Easter and Days 15-19 of the 21 Day Challenge

I can’t believe it’s Easter. This year it has been particularly meaningful for me, I think because my BSF Bible Study of Matthew lined up with passion week this year. Starting in the fall, week after week we have read and discussed the ministry of Jesus, then followed Him to the cross this week. We all know the story, but soaking in it so much makes me reflect on each person who was involved. The injustice that Jesus suffered because of people’s pride is so heart-wrenching, I don’t know how it doesn’t move more of us to overflow with constant passion and appreciation.

I am pasting the next 4 days of the 21-day challenge below. Please read it, no matter how well you know it. Ask Him to let it sink in and highlight special nuances you had never noticed before!

Day 15, John 15

15 “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> the true vine,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> while every branch that does bear fruit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> Remain in me, as I also remain in you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> If you remain in me <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> This is to my Father’s glory,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>
“As the Father has loved me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> 14 You are my friends<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> if you do what I command.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> so that you might go and bear fruit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”>—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> 17 This is my command: Love each other.
18 “If the world hates you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> out of the world. That is why the world hates you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> for they do not know the one who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> 22 If I had not come and spoken to them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> they would not be guilty of sin.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law:<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> ‘They hated me without reason.’
26 “When the Advocate<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> comes, whom I will send to you from the Father<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”>—the Spirit of truth<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 27 And you also must testify,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> for you have been with me from the beginning.

I love this chapter! Am I the only one motivated by the need to stay with Him and bear fruit that way? It’s a great (but, a little unwanted to be honest) reminder that we can only bear fruit through Him. I am having an extremely hard time waiting on Him with a new project we are involved in, and I suppose this is the answer. I’m trying to do it on my own and He says I have to wait for Him. Not so positive how to do that in a practical way, but I guess the point is that you literally just keep praying and reading the Word nonstop until He does something, or shows me what to do next. Feel free to comment with ways or stories about how you have learned to wait on Him!

Day 16, John 16
16 “All this<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> I have told you so that you will not fall away.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> They will put you out of the synagogue;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> but now I am going to him who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> Rather, you are filled with grief<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> because I have said these things.But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> because I am going to the Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>comes, he will guide you into all the truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”>
17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> but I will see you again<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> 23 In that day<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> and your joy will be complete.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”>
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> a time is coming<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> and have believed that I came from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”>
29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> that you came from God.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and in fact has come when you will be scattered,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> each to your own home. You will leave me all alone.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”>
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> In this world you will have trouble.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> But take heart! I have overcome<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> the world.”

Bits of this chapter still leave me a bit confused, but I appreciate the promise that He will speak plainly to us in the future. He obviously shows us answers for the things that are unclear, but not necessarily all at once. The promise that He will give us anything we ask in His name is one I’ve talked about often on here. It is literal. First, we get completely right with Him, we confess all our sins, receive His forgiveness, read and pray with passion, and then ask for the things on our hearts with full expectation that He will answer. I praise Jesus for this promise that I know so well! It’s very difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s false.

Day 17, John 17

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> and prayed: “Father, the hour has come.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> For you granted him authority over all people<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> that he might give eternal life<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> to all those you have given him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> Now this is eternal life: that they know you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> I have brought you glory<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> And now, Father, glorify me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> in your presence with the glory I had with you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> before the world began.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> and they believed that you sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> I pray for them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> and I am coming to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> as we are one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> except the one doomed to destruction<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> so that Scripture would be fulfilled.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>
13 “I am coming to you now,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> 18 As you sent me into the world,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> I have sent them into the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> that they may be one as we are one<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and have loved them<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”>even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> to be with me where I am,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> and to see my glory,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”>
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> I know you, and they know that you have sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> 26 I have made you known to them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> and that I myself may be in them.”

Did you see how Jesus prayed to God about those He GAVE to Him? We believers are gifts from God. First, He is talking about the disciples. Like Peter, the guy who publicly denied Him three times. That guy was more than just a-ok with Jesus, He considered Him a GIFT. I love that. Our worthless, hypocritical, sorry selves are beautiful to Him. Blessings, even. I want to live up to that today. And tomorrow. Maybe the next day, too.

Day 18, John 18

18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> On the other side there was a garden,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> and he and his disciples went into it.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>
Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>So Judas came to the garden, guiding<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
“Jesus of Nazareth,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> or at the temple,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> nearby slapped him in the face.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> the high priest.
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”>
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> But now my kingdom is from another place.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”>
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”>
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

How beautiful that the chief priests couldn’t even conjure up a consistent argument about why Jesus needed to be crucified. Any of us has sinned enough that an outsider could chat up a few of our friends and come up with some exaggerated version of the truth to condemn us. But perfect is perfect and they had no dirt on the man. 
This is also the chapter I’ve been referring to with all the denials from Peter. We see how instead of watching and praying, the way Jesus told Him to a few chapters back, he got distracted and wanted to hang out by the fire, etc. Next thing you know, he is so caught up in the ways of the world that he doesn’t want to be associated with Jesus. He realized his sin immediately after the rooster crowed, but he had already compromised his integrity. We all need to keep watching and praying. Must stay alert to keep out of such trouble. Easier said than done! Peter had Him right in front of him and couldn’t keep it up, but we do have the Holy Spirit and as we saw a bit ago, we can do such things, bear such fruit, if we remain in Him!

Day 19, John 19
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> And they slapped him in the face.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>
Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> because he claimed to be the Son of God.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”>Therefore the one who handed me over to you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> of the Passover; it was about noon.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>
“Here is your king,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> he went out to the place of the Skull<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>(which in Aramaic<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> the king of the jews.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”>20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”>
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> of Jesus stood his mother,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> 26 When Jesus saw his mother<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> there, and the disciple whom he loved<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> and so that Scripture would be fulfilled,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”>Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> 35 The man who saw it<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> has given testimony, and his testimony is true.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled:<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”> This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> and since the tomb was nearby,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> they laid Jesus there.

This is probably crazy, but whenever I read this I still look for some evidence that it’s not Pilate who killed our Savior. All those who arrested, plotted, and insisted he be crucified were responsible, and the more we see how sinful even the good men like the disciples were, we know that if we were alive back then we would have most likely been spitting on Him too. Before cancer I would have told you I wouldn’t have done such a thing, but one thing I learned so clearly from the cancer was that I really don’t know myself the way I thought. I hope that I can remember this lesson throughout the rest of my days and lean more on Him than on my own understanding.
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4 thoughts on “Easter and Days 15-19 of the 21 Day Challenge

  1. Hi Erin
    Congrats on your blog. My name is Radu I am 31 years old father of a 2 years old boy and in December I found that I have stage 4 colon cancer. I find your blog very inspiring and I am happy that you are ok and beat doctors'stats.

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  2. Radu, I am praying for you and will continue to do so. On Thursday mornings we pray for healing so please send me updates so we can be specific (epetscher@gmail.com). I didn't deserve to be healed, but the Lord had mercy on me and my family anyway and I will pray and believe that He does the same for you. Email me any time!

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