Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Sunday

As I begin to write this article and to think about what I wanted to say, I realized that no matter what I could write it would not compare to the way that the Easter story is told in the Bible.  So I am going to quote Matthew 28:1-10.

Easter Sunday
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.’  Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them.  “Greetings,” he said.  They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.  Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”                     

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Good Friday Devotion

The final observance before Easter is Good Friday.  Once again Good Friday is a church term and cannot be found in the Bible, but on that day believers place even more emphasis than usual on the sacrificial death on the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Good Friday
Following is a short poem that is one of my personal favorites.  While I cannot show my devotion to Jesus in the same way as the little dog, there are so many things that I can do.  Everyday in everything that we do we show, not to God but to the world, how much we love Jesus.  As I compare my actions to that of the little dog, I must wonder whose love is greater.

I wonder if Christ had a little black dog
All curly and wooly like mine;
With two long silky ears,
And a nose round and wet,
And two eyes brown and tender that shine.

I’m afraid he hadn’t because I have read
How He prayed in the garden alone;
For all his friends and disciples had fled-
Even Peter-the one called a stone.

And I’m so sure that the little black dog
With heart so tender and warm,
Would never have left Him to suffer alone
But creeping right under His arm

Would have licked the dear fingers
in agony clasped
And counting all favors but loss;
When they took Him away
Would have trotted behind
And followed Him right to the Cross.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

For Heaven's Sake

We have gotten many favorable responses to our short stories that help us understand scripture but that do not come directly from the Bible.  For that reason we have decided to include these kinds of stories on a regular basis.  This is the first of what we hope will be a long list of many.

Heaven and St. Peter
He was one of those lads who seemed to keep getting into mischief.  It frustrated his mother greatly.  Finally, one day when he was being particularly troublesome, his mother posed this question to him:  “How do you ever expect to get into heaven?”

The lively boy thought a few seconds, then said, “Well, I’ll just run in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For heaven’s sake, Jimmy, come in or stay out.’”

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Maundy Thursday - Remembering Jesus' Gift To Us

Maundy Thursday
After Palm Sunday the next observance during Holy Week in many churches is that of Maundy Thursday.  Maundy Thursday is also a church term and not found in the Bible.  On this day believers remember the establishment of the Lord’s Supper.  Jesus met with his disciples on the first day of Passover.  At this time they ate unleaven bread, which symbolized Christ’s body, and drank from the fruit of the vine, which symbolized Christ’s blood.  This meal was meant to be eaten again and again until Jesus returns.

The establishment of the Lord’s Supper is recorded in Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.  Following is the account given in Matthew 26:26-30.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

While we should remember and give thanks 24/7 for the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, so that we may live with him forever, we all need to make the additional remembrance by eating the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine as he instructed us when he established the Lord’s Supper.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Palm Sunday

Holy Week
During the first several centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus Christians remembered both the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.  Gradually the time that was taken to honor the passion of Christ grew to be one week long and became known as Holy Week.  Holy Week begins with the celebration of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on what is now called Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday is a church label and cannot be found in the Bible.  Rather, the Bible refers to this event as “The Triumphal Entry.”

The story of “The Triumphal Entry” is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.  In Mark 11:8-10 we read, “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!  Hosanna in the highest!’”

Today many churches celebrate Palm Sunday by distributing palm branches to worshippers and perhaps having a processional re-enacting Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.