The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting seal on the stone and posting the guard.
What a Sabbath day that must have been for the disciples of Jesus.
Shock and dismay over the execution of the one they had followed for three years.
Fear over what the future held for them.
Did they dare to go to the temple to worship?
Or did they remain in sequestered in that upper room, waiting for a knock on the door from the authorities, seeking to arrest all of them?
Even though Jesus had told them that He would be killed, they were not prepared.
It was the darkest of days for them – BUT – Sunday was coming!
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, intoyour hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home nd prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Oh, the pain of this day for those who loved the Lord.
Even though He had told them what was coming, they didn’t understand even when they saw the cross and heard the sound of the nails being pounded into his body.
The one who called Lazarus from the tomb was now himself – being laid lifeless in a tomb.
They were in shock, unable to penetrate the darkness of grief which enveloped them.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “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.”
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
When I come to the Communion table and hear those words from my Lord:
This is my body given for you.
This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for youand for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.
I think of Oswald Chambers teaching that God wants us as broken bread and poured-out wine.
The following is from My Utmost For His Highest, the reading for September 30th:
We make calls out of our own spiritual consecration, but when we get right with God He brushes all these aside, and rivets us with a pain that is terrific to one thing we never dreamed of, and for one radiant flashing moment we see what He is after, and we say – “Here am I, send me.”
This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way! But when He uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object. We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.
I wonder what kind of finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you, and you have been like a marble and escaped? You are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you, the wine would have been remarkably bitter. To be a sacramental personality means that the elements of the natural life are presenced by God as they are broken providentially in His service. We have to be adjusted into God before we can be broken bread in His hands. Keep right with God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.
Do you sometimes feel like the sheaf of wheat under the flail – being beaten until the grain falls out?
Or maybe you are the grape being crushed until the juice flows.
Take heart God is preparing you for service in His kingdom!
Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could, She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ” ‘ My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’ ? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ “
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.
The temple was a place of worship and the court of the Gentiles was the only area where the non-Jews could gather for prayer and to worship. The Jewish authorities had allowed this area to become a market place with all the noise and the smells. Can you imagine trying to worship in these conditions?
The religious leaders were already unhappy with the influence Jesus was gaining over the people with his teaching and his miracles. This confrontation made them angry. He was threatening their way of life.
Jesus does not allow for “business as usual.”
Jesus calls for change.
The world tells you that you must look out for your own interests.
Jesus tells you to put others first.
The world tells you to get all you can.
Jesus tells you to give all you can.
The world tells you to get your enemy before he can get you.
Jesus tells you to love your enemy and do good to them that curse you.
As your journey through this Holy Week consider your faith walk, ask the Lord to show you what needs cleaning up.
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘ Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ “
They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our Father David!”.
“Hosanna in the highest!”
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus enters Jerusalem knowing his destiny. He was willing to suffer and die for you and me.
On that first day of the week he heard shouts of praise as they welcomed him to the city.
But he knew those shouts of praise would turn to cries of condemnation before the week was over.
What about you?
Are you praising the Lord today?
Or do you have harsh words for him?
We are in difficult times.
But we can still trust that God is in control and if we trust Him He will bring us through.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. but he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not know the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
I John 1:5-10
We live in perilous times. Everything has changed. There is a world-wide pandemic. Our political system is under attack. Our economy is in turmoil. We are cut off from all normal activity. The only certainty is that God is still God. He is still in control.
This season of Lent has been a season of reflection.
The first Sunday we are faced with the question – am I serving God or the world?
The second Sunday – do others see Jesus in me?
The third Sunday we are reminded This Is My Father’s World. God’s world – God’s way.
This fourth Sunday reminds us that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.
We are called to walk in the light and it takes dedication to follow Jesus.
Oswald Chambers challenges us to be vigilant in our walk of faith.
This is an every moment of every day decision.
The Master Assizes
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. II Corinthians 5:10
Paul says that we must all, preacher and people alike, “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” If you learn to live in the white light of Christ here and now, judgment finally will cause you to delight in the work of God in you. Keep yourself steadily faced by the judgment seat of Christ; walk now in the light of the holiest you know. A wrong temper of mind about another soul will end in the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment, and the end of it is hell in you. Drag it to the light at once and say – “My God, I have been guilty there.” If you don’t, hardness will come all through. The penalty of sin is confirmation in sin. It is not only God who punishes for sin; sin confirms itself in the sinner and gives back full pay. No struggling nor prying will enable you to stop doing some things, and the penalty of sin is that gradually you get used to it and do not know that it is sin. No power save the incoming of the Holy Ghost can altar the inherent consequences of sin.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light.” Walking in the light means for many of us walking according to our standard for another person. The deadliest Pharisaism to-day is not hypocrisy, but unconscious unreality.
MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
Father God, You have promised to show me the way. I can only walk by faith and not by sight. I want to walk in the light. You alone can guide me in this. Even Your church cannot seem to agree on what is sin. Show me, Father God, by Your Holy Spirit, how to walk in the light. Reveal to me my sin. Don’t allow me to make excuses. Don’t allow me to be ignorant of sin. Teach me. Guide me. Lead me. Keep me. My relationship with You is all important – all else depends upon it.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern His errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep Your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas His hands the wonders wrought.
This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
Maltbie D. Babcock (1901)