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Archive for March 24th, 2013

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Passover and Palm Sunday

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29,34).

 John the Baptist had been preaching about the coming Messiah, identifying himself as the forerunner Isaiah had promised over 700 years earlier.  Quoting from Isaiah 40:3 John said, I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord ‘ “ (John 1:23).

Introducing Jesus to Israel as the Lamb of God was no doubt meant to prompt a comparison between Jesus and the Passover lamb in their minds. Reading about the first Passover (Exodus 12:1-20) from a Christian perspective makes the similarity so clear we wonder how they could have missed it. In fact several hundred Old Testament Prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus and many of these came in the last week of His earthly life during the two events we’ll be celebrating in the next few days, Passover for Israel and Palm Sunday for the Church.

For Christ, Our Passover Lamb, Has Been Sacrificed … 1 Cor. 5:7

By now the Passover story should be familiar to us.  The final showdown between God and Pharaoh was coming. Through 9 plagues God sent to demonstrate His power over the pagan gods of Egypt, Pharoah had remained just as obstinate as God had predicted. The 10th plague, the death of all the firstborn, would break Pharoah’s will and free the Israelites from their bondage, but first they had to be protected from the plague.

On the 10th day of the 1st month God had them select a male lamb for each household and inspect it for 3 days to be sure it had no blemish or defect. Then it was slaughtered, and its blood was applied to the door posts of their homes. That night, behind closed doors in their own house, each family ate the lamb quickly with some bitter herbs and unleavened bread,  not venturing outside.  At midnight the destroying angel came through Egypt and took the life of the first born of every family, except for those who had covered their door posts with lamb’s blood (Exodus 12:1-13, 21-23, 28-30).

The next morning the Israelites were released from their bondage and given the wealth of Egypt, beginning their journey to the Promised Land with God in their midst. They weren’t spared because they were Jewish, or because they had lamb for dinner, but because they applied the lamb’s blood to their door posts believing that it would protect them. They were saved through faith by the blood of the lamb.

Just as the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, we are slaves in this world, held in bondage to sin. On that first Palm Sunday, the 10th of the 1st month, our Passover Lamb was selected by allowing Himself to be proclaimed as Israel’s King for the first and only time in His life. When the Pharisees told him to rebuke His disciples for doing so, He said if they kept silent the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:39-40).  This was the day ordained in history for His official appearance as their Messiah.

For the next 3 days He was subjected to the most intense questioning of His entire ministry lest there be any defects found in His words or deeds. Then  on the 14th He was crucified, releasing us from our bondage to sin, and qualifying us to receive the wealth of His Kingdom.  We are saved through faith by the blood of the Lamb.  But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The Son of Man Wept, The Son of God Warned

As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in from every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone upon another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).

The prophet Daniel had laid out the schedule for them over 500 years earlier. From the time the Jews were given permission to rebuild Jerusalem after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians, to the coming of the Messiah, there would be 69 periods of 7 years each, or 483 years (Daniel 9:25). History tells us that this permission was given to Nehemiah by the Persian ruler Artaxerxes Longimonus in March of 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-9). The Sunday when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to the shouts of Psalm 118:25-26 was exactly 483 years later, but by then most of the Jewish leadership no longer took the Bible literally and the validity of predictive prophecy was being denied.

Regardless of their opinion, the Lord held them accountable for knowing when He would visit.  Given that hundreds of additional prophecies of His coming  had already been fulfilled in their midst, we can see His point.  Remember, they were all fulfilled in the span of one lifetime, the one in which He came. There are hundreds more prophecies relating to His Second Coming, and again all will be fulfilled within the span of one lifetime, the one in which He comes (Matt 24:34).  And just as it was then, our leaders no longer take the Bible literally and the validity of predictive prophecy is again being denied.  But regardless of their opinion, the Lord will hold the people of our day  accountable to “recognize the time of God’s coming” just like He did back then.

Who Was That Man?

A few days ago I got an email from someone I assume to be Jewish claiming that Jesus didn’t meet a single requirement to be Israel’s Messiah. I’ve received a number of these over the years and have come to realize they think this way because Israel was looking for a Messiah to fulfill what we know as second coming prophecies.  They wanted the Lion of Judah, a powerful warrior king like David, who could throw off the Roman yoke and restore Israel’s kingdom, because that’s what they thought they needed.   They didn’t think they needed a Savior, so when they got the Lamb of God who came to take away their sins they didn’t recognize Him.

