Sunday is Coming
Sunday is Coming
It’s Holy Week! We are just days away for celebrating Easter. Oh yes, there will be bunnies and eggs and lots of good food to eat. But… can we all pause and consider what this week truly means for us? What happened during this week is of great significance. It is bigger than anything I can describe. It is the only reason any of us can experience HOPE! Had it not been for what took place this particular week, we would all be doomed to hell.
Sunday: Palm Sunday is the first day considered to be our Holy Week. It is the day Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and began His last week of ministry on the earth. The disciples no longer had to be quiet about who He was. He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt covered with the cloaks of the disciples.. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lord’s could have demanded a show horse covered with royal cloths, but no - He rode a donkey. The people cheered, threw their cloaks and Palm leaves down to cover the road, singing “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” The people understood that He was the Messiah, but they didn’t understand that it wasn’t time to set up the temple just yet. They wanted Him to save them politically and nationally, but He came to offer something far better - spiritual salvation. When He didn’t meet their selfish expectations, their praises diminished and eventually changed to “Crucify Him”. Are we guilty of the same? We praise Him and declare His goodness when we get our way, but those praises wane when we don’t understand His ways. Jesus and the disciples stayed in Bethany that night - the town where Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived. I wonder if they stayed with them?
As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, He arrived at the temple and was saddened by what was taking place there. He “cleansed” the temple by throwing out those who were dishonoring it. He reminded them, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”. The blind and lame came to Him in the temple and He healed them. The children shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The chief priests and scribes who were indignant asked, “Do you hear what they are saying?” He went to Bethany and as He returned to the city in the morning, He and the Disciples saw a fig tree covered with leaves. He was hungry and desired to eat the fruit. It looked full of promise - but was empty and bore no fruit. He cursed the tree and it withered away. Hmm... why did He do that? Here are some takeaways from this event.
A fig tree was a symbol for the nation of Israel. - The withering tree would symbolize the coming judgement. Cleansing the temple and withering the tree, Jesus was forecasting His coming judgement and the power and authority to carry it out. - Religion is not enough. We may look good on the outside, but Jesus is concerned with our heart. - When we have a relationship with Him, we bear spiritual fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. - God judges fruitlessness. Jesus said that He is the vine and those who abide in Him will “bear much fruit”. (John 15:5-8) - James echoed this truth as well when he said, “Faith without works is dead.” So, believing “in” is not the same as believing “on” Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him. Our love for Jesus propels us to be obedient to Him and to love as He loved and serve as He served. - The withering fig tree also served to teach the disciples that faith works miracles and is the basis for answered prayer.
On Tuesday, Jesus came into the temple only to have the chief priests and the elders of the people question His authority. Here they were -face to face with Jesus. They were self-righteous and refused to believe. Jesus shared the Parable of the Two Sons, the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers, and the Parable of the Wedding Feast. (Go read them.) All three focused on the acceptance or rejection of Jesus. The priests and elders were stung by His words, although they did not have Paul’s teachings to help them understand like we do. Still, they despised Jesus and His message. Can you imagine? They could have sat at the feet of Jesus and learned so much. Instead, they clung to their pride and were blind to the truth. So... they plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. They prepared trick questions. The Pharisees asked about taxes. The Sadducees asked about marriage in Heaven, and the Scribes asked about the greatest commandment. Of course, Jesus answered truthfully. This was the day Jesus told of the widow who gave two mites and those 2 mites were worth much because she gave out of devotion to God - not to impress others. Then He spoke the 8 Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. Remember? He called them hypocrites and said they “cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. “ It’s not about how we appear to be - it’s all about the condition of our heart. ❤️
In Matthew 23:37 Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” The first temple was built by Solomon and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second was completed in 516 B.C. under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua. It was completely and lavishly renovated by Herod the Great 20 B.C. - A.D. 64. Only 6 years after completion the Romans destroyed it. Today a Muslim mosque sits on the site. Jesus left the temple. He and His disciples went up to the Mount of Olives. He predicted the destruction of the temple. He sat and the disciples asked Him when these things would happen, what would be the signs of His coming and the end of the age. He shares what should be expected in the last days, about the great tribulation and His return. (Matthew 24) As He often did, He taught through the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and The Parable of the Talents. He told them the Son of Man will Judge the Nations. He finished by saying to His disciples, “You know that after two days is Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” He went to the home of Simon the leper where the woman with the alabaster flask poured costly oil on His head and feet. The expensive oil teaches us of the value of His death and the cost of devotion to Him. In the meantime - the chief priests, scribes and elders met at Caiaphas’ house to plot how to take Jesus and kill Him. Judas asked them how much they would give him if he delivered Jesus to them. They offered him 30 pieces of silver - the price of a slave.
