The ‘theft’ of my 3 babies (Pt.55)

I place this Cyber warming: this “Testimony” is only for viewer to view, not disfrigerate (take apart/change), copy paste, edit, mend, take ideas from for books, to use as a reason to take retaliation out on me or my grievances, movies or other entertainment. This testimony and all my blogs are of my owner ship only. All other parties may not pass on or use against me; it’s my testimony with the protection of Jesus as the author and my redeemer; deliverer of HIS promises, “enjoy viewing my story of God’s Grace and “hand” on my “nightmare” life and Victor of “HIS earthly good life” HE is rewarding me with. That YOU will all know is happening, because “this” part of my “testimony” of a “no life” with God will be over. Then, sing “hallelujah” for me please, praising Jesus, Our Lord for His faithfulness and putting an end to any neglected, oppressed life of Satan’s will for me and enabling me to Fly in the life that is “God’s will” for me.. Thank you. Amen

GOD’S word on “Authority” that represents Him
Hebrews 4:12 New International Version (NIV)
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Psalm 56:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can man do to me?
“MAY ONLY AUTHORITY LEADERS, FIGURES, REPRESENTATIVES FROM CONGRESS TO IN THE HOME BASE THEIR LAWS, TEACHINGS, OWN WAY OF LIVING, MORALS, VALUES, STANDARDS, POWER BE DONE IN AGREEMENT TO THE INSTRUCTIONS OF OUR GOD..enabling good works to be done with “god’s money..and, may those who “vow” to uphold the laws of the universe where they stand be true to their “vows” and badge, never selling out to the organized crime. May the spiritual leaders who take “vows” to be spiritual eg.s , leaders, and teachers be true to their “vows” in the Lord’s name. May OUR GOD keep me safe from any more “crooked” law enforcement and rulers whom are not rulers of HIM..I thank Jesus for saving me through what I was only able to survive with the joy of his strength, eyes and protecting hands on me..literally..those of the world just want to eat me alive and those who serve “our lord” were easily “fooled” by Satan twisting my testimony online 2007 and the words of my enemies…IN GOD WE/”I” TRUST.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Since 2006, I CLAIMED IT, I LIVE IT, I CONTINUE TO SEEK AND BE as God instructs me. thank you, Lord. For you I am blessed.~~~~SO, excuse me for how strong my faith is, in HIM and HIS word~~~ “not!” there is no excuse for my faith in HIM! “BAM!”
HOW MUCH POWER DOES SATAN HAVE? zero! in the blood of “Jesus! VICTORY is already won!”
Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Pilate Interrogates Jesus
John’s account of the trial before Pilate is much more extensive than the accounts in the Synoptics. The literary power is evident here as John presents seven scenes in a chiastic pattern that alternates between the Jewish opponents on the outside and Jesus inside, with Pilate going back and forth between them (Brown 1970: 859, from which the following diagram is adapted):

A Outside (18:28-32) The Jews demand Jesus’ death

B Inside (18:33-38a) Pilate questions Jesus about kingship

C Outside (18:38b-40) Pilate finds Jesus not guilty; Barabbas choice

D Inside (19:1-3) Soldiers scourge Jesus

C’ Outside (19:4-8) Pilate finds Jesus not guilty; “Behold the man”

