Scourging Jesus

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/20/2021 8:00am

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Thorn Crown of the King

19 1-3 So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.

4-5 Pilate went back out again and said to them, “I present him to you, but I want you to know that I do not find him guilty of any crime.” Just then, Jesus came out wearing the thorn crown and purple robe.

Pilate announced, “Here he is: the Man.”

-John 19:1-5 The Message

Verse 1: Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.

Verse 1 study: There is a full picture in different points of view of Jesus’ crucifixion. John has a different perspective coming from three books of the Gospel in which we will study right after chapter 19. But the common ground is that Jesus died on the cross, so we can be saved from our sins and given eternal life.

Verse 2: And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;

Verse 3: and they began to come to Him, and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.

Verses 1-3 studies: Scourging could have killed Jesus. The crucifixion is done by using a three-pronged whip and tying the victim’s upper half of the victim’s body to a pillar. This is the usual way to handle the crucifixion. Deuteronomy 25:3 tells us the law about the number of lashes that are allowed. It is determined by the severity of the crime; up to 40 lashes were permitted by Jewish law. After being hit, Jesus endured other agonies recorded here and in other Gospels.

Verse 4: Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”

Verse 5: Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

Verses 2-5 studies: The soldiers went past orders to whip Jesus. They mocked him and his claim to royalty by placing a crown on his head and a royal robe on his shoulders.

Father, this is a start of a moment to remember, to remind ourselves about Jesus and his sacrifices for us. Let us take the time to be humbled and recognize his goodness and his love for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/19/2021 8:00am

Sunday, September 19, 2021

36 “My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of King, not the world’s kind of King.”

37 Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”

Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”

38-39 Pilate said, “What is truth?”

Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find nothing wrong in this man. It’s your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the ‘King of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “Not this one, but Barabbas!” Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

-John 18:36-40 The Message

Verse 36: Jesus answered, “my kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Verse 37: Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this, I have been born, and I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.

Verses 36-37 studies: Pilate asked Jesus a straight question, he got a straight answer. Jesus is a king, but not of this world. There is no doubt that Pilate knew Jesus spoke the truth and was innocent of any crime. But ended up rejecting the truth although he recognized it. That’s the tragedy when you don’t want to see the truth and not recognize it as well.

Pilate Hands Jesus Over to Be Crucified

Verse 38: Pilate said to Him, “What is the truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.

Verse 38 study: Pilate was skeptical; he believed all truth was relative. For government officials, truth is either based on what people agreed with or helped advance their own personal power and political goals. When there is no basis for truth, there is no moral basis for right and wrong. Justice becomes what works or helps people of power. Jesus’ word, we will have the standard for truth and for moral behavior.

Verse 39: But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?”

Verse 40: So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Verse 40 study: Barabbas was a rebel against Rome, and he did commit murder, but probably was a hero amongst the Jews. The Jews hated being governed by Rome and paying taxes to the despised government. Barabbas was released even though he led a rebellion and failed. Jesus was not released, and he is telling the truth. Also, Jesus is the only person who could help Israel.

Father, cynical is a word that describes a lot of people based on you. I pray we can turn those suspicious people to the truth about you. Let us lead the way to do that. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Standing Trial

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/18/2021 8:00am

Saturday, September 18, 2021

31-32 Pilate said, “You take him. Judge him by your law.”

The Jews said, “We’re not allowed to kill anyone.” (This would confirm Jesus’ word indicating the way he would die.)

33 Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”

34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?”

35 Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?”

-John 18:31-35 The Message

Verse 31: So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”

Verse 32: to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying what kind of death He was about to die.

Verse 31 study: Pilate made four attempts to deal with Jesus:

  1. Putting the responsibility of Jesus on someone else
  2. Find a way of escaping so Jesus can be released (18:39)
  3. Tried to compromise by having Jesus scourged (flogged) rather than handing Jesus over to die (19:1-3)
  4. He tried to have a direct appeal to the sympathy of the accusers (19:15)

Everyone had to do something with Jesus. Pilate let others decide for him, and he lost because he let others decide for him.

Verse 32 study: Crucifixion was a standard method of execution for criminals that were not Roman citizens. Recorded in Matthew 20:19.

Verse 33: Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Verse 34: Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”

Verse 35: Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me, what have You done?”

Verse 34 study: If Pilate asked this question as Roman governor, he would have been inquiring if Jesus was setting up a rebel government. The Jews were using the word king as a means to a religious leader, the Messiah. Israel was a captive nation under the authority of the Roman empire. A rival king might threaten Rome; a Messiah would have been a purely religious leader.

