Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Popularity Contest

Matthew 27: 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.


“Who should I pick for the team?” I asked. I had someone in mind, but figured I would ask the question anyway. A name was given to me that was different than I expected. “I wonder if everyone knows this person” I thought to myself.

  • There have been times I have made decisions based on popularity.
  • There have been times I have asked the crowd what I should do.
  • There have been times I have tried to absolve myself from the decision by asking the crowd.

Going with the crowd seems like a harmless solution sometimes. I mean this way I can have a lot of people vouching for me and I can remain “in favor.” BUT GOD says something different.

  • GOD wants me to make the right choice which is sometimes unpopular.
  • GOD wants me to stand for what is right not what is popular.
  • GOD wants me to follow HIS lead which can sometimes be the most unpopular direction.

Keeping people out of harm and guiding them to belief in CHRIST is very unpopular at times. Pilate had a choice to let JESUS go free and get rid of a well-known felon, but chose the popular route to his demise. GOD wants me to be brave enough to decide HIS way even when it is not popular.

  • Are you choosing based on popularity?
  • Do you follow the crowd a lot?
  • Can you choose this day who you will serve, yourself or JESUS?

Amazing Accusations

Matthew 27: 11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.


“No I didn’t” was my instant reply when I was falsely accused. “I wasn’t the one! It was him” I said with extended finger. Of course I was right, but they labeled me as a rat who would tell on the mischievous. I was only trying to protect my hide!

  • There were times I blamed others.
  • There were times I made sure everyone knew the source of the issues.
  • There were times I covered myself so I would not get in trouble.

JESUS took the blame to the “great amazement of the governor.” HE knew HE was going to die for the sins of mankind and had nothing to prove or protect himself for. The governor knew his word could bring death to people and was amazed that JESUS would not bow down to such assumed power.

  • JESUS showed me HIS resolve by going to the cross and dying for me.
  • JESUS showed me HIS integrity to die for me even when I blamed HIM for my problems.
  • JESUS showed me HIS love by not speaking a word about my sins and taking on my punishment as HIS.

Not a word was spoken about HIS accusers. HE allowed HIMSELF to be captured, beaten and lied on for me. That is love I can never repay!

  • Are you trying to convince GOD how good you have been lately so you can get your way?
  • Are you blaming someone else for your problems even though you may be right?
  • Can you stand with GOD and allow HIM to remove your barriers instead of squirming out of them by telling on people?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Late Regrets

Matthew 27: Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”


Sneaking away from work had become the norm. When I returned, reeking of food smells, my boss had enough. “You lost my trust” he said to me. I did not think my slipping away would have any effect on him. I mean I got my job done quickly so I had time. He should understand, right? Wrong.

  • There were times I regret.
  • There were times I wish I could go back and do things differently.
  • There were times I see that I was the problem and it’s too late to do anything about it.

Judas saw what they were about to do with JESUS because of his betrayal. He also saw that the dirty people around him would not stand with him and comfort him. On the contrary, they would blame him too. He regretted it to his own demise.

  • GOD says to me, “Let me take on your regrets.”
  • GOD says to me, “Let me have your past failures.”
  • GOD says to me, “Let me remove your mistakes, mishaps and maleficent acts.

I can’t go back and fix that situation, BUT GOD did. JESUS was blamed for when I slipped off of work and HE innocently paid the penalty of death. When HE rose from the dead, HE decided to pardon me for this blatant sin. Only JESUS provides comfort for my past mistakes.

  • Did you make a huge mistake that hurt someone else?
  • Do you have past regrets?
  • Can you stop replaying your mistake and let the HOLY SPIRIT give you comfort by forgiving you through JESUS resurrection?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Placed at the Scene

Matthew 26: 69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.


“Weren’t you at [insert place] last night?” someone asked me. I didn’t know why they asked the question so I did not answer it directly. “Maybe, maybe not… Why?” I replied. “Nothing” they said I saw your car parked there and I knew it was you.

  • Some places I would like to deny being at.
  • Some places I would rather keep secret.
  • Some places I would rather no one know but those involved.

Whether it was sneaking out of the girls dorm or seeing a movie I wasn’t supposed to see, my mustard yellow, dented car gave me away. Peter was also given away by being placed at the scene with JESUS. HE was probably seen serving the miracle wine at Cana near the Sea of Galilee. What if she recognized Peter as the one who walked on that same sea. He denied profusely.

  • GOD wants me to not be ashamed of being associated with HIM.
  • GOD wants me to carry my affiliation with HIM wherever I go.
  • GOD wants me to say “I am with JESUS” even when it is difficult to say.