B’ Inside (19:9-11) Pilate talks with Jesus about power

A’ Outside (19:12-16a) The Jews obtain Jesus’ death

Inside Jesus exhibits a royal calmness while outside the opponents are greatly agitated (Brown 1994:1:758-59). “Pilate must shuttle back and forth, for he is the person-in-between who does not wish to make a decision and so vainly tries to reconcile the opposing forces” (Brown 1994:1:744). Jesus is no more cowed by Pilate than he was by Annas. Just as he offered Annas a chance to accept him (v. 23), so will he confront Pilate with the claims of his identity and demand a decision. He reveals himself as king of an otherworldly kingdom and as witness to the truth–terms that transcend Jewish categories in Jesus’ addresses to this Gentile. But Pilate in his own way rejects Jesus as decisively as had Annas. Both Jew and Gentile collaborate in the Passion of Jesus. Both Jew and Gentile are graciously offered a chance even now to accept Jesus rather than reject him.
The glory of the love of God shines forth, as it has throughout the story, in the way Jesus relates to everyone with whom he comes in contact as he suffers through this humiliating and painful climax to his ministry.Jesus Is Handed Over to Pilate by the Jewish Opponents (18:28-32) Jesus is brought to Pilate at the praetorium (NIV, the palace of the Roman governor, v. 28), which was located either at the Antonia Fortress at the northwest corner of the temple or, perhaps more likely, at Herod’s old palace to the west of the temple, near the Jaffa gate (Pixner 1992; Brown 1994:1:705-10). The opponents bring him early in the morning, which would not have inconvenienced Pilate because it was common for Roman officials to begin work very early and complete their business by ten or eleven in the morning (Sherwin-White 1963:45).
The Jewish opponents refuse to enter the praetorium to avoid ceremonial uncleanness (v. 28). There is no law in the Old Testament against entering a Gentile’s home, but in later teaching it is laid down that “the dwelling-places of gentiles are unclean” (m. Oholot 18:7; cf. Brown 1994:1:745; Beasley-Murray 1987:327). The opponents sought to avoid defilement because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover (v. 28). Since Jesus has already eaten with his disciples a meal that the Synoptics say was the Passover (Mt 26:17 par. Mk 14:12 par. Lk 22:8; 22:15), this verse raises questions. Many interpreters argue either that John has shifted the chronology in order to have Jesus dying at the very time the Passover lambs are being sacrificed–making the point dramatically that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (for example, Lindars 1972:444-46; Barrett 1978:48-51)–or that his chronology is historically accurate (especially Brown 1994:2:1351-73; cf. Robinson 1985:147-51) and therefore the meal he shared with his disciples was not Passover.
Others have attempted to maintain that the meal in all four Gospels is the Passover. One solution suggests that John is referring here not to the Passover meal itself, but to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a week-long celebration that took place in conjunction with it. This longer celebration can be referred to as Passover, as it is, for example, in Luke: “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching” (22:1; cf. Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 14.21). These Jewish opponents, then, wish to be able to take part in the seven-day feast about to begin (cf. Carson 1991:589; Ridderbos 1997:457). Alternatively, some suggest that “John has in mind the lunchtime meal known as the chagigah, celebrated during midday after the first evening of Passover” (Blomberg 1987:177). But although the term Passover may be applied to the whole sequence, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the expression “eat the Passover” is not a natural way to refer to keeping the whole feast nor to eating the chagigah, but rather a way to refer to the Passover meal specifically. For example, the references in the Synoptics just cited use exactly the expression here (esthio to pascha) to speak of sharing in the Passover meal. Furthermore, there is no evidence the term Passover was used to refer to the Feast of Unleavened Bread apart from the Passover itself (Morris 1971:778-79, but cf. Blomberg 1987:177 n. 2).
Another solution to the discrepancy is that different calendars were followed. The main calendar used was a lunisolar calendar, but some groups, apparently including the community at Qumran, used a solar calendar of 364 days (cf. Schürer 1973-1987:1:587-601; Vanderkam 1992). The main drawback to this solution is the lack of evidence for Jesus’ having followed the solar calendar (cf. Vanderkam 1992:820). The other main proposal is that the Galileans and the Pharisees reckoned days from sunrise to sunrise, while Judeans did so from sunset to sunset. This means the Judeans, including these opponents, would slaughter their lambs late Friday afternoon, whereas Jesus and his disciples had theirs slaughtered late Thursday afternoon (Hoehner 1977:83-90; cf. Morris 1971:782-85). It has also been suggested that the slaughtering of the lambs actually took place over two days because of the volume of lambs involved (Hoehner 1977:84). According to these solutions, Jesus has already eaten Passover, but the opponents have yet to do so. A major drawback to theories of different days for celebrating Passover is “the lack of any hint of such a distinction in the gospels themselves” (Blomberg 1987:176-77).
Whatever the solution to this puzzle, the irony of the opponents’ concern is evident. They wish to remain ritually pure even while seeking to kill someone by the agency of the Romans. They avoid defilement while bringing about the death of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29), the root defilement that prevents one from intimacy with God and sharing in his life. Perhaps most ironic is the fact that their very act is a sin that defiles in this deep sense yet contributes to the cleansing of their sin and the sin of the whole world.
Pilate asks for the charges against Jesus (v. 29), and from the Jewish leaders’ response it seems they were upset by this request: If he were not a criminal . . . we would not have handed him over to you (v. 30). They wanted Pilate simply to take their word for it and not begin his own investigation. Pilate is not inclined to do them such a favor and tells them to judge Jesus by their own law. In other words, if none of the charges mentioned are relevant to Roman rule, then this case is a matter for their own legal proceedings. A reluctance to get involved in matters of Jewish law was common among Roman governors (Sherwin-White 1965:112-13). It is unclear whether or not Pilate knew the opponents had already judged Jesus. John has omitted a description of the Jewish trial, but judging Jesus by their law is exactly what they have been doing throughout the Gospel.
Long before now they had come to the conclusion that Jesus had to be eliminated (7:19-20; 8:40, 44, 59; 10:31; 11:8, 16, 50). This is still their aim, and their specific request of Pilate now becomes clear when they respond that they do not have the right to execute people (v. 31). This could refer to Old Testament prohibitions against killing (Ex 20:13, Hoskyns 1940b:616; Michaels 1989:314), but more likely it refers to limitations imposed by the Romans (Brown 1994:1:747-48). Among the Romans, “the capital power was the most jealously guarded of all the attributes of government, not even entrusted to the principal assistants of the governors” (Sherwin-White 1963:36). There were occasions when Jews did put people to death through mob violence (for example the stoning of Stephen, Acts 7:58-60). And they were given permission to execute any Gentile, even a Roman, who entered the temple’s inner courts (Josephus Jewish Wars 5.193-94; 6.124-26). But mob violence has not succeeded against Jesus, and his case is not one for which Rome has given permission for execution. Presumably they could request permission to kill Jesus themselves, but this would limit them to the methods of stoning, burning, beheading and strangling, at least according to later law, which may have been in effect in the first century (m. Sanhedrin 7:1). They seem set, however, on having Rome execute Jesus, for then it would be by crucifixion. They probably want him crucified (19:6, 15) not only because it was a particularly brutal and painful form of death, but also because it would signify that Jesus is accursed by God (Deut 21:23; cf. Gal 3:13, Robinson 1985:257 n. 147; Beasley-Murray 1987:328). In John’s Gospel the focus is on Jesus as the revealer of God. His opponents have rejected that claim and desire his death in order to vindicate their conclusion.
John, however, sees this desire as a fulfillment of Jesus’ statement that he would die by being lifted up from the earth (v. 32; 12:32-34). “Both Jewish accusers and Roman judge are actors in a drama scripted by a divine planner” (Brown 1994:1:748). John’s note reminds us both of Jesus’ identity as the Word whose words are God’s words, which will be fulfilled, and of the significance of this death: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (12:32). Even the actions of his enemies are used to bear witness to the glory of his identity and of what he is in the process of accomplishing.Pilate Questions Jesus (18:33-38) In this second of the seven scenes (see introduction to 18:28–19:16) we have the heart of the Roman interrogation. In a series of four questions Pilate probes the key topic of this Gospel–the identity and mission of Jesus. Here is Jesus’ final teaching concerning himself before his resurrection.
We are not told what charges the Jewish opponents brought against Jesus to induce Pilate to consider condemning him to death. In the Jewish trial Caiaphas had asked, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” and Jesus said yes (Mt 26:63-64 par. Mk 14:61-62 par. Lk 22:67-70). John does not recount this exchange, although its substance is central to his revelation of Jesus throughout the Gospel and John does seem to allude to the exchange itself later (19:7, Beasley-Murray 1987:329). Presumably the opponents translated the matter for Pilate, saying that Jesus claimed to be the king of the Jews. This was obviously a political title and had even been used of Herod the Great (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews14.385; 16.311). It was a claim that Pilate would have to take seriously, especially given the revolutionary setting in Israel, in which many desired the overthrow of Rome.
