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Prince Among Thieves

  “In the midst of pain, I received peace, at the point of death, my freedom.  And though I will die a condemned man, I will live eternally pardoned.

                                                           – The Thief

     The stars glistened like diamonds against the night sky, while a gentle breeze came through the bedroom window where Pontius Pilate was sleeping.

“Sir,” a voice came beyond the curtain that covered the doorway. “The high priest of the Jews has come to have a word with you.” 

“Tell them to come back later I’m sleeping,” grumbled Pilate.

 “Sir they say it is most urgent that you come out to them and hear the case against the prisoner they have brought to you. They say he claims to be a king!”

  Throwing the covers back he stumbled to the floor.

“Doesn’t anyone ever sleep around here?” Pilate growled as he lit the lamp beside his bed.

“Take them into the courtyard and I will join you there,” he commanded.

“Sir, the Jewish leaders request that you come out to them,” the soldier replied hesitantly.

“Why?” demanded Pilate as he finished getting dressed.

“To come into the Praetorium would make them ceremonially unclean and they would not be able to partake in their Passover feast going on this week.

“These Jews and their feast,” Pilate growled as he walked out of the room to join the soldier who was waiting for him. Together the two men went to the place where the Jews were waiting.

     The soft flickering light from the torches illuminated the courtyard in front of the Praetorium, as the mob that had arrested Jesus waited for Pilate to come and pass judgment. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, Pilate came out to them and said,

“What accusation do you bring against this man?”

“He is a criminal,” they responded.

“Then take him and judge him according to your own law,” Pilate commanded as he turned to leave.

“You know we cannot sentence anyone to death according to the law!the Jews responded.

“Death? What has he done?”

Pilate turned and walked into the courtyard , “Bring the prisoner to me ,”he commanded. As the guards came in with Jesus he observed him as they approached.

“Who is this man? Why do the Jewish leaders want him dead?” Pilate thought to himself.

Jesus stood before Pilate in silence. His face dripping blood and sweat from the beating he received from the temple guards.

“Are you the king of the Jews?”  questioned Pilate.

“Are you speaking for yourself about this concerning me?” Jesus responded.

Am I a Jew? Your own people and the chief priest have delivered you to me!” Leaning forward Pilate continued,

“What have you done?”

“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here.”

As Pilate stared into the eyes of  Jesus, an uneasy feeling gripped his heart. He arose and came down from the place he was sitting and stood before Jesus. In the dimly lit courtroom the darkness loomed just outside the light of the torches.

“Then you are a king.”

“You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”

What is the truth?” Pilate said out of frustration as he turned and went back out to the place where the priest and the Jews were gathered. As he approached the crowd Pilate said,”I find no fault in this man!”

“He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place!” the priest cried out. Others among the crowd shouted in agreement with him.

Galilee? Well then, since Galilee is Herod’s jurisdiction take it up with him.”

Pushing Jesus on ahead of them the soldiers along with the Jewish leaders that followed came to the place where Herod was staying, for he had come to Jerusalem for the feast. Awakened by the sound of their voices Herod sent his guard to see what they were up to.

“Sir, the chief priest and the Jews have come from Pilate to bring to you a man they want you to judge.”

 “Interesting,” Herod said to himself. “Bring him to me.”  As they brought Jesus into the room, Herod recognized him.

“I have been hoping to have an opportunity to meet you Jesus. I have heard of  the miracles you have done over the years,” Herod smiled with delight as he approached  Jesus.

“This man is a criminal!” exclaimed the chief priest.

“He even says he is the king of the Jews!” another added as the crowd became agitated again.

Raising his hand to silence them Herod said, “Well, what do you have to say about these accusations Jesus?”

  No response.

“Why do these men want you dead?”

Still no response.

“What miracle will you perform to convince me of your innocence?”

Jesus stood before Herod in silence while the chief priest and the Jews continued to accuse him. When Herod concluded that he was not going to be entertained by him he began to mock Jesus.

“So you’re a king?” Herod said as he took off the robe he was wearing.

“No king should be dressed like you are!” he laughed as he gave it to his chief officer.

