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Devotion for April 27, 2011

A great–grandmother in California has donated more than 200 pints of blood. Margaret Delfino, who began giving blood in 1954, gave her 200th pint in 2009. An ovarian cancer survivor, she wishes more individuals would give, pointing out, “It can mean the difference between life and death for some people.” She encourages her own family to donate, and she and a granddaughter have a date every eight weeks to do so at a local blood bank.

For many, Margaret Delfino’s blood has doubtless given the gift of life. God’s gift of eternal life is made possible by the blood of Christ. In today’s reading, the events of Passion Week head for a climax.

To begin, Judas accomplished his act of treachery. He let the religious leaders know where they could find Jesus that night, and they showed up with a mob to arrest Him. Judas’ kiss has become an idiom for betrayal by a friend, but it was unnecessary. Jesus identified Himself, did not resist, and even undid the impetuous violence done on His behalf by Peter.

The trials Jesus endured highlight His innocence and the guilt of His accusers—both Jews and Gentiles—and the unfaithfulness of those for whom He was to die—not only religious leaders but also His disciples. As He stood trial, out in the courtyard the future “rock of the church” was denying His Lord three times, even though he had been explicitly warned he would do so that night. Thankfully, Peter’s bitter sorrow wasn’t the end of that story (see John 21:15–23).

Meanwhile, Jesus suffered torture at the hands of the Roman soldiers and two show trials. The soldiers’ mockery showed some familiarity with His ministry—they seem to relish inflicting pain on their helpless prisoner. The Jewish Sanhedrin interpreted Jesus’ few words as blasphemy. Herod hoped to get Him to put on a show, which He refused to do. And Pilate played political games, passing the buck to Herod before condemning Jesus to death in a pragmatic response to the crowd’s demands.

Apply the Word

Why did Peter deny Christ three times? He was afraid. If he was identified as a friend of Jesus, perhaps they would arrest him as well. Would he then be imprisoned or executed? Peter didn’t know, and he acted on base instincts of self–preservation rather than taking a stand for what he believed. Fear is always the enemy of faith. Thankfully, when our courage fails, as it did Peter that night, there is “forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 1:7).

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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