Many think Pilate’s question expresses incredulity: Are you the King of the Jews? But more likely he is simply doing his job by putting the charge to the accused, using direct questions in keeping with Roman procedure (Sherwin-White 1965:105). What would he have expected to hear in response? Perhaps either cringing denial or stormy denunciations of Rome. The answer he gets is something quite different from either of these responses. Jesus neither affirms nor denies his identity as king, but he responds like a king. He speaks of his kingdom and quite calmly focuses the attention on Pilate, asking a question that tests Pilate’s heart (v. 34). He is speaking to him as a human being, not as the Roman governor. Is he personally engaged, or is this just a formality? Such a question should signal to Pilate that he is dealing with someone who is not speaking merely on a political level. As seen earlier (e.g., see comments on 1:19-28), such personal interest is necessary to be able to recognize one come from God and to respond appropriately.
Pilate does not see how this question could be of interest to him since he is not a Jew (v. 35). He has not gone looking for Jesus, but rather Jesus has been handed over to him by his own nation and the high priests. Like the woman of Samaria and other people who have encountered Jesus, Pilate does not understand the full meaning of what Jesus says because he does not realize whom he is speaking with. And as he did with others earlier, Jesus now helps Pilate understand who he is and what he is offering.
Pilate asks what Jesus has done (v. 35). Jesus follows his common practice in this Gospel, for he does not directly address the question put to him, but in fact he gives a profound answer. Instead of speaking of what he has done he speaks of his kingdom (v. 36). This word only occurs one other place in John (3:3, 5), unlike in the Synoptics, where “kingdom” is Jesus’ major theme. In Jewish thinking “kingdom” does not refer to a territory; it is an active concept referring to rule. “Kingdom of God,” then, means God is king (cf. Kuhn 1964b:571-72). In the Gospels it includes also the realm of God’s rule, in the sense not of a territory but of the community under his rule. While Jesus has not used this word much in this Gospel, all that he has done and said have been manifestations of God’s rule and Jesus’ own kingship. In this sense, “the whole Gospel is concerned with the kingship of God in Jesus” (Beasley-Murray 1987:330). Jesus has said a spiritual rebirth is necessary to even see the kingdom–the resources of this world are not sufficient (3:3, 5). Now Jesus continues this emphasis by saying his kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is otherworldly because he himself is not of this world and neither are his followers (17:14, 16). He and his disciples have their source in God and reflect God’s own life and character.
Both the divine source and the quality of his kingdom are evident, he says, in the fact that his disciples did not fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews (v. 36). Peter, of course, did try to do so and was out of step with Jesus’ and the Father’s will, as Jesus told him (18:11). Jesus’ response to the opposition from the Jewish leaders had a divine source for it was determined by God’s rule. Also, his response manifested God’s characteristic gracious love. “Jesus’ kingdom is based on something other than . . . power or protection. It is based on his self-surrender, on his offering of himself for the sin of the world” (Ridderbos 1997:595).
Thus, Jesus is working on a different level, one not of this world. Throughout the Gospel it is seen that he does not respond merely to stimuli from the environment; rather he acts in accordance with his Father’s direction. So in a sense Jesus does answer Pilate’s question about what he has done not by describing his teachings and signs, but by referring to his acceptance of suffering. If one does not realize who he is and why he has allowed himself to be handed over by his Jewish opponents, however, his glory is not evident. Nevertheless, his arrest, and everything else about him, bears witness that his kingdom is “not from here”(ouk estin enteuthen, paraphrased in the NIV as from another place). It is from the Father. If Pilate had an open heart he would have picked up this hint and asked where Jesus’ kingdom is from, but he does not.
Instead, he focuses on Jesus’ reference to my kingdom. My kingdom (he basileia he eme) is repeated three times (one of them omitted in the NIV), and the expression my servants uses the same Greek construction that is used to emphasize the pronoun my (hoi hyperetai hoi emoi). His kingdom is quite distinct from other kingdoms, but he does indeed have a kingdom. Pilate picks up on this emphasis and presses his earlier question, again in keeping with the Roman practice of questioning the defendant three times (Sherwin-White 1965:105), and says, You are a king, then! (v. 37).
The grace and humility evident in the Passion itself comes through also in the gentleness of Jesus’ dealing with this Roman politician (cf. Chrysostom In John 84.1). Jesus replies, “You say that I am a king” (v. 37). This is often taken as an affirmative, almost as if Jesus were saying, “You said it!” (cf. NIV). This interpretation is possible (Beasley-Murray 1987:317); however, it is more likely that Jesus is saying, “That’s your term.” He is clearly claiming kingship, but he does not commit to the label of “king,” probably because it is loaded with misunderstanding (6:15; cf. 1:49; 12:13). It is very much a term “of this world”! His reticence here is similar to his attitude toward other titles, such as “Messiah,” elsewhere in the Gospels.
Jesus’ further explanation reveals that he is king in a sense that transcends all other kings: for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world (v. 37). Given what this Gospel has revealed of Jesus’ identity, this is a profound statement of pre-existence (for example, 1:1-18; 3:13; 9:39). But if Pilate thought about what Jesus said at all, he would probably hear it only on a human level, that Jesus was claiming to be like any other child who was born a prince, in line to become king. Even this would be striking, since there was no such dynastic line functioning in Israel. But Pilate may not have gotten that far in his thinking, for Jesus says that he came into the world not to be king of the Jews, but to testify to the truth. This language makes obvious the contrast between his identity and mission on the one hand and the falsehood of his opponents on the other. “He is the king of Truth, and He manifests His royal power not by force, but by the witness He bears to the Truth (3:32; 5:33; cf. 3 Jn 3)” (Hoskyn 1940b:619). The truth he refers to is the truth of God.
By using the term “truth” rather than “God,” Jesus is using language less likely to be misunderstood by Pilate. For he is still dealing here with Pilate himself: Everyone on the side of truth listens to me (v. 37), he says–everyone, whether Jew or Gentile. Jesus continues to walk through this trial on his own terms. Pilate thinks of Jesus as a defendant, but Jesus is taking the part of a witness (see comment on 5:31; cf. 1 Tim 6:13), who “has come to testify against the rule of the lie and for `the truth,’ that is, for God and for God’s claim on the world” (Ridderbos 1997:596). So Jesus is asking for Pilate to pass judgment not on him as king of the Jews, but on him as the revealer of truth. And he puts pressure on Pilate, for if he does not decide in favor of Jesus, he will judge himself as not being on the side of truth. This expression is, more literally, “of the truth” (ek tes aletheias); it refers to one’s inner disposition as tuned to the truth, able to hear the voice of truth (cf. 8:47; 10:3). “Absolute truth is a very uncomfortable thing when we come in contact with it” (Ward 1994:30).
Pilate’s response, What is truth? (v. 38), is probably not a great philosophical remark, but a dismissal of the whole subject as irrelevant. Pilate has heard enough to determine that Jesus is not a political threat, and, therefore, he has gotten from the interview what he was after. Jesus has sown seed, but it has fallen on a beaten path. Pilate does not listen to Jesus, so, according to what Jesus has just said, he is not of the truth. The judge has been judged and found self-condemned through his response to Jesus. The Jewish opponents had come to this same place during the course of Jesus’ ministry. So now both Jew and Gentile have been given a chance to respond to the one come from God, and they have rejected him.Jesus’ statement that his kingdom is not of this world does not mean that it has no impact in this world. Throughout the Gospels Jesus makes it clear that his kingdom is both otherworldly in its source and quality and present here in this world. Its focal point is the body of believers, who, through their union with the Father in the Son by the Spirit, are not of this world (cf. Augustine In John 115.2). Because it is a kingdom, it has to do with relationships, relationships inspired by God’s own presence and manifesting his characteristic love. And because this network of relations is embodied in a community present in this world, it is expressed institutionally. Our passage does not indicate the shape of this institution, but it is clear that it is not of this world and that it is centered in the truth of God revealed by Jesus. These two criteria stand in judgment of much of the life of the church throughout the ages. All should be evaluated in the light of the pattern of life manifested in Jesus and revealed by him regarding the Godhead of the Father, the Son and the Spirit.Pilate Finds Jesus Innocent (18:38-40) In scene three (see introduction to 18:28–19:16) Pilate returns outside and announces that he finds Jesus innocent, that, as the NIV well expresses it, he finds no basis for a charge against him (v. 38). Luke tells us that the crowd at this point insists Jesus has been causing trouble all over Judea, beginning in Galilee (Lk 23:5). This gives Pilate an excuse to send Jesus to Herod, an occasion that only Luke records (Lk 23:6-12). This additional material is helpful because with just John’s account it is not clear why Pilate does not simply release Jesus once he finds him innocent. John seems to refer to the crowd’s shouting at this point when he says, “therefore, again (palin) they cried out saying” (v. 40). The crowd’s insistence leads Pilate to offer to release Jesus, in keeping with your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover (v. 39). There is no other evidence for this custom (Brown 1994:1:814-20), but there is “no good reason for doubting it” (Robinson 1985:261; cf. Horbury 1972:66-67).
Pilate’s use of the term king of the Jews (v. 39) is obviously sarcastic since he has just said Jesus poses no political threat. As is so often the case with sin, when one is succumbing to temptation one is given opportunities to come to one’s senses and turn back (cf. 1 Cor 10:13; Ward 1994:44-50). Pilate’s question can be seen as a chance for the opponents to renounce this determination to eliminate Jesus. But, of course, it is far too late. The Jewish opponents are rejecting Jesus precisely as their king.
