Matthew 16:21 - From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the Law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Life was good for the disciples. Their teacher was popular. Huge crowds had come to hear Him speak. Many had been touched by His miracles. As Jesus and His disciples gathered together at Caesarea Philippi, Peter, on their behalf, made a great confession: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16b) for which he had been commended. Thinking that Jesus' Kingdom was of this world, each of them aspired to be the one seated at His right hand or His left. Life was good.
But Jesus knew differently. He told them so. There was a journey to be made. It would start in six days. It would begin on a high mountain not far from Nazareth, the place where He had grown up. It would end on a little hill near Jerusalem called Mount Calvary. It would make all the difference in the world!
It was difficult for the disciples to imagine life much better than it was. Jesus knew that life would be so much better when His journey was complete, when the weight of their sins was finally lifted from their lives, when the evil one would lie crushed at His feet, when the sting of death was torn away. That could only happen when they journeyed to Jerusalem, when He died and rose again.
We will join Jesus and His disciples on this journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary. To the disciples, life will seem to have gone mad. It may also seem that way to us. It will certainly be difficult for Jesus.
But in the end, for the disciples, and for us, life will be good-so very good. It is good because of our Lord's journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary. You are invited to join us.
THE PRAYER: Bless our Lenten journey, Lord, as we move forward with You from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary. Amen.
02-17-2010, 09:33 PM
02-17-2010, 11:01 PM
All praises due...
02-18-2010, 08:09 AM
"The Mountain Of Transfiguration"
February 18, 2010
Matthew 17:2a - "There He was transfigured before them. ..."
Our journey to Jerusalem begins with a "Transfiguration." It is an important beginning for a most significant journey. Jesus has with Him his inner circle of disciples: Peter, James and John. St. Luke in his ninth chapter describes the scene. "As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:29-31).
What a way to begin the journey. Jesus was beginning the journey in conversation with Moses and Elijah, both of whom knew a great deal about significant journeys. Moses had led the Children of Israel out of bondage to the edge of the Promised Land. He was followed by Joshua who brought them into their new home. Elijah, a leader of the prophets, was followed by Elisha, whose name is a form of Joshua. Now Jesus, whose Hebrew name is Joshua, would lead the way for all people into the eternal Promised Land. He would complete the work of Moses and Elijah. This most difficult of journeys began in intimate conversation with those whose journeys were so significant for the people of God.
As we begin our Lenten journey, we, too, will do well to spend a little time in the company of Moses and Elijah. Reread the first part of the Book of Exodus and the early chapters of 1 Kings. Be refreshed in the courage of these men and in their faithfulness to our great God. Understand how significant this would be to Jesus. Understand how significant this conversation is for us as we begin our journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary.
THE PRAYER: As Jesus was blessed by the conversation with Moses and Elijah, so bless our conversation with those who have journeyed before us. Amen.
02-19-2010, 08:11 AM
February 19, 2010
TEXT: Mark 9:5-6 - Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters-one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
What an exciting, overwhelming time! For Peter, James and John, the journey could have ended right here. They had seen everything they needed to see. They had seen the great heroes of the faith. They were in the presence of Jesus who was shining in His glory as the mighty Son of God! Journey done! They had come to the top of the mountain. There was no need for them to journey on.
Not knowing what else to say, Peter suggests they build three shelters. He might have meant three monuments, one for each of them. Or he might have meant three tents like the "Tent of Meeting" (Exodus 27:21a) that traveled with the children of Israel as God led them through the wilderness, and from which God regularly communicated with His people. Or he might have meant three "booths," like those the Israelites lived in during the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23.
What we do know is that Jesus did not have this in mind. It would take a little while for the disciples to understand this Transfiguration was not about them and not primarily for them. It was for Jesus. It was for Jesus as He was about to begin the journey from this Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary. It was for Jesus who would make the journey for you and for me.
It was good for them to be there. We sing a great Transfiguration hymn (LSB #414, " 'Tis Good Lord to Be Here") that carries the same sentiment. Our preference would be to stay on the mountaintop. But this mountaintop experience is not the end of their journey-or ours. It is only the beginning. Jesus' journey will take Him to Mount Calvary. Our journey in Jesus will take us all the way into eternity!
THE PRAYER: Our Lenten journey is just beginning, Lord. Sustain us in this journey. Blessings to all as we reflect on Jesus' journey-and our own. Amen.
02-20-2010, 07:48 AM
February 20, 2010
TEXT: Luke 9:35 - A voice came from the cloud, saying: "This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him."
This must be some big journey Jesus is about to go on. All the "big guns" are called upon to give encouragement-first Moses, then Elijah, then the Heavenly Father, the Maker of heaven and earth!
He is the one who created the whole universe-all the planets, the dry land, the bodies of water, the birds of the air, the land animals, the creatures of the deep, all vegetation-everything! This is the one who formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into him the breath of life. This is the one who created mankind in His own spiritual image. This is the one who is sinless. This is the one who "saw all that He had made, and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31a).
But it did not remain "good." The man and woman sinned. That sin ruined everything. Now there were "thorns and thistles" (Genesis 3:18a) in every part of their lives and the lives of each of us their descendants. Every day it touches our lives; it shatters our relationships; it twists our dreams and brings death to all of us. Unless something was done about this, it would result in a very difficult life on earth and an eternal separation from our Creator.
On the Mount of Transfiguration God the Father sets the rescue mission in motion. He has chosen the Rescuer. It is His own Son. It will be a difficult journey. But go He must. And He will go with the Father's words ringing in His ears: "This is my Son-My chosen One. I love Him. Listen to Him!"
It undoubtedly encouraged Jesus very much! It encourages us too! We are comforted to know Jesus has His Father's full approval. We are urged to listen to Him. Jesus will share much with us before the journey's end.
THE PRAYER: With the Father's words ringing in our ears, bless us as we journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary. Amen.
02-21-2010, 09:50 AM
February 21, 2010
TEXT: Mark 9:9-10 - As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant.
