The Cross

The Cross

The cross was a Roman form of torture and death. Jesus found innocent by both Herod and Pilate was still sent to death by crucifixion with the shouts of the people. An innocent man put to death because the “Religous” feared Him. “I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty.” ~Pilate Said. Still, with the shouts of the crowd, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate allowed it. Little did they know that His death was for the sin of the world and what looked like defeat was actually the victory the world needed.

When Jesus cried out His last few words, “It is finished,” He breathed His last. Soon the guards would recognize Jesus had died, the few faithful that remained asked for His body. Placing Him in a tomb, they went home to observe the Sabbath and to mourn. The darkest day of their lives, filled with shocked silence, quiet weeping, peppered with mournful cries and shouts of agony. Everything they thought, hoped for, dreamed about was pulled down from a crucifix dead, wrapped, and laid in a tomb.

They didn’t have the benefit of this side of Sunday, the third day. They didn’t have the benefit of seeing the completion of the promise. They didn’t have the benefit we do. Perhaps that is part of the reason our response to Sunday pails in comparison to theirs. So maybe, just maybe, if we sit in darkness as they sat in darkness, with mournful hearts, we too can rise on Sunday, hear of the Resurrection and run to the empty tomb in search for Jesus!

Matthew 27:45-61 NLT


The Death of Jesus

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[b]

47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”[c]

50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

54 The Roman officer[d] and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.


The Burial of Jesus

57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left.61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

You are Loved,


The Garden

The Garden

Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine this: You have lived a good life. You have done right, to include some pretty miraculous stuff. In fact, the only folks who don’t like you are religious people.  You have a few really close friends, twelve you suppose. You have lived with them for 3 1/2 years. Traveled far and near with them. You have been in some pretty crazy situations too, rough seas, mobs, and seen incredible miracles. You just enjoyed the Passover feast with them, washed their feet in a symbolic gesture and had what you imagined was a very intimate moment with your best friends.

One of whom was soon to betray you. Set you up with the only people who didn’t like you, the religious. Now you are have done what you have done for as long as you can remember, you and your friends go and pray. You go to one of your favorite spots, the Mount of Olives. There you ask your friends to pray as you walk a little further to be alone and begin to pray. Now the weight of reality hits you. You realize that the thing you have been talking about and the event you have been describing is about to come to pass. The burden is great, and your heart becomes heavy. You get up to check on your friends and find them asleep. You are alone, and you are being tormented by what you know is now rapidly approaching.

You still have free will. You still have choices. You still have an opportunity to avoid every bit of the immediate future you dread. The fate of the world rests on your decision. This is the burden that weighs you down. It has come close to breaking you. Your friends, all but one really, have fled, but even he isn’t by your side, alone you will face the darkness. What choice will you make? Will you take on the injustice, the betrayal, the punishment, death? Or, will you flee, seek another way, attempt escape? This is the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Don’t feel bad for struggling, Jesus too struggled. i view the garden as a significant moment in time. A moment in time where Jesus fell under great temptation. The choice to walk the road of torment or seek for His own another way. He displayed hours before His humility, His heart, His love. Now in the garden, we see His humanity, His brokenness, and His resolve. His choice was for our future. His punishment was for our sin. His suffering was for our hope. His death was for our life. Read through the account written in Luke 22:39-54. (Below is the NLT). Read it all. Read it slowly. Read it twice or three times. Sit in it. Meditate on it. Pray through it. Let your heart go in the moments of its words. At the end, i want you to switch roles, become Peter, read it again, imagine following at a distance…live this passage in your mind, heart, and soul…

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”

41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.[a]

45 At last, he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.

51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”

Pray through this passage, and i will meet you next week at the cross.

You are Loved,



The Upper Room

The Upper Room

i imagine a candlelit room, dusty, a faint musty odor. It’s spring, the days are getting longer, but the weather hits its unpredictable period, hot one day, cold and rainy the next, leaving behind sents of fresh rain, blossoming trees, and that musty odor of in-between. Here in this room the Disciples along with Jesus, gather. A meal prepared for them to observe the traditional Passover Seder. Jesus takes the opportunity to teach them one last time on the meanings behind the elements of the Passover.

