John 18:33-40


Jesus met Pilate
Reading: John 18:33-40
Additional Reading: Mark 9:31
k-hymns: 490, 488
Blanks: idea, kingdom, king, truth

(2) Who was Pilate?
How did Pilate got here?

(2) In the time of Jesus, the map of Israel was like this.
One time, Herod was a king over these areas for Roman Government.
Then after his death, his three sons ruled over these areas.

But Archelaus the tetrarch was not doing his job well.
So the emperor fired him.
Then the emperor needed to find someone else.
Then his friend, Sejanus mentioned about Pilate.
Sejanus was a friend of Pilate.
So the emperor gave this new job to Pilate.
In this way, Pilate became a governor over Judea.

(3) But then Pilate didn’t know much about Jewish religious customs.
He didn’t respect Jewish religious culture.

For example, because the Bible said this:
"You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” (Exodus 20:4)
The Jewish people didn’t want to have any graven image in Jerusalem.

But Pilate continually tried to bring roman graven images into Jerusalem.
So Jewish people protested.
For many Jews, this was an important matter.
They were like:
“God commanded this.
So we must do this.”

But Pilate didn’t care.
So Pilate violated their religious customs.
Sometimes, Pilate threatened to kill them.
But those Jewish people were willing to die for this.
Then, Pilate decided to give what they wanted.

In another time, the Jewish leaders reported to the emperor.
Then the emperor ordered Pilate to remove those graven image.

But still Pilate violated again and again their religious custom and upset Jewish people.

(2) Then the Jewish religious leaders hated another person for violating Jewish religious custom.
His name was Jesus.
Jesus was a Jew.
So he knew very well about the Jewish religious custom.
But he liked to change some of those.
He thought that some of them were wrong.
So he didn’t follow when he believed that it was wrong.
Instead, Jesus was trying to teach them.

For example, according to Jewish religious custom healing a person on the Sabbath was a violation of the Sabbath.
Therefore it was a sin for them.
But Jesus didn’t think so.
(3) He healed many people on the Sabbath.

Then the Jewish religious leaders asked him to stop.
But Jesus was like:
“I am healing people, because God wants to heal these people through me on the Sabbath.”

Another example is that:
Some Jewish religious leaders thought that eating with sinners was no, no.
(3) But Jesus was a friend of sinners and ate with them.
You see, Jesus was violating their customs to teach them so that they could understand the way of God.

But because Jesus lived like this and challenged Jewish religious customs, Jewish religious leaders hated him.
They thought that Jesus was not respecting them like other Jews.
They were also afraid of Jesus’ way of life.
Jesus’ way of life could shake everything what they taught.

(3) Then one day the Jewish religious leaders captured Jesus at night.
Then they were like:
“Jesus, you have blasphemed God, when you say that you are the Son of God.
So according to our Jewish custom, we should kill you.”

But then a few years ago, the Roman Government said:
“The Jewish people could not kill anyone.
Only the Roman Government had that power.”

So in order to kill Jesus, now they needed Pilate the governor.
(3) So they decided to accuse Jesus before Pilate, saying:
“Jesus is saying that he is a king.
He is conspiring against Rome.
Pilate, if you are loyal to the emperor, you need to get rid of him.
He is trying to fight against Romans.”

They hated Jesus and what Jesus had done.
So they worked hard to make Pilate to crucify Jesus.
They were pressing on.

So Pilate asked Jesus:
(3) "Are you claiming to be a king?”

Jesus was like:
"Are you saying that I am a king?
Do you think I am a king?”

Pilate was like:
"No, do I look like a Jew?
I don’t know what you guys are talking about.
Your religious leaders turned you over to me.
What did you do?"

But Jesus was like:
"Well, I am different.
If I was trying to build my kingdom here, my followers would have fought with religious leaders.
If I want to build my kingdom here, my followers might have fought with your soldiers.
But that is not what I am here for.
Well, you cannot see my kingdom.
My kingdom is from another place.”

Jesus knew that he is the King of the Universe.
And he was not interested in overthrowing this Roman government now.

But Pilate was not understanding.
Pilate was like:
"So, you are a king.”

Then Jesus was like:
"Yes, I am a king.
In fact, that is why I was born.
But right now, I came into the world to tell people about the truth.
And everyone who loves the truth listens to me.”

Pilate could not understand.
So Pilate was like:
“So what is truth?”

