Holy Week

holyweekThis week is a very special time for born-again believers. Even those who are not Christians will recognize the week in various ways. Religious people may spend more time at their churches.  Folks might purchase chocolate bunnies and Easter candy, never giving any thought to the real sufferings of Jesus Christ or His redeeming resurrection.

He lives! And His last week while here on earth was filled with many events, interaction with others, and timeless truths to embrace.

I don’t usually post every day, but for the rest of the week, I hope to do just that–each day concentrating on a different character. I hope this little group of posts will be a blessing to you as you aim to focus on our risen Savior!

Tomorrow, we will begin by comparing two individuals who met Jesus while on his way to Jerusalem. But after looking back to the events prior to  Jesus’ meeting with one of these characters, blind Bartimaeus, I found a lesson! So, let’s back up a bit and recap all that has happened in Mark 10 leading up to our passage.

  1. Vs. 1 – 12: Jesus is teaching the people when the Pharisees ask him about divorce.
  2. Vs. 13 – 14: “Suffer the little children” passage, which begins with these words: “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased.”
  3. Vs.17 – 27: Rich young ruler passage, which ends with the camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle comparison. Jesus ends the discourse with, “for with God all things are possible.”
  4. Vs. 28 – 31: Peter declares that they have left all to follow Jesus, and Jesus assures him of rewards in heaven.
  5. Vs. 32 – 34: While on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus tells the disciples what will soon happen.  He would be:
    • Delivered unto the chief priests and scribes
    • They would condemn him to death
    • They would deliver him to the Gentiles
    • He would be mocked, scourged, spit upon
    • They would kill him
    • He would rise the third day
  6. Vs. 35 – 45: James and John ask to sit next to Jesus in the Kingdom age and the ten are grumbling. Jesus answers by telling them to have servant’s hearts.
  7. Vs.46 – 52: The healing of blind Bartimaeus

I’m not certain of the timeframe for all these events, but we do know that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with His disciples.  He also knows what else will happen; however, the disciples have no clue. Whether the Father blinded their eyes or they were blinded by their own agendas, they completely missed what Jesus is saying. You can see that He tells them in great detail what will happen! We know because it is all recorded in the Bible, but these were future events, and, sadly, the disciples have formulated in their minds other plans for Jesus.

Last evening, we participated in a Seder meal, the Passover meal observed this evening by Jewish people all over the world. It was very fascinating and informative.  Much of this Old Testament ritual points to the Messiah’s coming; in fact,’ Jewish people believe that the Messiah will return during Passover and faithfully look for Him every year.  The last words spoken at the end of the Seder refer to a hope that they will celebrate Passover in Jerusalem next year, which would mean Messiah came and ushered in His Kingdom.

So, when the disciples are heading to Jerusalem, they truly believe that this is the year, Jesus is the Messiah, and that the Kingdom age will begin… now! Jesus would show Himself to be the King of kings and overthrow Rome’s tyranny! Certainly, Sunday’s palm entrance would only solidify their thoughts! When you keep this thought in mind, everything takes on a different understanding:

  • Peter’s promise to never forsake Jesus—of course, he wouldn’t, they would be in the Kingdom age ruling together!
  • Their lack of urgency in the garden—such excitement would have exhausted them, and prayer seemed unnecessary.
  • Their overwhelming amazement at the cross—this was NOT supposed to be happening!
  • Even James’ and John’s quest for top rank makes more sense because in their minds it was happening immediately!

Here we are, 2,000 years later, still looking for our Messiah and Savior to return and begin  His clock to ticking again. We’ve been “stuck” in the church age for 2,000 years! Do you hope for His return to be soon, or are you comfortable in your little world just the way it is? It’s a good question to ask to gain a clearer perspective on reality—God’s reality!

As I sit here typing, knowing that the Jewish Passover is this evening, I wonder, what if this was the night that Jesus returned? Depending on our age, our thoughts go several different directions:

  • Teens—But I want to get married and have children
  • Young Adults—But I want to see my children grow up
  • Middle Age—But I want to see my grandchildren grow up
  • Older—Come ahead, dear Jesus!  I’ve lived my life and I’m ready to go!

