Forgive Them???

I have been reflecting on the things Jesus said while he was dying on the cross.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He showed care and concern for his mother, Mary, by giving her to the care of John his follower. In that culture and time, Mary would have depended on Jesus as her eldest son for her welfare.

In a moment of agony, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”

He told a thief dying in a cross next to him that the thief would be with him in Paradise after the thief professed faith in Jesus.

One of the things Jesus said really grabs me. It shows his heart for all people even the worst of us, even the ones who tortured him, conspired against him, mocked him.

Jesus cried out to God our Father, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Even while dying an agonizing death on a cross, Jesus interceded for those who harmed him with God our Father.

Let’s let that sink in.

Romans soldiers nailed him to the cross and Jesus’s response was, “Father forgive them.”

People were mocking Jesus while he was dying and his response was, “Father forgive them.”

Religious leaders conspired against Jesus and his response was, “Father forgive them.”

If Jesus could ask the Father to forgive the soldiers who nailed him to the cross, what could we possibly do that would cause Jesus to not want to ask the Father to forgive us? Think of your worst sin, failure, mistake. whatever and compare it to nailing Jesus to the cross.

The love of Jesus for us is so deep and so strong that no matter what we have done or will do, we can never be separated from his love. That is what we remember today as we remember Jesus dying for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Advertisements

Who or What Put Jesus on the Cross?

A question I like to ask when I teach about Jesus is, who or what put Jesus on the cross?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Thursday before Jesus was crucified sheds some light on the answer. Before Jesus was put though a rigged trial as part of the conspiracy of the religious leaders, soldiers came to arrest him.Jesus knew what was going to happen, but he went out to the soldiers anyway and asked who they were looking for. We can see the drama unfold in John 18.

“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.”

When Jesus told them he was the one they were looking for, he manifested his power by knocking them to the ground. He then permitted them to arrest him.

So the conspiracy of the religious leaders did not put Jesus on the cross nor did Pilate and the Roman soldiers. Jesus has all power. He could have stopped the whole thing with a few words just as he did when he calmed a storm by simply saying, “Peace be still.”

Jesus died for our sins but he had no obligation to do so. God has no obligation to do anything for us. The fallen angels rebelled against God too and there is no provision for them to be forgiven.

So who or what put Jesus on the cross?

Jesus gave the answer before it all happened. In John 15 Jesus was talking with his followers and told them they were his friends. He said:

” Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.

It was Jesus’s love for us that put him on the cross. It was his love for us that caused him to endure the torture before he was nailed to the cross. It was his love for us that caused him to let the Roman soldiers nail him to the cross. It was his love for us that kept him on the cross to the point of dying for us. It was also his love for us that motivated him to take on death and defeat it for us.

So as we go through this Good Friday and Easter weekend, let’s remember that it was the love Jesus has for us that made and let it all happen. He loves us that much. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Goodbye Dinner for Jesus?

There have been many times that I have said goodbye to people over a meal or coffee.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Some have been humorous like the time I bought my group of young Vietnamese friends ice cream to say goodbye to a 14 year old member of our group. She got mint ice cream with gummy bears mixed in.

Some have been poignant like saying goodbye to close friends who were international students before they moved back to their home country.

Goodbyes can be wonderful experiences mixed with happiness and sadness. Happy to celebrate friendship and sad to say goodbye.

When it is time to say goodbye, we want to express what is on our hearts. It is time to say important things, so we don’t leave anything unsaid.

Before Jesus was arrested and crucified, he spent time with his closest followers to say goodbye. They shared the Seder meal to commemorate the Jewish Passover.

The Seder is a meal for Jewish people to remember God delivering them from the oppression of slavery in Egypt. During the Seder meal, the cup of wine represents the blood of the lambs that was smeared on the door post and windows, so the angel of death would pass over that house sparing the first born sons.

When Jesus lifted up the cup of wine of the Seder meal, he said:

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them”

By doing so, he let his closest followers know that his blood shed on the cross would be the basis for a new covenant.

He also told them to, ” do this in remembrance of me.”

He wants us to remember his sacrifice for us. He wants us to remember his suffering for us.

The interesting thing to me is something else he said. It expressed his feelings in Luke 22:

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus was eager to share this last Passover with his closest followers. It was a part of the saying goodbye for now process.