(3) Then he went outside to talk to the Jewish leaders.
Pilate was like:
“He is innocent according to Roman laws.
Now it is Passover.
It is our custom to release you one prisoner.
Do you want me to release this king of the Jews?”

In the Passover season many Jews were in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.
So Pilate released one prisoner just to help them enjoy this season and be quiet.
Pilate didn’t want Jewish people to be upset or uprising.

(3) But the religious leaders were shouting:
“No, no, no, not him!
Give us Barabbas!”

Barabbas was a criminal.
The religious leaders were shouting for him, because they wanted to get rid of Jesus.

Pilate might have thought that he could put Jesus in jail awhile until things got quiet.
Pilate might have wanted to release Jesus after that.

But these Jewish religious leaders determined to kill Jesus.
They were so motivated to kill him.
Pilate was scared of them acting strange.
And Pilate realized that he could not talk them out of this.
So he gave in.
He gave up doing what was right, even though he knew Jesus was innocent.
Maybe he thought that one Jewish life was not that important.

(3) Also at this time, Pilate was not political safe either.
His good friend, Sejanus was killed because people thought he conspired against the emperor Tiberius.
So Pilate needed to be very careful.
So he might have thought that he didn’t have power to do what was right here.
So he ordered his soldiers to crucify Jesus.
Pilate didn’t do what was right.

(3) So Jesus died on the cross.
But Jesus died to take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)
And Jesus was dying to take away the sins of Pilate.

Soon after this, Pilate was recalled to Rome for his harsh treatment against the Samaritans.
And his political career was over.
And we don’t know what happened to Pilate.

But then Jesus rose from the death and went to heaven and sat on his throne as the King of the Universe to judge the world one day.

(3) And if Pilate learned enough to have faith in Jesus, he could have eternal life through Jesus the Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Hopefully, Pilate eventually believed that Jesus rose from the death.
Hopefully Pilate studied about the story of Jesus.
Hopefully Pilate understood enough and believed in Jesus and had eternal life.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to listen to your voice and understand.
Help us to understand what you are saying to us.
Then help us to do what is right as you encourage us to do what is right.
Help us to understand your way and follow your way.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Mark 12: 38-44


Love gives
Reading: Mark 12: 38-44
k-hymn: 431
Blanks: Watch out, more, everything

(3) For about three years, Jesus was constantly on the move to help new people.
That is why sometimes, he had to sleep on a mountain.
That was ok, because Jesus liked to pray on those mountains.
Jesus prayed when his disciples were in sleep.
He prayed to God alone.

Until today, there were some people support his ministry.
They provided what Jesus needed so that Jesus and his disciples could continually serve others.

(3) Now in those days, there were also teachers of the law.
They were scribes.
They studied and produced many religious rules and regulations.
And they taught people to follow those rules.
Then some people also gave them donations for their teaching.

But then these teachers of the law were very educated people.
They knew various laws.
They were experts in legal procedure.
So sometimes, they used their legal knowledge to take what was not theirs.
They took what was not theirs without violating laws.

(3) But at the same time scribes insisted that people should greet them with respect in public.
They loved the place of honor.
So they wanted people to honor them in the marketplace.
They liked to take the front seats in the meeting place.
They liked to take the highest places at festival.
They insisted that they should be treated like that.

Then when they were given a chance, they said a long prayer to show how religious they were.
(3) They also dressed like this, wearing flowing robes.
They wore this dress to say that they were the people of honour.
Then because of the dress, they could not work or run.

(3) Jesus, of course, didn’t like the way they used religion for themselves like that.
So today in the temple, Jesus taught people not to live like those religious lawyers.
Jesus asked people to live humbly in an attitude of serving.
Because then God would be very pleased with them.

(3) Yes today Jesus was in Jerusalem in the temple.
Then Jesus was sitting near the Temple donation box.
Then Jesus waited for someone.
Jesus was here waiting someone who really loved God and who didn’t use religion to take more things for herself.

While waiting, Jesus was watching people.
Jesus saw people putting their money in the Temple donation box.
In those day, people used coins.
So when rich people gave large sums of money, everyone could hear the coins dropping.
Yes, some rich people gave a lot, because they could easily live without those money.

Then a poor widow came by.
She was an elderly person who lived alone.