Today, because of a similar denial of the validity of prophecy, much of the world is looking for some version of the Lamb of God.  They want a gentle teacher who will accept us all and promise to show us the way to peace and plenty.  They won’t think they need a conqueror, so when the Lion of Judah comes to utterly destroy His enemies and restore God’s Kingdom, they won’t recognize Him (Matt. 24:30).  Like the man said, “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 03-23-13665661_453117764726851_799958152_o

Reblogged from http://gracethrufaith.com/selah/holidays-and-holy-days/passover-and-palm-sunday/

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Daily Prayer For March 24th

palm sunday

Hi, Friends, Here is the morning prayer…

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this day…this day we call Palm Sunday…the day that starts the week where we remember your death and all you suffered…we can visualize the heavy cross you carried and the horrific brutality you endured…but all of that paled in comparison to the weight you felt from our sins and the separation it caused from your Heavenly Father.

Lord, we ask for all who are reading this… may the meaning of this week speak to them as never before. You tell us in your word that we should share in your suffering and many here are doing that. They are bearing their own personal crosses and it can be hard… many grow weary and tired and at times it feels like they are falling under the heavy weight of their burdens… many people wonder where you are in the midst of their suffering, but you are right beside them. Seeing each tear…hearing each cry… reaching out with outstretched arms and nail pierced hands…saying “I know and understand”… you are there to help empower us to overcome with your strength and might! Just as Jesus knew the victory that was coming after all He endured, may each one praying, remember that suffering lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

You died to set us free…to give us hope…to give us life everlasting, if we only believe! Help us to remember that our reward is not just joy and happiness after grief and trials have ended…but our reward is YOU!!

You don’t want to just protect us or bless us, but you want to give us more of you. You are our great reward. May that fill each one of us with peace and comfort, Lord. Please go before us this day and stir within us a desire for you, like we’ve never known. Change us and mold us and help us to see ourselves and our lives, through your eyes.

May this week be a time of reflection for us…may we view our pain, infirmities, hardships and losses in the light of all that Jesus went through. May we think about your great love for us and your incredible sacrifice. We thank you that as you entered the city to great fanfare on that first Palm Sunday, there is coming a day when you are going to triumphantly enter our world again, with even greater fanfare, because every eye will behold you and your resurrected glory. You are so worthy to be praised our Lord, Savior, and King! We thank you that we have a Savior, in whose name we can pray, Amen.

Blessings be upon you all!

In His love,
Debbie

March 24, 2013

(c) Debbie Kay, Hope For The Broken Heart

Reblogged from http://hopeforthebrokenhearted.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/daily-prayer-for-march-24th/

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Every Calvary Step Was Love

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Today is Palm Sunday, and so begins our journey with Jesus from Jerusalem’s gate to Golgotha’s cross to Easter’s triumph.

In this Holy Week, we begin with “Hosanna,” walk solemnly toward “Crucify him,” and finish elatedly with, “He is risen!”

Here we see Jesus’s love for us in every intentional step. In one sense, every step he ever took was for us. He was born to die. He came to give his life. His public ministry was ever a steady drumbeat toward Calvary. But in his last week, the quickly moving story begins to run in slow motion. Roughly half the Gospel accounts are dedicated to chronically these final days.

Five years ago, John Piper wrote a memorable Holy Week meditation on Jesus’s intentionality and intensity. As intentional as were his steps toward death, so intense was his love for us.

If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”

And so to feel more deeply the love of Jesus for us, it helps to see more clearly how intentional he was in doing it. Here are the five ways Piper mentions for seeing Jesus’s intentionality in dying for us.

1) Jesus himself made choices precisely to fulfill the Scriptures.

“Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52–54)

“I could escape this misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:54)

2) Jesus repeatedly expressed his commitment to go to Jerusalem — into the very jaws of the lion.

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:32–34)

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)

3) Jesus spoke of his suffering in the words of Isaiah.

“I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)

4) Jesus handled the injustice of it all by trusting his Father.

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

5) Jesus was under no constraint, but acted completely voluntarily.

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17–18)

Piper concludes,

When John says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16), we should feel the intensity of his love for us to the degree that we see his intentionality to suffer and die. I pray that you will feel it profoundly. (The Intensity of Christ’s Love and the Intentionality of His Death”)

May his love for you be evident in every intentional step we track this Holy Week.

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by David Mathis | March 24, 2013 

Reblogged from http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/every-calvary-step-was-love


The readings begin today for the new ebook Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week from John Piper. Download it for free in multiple formats here, and join with us in journeying with Jesus.


John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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