Father, thank you for putting writing in the minds of the disciples. Without this, we would never know what happened. Let us remember this trial in the reminder of our sins, that he died for us. It takes courage. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Painful Situation

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress blog post. 9/17/2021 9:30am

Friday, September 17, 2021

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”

He denied it, “Not me.”

26 One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”

27 Again, Peter denied it. Just then, a rooster crowed.

The King of the Jews

28-29 They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early morning. They didn’t enter the palace because they didn’t want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. “What charge do you bring against this man?”

30 They said, “If he hadn’t been doing something evil, do you think we’d be here bothering you?”

-John 18:25-30 The Message

Peter Denies Knowing Jesus

Verse 25: Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”

Verse 26: One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”

Verse 27: Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Verses 22-27 studies: There may be some cases that upset you based on how it was handled. True injustice of how it was handled. What was that for you? For me, it’s the Larry Nassar case, JFK assassination, the Rodney King case, and the Emmitt Till case. Jesus’ case was mishandled as well. Part of the reason is Peter, and other disciples denied him; they contributed to his pain (Matthew 26:56, 75). Since we are not like religious leaders, we are all disciples. All of us have been guilty at some point in our lives; denying the Lord is vital but kept a secret to identify ourselves as believers under pressure. Pointing the finger won’t help, especially when you believe their sins are worse than yours. Go to Jesus for forgiveness and healing.

Verse 25 study: According to the other three gospels, Peter’s denial of Jesus happened near a fire in the courtyard outside Caiaphas’ palace. John placed the first denial outside Annas’ home and the other two outside Caiaphas’ home, most likely in the same courtyard. The high priests’ residence was large; Annas and Caiaphas undoubtedly lived near each other.

Verses 25-27 studies: You standing outside while Jesus, your Lord, and Master, is being questioned. Meditate on watching him, which you have come to believe is the long-awaited Messiah, being physically abused and beaten. Peter was confused naturally. But it is a sin to deny Christ, but Jesus did forgive Peter (21:15-17). No sin is impossible for Jesus to overlook if you are repenting. He will forgive your sins if you repent and ask for his forgiveness.

Verse 27: Reminder that Peter would never deny Jesus (Mark 14:31, John 13:38).

Jesus Stands Trial Before Pilate

Verse 28: Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Pretorium, and it was early; they did enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be corrupted but might eat the Passover.

Verse 28 study: Jewish law says that entering a house of a Gentile would cause a Jewish person to be ceremonially corrupted. They couldn’t take part in worship at the temple or celebrate the feasts until he was restored to a state of “cleanliness.” The men stayed outside the house where they had taken Jesus for trial because they feared being disgraced. They kept the formal requirements of their religion but did it while harboring murder and treachery in their hearts.

Verse 29: Therefore, Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”

Verse 29 study: The Roman governor, Pilate, was in charge of Judea, where Jerusalem was located, from A.D. 26 to 36. Pilate was unpopular with Jews because he raided the temple treasuries for money to build an aqueduct. He didn’t like Jews, but when Jesus, the King of Jews, stood before him, he found him innocent.

Verse 30: They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.”

Verse 30 study: Pilate knew what happened. He knew that religious leaders hated Jesus. He didn’t want them to act on the execution. They couldn’t sentence him to death themselves, so the permission had to come from a Roman leader. Pilate refused to convict Jesus without actual evidence. Jesus’ life became a pawn in a political power struggle.

Father, the pain of watching Jesus be treated the way he was treated is something I can’t fathom if I was in front of him. Some people watch loved ones die in front of them, dramatically or peacefully. To make matters worse, they wanted to convict Jesus for no reason, and it is unfair. Let us be more understanding and open to those types of situations. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Thy Shall Not Bear False Witness

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/16/2021 11:00am

The Interrogation

19-21 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a traitor? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”

22 When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”

23 Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”

24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.

-John 18:19-24 The Message

Verse 19: The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching.

Verse 20: Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the Temple, where all Jews come together; and I said nothing in secret.

Verse 21: Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.”

Verse 22: When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?”

Verse 23: Jesus answered him, “If I haven spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”

Verse 24: So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Verse 19 study: Jesus had a pre-trial hearing during the night. He had it with Annas before being taken to Caiaphas and the entire Council (Mark 14:53-65). But, as we learned in previous chapters, the religious leaders knew they didn’t have anything to charge him with, so they used false witness as evidence (Mark 14:55-59).

Father, many see false witnesses gain political advantages or try to cover up something they don’t want to be discovered. But you are the only one that knows of all of our faults and goodness. So I pray we will be honest with you, although many people are not open with you or us. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Fake Leadership

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/15/2021 10:45am

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

12-14 Then, the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. Caiaphas had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.

