Friday, April 18, 2014

Preparing Your Heart

Good Friday.... when I was small I couldn't understand why it was good. I remember confusing it with Black Friday since it seemed like it must have been a dark, sad day that Jesus was crucified.

When I grew up a little it was explained to me, and I knew the answer. But I still wasn't feeling it. I had to repent and put my trust in his act on that day to truly see it's significance. Something had to change in me to change my focus from self to God.

But what happened on this day, about 1,980 years ago? Jesus made me whole by paying my debt (in full and in advance) and therefore I long to obey His teachings.

I am aware that many who stop by here don't want to read the truth about what happened over Holy Week. But I would encourage you to at least read up on the recaps below that can be found in the Bible. It's only a few chapters, and you'll be able to understand why today is Good, and not black.

It makes sense that today I at the very least put a (very) rough summary of what happened up to this point. From when Jesus arrives on a colt on the palm branches to how he leaves carrying his cross up to Calvary.

I long to feel more connected, since work and life and laundry and dinner and bills and (and and and) all distract so easily.

Image courtesy of bela_kiefer / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sunday- Palm Sunday
     When it is hear that Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, a crowd starts gathering, and tearing palms from trees to cover the ground. The Pharisees did not want to hear people calling Jesus their Savior, since that would be blasphemy. And when they asked Jesus to tell them to stop, he said that if the people stopped saying he was the Messiah, then the rocks themselves would cry out. AKA.... I am the Messiah. The Pharisees were not happy. John 12:13; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:9-19


Monday
     Jesus and the twelve disciples meet up in nearby Bethany where they stayed the night. Travelling to Jerusalem, they find a healthy-looking fig tree. But when they get close enough to look for fruit, they find nothing but leaves. Jesus declares here that this fig tree would never bear fruit again, which is a reference to Israel (which had always been referred to as a fig tree). This statement about a healthy looking tree that was dead inside was in reference to the people of Israel as a whole. Matthew 21:18–19; Mark 11:12–14; Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 9:10
     When they arrived inside Jerusalem, they went to the temple. There were observant Jews coming to Jerusalem for Passover, but they were being forced to pay taxes and buy sacrifices. Jesus saw this, was overcome with emotion and threw the moneychangers table over! He stated that his father's house was being turned into a den of thieves, preying on those who came to observe Passover. Jesus cleaned house, throwing out anyone using the temple as a marketplace and who had goods for sale. Matthew 21:12–13
     The Pharisees were not impressed by this man coming and taking over. He was from a little town and was acting like he ran the place. Of course, they felt like they were being usurped.

Tuesday
     Jesus explains the fig tree from the day before, and tells them to trust in God. Matthew 21:18–19.
     When Jesus arrives at the temple, crowds start to form to hear his teaching. The elders, chief priests and scribes show up too, and lay four traps for him.
     First they ask on whos authority he speaks. Jesus replied back with the question "Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” If they had replied with "from man", they would have made the crowd listening in angry, since they know John as a highly-esteemed prophet at this point. And if they had said "from God", then they would sound silly for not believing in Jesus, as John had testified for him on his behalf. Mark 11:28-30.
     Second, they send the Pharisees and King Herod's loyal followers to ask him "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.  And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” This basically stopped them in their tracks, since he did not instigate an uprising against the King, and he also said that we owe everything to God. Matthew 22:15–22
     Third, the Sadducees came to him, and since they do not believe in the end-times resurrection they begin to laugh at him. They try to ask a trick question, to which Jesus asked them "do you not understand the scriptures?" There is no marriage in heaven, and that God will not be to the dead, but to the living, and all live to him. Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question. Luke 20:27–40; Matthew 22:23–33; Mark 12:18–27.

Wednesday
     Wednesday seemed less troubling then the previous two days, but this is not because things were quieting down. At this point, Jesus is being plotted against by the officials, but they choose to do so in private versus another public display (which hasn't worked so well for them these past two days). They recruit Judas, who as well all know sold Jesus to them for the amount of 30 shekels of silver (in Exodus the Bible set the standard for the selling of a slave, which was 30 shekels) Exodus 21:32.
     Judas was predestined to do this, and wasn't just feeling greedy one day. He was mentioned in the Old Testament, saying that  the one who ate God's bread would be the one who would lift up his heel against God. Psalm 41:9, then repeated in John 13:18. Jesus' disciples, who have been with him since the beginning of his ministry, will be leaving him soon. Judas will betray him, and Peter will deny him. This drives home the solitary act he has to fulfill, without aid from his disciples.
     Jesus, later went to the garden of Gethsemane. The Bible says "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He then returns to find his disciples have fallen asleep, instead of keeping watch. He goes back out to the garden, and this time, he prays a different prayer. “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Again, he return to them sleeping. And this repeats once more. Finally, Jesus says "the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"  Matthew 26:36-46

