Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 124-127 and Matthew 27

Psalm 124 – “What is the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? . . . The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us” (124:2-4).

“Praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (124:6-8).

Psalm 125 – “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, now and forever” (125:1-2). We must take comfort in the fact that even when the wicked do rule, their time will not last forever.

“O Lord, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you. But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord. Take them away with those who do evil” (125:4-5).

Psalm 126 – When we (the Jews) were permitted to return to Jerusalem, “we laughed. . .we sang for joy” and the people around them noticed how happy they were for the great salvation the Lord had given them. Do people notice the deep happiness and peace our faith gives us today?

 “Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed will come back singing for joy as they bring in the harvest” (126:6).

Psalm 127 – “If the Lord does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless, if the Lord does not protect the city, it does no good for the sentries to stand guard” (127:1).

And having children is a great joy; they are “like arrows in a soldier’s hand. Happy is the man who has many such arrows. He will never be defeated when he meets his enemies in the place of judgment” (127:5). I am not sure I understand the last phrase, but I get how we can see our children as a way of defeating death.

Matthew 27 – Jesus is handed over to Pilate in the morning.  Judas experiences despair, a despair that seems like remorse for he says, “I have sinned in betraying an innocent man to death” (27:4), but he then goes off and kills himself rather than turning to God for forgiveness. Priests use the silver Judas returned to buy a potter’s field.  

Pilate questions Jesus and Jesus does not answer him directly, nor does he answer the chief priests and leaders who also question him. Pilate asks the people if they want Jesus released—it was customary to release one imprisoned on this feast—but the people, incited by their leaders (27:20) demand his death. Pilate seems disturbed by the baselessness of the crowd’s hostility (27:23) and washes his hands according to a practice described in Deuteronomy 21: 7-8. Early Christians saw Jesus treatment here as foreshadowed by Isaiah 53: 7

                  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did
                  not open his mouth:
                  Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
                  and like a sheep that before it shearers is silent,
                  He did not open his mouth.

Jesus is taken to the Praetorium, residence of the Roman governor, clad in a scarlet cloak and crowned with thorns to mock his claim of kingship.  Simon, the Cyrenian [Northern Africa], carries Jesus’ cross.  The guards cast lots for his clothes.  “If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross” (27:40) – these words echo the temptation Christ had early on in the desert.  Also here both of the men Jesus is crucified with, real revolutionaries or “bandits”, “abuse him” along with the Roman soldiers.

Around noon, the sky goes dark—see Amos 8:9--and remains dark for 3 hours.  Around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cries out his last words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (27:46 from Psalm 22). Jesus dies and immediately “the veil of the sanctuary is torn in two from top to bottom (27:51). The earth shakes. The bodies of saints are raised and appear to “many” (27:53).  The three women said to be in attendance are Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers.

Jesus is buried in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea and a guard posted (27:64). Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, keep watch too (27:61).

The Words of Jesus on the Cross Compared in the Gospels:


In Matthew and Mark: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).


In Luke there are three statements:

-       “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 – not in oldest papyruses].

-       “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

-       “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

In John:
-       “Woman, behold your son. . .Behold your mother” (John 19:26).
-       “I thirst” (John 19:28).
-       “It is finished [or accomplished]” (John 19:30).See my piece on this line in John:

No comments:

Post a Comment