Today is Saturday of Holy Week and it’s an interesting time in scripture. We don’t have a ton of scripture or story to read through, but what we do have says a lot! Here it is… Luke 23:54-56 says “54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”
So the women accompany Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus to the tomb and help get him “buried” in the tomb, and then head home to observe the sabbath preparing spices and perfumes to bring back to the tomb of Jesus.
They are resting, yet thinking about Jesus. They are resting and worshipping God on the Sabbath and have Jesus at the forefront of their mind.
Can you picture this? They have watched their Lord and friend brutally crucified and hung on a cross… As they mourn this loss, they are at home waiting expectantly to return to the feet of Jesus. This time they plan to pour spices and perfumes on his body, but the expectation of returning to see him has got to be thick in their preparation.
They mourn, they are excited, they share stories, they wonder what life will be like from now on.
The last 2-3 years have been LIFE CHANGING, and the future is uncertain. As they think on Jesus, they become anxious to see Jesus!
So this brings me to examine myself. How much anticipation do I have on a regular basis to sit at the feet of Jesus? Today, I’m encouraged to follow in the footsteps of these women thinking on Jesus The Christ and eagerly wait to return to the feet of Jesus.
He never leaves… I’m the one who leaves!
Today is a day of expectation for followers of Jesus. Tomorrow we celebrate the resurrection, but today we wait with expectation of returning to the feet of Jesus. We know that the resurrection happened, but maybe that’t the problem. Maybe this knowledge has actually made the anticipation we should be experiencing about the resurrection vanish into obscurity. Maybe our knowledge has actually caused our hearts to lose the expectations we should be experiencing as we walk into the doors of our churches on Easter Sunday.
May today be a day of waiting and expectation for you.
May today be a day that you eagerly wait to return to the feet of Jesus and find once again that He has been resurrected, and may that realization bring a new sense of awe and wonder into our hearts.
May we all stand in awe and wonder of Jesus tomorrow as we celebrate the resurrection of the one who lived, died, and came back to life so that people would be redeemed and saved from their sin!
I was having a conversation with someone in a coffee shop a few years ago and when they found out I was a pastor, the questions started the fly. It was near Easter and they asked, “why on earth would you guys call the day your God died, Good? I just don’t get the whole Good Friday thing”. I’ll tell you like I told them… it’s good unlike any other good you have experienced. It’s good for reasons we can try to explain, but often struggle to comprehend.
I think John 12:32-33 explains the goodness best when it says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”
Jesus said that when He is crucified for the sins of the world… He will draw ALL people to himself, and that my friends is the Good in the Friday our Lord, God, and King breathed His last.
It’s good because it means the story isn’t over.
It’s good because as I look around my world, there are way too many people who don’t know that goodness and they don’t know what they’re missing, and the story isn’t over.
It’s good because everything God wants for you and me are possible because of that Friday 2000 years ago.
It’s good because in our pursuit of being “good people” we finally realize that good is in the eyes of the beholder and Jesus is the ONLY one who is truly good.
It’s good because there is time for you and for me to fully trust Jesus and finally find that good person we have been trying to show the world.
It’s good because no longer do my sins count in God’s economy of right and wrong.
It’s good because that fact is true for anyone who trusts in Jesus.
It’s good because God decided to die the death I deserved before He asked me, and did it all in-spite of me.
It’s good because a man laying down his life for his friends is NEVER called bad.
It’s good because God chose dying for the entire world and granting the ultimate pardon, over punishing them for their crimes.
It’s good because God IS good, and there’s no better way to prove that than seeing Jesus beaten so badly he was unrecognizable, mocked, and nailed to a cross only to say to the father with one of his last breathes, “Father Forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.”
So today consider why you celebrate the day your God died. And may the goodness of God and His peace rest on you and in you. Celebrate Good Friday with an anticipation of Easter Sunday and go celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with a faith community that will challenge and encourage you to find your goodness in the Love of God and not your own ability to achieve goodness.
Good Friday To You Friends!
Holy Week and Communion
Continuing our conversation around celebrating the last week Jesus spent on the earth and today we come to Jesus and the Disciples preparing and participating in the Passover Meal. This is such a precious time in scripture and I want to focus on communion found in Matthew 26:17-30.
