Photo by Ladyheart on Morgue File.
Have you ever become obsessed with something? Tell us about something that captivates your attention like nothing else.
This is an interesting prompt for this day/week. I have mentioned in several of my recent posts that my mind has been contemplating the last week of Christ’s earthly ministry. In the liturgical calendar, today marks the first day of what is called Holy Week. Holy Week is the designation of the final week of Christ leading to his betrayal, mock trial, passion and crucifixion and, a week from today, Resurrection Sunday (Easter Sunday). For Christians, this is the most solemn and important of all weeks.
For most believers, the two most important holidays in the year are Christmas and Easter. I love Christmas. I love the season and the cold weather. I love the trees and lights and songs. I love the feeling of the season. Yes, I know many lament the commercialization of the holiday; but, for true believers, I think it is possible to keep the focus where it belongs.
As a child, I loved Christmas because of the gifts! Now, I still enjoy gifts! But, now I enjoy giving more than receiving. I love watching my daughter’s eyes light up when they wake up on Christmas morning and Santa has visited during the night. I love watching them tear into their gifts under the tree. The two youngest, are still at the age (4 and 2) where everything is wow and amazing.
As I have gotten older and had a family of my own, my love for Christmas has not waned; but, the attention has changed. I began to focus more on the real reason for the celebration, as I continued to grow in my faith. It has become less me-centered and more focused on others.
Another change has happened. As I have gotten older, as I have grown in my faith, I have noticed over the last few years that Easter has begun to challenge Christmas as my favorite holiday. I would call it right now neck and neck.
The last few years, I have felt the same type of childlike anticipation as Easter approached, as I used to feel as a kid when Christmas came around. Last Easter, I awoke before the sunrise. I felt giddy and anxious for the day. I got out of bed and went and finished a post I had begun a day or two before about Easter. I walked outside, a few minutes before sunrise, and prayed and meditated on the meaning and significance of the day. As I was praying, the sun leapt over the eastern horizon and its warmth bathed me in the cool morning air. It was a “God moment”. I saw the rising of the sun, as I was praising God for the rising of the Son!
The gospel message is a simple one. The truth of the gospel is that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God. He came to earth, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life. He then gave that life willingly and died a vicarious death for the sins of the world. He died as a substitutionary atonement. He was then buried in a borrowed tomb, where he remained for a portion of three separate days. On the third day, sometime before dawn, he raised from the dead to life forevermore. He was seen by many witnesses over the course of forty days. At the end of those days, he ascended back into heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of the Father, as our High Priest, making intercession for us. He sent another paraclete (i.e. advocate) to indwell us−the Holy Spirit.
All who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10.9). And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4.12). Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19.16), he is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14.6). Jesus came to fulfill the Father’s will, out of the Father’s love (Jn. 3.16), to offer himself up; so that, all who believe in him and accept him as Savior will be saved from their sins and their consequences and will receive the forgiveness of God.
As we celebrate this last week, Holy Week, let us turn our hearts and minds to the One who gives meaning to our lives. Let us focus on the One who has brought us the love and forgiveness of God. Let us exalt the name of Christ Jesus our Lord and our God, giving him praise and worship and honor.
Just FYI, everyday this week, commemorating each day of Holy Week, I will be making a special post. Each post will consist of a list of Scripture passages detailing the events of that particular day. I assembled this list with help from the ESV Study Bible’s “A Harmony of the Events of Holy Week”. Each post will also have a context portion, a look at one of the passages and what was happening. Another portion will be application. In this section, I will apply the truths and lessons observed in the context section to our personal lives and walk of faith. Finally, the post will conclude with a prayer. The prayer will be based on the lessons gleaned from the Scriptures and events of that particular day in the life of Christ.
Be sure to look for these if you are interested. I already have them all done, so I will just post them each morning everyday. I will be posting the first, concerning Palm Sunday, as soon as I post this. I would love any comments or thoughts you may have. Our church will be using the same during this week. May God bless you. And praise to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Here are the links to each of these additional posts. I will edit this post everyday of Holy Week to provide the link to the post for that day. Or, you can just look at my homepage on my blog and you will see them posted. I will try to post everyday between 8-9am (Central Standard Time).