Living Christ Centered

Pandemic Joy

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Up for grabs

The word of God offers timeless guidelines and instructions for reassurance for seasons of life’s uncertainties. Looking beyond the news headlines of fear, this blog post will encourage you to focus on the certainty of the Good News we have in Jesus Christ, from whom a ‘pandemic of joy‘ overflows, bringing blessings even in the most challenging of times.

So there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:8

We now live in a world where we have to deal with uncertainty, arguably more than ever before. In spite of trying to be intentional about avoiding the bad news that seemed to pervade the media, one can hardly escape the gloomy realities of these uncertain times. While we live in an information age and have gotten used to quick answers and quick analyses, being faced with a world-wide-out-of-control pathogen which seems resistant to any quick fix—for example—has understandably saturated many hearts with fear and anxiety. 

In a world of fictional fearless superheroes, our eyes have opened to reality. Life happens. In times like this, it is not enough to share platitudes or braggadocious sentiments in the name of instilling courage in others; our audacity needs to have a basis which must be able to survive the scrutiny of the realities of these times.

One place we can turn to in scripture to make sense of times of uncertainties is Acts 8:1-8. The passage begins with Stephen’s martyr in Jerusalem and ends with ‘uncontainable joy’ in Samaria. Stephen’s death ushered in an epidemic of persecution for the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. As a result of the persecution, the believers fled for their lives. But in fleeing, they carried the joyful news of Christ’s saving grace with them. One such migrant minister was Philip who found himself in Samaria and ministered to the people there. And how does the story end?  “So there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:8

The passage tells us that in the midst of uncertainties (such as the one persecution brought to those early believers), there is also an uncontainable joy—a pandemic joy—that is up for grabs. James echoes the same thought: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2

You can be so joyful in this season—and any season for that matter—that your joy spreads widely into your community. 

Let’s unpack from this passage what this uncontainable joy looks like.

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Faith and Common Sense

And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
Acts 8:1

The verse above paints a vivid picture. 

Great persecutions. Broke out. All. Scattered. 

Those words were intended to capture the severity of the situation. Severe as it was, however, the followers of Jesus responded faithfully—leaving us an example to follow should we be faced with life-threatening realities and uncertainties. How did they respond? By combining their faith in God and common sense, with the thoughtful minds that God has given them. Yes, they trusted God, but they also fled for their lives. They did what was commonsensical: They protected themselves.

As believers, our response to life-threatening realities must involve a combination of unwavering faith in God, godly wisdom and common sense. To respond faithfully to a pandemic, for instance, is to avoid being careless while taking responsibility to stay safe, protect our children and those who are most vulnerable.

In August of 1527, the bubonic plague came to Wittenberg, Germany, where the famous reformer, Martin Luther, was based. He wrote a letter at the time in response to a question he had been asked. The letter was titled “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague.” He shared some helpful thoughts in this letter which are very relevant now:

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate . . . I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence . . . If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Paul reminds Timothy, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

We will observe, however, that while Acts 8:1 mentions that everyone scattered, it was also said that the apostles remained. While the specific reason for their remaining was not said in the text, it reminds us that there are key workers who, by virtue of their profession or calling, may need to take risks for the greater good of humanity. We owe them our prayers and thanks.

This is Acts 8:1 in a poetic nutshell: 

Persecution came.
All the believers fled.
All the apostles stayed.
But all in all,
Both responded faithfully.
And so must we.

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Still Human

Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.
Acts 8:2

You will recall that in verse 1, we read of the followers of Jesus fleeing for their lives because of the persecution they faced. In this verse, however, our attention is drawn to some “God-fearing men” who, in the same context when people were fleeing for their lives, chose to do what ‘proper human beings’ will do when a loved one dies—they “gave Stephen a proper burial and mourned greatly over his death.” They stayed in touch with their ‘proper humanness’ in spite of the perilous times they were going through. 

Burying and mourning the dead is a very humane thing to do. These folks did not allow the ravaging epidemic of persecution to make them deny their humanness. Neither should we.

There are few things that are unique to humanity which we must fight to preserve even in times of uncertainty; for example, the use of words, proactive kindness, and the capacity to adapt and to be articulate in expressing our emotions. Keep a journal. Share your thoughts. Make the phone call. Stay in touch with your humanness.

