Passion Week – Friday
Jesus knew that His mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to His lips. When Jesus had tasted it, He said, “It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and released His spirit.
John 19:28-30 NLT
During the final hours of Jesus’ life, he uttered seven sayings that are his “last words” on the cross. The sixth saying is comprised of three powerful, poignant and purposeful words . . . “It is finished”.
The suffering and pain that Jesus endured can never be completely and adequately described. Read More
Passion Week – Thursday
Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:15-16 NLT
As Jesus draws near to the close of His earthly Kingdom mission, He finds time to share a significant and sacred time with His most devout followers.
The Passover meal is His last. Read More
Passion Week – Wednesday
Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” . . . So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.
John 11:49-50, 53 NLT
Sacrificing one to save many is the basis of an age-old utilitarian postulate. The premise can be a paralyzingly challenge.
The high priest, Caiaphas had no difficulty making such an impacting decision. His choice was based on selfish survival . . . while God’s was the sacrifice of His sole Son.
Caiaphas manipulated but God moved.
Caiaphas reacted but God redeemed.
Caiaphas protected his own interest but God provided for all. Read More
Passion Week – Tuesday
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NLT
On Monday of Jesus’ Passion Week, He entered the Temple in Jerusalem and cleared it of moneychangers. The merchant’s motive was to place a monetary value on worship.
Jesus’ message is that worship is a free expression of the heart.
He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
Mark 11:17 NLT
As Jesus begins the last week of His earthly walk, He descriptively defines His coming Kingdom.
Redemption replaces religiosity . . .
Love instead of legalism . . .
Mercy instead of manipulation.
Grace is given and reconciliation received.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12 NLT
When it comes to handling trials and temptations, we usually look for prompt answers instead of patient acceptance.
When there is pain, we run to self-medicate.
When there are problems, we self-solve.
When there are pressures, we self-sooth.
If it gets too much to handle, we let go . . . abandoned to passivity instead of accepting responsibility.
James tells us there is “blessing” from God when we are resilient and refuse give up, give in or get out.
He reminds us, “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
Patient Endurance. Our first reaction to patiently enduring is too often, “Oh no . . . not again”, while God wants us to respond, “Ok . . . what can I gain”. Every challenge is a chance to grow. Patient endurance leads to persistent encouragement. Paul encourages the Christ-followers in Corinth, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Cor 10:13 NLT). We are not alone. We are able to handle it. A solution is available.
Promised Crown. The word used for “crown” is “stephanos“, which can also refer to a “reward” or “laurel wreath.” In the original Greek Olympics, the winner of a sporting contest was honored with a laurel crown. Just as a runner perseveres through the difficulties of the race so that he might reach the finish line and receive the reward, Jesus is waiting to place a crown of life upon our head when we reach the finish line after persevering through pain, problems and persecution. Jesus’ promise and presence provides us peace in our problems. He comforts us, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
Focusing on Christ Jesus gives us a freedom in our challenges. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Heb12:2 NLT)
Be patient and keep your eyes on the prize.
Hang in there because He is there.