It is common for humans to judge others. The Bible speaks of this, and because of our human frailty, urges us not to judge lest we be judged as well. Matthew records the most important story of judging in history in Chapter 27, dealing with the judgement of who Jesus is and what humans should do with Him.
Jesus makes clear who He is to Pilate by affirming Pilate’s own conclusion and the accusations of the religious establishment. He affirms that He is King of the Jews, and then, He is silent. He is aware that the minds of His enemies are made up and will not be changed. Pilate takes longer to conclude that the truth that he chooses for his own advantage is one in which he must send an innocent man to be tortured and put to death. In the end, that is nonetheless the choice that he makes, and in the process, sets free a guilty, violent man named Jesus Barabbas.
We, too, make a choice daily of who we will conclude Jesus is and how we will deal with Him in our lives.
Who do we honour and who do we let loose into society?
Resource: Matthew 27:11-26 (NIV)
Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor.
Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 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?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor
“Barabbas,” they answered.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah? “Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children! Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Prayer Discipline Of This Month
Start your prayer time praying with these words of John Calvin at day’s beginning:
In order to my obtaining of Your great and manifold blessings, forget, and out of Your infinite mercy, forgive my offenses, as You have promised that You will do to those who call upon You in sincerity.
Grant I may hear Your voice in the morning since I have hoped in You.
Show me the way in which I should walk, since I have lifted up my soul unto You. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord. I have fled unto You.
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.
Let your good Spirit conduct me to the land of uprightness.
Prayer Focus This Month
- Pray for the work of the PSALT and Renewal Fellowship to continue to be an effective agency in renewing the church.
- Pray for God to deepen the joy of commitment to Him within the PCC.
- Pray for the various prayer ministries within PSALT to deepen the prayer life of the PCC.
The August PSALT bulletin will be the last I will edit. I thank you for the privilege of this work and I thank Robin Ross for his technical support. – Calvin Brown
Prayer Bulletin – June 20 – 26, 2021
Jesus is betrayed with a kiss. He is surrendered to His enemies by one who affirms His love by a kiss. We are warned that trusting in our own understanding rather than, as Jesus instructs, on the authority of Scripture which records the witness of the prophets, is folly. Jesus is confident that God’s sovereign will always triumphs. He has absolutes confidence in the power of God to achieve His plan. He also reminds the disciples not to yield to the ways of the world for victory. Neither will swordplay and violence in the end lead to victory. The disciples, at the end of knowing what to do, simply flee, but happily, Jesus reunites with them, teaches them the right way and commissions them in the kingdom way with kingdom values.
It looks like Jesus is defeated and prayers are ineffective, but they turn out to be false testimony and lies. We discover that God is just working out His plan as He had prophesied in Scripture, and none of the failures are permanent.
Resource: Matthew 26:47-60 (NIV)
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
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. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 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.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
Prayer Discipline Of This Week
Start your prayer time praying with these words found on the RTS webpage:
Our God and Father, we thank you that you speak to us a good word, a word of mercy, of grace, and of comfort, that you have given us the gift of your Son and that in him we have a great High Priest who intercedes for us and prays for us and sends us his Holy Spirit. We give you thanks for your Word and pray that you would apply it to our lives, that we might love you more and care for our neighbours as you would have us. We ask this in Jesus’s name, Amen.
Prayer Focus This Week
- Pray for the work of PSALT as it continues working to see the PCC be increasingly faithful to Biblical Reformed truth.
- Pray for God to use the PCC increasingly with its enthusiasm to share the love of Jesus.
- Pray for our church to act in ways honouring to God as it ministers with many ethnic congregations.
Prayer Bulletin – June 13 – 19, 2021
Jesus prophesied, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me.” It came to pass just as He had said. Peter and the others were well intended – they had wanted to be faithful and act consistently – but the circumstances made them act cowardly. We, too, fall into the same temptation and fail in the same way. Peter thought that he was superior to the others, and although they would fail, he believed in his own ability to remain firm, but it was not so. He had to deal with his failure and be reconciled to Jesus and his brothers and sisters.
Only Jesus remained faithful to His calling and destiny.
Why the difference? Peter could not pray with Jesus for one hour. Jesus prayed over three periods in agony, blood, sweat, and tears. Jesus’ heart had worked through the cost and was filled in the Spirit, while Peter counted on his personal resolve. The time comes to act. The time of preparation is over. Jesus says, “Rise let us go! Here comes my betrayer.”
The time to face the music with the preparation that we have made comes, and the outcome often depends on the preparation. The outcome may not be what we had originally hoped for, but our response and courage to walk through it in a way that gives glory to the Father need not be in doubt. This is what the life of Jesus teaches us all. This is the lesson of the last few days.
Resource: Matthew 26:31-46 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Prayer Discipline Of This Week
Start your prayer time praying with Peter Marshall praying these words:
Lord, forgive me that when life’s circumstances lift me to the crest of the wave,
I tend to forget Thee. Yet, like an errant child, I have blamed Thee with my every failure, even as I credit myself with every success.
When my fears evaporate like the morning mist, then vainly I imagine that I am sufficient unto myself, that material resources and human resources are enough.
I need Thee when the sun shines, lest I forget the storm and the dark. I need Thee when I am popular, when my friends and those who work beside me approve and compliment me. I need Thee more then, lest my head begin to swell.
O God, forgive me for my stupidity, my blindness in success, my lack of trust in Thee. Be Thou now my Saviour in success.
Save me from conceit. Save me from pettiness. Save me from myself! And take this success, I pray, and use it for Thy glory. In Thy strength, I pray. Amen. – Peter Marshall (1902–1949)
Prayer Focus This Week
- Pray for the work of the PSALT gathering for their AGM on June 17.
- Pray that God would make us effective speakers of His truth.
- Pray for those struggling with various troubles, including those heartbroken by the decisions of the recent General Assembly.
- Ask God to guide those on both sides of the GA decisions regarding divisive matters for next steps that will honour Him.