C.S. Lewis reminds us that threats to human existence are not new and should not be exaggerated—whether they be plagues, cancer, fellow human beings, atomic bombs, and you can add to that, COVID-19—however, when such threatening realities emerge, Lewis suggests, “let them find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

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Believers Also Suffer

“But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Acts 8:3

Acts 8:3 in The Living Bible paraphrase says “Paul was like a wild man, going everywhere to devastate the believers . . .” Those are weighty words. For many Christians today, their understanding of God has zero-tolerance for suffering. In their understanding, a good God should keep His children from suffering. A good Savior should not allow a mere man like Saul to devastate the believers by mercilessly persecuting them. As long as we call on Him, all believers should be exempted from whatever unpleasantness goes on in the world—including sickness and death. If your understanding of God and of the Christian faith is such that it can’t process the realities of suffering—if you find yourself questioning the love of God in light of the ongoing realities of our times, you need a few reminders. I don’t have all the answers, but I can share with you four reminders:

1. God is love

Nothing will ever take away this divine attribute of the Father. He has communicated it to all of humanity in the grandest way possible by choosing to become one of us and pay the ultimate price that frees us to enjoy what He had always intended for all humans for all eternity—a blissful fellowship with His eternally loving self.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

2. We live in a fallen world

When sin entered the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve, all of creation (our physical bodies inclusive) became subject to the experience of corruption and death. In other words, there is an ongoing time-bound suffering which followers of Christ—alongside all of humanity and all of creation—are going through. Good news: It is time-bound.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:20‭-‬23

3. Death is powerless over the believer

For the follower of Christ, death has died. Period. What Paul says to the Colossians, God is saying to all believers: “You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God.”

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:20‭-‬21

4. We serve a sovereign God

Divine sovereignty is the canvas upon which God’s love and God’s power find the most beautiful expression. The sovereignty of God teaches us that He is in charge of everything, and He always does what is good, just, right, and wise! (

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Psalms 33:11

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You’ve Got Some Wonderful News!

The devil is an incurable failure whose seeming successes always ultimately serve the purposes of God in the life of the believer. The worst the devil can do to a believer is physical death, but he does that knowing that the death of a believer is not a gain to him; it’s a gain to the believer. That’s the basic unit of pandemic joy—that every follower of Christ has an indestructible never-ending life. That’s some wonderful news!

As long as you are alive, you’ve got some wonderful news to share. While the believers in Acts 8 were being sensible in protecting themselves from persecution (by fleeing for their lives), they never fled away from this wonderful news. It had shaped them and redefined their identity. They were Jewish people (mainly) living in a Jewish city but had become known as something other than Jewish—members of a new ‘tribe’ called ‘The Way’ (Acts 9:1-2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22).

Indeed, the believer in Christ has found THE WAY TO KNOW & RELATE WITH GOD (John 14:6; Matthew 11:28). In Christ, we find a lovable and friendable God. His life, His death, and His resurrection—all historically grounded even outside of the scriptures—cast a certitude on His supremacy above all gods. 

The believer in Christ has also found THE WAY TO LIVE (Acts 17:6; 1 Peter 2:9) because right believing always translate into right living. The love of God ignites the hearts of believers with love for God and for humanity—and what other force is there which outperforms love in influencing people’s way of life? 

Besides, the believer in Christ has also found THE WAY TO DIE (1 Thessalonians 4:13) because it is only in Christ that death loses its sting. And lastly, the believer in Christ has found THE TRUE WAY HOME (Hebrews 13:4; Philippians 3:20-21). Every other way that men can follow is amputated by death. The wonderful news we believe is that this world, as it is, isn’t home. As such, we don’t settle for the flavors that this world can offer; we salivate for the taste of the cuisines awaiting us in our true home.

In the meantime, we’ve got a wonderful news to share . . . and share it we will.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

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Uncontainable Joy

Have you ever felt so happy that you couldn’t contain it? When you not bothered about whoever was watching; you cannot contain the joy. The joy in Samaria in Acts 8:8, I believe, was far more than that. It was an Uncontainable Joy rooted in an eternal transaction. Nothing that happens ‘tomorrow’ will change that experience. These people got saved, and they knew it was a forever deal. It resulted in great joy. Uncontainable joy. Pandemic joy.

This is more than the joy of passing your driving test, getting a job, landing a huge business deal, acquiring a property, getting married, getting pregnant, and having a baby. It is a joy beyond the reach of disappointment. No news headline can make it waver. No expert report can thwart it. It is a joy that has no cure. A contagious joy. A pandemic joy, which no pandemic can contaminate.

Stephen’s murder led to the persecution that led to a dispersion that advanced God’s mission and led to uncontainable joy. If we look at some of these events in isolation—Jesus dying, Stephen dying, believers being persecuted and having to flee for their lives—they seem like bad news, but when we view them in the big picture of God’s extraordinary plan, we clearly see that the singular event which the devil intended for the ultimate realization of his agenda on earth has become the very source of eternal joy for believers across the world across the centuries.

