Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-49; John 20:1-21:25.
After the Romans had crucified Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea had Christ‘s body placed in his own tomb. A large stone covered the entrance and soldiers guarded the sealed tomb. On the third day, a Sunday, some women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and Salome are all mentioned in the gospel accounts) went to the tomb at dawn to anoint the body of Jesus.
A powerful earthquake took place as an angel from heaven rolled the stone back. The guards shook in fear as the angel, dressed in bright white, sat upon the stone. The angel announced to the women that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, “He has risen, just as he said.” Then he instructed the women to check the tomb and see for themselves. Next he told them to go tell the disciples.
With a mixture of fear and joy they ran to obey the angel’s command, but suddenly Jesus met them on their way. They fell at his feet and worshiped him. Jesus then said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see me.”
When the guards reported what had happened to the chief priests, they bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money, telling them to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body in the night.
After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the women near the tomb and afterwards at least twice to the disciples while they had gathered at a house in prayer. He visited two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and he also appeared at the Sea of Galilee while some of the disciples were fishing.
Pilate looked out over the crowd. So, it had come to this. He thought. People who usually had no use for him were now coming to him, looking for him to pass judgment on one of their own. It was exhilarating to have such power. With one word he could bestow life or death.
At every Passover Festival, the Roman governor was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the crowd asked for. At that time, there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. So, when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, “Who do you want me to set free for you? Jesus Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?” He knew jolly well that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night I suffered much on account of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus put to death. But Pilate asked the crowd, “Which one of these two do you want me to set free for you?”
“Barabbas!” they answered.
“What, then, shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?” Pilate asked them.
“Crucify him!” they all answered.
But Pilate asked, “What crime has he committed?”
Then they started shouting at the top of their voices: “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that it was no use to go on but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!”
The whole crowd answered, “Let the responsibility for his death fall on us and on our children!”
Pilate then set Barabbas free for them, and after he had Jesus whipped, he handed him over to be crucified (Matthew 27:15-26).
- “Who was Pontius Pilate?” (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- My Name Is… Barabbas (crossroadsny.wordpress.com)
- They mock, spit and beat him (crosspointecc.wordpress.com)
- Jesus goes on trial (myeverydaygod.com)
Throughout the Bible, there are small words that make powerful impacts upon our lives. Consider the word “Let”. To “let” means that we have a responsibility in a given matter. It means that we must give permission or allow the opportunity for God to do something in our lives, or through our lives, that He desires to see happen.
When God says, “Let,” He is telling us that there is no reluctance on His part to see something happen. Therefore, it is up to us to humble ourselves before Him and respond to His command appropriately.
Here are some of the “Lets” we find in the Bible:
- Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).
- Dear children let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).
- Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19).
- Yet if, anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter (1 Peter 4:16).
- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:5-6).
And David spoke unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies and out of the hand of Saul:
And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou saved me from violence.
I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears—2 Samuel 22:1-7
The story of the widow’s mite described in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 is a fascinating and intriguing one. Most of us have heard or read this story more times than we can remember, yet most of us have missed the essential point–selflessness.
The big question, however, is: “What moved Jesus to comment on the Widow’s Mite?” I am sure there were other poor widows in the Synagogue that day. Some may have even given less than two mites, so, Why did Jesus choose to comment on this widow? The answer is not as obvious as I thought. However, embedded in the story, one sees a poor widow displays an unusual and unique characteristic–others before self. In other words, she gave selflessly. It did not matter that the two mites were all she had to survive. She placed them in the offering plate without thinking about her needs. This to me was an extraordinary display of faith and a strong belief in God as her provider. Choosing others before self is not easy, but when we do Jesus takes note. After all, He chose others before self when He dies at Calvary.
Here is Mark’s version of the story: Jesus sat in the temple near the treasury and watched as people walked by and deposited their gifts for the temple. Some made a show of it, mainly because they wanted others to see how much they had given. Suddenly a poor woman who was a widow, came by and threw in two mites.
Now, back in those days, a mite was the least valuable coin used. Therefore, the widow’s gift was extremely small, amounting to nothing in the eyes of many. However, Jesus looked at her heart and saw what others did not see. Thus, He commented: “All the others contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44). The widow did not draw attention to herself. Her gift was much too small for anyone to notice. Of course, except Jesus. She gave from the heart, and she was selfless in doing so.
God sees everything we do, and it does not matter how small it may seem. It may be nothing more than a smile, a handshake, a silent prayer, a comforting word, or an unnoticed act of love and kindness to someone who is going through tough times.
Jesus said: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “Therefore”, when thou do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and the streets that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say, they have their reward. Hence when thou do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:1-4).