Humble

Holy Week

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The resurrection of Jesus 

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is a series of eight days that allow us as Christians, as believers, as followers of Christ, an opportunity to reflect upon the shift in humanity Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross launched. It starts with Palm Sunday when Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem. The week leads us through the Last Supper, His crucifixion, and ends on Easter Sunday with His resurrection. This is the basis of Christianity – His sacrifice launched the New Covenant God promised and many had prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Each day of Holy Week allows us to peek into the heart of our Saviour at an intently close proximity. His love for us is reflected in every significant step toward the cross, every breath up to the last, and His resurrection.

How Holy Week Leads to Easter Sunday

Though Jesus didn’t walk the earth as fully man until He was born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph, He exists and works throughout the entirety of the Bible. Scripture assures us that He was present at Creation with the Father, that He is the Word, and many prophesies were specifically fulfilled during this final, holy week of Jesus’ life on earth. Each Gospel has a narrative of the last week of Jesus’ life (Matthew 21-28; Mark 11-16; Luke 19-24; John 12-21).

By enduring and defeating death sacrificially for us, He swung open the gates of heaven making a way for our sin to be forgiven and usher us into the presence of God (Romans 5:8).

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Palm Sunday

Holy week starts with Palm Sunday. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday; palm branches, which symbolise triumph or victory, were strewn in Jesus’ path, as He rode into the city. He rode into town on a humble donkey, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your kings comes to you, righteous and victorious, low and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The people welcomed Him, echoing the words of Psalm 118:25-26:

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.

more popularly recognised as “Hosanna! Hosanna!”

The word hosanna originated from the word save. The meaning of the word eventually shifted to express gratitude for salvation, and is used in the New Testament initially in Matthew 21:9: “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’” This is a pivotal moment in the history of humanity, as the long-awaited new covenant God promised to His people would produce new salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.

Monday

On the way back into the city from Bethany, where Jesus and the twelve spent the night, Jesus became hungry. Seeing a fig tree with no fruit on it, though it was full of leaves and thus should have been full of fruit, Jesus spoke a curse on the tree. Jesus went to the temple on Monday and confronted those making a profit off of the people coming to worship there.

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said the them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of robbers.’” –Matthew 21:12-13

Those who heard and witnessed Jesus’ miraculous healings that day sang praises to Him, which caused authorities to begin looking for a way to kill him. The Gospel of Luke says that “they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.” Luke 19:48

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Tuesday

The next day, Peter noticed the fully withered fig tree Jesus had cursed, to which Jesus admonished a lesson to have faith and recognise the power of forgiveness:

Mountain mover

22 Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  –Mark 11:22-26

Holy Tuesday was a day of avoiding traps and teaching. The priests set four traps for Jesus, the first questioning His authority, to which He answered with a question and then taught three parables: The Parable of the Two SonsThe Parable of the Tenants, and The Parable of the Wedding Banquet. The second trap challenged Jesus’ allegiance, the third trap attempted to ridicule Jesus’ belief in resurrection, and the fourth Jesus answered by claiming God’s greatest command to be “Love.”

“This is the real, historical Jesus: fully in control as he responds with grace and truth to traps on all sides. He knows what he is doing. And he knows what is coming.” 

Stopping at the Mount of Olives to rest on the way back to Bethany to spend the night, Jesus spoke to His disciples about the upcoming trials for His followers.

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Wednesday

Though the Gospel of Luke states, “every day he was teaching in the temple,” Holy Wednesday is referred to as a day of rest for Jesus. While in Bethany, a woman anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume. It is also widely known throughout the church as “Spy Wednesday.” While Jesus rests in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, the plot of the high priest and the authorities to kill Jesus is in full swing.

Finding an open opportunity in the greed of Judas, Satan entered him. Judas went to the chief priests and authorities, “and from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” He would soon betray Jesus for the price of a slave, and the twelve would scatter. None of the twelve will be left at the foot of the cross as Jesus dies but John.

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Maundy Thursday

On Holy or Maundy, Thursday, in an upper room, Jesus and His disciples shared the Last Supper. On this day, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and broke break with them for the last time. Still celebrated today as a part of many congregational traditions, the bread broken and the wine shared represented the body and blood of Christ, to be broken and shed for the disciples, and all of us. During the meal, Jesus predicted His betrayal by one of them and Peter’s denial.

After the meal, the disciples accompanied Jesus to the Garden at Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed in agony. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel came to strengthen Jesus in the garden. There, He taught His disciples, and us, what to do when we come to the end of our own strength and need God to help us press on.