So the crowd cries out again (or shouted back, NIV) that they want Barabbas, not Jesus (v. 40). Such dispute between a crowd and a Roman governor might seem strange, but it was not that unusual. Indeed, “Roman jurists expressly warn magistrates against submitting to popular clamour” (Horbury 1972:67). The picture of Pilate in Josephus and Philo is of a violent man who hated the Jews, which would lead one not to expect him to make any such offer to the crowd. But their picture of Pilate is probably overdrawn (cf. Brown 1994:1:693-705). Both authors, in fact, cite an instance when Pilate did give in to Jewish pressure (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 18.55-59 par. Josephus Jewish Wars 2.169-174; Philo Legatio ad Gaium302). The present occasion, of course, will play out the same way.
John describes Barabbas as a lestes, which the NIV renders by saying he was one who had taken part in a rebellion. There were many sorts of revolutionary leaders in Israel in the first century (cf. Brown 1994:1:679-93; Horsley and Hanson 1985; Horsley 1992). The term lestes is not used to refer to such people during the time of Jesus, but it is so used later in the century, after the revolt of A.D. 66 (Brown 1994:1:687). However, two of the other Gospels mention that Barabbas was indeed involved in an insurrection (Mk 15:7; Lk 23:19), so this is probably how John is using the term. The crowd demands the release of one under arrest for his threat against Rome. Their decision is very much “of this world.”
There is a stark contrast between Barabbas, a violent man concerned with this world’s politics, albeit religious politics, and Jesus, whose kingdom is not of this world, though it is active in this world. There is also irony in the name Barabbas itself, since it means “son of Abba”–the word Abba, “father,” was used as a proper name (Brown 1994:1:799-800), but, especially in John’s Gospel, Jesus is known as the Son of the Father. The crowd was choosing between two different approaches to liberation as represented by two men identified, in different ways, as “son of Abba.” Here is the deceptiveness of sin that has been evident since the Garden of Eden. There is a path that looks right and seems to be of God, yet it is actually against him and his ways. The people choose their own path of liberation rather than God’s, and they therefore choose “not the Savior, but the murderer; not the Giver of life, but the destroyer” (Augustine In John 116.1). Every time we choose sin we do the same, whether the sin is blatant or deceptive.
Pilate has rejected Jesus, his otherworldly kingdom and the truth, so he is left responding to the demands of the pressures of this world. He does not like the alternatives offered him by either Jesus or the opponents, but he is being forced to decide. Here is a picture of John’s dualism, indeed, the dualism found throughout the Scriptures. God and Satan are both putting pressure on. Both desire us, though for very different purposes. “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan” (Lewis 1967:33). Each of us faces the same challenge Pilate here faces. Even though we are able to avoid the crunch for now, we will not be able to do so forever. The Mercy would not allow that.The Soldiers Mistreat Jesus (19:1-3) The theme of kingship continues as we now see the Roman soldiers dress Jesus up like a king, revere him and greet him as king of the Jews. They are doing so in cruel mockery, but they speak the truth. This may be another example of John’s use of irony in having people speak truth that they themselves do not realize, providing “a sign that the Gentiles will ultimately confess the kingship of Jesus” (Brown 1970:889). This little section is at the center of a chiasm (see introduction to 18:28–19:16), which adds weight to this suggestion, since the center point of a chiasm is usually the main point.
Pilate turns Jesus over to the soldiers to be flogged (v. 1). In other Gospel accounts Jesus is flogged right before he is handed over for crucifixion (Mt 27:26 par. Mk 15:15), whereas here Pilate will make another effort to get Jesus released before he is eventually handed over (v. 16). Luke, like John, mentions several efforts made by Pilate to release Jesus (Lk 23:13-22), but Luke does not refer to the flogging itself, beyond Pilate’s threat to punish Jesus (Lk 23:16, 22). Some think that Jesus was flogged once and that John has separated that event from the handing over (Sherwin-White 1965:104; Brown 1994:1:852-53), but more likely there were two floggings (Carson 1991:597). The Romans had several degrees of punishment (Brown 1994:1:851-52), with the lightest form being a beating that was both a pun-ishment and a warning (Sherwin-White 1963:27). The more severe forms were used in interrogations to extract information from people or in connection with other punishments (Sherwin-White 1963:27). Since the punishment at this point in John’s account was neither of these severe forms, the reference would fit the lighter form better. Pilate, who considers Jesus innocent, may have wanted to satisfy Jesus’ opponents with this relatively light punishment. The later flogging, referred to by Matthew and Mark in connection with the sentence of crucifixion, would have been the more severe form. This type of flogging employed a whip made of leather thongs with pieces of bone or lead attached, which chewed up the flesh. Such flogging could itself result in death. Jesus’ own flogging, while brutal and inflicting great suffering, was not carried out to this extreme, since he did not die from it. Indeed, Pilate was surprised he died so quickly on the cross (Mk 15:44; cf. Blinzler 1959:226). Pilate, however, did not know the whole story, for he did not know of the spiritual wounds Jesus suffered as he took away the sin of the world (1:29), being “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities” (Is 53:5).
In addition to beating Jesus, as ordered by Pilate, the soldiers mocked him. The crown of thorns (v. 2) was most likely made from the date palm (Hart 1952), the same plant that had supplied the fronds laid on Jesus’ path as he entered Jerusalem a short time before (12:13). The spikes on this plant can reach twelve inches long and were notorious for inflicting pain (cf. Midrash Rabbah on Num 3:1). Such long spikes would give the effect of a starburst around Jesus’ head, in imitation of the likeness of deified rulers on coins of the period and much earlier. (H. Hart’s article includes photos of such coins and the spikes from a date palm.) The purple robe (v. 2) and the greeting “Hail, king of the Jews!” (v. 3)–an imitation of the greeting to Caesar, “Ave, Caesar”–furthered the sick entertainment. As they lined up and came forward to greet him (cf. Bruce 1983:358), instead of giving him the kiss of greeting, they struck him in the face (v. 3).
This scene presents a powerful picture of Christ’s glory, since this caricature of Christian worship, as E. C. Hoskyns calls it 1940b:621), actually speaks of Jesus’ true identity as King of the Jews and, indeed, Lord of all. But throughout the story we have seen the chief characteristic of the glory of God revealed in Jesus to be his love. Jesus really is a king beyond the wildest imaginings of these soldiers. When we realize the power Jesus had we understand more of his humility and see God’s brilliant glory. “Thus the kingdom which was not of this world overcame that proud world, not by the ferocity of fighting, but by the humility of suffering” (Augustine In John 116.1).Pilate Again Declares Jesus Innocent (19:4-8) This second declaration of Jesus’ innocence forms the fifth section of the chiasm (see introduction to 18:28–19:16), corresponding to the third section in which Pilate went out to the Jewish opponents and said he found no basis for a charge against Jesus (18:38b-40). This time he brings Jesus out with him–Jesus wearing the mocking signs of kingship and bearing the marks of the violence done against him. This very presentation of Jesus, with Pilate’s dramatic words, Here is the man! (v. 5), could itself be a continuation of the mockery, as though Jesus is coming forth to be presented to his subjects as on some state occasion. But while Pilate is mocking Jesus and his fellow Jews he is also making the point that there is no basis for a charge against such a figure. Jesus may be dressed up as a king and a god (Hart 1952:75), but in Pilate’s eyes he is only a man.
Once again we have an “unconscious prophet” (Westcott 1908:2:299), like Caiaphas (11:49-52) or the centurion in Mark’s Gospel (Mk 15:39; cf. Bruce 1983:359). Several proposals have been made for the significance of Pilate’s calling Jesus the man (cf. Barrett 1978:541; Brown 1994:1:827-28). One of the more likely proposals is Jesus’ identity as the Son of Man, since Jesus had said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM” (8:28). Another possibility is an emphasis on Jesus’ humanity: Jesus is indeed man (anthropos), for the Word became flesh (1:14). Since the real reason his opponents are against him is his claim to deity (19:7), we would have in Pilate’s phrase references to both the humanity and the deity of Jesus. John may also see here allusions to Jesus as the last Adam, to use Paul’s language (1 Cor 15:45), in keeping with similar possible allusions through the motif of the Garden (see comment on 18:1). This association with Adam is true, but since John does not make an explicit reference to him, we can’t be sure he had it in mind here.
Pilate’s bid to release Jesus is once again soundly rejected (v. 6a). The heart of the opposition to Jesus comes from the chief priests and their officials, and John singles these folk out as the ones crying, Crucify! Crucify! They want Jesus not merely dead, but crucified. The reason, most likely, is that this form of death was associated with the curse in the law against “anyone who is hung on a tree” (Deut 21:23, see comment on 18:32).
Pilate’s little plan failed, so in exasperation he tells the leaders to take Jesus and crucify him themselves, since, as he says for the third time, he finds no charge against Jesus (v. 6). Pilate is trusting in political games rather than standing in integrity for what he knows to be true. When such people cannot control a situation they get frustrated and angry. He is not really offering them a chance to crucify Jesus themselves, and they understand that, as their actions show.
