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And the soldiers led him away...and they called together the whole battalion. They clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. ~Mark 15:16-20 ESV

The Roman Soldier

I was just doing my job. It wasn’t the first time I crucified someone and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Those criminals deserve what they get! “But I’m innocent; I’m innocent, I swear!” If I only had a dollar for every time I heard one of them say that, I’d obviously retire a very wealthy man. But Jesus was different. It was weird. Kind of eerie. He didn’t even try to defend himself. The guy was a wack-job. Off his rocks! “King of the Jews!” That’s what they called him. So we made him a crown of thorns and drove it down onto his royal head as tight as it would go. I spit on him and laughed in his face! He didn’t even try to fight back. What a pathetic piece of...

I don’t know. I have to admit that he was different. He looked straight into my eyes and... those eyes. They say the eyes are the window to your soul. If that’s true, then maybe he really was innocent. I’ve never seen anything as pure as those eyes. Maybe I bought into all the hype that surrounded his arrest without actually considering whether or not the rumors were true. Why do I do the things I do? I bully people. I always have. I make fun of them because... I don’t know. I really don’t know why I do it. I mock them - even my family and friends. I don’t always do it to their face, but I do it. I guess it’s easier to mock others than to let them see me be weak. Or, to let them see who I really am.

Listen to how I’m talking! What has this man done to me? 


Think of a time (recent, if applicable) when your words, body language or thoughts mocked a person. What did you gain? What did they lose? 

Think of a time when you were mocked. What negative thoughts and/or feelings of pain did it evoke?

How would you describe that pain now: an open wound, a scar, or completely healed by Jesus? Why?

Exercise in Prayer

Review your experience of being mocked or mocking others aloud with Jesus. As you recount the story, notice in what ways it has affected and shaped both your personal identity and your identity in Christ. Write your observations in your journal.

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Updated: Apr 12

The Cross

Lord, I thank you for the cross.

While it was a symbol of a cruel death, You gave it a different purpose.

To be broken, rejected, dying, but bringing hope and healing to souls

everywhere who long for fellowship with You.

Thank You for loving me so much to spread your arms in death,

yet spreading them to give me life and love.

Lori K. Lower, 9/21/13

A few years ago for Easter, I was part of a ladies' trio which sang a very meaningful song by Lana Gibbons, entitled Fear Not (I Love You This Much).

The chorus goes like this:

For I love you this much, my arms are opened wide,

for I love you this much, I bled for you and died.

For I love you this much, there's nothing you can do,

to take away the love that I have for every one of you.

I wanted to share these insights with you as we are in Holy Week and coming up on Good Friday. What are your thoughts as you reflect on the cross of Jesus?

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Updated: Mar 31, 2020

I'm writing to you from my home, in my own corner of the United States, in the midst of a viral pandemic that has swept the globe. In years to come, this paragraph will bring clarification to readers of this blog. At this present moment, this isn't news to anyone. Instead, it is our shared reality.

Like most of you, I have been glued to my TV, listening to the newscasters report and predict numbers that are beyond our comprehension. But there is something else that has caught my attention, and I'd like to focus there today. That "something" is the prayer: "God bless America." Each time I hear these words I have an increasing sense of uneasiness, and I want to cry out in response saying, "No! Don't stop there! That payer is far too small for our Almighty God!"

Of course I want God to bless the United States of America, but my Christian brothers and sisters, if there is anything this global crisis should be doing to us by now, it is expanding our worldview to include just that....the world!

Our God is omnipotent (all-powerful!), omniscient (all-knowing!), omnipresent (no place exists that he is not!). He is concerned with every tribe, every nation, every race, every creed, every gender, everyone - equally! He is concerned with every elderly soul, every disabled soul, every soul on their homeland, every soul on foreign land, and every soul still being incubated in a womb - equally! So it seems that the words, "God bless America" are a well intended request for a blessing that is far too narrow a scope for the God of All Creation.

I urge you to allow this global pandemic to blow the boarders off your prayer-map. In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone!"

After this I looked, and behold,a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

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