This was a life or death situation for Peter and quite honestly I may have done the same. I would like to think I would have said “Sure I was with JESUS, go ahead and kill me” but this is a difficult thing to say. Peter wept bitterly because he wanted to be great and found out he was like all the rest. GOD forgave Peter and HE forgives me too.

  • Have you denied your relationship with GOD?
  • Have you done something shameful that you are trying to hide?
  • Can you stop hiding your relationship with GOD even when it seems difficult?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fame Name

Matthew 26: 62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”


One “big boss” complimented me and gave me a little authority. I was excited and decided to use it to fight one of his peers who no one liked. “What are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m dealing with one of your problems you were concerned about” I naively replied. He distanced himself from me and I had to face the other “big boss” alone.

  • There were times when I misused someone else’s name.
  • There were times when I thought I was doing something right when I was using that person’s name.
  • There were times when I coupled my bad actions to someone’s name without asking them “Is this what you mean.”

Misusing someone’s name could ruin their reputation and that is what I almost did. Unfortunately, the Pharisees and Sadducees were doing just that with GOD’s name. They took GOD, incarnated as a human, and slapped HIM in the face. They mocked HIM and spit on HIM and told HIM HE was not GOD, but they were mistaken.

  • GOD wants me to hold HIS name high rather than blaming HIM for my power hungry ways.
  • GOD wants me to follow HIS ways so I can keep HIS reputation unblemished.
  • GOD wants me to be gentle and point my life to HIM rather than being arrogant, putting myself on HIS throne.

Doing the wrong things in GOD’s name is worse than not doing anything at all for GOD. Misusing GOD’s word or manipulating others to follow me in GOD’s name is far worse than people who habitually sin without knowing what they are doing. I hold GOD’s name high.

  • Are you doing the wrong things and thinking you are doing it in GOD’s name?
  • Have you asked GOD “Is ‘this’ what you want me to do?”
  • Will you stop being led by your own lusts and ask GOD to lead you today?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Looking for Trouble

Matthew 26: 57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”


“This guy has got to go!” I thought to myself. He was causing problems at work and stirred everyone up. I asked people what he did wrong and they could not tell me for certain what he was doing. No one else had the nerve to get rid of this person so I had to be the one. Finally one person came forth and told me about some trivial mistakes. “Maybe I can use this” I thought.

  • There were times when I looked for evidence against “that” person.
  • There were times when I sought to prove my position was right.
  • There were times when I would have listened to false witnesses and been alright with it.

Peace is all I wanted even if my employees may have been the malefactors. It was easier to fire one than many, no matter how “right” he was. GOD wants me to have a different attitude.

  • GOD wants me to stand up for what is right versus following the crowd.
  • GOD wants me to guard against pleasing the crowd versus following what HE says.
  • GOD wants me to seek first HIS righteousness instead of looking at humans who may have hidden motives.

When I look for trouble in a person I often can find it. I mean everyone has problems and I can make their imperfections stand out with the right crowd behind me. GOD wants me to seek what is good not what is obviously bad. HE saved me in the middle of my sins and desires to do the same for “that” person. HE wants me to have grace.

  • Are you looking for the worst in “that” person?
  • Are you immaturely building up evidence against them and getting your crowd to believe in you even if the truth may have been stretched?
  • Will you stop looking for trouble and start looking for GOD’s grace today?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fight Club

Matthew 26: 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


“Stand up to him” were the words shouted from the crowd at me. We circled each other and the crowd grew around us. I had not been in this position before, but had seen it many days and was not about to back down. Bored with our circling, someone pushed us towards one another. The fight began.

  • Some days I have had rage.
  • Some days I wanted to fight.
  • Some days I desired to be the one who won!

Being the scrawny underdog, many people cheered me on or at least I thought so. I can’t quite remember seeing how I was getting beat up. The teachers pulled us apart and the thug was taken to the principal. I never fought again but I lifted weights and grew large just in case.

  • GOD wants me to “Put my sword away” and find an alternative to fighting.
  • GOD wants me to “Call on my FATHER” when I am in danger.
  • GOD wants me to “Sit in the temple courts” instead of looking for fights.

Picking fights can spread to other areas of life. At work, at home or even at church I can look for a fight and most of the time I will find one. BUT GOD wants something different. GOD wants me to carry peace instead of a weapon, just as HE did. Though I may have strength, HE wants me to show weakness so HE can be made strong.

In these days of human strength and bullying in business or politics, showing weakness is unheard of and even viewed as pitiful. GOD wants me to be strong enough to bring peace instead of a fight. That is love!

  • Are you picking fights?
  • Do you look to have your way so you practice your words to win the argument?
  • Will you put down your “sword” and ask GOD for peace in your heart today?