The link below is the Lent/Easter Devotional for today, Good Friday. It is one of the most powerful presentations on Good Friday that I have ever experienced. Be certain to watch the video at the end . . . enlarge it to full screen & turn up the volume! Embrace the moment and prepare yourself for Sunday . . . it's comin' “Sunday is a Comin’” by the late Dr. S.M. Lockridge http://t.co/RC7tgszcrp
Though I did not grow up in a
Christian home and did not have much understanding about the things of GOD or
who JESUS was our family had the traditional picture of a blue-eyed JESUS and I
saw many pictures depicting the Last Supper.
It was many years after I had become a believer that I came to
understand that what I had always known as the Last Supper was actually a
Passover Meal and it has taken me years longer to understand the significance
of this meal.
As I read Mark 14:12 today, I was
impacted in a fresh new way by the statement:
“On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being
sacrificed . . . .” Do you see the
amazing picture taking place here? It
would be helpful to read the story of the first Passover especially Exodus 11
Every year, even to this day
thousands of years later, Jews all over the world remember this foundational
event by observing the Passover Feast which includes a Passover Seder (a retelling
of the Exodus from Egypt). There is also
expectation of the coming of the Messiah who will re-establish the kingdom of
In our scripture today we read of
JESUS calling His disciples together to observe the Passover meal (Last Supper)
as Jews everywhere were doing. But this
one was different from all the others.
JESUS took some of the bread they were eating during their Passover meal
and said, “Take it; this is My body” (v. 22).
Then He took the wine they were drinking during their Passover meal and
said, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (v.
24). JESUS could not have done or said a
more insulting thing to incite the religious leaders. JESUS was clearly declaring that He was the
long awaited Messiah . . . the Son of GOD . . . . He was boldly declaring He was the ultimate
fulfillment of the Passover Seder . . . He WAS the Passover Lamb!
In the midst of disciples’ pridefully
clamoring about who might be the greatest or who might have the best position
of authority and honor in the new “administration” JESUS declares His identity. JESUS gives an example of the kind of king He
is going to be and the kind of kingdom in which He will reign by washing their
feet. I don’t think they go it!
The religious leaders didn’t get
it either. They felt so threatened by
JESUS they were ready to implement the evil plan of ending all of this . . . the
irony of it all . . . they were playing a role in the redemptive story of GOD
and they were being led by one of JESUS’ own.
He was present at the Passover meal with JESUS. And JESUS, knowing all along what was coming
down, washed his feet. I am amazed!
The Wednesday of Holy Week has
been called “Spy Wednesday” by the Church for many years. The plot thickens as the religious leaders
are meeting privately plotting angrily for a way to have JESUS put away. JESUS had confronted them over and over again
and had made strong statements that inflamed them as He proclaimed GOD’s
piercing truth uncompromisingly. He had
to be silenced and it had to be quickly!
Luke makes a statement in our
scripture today that made me shiver to my bones: “And Satan entered into Judas . . . .” This was the moment that Judas made a
decision he could not sit back any longer.
Perhaps he thought he needed to take matters into his own hands to force
JESUS’ hand to move forward with the new kingdom of Israel. Or, perhaps Judas was just plain greedy and
the experience of Mary anointing JESUS’ feet with expensive ointment and JESUS' defense of her against him was more than he could stand. Whatever the reason Judas became a pawn in
Judas actually met with the
religious leaders to discuss how this would all go down. They were more than happy to agree with him
(sounds like it was his plan . . . his idea) and agreed to give him money in return. We know the amount was “30 pieces of silver”
. . . the price of the life of a
slave (Exodus 21:32).
It gets worse; Judas began
plotting for the best opportunity to betray JESUS away from the crowd. This really puts the thought of Judas’
presence at the Last Supper with JESUS and the other disciples into
perspective. I’m thinking, “You dirty,
sneaking, conniving, evil, and horribly wicked traitor! How dare you!
How could you!
This story has just never hit me
this way before. This makes me cry
out. This makes my heart heavy and
brings an aching pain in the pit of my stomach.
You know the feeling! Why am I
sitting here in Ugly Mugs (coffee shop in East Nashville) thinking about this
and experiencing a deep wave of emotions flowing throughout the fiber of my
I think I know if I’m willing to
be truly honest with myself. And I think
you know why too. It seems I’m more like
Judas most days than I ever want to be or that I’m willing to confess and
admit. “Had the redemption of the world
depended on the diligence of the disciples (or even their staying awake) it
would never have been accomplished” (Donald Macleod, “The Person of
Christ”). And yet JESUS died for Judas
and for me and for you.
