Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries


A Good Friday Set of meditations written by Chris Appleby, Ruth Newmarch and George Hemmings for St Thomas' Burwood, April 2014 with sonnets by Malcolm Guite.


John 18:19-24; 28-38 - CA

- Sonnet 1

John 18:19-24 “19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.  20Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.  21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said."  22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?"  23Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"  24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”

John 18:28-38 “28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate's headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover.  29So Pilate went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?"  30They answered, "If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you."  31Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law." The Jews replied, "We are not permitted to put anyone to death."  32(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)  33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"  34Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"  35Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"  36Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."  37Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."  38Pilate asked him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, "I find no case against him.”

The moment of judgement has arrived. Jesus is brought to Annas, then Caiaphas then to Pilate. John leaves out the brief excursion to Herod’s palace. Each of these men has the opportunity to examine Jesus and make a judgement about who he is. But none of them is able or willing to make a definitive statement. They ask lots of questions, to which Jesus gives very guarded answers but no firm judgement is made. Even when Pilate asks the Jewish leaders what the charges are they fail to say what he’s done wrong.

Meaning In the Face of Suffering  audio

Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3

2 Cor 4:5-12

(Part of a Sermon series based on Making Sense of God by Tim Keller,  Hodder & Stoughton, Sept 2016)

The book of Ecclesiastes presents us with the basic dilemma of living: What’s it all about? King Solomon explains that he’s applied his mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. He’s lived a life of pleasure, he’s built great works of architecture; he’s studied nature to the point where he’s become a great naturalist; he’s surrounded himself with every form of luxury: gold, jewels, slaves, entertainers, concubines; - and his conclusion? “It is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14I saw all the things that are done under the sun; all is meaningless, a chasing after wind.” (Eccl 1:13-14)

 In the passage we read today he says when he looked in the places of justice and righteousness all he found was wickedness. He says he can find no difference between humans and animals. Despite our great inventiveness and intelligence, in the end we all die the same way animals do. We’re all from dust and we all return to dust. - He sounds like he needs a course of anti-depressants, doesn’t he?

But he isn’t depressed. He’s just realistic. His conclusion, one of them at least, is that what we need to do is just accept our lot and enjoy what we can of life. “22There is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?” There’s something very contemporary about that isn’t there?

Scandalous Wisdom  Audio

1 Cor 1:20-31  

John 13:1-17

As Steve mentioned last week, Justine Toh in her research on current social needs has found that two of the greatest issues for people in Australia is a lack of cohesion in social life and an increasing tribalism. We have the illusion of community through our social networks but often no personal connection with the people we live amongst.

That’s the current world reality that we live with even as we read the words of a different time to ours, written in what was in so many ways a quite different world to ours.

In our passage today from 1 Corinthians 1 Paul is writing to a church that was very proud of its cultural and intellectual heritage. Corinth was the ancient world’s equivalent of New York. A huge trading and financial centre, set on the narrow isthmus between the Adriatic and the Aegean Seas, it was a hub of Mediterranean commerce. It was a city that was large, sophisticated, and generally well educated. This was no backwater of the Roman Empire. This was a large metropolis populated by people who’d seen it all and who were used to hearing the best of the Greek philosophers sharing their wisdom with anyone who’d listen.

Praying with Paul - How Should we Pray  audio

Col 1:9-14 

      Today we move into a short series on prayer that we were introduced to last week by our service of “Music as Prayer”. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll be looking at Paul’s prayers to various churches in order to see both a model and a foundation for our prayers. Let’s listen to this short prayer that Paul prays for the Colossians and as you’re listening see if you can pick up some principals that might help you in your prayer life and we’ll see if you find what I’ve found. [Read Col 1:9-14]

I should begin by pointing out that Paul’s prayer for the Colossians has one major difference from the other prayers that we’ll consider over the next few weeks as well as a couple of similarities.

Forgive Us Our Sins    audio

Luke 15:11-32

If you’re driving around on a Saturday morning, chances are you’ll see men jogging along the footpath keeping fit and it’ll be nothing particular to comment on. But when Jesus told a story about an older man running down the road it would have had the opposite effect. It would have shocked his audience. In his day the older you were the less likely you were to even walk fast let alone run. To run was to show a failure of dignity. But when they realised the reason he was running down the road it would have been even more shocking. Jesus story tells of a father whose son has disgraced the family, brought shame on them. Yet when the father sees this rebellious son coming down the road he runs to greet him and to welcome him back.

Jesus tells this confronting story to illustrate the nature of the forgiveness that God offers to his people. It’s that story that explains what Jesus meant when he told us to pray “Forgive us our sins”.

It’s interesting that in this postmodern world we’re a bit conflicted about the notion of forgiveness. When it’s all just a matter of personal choice, when the social mantra is “If it feels good do it!” why would we need to ask for forgiveness? If you feel hurt by someone you’re likely to be told that that’s your problem, get over it. When someone does say sorry, too often they’re expressing regret for the consequences, not for the action that was the cause of the offence or for the hurt they’ve caused.

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