15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.

17 The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”

He said, “No, I’m not.”

18 The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.

-John 18:12-18 The Message

Annas Questions Jesus

Verse 12: So the Romans cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,

Verse 13: and led Him to Annas first; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

Verse 12-13 studies: In the middle of the night, Jesus was taken to the high priest’s residence. Because the religious leaders were in a rush, they wanted the execution done before the Sabbath and start celebrating the Passover afterward. So the religious leaders took Jesus, which was a palace whose outer walls enclosed into a courtyard where servants and soldiers would warm themselves around a fire.

Verse 13 study: Annas and Caiaphas had been high priests. Annas, Israel’s high priest from A.D. 6 to 15, was dethroned by Romans rulers. Annas’ son-in-law, appointed from A.D. 18 to 36/37. Jewish law said the office of the high priest was held for life, which is why most Jews still considered Annas high priest. Annas did have the most authority among Jews, but Caiaphas made the final decisions. The problem with Caiaphas and Annas is they cared a lot about their political ambitions than about the responsibility to lead people to God. Sound like a lot of politicians today. Religious leaders can still be evil and are evil. They should be as sensitive to God’s revelation as the nation’s spiritual leaders. You would think they knew all about Jesus and him being the Messiah and speaking about the Scriptures. The religious leaders should have pointed people to him, resulting from deceitful men and women pursuing evil. Instead, they wanted to eliminate all oppositions. The religious leaders could have evaluated Jesus’ claims about the Scriptures, but they decided to further their selfish ambitions and wanted to kill God’s Son. So they did whatever it took.

Verse 14: Now, Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

Verse 15: Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,

Verse 16: but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper and brought Peter in.

Verse 17: Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Verse 18: Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

Verse 15-16 studies: John is most likely the other disciple, the author of this Gospel. He knew the high priest and reminded her of his identification to the girl at the door. The connections John had got himself and Peter at the courtyard. Peter refused to identify himself as Jesus’ follower. His experience would change his life.

Father, we may know a leader that is caught up in other things and not leading spiritually. Let us understand the difference between true and fake leadership. As we studied these verses, it is sad to learn about denial and leaders having their agenda. Let us be different, and let us allow you in our hearts to lead us right. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Plans Interference On You

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/13/2021 8:00am

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

7 Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”

They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

8-9 “I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)

10 Just then, Simon Peter, carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name.

11 Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”

-John 18:7-11 The Message

Verse 7: Therefore, He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

Verse 8: Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,”

Verse 9: to fulfill the word He spoke, “Of those You have given Me I lost not one.”

Verse 10: Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.

Verse 11: So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Verses 10-11 study: To protect Jesus, Peter pulled a sword and wounded a high priest’s slave. Jesus told him to put the sword away. At times, we like to take over God’s plans. Which is something we shouldn’t do. Instead, trust God with his plans. If Jesus allowed Peter to continue with his plan, Jesus would have never gone to the cross; God’s plans of redemption would have stopped.

Verse 11 study: The cup means suffering, isolation, and death that Jesus endured to atone for the sins of the world.

Father, we rush plans that you have for us because not all of us are sure of your plans. That’s the point to trust and wait for you because you have perfect planning. Let us remember this when we try to interfere with your plans. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Up Front Betrayal

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/13/2021 8:00am

Monday, September 13, 2021

18 Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.

2-4 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches, and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was imploding on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”

They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

5-6 He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.

-John 18:1-6 The Message

Jesus completes his mission.

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

Verse 1: When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.

Verse 2: Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.

Verse 3: Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

Verse 3 study: The chief priests and Pharisees were probably members of the temple guard. Their authority was given by religious leaders who were Jews to make arrests for infractions. The soldiers didn’t participate in the arrest but were peacemakers if things got out of control.

Verse 4: So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

Verse 5: They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene,” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.

Verse 4-5 study: John didn’t record Judas’ kiss of greeting (Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45; Luke 22:47-48); the kiss turned into a turning point for disciples. Jesus’ arrest would change each disciples’ life. For the first time, Judas betrayed Jesus openly in front of other disciples. And for the first time, loyal disciples ran away from Jesus (Matthew 26:56). The disciples would go for serious testing before they transformed from hesitant followers to dynamic leaders.

Verse 6: So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Verse 6 study: Many men were distracted by the boldness of Jesus’ words, “I am He” (Exodus 3:14), or they knew his authority, and his power was evident to them.

Father, there are times where we learn about people’s betrayal. We don’t see it coming, but they are right there with us. I pray that when sellout happens, we continue to be faithful to you, and let us remember that this is a life lesson, preparing us for future troubles. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram and WordPress post. 9/12/2020 8:00am

Sunday, September 12, 2021

20-23 I’m praying not only for them

But also for those who will believe in me

Because of them and their witness about me.