Though the raising of Lazarus and
Mary’s anointing are very familiar stories to me the proximity to JESUS own
death, burial, and resurrection overwhelmed me in a completely new way
today.This story took place six days
before the Passover.John has just said
in John 11:57 that the chief priests and the Pharisees had issued a warrant for
His arrest.The time is very near.JESUS is moving into danger not away from
it.This is the Passover when He will
JESUS was having a special dinner
with His friends. They were honoring
JESUS for raising Lazarus from death.
Lazarus was reclining right there with them. Mary then took expensive ointment, about the
size of a soda can, made from pure nard (a highly valued fragrance) and
anointed JESUS’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was overwhelmed with the fragrance.
We know about Judas’ objection
but let’s focus on Mary’s expression of love, value, and worth that she felt
toward JESUS. Mary realized intimacy
with JESUS and to know Him, to see Him for who He was, to hear His incredible
teaching, to experience His healing touch, and to have authentic fellowship
with Him is infinitely more valuable to her than the money used to purchase the
expensive perfume. JESUS brought her
brother back to life! There is no way to
measure the value of that.
Mary took that which was the most
beautiful thing that she had, her hair, and used it to wash JESUS’ feet, the
lowliest part of JESUS. She turned her
hair into a rag to wash JESUS’ feet.
This is truly the ultimate foot washing expression.
Judas could not begin to
comprehend what Mary was doing because he was so focused on the material
thing. That’s what happens when we allow
the things of this world replace our worship of JESUS who is LORD and KING.
JESUS did not want Judas to rob
Mary of her thrill, her gratitude, her amazement, her wonder, or her love for
Him. The mind set of Judah at the tomb
would be: so much for that Messiah; so
much for that way to find victory over our enemies. What a waste!
What a failure! But the mind set
of Mary and those who believe as she believes will be one filled with love and
hope as she stands by the tomb in six days.
If anyone tells you to moderate
your love for JESUS, do not listen! Let
your affections for JESUS be lavish! Do
not allow the cares of this world rob you of the riches JESUS has to
offer! Do not allow anyone to tell you
JESUS’ death is anything less than triumph over death. JESUS is the resurrection and the life. “Whoever believes in Him, though he die, yet
shall he live. Whoever lives and believes
in Him shall never die (John 11:25-26).”
When JESUS came to Jerusalem it’s
clear He was unhappy with what He was seeing in the Temple. This was GOD’s house but it had become a
commercial enterprise rather than a place for people to come and worship GOD and
find healing. It had become restricted
by rules that exempted the blind, the destitute, and the outcasts.
JESUS declared in uncompromising
terms that, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations” (v. 17). On a wall not far from where JESUS made that
declaration was a sign reminding all foreigners who tried to pass the wall
would be killed and there were Temple police armed and ready to enforce this
rule. For JESUS to make this strong
declaration was remarkable. We can see
why He angered the religious leaders of His day. The Temple was to be a place of healing and
redemption for all people.
JESUS did not miss an opportunity
to include those who were usually excluded.
Anyone who may feel unworthy or excluded should be welcomed and discover
genuine hospitality when we meet GOD’s people.
Everyone should feel welcome regardless of their background or
history. We should extend that welcome
to all people.
There has never been a person
ever born who was not created by GOD and created in GOD’s own image no matter
how wicked or vile we may think they are (Genesis 1:26-27). There has never been a person ever born whom
JESUS did not suffer for and die for on what we call Good Friday. There has never been a person ever born whom
GOD did not offer redemption to through JESUS’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.
GOD loves all people right where
we are in the midst of our sin and depravity and demonstrated His unconditional
love for us by providing His own Son as atonement so that we, in the midst of
our sin, would be justified before GOD, saved from the wrath of GOD, reconciled
to GOD, and saved by His life (Romans 5:8-11).
Now see this incredible truth: “For if we have become united with Him in the
likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His
resurrection, knowing this, that our old self (the nature of Adam) was
crucified with Him in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so
that we would no longer be slaves to sin (the fallen nature of Adam)” (Romans
6:5-6). And see this: “For the death that He died, He died to sin
ONCE FOR ALL but the life that He lives, He lives to GOD. Even so, consider yourselves (it is a done
deal) to be dead to sin (fallen nature of Adam), but alive to GOD in CHRIST
JESUS” (Romans 6:10-11).
This is why I am overwhelmed in
worship & why I will celebrate Easter in a big way!