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Friday, April 6, 2007

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Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Psalm 31
John 18:1—19:42

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power play

"Do You not know that I have the power to release You and the power to crucify You?" —John 19:10

In the greatest irony ever, Jesus, the Judge (Jas 5:9), stands before Pontius Pilate awaiting judgment. God had given Pilate the power to judge Jesus (see Jn 19:11), and now Jesus awaited Pilate's verdict. How would Pilate use the power God gave him?

Pilate represents us. Each of us has been given the power to crucify Jesus by our sins and our contempt (Catechism, 598; Heb 6:6). We can block Jesus from using our lives for God's glory and defeat God's plan for our lives (Lk 7:30). On the other hand, we also have the power to release Jesus and allow Him to have full control over our lives. We can let Jesus go free and use us in a mighty, earth-shaking way to help build His kingdom on earth. How will we use the power Jesus gives us?

We can also be like Pilate and refuse to make the decision to release or crucify Jesus. We can wash our hands and pretend that someone else will be responsible (Mt 27:24). However, to not make a decision about Jesus means that He gets crucified. That's what happened two thousand years ago, and that's what still happens today when we do nothing.

The crowd of the culture of death stands before you, howling for you to "crucify Him" (Jn 19:6). Jesus stands before you, staring at you with love. "In the end, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified" (Jn 19:16). What will you decide?

Prayer:  Jesus, You decided to be nailed to a cross that I might be released from my sins. I decide to take up my cross and carry it alongside You (Mk 15:21). Be released in my life.

Promise:  "Upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole." —Is 53:5

Praise:  (none)

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 16, 2006

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