In the time of Jesus, widows were generally poor, because they didn’t have many job opportunities.
It was difficult for them to have a good education.
It was difficult to earn good incomes.
So generally, they didn’t have much money.
But this widow still loved God.
And she wanted to give something to God.
(3) But she only had two cents.
That was all she had.
But she decided to give her two cents to God today.
(3) She put her money into the Temple donation box.

Today, even homeless people would not take these two cents, if you give.
You know what could they do with these two cents?
It is really not much.

(3) But Jesus said something like this to his disciples.
"This poor widow gave more than all those rich people today.
Because she gave all she had.
Her giving was an expression of love.
It is not about how much you give.
It is about how much you love.
She gave all.”

How could she give all of her money?
She should keep some of her money for herself, right?
Or why did she give all of her money?

She didn’t have much.
But she wanted to show her love to God.
So she gave all.
Then Jesus saw her love toward God.
Jesus knew how much she loved God.

(3) Why was Jesus waiting for her to come today?
Why did Jesus want to see her?

Maybe because in a few days, Jesus would also give his life to God.
On the cross, he would let go of everything.

So Jesus wanted to see her who gave everything, not, because she had to, but because she loved God.
And Jesus was very much encouraged, because Jesus saw another person who gave everything to God.
And Jesus saw his own life in her.
Then, Jesus also decided to get ready to give everything to God.

Then Jesus also gave his life to God.
And Jesus encouraged his students to follow this way of giving everything to God.

(2) Reading today’s text, we see a little bit that Jesus has a very special heart for the poor.
Then I remember that I have some poor friends, too.
Sometimes, I felt hesitant to invite them to church.
I am guilty of that, too.

But I also wonder whether they would be welcome here.
Will our church people welcome them and love them?
Or would they be despised, because they are poor?
Or would I be blamed for bringing those poor people?

Today, a poor widow came to church.
And she had two cents.
Then she gave her two cents to God because she loved God.
And Jesus is like:
“She is the greatest lover of God today, because she gave God more than anybody.”

Lastly, let’s think about this:
What is our two cents?
I am not only talking about only money here.
What do I have that I can give to God?

Have you ever kept your two cents because it was just so little?
Have you ever kept your two cents, thinking other people may despise your gifts?

Even though it is not much, would you still offer to God because you love God?
Again, I am not talking about only money here.
And would you give your two cents to God in the name of Jesus?

So think about it.
What are your cents that you would give to God to say:
“I love you, God.”

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you that you understand the poor and you are interested in them.
Thank you that you love the poor.
May we be the church that loves the poor, and welcome God’s poor.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Mark 12:28-34


The power of loving God
Reading: Mark 12:28-34

(3) In the time of Jesus, there were teachers of the law.
What did they do?
They studied the Old Testament.
Then they found various rules and regulations.
Then they wrote down these rules and regulations.
And they asked people to keep these rules and regulations.
But for common people, for ordinary people, keeping all these rules and regulations was such a burden.
It was almost impossible.

(3) So sometimes people tried to simplify these rules and regulations by asking this question:
“Which is the most important commandment of all?”
They wanted to know thinking that if they keep that most important commandment, they might be ok with God.
They were trying to simplify God’s commandment so that they could apply God’s principle into their life.

In fact, many people had done that in the Bible.
For example, King David also tried to simplify God’s commandment:
(3) Then he came up with this: Psalm 15:
“Those who obey God in everything and always do what is right,
whose words are true and sincere, and who do not slander others.
They do no wrong to their friends nor spread rumors about their neighbors.
They despise those whom God rejects, but honor those who obey the Lord.
They always do what they promise, no matter how much it may cost.
They make loans without charging interest and cannot be bribed to testify against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will always be secure.”

(3) Then the prophet Isaiah also simplified, like this: Isaiah 33:15
“You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don't use your power to cheat the poor and don't accept bribes. Don't join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things.”

(3) The prophet Micah also simplified like this: Micah 6:8
“Do what is just, show constant love, and live in humble fellowship with our God.”

(3) Later in his life, the prophet Isaiah simplified yet again like this: Isaiah 56:1
The Lord says to his people, “Do what is just and right, for soon I will save you.”

If we summarize all these, they were asking people to do what is right.

(2) Now following this tradition of simplifying the teachings of the Old Testament, a teacher of the law was asking Jesus like this:
“Jesus, how would you simplify all the laws in the Old Testament?
Which is the most important commandment of all?”

