"Sacred Heart" painting by Sheila Diemert

Today: Psalms 68:21-27; John 19:1-27; 1 Samuel 26, 27 & 28

John 19

It is so painful to read of Jesus being beaten, tortured, and crucified. But we must remember that Jesus allowed these horrors to happen to Him of His own free will. At any moment, He could have removed himself from his torturer’s evil clutches in any millions of ways. He could have instantly struck them all dead.

But He did not. He willingly endured their abuse and presented His own body to be sacrificed for you and me. Jesus was calm, resolved, compassionate to the bitter end. Even in His last hours, He exuded kindness by instructing His disciple, John, to treat His mother as his own, ensuring that Mary would be cared for after He is gone.

Jesus even appeared to offer comfort to Pilate who obviously did not wish to have Jesus crucified. He tried to avoid an execution sentence for Jesus repeatedly and appeared to agonize over the situation. Jesus assured Pilate that “the one who hands Me over to you has the greater sin.” (v.11)

Even in the midst of being tortured and murdered, Jesus poured out His love to those around Him.

Compare the compassion of Jesus with the devious chief priests who twisted their arguments around into any lie they thought might convince Pilate to do the deed. They were conniving and coldhearted, a stark contrast to the compassionate Lamb of God.

Then we have the sadistic soldiers who appeared to delight in torturing their prisoners. They had no skin in this game. They were just mindless animals, heartless brutes who enjoyed violence.

And Jesus, the Son of God, Creator of the universe, willingly subjected Himself to their pointless savagery so that He might provide salvation for us. Never doubt Jesus’ love and compassion for us.

How appropriate that we read of Jesus’ death on Memorial weekend. Jesus made the greatest sacrifice of all…

"The Ghost of Samuel Appearing to Saul" painting by William Blake

1 Samuel 26

Saul’s change of heart toward David lasted about a day…

Then he was after him again. David was not afraid by deliberately traveled to Saul’s camp. David and Abishai were able to march through Saul’s sleeping guards right up to Saul as he slept. Once again, David was advised by his men to kill Saul. Once again, David refused, saying, “Do not kill him, for who can reach out with his hand against the LORD’s anointed and remain innocent?” (v.8)

David took Saul’s spear and water jug and left. Again David revealed to Saul that he could have killed him, but that he chose to spare him.

Again Saul apologized and appeared to have another change of heart.

Again Saul’s change of heart is shallow and fleeting. His remorse cannot win against the demons screaming in his head…

Saul had descended to his lowest point. The LORD had completely left him by then and would no longer respond to Saul’s inquiries. So Saul went to the devil instead. He consulted a medium, the witch of Endor, instead, in the dark of night, to conjure up Samuel.