Jesus Thirsts

John 19a.png Later, knowing that everything had been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.                                 John 19:28-29

These words are said every day by millions of people all over the world. However, few people know genuine physical thirst at its worst. Those who have experienced it, tell blood-curdling tales of the suffering it causes. Think of a person lost in the desert without water, the scorching sun burning mercilessly down on them. In wartime, when ships had been torpedoed, the survivors were left adrift in lifeboats, surrounded by an ocean but without any water to drink.

This thirst is only part of human thirst, it is a physical thirst. But then there is the other kind of thirst, and that is spiritual thirst, thirsting for God, for salvation and for everlasting life! We are standing at Golgotha again today where we have brought our sin and have come for forgiveness. We have brought our corruption to received perfection, our rebellion to learn humbleness. We have come to the cross with our despair to receive faith, with darkness to receive eternal light, with our sorrow to receive joy. We have come to Golgotha with our physical and spiritual thirst to received the Water of Life.

Christ was hanging on the cross and he couldn’t live much longer. The darkness has passed and the sun shining again. The pain of His wounds and the blistering eastern sun were accompanied by a consuming thirst. This was one of the most painful aspects of death on the cross. It is said that with a crucifixion, one’s thirst is worse than the pain. Jesus had now been on the cross for three hours. After all the preceding suffering and scorn, He now had to endure also the unbearable thirst. 

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God, I thirst for God, the living God.                                  Psalm 42:1-2

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Feeling Forsaken

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From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,” lema sabachthani? (which means) ” My God, my God, why have you forsake me?”

We are standing on Golgotha and watching in dismay how Jesus is dying a painful death, so that we may be united with God. Christ has prayed for His enemies, He has given a murderer the assurance of salvation. He has made provision for his mother and brother. Now a heavy silence rests on Golgotha, because darkness has descended. Then the air is split by an agonized cry: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Christ was not delirious, he was forsaken by God! He did not think he was forsaken by God: He was forsaken by God! This was all for our sakes. Forsaken! Is there a sadder word in any language in the world? Forsaken by your friends, your parents, your people and family? Jesus knew all of this. But now he had experienced the greatest rejection: being forsaken by God! The soul of Christ suffering was not the suffering of his body, it was the suffering of his soul.

Because he suffered, he is able to identify with us when darkness settles in our lives, and we all know such times. No torment we know could ever equal Christ’s torment. When we suffer, we once again realize God’s unshakable faith in his bottomless sorrow. Even if it was dark around him and he felt God forsaken, it was always, “My God”! He knew that he would never drift out of the sphere of God’s love. Thus we should also believe without a doubt that because Jesus died, we cannot drift away from God’s love.

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

 

“Here Is Your Son”

 

 

John 19

  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved, standing nearby he said to her, “Woman here is your son, “ and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the disciple took her into his home.      John 19:25-27

Our Scripture today  illustrates love born of the sincere heart of a child. Jesus was truly God but also truly human, yet without sin. He knew how much Mary had to suffer. Only love allows one to understand the suffering of another. The love of Christ always burnt brightly, for the entire sinful world, but also is tenderness for His only family and especially for his mother. Christ’s last command concerned his mother. He forgot himself, his own needs, his own sorrow. Human love was an important priority in Jesus’ life. In his dying hour and in his sorrow, he took care of his mother. If anyone dare say that they are taking care of their parents, let them look up at the cross on Golgotha and remember Jesus’ example. Jesus was never more thankful, tender and sensitive than at that moment. He loved his own until the very end. Jesus had already saved the man on the cross next to him, he had already prayed for his enemies, but he did not forget his mother! Human bonds bring responsibilities, responsibilities that remain even after our death. Christ’s suffering and death make us very aware of this. And so on the cross on Golgotha connects the two richest words on earth: mother and Jesus!