Pilate and the Jewish leaders are very agitated, but the appeal they both make is to law. According to Roman law Jesus is innocent, as Pilate has now said three times. But the leaders now assert that according to Jewish law (v. 7), Jesus must die because he claimed to be the Son of God (v. 7). This was the charge that was brought against Jesus at the trial before Caiaphas, though not recorded by John (Mt 26:63-66 par. Mk 14:61-64 par. Lk 22:67-71). The law they seem to have in mind says “anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death” (Lev 24:16). Later in the Mishnah blasphemy refers to pronouncing the divine name (m. Sanhedrin 7:5), but the concept was broader in the first century (cf. Robinson 1985:263). The claim to be a “son of God” is not necessarily a blasphemous claim to deity since the phrase was used in the Old Testament to describe beings other than God, in particular heavenly beings (Gen 6:2; Ps 29:1, obscured in the NIV) and the king of Israel (2 Sam 7:14; Ps 2:7; 89:26-27; cf. Wülfing von Martitz et al. 1972:347-53). Since “son of God” was used of the king, the opponents are not now shifting away from the charge that Jesus claims to be king, as seen in their repetition of this charge later (v. 12). Rather, they are helping Pilate understand that there is a religious as well as a political dimension to the kingship of Jesus, and the religious aspect is the crucial one. Throughout the Gospel they have rejected Jesus’ claims to a special relationship with God, and they have already threatened his life because of such claims (5:18; 8:58-59; 10:33, 36). It is his claim to be God’s Son in a special sense that constitutes the blasphemy (10:36).
The opponents had not introduced this underlying problem to Pilate at first but rather couched it in its political form to get him to act. Even now their expression allows Pilate to read his own content into it. For they say Jesus claims to be “a son of God” (hyion theou). For a Roman, as for a Jew, this could be a political claim since the emperor could be referred to as “son of God” (theou hyios, divi filius). But Pilate does not treat it as such but rather, it seems, as a claim to be a “divine man” (theios aner, Dodd 1953:250-51). These “divine men” were Hellenistic religious philosophers who were “characterized by moral virtue, wisdom and/or miraculous power so that they were held to be divine” (Blackburn 1992:189). Pilate’s response is fear (v. 8). Some think this fear is due to his realization that the situation is getting out of his control and that “he will not be able to escape making a judgment about truth” (Brown 1994:1:830; cf. Ridderbos 1997:602). But John says it was this saying (touton ton logon) about Jesus as Son of God that caused Pilate’s fear (v. 8) and led him to ask Jesus where he is from (v. 9). So he is probably experiencing a fear of the divine, on top of all the other problems this situation entails for him. The discussion Pilate had just had with Jesus about his kingdom now begins to make more sense to Pilate. He must take Jesus back inside and explore this new dimension to his case.Jesus Speaks of Power and Guilt (19:9-11) In Pilate’s earlier discussion with Jesus, which forms the corresponding section in the first part of the chiasm (see introduction to 18:28–19:16), Jesus had clearly said he was not from this world (18:36-37). This obviously raises the question of where he is from. Now that Pilate knows Jesus claims to be a son of God he investigates more closely, asking Jesus,Where do you come from? (v. 9). From the context this is clearly not an inquiry about what country he is from, “but it is as if he had said, `Are you an earth-born man or some god?'” (Calvin 1959:172). Pilate’s question gets at the central issue regarding Jesus–that he is from the Father in heaven. Jesus’ origin was a major topic during his ministry (7:27-29; 8:14; 9:29-33), and now it comes to the fore at the end.
Jesus does not speak about his origin to Pilate. According to the Synoptics, Jesus has been silent already during his Passion, both before Pilate, when the chief priests and elders were accusing him (Mt 27:12-14 par. Mk 15:3-5), and before Herod, with the same opponents accusing him (Lk 23:9-10). Now he is also silent before Pilate in private (Jn 19:9). His silence echoes the silence of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah (53:7; cf. Acts 8:32; 1 Pet 2:22-23). He is silent, it seems, because Pilate has already revealed that he is not a man of truth and thus would not benefit from an answer to his question (see comment on 12:34-36).
Pilate has been exasperated by the Jewish leaders, and now he finds Jesus exasperating also. No one is cooperating with him! He threatens Jesus by referring to his power, though his threat comes across as a little lame given his obvious lack of power over the Jewish leaders: Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you? (v. 10). In Roman law it was said, “No one who has power to condemn is without power to acquit” (Justinian Digest of Roman Law 50.17.37; cf. Bruce 1983:361-62). Pilate had a clear understanding of his legal power, that is, his authority (exousia). But he is thinking only in terms of this world.
Often in this Gospel we see people who are mistaken about Jesus and his teaching because they are viewing reality solely in this-worldly categories, for example, the woman of Samaria (chap. 4). Jesus has used their misunderstandings to help these people come to a better view of reality, and that is what he now does with Pilate also: You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above (v. 11). Pilate well understands that his power is dependent on the one who is over him, the emperor. He could understand Jesus to be saying nothing more than this. But now that Pilate realizes Jesus is claiming to be a son of God he has a chance to interpret Jesus correctly, to understand that God is the source of this power. Indeed, Jesus’ reference to from above gives Pilate a hint as to the answer to his question of where Jesus is from (cf. 3:31; 8:23). Thus this is a saying that tests Pilate’s heart. Will he hear it correctly?
There are further hints as well about Jesus and his Father. The word for power (exousia) is in the feminine, whereas the verb it were . . . given (en dedomenon) is in the neuter and thus refers to more than just thepower: “You would not have any power over me if something had not been given to you from above.” In other words, this expression puts all the emphasis on the verbal idea of giving, a reference to the Father who is the source of all–the one who gives. Jesus’ point is that Pilate, like all of us, is a recipient. So Jesus is saying, in part, that the power of government has been given by God (3:27; Rom 13:1-7). Jesus speaks for this God upon whom Pilate himself is dependent, thereby further hinting as to his identity and the character of his Father.
In addition to making this general point, Jesus also refers specifically to the power Pilate has over me. No one has power over Jesus except the Father. And, in particular, no one takes Jesus’ life from him, but rather he lays it down of his own accord in obedience to his Father (10:17-18). Here is yet another hint for Pilate: he may have power over everyone else in Israel, but not over Jesus. If Pilate realized who was standing before him, he would have a chance of making sense out of this situation and much more.
And he needs to make sense out of Jesus and this trial and his own relation to the Father because he is sinning. He should get this message from the conclusion of Jesus’ statement that therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin (v. 11). Pilate’s fear is quite justified. He will be held accountable to God for how he exercises his authority. His sin may not be as great as someone else’s, but he is in fact sinning. Furthermore, this indictment of Pilate implies something about Jesus’ own identity and role, for he is claiming to know God and God’s will. Indeed, Jesus himself is the point of reference for sin in that to reject him is sin (16:9) and to receive him is to obey God (6:29). When Jesus used a similar indirect exposure of the sin of the woman of Samaria she was able to perceive something of what Jesus was saying about himself and respond to him (4:16-19). Pilate, however, does not pursue the issue further. He feels the pressure Jesus has exerted and thus tries all the harder to release him (v. 12), but he does not turn toward the light. He is still trying to be neutral and stay in control.
If Pilate’s sin is great, who is the one who has a greater sin? The reference would not be to Judas, since he did not hand Jesus over to Pilate. Rather, as Pilate said to Jesus earlier, it was “your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me” (18:35). Now Jesus uses the singular, the one who, collecting all his opponents into a unit, perhaps in the person of the high priest, Caiaphas. All has been given from above,therefore there are degrees of sin in keeping with the differences in what has been given. If Pilate sins by not administering justice to a man he knows is innocent, how much more sinful are the leaders of God’s people who have received not merely laws of justice but the divine law that bears witness to the Father and the one whom he has sent. To whom much is given, much is required (Lk 12:48).
Thus, both Jew and Gentile share in the sin, and therefore the guilt, of Jesus’ death. Indeed, “each of us is as guilty of putting Jesus on the cross as Caiaphas” (Carson 1991:575) or Pilate, for that matter. But John clearly says the Jews’ sin is greater, not because John is anti-Jewish, but precisely because of the greater gifts of God within Judaism. The problem is not Judaism as such but the rejection of their own Messiah by these particular leaders and their followers, despite what was available within Judaism. Thus, these members of the people of God are of this world, not of God (8:23).