He begins with the washing of the disciple’s feet. Taking the lowest servant position available and doing what Peter observed as beneath Jesus to even consider doing. Jesus emptied Himself of any rank and humbled Himself before His disciples as an example to them and “US” that we are to serve others over serving ourselves. Here we read it in the NLT from John 13:

So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

Unless Jesus washes us, we will not belong to Him. The Upper Room is so full of symbolism, all of it lost on the disciples at the time. Only in retrospect were they able to grasp all that Jesus was doing in that room for them. Following this act of humility, they sat to eat the Passover Seder.

First the bread, unleavened. Why? It’s symbolic, leaven represents sin. If the bread represents the body of Christ, it too must be without sin, in this case, leaven.  Traditionally the baker of the bread would puncture it to prevent any rise at all as it baked. A flatbread baked over open flame surely would show marks as well. Carrying with it, even more, symbolism of Jesus’ pierced and bruised body, His brokenness. Now, as Jesus stood before them with the bread He broke, He said, “this is My Body which is broken for you…” the significance of this is overwhelming. Did you know that in a traditional Passover Seder, the “Afikoman” is broken wrapped in cloth and hidden in the home? The children then search for it, and the one who finds it gets a prize. Then the “Afikoman” is eaten as a sort of dessert to the Seder Meal. This reminds me of Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” (NASB)

There are traditionally four cups poured and drank during the Seder. Each represents a part of the story of the Exodus. The third cup is the cup of blessing, traditionally this is the cup referred to during our modern observance of the “Lords Supper.” Some would say it is the fourth cup which was known as the “cup of Elijah the Prophet” a foreshadowing of the coming Massiah. Either cups observance fits as both are fulfillments of the Kingdom. Jesus was pointing now to the finished work of the cross that they soon would experience. In the reading, i will share from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 22 (NLT) it talks about two cups the second and the third or fourth. The second cup was the cup of suffering, and it was traditionally poured out representing the plagues upon Egypt.

The Last Supper

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

“Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.

10 He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, 11 say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 12 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” 13 They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

If you have not partaken in a Passover Seder, i highly recommend that you do. It will profoundly change the way you see Passover, the upper room, the garden and the cross.

You are Loved,


In our brokenness, You have made us whole, Thy Kingdom Come

In our brokenness, You have made us whole, Thy Kingdom Come

This is the final installment of our series, “Thy Kingdom Come.” We have been looking at the significance of God’s Kingdom now, in light of our humanness. Our final look, being made whole even in our brokenness. We are broken. The world that was created in which God took a step back and declared “This is Good,” is, no longer…well, good. It is broken. Sin and death have entered through rebellion, and we are suffering the effects of those choices still today. Our hope, in the promise of God that all things will be made new and that through Jesus we too can experience the newness of His perfect creation.

God’s first step (and the only step we will look at today) in this recreation is to make us whole again. An atonement for our sins offered. That act alone is what is required for our salvation. No amount of good works, good deeds, good thoughts, good vibes, or good anything will make up the difference needed…only what was offered on the cross will do. This redemptive act is the pinnacle of our salvation. Colossians 1:19-22 NLT reads like this:

19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

This reconciliation has come about by God’s grace. As we end this series, “Thy Kingdom Come” and move into a look at the death and resurrection of Jesus. The very thing we talk about today. i want us to understand that we stand wholly in the Kindom even in our broken world on the merits of Jesus our Lord. As our world grows increasingly hostile to Christianity as a whole, we must not only rest in the assurance of our salvation but also in the warning. First here in Colossians 1:23 NLT.

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

There are countless other warnings that sadly many will ignore, but i offer you this in Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT) a way to keep steady, a way to experience God’s Kingdom here in a broken world. Daily being made whole in our brokenness.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Finally, yet another warning. Because the power of this world, the pull, the temptation, is strong, so we must remain alert. Let your gratitude and thankfulness flow in a manner that builds on the foundation Jesus Christ is.  Do not be fooled again by the empty promises or the schemes of the prince of this world. You see, “...we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NLT. Therefore:

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.[b]10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:8-10 NLT.

In our brokenness, You have made us whole, Thy Kingdom Come.

You are loved,