i believe in miracles

do you? why not add your miracles too?

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What’s the Matter, Miss? John 20:1-18 (how I would say it)

dawn lo

We ’bout to have a dawn like we ain’t never seen the likes of!

Before the sun came up on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she ran to find Simon Peter and me, and reported, “Jesus is gone! Someone took him and now we have no idea where he is!”

So Peter and I took off running for the tomb, but I outran Peter and got there first. I bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but I didn’t go into the tomb. Peter ran up behind me and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen too, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. I finally went inside too and saw that the body was gone. We knew now that Mary was telling the truth, but we still didn’t understand what the ancient texts had instructed: that Jesus had to come back from the dead.

We went back to our lodging. But Mary stayed at the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent over and peered into the tomb and saw two angels dressed in white, sitting where Jesus’ body had been, one where the feet had been, one where the head had been.

They asked her, “What’s the matter, Miss?”

“Someone took our leader and now we have no idea where he is.” Then she turned and saw someone standing near her. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him at first.

He asked her, “What’s the matter, Miss? Who are you looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you took him somewhere, please tell me where, so I can go get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned to look right at him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Wait, Mary, you can’t touch me, I haven’t gone up to the Father yet. Why don’t you go tell my brothers I said, ‘I’m going to see my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”

Mary hurried off to find the other followers and tell them the news: “I saw Jesus!” And she told them everything he said.


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Laid to Rest: John 19:38-42 (how I would say it)

Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate after Jesus died and asked to take charge of Jesus’ body. (Joseph had been a follower of Jesus, but he kept it on the down-low because he feared the Jewish leaders.) Pilate granted his request and Joseph took the body away. Nicodemus, the man who had sought out Jesus at night, was with Joseph. Nicodemus brought about 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes mixed together. They took Jesus’ body, wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was the customary way Jews prepared a body for burial. There was a burial garden near Golgotha that had a new, unused tomb. They were in a hurry because of the special Sabbath, so they laid Jesus in that nearby tomb.

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Jesus’s Last Words: John 19:25-37 (how I would say it)

Jesus’s mother, aunt, Clopas’s wife Mary and Mary Magdalene all stood near the cross where Jesus was hanging. Jesus looked down at his mother and then over to me, and said, “Mother, John is your son now.” Then he looked at me and said, “And now she is your mother.” (From that day forward, Mary lived in my home.)

Some time passed and then Jesus said, “I’m thirsty.” This was the last thing he needed to do to fulfill the ancient texts. The soldiers had a jar of wine turned to vinegar, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on hyssop stick, and lifted it to Jesus’ mouth. He took a sip and then said, “It’s over.” With that, he lowered his head and surrendered his spirit.

All this took place on the day of Preparation, the day before a special Sabbath. The Jewish authorities didn’t want bodies hanging on crosses during the special Sabbath, so they asked Pilate to speed the executions along by breaking the legs of the men on the cross, so they could be removed before the Sabbath. Some soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then they broke the other man’s legs. But when they approached Jesus, they saw he was dead already, so they didn’t break his legs. However, they did stab him in the side. Blood and water gushed out. All of this happened to fulfill the ancient prophecies that said: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”and “They’ll gawk at him after stabbing him.”

I saw all of this and I’m telling the truth about it. This is exactly what I saw and I’m sharing this with you so you will also believe.

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King of the Jews: John 19: 16b-24 (how I would say it)

The soldiers took charge of Jesus. They made him carry his own cross out to the place of the Skull (Golgotha in Aramaic), where they nailed him to the cross and hung him there until he was dead. He was in the middle of two other men also being crucified.

Pilate had made a sign to be fastened to Jesus’ cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Golgotha was near the city so a lot of people came by and saw the message, which Pilate had translated into Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The top Jewish priests complained to Pilate, saying, “You should write that he claimed to be the king of the Jews, not that he is the King of the Jews.”

Pilate replied, “What I wrote stands.”

The soldiers who placed Jesus on the cross took his clothes and divided them four ways, one piece for each of them. One seamless, woven undergarment was left.

“We shouldn’t tear it,” they agreed. “Let’s draw straws to see who gets it.”

So they did, and in doing so fulfilled the ancient prophecy that said, “They divided my clothes among them and then drew straws for my underwear.”

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How Did a Lily-Livered Man like you Rise to Prefect? John 18:38b – 19:16 (how I would say it)

Pilate went back out to the crowd of Jews and said, “I don’t see any reason to press charges here. But there is that Passover custom where I release a prisoner. Do you want me to release your ‘king of the Jews’?”