Thursday
     Maundy Thursday, as some know it, means "foot washing". This day, Jesus, after supper takes the feet of the disciples and washes them. The disciples, especially Peter are shocked and object, but Jesus replies "Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” John 13:3–20
     Jesus went, and being in agony he prayed and "his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Luke 22:44. While it is not elaborated, this could mean the beginning of the payment... he died for our sins, but the suffering and torment he endured began well before "It is finished" was spoken.
     I love what was said by John Piper, in this post. He said "Jesus did not go on praying for the cup to pass. He went on praying for success in drinking it."

Friday- Good Friday
     Today, Good Friday, is the day of the act of betrayal, the crucifixion, and the completion of payment for our sins. Jesus wakes, and is greeted by Judas with a kiss. With this seemingly innocent act, Judas has pointed out who the guard watching were to take away. A disciple attempts to attack those taking him away, and hits one in the ear with his sword. The man screams, and grabs his bleeding ear. Before being led away from him, Jesus reaches over and heals that wound. Then rebukes that disciple, telling him to put his sword away and that for the scriptures to be fulfilled he must go.
     Once led away, Jesus is delivered to the high priest, and asked about what he teaches in an effort to confuse him and cause him to say something they could use to indict him. Jesus doesn't fall for the trap, and eventually remains quiet.
     ”And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” Matthew 26:62-68

     Jesus is then taken to Pilate, who states “I find no guilt in this man.” Pilate offers to take Jesus as the 'pardoned prisoner' but there is a problem. The crowd has to choose who will be pardoned, and they chose a notorious murderer and thief named Barabbas. Matthew 27:15-23
     "So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified." Matthew 27:24-26
     They then stripped Jesus, put a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns on his head- mocking him. They knelt before him and said 'Hail, the King of the Jews!' They spit on him, returned him to his clothes and led him off to be crucified. Matthew 27:27-31
     A man named Simon was called to carry Jesus' cross, and when they got to Golgotha, Jesus was offered wine with herb (to lessen his pain). He refused this offering, and they proceeded to cast lots (bid) on his clothing, and hung him on the cross. They hung over his head a sign, that read "This is Jesus, King of the Jews". He was hung between two crosses, a robber on each side.
And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
     Jesus hung, and darkness swept over the land. Jesus calls out to the Lord. He gives up his spirit and dies.
Image courtesy of bela_kiefer / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This rough summary was inspired by the posts by John Piper, for this Holy Week.
Also, this link provides a very good outline of events.

So tell me....

Did you also grow up confused about Black Friday?
Did you learn something new?

I certainly did. This study taught me so much, and had it been just now released as a major film, I would be such a dramatic piece. It is an amazing story, and it is so much more, since it really did happen and is not just an act of fiction.

This post was (also) brought to you by the A-Z Challenge, and the letter:

13 comments:

  1. Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

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    1. This love story is beautiful. Good Friday indeed

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  2. Thank you for the summary. I, too, grew up confused as to why Jesus' death could be "good". But I guess that's the logic of a child.

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

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    1. The historical accounts found in the Bible can be so overwhelming, that when I find someone who breaks it down, I love it! This was a pleasure to do as well, glad you enjoyed it.

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    2. I'm overwhelmed when I realize how much God loves us, what Jesus' death really means. When I think how much I love my daughter ... and then realize how much MORE Jesus loves me, it's unfathomable.Thanks for sharing, Farin.

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    3. Trying to make a comparison to my love for something shows how far we fall short, and how broad and wide his love for us sinners is. It really is incredible.

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  3. God is good, it can be seen in what Jesus did for all of us. Nice recap of holy week.

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    1. Thank you. It was eye-opening to put together:)

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  4. I thought today that I should have planned ahead for my A to Z posts and published P on the 3rd and C on the 18th (today) so that I could write about the Crucifixion (even though it doesn't blend with my theme of diseases). Such an amazing day, as Tom said celebrating an amazing love. The joy will come on Sunday yet again!

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    1. I wish I would have done it.... the night before it was going live I still had no title, and no idea what P could be, besides maybe prayer? This challenge does have its limitations, maybe they should have it in say... August or June, when there isn't a major holiday that people are trying to name with letters. R worked out great for me on Monday though!

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  5. This is such a moving post of faith.

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, haven't been visited by an A-Z 'minion' in a while and was wondering where y'all were :)

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