Many churches and have different theologies on the Lord’s Supper. Some believe it to be a literal presence, and others believe it’s simply a representation of something that happened and we do communion to simply remember the event. I want to simply suggest the truth is somewhere in the middle of these two latitudes. It’s more than just a thing we remember and its less than something that actually becomes real flesh and blood. Most churches would consider communion a sacrament. This sacrament possesses a sacred character and significance that goes beyond human reason. In the sacrament we understand the God is present, and in the sacrament of communion we understand that we meet Jesus in a special way. Communion is defined as the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level… so we actually commune with God and He desires to communicate with us ESPECIALLY in the act of partaking in the Lord’s Supper. He said we need to do eat and drink in communion to take “part” in Him… or some translations say to “abide” in Him.
We don’t have time to discuss what it means to abide in Jesus, but it’s clear that Jesus is saying communion is a place we can find ourselves ONE with Jesus. It’s a place where you will find what you need. If you need peace, you can find it there in communion… do you need healing, a new heart, a new perspective, forgiveness, love, whatever you need you will find it at communion because you are literally communing with the Almighty!
So take communion tonight, before Good Friday and experience the peace and presence of God like never before. As you sense the presence of God, allow the Holy Spirit to speak, heal, love, and bring you into unity with God.
Today we continue looking at what happened to Jesus during what we now celebrate as Holy Week. Basically, it’s the time from his entrance into Jerusalem at the beginning of the Feast of Passover to the resurrection which we celebrate every Easter.
Following further along in Matthew’s gospel our guide for this Holy Week examination we see two very dark moments… the Jewish religious leaders began to conspire to have Jesus arrested and killed – Matt 26:1-5 and a few verses later we find out that Judas agrees to betray Jesus and hand him over to the religious leaders for execution – Matthew 26:14-16. I don’t believe that the devil is under every door knob, but if he comes to steal, kill, and destroy like the bible tells us, then we have a clear picture of him working overtime to end the life and ministry of Jesus in these two stories.
Sometimes the enemy works over time, and that can include in our own lives. I don’t want to blame every tough time or illness on Satan, but I think we need to have an awareness of the spiritual climate around us to understand if the enemy is involved in any way. Clearly He is involved in this piece of scripture trying to do everything in his limited power to shut Jesus up and stop the freedom train that has been rolling through Jerusalem and all of Israel because of the life and ministry of Jesus. He figures if he can just stop Jesus and shut his few followers up everything will work out just fine.
Well, we know the rest of the story so it’s easy to think, “stupid devil doesn’t even have a clue what he’s up against.” but in the moment, it looked like Satan was winning. This week, I want to challenge myself to remember the entire story and not get caught up in the moments of feeling like Satan is winning. He thinks he’s winning, and works overtime… but we know Jesus is the ONE with victory in His grasp and freedom is given to all who trust in Him. In the moments the enemy is working overtime in your life, seek and trust Jesus for the freedom and victory that He desires for you and me.
It’s Holy Week, so we are following the journey of Jesus into Jerusalem on His way to the cross and reading about him teaching the people before his death. Keep in mind Passover is a festival that every Jewish family would do their absolute best to attend… you didn’t miss The Passover celebration! So the crowds are bigger than normal and the air is buzzing with a spiritual climate more real than most weeks because this is a week everyone comes to Jerusalem to remember that God delivered them from their bondage and slavery in Egypt.
The readings today have some rich stuff and it’s hard to pick just one… this is a blog after all and multiple stories lead to longer posts : )
I’ll hang out in Matthew 23:1-12. Jesus addresses the crowds just after he asked the Pharisees a question about who the Messiah’s father is. Right after they answer that The Messiah will be the Son of David, Jesus turns to the crowd and the disciples and says, “2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
Do you see the picture here? Jesus is talking with the Pharisee’s about David and The Messiah, and then he turns to the crowd and points a finger at the Pharisees and basically says, most of you are following these men and they are leading you into a ditch! He goes on to say they only do what they do to be seen and not because they are truly interested in loving and pleasing God. He ends this section with this statement, “the greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I love that. He is teaching everyone with the negative example of the Pharisee’s. Do NOT seek to lift yourself up, rather humble yourselves and serve like Jesus has shown us to live. Phil 2 comes to mind…
“5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Ok, I love this one too… “In your relationships with one another”. Combine these two things together and what you have is Jesus saying that the Pharisees are the ones who have “exalted themselves” over everyone else. God didn’t give them their position, they gave it to themselves in a human endeavor.
So this week let’s make an intentional effort to humble ourselves in our relationships with one another. Seek to serve and not to be served. Seek to lift others up in love and encouragement rather than lift your own heart up. You might just find out that the words of Jesus are true. When you humble yourself and honor and lift others up He will exalt you and lift your heart and life up!
Happy Holy week