Standing Before Pilate

Prayer by Lewis and Felain Lam

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for your love. In commemoration of Palm Sunday, we want to sing praise to you. We welcome you to be our King & our Saviour.

The world has been fighting COVID for more than a year now. People are getting tired. We pray that you bless the government in every country with the wisdom to apply the right policies to reduce the risk of community breakout. Currently there is still 10,000 new cases reported daily in Germany. May you be in control, Lord. May the vaccines be effective.

Dear Lord, Goettingen returns to in-person worship in March. We ask that you guide all the preparation work. Please help us to create a safe and welcoming worship environment. Meanwhile, we continue to support the online joint services from four cities: Goettingen, Kassel, Marburg and Heidelberg. When worship sessions become available online and in-person at the same time, we ask you to unite the hearts of everyone, so we can all praise you in one spirit.

Abba Father, we give thanks for you have renewed the spiritual wellbeing of our church members during the pandemic. Losing a job opened up more time for them to participate in different online gatherings, trainings and Bible study. Although a student graduated but still couldn’t find a job, he was able to spend more time reading the Bible. We praise the Holy Spirit because he found joy in your words. Your words freed him from falling into depression. Some were challenged to teach Adult Sunday School for the very first time. During preparation, Lord, you opened their eyes and they were amazed by your words.

We also need to remember those who are suffering. Lord, please strengthen their faith, help them keep up with regular devotion & church life. May they remember your love, so they know to bring their burden to you. When they feel lost, let them see your light. Guide them, so they will be renewed with hope and strength.

You are the Lord who called us. Please bless your servants with good mental and physical health. The constant changes in ministry, the many different needs of your sheep, the high turnover rate of believers have added to the challenges of our ministry. We feel drained at times. Please help us to find a balance between rest and work. Let us not rely on ourselves, but rely only on your grace.

We also ask the same for our other CBM brothers and sisters in ministry in other nations. Please be with them as they navigate their own unique circumstances.

Father, we put our son – Caleb in your hands. He will graduate from high school this summer. Please help him focus on his studies and guide him on his application to university. Wherever he may go, may he grow in Christ. May your plans for him be fulfilled.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Lewis and Felain Lam

Ideas for engaging practices

Have you ever had an injustice done to you? Have you been humiliated and mocked? Jesus humbled himself at the cross so that the will of God could come to pass – that we may have everlasting life in him.

Is there someone that has caused a grievance against you whom you have not forgiven yet? This week, deliberately pray for that person/those people, lift them up to the Lord and ask God to help you forgive them. Forgive as we have been forgiven to make room for light and life.

Worship resources

Worship on the road through Lent with Steve Bell’s “You Are To Be Holy”. Steve is a friend of CBM who was previously in a concert and story series of events with former CBM Strategic Associate Cheryl Bear.

Mark 15:1-30, 40-47

The Message

Standing Before Pilate

At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.

Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”

He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.

Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.

It was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for. There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome. As the crowd came up and began to present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate anticipated them: “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?” Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him.

But the high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas. Pilate came back, “So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?”

They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”

Pilate objected, “But for what crime?”

But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”

Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.

The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.

The Crucifixion

There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.

The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was scrawled across a sign. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

Taken to a Tomb

There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem.

Late in the afternoon, since it was the Day of Preparation (that is, Sabbath eve), Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate questioned whether he could be dead that soon and called for the captain to verify that he was really dead. Assured by the captain, he gave Joseph the corpse.

Having already purchased a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him in the shroud, placed him in a tomb that had been cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the opening. Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, watched the burial.