What a secret Peter, James, and John had! Luke records "they kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen" (Luke 9:36b). Jesus had several good reasons for urging them to keep what they had experienced to themselves. One of those reasons was that what they had experienced was not primarily for them. It was primarily for Jesus. It was to encourage Him for the journey He alone must make.
Another reason they should not tell anyone about what they had seen is that they did not yet understand the full extent of the journey on which they would be accompanying Jesus. They were on the right track as they discussed what "rising from the dead" meant. But they failed to grasp its meaning because they refused to believe Jesus was going up to Jerusalem to die.
Even so, the clues were staring them in the face: They could have talked about the relationship between Moses' journey leading the Children of Israel from bondage and Jesus' journey to deliver all people from sin. They could have talked about the relationship between Jesus and Elijah, and the confronting of false gods. They could have talked about what the roar from the mouth of the Father must have meant for Jesus. They could have talked about any number of things-things that would have helped them understand what "rising from the dead" means.
The disciples would need to see the end of Jesus' journey before they could understand the full story and share what they had experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then they could tell about Jesus being perfectly faithful to the Father. Then they could tell about the deliverance from the captivity of sin. Then they could tell about the love of Christ that overcomes every other god. Then they could see how all would be restored and would be very good!
THE PRAYER: We are grateful, Lord, that we are free to tell what we have seen and heard. Amen.
02-22-2010, 08:09 AM
"The Elijah Question"
February 22, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 17:10 - The disciples asked Him, "Why then do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?"
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would raise many questions for Jesus. Some of them would come from the disciples. One question was asked before they arrived at the bottom of the Mount of Transfiguration. These three disciples were impressed by what they had seen in the Transfiguration. They understood this was the Messiah, the Promised One.
But what about the teaching that before the Messiah would come, Elijah would need to return? That teaching came from Malachi 4:5-6, "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." They had seen Elijah on the mountain of Transfiguration, but when would he come to turn the father's hearts to their children and the children's hearts to their fathers?
Jesus went on to point out Elijah had come in the person of John the Baptist. There were many parallels between Elijah and John the Baptist. Both served during the time of a weak ruler who had a strong, determined, and unbelieving wife. What King Ahab's wife Jezebel had threatened against Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-2) would be carried out by Herod's wife Herodias (Matthew 14:1-11). Elijah, the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah, had already come.
But Jesus' main point is that while Elijah and John the Baptist had suffered much at the hands of wicked people, they did so in preparing the way for the Messiah. The Messiah would also suffer much at the hands of wicked people. He would suffer much to prepare our final journey into the Promised Land.
As we tell others the story of Jesus' journey to Mount Calvary we may also suffer much as we prepare the way for the Messiah to enter into the hearts and lives of His people.
THE PRAYER: We are grateful for the ministries of all those who have and are preparing the way for the Messiah. Bless what we do to prepare the way. Amen.
02-23-2010, 08:10 AM
"The Disciples' Limitations"
February 23, 2010
TEXT: Mark 9:14 - When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the Law arguing with them.
There was no time for the other disciples to ask, "Where were you, and what were you doing?" They had their hands full. The teachers of the Law were giving them a very bad time. When Jesus asked what the fuss was all about, it turned out that a man had brought his son, possessed with a devil, to be healed. They couldn't do it. It gave all sorts of material to the teachers of the Law. They were giving the disciples grief.
Jesus' conversation with the father concludes with Jesus saying all things are possible to those who believe. The man responds with a prayer that has meant so much to so many through the centuries: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief" (Mark 9:24b). Jesus responds by casting out the demon.
Later, the disciples ask why they had been unable to cast out the demon. Jesus responded that this kind of demon could only be cast out with prayer. Apparently, the disciples had begun to take for granted their ability to heal and cast out demons. They forgot what we all too often forget as well.
In our earnest desire to help others in their needs, we must not forget to connect to God's power through humble faith and prayer. Prayer is one of the ways that we recognize our belief and our unbelief.
THE PRAYER: Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief. Amen.
02-24-2010, 08:14 AM
February 24, 2010
TEXT: Mark 9:30-31a - They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because He was teaching His disciples.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would take them through the region of Galilee. Galilee included Nazareth, the place where He was raised, and Cana, the place where He worked His first miracle. It was very familiar to Him and His disciples. It was now His classroom.
The disciples did not so much need to see miracles; they understood what He was capable of doing. They did not so much need to hear His presentation to the large groups by which He mostly spoke in parables. What they needed now was to understand what lay before Jesus as they proceeded on to Mount Calvary. They needed to know how that would affect them. They needed leadership training for when He would no longer be with them. So He told them that He would be betrayed, He would be killed, and after three days He would rise again. What a wonderful, rich, and meaningful opportunity this was for them!
But they missed it. St. Mark reports, " ... they did not understand what He meant ..." (Mark 9:32a). We understand about that, don't we? We, too, have had learning experiences that would have prepared us beautifully for the future. But because of our preconceptions, our distractions, our preoccupations-we missed the moment. We blocked out the teaching.
St. Mark goes on to say that not only didn't they understand, but they " ... were afraid to ask Him about it" (Mark 9:32b).
THE PRAYER: Oh, Jesus, let us in this journey not miss Your teaching moments. Amen.
02-25-2010, 08:10 AM
February 25, 2010
TEXT: Mark 9:33 - They came to Capernaum. When He was in the house, He asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?"
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary took them to Capernaum-the hometown for many of the disciples. The house they were in may well have been the house of Peter. In many ways, it was the home base for Jesus and His leadership team.
His leadership team had hardly been acting like the kind of leaders Jesus was looking for, and they knew it. They didn't tell Him what they were arguing about. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last time they would argue about which one among them was the most important, who was the greatest.
Often, along the journey the disciples would have to learn the lesson of servant leadership. Jesus says it this way: "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35b).
No one is a greater example of this than Jesus Himself. He could easily have exerted His leadership from a power position. He was indeed the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Yet, He willingly became the servant of all. He willingly would and does serve us all.
He expected no less from His disciples. He expects no less from us. It is a lesson to be learned again and again as we journey to Mount Calvary.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, we are grateful for Your servant leadership to us all. Bless our service to all. Amen.