“No!” They shouted. “Don’t release him. Release Barabbas!” Barabbas was a rebel who had been arrested for taking part in an uprising against Rome.

So Pilate took Jesus and had him beaten. The soldiers who beat him also wove together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They hung a purple robe around him and mocked him, saying, “All hail the king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Then Pilate went back out to the crowd and said, “Look, I don’t find any reason to press charges, so I’m turning him back over to you.” Jesus came out at that moment dressed in the crown of thorns and purple robe, and Pilate announced, “Here you go, all yours.”

But the Jewish leaders started shouting, “Execute him! Hang him on a cross!”

Pilate answered back, “You hang him on a cross. I already told you I don’t have any reason to press charges.”

The Jewish leaders pressed him: “There is a reason! He’s broken our law by claiming to be the Son of God. And that’s punishable by death.”

This news shook Pilate up and he went back inside the palace. He questioned Jesus again: “Where are you from?” Jesus didn’t answer. “Are you refusing to speak to me? Don’t you realize it’s in my power to free you or to execute you?”

Jesus answered, “Any power you have over me has been granted you from a higher authority. It’s those guys outside who turned me in who bear the greater guilt.”

From that point on, Pilate really wanted to release Jesus, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “He’s claiming to be king and that makes him an enemy to Caesar. If you let him go, then you’re an enemy to Caesar too.”

Finally Pilate brought Jesus out to the crowd and then he sat down on the judge’s seat, which was called the Stone Pavement (Gabbatha in Aramaic). It was about noon of the Preparation Day of the Passover. “Here’s your king,” Pilate announced.

The Jews shouted back, “We don’t want him! You take him! Hang him on cross!

“You want me to execute your king by hanging him on a cross?” Pilate asked.

“Caesar is our only king,” the priests called back.

Finally Pilate gave the OK to have him executed by hanging on a cross.

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Conversations with Pilate: John 18:28-38a (how I would say it)

After Caiaphas was finished with him, the Jewish officials took Jesus to the palace of the Roman governor. It was early morning of the Passover day. Entering the palace, which they considered to be pagan, would preclude them from being able to eat the Passover meal, so they didn’t want to go in. Instead, the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, came out to them and asked, “What are the charges against this man?”

They replied, “Well, he’s a criminal, of course! Would we bring him to you if he weren’t a criminal?”

Pilate responded, “Why don’t you judge him under your judicial system?”

“Because we can’t inflict the death penalty on anyone,” they explained. (Recall that Jesus predicted he would be executed.)

Pilate went back inside the palace and had Jesus brought to him. He asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your idea,” Jesus asked, “or did someone tell you about me?”

“What, am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What’s your crime?”

Jesus said, “I don’t have any kingdom on earth. If I ruled some earthly kingdom, wouldn’t someone be fighting to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders? No. My kingdom is from another place.”

“Oh, so you are a king!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “Those were your words. Listen, my purpose in life is to prove the truth. And advocates of the truth hear what I have to say.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

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Peter the Poser: John 18:12b-27 (how I would say it)

rooster lo

They tied Jesus’ hands and took him first to former high priest, Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the one who had said earlier that it made more sense for one man to die to spare a whole nation.

Simon Peter and I trailed along.  Because I was personally acquainted with the high priest, I got to go into the courtyard where they had taken Jesus, but Simon Peter had to wait outside. I so went back and spoke to the girl on duty at the door and she let Peter in.

But then she asked him, “Hey, aren’t one of this man’s followers?”

He replied, “Who me? No…no.”

It was cold, so the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to stay warm. Peter stood there with them, warming himself too.

Meanwhile, the high priest interrogated Jesus about what he taught and about his followers.

Jesus replied, “I have been accessible to everyone. I taught all the time in the synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews meet. I haven’t done anything clandestine. Why are you interrogating me? Why don’t you ask anyone who ever heard me speak? I’m sure they could tell you what I said.”

One of the officials standing next to Jesus slapped him in the face and railed, “Is that any way to answer the high priest?”

“What? Did I say something incorrect?” Jesus replied, “What was it? And if I didn’t, then why did you hit me?”

Then Annas told them to slap the cuffs on him and send him to Caiaphas, the current high priest.

While all of this was going on, Simon Peter was still warming himself by the fire when someone asked, “Hey, aren’t one of his disciples?”

He denied it, saying, “Heck, no!”

But a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off piped up and said, “But you were with him in the garden—I saw you, didn’t I?”

Again, Peter denied he knew Jesus personally, and at just that moment, a rooster began to crow.