Unfortunately, this Gospel has been read in anti-Jewish ways and thus has contributed to hatred of Jews and violence committed against them–all completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Although this Gospel reflects the conflict between the church and the synagogue late in the first century, it should not be seen as anti-Jewish (see comment on 8:44; cf. Brown 1994:1:383-97; Beasley-Murray 1987:308-10; Robinson 1985:271-75). It is, instead, anti-world. The Jews had a greater witness to the Light, so they should have embraced the Light more readily when he came. Accordingly their sin was greater than that of the Gentile Pilate. But from this perspective there is now a group whose sin is much greater yet. For from all appearances a great many Christians throughout the ages–and not least in our day–have been of the world as much as these Jewish opponents were, despite having not only the Old Testament but the Holy Spirit, the New Testament and the witness of the saints throughout the ages. Indeed, violence done against the Jews has itself been evidence of being of the world. Anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, who is of the world is allied with the evil one over against the Son of God (cf. 8:44). This spiritual contest is the real significance of what is taking place in the Passion (cf. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).Pilate and the Jewish Opponents Reject Jesus as King (19:12-16) This final section of the chiastic account of the trial before Pilate (see introduction to 18:28–19:16) corresponds with the first section (18:29-32), in which Pilate was also outside the praetorium and the opponents called for Jesus’ death. Jesus has just borne witness to the truth about himself, his Father, Pilate and the opponents. He has made Pilate even more uncomfortable, so Pilate begins to make further efforts to release him (v. 12; ezetei, NIV tried, is in the imperfect tense, here signifying repeated action). The Jewish leaders counter these efforts with a decisive move–they bring in the issue of Pilate’s loyalty to Caesar (v. 12). A later emperor, Vespasian (A.D. 69-79), had a specific group of people whose loyalty and importance were recognized by the title friend of Caesar. It is possible that Tiberius also had such a group and Pilate was a member (Bammel 1952), though this is uncertain. In either case, the threat is to Pilate’s position, and this settles the issue. Pilate has already revealed that he is a man of this world, insensitive to the truth of God. A threat to his political position is an attack upon the heart of what he knows and cares about. Such a choice between Jesus and other ultimate concerns in our lives faces each of us, for Jesus really is King and insists on complete loyalty as strongly as Tiberius. Pilate is faced with a choice of kings, and he does not choose wisely.
It is, of course, highly ironic that Pilate’s loyalty to Caesar should be threatened by Jews, members of the most disloyal and unruly section of the empire. Pilate is being humiliated by them. He knows he must give in to their wishes, but he is wily enough to humiliate them also in the process. Upon hearing their threat, he brings Jesus out and sits on the judge’s seat (bema) to pass judgment. This is the climax of the trial and, indeed, of the ministry of Jesus.
John underscores the importance of this moment by specifying the place and time, though, unfortunately, the precise meaning of both is uncertain today. The place where the trial before Pilate occurred is uncertain (see comment on 18:28), and the addition of the term Gabbatha does not help. This Aramaic word does not mean Stone Pavement but is a different word for the same place, probably meaning something like “elevated” (McRay 1992). The location would have been well known in the first century because it was the place of judgment.
The reference to the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour (v. 14) is problematic when compared to the Synoptics. If Passover (pascha) refers to the Passover meal itself, then John has the trial and the crucifixion happening a day earlier than the Synoptics do (see comment on 18:28). This would mean that this dramatic point before Pilate’s bema occurs just as the lambs are beginning to be slaughtered in the temple. Jesus’ death then took place while they were continuing to be killed. This setting would tie in with Jesus’ identity as the Lamb of God (1:29) and the several allusions to the pascal lamb in the Passion narrative (see comments on 19:19, 33-34, 36). On the other hand, if pascha refers to Passover Week, as in the NIV (cf. Torrey 1931; Carson 1991:603-4), then John’s account is not in conflict with the Synoptics. If the word preparation (paraskeue) regularly referred to the day before the sabbath, that is, Friday, this would lend support to the latter interpretation (Ridderbos 1997:456). For then both John and the Synoptics would present Jesus as eating Passover on Thursday evening, the beginning of Friday according to Jewish reckoning in which days begin at sundown. This usage, however, is contested (cf. Zeitlin 1932; Brown 1994:1:846). Alternatively, the suggestion that two different calendars were used (see comment on 18:28) would also account for the differences, since for some it would still be the period of preparation for the Passover meal. In this way Jesus ate the Passover and also died while the Passover lambs continued to be killed. There is no clear solution to this quesstion.
The sixth hour would be noon, which seems to conflict with Mark’s statement that Jesus was crucified at the third hour, that is, 9 a.m. (Mk 15:25). Again there is a division of opinion, with some assuming the two accounts simply contradict one another (Robinson 1985:268), perhaps due to a corruption in the text (Alford 1980:897-98; Barrett 1978:545) or because both John and Mark cite an hour that has symbolic significance for them (Barrett 1978:545; Brown 1994:1:847). Others think the imprecision of telling time in the ancient world accounts for the discrepancy (Augustine In John 117.1; Morris 1971:800-801).
Whatever the solution to these puzzles, John emphasizes this particular moment because Jesus is now presented to his people as king: Here is your king (v. 14). Pilate may be making one last bid to get them to change their minds, but given their threat to him regarding his loyalty to Caesar this is unlikely. Rather, Pilate mocks the Jews by saying this battered, weak man dressed in sham regal trappings is their king. Pilate is perhaps imitating a ceremony formally recognizing a ruler, somewhat similar to what takes place today at the coronation of a British monarch (cf. Bruce 1983:365). Jesus is indeed their king, and here is their one last chance to receive him as such, but they will have nothing of it. Pilate thereby “makes the moment of hisdecision the moment of decision for the Jews” (Beasley-Murray 1987:342).
The Jewish opponents have trapped Pilate, and now he springs on them a trap of his own. When they once more reject Jesus as their king and call for his crucifixion, Pilate replies, Shall I crucify your king? (v. 15). What they should have said in return was, “We have no king but God,” but in order to force Pilate’s hand with their threat regarding his loyalty to Caesar the chief priests instead say, We have no king but Caesar (v. 15). Like Pilate, they are forced to choose which king they will serve, and they also fail to choose wisely. Here are the spiritual leaders of Israel denying the very faith they are claiming to uphold in their rejection of Jesus. God alone was Israel’s king (Judg 8:23; 1 Sam 8:4-20). The human king was to be in submission to God as a son is to his father (2 Sam 7:11-16; Ps 2:7). These ancient attitudes found expression in one of the prayers these chief priests prayed every day: “May you be our King, you alone.” Every year at this very feast of Passover they sang, “From everlasting to everlasting you are God; beside you we have no king, redeemer, or savior, no liberator, deliverer, provider, none who takes pity in every time of distress and trouble; we have no king but you” (Talbert 1992:241). The hope was for a redeemer to come, the Messiah, who would be a king like David. “But now hundreds of years of waiting had been cast aside: `the Jews’ had proclaimed the half-mad exile of Capri to be their king” (Brown 1970:895; cf. Westcott 1908:2:306). These opponents stand self-condemned.
Jesus is indeed the King of Israel, and that means true Israel is found among those who owe allegiance to him. Jesus had already withdrawn from the temple (8:59) and formed the nucleus of the renewed people. Now the leadership of the nation completes this judgment, for “in the breaking of the covenant whereby God or his Messiah was Israel’s king, the movement of replacement comes to a climax, for `the Jews’ have renounced their status as God’s people” (Brown 1970:895). The light is shining brightly at this point, and the darkness’s rejection of the light is equally strong (cf. 3:20).
Pilate then hands Jesus over to them to crucify (v. 16). They themselves did not carry out the crucifixion, but this way of putting it completes the cycle of guilt. They had handed Jesus over to Pilate, and now he hands Jesus over to them. Both Jew and Gentile have rejected Jesus, and the way is now prepared for the ultimate revelation of the glory of God. This rejection of the Son of God is the essence of sin, and Jesus will now die to take away the sin of the world.  
Isaiah 32 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Leaders Should Be Good and Fair
32 Listen to what I say! A king should rule in a way that brings justice. Leaders should make fair decisions when they lead the people. If this would happen, the king[a] would be like a shelter to hide from the wind and rain, like streams of water in a dry land, and like the cool shadow of a large rock in a hot land. Then people would actually see what they look at. They would actually listen to what they hear. People who are now confused would be able to understand. Those who cannot speak clearly now would be able to speak clearly and quickly. Fools would not be called great men. People would not respect men who make secret plans.
Fools[b] say foolish things, and in their minds they plan evil things to do. They want to do what is wrong. They say bad things about the Lord. They don’t let hungry people eat their food. They don’t let thirsty people drink the water. They use evil like a tool and plan ways to steal from the poor. They tell lies about the poor and keep them from being judged fairly.
But a good leader plans good things to do, and that will make him a leader over other leaders.
Hard Times Are Coming
Some of you women are calm now; you feel safe. But you should stand and listen to the words I say. 10 You feel safe now, but after one year you will be troubled. That is because you will not gather grapes next year—there will be no grapes to gather.
11 Women, you are calm now, but you should be afraid. You feel safe now, but you should be worried. Take off your nice clothes and put on sackcloth. Wrap it around your waist. 12 Beat your breasts in sorrow. Cry because your fields are empty. Your vineyards once gave grapes, but now they are empty. 13 Cry for the land of my people. Cry because only thorns and weeds will grow there. Cry for the city and for all the houses that were once filled with joy.
14 People will leave the capital city. The palace and towers will be left empty. People will not live in houses—they will live in caves. Wild donkeys and sheep will live in the city—animals will go there to eat grass.
15 This will continue until God gives us his Spirit from above. Then the desert will become rich farmland and the farmland will be like thick forests. 16 That is, what is now a desert will be filled with right decisions, and what is now a farmland will be filled with justice. 17 That justice will bring peace and safety forever. 18 My people will be safe in their homes and in their calm, peaceful fields.
19 But before this happens, the forest must fall and the city must be torn down. 20 Some of you live away from the cities. You plant seeds by every stream and let your cattle and donkeys roam free. You will be very blessed.
Isaiah 40-55 The Voice (VOICE)

