Day 5: Passover, The Last Supper

Our tour through Holy Week takes a somber turn on Thursday.

From Bethany Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast.

That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover.

By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how they were to love one another.

Today, many churches practice foot-washing ceremonies as a part of their Maundy Thursday services.

Then Jesus shared the feast of Passover with his disciples saying, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.

For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16, NLT)

As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of the Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death.

During this Last Supper, Jesus established the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, instructing his followers to continually remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements of bread and wine:

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ “ (Luke 22:19-20, ESV))

Later Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed in agony to God the Father.

Luke’s Gospel says “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44, ESV)

Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin.

He was taken to the home of Caiaphas (KAY-e-fes), the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.

Meanwhile, in the early morning hours as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing his Master three times before the rooster crowed.

 

** If you haven’t experienced a passover supper, I would suggest you find one to go to in your area, or google directions and do it with your family, friends and/or small group. Is is an amazing experience!

Read More – Matthew 26:17–75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-62, and John 13:1-38.

What I learned today…when we follow along in Jesus last days, it makes us feel even closer to Him and brings His story to life in remarkable ways.

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Day 4: It’s Quiet

The Bible doesn’t say what the Lord did on Wednesday of Passion or Holy Week.

Scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of the Passover.

Bethany was about two miles east of Jerusalem. Here Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha lived.  They were close friends of Jesus, and probably hosted him and the disciples during these final days in Jerusalem.

Just a short time previously, Jesus had revealed to the disciples, and the world, that he had power over death by raising Lazarus from the grave.  After seeing this incredible miracle, many people in Bethany believed that Jesus was the Son of God and put their faith in him.

While we can only speculate, it’s fascinating to consider how our Lord Jesus spent this final quiet day with his dearest friends and followers.

What I learned today…take time with those I love, even during difficult times where I feel like I don’t have enough time and there is so much more to do. Quality time spent with others is priceless.

 

 

Day 3: Mount of Olives

Today our journey with Jesus through Holy Week takes us back to the Temple in Jerusalem and then to the Mount of Olives.

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus taught them about faith.

At the Temple, the religious leaders aggressively challenged Jesus’ authority, attempting to ambush him and create an opportunity for his arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced harsh judgment on them: “Blind guides! … For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)

Tuesday afternoon Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem due east of the Temple. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an elaborate prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He taught in parables using symbolic language about end times events, including his Second Coming and the final judgment.

Scripture indicates that Tuesday was the day Judas Iscariot (iss-carry-ut) negotiated with the Sanhedrin (san hēdrin) to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

 Read more – Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38.

What I learned today…Even Jesus had false friends and ones who would betray Him. Even knowing what Judas would eventually would do, He still loved Him and taught Him up until the moment of betrayal. I need to love ALL others better. Not just the people who are nice to me.

Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Today, we continue tracing the footsteps of Jesus, as Monday morning he returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. (Matthew 21:18-22)Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine, living faith is more than just outward religiosity. True faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt sales people.

He began flipping over their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Matthew 21:12-17New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

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 to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[c]?”

And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

 Read more here- Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.

What I learned today…Jesus showed us His temper when He was frustrated with the people in the temple. I love that He did that. It helps when I feel righteous anger!
AND I need to make sure my house and temple stay holy, asking God to test MY heart in all I do.

Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for the sins of the world.

He sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”

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

“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

Read more here –  Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

What I learned today…I can’t possible begin to imagine what Jesus went through riding in to the town, hearing the love…knowing what was about to happen.

Holy Week is Coming!

As we head in to Holy Week preparing for Easter. Let’s take a look at what the week looked like for Jesus each day.

Take time in your day to pause and reflect as you read. If you find yourself with a few more moments, go to your Bible and look up the “Read More” verses at the bottom of each daily blog.

This is what our week will look like –

Sunday – Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

Monday – Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Tuesday – Day 3: Mount of Olives

Wednesday – Day 4: The Bible is quiet about this day…was it a day of rest and anticipation for Jesus?

Thursday – Day 5: Passover, The Last Supper…if you haven’t taken part in a Passover supper, find one in your area or Click here for directions as it is a VERY moving experience.

Friday – Day 6: Trial, Crucifixion, Death, Burial

Saturday – Day 7: A day in the tomb

Sunday – Day 8: Resurrection Sunday!!!

Moving through this exercise for this week, I pray God speaks to you through the verses. I pray He prepares your heart by helping you get one step closer to Him.

I pray that as you walk through the week, you remember Jesus Christ died and rose for YOU. That you are loved and can have hope that you will be able to thank Him when you get to heaven.

I pray that you are so firm in your faith that you reach out to invite others to go to an Easter service with you. I pray those people find a connection with Jesus and give their lives to Him.

What I learned today…we need to walk through this week every year. Slowly and intentionally.

 

Who? Me?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have walked in to a situation and thought, “What in the world am I doing here?”.

I do that at work, a LOT. I look at God incredulously a LOT and ask Him, “Do you REALLY think I belong here?”. You know, those days were you feel SO different.

Not smart enough. Not young enough. Not old enough. Not thin enough. Not “Holy” enough. Not male enough. Not female enough. Not “hip” enough. Not quiet enough. Not “soft” enough.

I do alllll the time. Now, I know you can say, we need to remember God created us all beautifully for a specific purpose! And I hear what you are saying because I get it. I just feel completely under-qualified 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time, I think I’ve got it.