02-26-2010, 08:12 AM
"Cost Of Discipleship"
February 26, 2010
TEXT: Luke 9:57 - As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, "I will follow You wherever you go."
As Jesus and His disciples continued the journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary, they encountered a number of individuals who wanted to join them. While Jesus loved them all, He wanted them to understand that following Him would call for full commitment. Jesus' devotion to His Father was unconditional and complete. "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head" (Luke 9:58b).
Another who was wealthy said he would follow Jesus, but he went away sorrowfully when Jesus told him to give away his wealth. The request to leave his prosperity and follow Jesus was simply too much for him to sacrifice.
Another wishes to bury his father, and Jesus urges the dead to bury their dead, but he should proclaim the Kingdom of God.
Another wishes to first say goodbye to his family, and Jesus responds that no one who looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.
The call to discipleship, the willingness to serve in the Kingdom of God, was a summons to complete commitment in Jesus' day. It is no less a summons to total commitment in our day. We give thanks to God for all those who made the commitment in His day and in ours. He does love those who cannot make that commitment. Yet, He blesses so very, very many through those who do.
THE PRAYER: We are grateful for those who with a willing spirit have counted the cost of discipleship-and followed their Lord. Amen.
02-27-2010, 09:03 AM
February 27, 2010
TEXT: Luke 10:1 - After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would take Jesus and the disciples many places. In those places He would heal; He would teach about the Kingdom of God; He would instruct about living faithful to God. To prepare the way, He had earlier sent out the disciples two by two, according to Matthew 10. Now He would send ahead of Him seventy-two. These seventy-two had counted the cost. They were willing.
Jesus carefully instructed them on how they should behave, and what they might expect. Some would receive them joyfully; some would reject them. He reminded them that when they were rejected, it was not they who were being rejected, but God Himself.
The results of their ministry were amazing to them. They did indeed prepare the way for Jesus. Even the evil spirits were subject to them. Concerning this, Jesus was "full of joy" (Luke 10:21a). He reminded them that what they saw and heard, many of the prophets had not seen and heard.
Jesus is still sending His "seventy-two." They are still doing amazing things. People are healed. Many are assured of forgiveness. A multitude comes to know God's love. Our Lord's heart is still filled with joy.
THE PRAYER: We praise You for all those who have joined the "seventy-two" and are preparing the way for You. Amen.
02-28-2010, 09:18 AM
"Care For Children"
February 28, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 18:5-6 - (Jesus said) "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My Name welcomes Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
Among those whom Jesus and the disciples encountered on their journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary were children. He consistently demonstrated a great tenderness and love for them. He sometimes used them as examples of tender faith and trust. Through the ages, artists have often depicted Jesus as engaging with children with the most tender of eyes. He is often displayed as listening to them.
Jesus has the highest praise for those who help children see He loves them. There are so many who do this so well. Among them are parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, baptismal Godparents, teachers, pastors, mentors, and so many more. For all these people, God be praised!
While Jesus has high praise and affirmation for those who share His love for them, He has the harshest criticism for those who cause a child to sin. Jesus has no patience for those who thwart children from knowing Him. Children are simply too precious to Him-all children!
As we journey to Calvary this Lent, may every effort to share God's love with children be blessed. May every accidental or intentional word or act that would cause a little child to sin be blocked.
THE PRAYER: As You, O Jesus, loved children, so may our every effort to love children be blessed. Amen.
03-01-2010, 08:10 AM
March 01, 2010
TEXT: Luke 11:1a - One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray. ..."
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary had many stopping-off places where it is recorded Jesus prayed. Jesus communicated with His Heavenly Father. Jesus shared His heart. Jesus received the heart of the Father. The disciples did not miss that exchange. They also wanted, they also needed, this communication. They asked Him to teach them how to pray.
Jesus taught His disciples what we know as "The Lord's Prayer." Luke's account has an introduction and five parts. Matthew's account (6:9-13) has two additional parts. There are many appropriate times, places, and ways to pray this marvelous prayer.
One way to pray the Lord's Prayer during this journey to Mount Calvary is to pray one of the seven parts each day of the week. One suggested outline is this:
· Sunday-that we keep our great God's Name holy
· Monday-that we give thanks for the Kingdom, and pray for its coming
· Tuesday-that we faithfully do God's will as it is done in heaven
· Wednesday-that we recognize and give thanks for life's bounty
· Thursday-that we forgive as we are forgiven
· Friday-that we be tempted to no sin, great or small
· Saturday-that nothing separate us from God
A prayer for our journey to Mount Calvary.
THE PRAYER: Lord, teach us to pray. Amen.
03-02-2010, 08:08 AM
March 02, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 18:21 - Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
In many ways the journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary was about forgiveness. Jesus taught about it. He practiced it. He knew the capacity men and women have for sinning. He knew that all sin was against God and needed forgiving. He was on His way to Mount Calvary to win that forgiveness.
He also knew many sins were against those who were brothers and sisters and these sins caused them great harm. He knew that many people think the best way to settle scores is to "get even" or "take revenge." But He also knew this results in even more pain, a pain that often lasts for a very long time. Regrettably, it is man's natural inclination.
Jesus, however, taught His disciples and us another way throughout His ministry. He was particularly pointed in His teaching on the journey. He gave an excellent model for dealing with someone who sins against us (Matthew 18:15-17), which has been used by the people of God through the ages. Its intended use has resulted in much wonderful reconciliation.
But even this model has been misused. Its misuse has resulted in alienation and division rather than forgiveness and reconciliation. It is another sin for which Christ has won forgiveness. He practiced it from the cross: "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34b). He would forgive "seventy-seven times" (Matthew 18:22b).
THE PRAYER: Father, as we have been forgiven, so may we forgive. Amen.
03-03-2010, 08:09 AM
March 03, 2010
TEXT: Mark 10:46 - Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is the son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would take Jesus and His disciples through Jericho. Knowing the mission of His journey, there may well have been discussion of the significance of this city for the people of God. It had been a powerful sign of the power of God. For it was at Jericho the book of Joshua tells us the walls came down. Through what Jesus was about to accomplish on Mount Calvary, greater walls than those of Jericho were about to come tumbling down!