Jesus spent time with his closest followers before he was executed on the cross. He had his “Last Supper’ with those closest to him just like we would if we could.

Next time we partake of communion, let’s remember Jesus instituted it as a way to say, “Goodbye for now, I will come back for you..I died for you. I love you.”

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Visits by Jesus After His Resurrection- What About Mary His Mother?

This is something I shared five yeas ago before the Celiacs foggy brain thing. I wanted to share it again because it is about someone I admire- Mary the Mother of Jesus.

One of the mysteries in the bible for me is what happened when Jesus came to visit His mother Mary. She is not listed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as being present during his visits after His resurrection. Surely He must have appeared to Mary His mother. She was there when He was crucified. She was there when He was buried. She had been with Him throughout His life as we see various times after His birth that she was with Him such as at the wedding in Cana. I wonder what happened when He came to her.

Think about her life for a moment. She was a young virgin when an angel appeared to her and said, “Hail Highly Favored One…..” and told her she had been chosen by God to give birth to the Savior of the world. She said yes to God’s plan. She gave birth to Him in a stable of animals and then had to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus. She raised Him and cared for Him like no one else ever will. She saw His miracles and was even there for His first public miracle of turning water into wine. In fact she kind of instigated it. Then she is there during His passion and watches Him die on the cross before her eyes. She helped to prepare His body for burial. So why is there no mention of Mary the mother of Jesus during His visits after the resurrection.

While I would not make a claim to know for sure or teach this as a doctrine, it is my thought that Jesus’ first visit with His mother Mary was so highly personal and emotional for Mary that the Holy Spirit did not have it recorded. I have often heard it expressed that God is a gentleman meaning He is polite and considerate. While God does record the failings of Peter and the other disciples, there are certain things left unwritten such as the exact nature of Mary Magdaline’s life before Jesus healed her of demon possession. I believe that the moment Jesus first came to see His mother after His resurrection was so personal and emotional for her and out of respect for that moment it was kept private.

There is something in the bible that convinces me that Jesus must have visited Mary after His resurrection. Mary was with the disciples in the upper room when the promise of the Father came upon them. When the Holy Spirit was sent to those who were waiting, Mary was there with them.  In the bible she may fade from the scene as the focus of the story shifts to what the apostles did as they started the church, but she was there when the Holy Spirit came signaling that she still has a role. She is one person I look forward to meeting one day when Jesus calls me home. I would love to hear the story from her 🙂

 

Music Mondays- What A Beautiful Name By Brooke Ligertwood

First of all I want to thank those of you who are following my blog. In recent weeks my followers have grown to now over 50. That may not sound like a big deal for bloggers with a large following, but after the previous four to five years of living with Celiacs symptoms, one of which is foggy brain which shut down my creative side, to get back to this blog means a lot to me and so do those who follow me. SO THANK YOU!!!

Music has helped me through so many ups and downs in life. Last year was one of those times of mostly downs in my life as I went from doctor to doctor to find out what was wrong. I have had other periods in my life when worship music really helped me to keep my focus on God through the dark times in life. There have also been numerous times that God has guided me or shown me something as I have had my times of prayer, coming into his presence.

pexels-photo-921781.jpeg

So I wanted to start doing Music Mondays for a way to share songs that have meant a lot to me. The songs might be worship songs, Christian music or secular, just me sharing something that has meant something to me in hopes it lifts you up on a Monday. Who doesn’t need a pick me up on a Monday?

pexels-photo-967016.jpeg

If I share a link for a video, it will only be from the musicians website, from youtube via their website or ministry’s website, or VEVO on youtube.

The first song I want to share is one that perhaps many of you have heard. It is a song that is very fitting for this season of having just celebrated Easter. The song is ‘What A Beautiful Name It Is’ written and performed by Brooke Ligertwood of Hillsong.

When people are dying, they express what is on their hearts. I remember a friend from Korea who had cancer. I met with him to pray several times during the last four months of his earthly life. Each time he shared with me that he was no concerned about himself, but he was very concerned about what would happen to his wife and three young children.

In John 17 the prayer of Jesus before his arrest and subsequent trial, suffering and crucifixion is recorded. Jesus is praying to the Father. Jesus knew his impending suffering was about to begin. In his prayer we see what was on his heart. Jesus prayed in John 17:24- “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am,and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” Jesus himself said that he wanted us in heaven.