The pandemic-joy-activating extraordinary plan of God for all of creation keeps unfolding. 

“Through followers of Jesus . . . gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!” (Ephesians 3:10 MSG) 

This is why we can be pandemically joyful and certain that the Body of Christ will always emerge on the other side of any earthly challenge stronger than ever.

Yes, some Christians may sleep in the Lord and many local assemblies of Christian worshipers may have to close, but the Church of Christ across the globe remains impregnable and unconquerable. As a member of this Body, therefore, where does this leave you? It leaves you with the reminder that there is a joy—an indestructible, pandemic joy—which is available in us, for us, and through us in times of uncertainty. Earthly pandemics will come and go, and so will many other harsh realities of life on this fallen planet, albeit only in the meantime. Our pandemic joy, however, will remain, and we must grab it with both hands.

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The Parable of Two Certainties

I love movies riddled with uncertainties, but I absolutely hate uncertainties in my personal life. In life, as I’ve come to discover, some things are very certain. As we bring this journey to a close, I will highlight just two of them. The first should naturally lead to the second. 

Certainty #1: All of Us Will Experience Uncertainties in Life

In other words, one thing you can be certain of in life is uncertainty. Every single one of us, even right now as you are reading this, have some uncertainties in our lives. This has probably increased in light of the pandemic of 2020. We have uncertainties about exam results, how to pay our bills, what’s going on with our relatives abroad, how our children will turn out in this increasingly secularized world, what life post-COVID-19 will look like . . . and so on and so forth. But we can be certain that all of us are experiencing uncertainties

So how do we handle the uncertainties in our world?

I can think of two possible ways: choose anxiety or choose certainty #2.

We choose anxiety when we assume the worst, doubt the promises of God, or compare ourselves to the many competing standards of our world.

Certainty #2: The Prince of Peace Is Always Near

You are never away from God’s reach. As a matter of fact, Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4 to “be anxious for nothing” was hinged upon the nearness of God. “The Lord is ever present with us [so] Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.” (Philippians 4:5-6a VOICE).

Prophet Isaiah prophesies: “When you face stormy seas I WILL BE THERE WITH YOU with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers. If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned. Because I, the Eternal One, am your God. I am the Holy One of Israel, AND I WILL SAVE YOU . . .” (Isaiah 43:2-3 VOICE).

In Acts 1 Luke records how Jesus’s disciples asked Him a time-related question—they wanted to know when He was going to free Israel from Rome. See how Jesus responds: “The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know.” (Acts 1:6-7 TLB) I love Jesus’s response. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s okay to have certain uncertainties, but we must not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the uncertainties; rather, we must let our uncertainties lead us into the safe and familiar arms of Who we certainly know is there with us: Jesus Christ.

If all you know in your uncertainties is that Jesus is certainly with you, that is enough—more than enough.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 1 comment

Breaking Free

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Why Do Feelings Hurt?

Have you ever felt anxiety, sadness, anger, fear, worry, jealousy, or loneliness? A need for breaking fee? Maybe you equate one or all of these “negative” feelings with weakness or the inability to handle life. This isn’t true. Did you know that there are lots of examples in the Bible of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit having emotions? Let’s take a look at some that weren’t “positive.”

God describes himself as a jealous God in Exodus 20 when He was giving instructions not to worship any other gods. Jesus felt anger at the hypocritical actions of the religions leaders, sadness at the death of a dear friend, and even abandonment when on the cross (see Matthew 23 and 27 and John 11). Ephesians 4 talks about our ability to grieve the Holy Spirit by our actions.

Seeing these “negative” emotions in God can be surprising. We know our God never sins, but also has these emotional responses; this can help us see our emotions in a better light.

God designed our “negative” emotions to be the first line of defense in our internal WARNING SYSTEM. The Bible and psychological sciences reveal that we produce emotions based on our view of a situation. The emotion is a feedback loop.

Change your perspective

If we view the situation as beneficial, we experience a positive emotion to encourage more of those situations. But negative feelings alert us the situation has potential danger or harm, needs extra attention, isn’t going right, or that we aren’t viewing the situation accurately.

In essence, these feelings are the red warning lights on the car dashboard, or the loud sound of the smoke detector warning about potential danger. The light or sound aren’t bad; in fact, they save lives.

Too often, we are conditioned to view our negative feelings—the warning system—as the problem. This interferes with us looking beneath the feelings and tackling the real problem we are actually getting warned about.

Negitive feelings warn us of a problem. They aren’t necessarily sins or negative. In fact, although uncomfortable, these feelings are positive and useful tools and gifts from God.

So embrace and be thankful for your uncomfortable feelings.

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For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NIV

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14 NIV

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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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