The exchange and healing of Bartimaeus in the city of Jericho was certainly significant for the blind man. He lived with so many walls. He had been living with those walls for a very long time.
Bartimaeus, like those who had marched around Jericho so many years before, trusted God. He trusted Jesus. He believed Jesus could make those walls come down. And when Jesus healed him, he joined all those who would come to know Jesus went to Mount Calvary to break down walls even more significant than those of a city or of blindness. He broke down the walls constructed by sin. He broke down the walls of death.
THE PRAYER: Keep breaking down our walls, Jesus. Amen.
03-04-2010, 08:11 AM
March 04, 2010
TEXT: John 12:1 - Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would include a return to Bethany. Jesus' very good friends, Mary and Martha, lived there. He came here often for rest and refreshment. It was here He had raised their brother Lazarus from the dead.
The resurrection of Lazarus had been a most significant event. When Lazarus' sisters had expressed a confidence their brother would rise again on the last day, Jesus had declared that He was the resurrection and the life! All who lived and believe in Him would never die! Then He called for Lazarus to come out of the grave-and he did!
That left a profound impression upon many. For many the impression was positive. When Jesus returned to Bethany, Simon the leper gave a banquet in His honor. And it was at this banquet Jesus was anointed with some very precious perfume. While Judas saw the anointing at cross purposes for his evil intent, Jesus saw it as an act of worship. It anointed His body for the death He was about to experience.
Others became concerned how the resurrection of Lazarus was bringing many people to follow Jesus. The chief priests became so alarmed they decided Jesus and Lazarus must both be murdered.
THE PRAYER: We are grateful, Lord, for Jesus' safe place. Bless our safe places. Amen.
03-06-2010, 09:09 AM
March 06, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 21:9a - The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! ..."
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary included the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It was Passover time. There were people from everywhere. It had been a long time since there had been such excitement in Jerusalem. Everyone knew of the miracles Jesus had done. Many quoted His parables. His example was in high regard. The prophecies were being fulfilled. Expectations of a return to the time of King David were filling people's hearts. This was a time of great hope!
So they sang with all their might: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" It was the title they would give to the Messiah. "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Psalm 118:26a). King David knew his strength was in the Lord. "Hosanna in the highest!" Let heaven join in this act of praise.
It was quite the welcome. This part of the journey was very important. It was a foretaste for all those who will be praising this Son of David eternally. His Kingdom will have no end. The angels, archangels, and all the host of heaven join in this glad song!
But for the song to continue for us, the journey to Mount Calvary for Jesus must continue. The Passion is about to begin.
THE PRAYER: O Son of David, bless us as we sing our hosannas. Amen.
03-07-2010, 09:54 AM
March 07, 2010
TEXT: Luke 19:39-40 - Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!" "I tell you," He replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
The part of the journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary that led into Jerusalem was not only met with cheering fans. There were also those who wanted it all to stop. It must have been quite threatening to those Pharisees. A great many people-their people-following this Jesus, who for very good reason was so critical of them.
It is interesting that the Pharisees thought Jesus could have stopped the cheering. Perhaps He could have. What we know for sure is that He could have opened the mouths of the rocks! The Pharisees do not seem to doubt that. The sounds of people rejoicing in their Savior often seem to be joined by all the elements of nature.
As Jesus comes closer to Jerusalem, He is moved with emotion for what this city means and what lies before it. He loves this city. He knows it will not stand. The great stones of the temple, which are admired by so many, will not remain one upon another. They too will open their mouths to bemoan the reluctance of the citizens to recognize the time of God's coming to them.
How magnificent it is when the very stones join us in recognizing the time of the Lord and add to our songs of praise. How difficult if these stones could tell of our failure to honor and recognize the time of our Lord.
THE PRAYER: May even the stones amplify our sounds of praise! Amen.
03-08-2010, 09:26 AM
"Cleansing The Temple"
March 08, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 21:12a - Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. ...
It is Monday of Holy Week. The parade for the people is over. The echo of all the children singing "Hosanna to the Son of David" has died down. The chief priests and the teachers of the Law remained upset, despite the wonderful healings they saw Jesus do.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary took Jesus to the temple. He did not approve of what He saw there. He loved that place. He most assuredly had loved it ever since He had spent time there as a 12-year-old with the teachers of the Law.
Now it was disgusting to Him. In the worship area of Herod's Temple, where the animals for the sacrifices were sold at an unfair price, where the money changing took place, where the temple area was treated with no respect, Jesus exercised His cleansing action. He drove out those who were abusing the temple. It was a righteous use of anger.
As we journey to Mount Calvary we examine our bodies, temples of the Holy Spirit. What filth and misuse is to be found there. Some cleansing we can do. Jesus provides the final cleansing; however, not with whips, but with His innocent suffering and death.
THE PRAYER: Lord, cleanse our bodies, our temples of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
03-09-2010, 09:26 AM
March 09, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 21:23 - Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while He was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave You this authority?"
Tuesday of Holy Week is a day of teaching. Jesus continues His journey to Mount Calvary by returning to the temple. He is immediately challenged. The chief priests and the elders wish to know who gave Him authority to cleanse the temple.
We know by what authority Jesus cleansed the temple. It was by the authority of His Heavenly Father. Jesus could have told them that. But they weren't looking for the truth. They were looking for an opportunity to trap Him and to use His words against Him. They would have accused Him again of blasphemy.
So Jesus challenged them by asking about John's baptism. Was it from God or from men? If they answered His question truthfully, they would be ready to hear and honestly evaluate His answer.
But it wasn't that simple for the leaders. They understood no matter how they answered His question, they would turn the crowds against themselves. If they answered, "from God" Jesus would ask why they refused to be baptized by him. If they answered "from men" the crowds they coveted would turn against them because the crowds believed John was a great prophet. So they answered, "We don't know" (Matthew 21:27b).
