Jesus was busy today teaching in parables – lots of parables. He covered obedient and disobedient sons, greedy farmhands, wedding banquets, even paying taxes. He told them what the greatest commandment was and what the second greatest one was. He denounced hypocrisy and He let the religious leaders hold it. He warned them about the signs of the end times, and at the close of the day, Jesus talked about how He would separate the sheep from the goats when He one day returned to sit on His throne.
What an incredibly busy day! I can’t help but wonder if He was trying to squeeze in every bit of last minute teaching He could manage to squeeze in before He left them.
I found myself focusing in on two things Jesus said.
Loving God with all our hearts, souls, and minds was and still is the most important thing above all else. But then He went a step further and told them that the second most important command was to love their neighbors as themselves. (Matt. 22:34-40)
Love for God and love for others. How well do I love? How well do you love?
Jesus said, “A new command I give you; love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
And we know how well He loved us…
Today, Jesus cleaned out the temple for the second time in His ministry. Tables are knocked over and benches are sent flying. Jesus's righteous anger is justified because of His passion for His Father's temple. It is to be kept holy because it is the Father's dwelling place among His people.
That temple is now gone, not because it was destroyed by Israel's enemies, but because it is no longer needed. God no longer dwells in a building. For those who belong to Jesus, their bodies are now the temple where the Holy Spirit of God resides. Jesus expects that they,too, be kept holy.
The question for us today is this- what tables need to be overturned in our lives? What do we need to allow Christ to drive out of our hearts so that our temples might be kept holy?
Today Christians celebrated Palm Sunday. Did you know that the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey was a very important day even before it ever became known as Palm Sunday?
The Jews called that particular day in the Passover week, “Lamb Selection Day.” On that day, Jews would come to Jerusalem to select a Passover lamb, one lamb for each family. According to Jewish historians, the lambs were brought from Bethlehem to Jerusalem through the Sheep Gate. In the late afternoon, each family selected a lamb and took it home where they cared for it until it was slaughtered for the Passover meal. (Exodus 12:3-6)
But, on that particular day, while palm branches were waving in the air and people were shouting “Hosanah”, while Jewish families were selecting their Passover lambs and taking them home, God had selected a special lamb and had sent Him to Jerusalem. His lamb also came from Bethlehem, and He also arrived in Jerusalem through the Sheep Gate in the late afternoon.
This perfect lamb would be the very last blood sacrifice that God would recognize. And because of the greatness of this lamb, God would accept the blood of this one lamb for the forgiveness of the sins of all who would place their faith in Him. No more sacrifices would ever be required. This was the last Lamb. This was the very Son of God.
So “Lamb Selection Day” became Palm Sunday because God did the unimaginable and chose His only Son to be the final sacrifice for us.
Have a Blessed Week!
Today we celebrated Palm Sunday, the beginning of Jesus’s last week. The King of Kings climbed onto the back of a donkey, not a mighty stallion, as would be fitting for a king, and began His journey into Jerusalem as the Messiah.
As He looked over the city, he wept because even in spite of His great love for His people, they continued to reject Him.
But, their rejection and His anguish and fear would not deter Jesus. He would not turn around. He was determined to continue on into the city and on to the cross because of his great love for The Father and for His children.
What kind of love is this?
Well, we are back in the Easter season. We are reminded of the resurrection of Jesus, warm weather (waiting), bunnies and baskets (still not sure how that fits), and this year my daughter,s birthday.
When she was in first grade, her birthday fell on Easter Sunday and she was so excited. Her first grade teacher was made aware of this event very loudly and very often, or so I’m told. My daughter was so overwhelmed that her birthday was on Jesus’ Born Again Day. We
celebrated Easter Sunday with family and friends and of course took treats for
her Sunday school class.
Now, this year her birthday is once again on Easter Sunday. She is in the 12th grade and hopefully will graduate… I’ve yet to see a report card! But, she is still filled with that same excitement. We will, yet again, celebrate with family and friends and take treats to her Sunday school class (It’s hard to break traditions).
Through all of this, I started thinking about the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior. We should be this excited about Jesus rising from the dead every day. Our faith is based on
that promise of us receiving eternal life with Him. So celebrate Jesus! Give new devotional books, Bibles, share your testimony or favorite verse with someone (all of these fit nicely into Easter baskets). Share a Gift With a Purpose - always good gifts for anytime or occasion,(shameless plug for tab on website).
As Christians we should be thankful and full of praise for Jesus. Easter is a great time to renew that commitment and excitement for Christ (Birthday on Easter not required). Our web
site is all about sharing life together. What an awesome place this would be if we all started sharing the Good News with others.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes
in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Our entire gospel is summed up in this familiar verse. Do we believe it? If we do, what an incredible reason to celebrate, no matter what time of year!
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. “
Jesus knew that His time with the disciples was coming to an end. He had only a few precious hours left with them; one last opportunity to instruct them. So in those final hours, the King of Kings took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist, took a basin of water, and began washing the feet of His disciples – a job so degrading that even Jewish slaves were exempt from the task.
Why foot washing? Jesus chose to demonstrated an inner humility because it would be necessary for His disciples to adopt the same inner humility in order to fully carry out the instructions that He was about to leave them with.
I’ve often wondered if the first set of feet Jesus washed belonged to Judas. There are times when I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Jesus washed the very feet of the one whom He knew had already betrayed Him. What must it have felt like to kneel at the feet of His betrayer; to wash the feet of the man who had sold Him for 30 pieces of silver? Yet, with an inner humility, Jesus picked up Judas’ feet and in doing so showed us how to love and serve our enemies.
Maybe Peter’s feet were next. Jesus washed Peter’s feet knowing that Peter, one of His closest friends would betray Him not once, but three times. In fact, all of the disciples would abandon Jesus that very night and He knew it. Yet, with a humble spirit, He knelt down and lovingly washed each of their feet, and demonstrated how to love and forgive those who hurt or offend us.
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
The example, at the core, was this: Jesus did not hold onto the rights and privileges that were His because He was deity. Instead He gave up all that was rightfully His – His position in Heaven, His comforts, His right to be treated with dignity, His right to defend Himself, His life. He humbled Himself in selfless obedience to The Father.
Yes, we are to love and serve one another. Yes, we are to forgive. But in order to do those things after the example of Christ, we must take on the same attitude as He did. It requires an inner transformation of our hearts and minds into the humble likeness of Our Savior.
As we head into Good Friday, carefully consider all that Christ endured, all that He suffered, and all that He gave up for you and me. Sit with your dirty feet at the table in the upper room. Watch the sadness in His eyes as everyone flees the scene in the garden. Listen to the sounds of the scourging in the night hours and the cruel mocking of His captors. Look into His weary eyes as He stumbles under the load of the cross. Hear the ping of the hammer driving the nails into His hands and feet. Watch as the crowd jeers and mocks Him and challenges Him to prove that He is the Son of God. Pay close attention to His anguish as He takes on all our sins and is separated from His Father for the first time in all of eternity.
And when you wake up Easter morning, rejoice in your salvation which was freely given to you all because Jesus humbled Himself in obedience, even to death on the cross. Then follow His example and hear His promise:
“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
John 13 and Philippians 2:5-11
In Christ’s love,
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