Lenten Greetings and Good Friday Greetings!
Let us read Matthew 27:11-54:
"11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked Him, saying, 'Art Thou the King of the Jews?' And Jesus said unto him, 'Thou sayest.' 12 And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto Him, 'Hearest Thou not, how many things they witness against Thee?' 14 And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, 'Whom will ye, that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus Which is called Christ?' 18 For he knew, that for envy they had delivered Him. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, 'Have thou nothing to do with that Just Man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.' 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude, that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, 'Whether of the twain will ye, that I release unto you?' They said, 'Barabbas.' 22 Pilate saith unto them, 'What shall I do then with Jesus, Which is called Christ?' They all say unto Him, 'Let Him be crucified.'
23 And the governor said, 'Why, what evil hath He done?' But they cried out the more, saying, 'Let Him be crucified.' 24 When Pilate saw, that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, 'I am innocent of the Blood of this Just Person: see ye to it.' 25 Then answered all the people, and said, 'His Blood be on us, and on our children.' 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. 28 And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His Head, and a reed in His Right Hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' 30 And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the Head. 31 And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His Own Raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His Cross. 33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, 'a place of a skull,' 34 They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink. 35 And they crucified Him, and parted His Garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet, 'They parted My Garments among them, and upon My Vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched Him there; 37 And set up over His Head His Accusation written, 'This is Jesus The King of The Jews.'
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the Right Hand, and another on the Left. 39 And they, that passed by, reviled Him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, 'Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross.' 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 'He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the Cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, 'I Am the Son of God.'' 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His Teeth.
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' That is to say, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? 47 Some of them, that stood there, when they heard that, said, 'This man calleth for Elias (Elijah).' 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink. 49 The rest said, 'Let be, let us see, whether Elias will come to save Him.' 50 Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints, which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they, that were with Him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things, that were done, they feared greatly, saying, 'Truly this was the Son of God'" (KJV 1611).
Good Friday Reflections: I greet you on this somber day and yet glorious day, because Jesus died today on Calvary outside of the Holy City of Jerusalem for you. Jesus was a mission to save your soul, my soul, your friends' souls, your family members' souls, and every single person's soul. Satan wants you, me, and every single person to burn in Hell forever and ever. However, Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit want the exact opposite to happen. The Holy Trinity wants you, me, and every single person to go to Heaven with Them forever and ever. Now we all deserve to burn in Hell forever and ever, because we are all sinners. Every single person, who was ever born, except for Jesus, is a sinner. Jesus is sinless like His Heavenly Father Yahweh and the Holy Spirit, but all of us are very sinful. We think things, which we should not think. We say things, which we should not say. We do things, which we should not do.
I am a guilty, wretched sinner and I murdered Jesus! I should be hauled before the United States Supreme Court and put on trial for murder! O wretched sinner I am! I should be found guilty of murder and I should be beaten. I should be wracked (racked) like William Wallace and have my heart cut out and put on a platter like both of the main Christian Saints called Valentine. This is, what I deserve. We all deserve those things, but, thanks to the forgiveness of sins found in the Holy Trinity, we do not have to suffer such punishments.
Now I know, that such punishments sound extreme and the United States Constitution will not allow it being both "cruel and unusual punishment," especially when I did not physically murder Jesus or anyone else for that matter. I am speaking purely in a spiritual, religious, and theological sense. Spiritually, religiously, and theologically every single person, who has ever lived, has murdered Jesus of Nazareth. We may not be legally murderers, but we are still spiritual, religious, and theological murderers of the Messiah, Whom Yahweh sent to save us from sin.
Jesus is equally God with the Father Yahweh and the Holy Spirit, so we murdered God. We did not murder Yahweh or the Holy Spirit, but we did break Their Hearts, when Jesus died. Yahweh was naturally heart broken, when Jesus died to save every single person from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, our own personal sins, and, yes, even the sin of spiritually, religiously, and theologically murdering Jesus.