On our journey to Mount Calvary we affirm again and again that Jesus has the authority to confront us in our sinfulness, to call us to be fruitful, and to declare us the recipients of His love and forgiveness.
THE PRAYER: Bless us as we acknowledge You as having all authority in heaven and in earth. Amen.
03-10-2010, 09:30 AM
March 10, 2010
TEXT: Mark 12:1a - He (Jesus) then began to speak to them in parables. ...
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary included Jesus telling many parables. The synoptic Gospels place many of them between the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the events of Maundy Thursday. These parables are so very significant for us. They shape us for our journey to Mount Calvary.
Among the very significant parables are
· the two sons-so critical of those who say "yes" to God but don't mean it.
· the tenants who forgot whose vineyard it was.
· the wedding guests who ignored the king's invitation.
· signs of the end times.
· the ten virgins, the talents, and the sheep and the goats.
We do well to listen to our Lord's teachings. They remind us how easy it is to stop looking to our Lord, His love for us, His expectations of us, and His future for us. We, too, are capable of saying "yes" and then forgetting whose servants we are, of rejecting the king's invitation, of being unprepared, unresponsive, and of missing our opportunities to serve.
May the parables of our Lord shape us as His people, on the way to Mount Calvary.
THE PRAYER: We love Your parables, Lord. Bless us as we read and reflect on them. Amen.
03-11-2010, 09:32 AM
March 11, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 26:3-4 - Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill Him.
Jesus had predicted many times the journey beginning at the Mount of Transfiguration would end with His being handed over to the authorities. He would suffer. He would be crucified. On the third day He would rise again.
Those who would carry out the plan were the religious leaders of the time. Their understanding of when the Messiah would come and what He would do did not include Jesus. They saw Jesus as anyone but the Promised One.
Their hope to be able to do the arrest on the sly was unexpectedly made possible through the agreement with Judas. For 30 pieces of silver he would facilitate the arrest. The journey that had been delayed while Jesus was in Jerusalem was suddenly put on "fast forward."
Many have raised questions about how these people could want to do something so secretive and sinister. We wonder how a disciple could betray his rabbi. We wonder until we reflect on our own "sly" plans. Then we humbly praise our Lord for His journey to Calvary and the gift of His forgiveness.
THE PRAYER: Forgive us, Lord, for our sly plans. Amen.
03-12-2010, 09:38 AM
"The Upper Room"
March 12, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 26:17 - On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for You to eat the Passover?"
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would take Jesus and His disciples to an upper room. There they would prepare to eat the Passover. The Passover meal was a most significant event. The ritual foods would be eaten. The traditional rehearsing of the mighty acts of God was shared. The narrative centered on the Angel of Death "passing over" the homes of those who had painted the blood of the lamb on their door posts, and visiting the homes of those who had not. Those homes visited by this angel experienced the death of their first-born child, according to Exodus 12.
The disciples did not fully comprehend what this Passover would mean for them, and for the whole people of God. Jesus has come as the Lamb of God. It will be His blood that is drawn as He is put to death. Like the lambs in Egypt, He, too, is innocent and undeserving of death.
Jesus understood what lay before Him. The Passover meal was a joyous occasion, celebrating God delivering His people from the slavery of the Egyptians. While the disciples were celebrating this glorious deliverance of their ancestors, Jesus understood that by His suffering and death, He would be delivering all people from the slavery of sin, its consequences and eternal death. Preparing for the Passover was important to Jesus, His disciples, and for us.
THE PRAYER: Bless us Lord, as we prepare for and observe the Passover. Amen.
03-13-2010, 09:43 AM
"The New Command"
March 13, 2010
TEXT: John 13:1b - ... Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.
The time in the upper room on the way to Mount Calvary is significant for many reasons. One of them is the new command that is given by Jesus. The new command is to "love one another as I have loved you."
The new command is not so much taught by words, but by action. The account of Jesus washing the disciples feet is very powerful. It was a task for a menial servant. There was nothing honorable about the task. It was doing what needed to be done. Jesus was doing this task for His disciples.
Peter objected. We might object too. Jesus is quick to point out this task is not beneath Him. Jesus also pointed out that Peter needed Jesus to wash him as a symbol of the whole cleansing that He alone could do.
Jesus is telling His disciples to love as He has loved them. The full extent of His love will soon be evident to all. On Mount Calvary He will do so much more than wash feet. He will wash sinners of their every sin.
This is a new command for us. As we have been loved, so are we to love. Loving like that is a blessed opportunity and privilege!
THE PRAYER: Free us, Lord, to love as we have been loved! Amen.
03-14-2010, 09:45 AM
March 14, 2010
TEXT: Mark 14:22-23 - While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, "Take it; this is my body." Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
To make the journey to Mount Calvary will require significant nourishment. It is the night before Jesus' crucifixion. For the Children of Israel, their journey out of Egypt required significant nourishment too. God made provision for them to receive the sustenance they needed for their trek in the wilderness. They would receive this food until they entered the Promised Land. Jesus made sure we too would have the food we needed as we pass through this life before reaching the Promised Land as well.
It must have been a significant moment in the upper room for the disciples. It undoubtedly left them with many things they wondered about. Chief among their questions would have been what this all meant. They would understand later. They would understand the wonder of the physical touch of their Lord and Savior in their lives. They would understand the wonder of His presence and forgiveness. They would understand the majesty of their Lord's presence in their lives as they confronted the challenges and demands of faithful living.
Those things that are wondered about are no different than what we think about. We wonder at the mystery and grace of the meal. We wonder and rejoice at this post-Mount Calvary presence until we are safe in the Promised Land.
THE PRAYER: Bless us, Lord, with Your presence in our post-Calvary presence in the meal. Amen.
03-15-2010, 08:00 AM
March 15, 2010
TEXT: Mark 14:27 - "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered."
One more thing before the journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary will continue. It is Jesus' disclosure to His disciples that "one of you will betray Me-one who is eating with Me" (Mark 14:18b). Judas denies it. Peter declares he would die before he would deny Jesus. All the disciples pledge their loyalty.
Jesus knew what they would do. We know what they did. It is not surprising that when the report is spreading that Jesus had arisen, there is some fear about how He will receive them. They knew they had all failed-miserably.
