Today's verses are John 19:14-16: "Now it was the day of the Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, 'Behold your King!' They cried out, 'Away with him, away with him, crucify him!' Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.' So he delivered him over to them to be crucified." My child, it was the day of the Preparation of the Passover, Friday morning, as the Passover lambs were being prepared to die for the sins of the people in the temple. Ironically, I too am begin readied to be sacrificed as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
Then Pilate says to the Jews who had gathered in his courtyard, "Behold your King!" Astoundingly, they shouted back, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate responded, "Shall I crucify your King?" They shouted back, "We have no king but Caesar."
Without hesitation, they acknowledge Caesar alone to be their king. They betrayed their own beliefs. They subverted their own national heritage. Over and over again, throughout Jewish history, God had said to his chosen people that he alone was their ultimate king (Judges 8:23; I Samuel 8:7). They denied their own Messianic expectations of a coming king who would eradicate Roman power and rule with perfect righteousness and justice.
My child, do you see what a quest for power and blind rage can do to people? They wanted me dead so badly that they would betray their beliefs and heritage. They wanted to hold onto their own power so badly that they would betray the God who had given them life.
Pilate had no other option. If he wanted to maintain his own power, he had to give me over to be crucified.
Upon pronouncement of the sentence, I was then scourged with thirty-nine lashes. It was a whip matted with metal, glass and bone. It was called "intermediate death" by the Romans. Each lash against my back would bite deeply into my flesh, ripping apart bone, muscle and sinew. It was the weaken the body so much that death on the cross would soon come. The Romans especially wanted me to die before 6 pm, the beginning of the Sabbath.
My child, realize anew today all that I went through for you. Each lash from the whip I gladly took in your place. I took the punishment for your sin upon myself so that you would not have to. I did all of this because of how much I love you.
Could there possibly be a greater love in all the universe that I would die in your place? Oh, how I love you! I suffered incredible agony for you. I gave my life for you. I died in your place. What more could I give to you?
Today, begin to grasp the depth, breadth, width and height of my love for you. Claim it for yourself. Cling to it all day long. Know that nothing can ever separate you from my love. It is beyond anything you could ever hope for or imagine!
You can trust me today.