The religious leaders wanted Jesus killed out of self-interest, the crowds just followed the leaders without examining the facts, and Pilate chose to serve the crowd rather than his conscience or justice. They all deserved to die, and we can often be like them. But even those who deserve to die can be forgiven.
Peter had given up everything to follow Jesus. He had witnessed his miracles and confessed Jesus to be Son of God. Yet he disowns Jesus after boldly declaring that he would never do this. This helps us to recognise our own weaknesses and it reminds us of the power of prayer and it helps us to be amazed by the grace of God.
We can learn what it means to live by faith from Elijah. It means learning to rely on God, to obey him and to work with him. God frequently provides for us in mundane ways at the last minute so that we can learn to trust him.
Jesus was not the freedom fighter that the Jewish leaders feared he was, though he does fight and he wins the victory over death. He was not a blasphemer, but really is the Son of God. He is not a helpless victim, but courageously submits to God’s will.
We can never know what Jesus suffered in his darkest hour as he looked into the cup of our iniquities, but we can only marvel, and find forgiveness for our greatest sins, comfort in our deepest sorrows and grace to fight our strongest temptations.
The last meal Jesus had with his disciples is no longer about freedom from slavery in Egypt but freedom from slavery to sin. The Lord’s Supper brings us back to Jesus when we’ve drifted, it reminds us of all Jesus bought for us and that we are part of God’s people, and it helps us to look forward to the celebration meal in God’s Kingdom.
There will be difficult times until Christ returns, but through it all God is in still in control. We must be alert, neither trying to predict when he will return or being unprepared for it, and should continue to love God and one another.
The appearance of the angels to the Shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem has the impact of completely transforming their lives.We too have heard the good news of Jesus’ birth and are invited to draw near to him. What will our response be?
Jesus was the son of David, but he was much more than this. He is also David’s Lord. The religious leaders responded to Jesus with silence, the crowds responded with delight, but we can respond by bowing down and worshipping him.
The Sadducees did not believe there was life after death, but thought that if there was then it would have to be a continuation of this life. They didn’t know the power of God. We shouldn’t think of heaven in earthly terms.
We are like rooms in God’s house which Jesus comes and fills with his presence. When we are filled with the Spirit, we can face disputes and opposition but we need to deal with these and move on.
Jesus’ opponents try to trap him into saying that the Jews should not pay taxes to Caesar, so that they can report him to the Roman authorities; but Jesus refuses to walk into their trap. In doing so, He challenges us to give our all to God, and give what is due to the authorities too.
Jesus tells a parable holding up a mirror of truth to the religious leaders of the time. When Jesus challenges us with the truth, will we respond, unlike them, by humbling ourselves before him and receive His mercy and freedom.