Maundy, from the Latin root madam, means “commandment” or “mandate.” On that Thursday Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment, which is why we use the term Maundy today. The word in this context is used by Jesus after He washes the feet of His friends.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” –John 13:34

No one knew love like the sacrificial and selfless love of Jesus before the cross. Thus, a new commandment to love sacrificially and selflessly.

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Good Friday

The cross- symbol of God’s love to people

Good Friday was the last day of Jesus’ life on earth before His resurrection. He was betrayed by Judas, as predicted, and denied by Peter, as predicted. His disciples scattered. He was arrested and was placed on trial falsely. He was condemned, beaten, mocked, and required to carry His own cross to the place where He was crucified and died. “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.” Though he was offered something to dull the physical pain, Jesus refused. He chose to face the pain of death head on. They stripped Him of His clothes and cast lots for them, fulfilling another prophecy.

Two prisoners were crucified alongside Jesus. One mocked Him, but the other said, “‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43). Amidst the most cruel, unfair, unjust, and painful death a human body could endure, Jesus chose to respond in grace to the criminal beside Him and care for His mother and best friend. “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother’” (John 19:25-27). At noon, Jesus cried out

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and died.

“It was at about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” –Luke 23:44-46

Jesus was taken down from the cross, wrapped in linens, and placed in a tomb.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

This doesn’t mean we are protected from all things that are bad. Jesus’ death was awful. The most painful thing, physically, mentally, and spiritually, that any human could have to endure. Why would Jesus choose to obey His Father’s will? And why was His will for His only Son to suffer? God’s ways are truly above our ways, but the good that came out of Jesus’ death saved our souls for eternity. We are called to suffer with and suffer for Christ (1 Peter 2:21, 2 Timothy 2:3 )

It’s called Good Friday because, by Jesus’ death, he became the final, complete sacrifice for our sins. We couldn’t have erased our sins. Our hands would have been forever stained with every single sin for a lifetime. But Jesus broke the bonds of death and sin!

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Black (or Holy) Saturday

In the stillness, humanity awaits Christ’s resurrection


Jesus’ body rested in the tomb on Holy Saturday; it was a rich man’s tomb, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9. Preparations were made for Jesus’ body and placement in the tomb until 6pm, when preparations for the Sabbath began.

“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 and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”Luke 23:55-56

Holy Saturday is a time for us to lean into being present in the Lord, placing our own agendas at the door, and coming before Him to simply be with Him. The Lord desires a relationship with us, and a requirement of a relationship is time together. Holy Saturday is a great day not to ask for anything, but to simply spend time within the Spirit of the Lord.

There are varying theories as to where Jesus’ soul was in between His death on the cross and His resurrection. The Bible doesn’t really say too much about where He is at. From His statement to the criminal on the cross, “you will be with me today in paradise,” we can only assume that He was in the presence of His Father in heaven on Holy Saturday.

Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day)

He is Risen!!


“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” –Matthew 28:6

On Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead, fulfilling the prophecy. Early in the morning, the women who had prepared the spices before the Sabbath returned to Jesus’ tomb to find it empty. Mary Magdalene arrived first.

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” –John 20:1

Two men, angels, appear to the women to tell them Jesus has risen. The women, both afraid and joyful, remained first silent, and then quickly finding the eleven disciples. Mary ran ahead to tell Peter and John, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2). Jesus met the other women on their way!

“And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him.” -Matthew 28:9-10

After all eleven have been informed, they rush to the empty tomb. Jesus appeared to Cleopus and another on the road to Emmaus, and to Peter. That evening, He entered a room with locked doors to greet the other ten disciples. “Peace to you!” (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23)

“It can see like to claim that the resurrection changes everything is an example of hype, but as you read the Bible and you understand all that flows out of Jesus’ resurrection, it is no exaggeration to say that Jesus rising from the dead literally changes everything.”

Prayer for Holy Week

Father, Holy Week reminds us how intentional You are about loving us. You came to save the lost, You sent Your only Son to be sacrificed so we could be in Your presence. Jesus, thank You for making a way for us. May we come to know fully and never forget the lengths You went to save us. Bring the story of each day to life for us as we walk through this week. Move our hearts closer to You, and direct our lives to bring honor to You. Jesus, help us to follow Your new command of love. Help us to understand and receive Your love, and teach us how to love the people in our lives well. Bless this week, Father, and may many new souls come to receive Your grace. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

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Hosanna

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John 12:13

13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Hosanna- Hillsong Worship
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Palm Sunday marks the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the start of “Holy Week”. Some of the most familiar teachings and stories of the gospels occur during this week preceding Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

Our relationship with Christ is the foundation of our faith and we can learn so much by studying His life. Although He was fully God, He was also fully man and walked out a human experience that includes joy and love along with suffering and hardship. Jesus shows us how to navigate challenges and even tragedy. We can be confident in His love for us, even in the midst of difficult times!