40 “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God.
    “With gentle words, tender and kind,
Assure Jerusalem, this chosen city from long ago,
    that her battles are over.
    The terror, the bloodshed, the horror of My punishing work is done.
This place has paid for its guilt; iniquity is pardoned;
    its term of incarceration is complete.
It has endured double the punishment it was due.”

A voice is wailing, “In the wilderness, get it ready! Prepare the way;
    make it a straight shot. The Eternal would have it so.
Straighten the way in the wandering desert
    to make the crooked road wide and straight for our God.[a]
Where there are steep valleys, treacherous descents,
    raise the highway; lift it up;
    bring down the dizzying heights.
Fill in the potholes and gullies, the rough places.
    Iron out the shoulders flat and wide.
The Lord will be, really be, among us.
    The radiant glory of the Lord will be revealed.
All flesh together will take it in. Believe it. None other than God, the Eternal, has spoken.”[b]During the time of Jesus, John the Baptist wanders around Israel in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets warning the people that they need to correct their attitudes and behaviors, to bring them better in line with what God expects and desires. He declares (warns, actually) that God is coming and will set things right. During the circumstances of exile, the people don’t fully understand who or what this voice in the wilderness will be; centuries later, as the early Christian community looks back over the life of Jesus and John, they recognize the anonymous voice.

