For God’s Sake, Let Us Speak! Testify! Witness! Let us Be Holy! For the Lord Our God is Holy. Leviticus 19:1-4

Leviticus 19:1-4 Common English Bible

Living as holy people

19 The Lord said to Moses, Say to the whole community of the Israelites: You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must keep my sabbaths; I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves; I am the Lord your God.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Though it is often ridiculed by those that have not read it, or misunderstood by those who do not have spiritual discernment, the fourth book of the Torah, Leviticus, is a book that directly concentrates its readers upon holiness – the 100% ultimate holiness of God and the need for the nation of Israel to be holy. 

“You shall be holy,”  God informed His chosen nation through Moses.

“You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

From start to finish, Leviticus is a book that points the faithful to Christ.

He is pictured in the perfect Law of Moses in many ways, and by careful reading and studying its words, He can be identified in the various sacrificial offerings.

The person and work of Christ can also be seen in the holy articles of the Tabernacle, the function of the priesthood, and the feasts of the Lord.

The book of Leviticus points to Christ in many ways – for His “One and Done” atoning sacrifice of his own blood alone forever takes away the sin of the world.

Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity, Who was fully and finally, ultimately revealed to the world through the birth, life, death, and Resurrection, Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is undeniably the eternal Son of God, Who did tabernacle among us, for a time and a season while He walked and talked and who had taught, healed and ministered unto the ancient people of the early first century Israel.

He is the perfect Word of God made flesh, through Whom the world was made and in Whom is life eternal, through which darkness and death have no power.

He is the eternal Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.

And He is the sinless Son of Man, Who was sent by His Father to live among us, to set the example of life, set aside His heavenly glory to become like one of us.

Jesus is the Second Person of the immortal, invisible, almighty, HOLY God.

He is the only Member of the Holy Trinity Who was clothed in human flesh, so sinful men and women might be saved by grace – through faith in His sacrificial work at Calvary.

Throughout the Hebrew [Old] Testament, God gradually revealed His character, His attributes, His name, His miraculous redemptive plan for mankind, through the writings of specifically anointed holy men of God, many prophetic voices.

But in these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through Whom also He made the world.

However, hidden deep within the pages of the Hebrew [Old] Testament, are many concealed references to Christ Jesus.

For those with eyes to see and a teachable spirit, we discover many ‘types’ and pictures of His person, His mission, His atoning work, and His supernatural life.

Numerous prophecies give details of His coming to earth as a newborn babe in a manger in Bethlehem, His ministry on earth, His sacrificial death, His glorious Resurrection, His ultimate victory over sin, over death and ultimately, Satan.

And Scripture records His coming millennial rule as King of kings and Lord of lords, for He is God’s appointed Messiah of Israel, He is the Savior of the world.

Moses was one such prophetic voice in Scripture, and he was inspired by God to write the book of Leviticus.

He was the man that God chose to become the first great leader of His people.

He was God’s anointed mouthpiece unto Pharaoh and the one who finally led millions of God’s redeemed people out of Egypt, on that first Passover night.

It was Moses through whom the Law was first written down and given to God’s chosen nation, and it was Moses who led, guided, directed, and instructed His people how to live as God’s own people, if they were to receive God’s blessings.

It was Moses who warned them what would happen if they disobeyed the Lord’s command and Moses was instructed by God to

“Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.'”

Israel was to be set apart from the gentile nations.

They were to be a separated nation, a covenanted people, an atypical race that was holy to the Lord.

They were to be God’s unique nation and a people for His own possession.

They were chosen out of all the people groups who live on the face of the earth, to have a holy relationship with the one and only, holy God.

Israel was to be a holy people unto the Lord their God.

They were to be sanctified unto the Lord – a peculiar people unto Himself.

They were to be an example of a nation that was consecrated to God.

Israel was to be God’s earthly light to the pagan nations and an example of a holy community, who honored the Lord.

They had seen God move before them as pillars of fire and smoke and they had witnessed the mighty miracles that decimated their proud Egyptian overlords.

They had made a covenant with the Lord and had promised to do all that the Lord had commanded – which is why God said to Moses, 

“speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.'”

The call to holiness still stands for Christians in this epoch of the grace of God.

Like Israel, we are also instructed to be obedient children who are to be holy unto the Lord.

Like them, we are not to be conformed to the lusts of the flesh and pride of life.

Like Israel we are also instructed to be holy ourselves also in all of our behaviors – because as it was covenanted and written then and is still covenanted, written for us today, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

As God’s “Holy” People in the World Today?

Proverbs 27:17-19 Common English Bible

17 As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens a friend.
18 Those who tend a fig tree will eat its fruit,
    and those who look after their master will be honored.
19 As water reflects the face,
    so the heart reflects one person to another.

When God created us, He created us in His image.

Because we are, we should reflect every aspect of who He is because His image in stamped and engraved in us.

In Leviticus 19:2 God instructs Moses to tell the Children of Israel to be holy because God is holy.

That applies to us today as well.

Our words should be holy.

Our actions should be holy.

Our thoughts should be holy.

The way we live should be holy.

Other characteristics of God includes: merciful, forgiving, grace, truthful, keeps his promises, righteous, just, faithful, and unconditional and unfailing love.

As beings created in our Creator’s image, we should reflect these attributes in our everyday lives.

Colossians 3:10 says, “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

And in Ephesians 4:24, Paul wrote, “And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

In Proverbs 27:19, Solomon wrote, “As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.”

Whatever is living in and within our hearts is what is reflected in our lives.

Is our heart reflecting the holiness of God and His attributes/characteristics?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God, my Heavenly Father, thank You for the uncountable, invaluable lessons that Your Church can learn through the history of Israel and for the many types and pictures of Jesus that are hidden within the sacred pages of Scripture. Thank You that like Israel, I have also been called to be holy, because You are holy. It is humbling to realize that as part of Christ’s Body, we have also been chosen, in Him, to be kings and priests unto God – to be a chosen people, who tell the world that Jesus died for their sin and rose again, so that by faith in Him we may be holy, as He is holy. Thank You that by faith in Christ, I have been called to be Your very own, and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of Him Who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light. May I live and work from this day forward, to be more like Jesus, and to live a holy life that is separated from this fallen world system. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Becoming More Like Christ; Comfort and Encourage: God Shows Through Our Experiences. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Amplified Bible

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we [a]experience. And our [b]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Come! Listen! Let Me Tell You What My Savior Has Done For Me.
Psalm 66:16-20 The Message

16-20 All believers, come here and listen,
    let me tell you what God did for me.
I called out to him with my mouth,
    my tongue shaped the sounds of music.
If I had been cozy with evil,
    the Lord would never have listened.
But he most surely did listen,
    he came on the double when he heard my prayer.
Blessed be God: he didn’t turn a deaf ear,
    he stayed with me, loyal in his love.

The writer of Psalm 66  wants to tell us his “GOD story” when he says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

The psalmist does not want to talk about his accomplishments or achievements.

The Psalmist wants to talk about what God has done for him throughout his life.

His life had not been easy.

He had been tested and refined like silver.

He had experienced many burdens.

But through it all God had been with him and by listening to his cries for help,

God had led him, guided him, directed him to “a place of abundance.”

Like the Psalmist, each and every one of us has a strikingly similar story to tell.

All of us can bear great witness to the weight of burdens we have had to carry.

All of us can testify to hardships in our lives—but also to the one irrefutable fact that God, and God alone, has always been there and always acted on our behalf.

We must make sure we tell our story.

We must make sure you tell about God’s presence in our life and about his amazing grace in the midst of our much diverse and various degrees of trials.

We must wake sure we tell, re-tell it to our children and our grandchildren.

Someone once said to me,

“If something were to ever happen to you, I am sure I would not know anything about any legitimate kind of relationship to God or His Son or the Holy Spirit.”

Don’t let that happen to you.

Start contemplating your story.

Start writing or telling your story today!

A story which begins with (Song by Bill & Gloria Gaither and Ladye Love Smith)

Days are filled with sorrow
Days are filled with sorrow and care
Hearts are lonely and drear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Troubled soul, the Savior can see
Every heartache and tear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

and ends with ….

A repetition of this guided affirmation of faith in our Savior Jesus Christ ….

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Let Us Now Lift Up Our Hearts Unto Calvary Because Jesus is Very Near

I want us to imagine that we are each standing at the end of a long hallway.

The hallway represents the entirety of our life so far on earth.

To begin with, look down to your feet, where you are standing is todays date; all the way down at the far distant other end of the hallway is the day of your birth.

Now, just begin walking – please do not run, skip or jog or sprint or fast walk, Neither get on your skateboards, roller blades or roller skates or your bicycles.

Leave your car keys, your truck keys, your mini-van, your hybrid or EV car keys.

You are not driving anywhere – you are only and just walking with Savior Jesus.

Go outside of self and stretch your legs a bit, start working that heart muscle.

As you begin walking down the hallway heading back in your life, I want you to take notice of all of the notice various and diverse sizes of pictures on the wall.

These pictures are all of the “events” from your life; it’s like a photo album of your entire life which someone has taken the time to paint or print and hang.

Some are large framed pictures; they are the most significant experiences you have had so far.

Some are good; some are bad; some are happy; some are sad.

As you steadily walk down this hallway of your life, I want you to take a long and considered look at the content and context of all of these large pictures.

What significant events from your life do you see that stand out?

Is there a wedding?

The successful purchase of your first home?

The Birth of your first child?

Are there family vacations or sporting events pictured on the walls?

Is there an achievement like a high school or college diploma or an award?

Is there a significant milestone depicted – high professional achievements?

Is there a significant milestone depicted – your long awaited retirement?

Are there spiritual experiences like your coming to faith in Christ or a time God miraculously entered into your sub-conscience, especially touched your life?

Are there significantly painful experiences—a divorce, the death of someone you really loved, a failure, a betrayal, abuse, alcoholism, a difficult to care for child which leads to a hardcore challenging, difficult marriage, a significantly threatening health diagnosis, an over abundance of “no money,” an addiction?

Take some time now to walk beyond all of that, walk all the way to the end of this hallway of your, notice “self-portraits” in all these significant experiences in your life… contemplate, take notice of all the ones named “my aloneness.”


As I pray, for you like the Psalmist did, I plead with you to realize that all these experiences have actually shaped who you are today, whether you like it or not.

I pray for you to realize there is no time for self-blame, or blame God, He didn’t cause all of these hard things to happen, but did allow them to happen to you.

What GOD wants to do with us, within us, is to use all of these experiences–Good and Bad–to grow us spiritually and mold us into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus and to shape us for the unique purposes He has for our lives.