Time is drawing near... On the day of Passover, Jesus and the disciples sat down to eat what would become known as the Last Supper. As they did Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” They were filled with sorrow at the thought. As they were eating. Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it. He said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, gave thanks and told them to drink of it - explaining that this represented His blood. He told Peter that even he would deny him 3 times later that night. Peter swore he wouldn’t. Then Jesus humbled himself and washed the disciples feet. He was setting an example for us to be humble and to love and to serve. They left from their supper and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. As they entered he told them to sit and wait while he went to pray. Peter, James and John went with him. Jesus became sorrowful and asked these 3 to stay and watch. Jesus prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.” (Does that break your heart? He was about to experience torture and excruciating pain on our behalf. He, who knew no sin, took on our sin. We should be filled with gratitude.) Remember the three who were supposed to be watching and praying? Well, They fell asleep and Jesus woke them up twice. (Still, He chose to die, so we might have life.) It wasn’t long before Judas showed up with an angry mob led by the chief priests and elders of the people. Judas gave them a sign by kissing Jesus on the cheek. Then the mob grabbed Jesus to capture him. Peter reacted by grabbing his sword and cutting off one of their ears. Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. He could have called 10,000 angels to free him, however he went willfully to fulfill the Scriptures. He said to the angry crowd, ”Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
Then came Good Friday, y'all. Let's talk about the events of this day - which certainly don’t feel good. Jesus had been arrested in the garden and was taken to Caiaphas, the High Priest. Peter followed at a distance. Jesus was dropped into a pit and held as they held trial. These people were outraged and sought false testimony against Jesus so they could put Him to death. They found none. Jesus kept silent. Jesus was subjected to 6 trials. They beat Him and spat on Him and desperately tried to find some legal basis for condemning Him to death. Three times - as Jesus had foretold - Peter denied knowing Jesus. I imagine he was terrified they would do to him what they were doing to Jesus. Can you imagine how alone and betrayed Jesus must have felt? Why did He do this? Well, He knew that we needed a Savior and willingly sat aside His deity. They handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate who was the governor of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. The Jews did not have authority to execute Jesus, so they needed Pilate to order it. Peter wept bitterly over his denial of Jesus. Judas realized what he had done, could not bear it and hung himself. Pilate asked Jesus if He was the "King of Jews". Jesus replied, "It is as you say." Pilate really did not want to crucify Jesus - there was not grounds for it; but the mob was out of control - screaming, "Crucify Him!" He asked them which one they would have him to release - Barabbas, a notorious murderer or Jesus. They called for him to release Barabbas. He asked what he should do with Jesus and again they replied, "Crucify Him!" Ugh! That makes my heart hurt. I cannot imagine hating anyone enough to spit on them or demand that they be crucified. Such hate filled their hearts. Pilate took water, washed his hands, and told the crowd, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." He scourged Jesus (had Him beaten - possibly hoping they crowd would show pity on Jesus and release Him. They did not.) The soldiers mocked Him, stripped Him, put a scarlet robe and crown of thorns on Him and a reed in His right hand. Then they carried out the cruelest form of execution - crucifixion. Jesus was too weak to carry His cross, so Simon of Cyrene carried it for Him to Golgotha or Skull Hill. They nailed HIs arms to a beam, hoisted Him up and fixed Him to a post, then nailed His feet. His body weight was supported by a peg. As He suffered, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. He hung on the cross between two robbers. The sight was close to the road where many would see. Jesus obediently followed God's plan for Him - even to the point of death. Even after all they had done to Him, Jesus said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." We think, "these people were terrible and Jesus forgave them, that's crazy!" That's grace. We are terrible - selfish and disobedient after all He has done for us - and forgiveness - grace upon grace - is ours.