Jesus demonstrates what it looks like to live with a strong connection to the Father and a deep compassion for people. These two priorities are more important than ever in our current circumstances! We must strengthen our relationship with the Lord and find ways to nurture connection and community with others.

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

Mark 11: 1-10

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage 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?’ say, ‘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,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

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A mother’s love is immeasurable!

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Never take your parents for granted

I begin this post by talking about never taking your parents for granted, not because I did or that I ever will, but because there are so many out there that believe or think that because they’re “all grown up now” you don’t have to pay attention to your parents. So many believe it’s a burden to visit their parents or look after them in their old age. They are quick to get irritated with them if they call too often or become too demanding.

One thing I can promise you, if you do not spend as much time as possible with them, love them, appreciate them, call them often and never ever take them for granted now while they are alive, you will regret it – one moment they there, the next they gone. A moment you will wish you never have to experience. Just because you are too busy with your own life, or too ashamed to be with them, too ashamed because they “old” or because you did’t feel like they needed your love and respect, is no excuse to complain about them or abandon them. Trust me, you are always their child no matter how old you are. You will always need your parents. Always. When they gone, the hard truth is, it’s too late.

If you knew that this was the last day your mom would be alive, you would climb onto your mother’s lap (I did that every night until I was at least 7 years old). You would tell her about all the times you wanted to carry her cross. You would want to take away her pain. She often cried herself to sleep wondering how do I raise these 3 children on my own? You’d, crawl beside her to hold her. You would feel her pain in the pit of your stomach and the deepest parts of your heart. Your presence would make her smile though. She’d forget her many troubles, her losses. Today, you’d hope to do that again and again and again…

You’d give anything, absolutely anything to have her back for one more hug, one more conversation, one more I love you, one more piece of mommy advice, and then you could watch her leave, in a bright white light as she returned to Jesus’ side.

Psalm 23

My mom loved Christ. She loved spending time in His presence and His word. She left this earthly world on 27 April 2019, in South Africa that is Freedom Day, and on that day, mom, you were set free of your pain and suffering in this world and set free to sit at the right hand of Christ.

My mom loved Psalm 23 the most.

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Mom loved teaching the grandchildren from the Bible too. Here is a video of her teaching her eldest granddaughter, Sharon-Leigh, from the Bible. And guess what? It’s Psalm 23.

Mom’s home was not only our home, but home to all our friends too. She never had a problem with having a house full of people, in fact, she loved it. She would always make sure we’re having fun and that we’re fed. Our humble home truly was everyone’s home.

At Mom’s funeral we played a song from Newsboys – That Home. It really catches the beauty and character of my Mom. It catches me in the heart every time I hear it and I shed a tear.

I miss my Mom every single day. Some days are harder than others. Another song we played at Mom’s funeral was Donna Taggart – Jealous of the Angels. I miss her so much that I made a video montage with this song. The photos in this montage only show a small glimpse of the life she lived. She wasn’t one for the glamorous life, as long as her family was always around her.

Final words for Mom

I’m a mommy’s boy. There, I said it, publicly. It seems like I spent much of my early years trying to avoid that label, but the least I can do is publicly acknowledge that fact right to the end. Mom was the person most responsible for shaping who I am. I used to fall asleep on my mom’s lap every night until I was 7 years old and mom would carry me off to bed.

Everybody thinks they have a great mom, but as kids, we knew we had the best mom because everybody else told us so. She mothered all our friends who came to the house, even those with perfectly good mothers of their own, but her home was a humble sanctuary where all our friends and family loved to come to.

Mom had some bad luck with cars. Had a brown Ford Cortina stolen, 2 Fords Escorts, one that was bumped on a dare by one my siblings that shall not be named, the other Escort so heavy on fuel you’d be better off pushing it.

We have a running joke that is decades old and is still used today… she bumped the gate reversing out the driveway when I was about 5 years old. I immediately said to Mom “Don’t bumpa da gate”. Ever since that, she’d stick her head out the window while reversing and we’d always remind her not to bump the gate, sometimes she still did. She also had some very creative words when someone cut her off in traffic.


I am her last born, the youngest of 3 children. A mother pours a lot of love into all her children, but being the youngest, the rules were relaxed a bit for me, I got away with more than my siblings did. Except for one embarrassing night, I worked as a waiter during my high school years and, one night after a work shift ended early, I decided to go hang with friends at a nearby pool hall. Beer in hand having a great time, I looked across the room to see my mom walking toward me with intent. Before I knew it she was dragging me out, dressed in her slippers and gown.