There is a wonderful line in the song “What A Beautiful Name’ that goes, ‘You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down’. Jesus wants us to be in heaven with him, so he came to show us God the Father, teach us about God, and in fulfilling his mission to die for our sins and defeat death for us all because he wanted us to be able to be in heaven with him.

Think about it, Jesus WANTS you and me to be in heaven with him. He wants to share heaven with us. Last year as I went through a year of pain, doubt, confusion, and stress of many doctor appointments and tests, that thought helped me to not go down the spiral staircase of despair. That is why this first Music Monday I want to share this song with you. I hope it blesses you as much or more than it has blessed and continues to bless me.

I would love to to know what songs lift you up or what picks you up on a Monday.

Easter- Jesus Is Alive.

It is Easter Sunday, my favorite Sunday of the year. Why? Because the resurrection of Jesus means that his death for us did indeed accomplish what Jesus set out to do which is to die for all of our sins. Jesus took death and wadded it up like a piece of paper. Death had no power over Jesus. He is alive forevermore and he wants to share that with us!!!!

I am posting this on Sunday morning before I go to church. I am looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s victory over death for us. Because he conquered the worst that can happen to us, death, we have hope in every situation.

He wants to share the power of his resurrection with us for eternal life and also for situations in our lives now. I remember when my father was in Alcoholics Anonymous. There is a line in their ‘Big Book’ that says, ‘there is one who has all power, may you find him now.’ Jesus is the one who has all power and he wants to set us free from problems in this life like addictions, broken relationships, eating disorders, and other problems. He came to give us life. He came to give us his resurrection power so we can be free from sin in our lives, to be freed up to forgive, to live healthier lives emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.

I have experienced myself how Jesus can help free us. He freed me from addiction 30 years ago. He freed me from the tangled web of mind games in my family. He freed me from death when I was dying 25 years ago, so I could serve him longer in this life. There are so many other examples from my life of how Jesus shared the power of his resurrection to help me. As I write this, I pray for those who will read this to experience the power of the resurrection in their lives, to receive his love, grace and mercy.

I would like to share this music video by Kristene DiMarco with you. My hope is it blesses you.

God Bless and Happy Easter- HE IS RISEN!!!

Mary, Mary, Mary and John were there. Would I have been there?

I think it is sometimes easy for us to read the accounts of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and perhaps be critical of the lack of faith on the part of those who lived through the actual events. John gives the more complete list of the people who were there as Jesus died. His mother Mary was there. Mary Magdalene was there. Mary the wife of Clopas was there. What about his disciples? The ones Jesus spent a lot of time with mentoring them, teaching them, taking them into his inner circle? John was there, but where were Peter, James, Andrew, and the rest?

cross-sunset-humility-devotion-161089.jpeg

They were scattered and in hiding. They had deserted him. So do we judge them? Should we make light of their lack of faith? Do we have the right to feel superior to them?

NO!!! I don’t think we can begin to understand what they were going through. Maybe someone living in a country overly hostile to Christians and our faith and might be killed or put in jail could understand the pressures the disciples were under. The disciples could have risked execution themselves or jail if they had been out in public. Peter denied Jesus three times out of fear, but I am not going to try to judge Peter for his failure.

There were Roman soldiers all over the place. The religious leaders were openly hostile to Jesus and his followers. The disciples knew a conspiracy had happened. They were there when Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss and they saw Jesus arrested and taken away. What could eleven men do against all of those soldiers? The women, the three Marys, would not have been viewed as a threat, but the disciples would have been. It amazes me that John was there/

But the main reason I have no place to think less of them is this- I would have probably also run and hid. And if you are honest, you probably would have too. I think about the times I have not been willing to be identified with Jesus in my life. The times I have denied him by staying silent. When I look inside of me, I realize that I am not just as weak as the disciples were, I am weaker. They did not have the rest of the story yet. Jesus had told them he would die and rise again, but it hadn’t happened yet and they did not understand until after it happened. But I have the whole story to read. I know that it did not end on Calvary that Friday. The rest of the story took place Sunday morning when Jesus defeated death through his resurrection.