The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—

Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

So they might be one heart and mind with us.

Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.

The same glory you gave me, I gave them,

So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—

I in them and you in me.

Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,

And give the godless world evidence

That you’ve sent me and loved them

In the same way, you’ve loved me.

* * *

24-26 Father, I want those you gave me

To be with me, right where I am,

So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,

Having loved me

Long before, there ever was a world.

Righteous Father, the world has never known you,

But I have known you, and these disciples know

That you sent me on this mission.

I have made your very being known to them—

Who you are and what you do—

And continue to make it known,

So that your love for me

Might be in them

Exactly as I am in them.

-John 17:20-26 The Message

Jesus Prays for Future Believers

Verse 20: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

Verse 21: that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent me.

Verse 20 study: Jesus went into detail praying for future followers. The things he prayed for should let us have the confidence to carry out his work and give us the belief that we work for his kingdom. He prayed for unity (17:11), protection from the evil one (17:15), and sanctity holiness (17:17).

Verse 22: The glory which you have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

Verse 23: I in them and you in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

Verse 24: Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Verse 25: O righteous Father, although the world has not to know You, yet I have known You; these have known that You sent Me;

Verse 26: And I have made Your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Verses 21-23 study: As promised on Friday, more on unions. Jesus asks of us if we are unifying the body of Christ, the church. Jesus’ wish is for his disciples to become one. That is a powerful witness to God’s love. Pray for others, avoid gossiping, help build up others, work together in humility, give your time and money, exalt Christ, and make sure you don’t get sidetracked arguing over divisive matters. This is why Jesus prayed for us followers. Christians know all about unity among themselves if we live as Christians as a union. Think of the vine. Each branch in a union is united with other branches doing the exact same thing.

Father, a union in churches, is complicated in a lot of churches. Some personalities come into play, politics that come into the works, and titles. But, nevertheless, let us be a union to the same goal and not to one individual goal. That is what separates the church and Christian people. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

9/11 Processing

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Twenty years have gone by. I am 33 years old. At the time, I was 13 years old when the attacks happened. The question everybody always wants to know of others is, “Where were you when all of this happened? I was in my 7th-grade health class at John Marshall Middle School in Indianapolis. I didn’t get to see the news coverage when it happened because my teacher shut the tv off. All the events that were going on, I wanted to know what was going on. I don’t know if this still happens in school or not, but when I was in school, the tv automatically came on. On this day, the tv automatically came on, and at that time, the North tower was hit then.

As I sit here and watch the memorials, I can’t help but have a heavy heart for those who suffered on this day 20 years ago. But, I am thinking currently, where does all the hate come from? Why does hate happen so much in this world? Romans 12:21 reminds us not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. Twenty years ago, everybody came together as a nation, under God. I watched the horror of the towers coming down, the dust, the people struggling for breath. These are images I will never forget. I don’t live in New York, or Virginia, where the Pentagon was hit, or in Shanksville, but I feel it happened in Indiana. When I left my health class, I ran straight to homeroom, hoping my teacher there would have it on. Sure enough, she did. I sat there the entire homeroom time, eyes glued to the tv and watching old footage and new footage when it came in. Both towers were down, and the E ring of the Pentagon was down by the time I started watching again.

All day on September 11, 2001, I couldn’t concentrate. The horror going on around the USA; why am I forced to focus in school when something else is on my mind? Like those in New York, Virginia, Shanksville, I can’t work, but I sure felt helpless, especially as a 13-year old boy. I went home and watched more news coverage as much as possible, but I never did grasp the concept. It took me 17 years to finally understand what had happened. My mind kept going back to those pictures after the tower collapsed and the spotlight the night after the events occurred.

As we remember, those whose lives were lost on this day, first responders, public safety officials, ponder this scripture. 3 John 1:11 say, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” It’s a hard day for those who lost loved ones. Showing love should be every day. Help others when you disagree, dislike someone. It shows God in you. The more that can happen, the more we can take over the world with goodness. Nobody should live with the horror of September 11. The pain, grief, sorrow, hurt, worry all those things. Take time to pray and meditate on how God wants you to work.

Father, many people are hurting, even after 20 years of destruction. People are still grieving as well. So let us pray for those hurting today, suffering, confused, worried, anxious, or wanting to hurt themselves because of the events of September 11. But, unfortunately, there are not many answers to give that happiness, but they hold on every day, every year that the remembrance happens. So let us be the shining light in those that struggle today and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen!