream.

Why do I bring all this up? Just to provide some “inside baseball” about the trials? No. The point I’m making is this—Pilate just thought that this was a routine case. Do you honestly think this was the first trial he oversaw in which he knew that an innocent man was being framed? Of course not. And most of the time, he couldn’t care less. But this Man was different, and he knew it. He tried to set Jesus free, but the cries of “You’re no friend of Caesar!” changed his mind back again. So he thought he could be neutral on the issue of Jesus. But he couldn’t, and we can’t be either.

In the end, no one is going to successfully rest as a fence-sitter. Pilate actually represents a lot of people today. They don’t want to think badly about Jesus Christ, but they’re not ready to submit to him in trust and obedience. They try to make themselves believe they hold no ill will towards him. But they’re fooling themselves. In the end, you’re either a follower of his or not.

Let’s talk just for a moment about Barabbas, shall we? We know next to nothing about the man, but we do know some things. He was guilty of insurrection and murder, which were capital crimes. The criminals (not “thieves” as some people call them) on either side of Christ were probably his partners in crime. Since he was guilty of promoting rebellion against Rome, he was set free on the charge by which Jesus was officially killed. Remember, the Sanhedrin couldn’t execute anyone, and Pilate wouldn’t kill someone on the basis of a religious disagreement. But insurrection against the Empire—Talk about a zero-tolerance policy.

Also you might have noticed his name. Barabbas means “son of the father,” but the real Son of the Father died instead. So literally Jesus died in the place of Barabbas.

I believe in the literal accuracy of Scripture, but the ironies pile on top of each other, don’t they? Barabbas is you. Barabbas is me. We stood condemned, and like the original criminal, we were in line to get exactly what we deserved. But Someone died in our place.

Lord Jesus, words escape me. What else can I say but “Thank you”? That and “I belong to you.”

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