Reflections: Holy Week is upon us and Lent is coming to a close this Saturday, which is called Holy Saturday. This week we journey with Jesus into Jerusalem, when He rode into town riding on a young donkey on Palm Sunday. The crowd waved palm branches and they loudly cheered "Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He, Who comes in the Name of the LORD! Hosanna in the Highest!" Sadly their cheers for Jesus the Messiah on Palm Sunday turned into cries to crucify their King on Good Friday. Jesus instituted Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday and He created a great mystery, when He told His Disciples, that the bread is literally His Body and the wine is literally His Blood. On Good Friday, Jesus defeated sin, death, and Satan himself.
After Jesus instituted Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, He and His Disciples, except for Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus by selling the Messiah to Jewish religious authorities for 30 pieces of silver, went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Sadly the other Disciples fell asleep instead of praying, but at least they didn't betray Jesus like Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot led the Jewish temple police to arrest Jesus and Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with an unholy kiss. St. Peter cut off Malchus' ear and Jesus healed Malchus. Malchus was a slave of the high priest of the Jews. The Jewish religious leaders held a sham trial for Jesus. They put Jesus on trial, because Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, King of the Jews, the Savior of the world, and equally God with the Father Yahweh. However, the Jewish religious leaders refused to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, King, Savior, and God, so they wanted Pontius Pilate, who was the Roman governor ruling over Jerusalem, to crucify Jesus. Even though Pontius Pilate was a cruel tyrant, we have to feel a little sorry for him, because the Jewish religious leaders wanted him to do their dirty work for them, because he was a Roman Pagan and they didn't want to become ritually unclean before the Jewish Feast of the Passover. Pilate was baffled, when the crowds loudly renounced Jesus, because He was a humble Rabbi, Who was concerned over religious issues.
I love, how the New Revised Standard Version phrases John 18:40 "They shouted in reply, 'Not this man, but Barabbas!' Now Barabbas was a bandit" (NRSV 1989), when the Jews rejected Jesus, Who is the Jewish Messiah, the King of the Jews, the Savior of the world, and equally God with the Father Yahweh. After the Jew's first rejection of Jesus, Pilate had Jesus beaten nearly to death. Pilate wisely realized, that Jesus posed no threat to the Roman Emperor aka the Roman Caesar, and he wanted to let Jesus go free, but the Jewish religious leaders were jealous of Jesus. Jesus was a threat to the Jewish religious leaders and not to the Roman political leaders. Jesus is a religious King and not a political king.
Let us look at the Jew's second rejection of Jesus, the Crucifixion of Jesus, and the Burial of Jesus which were necessary for our Salvation in the Holy Gospel according to St. John Chapter 19, "1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His Head, and they put on Him a purple robe, 3 And said, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they smote Him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, 'Behold, I bring Him forth to you, that ye may know, that I find no fault in Him.' 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, 'Behold the man!' 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, 'Crucify Him, crucify Him.' Pilate saith unto them, 'Take ye Him, and crucify Him: for I find no fault in Him.' 7 The Jews answered him, 'We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.'
8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, 'Whence art Thou?' But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto Him, 'Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not, that I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee?' 11 Jesus answered, 'Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore He, That delivered Me unto thee, hath the greater sin.' 12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him: but the Jews cried out, saying, 'If thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.'
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place, that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, 'Behold your King!' 15 But they cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.' Pilate saith unto them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.'
16 Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away. 17 And He bearing His Cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified Him, and two other with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the Cross. And the writing was 'Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.' 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place, where Jesus was crucified, was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, 'Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am King of the Jews.' 22 Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.'
23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His Garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His Coat: now the Coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, 'Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be:' that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, 'They parted My Raiment among them, and for My Vesture they did cast lots.' These things therefore the soldiers did.
25 Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His Mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto His Mother, 'Woman, behold thy son!' 27 Then saith He to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother!' And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, 'I thirst.' 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His Mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, 'It is finished:' and He bowed His Head, and gave up the ghost.