Darkness fell across the land. This was a supernatural occurrence. Can you imagine how watching His Son endure such pain and suffering must have grieved the heart of God?
Jesus cried out (quoting from Psalm 22 and possibly alluding to a great victory), "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Jesus cried out and yielded up His spirit. The death of Jesus is brutal and it is hard to see the good. But the Good part is what came as a result - "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom". God had opened up access to Himself through HIs Son. That means that YOU have access to God - you can experience His presence right now today - in your car, in your kitchen, wherever. You can have reconciliation to the Father because of what the Son has done. You can have a personal relationship with Him. Now that is GOOD NEWS!
Saturday - It was a dark day. Jesus had been arrested, beaten and murdered by the cruel act of crucifixion. He was dead. The disciples had scattered and were hiding in fear. I imagine they could hardly believe what had happened - Jesus was gone, Judas had betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, they all failed Him and their hope was depleted. It is easy for us to read about these events and judge these 12 men. But maybe we should stop and think about all the ways we fail Him personally. We have God’s word put into a book by many of these men, we have been taught what they had to live to learn and yet, we still fail to live as if we truly understand who Jesus is. After the earthquake and the darkness came, the centurion and those with him said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” The women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James & Joses, and Mary the mother of James & John, were looking from afar. A wealthy man named Joseph asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. He wrapped His body in clean linen and laid Him in his new tomb. Now it was the next day and again the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate and told him that Jesus had said, “After 3 days I will rise.” They decided to make the tomb as secure as possible “just in case”. They sealed the stone and set the guard. Galatians 2:20 says, “ I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Jesus who lives in me.” Today is a good day to die to our selfish ways and to rise from the darkness with Jesus. Morning is coming!!
Sunday or SONday - HE IS RISEN! REJOICE!! On the 3rd day there was a great earthquake, an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled the stone back from the door and sat on it. He was “like lightning and his clothing as white as snow”. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary witnessed this. The angel told them to not be afraid. “HE IS NOT HERE; FOR HE IS RISEN.” 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 He instructed them to Go and Tell the disciples, Jesus will meet you in Galilee. (Go and Tell - our divine order: to tell others the good news about Jesus.) Meanwhile, the soldiers who witnessed this shook with fear. They ran to report it to the chief priests. They gave the guards money to tell people the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus. Peter and John ran to the tomb and found the linen cloths (that had been wrapped around Jesus’ body) lying there. The napkin that covered his face was folded and lying separately. (Jesus took the time to fold the napkin. Why? Could it be to send a message? A wadded up napkin signals “I’m done”, but a folded napkin indicates “I’ll be back”. One thing is for sure - not one word or one action was in vain.) The disciples knew and believed - Jesus is Risen. He had prophesied His death and resurrection in their presence, but that didn’t understand what He was talking about. Later, Jesus would explain how His life and death fulfilled the scriptures. During the 40 Days between His resurrection and His ascension into heaven, Jesus appeared 10-11 times to teach about the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is alive! Right now today - He is alive and wants to spend time with you. He is not a fairytale - He is real. He died, rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God. All of this He did so that we could have the hope of eternity with Him. He died for us and asks us to live for Him.
He is alive! Let us come alive in Him!
Happy Easter. Enjoy this week - but let’s remember to celebrate His resurrection every day of our life. 🙌🏻
(We all have friends and family who do not know Jesus. Go and Tell. Would you consider sharing this page and these posts with others? You can also follow the Master What Matters Facebook and Instagram for daily posts and more pics. )
Click on the pics below to view pictures from my trip to the Holy Land…
Join us on this Journey:
We need each other. Let’s encourage one another as we learn to take steps closer to our Savior!
Be sure to subscribe to this blog and you will receive a weekly post in your email.
Do you know Jesus? If there is any question, download the Plan of Salvation and read through the scriptures. I would love to chat with you about it. Feel free to reach out to me.
Let's stay connected. Follow Master What Matters via our Facebook page, Facebook group, Instagram, and subscribe to us on YouTube (just look for the Master What Matters logo).You are invited to visit the Marketplace where you will find the book - Saved by Grace, Now What? and graphic tees.