Silent Wednesday, April 16, 2014
John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
How do we comfort someone who is hurting? Hurting because they have been left behind and don’t have answers to specific questions? What do we do if we get lost and you can’t come and find us? What if we are hungry and there is no food? What if there is no one to talk to, and we can’t find a place to stay? What if there is a big argument and we are told we can’t stay in a particular place any longer? Where do we go?
Trust those around you and you will find peace and quiet in your heart. Someone will take you in and help you solve your problems. Do not be afraid, trust in God and He will give you peace.
He has a place for you now, and when it is time, I will come for you.
No more what if’s, I will come back and you will be at peace with me once again.
Now be silent and listen to what I have to tell you. You will not be hungry, lost or sad. You will be with me again. There is room for you and for everyone who believes in me.
Maundy Thursday, April 17, 2014
Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
I love telling stories. I love using stories to illustrate the practical use of the gospel of Christ in action. In fact, I would love to find the right story now. But I can’t. Maundy Thursday is when we celebrate Christ’s final meal with His disciples before he was led like a lamb to the slaughter. As his friends and family gathered around him, giddy and celebrating, He alone knew what was about to happen.They were celebrating the Passover, a time where Israel acknowledged how God had saved them. And a large part of this celebration was the slaughtering of lambs to God. As Christians, we are told how those lambs represent Jesus. They were innocent, without blemish just as our Savior was without the blemish of sin. His friends didn’t fully understand what His words meant. As he told them the bread was his flesh, the wine was his blood, spilled to free them from sin, the symbolism was lost on them. Now, take the time to read Matthew 26:26-28 today. God died to free you from your sins. Through the agony of the cross, you are given eternal life! No longer must we be perfect to be with God. Now we only need believe! What a wonderful message!
Good Friday April 18, 2014
Most of us have purchased something that we have had to make monthly payments on like a vehicle, home, furniture, etc. Each month we write that check to make payment on the item, thinking “I will be so glad when this is paid off”, right? When that day finally comes we rejoice, do a little “happy dance”, and tear up the contract papers. A weight has been lifted in your life! Whew!
Have you trusted Jesus’ “paid in full” atonement for your sins or something else that you imagine will impress God?
“It is finished” is Jesus’ victory cry and final report to his Father. Jesus accomplished his mission.
Jesus didn’t say ‘I am finished’ as if announcing his death but ‘It is finished’. Jesus had always said he came not to do his will but the will of His Father in Heaven. He had a mission and work to do. That work lead directly to the cross!
If Jesus finished the work of paying for our sins on the cross, how many sins does that leave us to pay for? ……. a big, fat zero.
If you think you can do something to add to the finished work of Christ on the cross in an attempt to offer God something in the form of religious penance or good works as a way to atone for your sin is total vanity. We’re so brainwashed with the idea that we have to earn God’s favor.
In the original Greek of the New Testament the phrase “It is finished” was often used in exchange for a bill that was “paid in full.” So it is !
Holy Saturday, April 19, 2014
Luke 23:55-56 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
I wonder how the Sabbath day was spent by all of those who loved Jesus and believed He was the Messiah. I wonder the thoughts they had as they observed the day in accordance with the Law given to Moses. There was no busy work to preoccupy one’s mind.
They knew the miracles Jesus performed. The women had followed Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They had believed He was truly the Son of the Most High God and that He was the Messiah. Now He was dead. They’d seen His lifeless body for themselves. Can you place yourself there? What would you have thought? In the midst of the grief, would you be questioning Jesus? Would you be questioning yourself and how you could place your trust in a man? Can you imagine having nothing to do but just dwell on these matters, knowing the following day you had to return to the tomb and care for the lifeless body of this man you believed was the Messiah?
We have the benefit of hindsight and know how the story ends, but these matters are ones worth thinking about. They saw and knew Jesus. We believe by faith and sometimes there will be doubts. Things aren’t always going to go our way, even when we believe we’re following God. Being a believer doesn’t always mean we’re going to be successful in everything we do. We also face battles with a powerful enemy who thrives on creating doubt in a believer’s life. As we reflect today, let us remember that those who saw Christ crucified must have had a day of doubts of their own.
Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014
Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Christ the Lord is risen today. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah! If we’re doing Sunday morning correctly, we’ve been practicing for today every day since last Sunday. You see, every Sunday service is a mini-Easter celebration. We don’t come to church to mourn the fact that Jesus died, we come to proclaim the fact that through his death and resurrection He conquered sin and death.
The women showed up at the grave, and the instructions they received still apply to us today.
Don’t be afraid: the greatest thing in the world has happened and you are here to experience it. Rejoice in the fact. Get excited.
And then, “He has risen! He is not here.” Why waste your time at the grave. He isn’t there. Death couldn’t hold him. You’re looking in the wrong place. He is alive. Don’t waste your time looking for Him among the dead, instead look among the living. If you want to see Jesus, go to the places where you know he would be, with the people you know he would be near.
And if we had included one more verse, we would have this instruction: “But go, tell His disciples and Peter”. Go and tell people this incredible news. The great commission on a smaller level. We fellowship in our congregations and remind each other of what we know, so that we can go out into the world with the Good News that Jesus is the Risen Lord.
If your idea of celebrating Easter is to go to church for an hour on Sunday, you might as well still be at the garden tomb, looking at the stone that was rolled away and wondering where they had put Him. Don’t be afraid to celebrate Easter all day, all week, all year.
As a prayer of thanksgiving and adoration, pray these words, and share them with everyone with whom you come in contact today:AMEN!