“Oh your highness let me help you get dressed!” the officer said sarcastically as he threw the robe over Jesus. Other soldiers joined in by mimicking people Jesus healed  by acting as if they were blind or had a disease  and they were healed miraculously. Herod returned to his chair disappointed.

“Well if you will not talk to me I will not waist anymore of my time with you!  Send him back to Pilate and tell him thanks for the entertainment!” Herod  ordered as he  joined in with the soldiers laughing at Jesus.

   As the sun broke over the horizon the sky was illuminated with the color of red. Pilate sat in the chair in the center of the Praetorium.

 “Pontius,” his wife spoke softly as she came up from behind him.

“Why don’t you go back to bed while there is still enough time to get a little more sleep before you start your day,” she continued as she wrapped her arms around him.

“I am not sleepy anymore, and besides I have already started my day with this man they are trying to convict.”

“I had a dream last night about a man who was brought before you,” his wife said. As she described the dream to him, Pilate became nervous. Unable to stay in the chair any longer he pulled away from his wife and began to pace around the courtroom.

“Pontius what’s wrong?”

“I have seen the man you just described to me! He is the one the Jews want me to crucify!”

“Have nothing to do with this man! He is bad news!” she pleaded with him.

As they were speaking a guard approached them,  “Sir, the Jews have returned from Herod and they are demanding your presence.” 

“Pontius,” she cried out.

He paused for a moment then turned and went with the guard to where the Jews were gathered.

“It is customary to release a prisoner condemned to death during their Passover, surely they will want to release Jesus!” Pilate thought to himself as he walked toward the outer courts. When he arrived the Jews started accusing Jesus while others cried out his innocence. By this time the crowd had grown and all their voices became a loud roar. Raising his hands, Pilate quieted the crowd.

“You have a custom that I should release a prisoner to you in honor of your Passover feast. Do you therefore want me to release to you this man Jesus in whom even I find no fault?” he announced while pointing to Jesus.

The Jewish leaders started to shout,

“We want Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!”

“That man is a thief and a murderer! You want me to release him?”

Pilate stared at Jesus shaking his head in disbelief.

“Take the prisoner and have him scourged,” commanded Pilate.

The soldiers grabbed Jesus and took him into the prison courtyard. There they stripped the robe off of him and bound him to a pole with his hands over his head. The sound of the whip echoed off the prison walls as it came down upon Jesus’ back tearing away the flesh in it’s path of fury.

     Awakened by the sounds coming from the courtyard, the prisoner winced as he felt the pain in his back from the beating he received the day before. The shackles that bound him hand and foot clanged on the floor as he struggled to the window to see what was going on outside. As he looked into the courtyard he observed a man being beaten. Instead of cursing or begging for his life the man remained silent as if he was allowing them to do this to him. When the soldiers had finished scourging Jesus, one of them drew his sword and cut the rope that held Jesus to the pole. Then taking a purple robe he placed it on Jesus’ back and propped him against the pole.

“Wait,” exclaimed another soldier as he came toward Jesus.

“No king is complete without a crown!” He laughed as he forced the crown of thorns into Jesus head causing him to bleed. The other soldiers laughed as they joined in placing a reed in his right hand, then others came and kneeling before Jesus saying, “All hail the king of the Jews!’ Then they spat on him while others slapped him with the reed they gave him and ripped the beard away from his face.  Their laughter filled the courtyard as the prisoner watched in silence.

“What did he do to deserve such treatment from the Romans? Why are they calling him ‘king of the Jews?,” the prisoner thought to himself. Just then the prison doors swung open and some guards came into the main corridor of the prison.

“Get Barabbas and take him to Pilate,” the officer commanded the guards.

The soldiers burst into the cell where Barabbas was being held for execution and threw him out into the hallway of the cell block.

“Move it!” commanded the soldiers as they prodded him along with their spears.

Pilate gathered the Jewish leaders, and the people together in front of the Praetorium in the place called the pavement. Then he ordered the guards to bring out Jesus and presented him to the crowd.

“Behold the man!” he announced.

When Pilate saw Jesus he thought, “Surely they will release him now instead of Barabbas.”  His thoughts were abruptly interrupted as the chief priest and other religious leaders started yelling,

“Crucify him! Crucify him!”

They encouraged the people to join them. Then Pilate silenced the crowd and commanded,

“You take him and crucify him, for I have found no fault in this man!”