His intent is not to cause us any harm (1 John 4:7-12 The Message)

God Is Love

7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

By the unmeasurable enormity of this love He expressed through Calvary,

He does not intend nor want even one of our life experiences to be wasted.

With a very God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit specific long term intention:

Romans 8:28-30 Amplified Bible

28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.  30 And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity].

God takes every single one of our life experiences—whether positive or painful, intentional or accidental, known or unknown, avoided or not, caused by you or by someone else, to shape all His Children for His unique calling in their lives.

Romans 8:28-30 may be, for some of us, the most personal verses in the Bible:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Your life experience and my own are one of the most overlooked ways that God uses to mold, shape, and transform us for the way He wants each of us to serve Him and others in this world, to edify, that is, to build up, His Kingdom alone.

The Bible says that God is working in every experience you have—our mistakes, our decisions, our successes and failures, our education or lack thereof, all of our different jobs, relationships, our lack of relationships, our unemployment, our disabilities, our marriages, our health issues, our finances—you name it.

God is working in every single thing in our lives—even in and through our own continued and continuous bent to our sins–to accomplish His purpose for you.

What Is The “God Specific” Purpose For Which God Is Even Now Working In Every Single Thing In Our life?

He is always working for the good in our lives.

Reverend Rick Warren puts it this way:

God can take the mess in our lives and bring a message out of it.

He can take the tests in our lives and create a testimony out of it.

He can take any crisis and show all of our Savior Jesus Christ through them.

GOD does not, never will, waste any experience any one of His Children have.

Moses murdered a man and had to flee into the wilderness between Egypt and Israel to save his life.

Some 40 years later God came to him in the vision of a burning bush and said, Moses, I have chosen you to go back down to Egypt to set my people free from slavery and guide and lead them through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

Moses knew the wilderness; he had lived there, learned its ways for 40 years.

Likewise, as Moses did, that through God, not our wits, God wants to use the wildernesses of our lives to help guide others, to find God’s way for their lives.

Joseph, his father Jacob’s favorite, was conspired against, thrown down a well and eventually sold to merchants into slavery by his hyper jealous brothers.

He ended up a slave and a prisoner in Egypt, but God gifted him and made a way for him to become the Prime Minister of Egypt and second only to the Pharaoh.

When famine threatened the very existence of God’s people, God used Joseph to plant, grow, harvest, store, manage the supply the grain that His people needed.

And when his brothers came to him starving, Joseph said to them: You intended to harm me, but God long intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the housing, settling and feeding, ultimately the saving of many lives.

But notice carefully God does not just do this for everybody.

God works His good for those who love Him and follow His plan.

The promise of Romans 8:28 is not for everybody.

God does not work His good in our lives when we don’t love Him or we turn our backs on Him.

It’s not that God turns His back on those who don’t follow His plan for their lives – God loves everybody, but He cannot help and use those who close their hearts, souls, minds, strengths and lives to Him and His plan for their lives.

One of the most common ways God uses our life experiences for good is to help others – to empathize, give comfort and encouragement while God works.

God can and does take each and everyone of our experiences, especially the painful ones, and turns them around, transforming them in a positive way.

Who better to help someone who is struggling than another person who has gone through the same struggle?

2 Corinthians 1:4 says, God, through Christ at Calvary, comforts and encourages us in all of our troubles so we can then, in turn, comfort and encourage others.

From Calvary then, when others are troubled, we will be able to reciprocate, to give them the same comfort and encouragement from Calvary God has given us.

Our troubles can become the very ministry God will use to help other people.

That uniquely painful experience in your life that you keep locked in the inner recesses of your soul could become your singularly unique, greatest ministry.

God has used the failures and hurtful experiences of my own life more than anything else to mold, shape and transform me exclusively for His purposes.

Those bad life experiences of my have helped me grow uniquely, spiritually.

Truthfully, in the good and happy times of my life, I have usually just coasted spiritually, taking God’s grace for granted that He will always, forever be there.

I have to see, from the long shadow extending outward from Calvary, and into eternity, God does not want me to allow my experiences to count for nothing.

I have to become the better person, through Christ, God needs me to become.

Now, it is my relationship with God which continues to keep me looking more forward versus more backwards, instead, a day at a time – Sweet Savior Jesus.

He was my Best Forever friend, much better than a brother I never had.

I was so “at ease, more comforted, more encouraged” with my Sweet Savior Jesus, stark comparison to the “disease of sin” I was struggling to recover from.

He truly brought wholeness to my life, an indescribable joy and immeasurable degrees of comfort that will always and forever be etched deep in my memory.

In His time on earth; Jesus had completed God’s mission for His life; and there is no doubt God touched uncountable many lives through him.

Through Calvary, by my walk to Calvary, My Sweet Savior Jesus helped me to see how life is supposed to be lived—in tune with my GOD and the Holy Spirit.

He helped me to find God and my family, the church to which my wife and I go.

On more than one occasion, the Bible says that God chooses to use weaker vessels to do His work so that He may get the glory.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul responds: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

God can help people more through their weakness than we can through our strengths.

That’s why we need each other; it’s why we need the supportive fellowship of the church.

You can learn from others who have gone or who are going through the same struggles you are.

Perfection, if we could achieve it, would help nobody.

What experiences have we had to confront in our own lives which GOD could use to help comfort and encourage others?

“I Thirst” and then “It is Finished”

John 19:28-30 Amplified Bible

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said in fulfillment of the Scripture, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of [a]sour wine was placed there; so they put a sponge soaked in the sour wine on [a branch of] hyssop and held it to His mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] [b]gave up His spirit.

At Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, At Calvary, the death of the perfect Son of God was the darkest moment in world history, but look back at the portraits in the length and breadth and width of your hallway at how God used Jesus’ death.

Jesus’ death atoned for every single one our sins and everybody else’s sins and made for each of us an unobstructed way back to God, into heaven when we die.

Out of Christ’s crucifixion, God brought to all mankind the ultimate comfort and encouragement – God brought salvation for all who trust and follow Jesus.

This is our hope in Jesus Christ!

On that first Easter Sunday two millennia ago, God brought life out of death.

Jesus Christ died, three days later he arose from the dead and is now a living presence among us right now— forgiving us, delivering us, shaping us, guiding us, loving us, living in and among us and wanting to use us for His purposes.

God can use all your life experiences, good and bad, to shape you for His unique calling in your life—if forego any resistance to any, all change, if we let Him.

Hebrews 3:12-16 Amplified Bible

The Peril of Unbelief

12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving [a]heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God. 13 But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. 14 For we [believers] have become partakers of Christ [sharing in all that the Messiah has for us], if only we hold firm our newborn confidence [which originally led us to Him] until the end, 15 while it is said,

“Today [while there is still opportunity] if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your heart, as when they provoked Me [in the rebellion in the desert at Meribah].”

16 For who were they who heard and yet provoked Him [with rebellious acts]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

“Today, while there is still opportunity, if we WILL hear His voice …”

“Do not harden your hearts again and again, with further acts of open rebellion …”

God’s Call and Invitation to each and everyone of us through Mount Calvary:

God has 3 callings in the lives of each and everyone of His Children:

(1) He calls you to salvation and a new life in Jesus Christ;

(2) He calls you to be an active part of His church;

(3) He calls you to serve Him and comfort and encourage others in the unique way He has gifted and shaped you.

Encouraging one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ.

Comforting one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ.

We live in a world corrupted by unbelief, sin, and, at times, persecution.

How can we stay firm in our faith?

Scripture gives us this recipe:

Comfort, Love, Encourage, and Daily Pray for one another.

In God’s grace, the Holy Spirit uses these acts of mutual and shared comfort, care and encouragement to guide us, see us, through the most trying of times.

When fellow believers are struggling, be quick to extend your helpful, sharing hand.

Be graceful and be generous.

Be gentle and be merciful as unto the Lord.

Be comforting and be encouraging.

Offer words of comfort and prayer, as well as tangible acts of help, encourage people around you, and be surprised by how much you are encouraged yourself!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Almighty God and my Everlasting Father, Lord of my life, I offer back my life to You. Everything I’ve been through, Lord, use it for Your glory. Jesus, I give You my all. In your name I pray and commit myself to Your continuing work in this world. Lead, Guide and Direct my Steps back towards Calvary from whence comes my Savior. That I may be a comfort as I was comforted, I may be an encourager as I was encouraged. For indeed, there is no other name under heaven through which mankind is saved.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

When We Feel Stuck, When We Are Not At All Convinced We Can Still Make a Difference With Our Life. John 21:15-19

John 21:15-19 Amplified Bible

The Love Motivation

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [a]love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16  Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] [b]love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Our Times Are in His Hand

18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the [c]kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

(Psalm 144:4) Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a shadow that passes away.

Perhaps there exists something so natural to us we take it too much for granted.

Perhaps that something which so very natural to us is our time alive, our time allotted to us by God to simply breathing and moving and living on this earth.

Do we take the time to ponder exactly how Time is so precious — time with our families, children, parents, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ – With God?

How do we invest our time?

When do we invest our time?

Where do we invest our time?

With whom do we invest our time?

Why do we invest our time with whomever we invest our times?

You know, when it comes right down to it, getting back to the basics of life, our time with God and each other is really more valuable than the money we invest.

Once the present time and its opportunities are gone, they can’t be reclaimed.

So as we begin each day, as we look at the sunshine through the rain, perhaps contemplate “time management” “thought management,” ask God we will be able to “know His time,” to see it for what it is, to use it for its greatest good.

Irretrievably so, time – God’s Time” passes quickly, like the shadows of early evening, it’s not long before it is absorbed into the gathering darkness of night.

When We Feel “Forever Stuck” In The Moment?

From time to time, while in the process of drafting a new devotional, I find myself in a deep mental conundrum – my mind and my spirit seem to go blank.

The kind of blankness I so desperately want to escape, but as every cliched movie villain always says, “escape is futile, resistance to change is futile”

Sometimes the same conundrum affects me on an emotional level, even spiritually – what difference is anything I write about a particular subject I believe the Holy Spirit provides, going to make in anyone I truly care about?

I feel a certain way and don’t want to, but the villain tells me yet again, escape is futile – In other words, I’m feeling stuck in my moment- or so I tell myself.

The first kind of hindrance is writer’s block, something every author eventually faces during his or her artistic pursuits.

Then there’s the kind of barrier we can all relate to, where we’re looking for a change on an emotional or spiritual level, but find ourselves confused, maybe even miserable – we are longing for answers but find none – That’s a life block.

We encounter them in our relationship with God, with each other.

We find them on the job and at home and on vacations.

We find them in ourselves and of ourselves.

In other words, we contend with a seemingly insurmountable problem; but only to us, the problem is not seemingly, but definitely perceived as insurmountable.

