Jesus died but that was not the end. The apparent end was the beginning of new life. This day we celebrate the wonder of the resurrection.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
This weekend at Eastbrook Church I gave a message entitled “Beginning to Live” about how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus opens a new way to live our lives. It is a way of purpose, freedom, and joy.
When a person dies, there is a sudden and unsettling stillness that settles into their body. It feels and looks unnatural because there is an utter stillness. Unlike sleep, where the rhythm of breathing usually conveys a peaceful and restorative rest, the stillness of death seems harsh.
Jesus died on the cross. His brutalized body hung limp and bent at awkward angles; suspended by nails that tore the skin. His side was pierced and watery blood flowed out.
Two secret followers worked hard to remove His body from that instrument of cruel torture. They expended the effort to bury Him with dignity. It was likely a messy experience.Read More »
Jesus walked into Jerusalem hailed as a king. Within a few days, the crowd was calling for His execution: “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” (John 19:15).
A thorny crown fiercely adorned His kingly head (19:2). Purple robes signaled His royalty as soldiers spit on Him, slapped Him and mocked Him (19:3). But the only throne given to this King was a rough and brutal wooden cross (19:18). They raised Him up on it for all the world to see. A sign saying “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” displayed His identity in mocking irony (19:19).
Weak and pitiful, naked and bloody, thirsty andRead More »
Before His arrest, Jesus gathered with His closest followers. After teaching them, He knew what was to come and so He prayed (John 17).
He prayed that God would be glorified through Him.
He thanked His Father for the privilege of unfolding the Father’s will in showing Himself to these closest followers. He prayed that they would have the full measure of His joy. He prayed that these followers would not be removed from the troubles of this world, but that they would be protected from the evil one. He prayed that they would be sanctified as He sent them into the world.
He prayed for those who would become followers of Him through these first followers’ proclamation. He prayed for unity within His followers, just as He and the Father experienced perfect unity. He prayed that the world would believe through the unity of the followers to come. He prayed that the love of God would fill them.Read More »
When Jesus came into Jerusalem, He knew what was to come. He was under no illusions about the hopes of the crowd that greeted Him with shouts of “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13). He knew they would turn on Him when He failed to bring the kingdom they so desired.
He knew that His journey into Jerusalem would lead to some sort of painful end for Him. He was aware that the religious leaders had secretly gathered in order to plot His death. While He may not have known the exact words, He could have guessed at the desires expressed by Caiaphas the high priest: “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (11:50).
He predicted with unveiled words that “the hour” had come for Him and that it would be like “a kernel of wheat Read More »