This is my favorite time of the year! I love Ash Wednesday, Passover, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and then it's quiet until Easter when He rose!
I miss the tradition that we learned in the Lutheran Church I worked in, where on Maundy Thursday they stripped the alter and it was quiet. It was like stripping Jesus of everything, his flesh cried out and He wept for He believed His Father had Forsaken Him.
Do you ever feel like God has forsaken you? Do you ever feel like He doesn't really know what you are going through?
He does! He really cares for you! This day we sing Glory in the Highest, Hosanna, Hosanna.
In John 12, John tells us about what happened the week before Easter.
John 12New King James Version (NKJV)
The Anointing at Bethany
7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept[c] this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
The Plot to Kill Lazarus9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The Triumphal Entry12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’[d]
The King of Israel!”
Behold, your King is coming,
Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”[e]
The Fruitful Grain of Wheat20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”
30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.
Who Has Believed Our Report?37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[f]
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”[g]
Walk in the Light42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe,[i] I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
John 1:29 says [ The Lamb of God ] The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Isaiah in the Old Testament talks about Jesus, usually it is used at Christmas, but I believe it is relevant now too.
Isaiah 49:7New King James Version (NKJV)
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You.
It really does speak of today. The people despise Jesus and God, the Trinity. It abhors it because it scares them just like it did back then. I believe people are afraid of the truth and if they can shut it down, they will. They become Goliaths in our land and shut us up and we willingly like lambs to the slaughter, take it.
Chronicles 30New King James Version (NKJV)
Hezekiah Keeps the Passover
10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord.
13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone 19 who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.
21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. 22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
23 Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25 The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
Jeremiah 51:40New King James Version (NKJV) 40 “I will bring them down. Like lambs to the slaughter, Like rams with male goats
We are born again believers in Jesus the Christ who died for us on the cross at Calvary. We love traditions to remember why He died for me. We love how every year, different churches who preach the WORD of THE LORD JESUS the CHRIST, teach the followers of JESUS the meanings of what happened for US. Sometimes, people only make it to church on Easter and Christmas. We do not fit into a denomination.
We would love to see you in church every Sunday, but I can not speak ill of those that don't because we don't make it to church. We study on our own, but it really is more for the fellowship of other believers that is helpful in your faith journey. Going to church will not save you, it may increase your knowledge, your faith walk, your friendships, but it won't save you. Saving Grace is only through Jesus, asking him to live in you, asking him to be your dwelling place, then inviting him in. Turning from the things that he doesn't like and following His ways and not our own.
We all have a million reasons why or why not for going, but the truth is, it is up to you whether you go or not.
One thing we want from today's message is That you believe in Jesus, you believe that He died and rose again for you. He did this for your salvation. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No ONE COMES to the Father except through Jesus. He is the only way. One Way! That's it. We want you to know also that You are loved. No matter what you have done in your past, your Father and His Son Jesus loves you and so do we.
In Galatians 3:20 Paul, who had helped crucified Jesus, went after the disciples and the followers of Jesus. However, Paul got stopped, blinded and found out he really didn't know Jesus at all. Because of his refusal to know him, he tried to destroy all of them. But when the Lord stopped him, he repented, then the Lord took him to the backside of the desert and taught him all he needed to know. Paul got so "on fire" for the Lord. I mean to tell you! (haha). He really did. Paul's conversion is about Easter! Because Jesus rose again, Jesus found Paul on the road. Read more here.
Scripture References:Acts 9:1-19; retold in Acts 22:6-21 and Acts 26:12-18.
The Conversion of Paul - Story Summary:Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee in Jerusalem after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, swore to wipe out the new Christian church, called The Way. He got letters from the high priest, authorizing him to arrest any followers of Jesus in the city of Damascus.
On the Damascus Road, Saul and his companions were struck down by a blinding light, brighter than the noonday sun. Saul heard a voice say to him:
"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4, NIV)
When Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." (Acts 9:5-6, NIV)
The men with Saul heard the sound but did not see the vision of the risen Christ that Saul did. Saul was blinded. They led him by the hand into Damascus to a man named Judas, on Straight Street.
Jesus repeated his command, explaining that Saul was his chosen instrument to deliver the gospel to the Gentiles, their kings, and the people of Israel. So Ananias found Saul at Judas' house, praying for help. Ananias laid his hands on Saul, telling him Jesus had sent him to restore his sight and that Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Something like scales fell from Saul's eyes and he could see again. He arose and was baptized into the Christian faith. Saul ate, regained his strength, and stayed with the Damascus disciples three days.
Points of Interest From the Conversion of Paul:• After his conversion, Saul changed his name to Paul.
• The conversion of Paul shows that Jesus himself wanted the gospel to go to the Gentiles and that it was no human being's idea. That would quash any argument from the early Jewish Christians that the gospel was only for the Jews.
• The men with Saul did not see the risen Jesus, but Saul did. This miraculous message was meant for one person only, Saul.
• Saul witnessed the risen Christ, which fulfilled the qualification for an apostle (Acts 1:21-22). Only those who had seen the risen Christ could testify to his resurrection.
• Jesus did not distinguish between his church and his followers, and himself. Jesus told Saul he had been persecuting him. This serves as a warning that anyone who persecutes Christians or the Christian church is persecuting Christ himself.
• In one moment of fear, enlightenment, and regret, Saul understood that Jesus was indeed the true Messiah, and that he (Saul) had helped murder and imprison innocent people. Saul realized that despite his previous beliefs as a Pharisee, he now knew the truth about God and was obligated to obey him.
• Saul of Tarsus possessed perfect qualifications to be an evangelist for Christ: He was versed in Jewish culture and language, his upbringing in Tarsus made him familiar with the Greek language and culture as well, his training in Jewish theology helped him connect the Old Testament with the gospel, and as a skilled tentmaker he could support himself with that trade.
• When retelling his conversion later to King Agrippa, Paul said Jesus told him, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads." (Acts 26:14, NIV) A goad was a sharp stick used to control oxen or cattle. Some interpret this as meaning Paul had pangs of conscience when persecuting the church. Others believe Jesus meant that it was futile to try to oppress the church.
• Paul's life-changing experience on the Damascus Road led to his baptism and instruction in the Christian faith. He became the most determined of the apostles, suffering brutal physical pain, persecution, and finally martyrdom. He revealed his secret of enduring a lifetime of hardship for the gospel: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)
Question for Reflection:The same Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and did such a mighty work in Paul wants to work in my life too. What could Jesus do if I surrendered as Paul did and gave him complete control of my life?
I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20
“…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.
“…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.