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His Legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side, and forthwith came there out Blood and Water. 35 And he, that saw it, bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth, that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, 'A Bone of Him shall not be broken.' 37 And again another Scripture saith, 'They shall look on Him, Whom they pierced.'
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate, that he might take away the Body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the Body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the Body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place, where He was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand" (KJV 1611).
Jesus died to save you and every single person. During Holy Week we reflect on our sinful nature from which we cannot liberate ourselves, only Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit can do that through Holy Baptism and Faith in Them, and on Easter Sunday we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection from the dead. Eastertide is a seven week festival to celebrate Jesus' Resurrection from the dead. However, this week we journey to the upper room, where the First Holy Communion was celebrated, the True Cross, where Jesus died to save all of us from our sins, and to the tomb, where they laid Jesus' lifeless body. All of this suffering and death was for us and Jesus, even though these experiences were extremely painful for Him, was willing to suffer and die to save all of us. Amen!
Spring Sale at JFC: Jennifer Garrett is having a Spring Sale on Saturday April 27, 2019 from 10 AM to 3 PM at her store on High Street in St. Marys, Ohio called Jen's Furniture and Collectibles aka JFC. Jennifer and her vendors will have a lot of great deals on all sorts of popular items. My used books books are pretty cheap ranging from $0.25 to $10, but most of my used books are just $1. My new books, which I've written and published, will be on sale for $10 that day, when I have my book signing from 10 AM to 3 PM. For each copy of my new books, which you pay $10 for, you can get one used book priced at $1 or less for free. My booth is #162 and it's straight back from the front door. The used books are my second business called Ohio Book Mart and More.
May Book Signings: I will be having two book signings in May 2019 and I'll be signing copies of my Christian romance novels The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 1 and The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 2 and my Greek and Roman Mythology book A Survey of Classical Mythology at both of these signings. I will be having a book signing at The Dam Store at 204 N. Main Street in Columbus Grove, Ohio on Saturday May 4, 2019 from around 10 AM to 5 PM. My Columbus Grove book signing will take place during the 2019 Columbus Grove Community Garage Sales. I will be having a book signing at Jen's Furniture and Collectibles on High Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) in St. Marys, Ohio on Saturday May 11, 2019 from around 10 AM to 3 PM. My book signing at The Dam Store will be cash only and the books will be on sale for $10 each. Jen's Furniture and Collectibles is typically a cash only store, but, if I have no technical difficulties, then you'll be able to pay with either cash or cards at Jen's Furniture and Collectibles for my new books during the book signing.
Fun Facts: I live in Shawnee Township in the Lima Area, so it takes me 25 minutes to a half hour to drive to either Columbus Grove and St. Marys. Plus every single time I have a book signing at Jen's Furniture and Collectibles in St. Marys, Ohio, some really slow driver gets in front of me, so please be patient and check out my booth #162 with both the new books, which I write and publish, and the used books, which I sell for my second business called Ohio Book Mart and More (OBM&M). At Jen's Furniture and Collectibles only, you're able to buy one of my new books, which I've written and published, for $10 and you can get a used book priced at a dollar or less for free.
Other Stores: My new books, which I've written and published, are also available at Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, the Lima Hallmark Store on Elm Street and out at Eastgate Plaza, Wagner's IGA Grocery Store in Minster, Ohio, and of course here on the Shop page of this website.
OIL Press News: My goal is to have my next Christian romance novel published in time for the Christmas in July celebrations. I'm hoping to have some book signings in July to debut The Rising of The Moon Book 2: Faith, Hope, and Love. This Christian romance novel will have a similar cover as both The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 1 and The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 2, because the story in Moon Book 1 Part 1 flows into Moon Book 1 Part 2, the story in Moon Book 1 Part 2 flows into Moon Book 2, and I want to save money on the cover design. Just read the front covers and you'll be able to figure out, which book is which.
Holy Week Blessings!
James W. O'Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press)