We’re stuck in a moment of time, or in a memory, or so we will take great pains to try to sell it that way to ourselves.

Escape is futile, we keep talking to ourselves and therefore we come to believe.

Yet, the reality is, deep down, we know the movie villain is 100% exaggerating.

For the dramatic effect and for their audiences, they will always exaggerate.

There is a way through the barrier, a way to get unstuck, a way back to writing those stories, transforming perspectives, having the right perspective of God.

Though the frustration and confusion may be too deep, ceaseless, unrelenting, too aggravating, too anger provoking, the solution is simple and two-fold.

First, take a break; not in the sense of giving up, but in the sense of ending your striving.

There’s only so much we can control in our lives.

The sooner we realize this, the more peace we will find.

After you take a break, either wait or look for inspiration.

Sometimes finishing a devotional requires that I stop writing for ten minutes so that I can go for a walk or have a quick moment to wander around my home.

Sometimes finishing a devotional requires me to temporarily set it aside, to pray to God and then as God will’s it, come back after a day or longer.

That time off from the writing effort is useful for conjuring up, discerning new ideas, letting the Holy Spirit work and gaining insight from God or other people.

Creating distance from the problem at hand often helps with developing a more objective perspective.

The same applies when we’re navigating relational conflict, battling addiction, battling mental health issues, family issues or just trying to discern God’s will.

After we take a break from all the struggles of doing things our own way, we can find “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” inspiration for tackling our circumstances.

Proverbs 16:1-4 Amplified Bible

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions],
But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].

[a]Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him],
And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].

The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,

Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.

Inspiration comes only through our connection to God, sometimes through people, sometimes through nature, and sometimes through so much more.

Inspiration also finds us through God’s Word, the wisdom of the Cross, and a visit from Jesus helping us see with a perspective that doesn’t come naturally.

Stuck in His Guilt, Peter is Restored to Discipleship

John 21:18-19 Amplified Bible

Our Times Are in His Hand

18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the [a]kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”

On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter had instantly revoked his discipleship.

Under threat of arrest and exposure and potential death sentence, by those in the courtyard he had denied three times that he was a follower of Jesus – each time he publicly proclaimed his denials more desperate than the previous one.

Luke 22:54-62 Amplified Bible

Peter’s Denials

54 Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] [a]high priest. And Peter was following at a [safe] distance. 55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 57 But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him!” 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, “This man was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him,  “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

Again, to emphasis, the power of the moment, its deep significance, when he realized what he had done, he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75).

In that moment frozen forever in time, He was indescribably overwhelmed by incalculable shame and immeasurable guilt.

Luke 24:36-43 Amplified Bible

Other Appearances

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus Himself [suddenly] stood among them and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said, “Why are you troubled, and why are doubts rising in your hearts? 39 Look at [the marks in] My hands and My feet, [and see] that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” 40 After saying this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still did not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate it in front of them.

Even as Peter with the other disciples in the Upper Room, heard the words from the resurrected Jesus – “Peace be To You,” the question – “why are you troubled and why are doubts rising in your hearts,” having been offered the opportunity to look at the marks in His hands and feet, to even touch them for his own self,

We can say that Peter’s heart, despite all of the irrefutable evidence offered by the resurrected Jesus to the contrary, Peter kept significant doubts of himself.

He looked directly into his Messiah’s eyes when he betrayed Him and wept bitterly and inconsolably – only an exchange of words with eye to eye contact would make any significant and lasting difference which did not happen here.

Such a moment required utmost discretion couples with the utmost presence of God in Christ and the utmost intimacy and the utmost compassion, forgiveness.

Jesus comes to the lakeshore.

After breakfast, Jesus and Peter together, go much further down the beach.

Jesus quietly looked into Peter’s eyes and quietly asked Peter a few questions.

But the questions were not “What were you thinking?” “Why did you abandon me when I needed you?” or “Why didn’t you have the guts to stick up for me?”

It was simply “Do you love me?”

Jesus had died on the cross for Peter’s sins.

What Jesus wanted to know now was only whether or not Peter still loved him.

Peter’s sins were in the past; Peter’s expression of love would shape his future.

When Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,”

Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death and the Lord of life, graciously invited him to take up his discipleship again and forgiven, follow him into the future.

Doing the same with us, Jesus is astonishingly gracious.

He doesn’t bring up our past sins, betrayals, or infidelities.

He simply wants to know if we love him.

He simply wants to know, to hear He can still make a difference in Peter’s life.

He simply wants to hear Peter acknowledge he still believed in himself, in his ability to move through and beyond his transgressions, to make a difference in the lives he will come to engage with until his own death at some future point.

Did Peter believe, though still being stuck in the brutality of his mistakes, he could still make a significant difference, significant impact in God’s kingdom?

Forward through the Ages for Christ’s sake – for that makes all the difference.

Whatever horrendous mess you might be stuck in now, are you seeking Jesus?

Forward in His Forgiveness, Forward through the Ages,

Do you Still love Him as He still loves you?

Will you still serve Him as He first Served you (Mark 10:35-45, Luke 19:9-10)?

Micah 6:6-8 Amplified Bible

What God Requires of Man

With what shall I come before the Lord [to honor Him]
And bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?

Will the Lord be delighted with thousands of rams,
Or with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),
And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?

He invites us to go out and serve him today!

Steadfast and Immovable Gracious and Compassionate In Him.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Eternal God, please give me the wisdom to use the time given me today to do what is best, right, good, and profitable for Your Kingdom. I want to better invest my time in what is truly enduring and redemptive and transformative, living in and loving out from the depths of resurrection, from the depths of your mercy and forgiveness for all my sins. Please help me use my time to influence and bless all those with whom I may interact with so that they too are brought closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Are The Disciples Asking Themselves: How Can We Know and Can We Trust God Will Keep Us in His Perfect Peace? John 20:19-23, Isaiah 26:1-4

John 20:19-23 Amplified Bible

Jesus among His Disciples

19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “[a]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

In those moments of the death and resurrection, behind those barred doors of the Upper Room, can we even begin to imagine those disciples’ state of mind?

Many of Jesus’ followers had scattered for fear of their lives, and his closest disciples were hiding behind closed doors in fear of the religious authorities.

Their much beloved Rabbi (“Teacher”) had been crucified and then buried.

They had walked with Him for three long years and witnessed much, they had believed in him as the Messiah (the “Anointed One”), their promised deliverer.

Now, “cast off” doubts came rushing in – had it all been “too good to be true”?

Sure, they had just heard Mary’s highly excited message that Jesus had risen.

Peter and John had run to see the now-empty tomb, but that wasn’t even close to being the same thing as what Mary had experienced – seeing “Jesus IS alive!”

Was Mary mistaken?

Was it all “wishful thinking?”

Standing at the tomb in the dark, in her indescribable, immeasurable grief, had she only imagined seeing Jesus, through tear stained eyes, in an empty garden?

Did she see only what her impossibly desperate state of mind needed, wanted, to see, that she might find the only means of coping with the unbelievability?

Had others taken the body?

And Mary could not “handle the gravity” nor implications of, that possibility?

Where was her Rabbi that believed in her when no one else had dared to believe?

Bad news can be so easily believable!

Good news can seem so easily unbelievable!

Crucified and buried men don’t roll away unmovable stones, walk out of graves!

Were they being asked to believe: “impossible” witness and testimony of Mary?

Jesus didn’t keep his disciples waiting long.

That evening, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’”

He stood before them, and then He spoke these words to them.

He showed them his wounds.

He greeted them with a familiar blessing, “Peace Be With You.”

Jesus gave them the peace and presence they had been missing.

And they were overjoyed.

Things had not been the way they were supposed to be, but now they were!

Today we too celebrate that God is with us!

God’s Peace is With Us!

Christ has risen!

He is alive, and he lives in us! Hallelujah!

Peace is possible!

But, how can we know such a magnitude of God’s Peace through Christ is real?

I cannot claim any similar experience as those disciples in the Upper Room.

I do not know if anyone outside of those disciples in the Upper Room can claim the Resurrected Jesus just appeared to them in their homes or anywhere else?

So we read the post resurrection texts from the Gospels of Luke and John and because I believe in the Word of God for His Children, I “accept” their efforts.

But still, there are the questions being asked by everyone of this moment such a sequence of events are wholly, miraculously unique to the Christian experience.

How about our giving God, through Christ Jesus the benefits, prayers of doubts?

How about our confidence in the Word of God regarding “God’s Perfect Peace?”

How about our confidence in ourselves such a magnitude of Peace is achievable?

You know, actually believing more in the promises of God than the promises of our enemies rust laden promises which we grow fat on, we obsessively feed on?

How Can We Know God Will Keep Us in Perfect Peace?

Isaiah 26:1-4 Amplified Bible

Song of Trust in God’s Protection

26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
He sets up salvation as walls and ramparts.

“Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter,
The one that [a]remains faithful and trustworthy.

“You will keep in [b]perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both [c]inclination and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

“Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner],
For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].

Peace is possible even in our stressful, troubled world.

In Isaiah 26:3, the Bible promises that God and God alone “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Here’s what it means to do that, so you can experience peace in any situation.

What Does ‘He Will Keep in Perfect Peace’ Mean?

Everyone who chooses to keep their minds steadfast because they trust in God can count on experiencing perfect peace while they do so, according to this verse.

That means you can enjoy a state of perfect peace as long as you focus your mind from beyond your circumstances to God, and trust him to help you no matter what.

As a result of choosing to trust God, you welcome God’s peace into your mind.

Some people chase after peace of mind from worldly achievements, such as through the wanton pursuit health and wealth and wellness.

Good circumstances may help you enjoy a temporary feeling of peace.

However, only God can actually provide complete and lasting peace.

God, who alone is perfect, is the only reliable source of peace.

Thankfully, God is willing to give that perfect peace to everyone who decides to trust him to provide it.

Trusting God involves being at peace with God through Jesus Christ since Jesus made it possible for all humanity to have relationships with God. 

Ephesians 2:14 says about Jesus: “For he himself is our peace” and Ephesians 2:17-18 points out that, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

When we have that close connection to God, we can experience peace even during the most challenging circumstances, because “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

John Gills Commentary puts it this way:

“this peace is true, real, and solid; in which sense the word “perfect” is used, in opposition to a false and imaginary one; and it will end in perfect peace in heaven: moreover, the word “perfect” is not in the Hebrew text, it is there “peace, peace”; which is doubled to denote the certainty of it, the enjoyment of it, and the constancy and continuance of it; and as expressive of all sorts of peace, which God grants unto his people, and keeps for them, and them in; as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace hereafter; and particularly it denotes the abundance of peace that believers will have in the kingdom of Christ in the latter day.”