Then one of the Jewish leaders responded, “We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God!”

At that the crowd began to rise up again. Pilate turned and went into the Praetorium,

“Bring Jesus to me,” he commanded as he walked by the guard.

“Where are you from?” he questioned Jesus as the guards entered the room with him. Using what strength he had left to stand, Jesus spoke not a word in response.

“Are you not speaking to me? Do you not know I have the power to crucify you, and the power to release you?”

Jesus’ body shook with fatigue as he looked up and gazed into the eyes of the man standing before him.

“You could have no power at all against me unless it had not been given to you from above. Therefore the one who delivered me to you has the greater sin.” Breaking away from looking at Jesus, Pilate started walking toward the door. “Bring both of the prisoners out and let the people decide.”

As he took the judgment seat, the guards brought out Jesus on one side and Barabbas on the other.  Pilate stood and quieted the crowd,

“You have brought this man Jesus to me as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined him in your presence, I have found no fault in this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. Neither did Herod, for I sent you to him as well. It is my ruling that nothing deserving death ……”

While Pilate was still speaking some of the leaders began to cry out,

“Away with this man and release Barabbas!”

Why, what evil has he done that is worthy of death?”

“If you let this man go, you are not Caesars friend! Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!”

“Do you want me to crucify your king?” Pilate questioned them as he pointed to Jesus.

“We have no king but Caesar!” And the people began to cry out again.  Pilate leaned over to the officer standing next to him.

“Bring me a bowl of water and a towel.”  When the officer returned with the water, Pilate raised his hands to silence the crowd once again. After doing all he could to persuade the crowd to release Jesus he said,

“You have asked for the release of Barabbas in keeping with the tradition of releasing one prisoner to you during your Passover. What then shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?”

“Let him be crucified!  Crucify him!”

Pilate began to wash his hands before them saying,

“I am innocent of this man’s blood. You see to it!”

And the people answered and said,

“His blood be on us and on our children!”

With that being said, Pilate released Barabbas, and looked at Jesus.

Everything in him cried out this man’s innocence but the noise of the Jews prevailed.

“Jesus I sentence you to death by crucifixion.”

The soldiers stripped off the purple robe that had dried to his back , and led him away to be crucified.  The sounds of the angry mob filled the city as the people lined the streets to see the men condemned to death as they passed by. Just then the door to the prison cell burst open and the guards came in and seized the two thieves who were awaiting their crucifixion. When they came to the entrance of the prison the light of the sun blinded their eyes. Then the soldiers pushed them down before the wooded cross beams on the ground in front of them.

“Pick it up and get moving!” 

As they came into the main street that led to Golgotha, the prisoner that saw Jesus out the window of his cell recognized him as he walked on ahead of them. Jesus could barely stand much less carry the heavy wooden cross beam as he began to stumble under its weight. As they approached the hill, Jesus fell down out of exhaustion.

“Get up and keep moving!” demanded the soldier as he prodded Jesus with his sword. Staggering to his feet Jesus took a few more steps and fell again. The soldier prodded Jesus with his sword but he was unable to go up the hill carrying his cross. The soldier tuned to the crowd that gathered along the roadside,

“You,” he commanded pointing to Simon from the region of Cyrene. “Carry it, now!” Simon trembled as he came over to Jesus and lifted the cross off of him.

“Come on get moving we haven’t got all day!” the soldier said angrily.

Upon reaching the top of the hill the two thieves watched as they crucified Jesus to the cross. Nailing his hands and feet, the soldiers raised him up with a sign hanging over his head that read “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.” Then they crucified the other prisoners along with him, one on his right and the other on his left. As the soldiers guarded the prisoners so no one could come and save them, they began to divide up the garments they had confiscated.

“Wait a minute,” one of the them said as he saw the garment that Jesus had worn.

“This tunic is one piece. Why don’t we cast lots to see who gets it?”

The other soldiers agreed.  As the morning went on the chief priest, and the Jewish leaders began to mock him saying,

“And you said you can rebuild the temple in three days.”

“Why don’t you save yourself?”

“If you are the Son of God, come down off that cross and we will believe you.” 

