Resurrection Sunday

Jesus, resurrection

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24 ESV)

 

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday, also known as Black Saturday and The Great Sabbath. Coffee with Jesus is usually good for a laugh, but the cartoon below from 2012 really strikes a solemn tone.

Black Saturday

Below are a couple of images I had saved for possible use on Good Friday. Even as he hung on the cross Jesus prayed for those crucifying him. Remember that those that do not know Christ are not our enemies – they are the mission field. Even as we are hopeful for tomorrow, let us pray for those in this world with hope in this world only.

crossJohn 19 30

 

Thoughts on Holy Week: Good Friday

good friday

If this is the day Jesus died, why is today good?

In the sense it is used good means holy when we say Good Friday. It is also called Great Friday, Holy Friday and Easter Friday in other traditions around the world. This is the day we commemorate Jesus as the atoning sacrifice. Holy Week is a time of preparation and consecration that seeks to take things one step at a time. Don’t jump ahead to the celebration; today is about the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Today we observe the crucified savior. If you’ve been reading the Gospel accounts all week, save that last chapter for Sunday.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV)

That’s a snippet of Isaiah 53. You can read the whole thing here. New followers are joining us all the time and it’s been two years since the full text of He Cannot Save Himself were posted. So here is my Good Friday poem, based on the crucifixion accounts of the Gospels:

He Cannot Save Himself

Many questions were asked of him,
though no answer was heard.
Pilate pressed him to respond,
but Jesus spoke not a word.

As prophesied by Isaiah,
like a lamb he was silent.
Which angered the crowd even more,
and they began to riot.

Governor Pilate faced the Jews,
and in order to honor custom,
told them that at their choosing,
he would release one prisoner among them.

He knew that Jesus was delivered
out of envy, malice and vice.
But the crowd choose Barabbas,
shouting “Crucify Jesus Christ.”

Pilate washed his hands before them,
saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood.”
The crowd said “Let his blood be upon us,
and upon our sons.”

They stripped off his own garments,
placed on him a robe and crown.
And then pretended to worship,
before him kneeling down.

They placed on his head
a crown made of thorns.
Then they spat, hit and slapped him,
and mocked him to scorn.

They compelled the man Simon
to carry his cross.
And divided his garments,
by casting lots.

They made for him a sign,
placed over his head.
“This is Jesus, King of the
Jews” the words read.

Thieves were crucified with him,
on his left and his right.
One was loud and boastful,
the other more humble, contrite.

“We are guilty of our crimes,
and deserve to die this way.”
And when Jesus saw his faith,
promised paradise that day.

“He cannot save himself” they mocked,
as his blood fell to the ground.
But they were crucifying an innocent,
in whom no guilt was found.

This was God’s plan of salvation,
established before there was time.
Each event had been prophesied,
and now fell perfectly in line.

The trial, the false witness,
his hanging on a tree;
It was all prophesied clearly
in Isaiah fifty-three.

So the words of their mocking
are actually true, you see.
He could not save himself, for
on the cross… he saved me.

Clark Bunch, 2/17/2009
(If you steal it, give me credit)

Like the sacrificial lamb that Moses instructed be displayed by the children of Israel in Egypt, Jesus was hung on the tree. He explained in his own words to the disciples that like bread his body would be broken, and like the cup his blood would be spilled. God’s wrath was poured out on the one that did not know sin but for us became sin. “it was the will of the Lord to crush him.” (Is. 53:10) If you want to know how much God loves you, look in the manger. If you want to know how much God hates sin, look at the cross. 

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20 ESV)

 

 

Thoughts on Holy Week: Consecration

Consecrate - make or declare something sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.

Holy Week is a time to fully devote ourselves for a specific religious purpose, which is celebrating the death, burial and resurrection. Old Testament priests were consecrated for their service in the tabernacle, and all the congregation of Israel consecrated themselves for three days before meeting God at Sinai. That time of preparation for a special encounter is exactly what Holy Week is about. Like the Advent season before Christmas Day, Holy Week is a period of time during which we prepare for a special worship celebration. We take special care to draw near to God (James 4:8) as he draws near to us. Continue reading

Thoughts on Holy Week: Prayers of Jesus

Jesus prayingThe Bible records several different occasions on which Jesus prayed. He taught the disciples to pray, though the Lord’s Prayer is something of a misnomer; we should rightly call that the Model Prayer or even the Disciples Prayer. Jesus always spent extra time in prayer before a big event, sometimes praying all night. He regularly went out alone very early each morning to pray, and even though he had some harsh words regarding public prayer we have a few of his prayers recorded, including the High Priestly Prayer of John 17. But every year at this time there is always one in particular I come back to. Continue reading