Our concern is the same. We have made strong professions of faithfulness with every good intention. But then we get into a situation when it seems too risky or too dangerous to remain faithful to our promises.
The good news is that when the risen Christ did first meet with the disciples He spoke in love. "Peace be with you" were the words He shared with them in the locked room as they eluded the Jews (John 20:19b). It is the same word He speaks to us. His love for us is greater than our cowardice and shrinking hearts of faith.
Jesus knew that soon He would be on His own. There would be none to support Him. Thankfully He stood firm, and when the time came He finished His journey alone.
THE PRAYER: Bless us Lord, that we may be true to our intentions in love for You. Amen.
03-16-2010, 08:06 AM
March 16, 2010
TEXT: Mark 14:32 - They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray."
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary continues into the Garden of Gethsemane late at night. It was not unusual for Jesus to go to the garden to seek solitude. It was there He prayed.
But the nature of the prayer was most unusual. Showing His true humanity He prays that this "cup" of suffering might be removed. Showing His true obedience to God the Father, He also prays for the Father's will to be done. He does this three times, and an angel comes to minister to Him. He pleads so intently that "being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44).
Jesus understands how difficult this is going to be. He also understands how important it is for Him to be faithful. The full passion of Christ is also seen in John 17 where He prays for Himself, His disciples, and all believers.
The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane also emphasizes Christ's aloneness. The disciples, despite their best intentions and desires, cannot stay awake. It shouldn't be difficult for us to identify with their behavior. Others have observed that same behavior in us. Our Lord also forgives us of our failed best intentions.
THE PRAYER: Bless us, Lord, so we may watch with You. Amen.
03-17-2010, 08:02 AM
March 17, 2010
TEXT: Luke 22:47 - While He was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary included a kiss. It was probably not the only kiss in the journey. Disciples often greeted their Rabbi with a kiss. It was a sign of deep respect. But this was not a kiss of reverence; this was a kiss of betrayal. It was meant to look like a simple gesture of respect, but it was part of a sly and evil plan.
In fact, the kiss was unnecessary, as Jesus had already identified Himself. Jesus was now delivered and Judas could keep the 30 pieces of silver. Everyone in the crowd of armed men and the representatives of the chief priests and elders knew who Jesus was. As Jesus indicated, He was often in the temple teaching. Why didn't they arrest Him there? And when He did identify Himself, the book of John reports they all fell down.
The image of this kiss-this ultimate betrayal-in the disciples' memory must have been one of profound disgust. How could one chosen by Jesus to be among the Twelve do such a heinous thing? Judas, entrusted as treasurer, had seen Jesus' miracles and heard His teachings. How could he use a kiss to point Him out to His enemies?
In the mind of Jesus' enemies, the kiss must have seemed fitting-a mockery of loyalty from one who was at His side.
May our loyalty and trust include no such hypocrisy, particularly to our Lord and Savior!
THE PRAYER: Bless our expressions of our love and trust in You, O Lord. Amen.
03-18-2010, 08:03 AM
March 18, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 26:50b - ... Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus, and arrested Him.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary now takes an ugly turn. Arrests often do. In this case, the subject of the arrest is innocent. An insider betrays Him. The authorities are acting under cover of darkness. They have predetermined the end of the case (the accused will die). They have no evidence against the subject. The authorities are religious leaders. The case is ugly.
And it almost got uglier. Give the disciples some credit. When the arrest is made, as ill prepared as these fishermen were for battle, they were willing to put up a fight. One of them, the Gospel of John says it was Peter, had a sword. He did manage to cut off the high priest's servant's ear.
That is when Jesus stepped in. The soldiers, and those gathered with them, appear uncertain about what was actually happening because when Jesus identified Himself, they all fell down. Now Jesus heals the man's ear. Within earshot of the soldiers, Jesus reminds Peter that if He but signaled, legions of angels would fight for Him.
Then Jesus puts things in a proper context. He will drink the cup the Father has given Him. He will endure the arrest. Though He is innocent, this horrific situation is all part of a divine plan for Him to bear the sins of each of us.
He is arrested! He is taken away.
THE PRAYER: O Lord, help us to see that You were arrested for our transgressions. Amen.
03-19-2010, 08:04 AM
March 19, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 26:56b - ... Then all of the disciples deserted Him and fled.
From here on out, the journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary will be alone. None of those Jesus has chosen will stand with Him. None of those who saw His miracles will be with Him. None of those who heard His teachings and marveled at His words will be with Him-none of those. For the rest of the journey, Jesus will be alone.
It is one thing to be alone and never have had the companionship of another. It is quite a different loneliness when you have known companionship and are deprived of it. Jesus will not have familiar companionship until after His resurrection. All of the disciples have run away. One of them-when the soldiers tried to stop him-ran and left behind his clothes.
So alone, arrested, bound, Jesus continues the journey to Mount Calvary. He understands being abandoned. He has great compassion for the abandoned. Though all abandoned Him, He assures those who are abandoned He will always be with them. He will never forsake them.
He also has great compassion for those who desert others in need. It is a forgivable sin. He forgave the disciples for deserting Him. He forgives all those who in their acts of desertion recognize their sin and seek His forgiveness.
THE PRAYER: Forgive us, Lord, for our acts of desertion. Amen.
03-20-2010, 09:25 AM
March 20, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 26:57 - Those who had arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the Law and the elders had assembled.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary would pass through the chambers of the high priest. Ordinarily it was a reverent and hallowed space. It was here that the Sanhedrin debated the interpretations of the Law. Under Roman rule, though they had a great deal of authority, they could not impose the death penalty. The Sanhedrin was the high court of Israel. The high priest was the presiding officer.
The Sanhedrin numbered 71 members. It was made up of chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the Law. These were bright, well-educated people. They knew the Scriptures. Caiaphas, the high priest, knew the Scriptures.
Even though his was a religious position, for he was God's high priest, Caiaphas was more concerned with his temporal arrangement than being faithful to God. From his lips came this prophesy: "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nations perish" (John 11:50). He had in mind the nation of Israel.