Granted, I’m fast approaching the last category, but may I share some really good news for every age? Look at the following timeline:

  1. Rapture – this is the next event on God’s eternal clock
  2. Great Tribulation (seven years) – for the unsaved, this is really bad news. There will be so much deception and horror in these seven years (especially the last 3 ½) that no one would survive if God did not keep it short! (Matt. 24:22), but believers will be with Jesus in heaven!
  3. Battle of Armageddon – which isn’t really a battle because Jesus just speaks and the wicked are destroyed (interesting opposite to God speaking everything into existence at Creation!)
  4. KINGDOM AGE (MILLENNIUM) – One thousand years here on earth under Jesus’ earthly reign! We will be here! So, if you are afraid of the Rapture, don’t be! You will be trading in a few years on this sinful earth for a thousand years in a Christ-ruled world before entering into eternity! Hallelujah!

So, what’s the point? Well, there are several. First, as I look at Mark 10, and mentally follow Jesus just days before his suffering, I’m challenged with several thoughts:

Am I as blinded to Jesus’ true agenda for my life as the disciples were?

Am I a challenge or blessing to my Lord? Does the way I’m living my life please Him, or am I being short-sighted?

Open our eyes, LORD!

Second, am I looking for His coming?

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8

May this week change each of us to walk just a little closer, a little more circumspectly, and a bit more focused on the One who suffered so much for each of us!

 

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What If It Were Today?

I have always been fascinated with a cuckoo clock.  (No wise cracks, please!)  When I was a child, one of my aunts had a cuckoo clock, and she would push the minute hand ahead so we could see the little bird come out and sing!  Now we are the owners of a cuckoo clock, which is a story in itself!

We inherited the clock which had hung silent in my husband’s great uncle’s house for many years.  We brought it home, but it didn’t run; so I called the clock store to see how much it would cost to get it cleaned and oiled – it was NOT in the budget! Sooo, I took off the back, blew in it and choked, and then sprayed it with my friend WD40!  Voila!  It started ticking and has run ever since.  There have been comical stories as to its fits of silence.  I have prayed over the clock and worked on it, ignored it and pampered it. It still sings sweetly in our living room.

It’s fascinating to me to see kids watching the clock. As I taught a lesson this morning, the next student would glance at it.  Then she would watch it for a while, hoping to see the little fellow; but she would then get distracted into looking at something else.  This happened several times;  when the first note of the little birdie sang, I saw her head snap in his direction, satisfied to have caught the little critter in action!

How are you doing at watching for our dear Lord’s return?  I must confess that my mind has been much on this topic lately because my next book is called A Moment in Time and will be centered around the life of a pastor’s daughter when the Rapture occurs.

In my studies, I have found that many churches do not teach about the Rapture.  I was so surprised, although I shouldn’t have been.  The church I grew up in does not teach about the topic; however, for the past thirty years, it has been a steady albeit small portion of my Bible study diet.  As with Twelve Smooth Stones’ Holocaust setting, I would never have chosen the topic; although the more I read those special passages in the Bible, the more I look to the skies!

We have so many blessings poured upon us from our heavenly Father as born-again believers – the Rapture is just one of them.  Isn’t it just like Him to bring us home before He turns His wrath against those that refuse Him?

We sing “What If It Were Today,” but do we really live as though it could be this day that we see our Savior face to face?  And then the question MUST be asked, is He my Savior?  Have I fulfilled His requirements for salvation?  Someone once said that there are only two churches in this world: one says, “DO” while the other says, “DONE!”

God’s requirements are not a “to do” list – He only requires one thing, the greatest thing to Him: a personal acceptance of Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice  – I must only believe and receive.  I believe that:

  1. I am a sinner, and my sin must be punished
  2. Jesus paid the debt of my sins on the cross – He took my punishment
  3. He WILL save me IF I ask Him to!  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13

I receive the gift of salvation completely free, but paid with the priceless blood of God’s only begotten Son!

Ready – Set – Go!   That makes us ready.  As a Christian, I keep walking close to my Savior, and that makes me set; and When He calls – I go!  Hallelujah, What a Savior!  Live in the light of eternity – it may be today!

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Cor 15:52