Yes, I will admit, that believing, I personally murdered Jesus in a spiritual, religious, and theological sense is very strange religious belief, but it is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and it is absolutely Biblical. What does The Holy Bible teach? It teaches, we are all sinners and there is forgiveness of sins in the Holy Trinity and in Their Holy Gifts.
In Yahweh, we have forgiveness of sins. In Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins. In the Holy Spirit, we have forgiveness of sins. In Holy Baptism, we have forgiveness of sins. In Holy Communion, which sadly many of us are fasting from this Holy Week and Easter Sunday, we have forgiveness of sins. In Confession and Absolution, we have the forgiveness of sins. All three Persons of the Holy Trinity forgive us directly and They forgive us in all of these great and holy things.
I know, what some people are thinking, "Christians have some pretty strange religious beliefs, but those Lutherans take the cake!" Yes, to those, who do know Jesus as their personal Savior and personal Messiah, this entire blog post has to sound totally insane. However, in this "insanity," to use that word lightly, Yahweh shows His great Love, Grace, and Mercy for us, that He gave Jesus to us atone for our sins, to save us, to objectively justify us, and to subjectively justify us, if we would experience water Baptism aka Holy Baptism, believe, that Jesus died for us, and confess the Holy Trinity to be the One and True Holy God. Salvation is a Free Gift from the Holy Trinity and They deliver it to us in the waters of Holy Baptism and Jesus won this Salvation on the True Cross on Calvary.
For the next blog post, I hope to reflect on Easter Sunday aka Resurrection Sunday. I did some reflecting on what Easter truly is in my blog post "Is Easter Cancelled?" However, I think, it is good to reflect even more on Easter and what it truly is. Spoiler alert! Easter is about Jesus resurrecting from the dead, so the Christian Religion would not be in vain. It might be silly to non-Christians, but it is the One True Religion. Sadly none of us live up to the Standards and Teachings, which the Holy Trinity have laid out for us in the Holy Scriptures, as we should, but there is forgiveness of all of our sins. Amen!
April 2020 Book Signings:
1. I'll be having a book at The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio on Saturday April 4, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM. (This event was postponed due to my car needing repaired.)
2. I'll be having a book signing at the 2020 Arts Place Literature Festival held in Dicke Hall at Wright State Lake Campus in Celina, Ohio on Saturday April 18, 2020 from 9 AM to noon. (There is some uncertainty about the 2020 Arts Place Literature Festival taking place as scheduled, so I might have to go elsewhere.)
October 2020 Book Signing(s):
1. I'll be having a book signing at the Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show at the Vaughnsville Community Center in Vaughnsville from 11 AM to 5 PM.
Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show: I will be hosting the 2020 Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show on Saturday October 31, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Vaughnsville Community Center on State Route 12 in Vaughnsville, Ohio. I'm looking for vendors to come and sell their merchandise. I'm pretty much open to anything legal and clean, but homemade baked goods and craft items are preferred. Please see my "2020 Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show: Vendor Entry Form" blog post for more information:
My Green Irish Angel Statues: My Green Irish Angel Statues are really cute! They are only $1 each and they make great gifts. I have three kinds: 1. Cross-Bearing Angels, 2. Praying Angels, and 3. Angels Holding Butterflies. I like the Cross-Bearing Angels the best, because they are carrying Crosses. Each one bearing a Cross reminds us, that Jesus died on the True Cross to save every single person from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's Demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and their personal sins. They're available exclusively at Jen's Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on the corner High Street and Chestnut Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) in St. Marys, Ohio.
Stores Carrying My Books: My books, which I’ve written and published, are also available at the following stores: Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in St. Marys, Ohio, The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio, Readmore Hallmark Stores out at Eastgate Plaza and on Elm Street in Lima, Ohio, Wagner’s IGA Grocery Store in Minster, Ohio, and in the Shop section of my website ohioirishlutheranpress.com .
Thank you, Lenten Greetings, and Happy Easter!
James W. O’Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press)