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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

King of the Jews....

“He Chose the Nails”


                In our Lenten reflections for 2017 we will focus on Jesus
and the scene where He is being prepared to die on the cross.  Jesus is on the cross and above him is a poignant sign – trilingual, hand-painted and Roman commissioned. It states, “The king of the Jews.” A sign which muight reveal two truths about God’s desire to reach the world.
1)      There is no person he will not use.  
The criminal on the cross beside Jesus turns to Jesus and acknowledges Jesus as king of a kingdom and wants to be remembered by him. Why? We do not know other than he could read the sign above him and the criminal knew he would soon die. He was saved. He saw the sign and believed. Had Pilate intended to spread the story of Jesus in a positive way or what was Pilate’s intention for this sign. Maybe it was to mock the Jews but the thief came to know Jesus as God’s Son. How many others did the same?
2)      There is no language God will not speak
Every person who walked by that day could read the sign for those who could read would know Hebrew, Latin or Greed.  Hebrew—the language of Israel and religion; Latin- the language of the Romans- law and government and Greek the language of Greece and culture. Christ was named king in all three.
In which language does God speak to you?

REFLECTON:
What is significant about the nails that Jesus received, other than these nails applied to the cross gave a fastening technique for Jesus’ body is that the nails were familiar to Jesus already. He knew that once the nails were put in his hands, he would no longer be able to put off death. He knew that he would die and commend the Spirit. He also knew that God the Father would enable something to happen to let others knew that Jesus is the son of God. But what about you? As the nails pierced Jesus’ hands and feet, Jesus prepared to die and it would happen soon.
Why should it matter how Jesus died, it is important that he died for our sake. Why is Jesus’ death so significant to us as Christians today? Because he loved us then, and loves us now and wants us to believe that he chose the nails for us so that we might be reconciled with God. Are we ready to choose to follow?.
                PRAYER    Loving Saviour Jesus, we praise you for you opened your hand to receive the pain and agony when you did not deserve this. We pray that your passion would enlighten us to realize the depth of your love for us. Hear our prayers as we continue this Lenten journey and try to understand why you ‘chose the nails’ for our sake. Amen.

Reflections based upon Max Lucado,  He Chose the Nails, ch.4

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

He Chose the Nails

“He Chose the Nails”


                In our Lenten reflections for 2017 we will focus on
Jesus and the scene where He is being prepared to die on the cross.  Jesus is now laying down on the ground but really upon the cross where a soldier is pressing his arm. There is a mallet and a nail and the soldier’s hand pressing down and skewering Jesus’ hands to a beam.  Why did Jesus go through this? Why didn’t He just use his hands to take control of the mallet and the hand of the soldier.  Because He knew he had to die for your sake.  He did this for you.
                A couple of soldiers were assigned the task of preparing the prisoners for crucifixion. This meant actually nailing the hands and feet of each person to the wooden cross. Huge spikes were needed to go through the ankles and wrists and into the wood. The soldiers had done this before but with Jesus there was something different. They had already mocked him, whipped him, spit on him and now they were throwing dice for his clothes. And there was Jesus lying on the wooden beams and waiting. He was waiting for the nails to inflict pain and cause him to bleed. But why? Why did Jesus just laid there. He could have called thousands of angles to stop this. He could have overtaken each and every soldier after all he is the Son of God. But because God loved us, he became human and Jesus became the one who enabled reconciliation of people and God to take place.
But just think of those hands—they calmed the sea, they healed, they helped share his teachings; they held babies and children and comforted adults who wept. Jesus’ hands were filled with kindness and love. Now they were filled with blood and pain as a nail was hammered into them. And these few nails would hold Jesus up high on the cross and he would be seen by many people as he awaited death.
                Jesus’ hands were open as the nails pierced through. Jesus knew the pressure needed to pound those nails through his hand and into the wood. He was a carpenter and he had used a hammer like the soldiers’ many times. But these nails were important for this is where the sins of the world were placed upon Jesus. And Jesus knew that he had to die in order that you could live forever.

REFLECTON:
What is significant about the nails that Jesus received, other than these nails applied to the cross gave a fastening technique for Jesus’ body is that the nails were familiar to Jesus already. He knew that once the nails were put in his hands, he would no longer be able to put off death. He knew that he would die and commend the Spirit. He also knew that God the Father would enable something to happen to let others knew that Jesus is the son of God. But what about you? As the nails pierced Jesus’ hands and feet, Jesus prepared to die and it would happen soon.
Why should it matter how Jesus died, it is important that he died for our sake. Why is Jesus’ death so significant to us as Christians today? Because he loved us then, and loves us now and wants us to believe that he chose the nails for us so that we might be reconciled with God. Are we ready to choose to follow?.
                PRAYER    Loving Saviour Jesus, we praise you for you opened your hand to receive the pain and agony when you did not deserve this. We pray that your passion would enlighten us to realize the depth of your love for us. Hear our prayers as we continue this Lenten journey and try to understand why you ‘chose the nails’ for our sake. Amen.