 

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friens

“You Will Be With Me In Paradise”

Luke 23a.png    One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! Bit the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God” he said, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man had done nothing wrong. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

These words demonstrate the infinite power of remorse. Even in the face of death, Christ still grants forgiveness and saves us, and even when our lives depend on it, we can reject Him. The sinner on this cross has deep remorse for a life of sin. He now realize that he is unsaved and that the only one who can save him is hanging next to him. There were so many opportunities in his life that he didn’t make use of, but not again. Sin drives us away from God while confession of sin brings us closer to God’s heart, a heart that doesn’t want the sinner’s death, but wants them to repent and live. This sinner who hung next to Jesus reveals a childlike faith. He trusts like a child and holds our his weak hand so that the Father’s Almighty hand can take hold of it and pull him out of the mud and slime of sin, and place him on the steady Rock. His is a childlike surrender: trusting like a child, believing like a child and praying like a child. Jesus himself, “Unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

Because this sinner is remorseful, Jesus accepts him. He becomes part of a wonderful partnership where he will experience the most indescribable love imaginable; the forgiving love of the middle cross. Jesus our Redeemer and Savior. Paradise!

Prayer: Jesus, we come to you with a humble heart asking for your forgiveness for the many sins we have committed, please help us to change from the inside out, and to become more like you.                                    Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

“Father, Forgive Them”

Luke 23

Two other men, both criminals were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with two criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the chosen One.”            Luke 23:32-35

The seven times Jesus spoke on the cross are like seven windows that gave us insight into the mind and heart or our dying Savior. In the first three, our Savior elaborates on the love in His heart for His enemies, the two thieves on the cross and also His mother Mary. 

Today, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we reflect on these words, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. The crucifixion was a brutal act that was not only accompanied by humiliation and scorn, but also by terrible suffering. In those moments of Jesus’ deepest agony, Christ speaks not a curse but a prayer, not a prayer of vengeance, but of sympathy and forgiveness. It is unbelievable by true.!

However, Jesus has a haven amid his suffering: His Father. His Father is also our Father. In our worst grief we can pray to Him. Jesus prays a prayer of compassion. “They don’t know what they are doing!” Jesus prays for others, not for himself. He makes excuses for them rather than condemning them. He preached it, now He was doing it. It was a test of discipleship. He loves us until the very end. His prayer includes everybody: “Father, Forgive them.: And to this day, Jesus intercedes for us. We learn to receive and grant forgiveness at the cross.

Dear Jesus, by your wounds we are healed, thank you for your great sacrificed in our place and your forgiveness of our sins even when we don’t deserve it. Help us to forgive others the way you have forgiven me.                       Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

“I Did It Just For You”

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Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Christian “Holy Week” as we journey together this week I will share with all of you the last seven words that Jesus spoke while hanging on the cross in our place. Can you even imagine that split second when your face will be brighten as you watch perhaps in fear, your eyes will be widen, and God will hear you whisper with tears rolling down your face! “YOU DID THIS FOR ME?”

 

The diadem of pain
which sliced your gentle face,
three spikes piercing flesh and wood
to hold you in your place.

The need for blood I understand,
Your sacrifice I embrace.
But the bitter sponge, the cutting spear,
The spit upon your face?

Did it have to be a cross?
Did not a kinder death exist
than six hours between life and death,
All spurred by a betrayer’s kiss.

“Oh, Father,” you pose,
Heart-stilled at what could be,
I’m sorry to ask, but I long to know,
Did you do this for me?

(Poem by Max Lucado: He Chose the Nails)

Jesus did all of this for you and for me because of His great love for mankind. Why, some may ask because of our great sins that have separated us from our Creator God Almighty”. Just imagine if you will, take a nail and go towards the cross where Jesus first laid down and then you hammered the nails (which repents your sins) on the cross, as your heart breaks into so many pieces, “My Lord, and My God, you do love me so.” and that is why “You Did This For Me”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Palm Sunday

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As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpage 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.”                           Matthew 21:1-11

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 The significance of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem comes from the prophecy stated in Zechariah 9:9 (The coming of Zion King) The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, verses the horse, which is the animal of war. Jesus entry into Jerusalem thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king. However, the people greeted Jesus was not greeting him as the spiritual leader who would take away the sins of the world, but as a potential political leader who would overthrow the Romans.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Symbolism of The Cross

 

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These words which was written by Paul the Apostle to the church in Galatia, May I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.