Mom’s favourite animal was the Elephant. Just look around her home and there are elephant teddies and ornaments everywhere. She loved their gracefulness and how tight-nit elephants are as a family. We took Mom to the Elephant Sanctuary and as luck would have it the sanctuary had recently merged with the Monkey Sanctuary next door so the signage hadn’t been correctly placed yet, so it was a surprise for mom right up until the guide announced that we will be interacting and walking with elephants today. The absolute joy and surprise on her face was priceless. She loved every second of it.

Today I understand why she loved elephants so much and it’s because of how family orientated they are, how protective they are, just like mom was, and Mom’s heart was as big as elephant.

Marinda Christina Baragwanath, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, aged 60, passed away in her bed in Boksburg, in her favourite pyjamas at home surrounded by her family — as she would have wanted. Her passing came much longer than the 6 months doctors gave her to live, so she beat the odds. And that’s just how Mom has always been, beating whatever odds were stacked against her. This disease may have broken her body, but it never broke her faith and spirit. Her faith and determination to beat this disease never wavered. Faith so strong we could all learn from it.


When Mom first started on her medication, she felt a little high and was spaced out. She walked into our bedroom one night to say good night. She came and hugged and kissed me and then walked around the bed to hug and kiss my wife, Lou. On her way back to her room, we could see she was a little wobbly so I jumped up to help her. I took her, arm in arm, like a gentleman, we walked a little, stopped, and she looked up at me with so much love and admiration that only a mother could have for a son.

Mom had exceptional will power. During her illness, it became more and more difficult for her to swallow solid food. Mom had the will power to chew on biltong a drywors just for the taste of it and not swallow it. (she’d give the pieces she couldn’t eat to one of the dogs so often that the dog would outside her bedroom window for hours waiting for it).

She would never complain about the food she had to eat. She was always smiling through her gourmet meals such as mixed veg purity and ice cream, mixed together…delicious right?

Mom read her bible every night. And after having said good night, she would retreat to her bedroom and listen to gospel music with headphones on singing along, for hours, and in perfect tune of course. We loved it. I remember one night, I went to check on her and she had fallen asleep while listening to music. I gently woke her and she awoke with a fright and said: “I’m not sleeping.” I replied saying, “Mom, I think you should go sleep now” to which she said, “I’m not a child.” Oh, how we laughed.


One night, while having supper, Mom was eating a bowl of muscles. I asked Mom, “how’re your muscles”, to which she replied: “They good”, pulling her biceps. She had a sense of humour right through her illness.


If mom ever got annoyed or irritated with me, a simple “Love you Mom” and she’d smile and feel okay again.

Mom was always soft-hearted and the peacekeeper. Ask anyone. She’d always tell us not to fight. But, as kids, if she was cross with us, then the Afrikaans came out, and we knew we were in “groot kak”.

If you had the privilege of even just meeting my mom for 5 seconds, she’d have crept into your heart. I believe everyone loved my mom. She had a warm smile and made an effort to connect with everyone she met.

Mom held the family together and raised us under difficult circumstances. She always taught us to love and honour our father, but I always thought she would have preferred for us to love her a little more. Secretly I did. There was nothing she wouldn’t do to make sure we were cared for. She’d walk to work to save on petrol, sell her leave back to the company for a little extra cash, making sure we always had food in our bellies, beds to sleep in and in so doing, teaching us the value of earning your way in life, learning lessons from her ways that we could take into our own lives.

But everything that comes from the heart, the real essence of me, and pretty much everything important that I learned as a youngster, that’s from my mom.

She’s the one who made sure I never went through a day of my life doubting that somebody loved me or doubting that somebody was proud of me. She taught me to wear my flaws like armour, that way no one can use it against me.

As a parent, grandparent and friend, my mom had an extraordinary ability to make each of us feel stronger and more confident in our own identity, giving us our own sense of independence and mental toughness which, speaking for me has been such an asset in so many ways in my life. She will live in our memories and our hearts forever and I will always be extremely proud to call myself her son.

Mom, we may have lost you in the physical world but you are now in eternity forever. You may be gone, but you will always be in our hearts and memories.

The last words she spoke before she passed were “It’s so beautiful”. We believe she was given a peek into heaven just before she went home.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Mom, you were a legend, the legend of all legends. An Angel in the shape of my Mom.

I miss you.

Have a gatskop lekker day!

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 2 comments