What Is the Context and Background of Isaiah 26:3?

Isaiah 26:3 is part of a song of praise in which the biblical prophet Isaiah celebrates God’s trustworthiness to provide all that people need, including their ultimate need: salvation.

Isaiah sings about how Israel will be judged for their sins yet also restored by God, in his mercy. Isaiah predicts that God will save people from their sins.

Although people may sometimes be faithless toward God, God will always be faithful to his people, Isaiah emphasizes.

God is willing to redeem and restore, and his perfect peace enters the souls of all who decide they have worn out their trust in the world to just trust in Him.

So, Isaiah urges readers to trust in God.

He writes that it is “because they trust” in God that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast”.

The very next verse after Isaiah 26:3 emphasizes trust: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).

How Can We Be Sure That We Will Be Kept in Perfect Peace?

We can be sure that God will keep us in perfect peace.

The Holy Spirit will renew our minds whenever we ask for help doing what’s necessary to be at peace: focusing on God and trusting him. 

Romans 12:2 urges us all:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his pleasing and perfect will.”

The Spirit will help us access the perfect peace that God offers us.

Jesus promises in John 14:26-27:

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Peace is one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, you can count on the Spirit’s help to do what Isaiah 26:3 calls you to do: trust in God with a steadfast mind.

A powerful way to pursue peace is to pursue wonder because experiencing wonder expands your awareness of God’s work in your life, and that gives you the assurance you need to trust God and be at peace.

And it can be a wonderful way for anyone to seek the perfect peace that only comes from God.

Here’s how it works:

Visualize Jesus on the cross, visualize the specific things that are troubling you.

Then see yourself walking toward Jesus and laying those things down at the foot of the cross for him to take care of for you.

Through a brief prayer, ask Jesus for help with every specific thing you’ve left there for him.

Entrust it all to his care.

See yourself walk away afterward, with your mind and heart open to receiving peace from Jesus.

Prayer ushers peace into your heart and mind,

according to Philippians 4:6-7, which says:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Characteristics of God’s Perfect Peace

We can be confident that the perfect peace God gives us will last.

The temporary peace of mind we may find from good circumstances in our lives can relieve some stress and anxiety for a while.

However, the peace that God gives isn’t limited to certain times or tied to specific circumstances.

The perfect peace of God is much more than simply the absence of stress and anxiety; it’s a deep and abiding knowledge of being loved and cared for by God no matter what.

Although that peace is beyond our understanding, it will guard our hearts and minds, promises Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 139 describes how near God’s Spirit is to us at all times and in all places.

Verses 7-10 point out:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

We can be sure that we’re never out of the Holy Spirit’s reach.

So, we’re always able to access the perfect peace that God offers us through his Spirit.

After celebrating God’s sovereignty over all circumstances in life, the psalmist ends with a plea for God to renews his mind:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

That can be our prayer in any situation.

When we pray to experience God’s peace through a steadfast mind that is focused on him, we can count on that happening.

The Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith by renewing our minds, and peace will come to us as a result.

“Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 explains.

When you follow the advice of Isaiah 26:3, you can be confident that you’ll experience perfect peace from God.

Simply pray and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind whenever you need help centering your focus on God.

The Spirit may direct your attention to a wondrous sign of God’s work in your life, or simply quiet your mind.

In the process, perfect peace will flow into your soul!

Perhaps that is why John added the words of John 20:22 to this narrative:

John 20:22 Amplified Bible

22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Words of Purpose!

The first words Jesus spoke to his frightened disciples after his resurrection were words of reassurance: “Peace be with you!”

Then he quickly gave them a renewed sense of purpose: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

With those words, Jesus was passing his mission on to his followers.

Perhaps you’ve seen a relay race in which one runner comes up behind the next and passes off the baton.

That’s what Jesus was doing here.

He was passing off the baton to his followers and saying, “Go! Finish the race!

Carry on the mission I began!

I ran the first leg; now you run the next.

Just as God the Father sent me into the world, now I am sending you into the world! Go!” (See John 17:18.)

18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned  and sent them (believers) into the world.

Later, Jesus would remind his disciples again of that mission:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

With whom can you and I share this good news of God’s Ultimate Peace today?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear Lord, Help me daily to remember you are indeed Lord of my life. You have the right to rule all that I think, believe and do. When I allow my mind to run to places that destroy my peace, remind me these are unauthorized thoughts. You do not want me to dwell on thoughts and emotions that contribute to unreasonable fears. I know my mind will remain in perfect peace as I fix my thoughts on you; so Lord Jesus, let your peace rule in my heart. Remind me of the peace I have in the shadow of Your Cross and in your family, and I pray the Holy Spirit to teach me how to be thankful for those circumstances that cause me to run to you, focus on you, and abide in you. I never need to live with fearful, anxious thoughts. Truth is, you alone are in control!

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Jesus is Washing His Disciples Feet: Healing is in our Becoming a Servant. John 13:1-17

John 13:1-17 New King James Version

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And [a]supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you [b]know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Jesus came to model for us, show us what the Kingdom of Heaven is so we could become a dynamic, functional and living part of it.

Spending time reading the Gospels and studying and praying about who he was is a great way to remind ourselves that of all the rich and transformational ways Jesus is never what we expect but, in every way, is better than our expectations.

The story of Jesus redefining kingdom expectations, of kneeling to the floor and as host, gently handing his disciples feet so all could comfortably dine together is truly one of the most profound pictures of our Savior’s heart of love for us!

Jesus, like His Father in Heaven, cared so very much about the minutest details of his followers’ lives!

He was willing to completely surrender himself to the moment His Father set aside, to move into his destiny, to not shy away from God’s plan, get messy, to reach, teach, and show undeserved compassion to his ragtag group of disciples.

This is still true today!

Jesus cares about even the most minute details of your life and still come to us, still willing to model, set the example get messy to show you that you are loved.

None of your fears are too small, too inconsequential, needs much too silly, or stresses too insignificant or too great that God does not care about them all.

He cares about it all… even our stinky feet!

Jesus’ actions in this passage set an example of what it means to imitate him with our lives.

We are called to be more and more like Jesus every day, without exception, the servant of others, selflessly to live with humility, and love in every situation.

Christ-Followers are called to a selfless life as servant, conduct themselves in a very radical counter-cultural fashion – in unity, healing, instead of dividing.

Let’s learn more about what we can learn from the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at Passover.

Where Does the Bible Talk about Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet?

The story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet is recorded in John 13:1-17.

This event occurred in the upper room during the Last Supper.

In the biblical account, we read that when Jesus’ disciples arrived at a special gathering Jesus took the role of the ultimate servant of the house and humbly surrendered to His Father’s will and began washing each of his disciples’ feet.

This gathering, this time of communion, of the breaking and sharing of the bread, fruit of the vine, would later come to be known as the Last Supper.

It was the last time Jesus and his disciples broke bread together before his death on the cross.

It was during this Passover meal that Rabbi Jesus served as host, took the first communion with the disciples and also quietly identified Judas as his betrayer.

The act of feet washing was a necessary custom during this time period when gathering to have a communal meal.

The men would have come in with their feet dust-covered and dirty from their walking the undoubtedly, the decidedly unhygienic sun baked Roman roads.

Cleaning of the feet would have been necessary because the group would have likely been reclining together at a low table and dirty feet would not be the least bit welcomed so close to their food.

It was the servant of a household’s job to wash the feet of incoming guests.

Why Did Jesus Do This and What Was the Significance of Washing Their Feet?

In the Old Testament, priests performed and received ceremonial foot washings before they entered the temple for worship.

Foot washing was a serious matter: a basin for foot washing would have been placed between the Tent of Meeting and the altar so Aaron and his sons could wash before entering the Tent of Meeting, “Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die” (Exodus 30:20).

Disregarding the ritual cleansing meant death to a priest.

In John 13:4-5, Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” 

Jesus has placed the basin between the disciples and the altar, His cross.

Through the witness of His death and the testimony of His resurrection, Jesus makes holy all who do come to the cross through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through Christ’s atoning work on the cross the disciples and all believers are made holy and righteous before God and then cleansed of their sin and set apart by GOD for service in His body, the Church, a holy priesthood of believers.

Jesus set himself aside, washes his disciples’ feet to purify and cleanse them for their service to God: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8).

Jesus, knowing his coming destiny, washing the feet of his disciples came with so much significance for both his disciples in this intimate moment and for all Christians who strive to live, to love, to follow Jesus’ example and teachings.

This selfless act displayed Jesus’ amazing humility!

He took the role of a servant to wash the dusty and dirt-covered feet of his disciples.

Rabbi Jesus was setting an incredible example of what it is to be “Christ-like” through his decidedly humble actions.

Status, pride, or even dirt did not stop him from rolling up his sleeves to serve the men who had been at his side throughout the duration of his ministry.

Prior to this encounter, the disciples had been fighting amongst themselves trying to determine who was the “greatest” among them (Luke 22:24).

Jesus was in a very hands-on way showing them that in his Kingdom the last shall be first and the first shall be last (Matthew 20:16).

Jesus even prompts his disciples to show the same heart of service for each other (John 13:15).

He is clear that servanthood is essential to what it means to be his follower.

This washing also is symbolic of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins.

Peter objects to Jesus’ actions but then Jesus rebukes him by saying that unless he washed him, Peter had no part in him (John 13:7-8).

Peter then in a display of passion for the Lord asks him to then wash him from head to toe!

Jesus explains Peter does not need to be washed from head to toe because his actions were symbolic of the cleansing power that being a Christ-follower has in our lives (John 13:10).

Once washed by the blood of a lamb you are free from the stains of sin!

Jesus anoints the disciples for their new role as priests in the new temple that God Himself will raise up.

Jesus ordains them so they can serve His church when He leaves this world, returning to the Father.

Through the act of purification, Jesus imparts His holiness to the disciples so they will be set apart from the world even though they will remain in the world.

Jesus teaches his disciples that His holiness, salvation, and purity will all come through Him and His suffering.

Through the cleansing blood of our Savior – No repeat washing is necessary.

Our Healing is in our Becoming a Servant

John 13:14-15 New King James Version

14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

In our culture today, sadly we don’t have an automatic equivalent to Jesus’ instruction to wash one another’s feet.

But we can figure out that it’s mainly about showing hospitality and serving one another.

The roads of Palestine were unpaved, and with sandals as common footwear, people’s feet would get really dirty—sometimes caked with dust and mud.

As a result, before you entered someone’s home, a servant would come with a pitcher of water, a basin and a towel and wash your feet, an act of hospitality.

It was a customary act of hospitality—like someone offering to hang up your coat and scarf on a cold day as you entered their warm home.