Then Jesus answered like this:
(3) “The most important one is this:
‘Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Here Jesus is saying what Jewish people already knew.
Because whenever they worship together, they recited this.
It is called “Shema”:
(3) In fact, they place this text in a mezuzah and put it on their doorpost:
(3) And when they pray, they wear a small box on their head (tefillin) that contain these words of shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
It says:
“Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

To that, Jesus just added:
“and with all our mind.”
Jesus may be asking him to love God with his mind.
Jesus may ask him to use his good mind to understand the teaching of Jesus.
Or Jesus may be saying:
“I want you guys to love God, with your all being, including your mind.”

(3) Then Jesus said:
“The second important commandment is this:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”

Jewish people knew this one, too.
Because it is in the book of Leviticus which says:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

(3) But you know according to Jesus, everyone who needs his help is our neighbor.
So Jesus is saying:
“Love everyone.”

Like this, Jesus was saying:
“Love God and love people.
Then you will be able to do what is right.”

(3) Then this teacher of the law who asked Jesus the question agreed and said:
“Well said, teacher, you are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Then Jesus was like:
“Wow, you are not far away from the kingdom of God.”

(2) Today Jesus didn’t say:
“Do what is right.”

Instead, Jesus is saying:
“If you love God, you will have power to do what is right.
If you love God, God’s power can manifest through you.
So you will be able to do what is right.
Do good to your neighbors.
Then as you love people, God will continually use you to do what is right.”

One time, I was struggling spiritually.
Then a Christian brother taught me this kind of prayer.
(3) He asks me to repeat this kind of prayer:
“God, I want to love you.
I love you.
Jesus, I want to love you.
I love you.
Holy Spirit, I want to love you.
I love you.”

Then slowly I felt calmness coming into my hearts.
Then I was able to think in the right way and live in the right way.

When we repeat this prayer, we are asking God to help us to love God and love people.
And we are encouraging ourselves to love God.
Then God empowers us to think in the right way and live in the right way.
Then God may use us to help people in the right way.

So I suggest to you that you try this prayer if you want.
“God, I want to love you.
I love you.
Jesus, I want to love you.
I love you.
Holy Spirit, I want to love you.
I love you.”

When we pray like this to love God, God may answer our prayer.
Then we may really love God and be able to do what is right.
Because God’s love overflow our hearts, we cannot help but to love God and love people in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for teaching us to love you and love people.
Help us to love you and love your people.
In Jesus name, we pray.

Prayers of the people 7

Jesus, thank you for saving us and giving us new life.
Help us to embrace this new life with open arms.

Jesus, you have provided many opportunities for us to do your will.
But sometimes, because we were afraid to take those opportunity to serve you and serve people.
Forgive us.

May we walk in your light as your light shines on our path and within our hearts.
Shine your light when we doubt and hesitate.
Jesus, you are saying:
"Don't be afraid.
I am with you.
I am in the depths of your being.
Seek and you will find.”

Change our hearts, so that we may follow you.
Shine your light into our darkness.
Shine your light when we have inner contradictions or inner conflicts.
May we hear your calling saying:
"Go forward.
This is the way.
Then your soul will live!"
May we move along with you with a quiet and humble confidence in you.
May we walk with you having your peace, in our soul.
May we use our gift and talents to serve you and worship you today.
May we believe that it is better for us to give our lives to you.

Jesus, our encourager, you send us your Holy Spirit.
Your Spirit comes to comfort us.
Your Spirit helps us to experience you today.
May your Holy Spirit continually free us to live the life that you lived.

And may we walk in your light as your light shines on our path and within our hearts.
Shine your light when we doubt and hesitate.
Jesus, you are saying:
"Don't be afraid.
I am with you.
I am in the depths of your being.
Seek and you will find.”

Jesus, now we entrust to you our family and friends, all who ask for our prayers and who pray for us.
May they receive your words today.
May they learn more of you and experience you today.

Thank you for your love toward them.
Thank you for including them into your kingdom.
Thank you for welcoming them.
May they also see your guidance and follow you.
Help them to understand the true meaning of your story.
May you lead them into the path of righteousness.

Jesus, we pray for all nations and all people.
Jesus, help us to live with your compassion.
Help us to listen to your compassionate calling.

People need you.
May they experience your love today.
May they learn to entrust everything to you.
May they learn to rejoice in you and in what you accomplish in their life.

We pray in your name.