pass over

The Passover celebration commemorates God’s unbelievable rescue of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. As part of this incredible rescue, and the Israelites’ first born sons were saved from the angel of death by the blood of a lamb upon their door posts.

God, through Moses, parted the waters of the Red Sea so they could walk on dry ground, freeing them as slaves. God didn’t want his people to forget this significant event in history – so each year a special meal commemorated this day.

Our story today takes place at a Passover meal some 1500 years after the exodus.

Let’s find out more about this meal – with Jesus and his disciples.

John 13 (NET)
Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”)12 So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet.

So much is going on in this snippet, just before Jesus’ death.  Jesus demonstrates humility by washing the feet of the men he was closest too on this earth.  Jesus demonstrated servanthood by washing the feet of his disciples, but the events just hours away demonstrated ultimate humility – just hours later, he would be arrested, beaten, and killed upon a cross meant for a criminal.

THE ultimate act of a servant – dying for someone else.

The Passover meal included a lamb – when the Israelites were in Egypt, a lamb was sacrificed so that the firstborn Israelite wouldn’t have to die – the blood of the lamb was applied to the door and the angel of death passed over that house.

Each year they would say: “The lamb died instead of me.”

Exodus 12:

“Each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” v.3
“Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames…” v. 7
“That same night the are to eat the meat roasted over the fire…” v. 8
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD – a lasting ordinance.” v. 14

Generations to come celebrated this event – which is why Jesus, some 1500 years later, celebrates the Passover.

Jesus knew the events that would follow this meal: Judas’ betrayal, arrested and handed over to be beaten, humiliated culminating in his death.

Everything in all God’s big story pointed to this night – the tree in the garden where Adam and Eve took and ate the fruit lead to the next tree – the cross.
Everything God did,
every sin the people committed,
every sacrifice that covered the sins committed,
the prophets, priests, kings – they all pointed to this night.

Through Jesus, God said – “I am about to deal with evil and sin and death once and for all.”

This. Was. It.

All the hurts and heartaches.
All the lies and deceit.
All the pains we closely bear in our hearts.
All the ways we rebel against God.
This one act restored us so we can know God
and he could give us a second chance.

God was already making everything new –
from the first tree in the garden – to this tree, the cross.
God was rescuing,
God was making a way,
And God was working out his perfect plan for us.
Through the perfect Lamb of God – Jesus Christ.

“The lamb died, instead of me.”
“The lamb died, instead of you.”
“The lamb died, instead of us.”

The lamb died – so you and I could be saved, and know God the father.

John the Baptist when he saw Jesus said:
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

The Prophet Isaiah said this of Jesus:
“He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

Do you know the Lamb of God?
Did you know Jesus, the lamb of God died instead of you? That he died for you?

“The lamb died instead of me.”

lamb-cross.jpg

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holy week

Holy Week this week.

Lent has been different this year for me.  Not as intentional as I’ve been in the past.  Honestly, I tried to give up facebook for the entire 46 days, just to have some extra focus.  Then it turned into just checking it if I needed to, and then just not wasting my time on there.

There are more important things going on around in the world than what your friends are saying on facebook.  That’s for sure.  I value my friends greatly, but more importantly, I value my REAL friends, the ones who are in my life and who pursue me as a friend, and that usually is distinct from facebook.

So much more I COULD say.  But I won’t.

This week is interesting, because it’s so full of the ancient, but also the new.  This goes in the realm of good, and of evil.  It seems the deceiver works extra hard these leading up to Easter days too.  Thinking he still has victory, somehow, someway.

But we have the victory.

Because HE lives.

It’s beautiful.

I’ve often thought about this, but I wondered, why is it that I’ve come to embrace and love the cross so much more as I’ve grown older?  The answer is simple: because I know I need it.  When I was younger, I didn’t see my need for it.  I was “good enough”.  I didn’t really do anything that bad.  But now I know.

Now I know I’m lost without the cross. Without the sacrifice.

This morning I read Matthew’s account of the crucifixion.  And cried.  Matthew 27.  Just the thought of Jesus bearing all the sin of the whole world on his shoulders still makes me weep.  I’m not being overly spiritual here.  Think about it.  The weight of everything we’ve ever done or will do weighing on him.  Pulling down on perfection.  White becoming black with no reason, no cause. Just love.

Humbling.

Why do we still slap him in the face and hurl insults at him today?  We do this through our actions and thoughts.  Every moment.  We are non-holy beings.  How could we ever deserve to be called holy?  Righteous?  Loved?

I plead with you my friends, can we strive to seek him?  Serve him?  Turn away from darkness into light?

Through his grace.  Through his grace alone.

Isaiah 53:3-6
(emphasis mine)

 3 He was despised and rejected
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
   it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
      the sins of us all.

lenten prayers and thoughts

“Hope by its very nature captivates both our hearts and heads.  It evokes deep emotion.  It moves in and makes itself at home in our souls.  It takes up residence at the very core of who we are.  That is why it is so vital that we begin to place our hope in the Lord.” -Adam R. Holz

Breathe in me,
O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me,
O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too may be holy.

Draw my heart,
O Holy Spirit,
that I love only what is holy.

Strengthen me,
O Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then,
O Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.

-St. Augustine

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit…
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Psalm 32: 1-2, 10-11

“O God, the deathless hope of everyone, we rejoice that you support us both when young and even to old age.  When our strength comes from you, it is strength indeed; but when our own strength is all we have, it is feebleness.  You give refreshment and true strength.” -St. Augustine

lenten reflections (so far)

Here is a website I wanted to share with FAQs about Lent, I thought I’d share: LENT 101.

Let’s be honest, our lives are way too busy.  I’ve felt conviction since I began lent, last Wednesday, because the thing I chose to ‘give up’ has still not created the space I was hoping for to simplify my life.  There’s always something more to be done, and it’s always a never-ending list.  

One author describes lent as being a “heavy season”, in which we are to deal with the attitudes, thoughts, actions, and all the physical and spiritual junk we’ve accumulated in our lives.  Honestly,  I don’t even know where to start.

I encourage you to do your own cleaning out.  Lent is actually where the term and idea of “spring cleaning” came from, and also includes the physical side of our homes, only we should remember to give away things we do not want, and give them to those who are in need.

“Contradictions, sicknss, scruples, spiritual aridity, and all the inner and outer torments are the chisel with which God carves his statues for paradise” -Alphonsus Liguori 

“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”.

prayer

“God of mercy, come into the hidden places of our hearts.  Christ of compassion, come into the broken places of our world.  Spirit of life, come into the polluted places of our lives.  Forgive us, heal us, redeem us, lead us from death to eternal life.”

Our father in heaven, holy is your name.  
May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  
Give us today our daily bread.  
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.  
Lead us not inot temptation, but deliver us from evil.  
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.  
Now and forever.
Amen.