On the night of the last supper, Jesus took the role of a servant as he got up from the meal and began washing his disciple’s feet.

In doing this, Jesus was teaching his disciples an important spiritual principle.

We come to Jesus with nothing of our own, and we must receive from him and be ministered to by him before we have anything to give.

Then, having been served, we go and do the same, we surrender ourselves to God, serving, sharing with others the fullness God has poured into our hearts.

In this example, Jesus provided a profound symbol of his call to servanthood.

Following him is not about position, power, or prestige.

We serve because Jesus Christ came to us as sinners, yet he has served us first.

Jesus shows no squeamishness: He performs this ceremonial washing of His disciples’ feet with a solemn purpose – so others may be prepared to serve.

Setting aside their squeamishness to serve all others as Jesus first served all.

Jesus’ determination made me want to explore the Scriptures more deeply.

What Does Jesus Show When He Washes the Disciples’ Feet?

Through this simple act of foot washing, Jesus demonstrates to His disciples His eternal role as God’s High Priest and Mediator and the disciples part in the priesthood.

Even though He, Jesus must suffer and die and be raised again, the disciples can by faith in the empty tomb be certain He will never leave them or forsake them. 

Scripture says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:7-10). 

Jesus is the High Priest of Heaven.

Through the foot washing, He ordained His disciples to be priests of the church in the world.

1 Peter 2:4-10 New King James Version

The Chosen Stone and His Chosen People

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who [a]are disobedient,

“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”


“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Christ, our permanent High Priest, sitting at the right hand of the Father;

He will offer up prayers on their behalf, “he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25), and will empower them through the Holy Spirit to perform their priestly duties to the glory of God. 

3 Lessons from Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet

1. God’s Kingdom Works In Reverse Order

Matthew 18:4 says, “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Humility, trust, simplicity, joy, full of wonder, and playfulness are all words that could be used to characterize children.

In Jesus’ Kingdom what seems logical to adults oftentimes goes against the way God works. Jesus calls the last to be first (Matthew 20:16).

His Word prompts us to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13).

The Bible teaches us to humble ourselves before the Lord (James 4:10).

In Matthew 5:38-40, Jesus teaches that when we are wronged not to fight back but to offer our offenders more of ourselves!

All of these ideas go against everything that seems logical, right, or justified in our world!

We live in a world where pride, greed, and ambition rule our systems.

Money talks, looking out for yourself is prized, and caring for those who are hurt so you can get ahead is not often considered.

Jesus intentionally sets an example of how we are to live as his followers through his actions at the Last Supper.

He makes it clear that we are called to be the feet washers of our community.

Our mission as Believers is to be those who love beyond reason every chance we get.

2. Jesus Washes Us Clean

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

The prophet foretold of the cleansing power of Jesus years before Jesus physically walked the earth.

His followers would have seen the feet washing and the breaking of bread and sharing of wine at the first communion that happened at the Last Supper as symbolic of Jesus’ cleansing power.

When we bring our sins to the Lord he is willing and able to wash us clean.

All Jesus did led up to the work of the cross, where he took the weight of our sins onto himself, so we could be forgiven.

Don’t be ashamed of your “dirty feet” bring all that you are to the Lord and he is willing and able to set you free.

3. Jesus Was Not What the World Expected

Peter was shocked by Jesus’ actions and asked him to stop because in his mind his king and Savior wouldn’t stoop to the level of a feet-washing-servant.

Jesus was not what the world expected.

They were looking for a political liberator, someone who would help restore power to the Jewish people, and they thought their Messiah would be powerful in the same way the world measures power.

Jesus was full of heavenly ability and did many miracles but he never strove for a place of worldly power or influence.

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (Matthew 23), avoided political confrontation (John 18:10-11), and took the posture of a servant throughout his ministry.

Meanwhile, his disciples were concerned about who would get the best seat in Heaven next to Jesus.

It wasn’t until Jesus’ death and resurrection that the full picture of Jesus as a Messiah as their foretold Savior was fully understood because while on Earth he never did as they were expecting.

When we think of what it means to be a Christ-Follower do our expectations line up with the example of Jesus?

It is easy to put God in a box, thinking he should work in ways that make sense to our worldly sensibilities.

The Bible reminds us that God rarely plays by our rules.

Jesus came to show us what the Kingdom of Heaven is so we could become a part of it.

Spending time reading the Gospels and studying and Praying over who he was is a great way to remind ourselves of all the ways Jesus is never what we expect but, in every way, abundantly, utterly, infinitely better than our expectations.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

“Unless I wash you

you have no share with me.”

If only it were otherwise.

If only I could present my credentials,

show my record of service,

get some kind of unlimited pass.

In every area of my life

I am more used

to proving how adequate I am,

presenting a polished image,

gaining certain privileges.

But you, Lord,

you bring me down

to where you are kneeling,

and take hold

of the feet I prefer to hide.

We are here together,

near the ground,

and in this humble position

I am touched by you

and made clean.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry! Our Great Expectations? What About A King Paraded on the back of a Donkey? Matthew 21:1-11

Matthew 21:1-11 Amplified Bible

The Triumphal Entry

21 When they approached Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples [ahead], saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and at once you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you should say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and without delay the owner will send them [with you].” This happened so that what was spoken by the prophet would be fulfilled, saying:

“Tell the daughter of Zion (the people of Jerusalem),
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Gentle and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

Then the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them, and they brought the donkey and [a]the colt, and [b]placed their coats on them; and Jesus sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road [as before a king], while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him, and those that followed Him, were shouting [in praise and adoration],

[c]Hosanna to the Son of David (Messiah);
Blessed [praised, glorified] is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest [heaven]!”

10 When He entered Jerusalem, all the city was trembling [with excitement], saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Triumphal Entry? Great Expectations? A King on His Donkey?

At first observation after a few readings of this narrative account of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, I realized something about the two images disconnected.

The picture would have been perfect if Jesus had been riding a white horse, used in those days by warrior kings to symbolize conquering power, decisive victory.

But the narrator Matthew specifically highlighted: Jesus rode on the back of a donkey – the disciples celebrated and paraded their Messiah King on a donkey.


What image were they hoping, planning to project to the gathered crowds?

What were they expecting the gathering crowds to see and understand of this?

What of the gathering crowds at the gates of the city of Jerusalem?

What were their expectations of the coming of their “Messiah King?”

What were we expecting to see?

What “coming new thing” were we expecting to learn about or be reminded of?

An unarmed conquering warrior Itinerant Master Rabbi?

Long ago, prophet Zechariah said the Messiah would come in righteousness, riding on a donkey, a symbol of humility and peace (Zechariah 9:9 Amplified).

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King (Messianic King) is coming to you;
He is righteous and endowed with salvation,
[a]Humble and unassuming [in submission to the will of the Father] and riding on a [b]donkey,
Upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Though most of the people would have probably seen Jesus fulfilling this prophecy as their Messiah (see also Psalm 118:25-26 Amplified),

O Lord, save now, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, send now prosperity and give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord [you who come into His sanctuary under His guardianship].

Jesus came in triumph into His city under God’s guardianship, they expected him to announce the arrival of a war of rebellion against Roman oppressors.

But he didn’t.

Instead he had no army behind him, nobody is waving any swords or spears.

He was not even armed with a spear or a sword nor did anyone hand him one!

Perhaps with expectations crushed that’s why the chanting crowds changed their tune from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him!” 5 days later (Matthew 27:22-23).

Matthew 27:22-23 Amplified Bible

2Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all replied, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what has He done that is evil?” But they continued shouting all the louder, “Let Him be crucified!”

Considering our state of current events, I don’t guess, and I wont prophesize that things will have actually changed much from then until now, have they?

People are still willing to rally around the banner of Christ if it goes along with their own interests, if their expected understanding of Christ comes to them as they always expected, approved because their expectations have been fully met.

We also desire, even to go so far as to expect we can maintain a good Christian confession while trying to avoid standing too close to the lingering shadows of the cross, or getting too close to actually running to the tomb to see emptiness.

But Jesus, the King who actually rode on an actual donkey, calls us to actually examine our much paraded walk with him as we come to the cross this Friday.

Center yourselves and dig deep and CRY,

“Am I just here for the Parade?“

Am I just coming along side of everyone else, because everyone else is here right now or everyone else is going along for the ride because it all looks so very interesting and might even be a measure of fun or something I and my business might profit from?

If I have to actually get serious about all this, to decide between God and my job, my reputation, something else in my life—will I also change my expectations?”

The celebration of Palm Sunday is about King Jesus riding to the cross in total obedience to his Father – about His grace and peace come by way of the cross.

Will we with our packed luggage of preconceived expectations receive him in the same way he was presented by the Gospel narrator Matthew in chapter 21?

Our Expectations – A Humble, Triumphant King?

Matthew 21:5-11 Amplified Bible

“Tell the daughter of Zion (the people of Jerusalem),
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Gentle and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

Then the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them, and they brought the donkey and [a]the colt, and [b]placed their coats on them; and Jesus sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road [as before a king], while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him, and those that followed Him, were shouting [in praise and adoration],

[c]Hosanna to the Son of David (Messiah);
Blessed [praised, glorified] is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest [heaven]!”

10 When He entered Jerusalem, all the city was trembling [with excitement], saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus was getting near the end of His ministry.

He had been telling the disciples that He would be killed.

Now He comes riding into the city, sitting on donkey’s foal.

This was to fulfill a prophecy made by Zechariah.

Kings, leaders, presidents and others in high authority are known for arriving with a lot of pomp and circumstance – it is expected to show them great respect.

There is always a lot of fanfare going on to bring in someone of high leadership.

Whenever the President of the United States arrives at a building where he is going to speak, he arrives with a great fanfare and a great entourage of people.

There are multiple vehicles in front and behind him.

When he walks out into a room, there is always some music playing, people rise up for him, and He is announced.

The same goes for famous celebrities.

Standing room only crowds

There is a lot of pictures and videos being taken.

All kinds of busyness, posting and sharing activity across social media outlets.

Celebrities arrive in a large limousine.

There is flashing of jewelry and expensive clothing.

There are red carpets.

There are lots and lots of television and journalists, and paparazzi’s.

It is a show of pride and luxury, with no sign of humility.

In many countries, when their leader arrives, there is also a great show of their military power.

Soldiers, weapons, and military equipment tour d’ force go paraded before the visiting leader to show who is in control and who exactly has all the power .

Jesus did not do any of this.

He came in riding on a baby donkey.

In the biblical times, a king would arrive on a horse showing great power.

Jesus did not show any of that, even though He had more power than all the kings on the earth combined.

He created the earth and all who are in it (John 1:1-5).