Galatians 6:14

Before we get to what Jesus’ said in His path of suffering, we must first understand the symbolism of the cross, otherwise we won’t understand Jesus’ words. The cross of reconciliation is, after all the essence of our religious life. The cross dominates many churches, but it seldom has anything to do with Jesus’ suffering. It adorns practically every Bible and takes a prominent place in many churches, especially at the altar.

Over the years, the cross became a root of superstition. Farmers painted it on their stables, not as a sign of godliness, but to protect the animals against sickness. People placed crosses on the borders of their farms so that no would trespass or move the boundries. People believed in the power of the sign of the cross, instead of praying to God in heaven. All of this could have been prevented if people knew the Bible better.

Moses erected the bronze serpent in the desert on God’s orders, to heal those who looked up to it in faith. Jesus himself declared in His conversation with Nicodemus that the bronze serpent was an image of Himself on the cross. Yet the bronze serpent later became an object of idolatry,  to the detriment of the Israelites’ faith. When Hezekiah became king, he got rid of all forms of idolatry, including the bronze serpent. he smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Ashterah pole. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made.             (2 Kings 18:4)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Jesus In Gethsemane

Matthew 26   Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

                                                                       Matthew 26:36-38

Gethsemane! How charged with holy perceptions, this name is to the believer! Today we come to a stop at Via Dolorosa-Christ’s road of sorrow. Gethsemane means “olive press.” Cedron, and move when we cross the bridge and move on into the shadows of the olive trees. Let us take off our shoes and bow our heads, for Jesus was here He was to wrestle in prayer with God. Gethsemane symbolizes the crushing weight Jesus carried on the cross. Christ prayed His high priest prayer for others, then He prayed for God to equip Him for His massive offering; to make the impossible possible, to bear the unbearable.

Is this the only way to save the world? asked our Savior. “It is not possible to find another way? Earlier, Satan showed Jesus the other, easier way. During Christ’s temptation in the desert, Satan said, “I will give it all to You, if You will only bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9) Jesus didn’t want to take the easier way without God’s approval. Here in Gethsemane it was not Jesus’ body that was crucified, but His will. Our Lord placed His wishes and desires on the Father’s altar. Although the cup of suffering made Him shudder, He still accepted it from the Father’s hand. He let His will become His Father’s. He bowed in obedience and carried the burden of the world to Golgotha.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Find Your Peace in Christ

Isaiah 53.pngHe was despised and rejected by mankind, a man suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised , and we held him in low esteem.                                          Isaiah 53:3

During the years, when kings ruled Israel and Judah, God spoke through prophets. Although some prophets predicted future events, their primary role was to call God’s people back to him. The most eloquent of the prophets, Isaiah, analyzed the failures of all the nations around him and pointed to a future Messiah who would bring peace to the nation and to the earth. These words you just read from the book of Isaiah were written years before the birth of Christ.

The story of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus being captured, His suffering and the rejection of His own people, is undoubtedly one of the saddest event of all time. In spite of the fact that people rejected him, Christ’s love was so strong that He accepted death of his own free will to being about salvation for you and me.

Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave so that we could have the promise of eternal life. To convince us of the depth of His love, Christ forgave Simon Peter who denied Him, and entrusted God’s flock to him. God made sure that we would be equipped with his power by giving us His Holy Spirit.

There are occasions in the life of every Christian, that you turn your back on Jesus. Every time you fail to do a good deed, when you show sings of anger and lack of love, when you are worried you will become unpopular and then keep quiet instead of standing up for what is right, you turn your face away from Jesus. Just like the people of Jerusalem when Jesus needed them most. It is not too late to turn back to Jesus. Do it right now and you will find perfect peace again. 

Prayer: Dear Jesus, forgive me when I have turn my back on you, help me to always remember the sacrifice you made for me, and how much you truly love me. Help me to become more like you.             Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends