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Showing posts from April, 2012

It’s Go Time

One of the smallest words in the English language is one of the most influential words Jesus used.It is the simple word Go.We find Him using it intensity and almost exclusively after His resurrection.It is the word He used to help Mary Magdalene realize her real purpose in their garden conversation.In that one small word, He eradicated the wrong notions that she needed to prepare His body properly for burial or that she should cling to Him.Rather, her mission was to go and tell the disciples that He was alive and would ascend to their Father.We each have a similar purpose to go and tell others that God is their Father through faith in Jesus Christ.
I have been a part of a Go Team at my church.A Go Team is a group of people who come around an individual, couple or family who has been called to missionary service.This is such a fitting name for a group whose purpose is sending missionaries into foreign lands to preach the gospel.In truth, every believer has a Go Team.God th…

Corruption of the Mind

One of the results from the fall was that our minds were corrupted.Sometimes our minds won’t allow us to take in what we are seeing.This was the case on Easter Sunday for Mary Magdalene.I’ve been thinking about her experience at the Garden Tomb.In the past I was so amazed that she was the one chosen to be the first to see Christ raised from the dead.This was not only an honor for her but a validation of women by God.Women were not even considered credible witnesses, yet God chose to reveal the risen Christ first to her eyes. The corruption of her mind kept her from seeing Him.Mary’s mind had a lot to take in.When she arrived at the tomb with the other women. she found the stone rolled away and the body gone.The men came to witness this reality and concurred that it was true—Jesus was gone.Everyone left, but Mary seemed to have no place to go.Her mind was devastated by what she saw.She thought that someone had taken His body somewhere.She had been so tormented by her helplessness while…

I Have Seen the Lord

For the 40 days following Easter, Jesus made appearances at unexpected times and in unexpected places.Some are recorded for us in the Gospels; others are mentioned in the Epistles.Jesus likely appeared more often than was recorded.For instance, I often wonder why Lazarus, Mary and Martha are not mentioned again in New Testament literature after the great faith they showed by having dinner with Him near Holy Week, when Mary anointed his body with the costly perfume.They are strangely missing from the foot of the cross, but did they get a private resurrection visit?Jesus’ love and friendship with them was so strong. The days following the Resurrection before Jesus ascended to heaven mirror my experiences with Jesus.Like the disciples and the women, I know He has risen; but I’m often surprised when I see Him showing up.I am aware that He told me that He would never leave me, but I wonder how many times I miss Him when He wants to show Himself or His work for me. There is a spiritual discip…

The Days Following the Resurrection

Jesus did the hard work of the cross.He rose from the dead.He appeared to the disciples over a period of 40 days, then ascended into heaven and told them to wait until the Spirit came to them, which happened 50 days later on the Day of Pentecost. We have just celebrated our most holy day of the year—Resurrection Sunday, so what is next? We begin with the women who came to the tomb so early and were the first to discover that Jesus had been raised from the dead.Their response, and particularly Mary Magdalene’s, shows us what a great mystery the resurrection is. John 20 tells us what happened that first morning. 1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the to…

Holy Saturday

Nothing is written about the events of Holy Saturday except Luke 23:56, “they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” These few words speak volumes about our life with Christ.What was it like for these ladies to rest on the Sabbath?They had watched carefully, they knew how quickly Jesus’ body was laid in the grave. The men had brought spices and linens, but they had little time to properly anoint this most precious of all bodies.As the women watched carefully, they made mental note of the supplies that would be necessary to complete this sacred act of burial as it should be. They spent the last few hours before sunset to prepare the spices for this holy act of reverence. The Sabbath signaled the time for rest.I’m sure they didn’t feel like resting, but by complying out of obedience they were probably served by its benefits.Their minds racing from the horror they had just witnessed, at best they could allow their bodies to rest and perhaps they finally fell asleep.Though…

Good Friday

Henry Gariepy says, “When we truly encounter the suffering of the Son of God on our behalf, we can never again be the same.Such amazing love overwhelms us with awe, wonder and adoration.” I can understand how someone can question God’s love when we look at the difficult experiences of our lives, but I cannot understand how anyone can doubt God’s love when we look at the events of the cross. Jesus is arrested around 1:30 a.m. and by 3:00 p.m. that same day He is dead.In less than 14 hours He is tried by illegal courts, flogged, walked the 650 yards to Golgotha—the place of the skull, crucified on a cross and dies. On the Via Dolorosa—The Road of Sorrows, He speaks to the women, and is aided by Simon of Cyrene. Tradition tells that as the first nails were being pounded into His flesh Jesus makes His first statement from the cross; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”At this moment that must have felt like the brink of hell, Jesus cries to His Father in prayer on our behal…

Maundy Thursday

Remember how you felt as a child on Christmas Eve?Did your heart swell with anticipation of what you were about to experience?Was your mouth salivating for the traditional foods that would be shared around your Christmas table?Thursday was the most important Feast in the life of the Jewish people.Hoards of people flooded into Jerusalem to experience Passover in the way it was meant to be celebrated by bringing their flawless lamb to the Temple sacrifice.Jesus’ family traveled from Nazareth to Jerusalem every Passover when He was a child. This Passover would be quite different.The sense of its importance could be recognized in the directions Jesus gave to His disciples for getting it prepared.A particular Upper Room had been chosen for this event and God was already working on the hearts of the family who would offer it to Christ and His disciples.Jesus began this most traditional meal in a most uncustomary way.To show the disciples and us that we are to be servants first and foremost, …

Holy Wednesday

Each day of Holy Week Jesus would come into Jerusalem teach in the temple, then retire to the Mount of Olives where he continued to teach those eager to understand themselves, God and how to live in this world. Jesus’ message to His followers was very different than what He shared with the Pharisees.He mainly spoke to them about being prepared for His return.He didn’t go into the gory details about the imminent events of the next three days—His arrest, crucifixion and burial.He didn’t even spend most of His time preparing them for the third day—His Resurrection from the Dead!
Those events, so familiar to us, perhaps needed to be experienced by them first before their significance could fully be grasped. Rather, Jesus used these last moments of face to face ministry and interaction with His followers to prepare them to carry out their part of God’s plan for the redemption of the world.He was handing off the baton to them and now us.He made it very clear that our job is to share the Gospe…

Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week

MONDAYIt is fitting that the object lessons Jesus taught on this day were all about prayer. You will notice that this week begins with a focus on prayer and Jesus' last words from the cross are a prayer quoted from the Psalms. The events of Holy Monday cause us to reflect on the urgency and priority that Jesus urges us to recognize about prayer.
On Monday, Jesus cleared the temple. Here we have an image of Jesus so far from the forgiving, graceful, wise and witty teacher we have witnessed. What makes Jesus angry?-When men distort the way to prayer. The temple was full of money changers, venders of all kinds and religious leaders profiting from the pockets of eager worshippers. He overturned the tables and drove out anyone trying to bring merchandise into the Temple. His rationale for this violent behavior-Scripture. He quoted Isaiah 56:7, "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a den of robbers (Mark 11:17)."
The other event slate…

The Psalms of Holy Week

On Good Friday I want to take extra time to meditate on Psalm 88.I had no idea that I would discover harsher realities about Jesus’ journey to the cross than I already knew from the Bible.On my recent trip to Jerusalem, when we were retracing the steps of Jesus, we walked into a place I had never heard of before.It is not described in any of the Gospels.I walked into a cistern that served as a holding cell in Jesus’ time.Since it was right by Caiaphas’ home and there were crosses etched in the walls, it is believed that Jesus may have been held in this place in the dark of night while they waited for morning to bring Him before Pilate. My experience in the cistern prison was a sacred moment.I didn’t fully comprehend where I was going as we walked down the stairs.When we walked in, I immediately recognized the crosses etched in the walls, even though others had a hard time seeing them.I stood still in the crowded space and looked up to the small hole above as our pastor started to expla…