John 1:1-5 Amplified Bible

The Deity of Jesus Christ

1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and [b]the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the [c]darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it].

The purpose of His arriving in that way, was to show love and compassion.

He is a king who can understand where people are, so He comes in humility.

Most people do not have the grand horse to ride on, but just have the donkey.

Even today, our Savior, our King Jesus comes to you in love and compassion.

He does have the power, but will not show a force of threat to get you to follow.

Jesus wants you and me to want to follow Him.

He understands where we and our “great expectations” are and is there for you.

As we proceed through this Holy Week,

Let’s take a slightly longer look at our “great expectations,”

our Godly versus Worldly priorities;

Matthew 6:33Amplified Bible

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

He is not unapproachable.

He is not unknowable.

He is not unreachable.

He is not untouchable.

Do not fear your king.

Do not fear your Savior.

He is gentle.

He is always and forever in and within our very midst …

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

___Charles Wesley___ 1707-1788

I pray today that you will know this Jesus riding on the donkey’s back as your king; you will know Jesus is gentle and loving; that you and I will seek him as he seeks you and me to find Jesus in our life; that we will show His love and humility in your life. Lord Jesus, may we ever so lovingly and willingly obey you and joyfully follow you, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Savior of us all, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Hosanna! It Is Our Palm Sunday! Is Our Jesus Our Center or Periphery of Life? John 12:12-19

John 12:12-19 Amplified Bible

The Triumphal Entry

12 The next day, when the large crowd who had come to the Passover feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took branches of palm trees [in homage to Him as King] and went out to meet Him, and they began shouting and kept shouting “Hosanna! Blessed (celebrated, praised) is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; just as it is written [in Scripture], 15 “Do not fear, Daughter of Zion; Behold, Your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16  His disciples did not understand [the meaning of] these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified and exalted, they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him. 17 So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to tell others about Him. 18 For this reason the crowd went to meet Him, because they heard that He had performed this [miraculous] sign. 19 Then the Pharisees [argued and] said to one another, “You see that your efforts are futile. Look! The whole world has gone [running] after Him!”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Amen.

Open your Bible to John’s gospel chapter 12.

We have come to the last week of Jesus.

On Saturday, He had been in Bethany with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in the home of Simon the ex-leper.

Then on Monday, He left Bethany, and headed towards Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey.

Soon the people took palm branches and shouted: John 12:13 “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” Blessed is the King of Israel.”

So, when Jesus comes into the city of Jerusalem on this occasion with the word going everywhere about raising Lazarus from the dead, they are all thrilled and have broken off their palm branches, waved, hailed the arrival of Jesus as king.

John 12:13-15 Amplified Bible

13 they took branches of palm trees [in homage to Him as King] and went out to meet Him, and they began shouting and kept shouting “Hosanna! Blessed (celebrated, praised) is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; just as it is written [in Scripture], 15 “Do not fear, Daughter of Zion; Behold, Your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

In John’s narrative account of Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem, the crowd shouts the right things about Jesus, “Hosanna! blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel” but we soon find out that even Jesus’ disciples really “did not understand all this.”

Then we read in the very next verse that His disciples were mysteriously blank.

They didn’t realize the true gravity of this event was a prophetic fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy (Zechariah 9:9) until after Jesus rose into heaven.

Zechariah 9:9 Amplified Bible

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King (Messianic King) is coming to you;
He is righteous and endowed with salvation,
[a]Humble and unassuming [in submission to the will of the Father] and riding on a [b]donkey,
Upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The crowd had come out to meet Jesus only because they had seen or they heard that Jesus had raised someone named Lazarus from the dead earlier.

And the Pharisees saw Jesus’ popularity as a threat to their own power and position (John 11:47-50; 12:9-11).

Why do or did you come out of wherever it is you live to attend Palm Sunday?

Were you aware of the words of prophecy of Zechariah 9:9?

Are you at Palm Sunday worship service because you only briefly heard of Jesus?

Do you even know of the name of Lazarus and his biblical connection to Jesus?

Are, were you, there because it is an “old family tradition” of uncertain origin or because being there is fulfilling a favor to someone even though you do not, have no plan to believe in God, the Father or God the Son or God the Holy Spirit?

Or are we those who consider ourselves totally committed loving GOD 1000%?

It’s easy to think that we would do better.

It’s easy to think that we know who Jesus really is.

But most longtime followers of Christ would agree that Jesus is a mystery.

He is not any easier to get to know than anyone else we might meet.

In fact, we wouldn’t be wrong to assume that it would take more effort to know the Son of God than to know anyone else.

And yet we can grow to know Jesus.

We can acknowledge that Jesus spends more time as an out layer of our life.

We can recognize where, when Jesus spends too much time on our periphery.

Our relationships with our family members, with our neighbors, co-workers.

Our relationships with strangers on the streets, our fellow communities of faith in our shared efforts to provide volunteer services, meals, a glass of cold water.

We can learn how to gradually move Jesus into the center of our lives where we are the ones who are most eager to not just wave our Palms but to lead Jesus in.

Taking the reins of the colt while Jesus sits next to us on the colt and enters in.

Setting the pace of the colt with Jesus sitting on its back.

Crowds of people see, witness our lives at the center of where Jesus is coming.

Directed display of Discipleship in action.

It takes time to move out from the crowds, work on our part, we are not alone.

The Spirit of Jesus himself comes into our hearts, teaches us (see John 16:7-15).

By the Holy Spirit, John and the other disciples eventually did understand what was going on here, what their closeness and proximity to Jesus meant to others.

And as we diligently study the Bible as God’s living Word, asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can grow, greatly mature to know, experience Jesus too.

It can take some mightily significant work, but the Holy Spirit will help us, and there is no better relationship to invest in than our relationship with our King.

Palm Sunday … Jesus is Being Led into the City

Palm Sunday is a Christian celebration that marks the beginning of the Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday.

It commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, when people laid down palms and branches in front of him as a sign of honor.

In modern times, churches hold Palm Sunday services in which assembled worshippers are each given a palm branch or cross made from palm leaves.

The celebration involves singing hymns, reading Scripture, and sometimes even a parade or procession with the palms around the church or community.

Palm Sunday is a timeless reminder of the selfless love Jesus showed by laying down his life for us, entering directly into the center of our lives and it is a time to reflect on our own lives, how we can show that same love to those around us.

Palm Sunday is the day we each remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as our coming Savior and King.

As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem, a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches, their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Palm Sunday is a moveable holiday that changes yearly based on Lent and the spring equinox.

Many churches celebrate Palm Sunday by waving palm branches, singing traditional hymns, and making crosses out of palm fronds for the children.

But while this is a triumphal entry, it is Jesus’ first step toward His death.

Many churches celebrate Palm Sunday.

Maybe your church has their member congregants, the children, even complete strangers collectively waving palm branches to help them connect to the story.

But while this is our triumphal entry, it was Jesus’ first step toward His death.

Matthew 21:4 tells us:

‘This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’

*The prophecy is cited from Zechariah 9:9 and Isaiah 62:11.

Palm Sunday Bible Story – Triumphal Entry

Matthew 21:1-11 – Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

In this closing of this Lenten season as we reflect on the sacrifice of Christ, we see him riding a donkey as he comes to Jerusalem as King.

This animal was symbolic of humility, peace, and King David’s royalty (see also King Solomon’s Procession 1 Kings 1:33).

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to show everyone publicly that he was the chosen Son of David (another name for the promised Messiah).

We might have expected a stallion.

But this surprising King rides a donkey.

Jesus identifies with the the common man and woman, with the lowly of heart.

The kingdom of God is totally different from the here-today, gone-tomorrow kingdoms of the world.

Don’t mistake this King on a donkey for the kind of ruler we usually see in this world.

From Jesus we learn that being a king in God’s kingdom is about service and humility.

A king serves.

So, as we fulfill our own calling, we will serve the Lord, we serve one another.

As we live by the guidance of the Spirit, visit people who are sick, care for those who are poor, feed the hungry, and we will learn to love our neighbors as much we love our God, we are servant kings and queens of the kingdom of heaven.

That is when we are most like Jesus, when Jesus finds His way delicately weaved into the center of our lives who calls us to reign with him today and for eternity.

Jesus once came riding on a donkey.

Next he will come riding on the clouds of heaven to reign over us, claim us as His own, to live with us in the new heaven and earth forever (Revelation 21- 22).

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

On the heels of this, another Palm Sunday, as we begin this Holy Week, may we constantly, centrally, be reminded of its significance, value for our lives today.

That very important day in history, when Jesus centered Himself directly, and decisively into the eternal affairs of man, began His journey towards the cross.

Yet maybe again, ultimately centrally, amid busy lives, on the heels of Spring Break, or in all the upcoming thoughts about Easter, the real central meaning of it may, even unintentionally, get missed – again – until the next Palm Sunday.

One day, Palm Sunday will be an every day celebration of the centrality of Jesus!

His Word becomes central, reveals such great truths in every part of this story.

Truths that draw us closer towards Christ, reminding us that He alone is King…

Palm Sunday reminders Centering Christ as Our King

1. God’s Word tells us the people cut palm branches, waved them in the air, and laid them out on the ground before Jesus as He rode into the city.

The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over death.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

2. Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah. 9:9.

In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey.

The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions.

Jesus even then reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah. 9:9

3. When the people shouted “Hosanna!” they were hailing Christ as King.

That word actually means “save us now,” and though in their own minds, they waited for an earthly king, God had a different plan of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him.

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” Psalm 118:26

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

4. The Bible says that Jesus wept for Jerusalem.

Amid the praise of the moment, He knew in His heart that it wouldn’t be long that these same people would turn their backs on Him, betray Him, and crucify Him, truly His heart broke with the reality of how much they needed a Savior.

“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.” Luke 19:41-42

5. Palm Sunday reminds us that the reign of Christ is far greater than any man’s mind could ever conceive or plan.

Man looked for someone to fight their battles in the present day world.

Yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His Son to fight the final battle over the grave and death itself.

This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week.

Because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we can be set free of death.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,'” John 11:25

We have so much to be grateful for this week.

The enemy knows that, and you can bet, the enemy will do everything he can to distract us from this Holy Week’s true meaning.

Don’t let him win.

In this Holy Week, I fervently pray may God direct our thoughts and attention towards the exact center what and who matters most, Jesus Christ our King…

Let’s choose to center our focus on worshipping our Lord, thanking Him for the gift of His sacrifice, celebrating the power of the Resurrection, and the new life found in only one place, being the exact, exacting center of Him and Him alone.

Let us center our day, celebrate Palm Sunday as the crowds that greeted Christ that day, singing Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

O Lord Jesus Christ,
when you entered Jerusalem,
great crowds waved palm branches and cried “Hosanna.”