God had other plans for His prophecy. One man, Jesus, would die, so that we, His people, would indeed not perish. In His death our sins would be taken away. Without His innocent death, we would indeed have perished.
THE PRAYER: We praise You, O Lord, for laying down Your life for the whole people of God. Amen.
03-21-2010, 09:47 AM
"The Court Session"
March 21, 2010
TEXT: Mark 14:55 - The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so they could put Him to death, but they could not find any.
The journey to Mount Calvary almost stalled in the session with the Sanhedrin. They had the sentence-death. But they had great difficulty finding the evidence. As Mark reports, many testified against Him, but none of them agreed. They gave false testimony against Jesus that He said He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. Even that did not work as they could not agree.
Jesus remained silent through it all. He knew it would be foolish to engage in debate with them. His silence irritated Caiaphas very much. He asked the question Jesus would answer: "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" (Mark 14:61b). Jesus reply? "I Am" (Mark 14:62a). He is indeed the great "I AM!" That is how God answered Moses from the burning bush: "This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you" (Exodus 3:14b).
Jesus' answer is true. Perhaps even Caiaphas knew it was true. But Caiaphas tore his robe, a sign that what he had heard was blasphemy. The whole Sanhedrin agreed. For such blasphemy-Jesus calling Himself the Son of God-He must die. The physical abuse begins, first by members of the Sanhedrin, and then by the guards. Circumstances stall no longer; the journey to Mount Calvary presses on.
How many times have we stalled when the evidence does not support our conclusions? And yet in our stubbornness, ignorance, and arrogance, we move on anyway.
THE PRAYER: Forgive us, Lord, when we act on our defenseless conclusions. Amen.
03-22-2010, 08:01 AM
March 22, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 26:69 - Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary has many components that hurt Jesus deeply. Some of them were physical. Some of them were verbal. Peter's denial was verbal. It hurt deeply, even though Jesus knew and had predicted it.
As we journey to Mount Calvary, we should be careful about being too judgmental of Peter's behavior. Most of us, too, can easily remember our own unfaithfulness. And our denials have most likely come under much less stressful situations than Peter's.
As with Peter, so it is with us. Our Lord's forgiveness is extended to us full and free. As Jesus urged Peter to "Feed my lambs" (John 21:15b), so He urges us to be bold and faithful to the risen Christ-no matter what the consequences.
THE PRAYER: O Jesus, forgive our denials, make bold our witness. Amen.
03-23-2010, 08:06 AM
March 23, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 27:3 - When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.
Judas did not complete the journey to Mount Calvary. He had started the journey at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and the rest of the disciples. He had heard Jesus share what would happen in Jerusalem. He had seen the miracles. He had heard the teachings. He had seen the love and compassion Jesus had for all. He had been among those who had been sent out by Jesus, and seen the power of God at work. As Peter reported concerning Judas to those who gathered after the Ascension, "he was one of our number and shared in this ministry" (Acts 1:17).
We do know he was filled with regret. We do know he sought to make things right by returning the 30 pieces of silver. Would that the chief priests had compassion when Judas was filled with remorse at his act: "What is that to us?" (Matthew 27:4b) was their reply. If only Judas had returned to Jesus and received the forgiveness that Christ was winning for him through His suffering and death.
That forgiveness is available to each of us when we acknowledge our sins-no matter how dreadful-and look to Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Bless us, Jesus, so that when we sin, we acknowledge it and turn to You. Amen.
03-24-2010, 08:02 AM
March 24, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 27:1-2 - Early in the morning, all the chief priests and elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound Him, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate, the governor.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary now goes to Pilate, the governor. For the Sanhedrin to have its sentence carried out, the journey had to go there. They could only carry out the death sentence in the case of a foreigner who invaded the sacred places of the temple. Pilate would have to carry out the sentence on behalf of the Roman government.
Positions of leadership call for integrity, doing the right thing without prejudice, doing the right thing even in the face of public opinion, and doing the right thing even though it is not politically expedient. Positions of leadership require great courage and moral fortitude.
Pilate tried. He asked Jesus good questions and listened to His accusers. He provided an option in the person of Barabbas. He even received the message from his wife urging him not to get involved, and tried to pass Jesus off to Herod.
But in the end, Pilate failed as a leader in almost every way. Failed leadership almost always means the innocent suffer. For Jesus, this failed leadership would mean the journey would be completed at Calvary.
THE PRAYER: O Jesus, bless all those charged with leadership responsibilities to "do the right thing." Amen.
03-25-2010, 08:04 AM
March 25, 2010
TEXT: Mark 15:16-19 - The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on Him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Him. And they began to call out to Him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck Him on the head with a staff and spit on Him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to Him.
This part of the journey to Mount Calvary shows amazing restraint on Jesus' part. Little did His opponents realize what Jesus might have done to defend Himself. Little did they realize that not only did Jesus know who was abusing Him, but also everything else about them. Little did they realize what Jesus was enduring on their behalf. Little did they realize Jesus was preparing to die in order that they might have life.
The journey to Mount Calvary is on behalf of all who hide behind any sort of uniform to carry out their insulting and dehumanizing work-to assure them there is forgiveness. The journey to Mount Calvary is on behalf of all who are their victims-to assure them they are not alone.
These guards would be Jesus' constant companions from His arrest until His death, and even to His resurrection. They did not see any miracles, but they did see amazing compassion. They did see amazing restraint in the face of false accusation. They did see His forgiveness for the one crucified with Him. And they did see the centurion profess that "Surely this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47b).
THE PRAYER: O Lord, bless those who are on guard duty, and those they guard. Amen.
03-26-2010, 07:55 AM
"Good News For The Poor"
March 26, 2010
He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:16-19
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
The passage in Luke describes the day Jesus presented Himself at the town's synagogue. He came as one who is there to explain a plan. He had been put there by God to undo the great tragedy caused by humanity's disobedience. He had been anointed with the Holy Spirit's power, to be an obedient Servant until the end of His mission. The old prophecies of blessing, given to the patriarchs and prophets, would be fulfilled in Him.