Reflections based upon Max Lucado,  He Chose the Nails, ch.4

Saturday, 11 March 2017

He Chose the Nails the next step

“He Chose the Nails”


                In our Lenten reflections for 2017 we will focus on
Jesus and the scene where He is being prepared to die on the cross.  Jesus has been handed off by Pilate to the soldiers to be whipped. The soldiers followed orders to beat Jesus and so he was whipped. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace and they all gathered around hm. They took off his clothes, put a red robe on him mocking him as royalty- a king of this time. They then made a crown out of a thorny branch and stuck it on his head. They then put a stick in his hand mocking him as one who had power in this kingdom. They looked at him. And then the soldiers spat on Jesus. How humiliating. How humbling; how awful for Jesus! (Matthew 27:26-31) And why did Jesus go through this? He did for you.
                An unnamed soldier took branches, mature enough to bear thorns, nimble enough to bend and wove them into a crown of mockery, a crown of thorns. What was this symbolizing?
                If we recall the story of the Garden of Eden we might remember that after Adam and Eve sinned God cursed the land: So I will put a curse on the ground. The ground will produce thorns and weeds for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. Gen 3:17-19
                Rebellion also results in thorns. Jesus compared the lives of evil people to a thornbush. You will know these people by what they do.  The fruit of sin is thorns. So therefore the thorny crown on Christ’s brow is a picture of the fruit of our sin on Christ. But what are these sins? shame, fear, disgrace, discouragement, anxiety
                Jesus had all the emotions of sin upon him and when he prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt 27:46). But Jesus was not forsaken; he knew what he was supposed to do. But when reality occurred he was alone. He needed nothing before but now he was not only spat upon, he was mocked with a crown of thorns causing him to bleed. And he did this for you.
                The crown of thorns is a powerful symbol for our understanding of Christ’s passion and death. Often replicas of this thorny crown are placed upon crosses within churches to remind us a little of what Jesus endured for our sake. But until we touch the thorns and realize how this crown penetrated Jesus’ head until blood flowed, we can only imagine a little of what he endured. The shame, mockery and humiliation as well as the physical beating and punishment.  Jesus chose to do this for our sake.
                What does this mean for you and I? Each Lenten season we are reminded about Jesus’ time in the wilderness and then we often just quickly reflect on his passion and death without really seeing the full story in itself.
                What do the thorns mean for us? The sins of the world placed on Christ to deal with. Yet even though he knew his purpose in coming to live a human life, did he really need to endure all of this punishment and humility?
PRAYER    Wonderful Saviour we praise you and as we consider the punishment and pain you received we pray that your passion would enlighten us to realize the depth of your love for us. Hear our prayers as we continue this Lenten journey and try to understand why you ‘chose the nails’ for our sake. Amen.

Reflections based upon Max Lucado,  He Chose the Nails, ch.3

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

He Chose the Nails

“He Chose the Nails”


                Today is Ash Wednesday the day when traditionally
palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration are burned and made into a black dusty powder. This ash powder is then placed in a small bowl in preparation for a prayer service. Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. The ashes are then imposed on the forehead in the form of a cross signifying our Lenten walk with Jesus through the wilderness and in preparation for Holy Week and Jesus’ passion. This prayer service begins Lent which is a time of learning, self-reflection and of hearing again the story of Jesus’ love and passion.
                In our Lenten reflections for 2017 we will focus on Jesus and the scene where He is being prepared to die on the cross.  Jesus has been handed off by Pilate to the soldiers to be whipped. The soldiers followed orders to beat Jesus and so he was whipped. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace and they all gathered around hm. They took off his clothes, put a red robe on him mocking him as royalty- a king of this time. They then made a crown out of a thorny branch and stuck it on his head. They then put a stick in his hand mocking him as one who had power in this kingdom. They looked at him. And then the soldiers spat on Jesus. How humiliating. How humbling; how awful for Jesus! (Matthew 27:26-31) And why did Jesus go through this? He is there for you.
                The actions of the soldiers were to follow orders- whip and kill him by crucifixion. But they wanted to have fun first. They spat on him to make themselves feel big by making Christ look small. Jesus took this on him. This is the sin that is in our lives even at this moment. The sin that we try not to do but inevitably we do was put in His face.
                Someone could have wiped his face and taken the spit, sweat and blood away but no one did. Jesus is the One who chose the nails and the saliva and he took upon himself the sins of the world. So that we might reconcile with God and live.
                As we reflect on the solders actions by following orders and mocking Jesus for fun what are we thinking about? Are we wondering why Jesus would not ask someone even an angel to help? But he didn’t he received the humility and punishment together for he knew this was part of God’s plan so that we might learn of the depth of his love. But do we really understand- he chose this for us?

Prayer
Loving God during this Lenten journey reveal yourself to us in Jesus so that might understand the depth of his love and why he died for us. Help us to realize the far reaching effects of sin and what it means to be forgiven by God. Hold us and comfort us as we learn more about Christ Jesus and his passion. We ask in His name. Amen.

Reflections based upon Max Lucado  “HE Chose the Nails” ch.1-2