Save us now from our sins,
and make us to rejoice in you,
our only Redeemer;

through your mercy, O our God,
you are blessed,
and live and govern all things,
now and forever. Amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

I Have a Testimony! Why Is the Approaching ‘Lamb of God’ So Significant to Me? John 1:29-34

John 1:29-34 Amplified Bible

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God [a]who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I and has priority over me, for He existed before me.’ 31 [b]I did not recognize Him [as the Messiah]; but I came baptizing [c]in water so that He would be [publicly] revealed to Israel.” 32 John gave [further] evidence [testifying officially for the record, with validity and relevance], saying, “I have seen the [d]Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him [as the Messiah], but He who sent me to baptize [e]in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this One is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I myself have [actually] seen [that happen], and my testimony is that this is the Son of God!”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

The Preacher, with an inviting tone, filled the air with, “Who wants to testify about the goodness of the Lord?”

Testimonies of the goodness of God are a sure and certain motivation for the saints of God to keep going forward when the struggles in life weighed heavy.

John the Baptist had a sure, certain testimony about the goodness of God.

John 1:29-34 declares God has invaded the world in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:29-34 gives every Christian a sure and certain model testimony that we can draw powerful inspiration from, to learn to give about our own life journey.

First, John the Baptist knew instantaneously that in the salvation business, his ministry was decisively limited, only the perfect Lamb of God can take away sin.

Second, John the Baptist surely and certainly accepted the role of second chair.

He declared without hesitation that he absolutely was not the main thing.

John the Baptist unequivocally said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”

He was a humble servant to Jesus.

Third, John the Baptist gave a testimony of what he saw and experienced.

Without hesitation, the story John the Baptist told throughout his ministry is this: “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

On this day before Palm Sunday, we too will have a powerful and inspiring testimony: tell your family and friends the story of Jesus, the Lamb of God!

That is our Witness!

That is our Testimony

That is our Coming Story!


Why Is the ‘Lamb of God’ So Significant To Us?

The Bible talks about the “Lamb of God” and often features imagery about lambs.

Spiritually, the Lamb of God is incredibly significant because it expresses the core of our faith.

In these our most contemporary of times, two thousand years after the words of John were first spoken and resoundingly declared, our learning why the Lamb of God is so significant can inspire us too with awe, to deepen our trust in Jesus. 

Who is the Lamb of God?

The phrase “Lamb of God” is a name given to Jesus in the Bible.

The Bible first mentions the Lamb of God in John 1:29, John sees Jesus and declares, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.

John the Baptist continues to testify about Jesus and concludes in John 1:34: “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

Whenever the Lamb of God appears in the Bible, it refers to Jesus. 

What Does the “Lamb of God” Mean?

Jesus as the Lamb of God expresses significant theological and symbolic meaning.

It highlights the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ mission as the world’s Savior.

Just as lambs – gentle animals who symbolize purity – were offered as sacrifices in the Old Testament to atone for sins, Jesus served as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of humanity.

The phrase “Lamb of God” refers to Jesus as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice provided by God for the single perfect atonement of all the sins of his people. 

Why Is the “Lamb of God” So Significant?

Relating to Jesus as the Lamb of God shows us the heart of why our faith is important.

It is only by trusting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins we can connect with a holy God.

Otherwise, we would perish. 

John 3:16 celebrates the love behind this core sacrifice: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:17 declares God’s intent behind this core sacrifice: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.”

It’s important for us to trust Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God in order for us to be able to enjoy relationships with God and grow in holiness and gentleness.

Apostle Paul wrote, “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Sacrifice is necessary because, as Hebrews 9:22 says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

The entire sacrificial system established by God in the Old Testament prepares the way for Jesus coming to save the world as the Lamb of God.

In that system, lambs were often sacrificed in temples as offerings to God to atone for people’s sins.

A lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the people every morning and evening in Jerusalem (Exodus 29:38-42).

These sacrifices foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross that would happen later.

Interestingly, Jesus died on the cross at the same time the evening sacrifice was being made in the temple.

The Jews at that time were familiar with the Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah, who foretold the coming of someone who would be led “like a lamb to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11:19 and Isaiah 53:7). 

Isaiah 53:5-6 prophesies about how Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice will redeem people: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace [Isaiah 26:1-3] was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

This person was none other than Jesus, the Lamb of God.

God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb for the Passover feast (Exodus 12:1-30).

The innocent lamb represented purity, and its sacrifice was a symbol of repentance and submission to God’s will.

Similarly, Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary to save humanity from sin shows he is the Lamb of God who makes the ultimate sacrifice necessary to ultimately and finally connect woefully sinful humanity to a perfectly holy God.

In fact, the slaying of the Passover lamb and applying its blood to the doorposts of the houses powerfully depicts Jesus’ atoning work on the cross.

If we trust Jesus as our Savior, we are spiritually covered by his blood, which protects us from spiritual death.

Romans 8:1-4 explains how Jesus’ physical sacrifice has made spiritual freedom possible for people:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Since humanity had sinned in the flesh (physically), and our holy God can’t be corrupted by sin, through Calvary, God made a way for our sins to be atoned for physically so we would no longer be separated from Him because of our sins.

Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God made it possible for all people to enjoy loving relationships with God, despite sin.

1 Peter 1:18-19 celebrates that redemptive work: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Jesus has provided all we need to be forgiven forever for all of our sins, and he serves as our advocate for everything we need.

The entire chapter of Hebrews 10 describes the importance of Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God who takes away our sins.

As Hebrews 10:10 proclaims: “… we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Now, there is no need to sacrifice animals like lambs to God in a temple, because Jesus has provided an everlasting sacrifice on our behalf so we can enjoy relationships with God.

The chapter goes on to encourage us to persevere in our faith with confidence because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us:

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Not only does the Bible look back to Jesus’ crucifixion as the Lamb of God, but it also looks forward to Jesus as the Lamb of God in heaven. 

Revelation 5:6 describes Jesus in heaven as “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.”

This image reinforces the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ mission and emphasizes the victory he achieved through his sacrifice.

A few verses later in Revelation 5:11-13,

the Bible reveals all created beings in heaven and earth – angels, people, and other creatures – worshiping Jesus for his work as the Lamb of God:

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’”

This passage shows the importance of our own selves learning, appreciating, the indescribable wonder of God’s work and responding to it with gratitude.

Revelation 7:9 shows Jesus in heaven as the Lamb of God, with a huge amount of people whose souls had been redeemed thanks to his sacrifice on earth:

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”

An angel explains to the apostle John in Revelation 17:14 that Jesus, the Lamb of God, will defeat evil and reign victorious over the universe:

“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

Significance of Jesus as the Lamb of God Conclusion

The Lamb of God refers to Jesus as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin.

The significance of the Lamb of God speaks to the core message of Christianity:

that through Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary, we can be reconciled to God and receive forgiveness for our sins.

The Lamb of God is undeniably significant and central unto the Christian faith!

Because it emphasizes Jesus’ sacrificial mission and symbolizes his innocence, purity, and victory over sin and death.

As we approach tomorrow, the umpteenth time of our “holding up our palm branches, shouting our Hosannas” celebrating Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem;

As we reflect on the meaning of the Lamb of God, may we be inspired to the utmost by the great love God has for us, the price that Jesus paid to redeem us.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Loving Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus as the true Lamb of God Who has taken away all my sins. I am so thankful that Jesus died on the Cross for me, becoming the only perfect substitute for my sins. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

A Ransom Paid in Full: Reflecting, Understanding, the Justice of God. Matthew 20:24-28

Matthew 20:24-28 Amplified Bible

24 And when the [other] ten heard this, they were resentful and angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Background: He Who Has Ears, Let Them Hear …

Matthew 20:17-19Amplified Bible

Death, Resurrection Foretold

17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve [disciples] aside, and along the way He said to them, 18 “Listen carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and they will [judicially] condemn Him and sentence Him to death,  19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles (Roman authorities) to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised [to life] on the third day.”

On the journey to Jerusalem Jesus predicts that his death will take place there.

Jesus takes his disciples aside to report to them that it will include wholesale betrayal, humiliation and condemnation by the religious leaders of his people.

Those who should be welcoming him as the promised Messiah will instead sentence him to suffering and death, thoughtlessly handing him over to to a brutal time and season of mocking, flogging, and crucifixion by the Romans.

Then Jesus also shockingly predicted that he would rise again three days after!

But it seems that after hearing the predictions about Jesus’ suffering and death, the disciples somehow tuned out.

It’s as if they missed hearing the promise that “on the third day” he would be “raised to life!”

When the time came and Jesus died on a cross, the disciples were a despondent group of followers wondering about the suddenness what had just happened.

As predicted, in the Garden of Gethsemane they scattered in fear, at the arrival of the Temple Authorities unjustly leaving the burial, preparations to others. (See Matthew 26:56; 27:45-28:10.)

In this critical moment, there was no expectation of Jesus’ coming to life again!

In our own day and age, considering the number of years which have come, and passed us by since those events transpired, is our own “hearing” any different?

As we again, for the umpteenth time approach Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, as we again come to the umpteenth recitation and those sermons of Palm Sunday, as we again try to come to realization of what we know is to come, has already transpired, has already been written and narrated – why is any of this relevant?

We have not heard with our own ears the actual voice of Jesus as the disciples.

We could not immediately begin the process of giving it our fullest attention.

We could not be stunned in the same way as the disciples were upon hearing it.

We could not be apathetic or excited or wondering or stunned or any of that.

We did not talk, or walk, hear or listen to and with Jesus in that moment – in a more contemporary colloquial sense of the moment – “walk and chew gum and do everything else (preparing ourselves for the Passover) all at the same time.

Nowadays, we do not all concern ourselves to prepare to celebrate the Passover.

We are not looking for donkeys or mules or horses to ride to be paraded about.

We are not looking for “Upper Rooms” – Just sanctuaries inside our churches.

No Gardens of Gethsemane …

It is doubtful to the utmost we are worried about our running away naked in the middle of the night with thoughts of running away, betraying our own Savior.

Jesus will not be arrested again.

He will not be betrayed, mocked and humiliated in such a horrible way again.

We will not have to subject ourselves to the sight, witnessing him dying again.

All these things have already come to pass and by faith we believe and accept it.

Now, what experiences do we have to substitute for those of what the disciples witnessed first hand, experienced to the utmost first hand, threatened by too?

We hear pandemic, dire economic warnings or a doctor’s frightening diagnosis, and we’ll soon forget Jesus’ words: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

We experience ridicule or rejection and forget that God’s Word warns that we may be called to share in Christ’s sufferings (John 15:18-20; Romans 8:17).