Jesus' coming was good news for those who represented the least-favored parts of society. They were those who enjoyed fewer privileges. They were those who, according to traditional Judaism, were excluded from the Kingdom. They were those who had little to lose and everything to win. The first generation of believers was part of that social sector. A jubilee was now announced to them, a time in which debts were paid and the oppressed recovered their dignity.
The reality of salvation is the same today, and still there are many who completely miss the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are those who believe they can see but are blind, those who believe they are rich but are empty, and those who think they're free but are still tied to the powers of this world. Jesus offers His salvation to those who are aware they have nothing to offer and everything to receive. It is beautiful to see when God, working through His Gospel, restores the lives of those who are rejected into an eternal relationship with Himself through the redemptive work of Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Lord, give me a poor and humble heart to receive the gift of Your salvation. Free me of pride and help me look with mercy upon those You love. Make me an instrument to share Your Good News. Amen.
Biography of Author: This devotion is based on a text written by Antonio Schimpf, a professor at Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this South American country of over 40 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries -- known locally as Cristo Para Todas las Naciones (Christ for All Nations) -- connects with people through Project JOEL, Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), as well as by supporting church missions in Rosario, Tucuman, Salta, and Patagonia.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Klaus returns
03-27-2010, 09:48 AM
March 27, 2010
TEXT: Luke 23:11 - Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him. Dressing Him in an elegant robe, they sent Him back to Pilate.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary goes through Pilate's palace several times. Pilate had hoped he might be finished with Jesus. He had passed Him on to Herod. Now Herod sent Him back.
Pilate urges the crowd to take note that Jesus has done nothing deserving death. They will not hear of it. He pleads with them to accept Barabbas as a substitute. They will not. Now he has an option-stick to his principles, declare Him innocent, and let Him go free.
He chooses a different action. He will try to excuse himself from responsibility by washing his hands in the presence of the crowd. He will try to pass the blame on to the crowd. They accept it gladly: "Let His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25b). But it does not lift from Pilate the responsibility for the journey to continue to Calvary.
We understand Pilate's dilemma all too well. We have been there. We are faced with decisions where we know what is right and we know what is wrong. We know the pressure of the crowd. We, too, often want to please them. We, too, wish to pass on the responsibility to others. We, too, fail.
THE PRAYER: O Lord, give us courage to make the right decisions. When we fail, forgive us. This is not as we deserve, but as we need. Amen.
03-28-2010, 09:55 AM
March 28, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 27:26 - Then Pilate released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged and handed Him over to be crucified.
The journey to Mount Calvary has Jesus interact with many interesting characters. Few are more interesting than Barabbas-Jesus Barabbas-as he was properly known. He was no doubt a shifty man. There may be "honor among thieves," but it is questionable whether there were any who would trust him. Luke reports he was in prison for an insurrection in the city and for murder. If there was going to be a crucifixion, it seems he'd be a good candidate. He probably knew that too.
Imagine Barabbas' surprise when he is released. Imagine his shock when sentence is given that Jesus of Nazareth will be crucified, and Jesus Barabbas will be set free. We do not know what happened to Barabbas after this.
What we do know is that while our own sinful past may not be as horrible as was that of Jesus Barabbas, compared to Jesus of Nazareth it is still shameful and worthy of complete punishment. Amazingly, however, we stand with Barabbas. Jesus is marched off to be crucified. Though innocent, He experienced what we deserve.
But, we go free.
May it be true of us and not just a rumor that we are followers of Jesus. May it be obvious to all.
THE PRAYER: Bless us, Lord, as we make vivid our response to our being freed from what we deserve. Amen.
03-28-2010, 11:25 PM
Since I will be leaving for work around 3am for a month or so I may not be able to finish posting the devotions for Lent...here is the link if you read them...Prayers and happy Easter for all ~ http://www.lentendevotions.org/
04-03-2010, 09:30 AM
"The Descent Into ****"
April 03, 2010
TEXT: I Peter 3:18-19 - For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison.
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary is complete. Jesus, the Lamb of God, has been sacrificed for the sins of the whole world. He has died on the cross. His human body is safely sealed in Joseph's tomb. His disciples and friends are resting, observing the Sabbath. The women are preparing to finish caring for the body in the tomb.
None of the Gospels record what Peter shares in his first letter. When Jesus rose victorious from the dead He left the sealed tomb and descended into **** to proclaim His victory over Satan, sin, death, and ****. The Church has been confessing the descent into **** for hundreds of years in the Apostolic Creed. It is the great assurance all Christians have that the victory over sin, death, and **** has been won. Later on Easter Day Jesus will appear to the living to make them aware of what those in eternity knew-**** holds no terror for those who are in Christ!
The conversation between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration may have included the topics of past deliverances from fear. Moses and the Children of Israel were delivered from the Egyptians; Elijah and the Children of Israel were delivered from Ahab and the prophets of Baal. None would compare to the deliverance Jesus would win on Mount Calvary. Our journey ends in heaven!
THE PRAYER: We thank You, Heavenly Father, for our deliverance from **** and our sure promise of heaven. Amen.
04-04-2010, 09:51 AM
April 04, 2010
TEXT: Matthew 28:5-6 - The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen just as He said."
The journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary is complete, but it does not end in the garden tomb. It continues with the risen Christ! The work of salvation is completed by His suffering, death, and by His resurrection! Jesus goes on from the tomb. No tomb can contain Him. Neither can the heavens or the earth! He is the victorious Lord of lords and King of kings!
Not everyone sees Jesus' journey go on from the tomb. The soldiers who were guarding the tomb, though frightened, "they shook and became like dead men" (Matthew 28:4b) were willing to lie about Jesus' resurrection. The leaders of the religious community told them what to say. Some still tell lies and believe those lies about the resurrection.
The apostle Paul affirms the importance of the truth of the resurrection. "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:13-14). But our faith is not in vain! He has risen! Because He has risen, we too shall rise! Halleluiah!
THE PRAYER: O Jesus, bless our celebrating Your resurrection and ours! Amen.