To Die For the Nation

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 10-12; John 11:30-57

47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees called together the council and said, “What are we going to do? This man is doing many miraculous signs! 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our people.”

49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” 51 He didn’t say this on his own. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would soon die for the nation— 52 and not only for the nation. Jesus would also die so that God’s children scattered everywhere would be gathered together as one. 53 From that day on they plotted to kill him. (John 11: 47-53, Common English Bible).

This past Monday was Veteran’s Day. Many people are confused by what exactly Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Armed Forces Day actually mean.

Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday of May. Armed Forces Day is to recognize those who currently serve our country. For those currently serving, we owe a debt of gratitude. They often live in and under extraordinarily difficult conditions so we can sleep better at night. Though he is not currently serving, our son Wayne spent five years in the Marine Corp. When he was deployed we gained a real understanding of what many parents have felt for generations.

Veteran’s Day is November 11th. Veteran’s Day celebrates those who have served our country in peacetime or in wartime. I was a peacetime sailor. I am proud to have served. There have been others like my father or my son who served during times of conflict. I am extraordinarily thankful for their service.

Then, there is Memorial Day. We celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is for those who died in battle. For those who have served, it is the most solemn of days. It is a day for which we all should be thankful because, while all of us who have served said we would die for the nation, these were those who actually did. When someone “thanks me for my service” on Memorial Day, I want to scream, “No, it isn’t about me,” for at least that one day. That day is about people who did something I never had to do. Die for my country.

In our lesson today, the High Council was talking about someone dying for the nation but it wasn’t like what we remember on Memorial Day. It was more like what we remember on Good Friday and celebrate on Easter Sunday.

In the lesson, Caiaphas, the high priest, gives a prophecy to the council. “…You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” (John 11:50, CEB) Caiaphas was right. Well, he was partially right. Jesus would die for the nation, for the people. But, Caiaphas was saying that Jesus was dying to protect the nation from himself.

Yes, Caiaphas was partially right. Jesus did die for the people, all the people. He died, not to protect Israel, but to give we who believe life, eternal life with God. Praise God for such a blessing.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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