Last night Chad and I were invited to a function. It felt like a hush-hush deal so I didn’t bring it up much at work. I felt privilege to have been afforded an invite. I was excited to see who would be there.

When we arrived, it was a small, narrow building and I saw some familiar faces right away. (Now remember, I am VERY socially awkward with small talk, even with people I love.)  I saw wonderful people from the worship and production teams and only a few others. People that I REALLY like and admire…but rarely have words to use around them in my awkwardness, so Chad and I were thankful to have a couple faces that we could connect with.

As the evening began, I was YET AGAIN in awe of the leader of our worship team. He truly has a heart for God. I am not close enough with his wife, but I can safely assume she does as well. As he started the evening, he took time to thank each and every person that had helped with the release of their first EP (“First” ironically is the name and you can click here to purchase it on Itunes now). As he walked through each name, you saw each person feel honored and hold their head a little higher because they were SEEN and Valued.

As I was looking around thinking, what am I doing here, I was praising God for such amazing people. We were in a room full of people that use their time, energy and gifts pouring their talents back out to the Lord who provided them all of those things.

And then, the leader said MY name. What?!?!? He said he was thankful for my support. Through the thick and thin they new I was always cheering for them and praying for them. Soooo, I teared up, because I couldn’t believe he’d point that out!!! Isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Love and support each other? Pray for each other? I felt like it was a privilege and honor to have a position where I can support and pray for them. Shouldn’t we all be doing that for each other?

So as I stood there praying my heart out, asking for God to show people His love and His mercy. I felt God strongly say there is someone here that NEEDS to know THEY ARE SEEN. I looked behind me and thought WOW, God must love her a LOT to be having me awkwardly step over and give her a big hug in the midst of it all. He wanted HER to know that she is KNOWN. Did I have a chance to truly explain that? Nope. But I am hoping she felt it through my look and hug. Sadly, she left before I could get to her again. I prayed God would stay with her.

Who in your life are you not SEEing? Who did He put in your life that you can support and pray for. Not in a big way, but in a way that says YOU MATTER.

What I learned today…Be thankful for those in your life. Acknowledge and honor the gifts God gave them. I need to always thank God for the opportunity to work for Him. And to constantly ask Him to show me who He needs me to tap on the shoulder, hug and let them know they are SEEN.

 

Heavy Hearted

I woke up with a heavy heart this morning. Frustrated with God and ready to grab the reigns back from Him. I wanted to take back the surrender I have been REALLLY trying to have. I handed Him my problem saying, God, it’s in your hands and I trust you to do what’s best for me. I have been praying and asking for more patience. I am tired. I have been practicing   Proverbs 4:23-27 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth, Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

I feel myself drawn to a lot of the Psalms and their cry for help. This morning, I came down with a heavy heart for myself and our situation. That turned to guilt as I have a healthy family. Those with sick family members would take ANY life over what they currently have. So I came down and sat down with the bible ready to say, God, What the What?! I can take care of this WAY faster than you. AND I can flourish! His response…Flourish? Like the “good’ole days” when you didn’t walk with Me.? UGH. So I opened the bible, and He showed me (on the VERY FIRST PAGE I OPENED). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

What do you have to give to God today? Is it in friendships? family? finances? faith? We wait on His timing. Remember, He is our DAD. HE can see the BIG picture and direct us when and where we should be. Let’s all repeat Phil 4:6-7 over and over today and wait patiently, not anxiously for His Will to be done.

What I learned today…I need to constantly turn to God on my good and bad days. He is the one that can give me rest.

Old Friends, Rock’n Roll & My Big Butt

Saturday night we were invited to a party and a friend’s house and another friend’s band was playing their yearly St. Patty’s Day gig.

I would love to say I was having a hard time deciding which one to go to, but I wasn’t. My heart wanted to attend both and have fun like the “good ‘ole days”, but my mind was saying…NOOOOOOOOO! Have you seen your butt?!?!?

I have already written about my insecurity about my size. I have started the road to becoming healthier. I have NOT gotten my self-esteem on track with the issue. Did I REALLY want to go to two different parties and have a BLAST with old friends, catching up with them and their lives, hearing about their families? Of course I did. Was I going to allow myself to be stopped by my own insecurities? Of course.

That played in to the tantrum I wrote about yesterday as well.

We went to our church service, and as I walked in, I realize how much of our lives have changed. Do I miss going crazy and partying each weekend? To be honest, yes, sometimes. Do I miss hanging out watch friends get crazy and dance around? Yes, sometimes. But I realized, we were sitting in service with our best friends. They have been a constant for the last 3 years. They know the new redeemed and transformed Julie and Chad.

I sat there asking God if I would ever feel comfortable with my size. He reminded me I am working on it and with His help all things are possible. I told Him I was sad I wasn’t able to go see old friends perform…and then an old friend walked on to the stage. At church. To sing. I almost giggled out loud as my eyes welled with tears. emily b She sang a beautiful song that went straight to my heart. Even these lyrics that were on the screen as I took the picture… It reminded me, If God is with me, who can be against me?

I don’t have to worry about my big butt. Jesus loves me right where I am. He wants me to be healthy, but I shouldn’t stop going places and doing things because of how I look. I have nothing to prove. I can enjoy life knowing that I have no one to prove myself too.

What I learned today…My God loves me, unconditionally and will be with me wherever I go. I need to kick my insecurities to the curb and keep THAT fresh in my mind. No more excuses or big “buts”.