Facing them throughout the year is hard enough, but how much of that effort includes an intense time of self examination, reflection upon the Cross itself?

Facing them mutually, letting God work, let’s remember Jesus was raised to life.

We know what happened then to Jesus – three days later, as promised, he arose!

Our belief in the Resurrection of our Savior is core central to our Christian faith.

Yes! We absolutely love and live for and utmost sacrificially serve a risen Savior!

But the lingering question, the utmost intense question we probably devote so precious little of our time to study, reflecting upon: what relevance is the Cross?

A Personal Reflection: Why the Cross?

24-28 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

Why does Jesus take his disciples aside to shock, awe them with his prophecy?

Why are such momentous words and such miraculous history transforming events still to be read and found, studied and prayed over and celebrated too?

Why is such a detailed, embarrassing account of the failure of the disciples?

Why do we celebrate ourselves being re-subjected to these terrible moments?

To give us another opportunity to run away from Jesus, recoil from them, him?

To mostly learn and then relearn to repeatedly avoid re-living the indescribable intensity of those moments, to make them our own as God repeatedly call us to?

Why the ugliness of the Cross … to learn, to relearn to hug its wondrous beauty?

Why such an intense concentration, centralized focus on the Cross at Calvary?

Why such an ugly, not so gentle, intentional, purposeful, graphic reminder?

Why didn’t God simply say, “Look, everyone, I know you have sinned against Me, but I am going to pardon you right now. It’s okay. I forgive all of you!”

God didn’t do that because it doesn’t work with His nature and character.

The justice of God requires obedience and sacrifice.

He could not accept us into fellowship with Himself unless we paid the penalty—or someone paid it on our behalf.

Romans 3:25 tells us, “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past” (NLT).

The cross demonstrates the ultimate expression of the justice of God.

At the cross of Calvary, the love and justice of God met.

Yes, God had to satisfy His justice.

The Scriptures say, “The person who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20 NLT), “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NLT), and “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22 NLT).

God was saying, “My righteous requirements must be met.

But I love humanity beyond their ability to acknowledge, fully measure and comprehend, and there is no way they can do it on their own.

So, I must, and I WILL help them.”

Therefore, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to bridge the gap. (John 3:16-17)

This is why Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

People like to say that all roads lead to God.

People also like to say that the road to hell is paved with our good intentions.

It really concerns me when I hear Christians parrot statements to that effect.

There is only one path.

There is only one way.

If that were not true, then why did Jesus have to die?

If all roads lead to God, then why did Jesus go through the indescribable anguish, the immeasurable humiliation, torture, and pain of the cross?

Matthew 20:26-28 Amplified Bible

26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

The primary reason Jesus came to this earth was to save us, to die for our sins.

Paid in Full

Jesus’ mission was a matter of “search and rescue.”

He came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10).

He not come to be served but to serve, give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:42-45 Amplified Bible

42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their powerful men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first and most important among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a [a]ransom for many.”

He fulfilled that mission by giving his life at Calvary “as a ransom for many.”

As Jesus hung on the cross and spoke the words “It is finished” (John 19:30), he was announcing that his mission was now accomplished.

Because he was obedient and faithful to His Father, offered his perfect life as the sacrifice for sin, God was pleased to welcome home all his lost children!

The brief sentence “It is finished” translates from just a single word teleō in the original Greek text.

The same word was used by shopkeepers to announce that someone’s bill was finally paid.

When the final payment was made on a purchased item, the merchant would say “Tetelestai” (“It is finished”) – in other words, the debt was paid in full.

When I made the last payment on the first car I ever bought, I remember how good it felt to see the bank teller stamp “Paid in Full” on my loan documents.

Never again would another payment be required!

As Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, he was assuring us that his mission was complete.

He had paid in full all the costs required for our sin.

And when we faithfully focus our lives, when we centralize our lives now place our full faith-filled trust in him, our debt for sin is forever wiped off the books!

On that Hill far away, stood an Old Rugged Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Loving Lord, I praise and thank You for Jesus, my Mighty Savior and Servant King. Lord, today I pour out my life as an offering to You. I pray that I would serve You wholeheartedly and my service would bless those around me and be a witness to bring many to the knowledge of salvation in Jesus. O God, thank you that Jesus has bought salvation for me! He has done everything needed for me to know you, love you, and serve you now and forever! Amen. Thank You that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for me and for all who would believe in His name. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

God’s Justice In Jesus: The Greatness of Grace Is Reflected in Our Salvation from Sin. Romans 3:21-26

Romans 3:21-26 Amplified Bible

Justification by Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been clearly revealed [independently and completely] apart from the Law, though it is [actually] confirmed by the Law and the [words and writings of the] Prophets. 22 This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [a]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,  25  whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] [b]sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion]. 26 It was to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus [and rely confidently on Him as Savior].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

God’s Justice In Our Savior Jesus

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace.—  Romans 3:22-24

So there is no difference.

You, me, people all around the world, family members, coworkers, and all our neighbors—together, we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

None of us is in this alone.

Paul’s intent, though, is not to clarify that sin has a lot of company.

He is setting the stage for what Jesus came to do.

God’s goal from the beginning, when sin first entered the picture, was not just to judge us; nor was it just to rescue us from eternal punishment.

God’s goal has always been to get us back with him.

But for that to happen, there needs to be a sacrifice, which we can’t provide.

And there is no difference: whenever we live, whoever we are and wherever we live, we all need Jesus to be that one and only sacrifice of atonement for us.

Sometimes we lose sight of why God had things go this way.

A philosopher once suggested that it’s really not a big deal; God ultimately has to forgive us because that’s his job as God.

But God wants us to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice is not just some neat and ultra dramatic, ultra manipulative “love gesture.”

It is a big deal because as God, his job is also to be just.

The difference is that God gives us His only Son Jesus—because his goal is not his job.

God’s goal is us.

2 Peter 3:8-9 Amplified Bible

Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

God’s Goal: We Should Know Him as He Knows Us.

If you have ever felt depressed, ashamed, condemned, forgotten, or alone, or forsaken or abandoned or homeless, then you understand what sin feels like.

In our fallen world, sin is intricately woven into the fabric of what it means to be human, and even without a theological definition, all of us can recognize it.

We recognize the sorrow and emptiness of sin every day.

Sin is not just about ‘doing bad things’:

sin corrupts who we are created to be and separates us from the relationship with God we are designed to know and love.

The Painful Roots of Sin.

Romans 3:22-23 Amplified Bible

22 This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God,

The truth is that we are all born sinful – each and every one of us – and within our own power we have no means to escape our sin.

We can never ‘be good enough’ to shake the curse of sin.

As Paul writes in Romans 3, there is not a single person who is righteous on their own, nor can anyone even say that they are ‘a good person’ (Romans 3:11-12).

Nothing we can think, do, or say will free us from sin. 

This seems harsh, but any parent knows what this looks like.

No child has to be taught how to lie.

No child needs to be taught selfishness, greed, or anger.

Left to our own devices, we all come by these emotions naturally and must be diligently taught how to avoid them.

This is the nature of sin at work within us.

The Glory of God

Fortunately, this is not where things must end!

Sin entangles itself into every aspect of who we are, leading to hopelessness, until we understand that there is a way to be cleansed of it.

This is the good news!

We do not have to live in the shame and pain of sin! 

Leading up to this assertion of sin, Paul wrote “our unrighteousness” serves a purpose, as it “serves to show the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:5).

Our sinful nature is not who we are designed to be, nor is it where we are designed to stay.

The fact we cannot make ourselves ‘good’ only serves as proof that God alone is good, that through Him, we can have everything that sin holds us away from!

Sin reveals a sharp contrast between the love of God and the evil of the world.

In accepting His grace and forgiveness we see His truth and beauty tear down the lies of sin.

Redemption in Christ Jesus

Romans 3:24 Amplified Bible

24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [a]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,

It sounds silly, but when I see the word ‘redemption’, I often think of …coupons.

Whether you find them online, in a mailer, or even if you still bust out the scissors and clip them from the newspaper, all coupons state what it is to be redeemed, and where this redeeming can take place. 

When you ‘redeem’ an item with a coupon, you pay less (or sometimes nothing) for that particular product.

The important thing is that the price and value of the product have not changed.

The retail price is still the retail price.

But when you walk to the checkout counter and hand over that coupon, you do not pay that price because it has already been paid for you.

The coupon is a gift that just needs to be acted upon.

The entirety of scripture is filled with accounts of God’s redemptive work among us, a redemption that we cannot ever possibly earn enough to pay for ourselves.

Not even close!

Our redemption is a gift of God’s grace alone.

Our eternal worth in Christ is not something we could ever afford to pay, but the price is already paid through Christ’s redemption on the cross.

It is for us to simply accept this redemption of our souls.

When we learn to embrace and proclaim this truth, we find the freedom we cannot even imagine any other way.  

Justified by God

Even once we have accepted His infinite grace, can we truly be justified before God?

We may often ask ourselves this question, as many have asked it for generations before us.

Throughout scripture we see the question written ‘in between the lines.’

In Ecclesiastes 3:16, King Solomon clearly states the difficulty in finding justice in the world, saying “in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness”. 

We humans regularly fail to define and determine justice.

True justice is found only in and only from God.

The justice he offers us through his redemption is completely unmerited and unrestrained by anything we consider ‘just’.

The good news of the gospel is that we who are guilty before him can be justified, the price of redemption has been paid, and God’s justice satisfied.

The Gift of Grace

Earlier in Romans 3, Paul drives home the fact that we are all sinners deserving of God’s wrath, but he doesn’t end the discussion there!

He continues on into verse 24 with the truth that we are justified through the gift of grace!

Paul, in his letter to Titus echoes this thought, as he writes, “being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

Through this gift of God’s grace, we are justified, made clean, made Holy, and given the opportunity to share this grace with those around us.

Our freedom in Christ springs from the fact His grace is free, His justification is final, and His redemption is complete.

Through His holiness alone, through His righteousness alone, we are each free to live for Him, unhindered by shame and guilt, strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, and equipped to do what only He can do in and through us.

The Greatness of God’s Grace Is Reflected in Our Salvation from Sin.

To God, and God alone, be the glory for His matchless, infinite grace!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a righteous God and that You chose to redeem mankind by means of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You that I have been imputed with righteous – even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ and that all who trust in Him for salvation will also be declared righteous, through time and into eternity. Heavenly Father, your justice is real, because you have given your Son, Jesus, to die in my place, paying the price for my sin. Thank you that through the sacrifice of Christ I may know freedom from my sins, to live in your love alone as my Father in heaven. in Jesus name, AMEN

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.