Then men on the other crosses joined in,

“If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!” said the thief on his right.

Jesus turned his head and looked at him, without saying a word and then he looked up toward heaven and prayed,

“Father forgive them they know not what they do.”

Then thief on the other cross cried out in pain,

 “Don’t you fear the wrath of God even now as we die? We’re getting what we deserve for we are thieves, but this man between us hasn’t done anything wrong! Even now at the point of death he asks God to forgive those who have done this to him, and he has not yelled back at people the who are making fun of him as we ourselves did!”

Then looking over at Jesus and the sign that was over his head the thief said in a trembling voice,

“Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus turned his head and gazed over at the man on the cross next to him.

“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:3-6 (NKJV) 

 

    

This story was adapted from the four gospels of the Bible

STRONGER THAN BEFORE

Have you ever had a song or songs that inspire, comfort, encourage, or minister life to you? There are songs for every thing from finding love to loosing it, and everything else in between. But then there are songs that never get old. They are your “go to” songs. Ya know  the ones you can listen to years later and they still move you. These are such kind of songs for me. I literally grew up with these songs. I actually had the honor of meeting this person and know she lived what she believed. This month I am remembering  Janny Grein, who answered her call and in the process still inspires me to “stand” in the midst of the storm.

 

 

For which is easier: to say, Your sins are forgiven and the penalty remitted, or to say, Get up and walk?

   This is my verse for today. I thought I would share it with you.

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

Isaiah 40:29,31 (AMP)

It’s not only God’s will to save us from sin. He also healed us. He gave us power and strength… He delivered us from our sin. “But to those that “wait” for the Lord…” He makes us whole…healing is a part of salvation.

LOOK UP THESE VERSES  (You won’t regret it! 🙂 ) – 

  • Psalm 103:1-5
  • Psalm107: 17, 19-21
  • Isaiah 53:4-5
  • Jeremiah 17:14

The word salvation in Greek is- SOZO- meaning nothing broken, nothing missing.(Romans 1:16, Romans 10:10-13 for example) 

  “Your faith cannot operate beyond your knowledge of His Word.” 

– Gloria Copeland

Notice it does not say we will not have times of feeling weak (faint and weary), or feeling worn out/exhausted  (no might). It says that as we expect,trust and rely on God,  look for find out what His word/promises are concerning our situation, and hope in Him, apply stand,receive,take what He says as the Truth. Our strength and power will be renewed.

Two things to always remember:

  • It is Gods will to heal and restore us.
  • Gods Word never fails.

SAY WHAT YOU BELIEVE
        For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.                                                                     

  Romans 10:10 (AMP)

 Declaration/ConfessionSay it out loud and receive it!

*You give power to me when I am faint and weary. In my weakness, You increase strength in me.I wait for You [expect, look for, and hope in You] and You renew my strength and power. I will lift up with wings of strength and rise as an eagle. I shall run and not be weary, I shall walk and not faint or become tired.                                                                                         ( Isaiah 40:29, 13 personified)

  For which is easier: to say, Your sins are forgiven and the penalty remitted, or to say, Get up and walk?
  But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins and remit the penalty, He then said to the paralyzed man, Get up! Pick up your sleeping pad and go to your own house.
 And he got up and went away to his own house.
Matthew 9:5-7 (AMP)

* Gloria Copeland Healing and Wellness Life Line Book Your 10 Day Spiritual Action Plan (page 128 #8)

EVER LIVING HOPE

With all the stuff going on in the world these days, we need to remember, our Hope is a living Savior king!And through Him we are protected and our inheritance in Him can’t be touched!


   Praised (honored, blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (AMP)

 

 
     Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. [At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9 (AMP)

JESUS IS OUR EVER-LIVING HOPE!

RISE AGAIN

Here’s a throwback song that I wore out my eight track on .  This song is by Dallas Holm from late 70’s early 80’s. the video is recent but the song is an ageless classic.  Enjoy 🙂


  For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation!

2 Corinthians 6:2 (AMP)

I AM Here (A PRAYER)

You are not an accident! You were created! You are valuable!


O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 139:1-18 (NKJV) 

WHAT WAS GOD THINKING WHEN HE CREATED YOU?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

You have a purpose! He has the plan! 🙂