Hebrews 13:7-17 New International Version (NIV)
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods,which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holythrough his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
 1 Peter 4 New International Version (NIV)
Living for God
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Peter 4 New International Version (NIV)
Living for God
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Timothy 5:17-25 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
17 Give double honor to spiritual leaders[a] who handle their duties well. This is especially true if they work hard at teaching God’s word. 18 After all, Scripture says, “Never muzzle an ox when it is threshing[b] grain,” and “The worker deserves his pay.”
19 Don’t pay attention to an accusation against a spiritual leader unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20 Reprimand those leaders who sin. Do it in front of everyone so that the other leaders will also be afraid.
21 I solemnly call on you in the sight of God, Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels to be impartial when you follow what I’ve told you. Never play favorites.
22 Don’t be in a hurry to place your hands on anyone to ordain him. Don’t participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself morally pure.
23 Stop drinking only water. Instead, drink a little wine for your stomach because you are frequently sick.
24 The sins of some people are obvious, going ahead of them to judgment. The sins of others follow them there. 25 In the same way, the good things that people do are obvious, and those that aren’t obvious can’t remain hidden.
Ruth 1-4 New International Version (NIV)
Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons
In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land.So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-lawprepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-lawgoodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,[b]” she told them. “Call me Mara,[c] because the Almighty[d] has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lordhas brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted[e] me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field
Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standingfrom the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.
And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”
The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”
When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheavesand don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.[f] 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left overafter she had eaten enough.
19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”
Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.
20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.[g]
21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”
22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”
23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barleyand wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[h] for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garmentover me, since you are a guardian-redeemer[i] of our family.”
10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”
14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he[j] went back to town.
16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”
Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
Boaz Marries Ruth
Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer[k] he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[l] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[m] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses.May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
1 Kings 10Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
10 The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, so she came to test him with hard questions. She traveled to Jerusalem with a very large group of servants. There were many camels carrying spices, jewels, and a lot of gold. She met Solomon and asked him all the questions that she could think of. Solomon answered all the questions. None of her questions was too hard for him to explain. The queen of Sheba saw that Solomon was very wise. She also saw the beautiful palace he had built. She saw the food at the king’s table. She saw his officials meeting together. She saw the servants in the palace and the good clothes they wore. She saw his parties and the sacrifices that he offered in the Lord’s Temple. She was so amazed, she could hardly breathe!
Then she said to King Solomon, “The stories I heard in my country about your great works and your wisdom are true. I did not believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Now I see that it is even greater than what I heard. Your wealth and wisdom are much greater than people told me. Your wives[a] and officers are very fortunate, because they serve you and hear your wisdom every day. Praise theLord your God! He was pleased to make you king of Israel. Because of the Lord’s unending love for Israel, he has made you king to rule with justice and fairness.”
10 Then the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon 4 1/2 tons[b] of gold, a huge amount of spices, and precious stones. She gave him more spices than anyone has ever brought into Israel.
11 Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir. They also brought jewels and a special kind of wood.[c] 12 Solomon used this special wood to build supports in the Temple and the palace as well as harps and lyres for the singers. That was the last time such a large shipment of that kind of wood was brought to Israel. There hasn’t been any seen around here since then.[d]
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for. He gave her more than she brought to give him. Then the queen of Sheba and her servants left and went back to their own country.
Solomon’s Great Wealth
14 Every year King Solomon received almost 25 tons[e] of gold. 15 In addition to the gold brought in by the traveling merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land also brought gold and silver to Solomon.
16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold. He used about 15 pounds[f] of gold for each shield. 17 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold. He used almost 4 pounds[g] of gold for each shield. The king put them in the Forest-of-Lebanon House.[h]
18 King Solomon also built a large throne with ivory decorations. It was covered with pure gold. 19 There were six steps leading up to the throne. The back of the throne was round at the top. There were armrests on both sides of the throne, and there were lions in the sides of the throne under the armrests. 20 There were also two lions on each of the six steps, one at each end. There was nothing like it in any other kingdom.
21 All of Solomon’s cups and glasses were made of gold, and all the dishes[i] in the building called the Forest of Lebanon were made from pure gold. Nothing in the palace was made from silver. There was so much gold that in Solomon’s time people did not think silver was important.
22 The king also had many cargo ships[j] that he sent out to trade things with other countries. These were Hiram’s ships. Every three years the ships would come back with a new load of gold, silver, ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon became greater in riches and wisdom than any other king on earth. 24 People everywhere wanted to see King Solomon and listen to the great wisdom that God had given him. 25 Every year people came to see the king and brought gifts made from gold and silver, clothes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
26 Solomon had a great number of chariots and horses. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horse soldiers. He built special cities for these chariots. So the chariots were kept in these cities. King Solomon also kept some of the chariots with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made Israel very rich. In the city of Jerusalem, silver was as common as rocks and cedar wood was as common as the many fig trees growing on the hills.28 Solomon brought horses from Egypt and Kue. His traders bought them in Kue and brought them to Israel. 29 A chariot from Egypt cost about 15 pounds of silver, and a horse cost almost 4 pounds[k] of silver. Solomon sold horses and chariots to the kings of the Hittites and the Arameans.
Revelation 20:7-15Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
The Defeat of Satan
When the 1000 years are ended, Satan will be made free from his prison. He will go out to trick the nations in all the earth, the nations known as Gog and Magog. Satan will gather the people for battle. There will be more people than anyone can count, like sand on the seashore.
I saw Satan’s army march across the earth and gather around the camp of God’s people and the city that God loves. But fire came down from heaven and destroyed Satan’s army. 10 And he (the one who tricked these people) was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur with the beast and the false prophet. There they would be tortured day and night forever and ever.
People of the World Are Judged
11 Then I saw a large white throne. I saw the one who was sitting on the throne. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared. 12 And I saw those who had died, great and small, standing before the throne. Some books were opened. And another book was opened—the book of life. The people were judged by what they had done, which is written in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. All these people were judged by what they had done. 14 And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.


2 thoughts on “The ‘theft’ of my 3 babies (Pt.55)

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