In a way, I deny Jesus just like Peter and the others did when I shy away from being identified as a Christian. The times I fail to share his love and his message with those who desperately need him.

With today being Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus let himself be crucified, my hope is to renew my faith and my desire to share Jesus.

Palms Sunday- Jesus Rode in Knowing All That Would Happen

pexels-photo-796656.jpeg

Riding in on a white colt, Jesus heard the shouts and praises of “Hosanna to the Son of David” as people were excitedly welcoming Jesus by throwing palm leaves and even their cloaks on the road before Jesus. And why not? News had spread of his miracles especially his recent one of bringing Lazarus back from the dead. The people had been waiting for their Messiah, promised one, for a long time.

But Jesus knew what was about to happen in a few short days. He knew that the crowds would turn against him and cry out give us Barabas and of Jesus, crucify him. Jesus knew what was in their hearts, what is in our hearts, but he rode in to what he knew lay ahead- His Suffering for us.

Jesus comes to us in throughout our lives. He stands at the door and knocks and anyone who opens the door, he will enter. He comes to us knowing what is in our hearts. Knowing we will fail him, stumble along, sin, mess up, but he comes to us anyway. Why? Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem knowing they would crucify him in a few shorts days? Why does he come to me each day and say,”It is a new day” and why does he come to all of us?

Jesus gave the answer days before his crucifixion when he taught his disciples in John 15, ‘greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friends.’ Jesus rode in knowing all that would happen, he comes to us in our lives knowing our weakness, because- HE LOVES US.

Good Friday and Easter Approaching

It is hard to believe Easter weekend is almost here. One week from today we will be observing Good Friday to remember the suffering and death of Jesus on our behalf followed by Easter Sunday as we celebrate Jesus defeating death for us.

This year I have been thinking a lot about what the authentic first Good Friday and Easter experience would have been like for those who lived it. Even some people who usually do not get much notice from the first Good Friday/Easter get my attention like Simon of Cyrene who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus or the Roman Centurion who said, “Truly this was the son of God.”

What thoughts would they have had? What feelings about the drama would they have had? Those are things that have been on my mind a lot this year.

So, next week my posts in this blog and also in my fictional short story blog encounterswiththeancients.com will focus on the people who lived through and experienced that first Passion of our Lord.

My prayer is to grow closer to Jesus as we go through the week we remember the Passion of Jesus.

Jesus Laid in the Tomb- His Followers Despair and Lose Hope

Good Friday and Easter Sunday deservedly receive a lot of attention. They are the pivotal events in not only Christianity, but also in History. On Good Friday we remember His sacrificial death for us. On Easter Sunday we remember how He defeated death for us through His resurrection. But what about the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? The day when Jesus’ body laid in the tomb. His followers were in despair. They had lost hope. They thought it was all over and done with and their beloved leader was gone forever.

I have been to the funerals of loved ones and friends. Looking into a casket is perhaps the most solemn experience we face in this life. That and watching a loved one die. I was with my father when he died. He died while I was reading from the bible to him. When my father died, I did not despair. That was because over a year before he died, I was with him while he made peace with God by trusting in Jesus. I had so much peace about where my father went to that I taught my class that evening, but I had the benefit of knowing the rest of the story which is that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection.

There are other moments in life that might we feel all hope is lost. We look at our life obstacles and wonder if there is anyway that we can find that job, get out of debt, experience our loved ones finally getting their life turned around, recover from an illness or any other of life’s seemingly unending problems. We at times are like the followers of Jesus on that Saturday between the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is as if we are on the outside of the tomb lost in despair.

I often wonder how His followers felt that Saturday. What it must have been like for those who washed His body and prepared His body for burial. They had forgotten about how Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead only days before Jesus entered Jerusalem. They had forgotten how Jesus had told them that He would die and that He would be raised from dead. They had lost hope. We do the same thing. We lose hope even though we have the rest of the story. We know that Jesus defeated death. His resurrection proves that He has power even over our worst enemy. When we face life’s difficulties, it is too easy for us to lose hope and not keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

On this Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, I would like to encourage you to think about your problems and then remember that He has all power. His resurrection is the proof that we too will one day enjoy the benefits of heaven, and also that He does have all power. He is more than able to help us to overcome our difficulties.