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Public Notice

There’s a park near our house with a path through the woods and up a hill to an open field. It’s a kite-flying, dog-walking, soccer-playing, sled-riding, hike-taking kind of space. 

When my spirit is heavy, it’s where I go to pour out my heart to the Lord. Experts say we carry tension in our bodies; and these days, I’d say we are carrying a lot!  Moving breaks up the heaviness. So I walk and pray. The open field and the open sky hold no distractions.  

Some thoughtful person posted Public Notice signs in the park. On the entrance post, on the trees, on the telephone poles …

Public Notice. Notice the sounds of nature.

Public Notice. Notice the color of the bark on the trees.

Public Notice. Notice the glow in the sky … 

So I stop and notice, adding another layer of restorative calm. I take extra note of the details of nature, but I also pause to reflect on the blessings of the day and the promises of God.  As it says in Psalm 103:2 – 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” 

Or as one paraphrase puts it – “God blesses us every day. It’s up to us to notice.” 

Today is Good Friday. The horrible, terrible day when Jesus suffered and died for our sins. He was crucified for the capital crime of claiming to be God.  It would never have happened if it wasn’t entirely necessary for the unpayable payment that forgiveness of our sins requires. 

Unpayable by us.

Payable only by a sinless sacrifice. 

The perfect, sinless Lamb of God. 

There was a Public Notice sign there that a day too. The religious leaders wanted it to state the charge against Jesus. Three gospel writers tell us what it said, but the Apostle John gives more detail — 

Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 

Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.                                                    

So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”

Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” John 19:19-22

Unwittingly, Pilate wrote the truth as a public notice – Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

“Many of the Jews read the inscription.”  What did they think?  “A king?  On a cross?  What kind of king is that?”  

What kind of King?

  • A King who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases. 
  • A King who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
  • A King who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  • A king who works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
  • A King who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.                                                                                                                                 

A King who has steadfast love toward those who fear him.  (Ps.103:3-5, 8, 11)

Because of Good Friday, Jesus is the King who can say, “As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions from you.” Ps. 103: 12

In this time of global distress, I wish everyone on earth would stop and notice, and choose to make Jesus their King.  

But for you, dear reader, I close with the comforting truth that Jesus has taken notice of you.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13,14

He knows your fears and failings, your loneliness and heartache, your losses and illnesses.
Bring them to Him and lay them down at the cross.

Rest in His proven love today.

Jesus of Nazareth. Is He your King? 

Mary O’Connor

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