Friday, March 30, 2018

A Good, Good Day

...this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.  Act 2:23-24

This is Good Friday, a good, good day for you and me and people everywhere.  This is the day in history when the veil was torn and the sky turned dark.  It wasn’t a good day for Christ physically.  He suffered beyond description for us to have salvation and everlasting life.  He was tortured and beaten all night.  After that He had to carry His cross and walk uphill to the place He would be crucified.  He had to be exhausted and way past the point of wanting to quit, but He knew that He was the only perfect lamb to fulfill God’s plan.  Even through these horrible acts by evil men, Jesus persevered.  Through His death on the cross He brought hope and life to a dark world.  It is Good Friday because this was the day that God’s plan to save His people became fulfilled.  This day had to happen so Jesus could rise again on Sunday! 
God Himself entered this chaotic world so He could mend the brokenness for all mankind – permanently.  He gave His son to death.  He allowed His son to be sacrificed in our place, to take the punishment of our sinfulness.  Now we have freedom and peace. Now we have hope and joy and life and light.  His suffering and death on the cross brought us freedom, healing, and peace.
The goodness of Jesus's love and sacrifice at Calvary is immense, permanent, and priceless. It is inseparably connected to His life on earth before that, and to His Resurrection. What happened is part of a longer story that involves all humanity and it is part of a more-than-human setting that involves Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because they were all fulfilled in Him. 

Take some time today to think about what was done for you on Calvary.  Thank Him for the sacrifice He gave for you and reflect on your life, and your relationship with Him. 

Join us this evening for our Good Friday service at 6:00 PM in the Worship Center and for our Easter services at 5:00 and 7:00 PM on Saturday and 9:00 and 11:00 on Sunday morning. 

Scripture to Claim:
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD." 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Thursday, March 29, 2018

One Last Meal

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  John 13:1

It is Thursday of the week of the Passover and Jesus has been doing some important things, getting ready for His last moments on earth.  This week has been intense for Him.  He knows what is coming and He was probably a lot more serious and focused this last week of His life.  Today is the first day of the Passover and Jesus wants to have one last meal with the disciples.  He sends them into Jerusalem to prepare the meal to celebrate Passover together. 
As they sat and dined together, Jesus rose from the table and began to wash their feet.  The job of a slave.  Peter particularly didn’t want Jesus to wash his dirty feet.  I am sure he felt that Jesus was far too worthy and he was way too unworthy to have the King of Kings touch his dirty feet.  I know I would feel the same way.  But Jesus told Peter that unless he let Jesus wash his feet, that he couldn’t be a part of His work.  Jesus was setting an example for them.  He instructed them to wash each other’s feet just as He has washed their feet.  He served those who serve Him.  This is the lesson of the least shall be the greatest and the greatest shall be the least.  And Jesus wasn’t just setting an example, He was telling them to be humble and serve one another.  This is how He expected them to treat each other after He left. 
After He washed their feet, Jesus explained to them that one of them would betray Him soon.  They were all in a stir, each one positive that there is nothing that would ever make them betray their Lord.  Jesus proceeded to tell them that the one who betrays Him will face serious consequences.  They were consumed with trying to figure out which one of them Jesus was talking about.  Jesus revealed that it was Judas, whose feet He had just washed in humble service. 

Scripture to Claim:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John13:34-35

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Comfort of Friends

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  John 12:1-3

This week is the week leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.  Many things happened during this week in Jesus’ life and reading about what Jesus did his last week here on earth, who He was with, and especially the last 24 hours of His life, certainly cast a new light on Easter.  I can’t imagine actually being there as one who loves Jesus and seeing Him experience everything He went through in person.  Jesus had some close friends that He no doubt found some comfort in.  Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, were some of Jesus’ closest friends and He chose to spend quite a bit of time with them during His last week here on earth. Imagine being that person – the one that Jesus Himself chooses to spend His last hours with.  What an immense honor and privilege.  He found comfort and solace in the presence of His friends, knowing what was coming. 
The night before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus spent the night at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha.  There His closet friends gathered for a dinner in His honor. During the evening, Mary took some very expensive oil and anointed Jesus’ feet.  Wiping His feet with her hair, she displayed her beautiful heart of humility in this act of love and worship.  She knew what He was going to do for her.  She knew He was so close to leaving this earth and her time with Him was short.  She wanted to honor Him in this way while He was still alive rather than wait to adorn a dead body.  She was showing devotion before it was too late, in anticipation of His burial. 
This act of devotion will be one of the last expressions of tenderness that Jesus receives on earth before His death.  Judas criticized her for this sacrifice of great worth, saying the money could be spent on the poor.  But Jesus took up for Mary saying, Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.  For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.  John 12:7-8.
Mary paid an extraordinary piece of respect to Jesus as she thought nothing too good to bestow upon Him to do Him honor.  She gave her most valuable treasure to Jesus.  Have you given your most valuable treasure to Jesus?  He must be honored with all we have, and we cannot keep back any part of the price.  Do we give him the precious oil of our best affections?  Let Him have them all; love and worship Him with all your heart.

Scripture to Claim:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 
Isaiah 53:5

Devotional Archive