Category Archives: Discipleship

Lent Day #40 | Holy Saturday

I have been wracking my brain all day, trying to decide what to say. I have decide not to say anything. As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, I ask you to consider what the disciples felt as they had to live through the Saturday after the crucifixion of Jesus. What would you have felt?

This is a day of mourning. Of apprehension. We should never take for granted the resurrection. The disciples did not know for sure if it would take place. We have the benefit of history and scholarship to buttress our faith. Let us not be cavalier about Jesus death.

God bless you on this Holy Saturday.

Lent Day #39 | Good Friday

I have often wondered if the first disciples of Jesus felt it was appropriate to call the Friday Jesus died “good.” It is difficult to fathom how anything that took place that Friday afternoon could have been considered good. Trumped charges led to a bogus trial led which to the execution of an innocent man. The circumstances of that day are anything but good.

This evening, during our services, we had a time of confession and repentance. It was a time where we could reflect and submit to God those sins holding us back from fully surrendering to God. It was a powerful moment. At the end of the service I could see the slips of paper that had been laid upon the cross of Jesus. As I stood there looking at them, the following thought passed through my mind.

If these represent one confessed sin (among the many possibilities) of one fellowship of believers, how must have the cross looked to God when the sins of the world, for all time, were laid upon Jesus?

I was stunned by the reality of how our sinfulness had affected the purest life to have ever walked upon the earth. The unstained, undefiled, unadulterated beauty and perfection of Jesus was ravaged by our sin. He hung on a cross, suffering because if I had to do it I would go to hell. It was the innocence of Jesus that revealed the diabolical nature of our sin. We will never fully understand what the cross of Calvary means. We can experience its benefits. We can know we have been changed, redeemed, and set upon a new path. We just do not have the capacity to process all God did for us in Christ.

good-friday-2014

Today is Good Friday, not because it was good for Jesus, but because it was good for us!

Remember the sorrow this day represents, but look forward for Sunday is yet to come. The following video is such a wonderful reminder of this simple reality.

(If you can’t see the video click HERE)

Lent Day #38 | Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday. It is the Thursday before Easter. The word “maundy” is an old word with two meanings (both of which are not in use anymore). The first meaning is “commandment,” and the second, not as closely related to the reason it is used during Holy Week, is “to beg.” Both of these are interesting when we consider them in the context of Easter and Jesus crucifixion and resurrection.

Jesus washed the disciples feet

The Last Supper occurred on Thursday night. It was during the evening meal that Jesus gave to the disciples one of his final instructions. Jesus said, “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” (John 13:34, ESV). This commandment was given as Jesus was modeling for the disciples the kinds of acts of service they were to perform for one another. Jesus had undressed and wrapped himself with a towel. He then proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet. This simple act has profound implications for us today. What is our attitude when asked to serve? Are we more interested in being served? How difficult is it for us to humble ourselves and do what we do not think we should have to do?

The reality and power of Jesus’ service to us is compounded by the fact that he offered his service before we asked for his help. While we will beg for God’s forgiveness, God has already extended his grace and forgiveness. We come on our knees and God meets us with the ring, shoes, robe and feast of son-ship (Luke 15:11-32). There is no greater demonstration of God’s love toward us than Jesus washing of the disciples’ feet. The one in whom all things “have there being” stooped to wash the dirty feet of twelve dubious disciples.

Lent Day #37 | Redemption

We have interacted with the idea of redemption at various times during this series of reflections (here, here, here, and here). Today, as we draw closer to Easter morning we will take some time to explore what it means that God has redeemed us.

Redemption is a financial term. Many of us have used coupons before. We go to a store with the coupon and when we redeem it we get what it offers at the time of check-out. The reality of this transaction is included in our salvation. When Jesus came to earth, his mission was to redeem that which was lost. In what way was it lost? It was lost to sin and sinfulness. No man or woman who has ever lived can rise up to God. Our blood has been tainted by the sin of Adam and Eve. When they disobeyed God and decided to do their own thing, they damned their ancestors to a life of struggle, strife and strain.

Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus

I want to correct a common misconception here. There are some who believe (and teach) that Jesus redeemed us from the devil. The idea being the enemy of God was holding us captive. This does not make any sense because he too is captive. The devil must still submit to the will of God, even though God is waiting to pronounce his final judgment! So, if we were not redeemed from the devil, who are we in debt too? We are in debt to ourselves. The reason we are stuck in our predicament is because we keep making withdrawals from the account and have been overdrawn for millennia. The debt of sin is the belief we can live independent of God. This however is not the case. If it were not for God we would have nothing. Paul, said it this way,

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’.” (Acts 17:24-28a, ESV)

If it is true that “in Him we live,” then we need someone to redeem our debt and make a deposit into our account of unrighteousness. The only one who could do that was Jesus. When we came into this world, he lived the life we could not live; he died the death we deserved; was raised to life from the grave so we could stand before God forgiven–not perfect. We will never be perfect, but we are being perfected.

Redemption is what Jesus has done to remove the burden of our sin debt. He was submitted the coupon of his blood for the balance of sin in the world. The hymn writer was correct when they said

        What can wash away my sin?
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        What can make me whole again?
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

                Refrain

                Oh! precious is the flow
                That makes me white as snow;
                No other fount I know,
                Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

        For my pardon, this I see,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        For my cleansing this my plea,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

        Refrain

        Nothing can for sin atone,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        Naught of good that I have done,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

        Refrain

        This is all my hope and peace,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        This is all my righteousness,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
        (Source)