Maundy Thursday

When I was around eight or so, I dropped the communion plate full of grape juice on the brand new light green carpet at my church…in the second row. Who thought that was a good idea to pass that plate around the pews FULL OF CARPET AND PEW STAINING GRAPE JUICE?

Thursday of Holy Week marked the first Last Supper. It marked the time when Jesus revealed the new covenant of living forward to the disciples. That each time we break bread, we drink that we should remember Him, that we do this as a remembrance to the body broken, the blood spilled for us.

I was diving into some commentary on the first Last Supper and found an interesting point from The Christ-Centered Exposition that defines how the Passover was the perfect time for the Last Supper, the reminder that one exodus long ago would also bring forth another, a lasting exodus freeing us from sin and enslavement to it forever. The lamb sacrificed then would be the One given of Himself for us all, so that we would take and remember it each time we ate or drank-which is every single day.

I think about the pew stains on carpet there in the church, how there’s still a hint of it almost 30 years later. And I think about the sin stain of the world, cast across the people that God loved dearly but that broke His heart. I see the eternal blood there in the wine cup, the blood of the Perfect Lamb covering us all in order to make us white. The red of Him made us white in His eyes. It took away our need to sacrifice at Passover, and replaced it with the covenant of bread-breaking, cup-bearing daily. It ushered in freedom where we were once bound by the marks of slavery, of stains cast all around us and on us.

As we greet and walk through Maundy Thursday this week, I find the Last Supper what draws me in, to see my desperate need for cleansing in Him, to be reminded of His brokenness and blood-rending that is coming tomorrow. The arrogance of Peter there, even as Christ foretells of his desertion and my own walking away at times. The need for prayer in the deepest parts, in the times where I feel alone and deserted, there’s the draw to my knees and communing with God alone.

The sacrifice for my stains awaits tomorrow.

The Palms

It is the start of holy week across the nation, as Christians turn their eyes to the week that marks the events leading to the cross and resurrection of Christ. When I think about Christ’s entry into Jerusalem then, I cannot help but envision the palm fronds waving in the air, people shouting “Hosanna!” just as the gospels tell us.

The picture it draws isn’t one of a great victory parade, but of a humble entry on a colt, borrowed from someone. The crowds that had followed Christ in his teachings were now crowded into the busy streets of Passover week, throwing down their blankets for his entry. We often talk about the choice of the cross, His acknowledgement of sacrifice for us, His coming to redeem us from sin and death.

Palm-Sunday-Cross-1024x429But if we take a moment, we see that decision laid out right here, right in the words of instruction to the two disciples to go into the village and find a colt tied to a post. He knew then what this would bring about, the obedience of the will of God becoming the the prevalence of the time He had. Without this entry, there wouldn’t be a crucifixion, a resurrection, Redemption come in the form of God Himself with us, Christ.

We need this week, the entry into the city with palms waving. We needed Him to come as a humble King, unexpectedly with grace and humility, not with pomp and circumstance. We needed Him to come, not for the temporary salvation that Israel was thinking but for the eternal salvation from sin, death.

Palm Sunday ushers in new life for us all, a turning in the story of Christ to the reality of our need for Him. The shouts of “Hosanna!” coming forth from us, shouts of “Save, I pray” calling from our hearts, knowing He comes not just for my momentary circumstances but for me, my heart, my redemption, every bit of it. We wave our own palms today, celebrating the entry of Christ into the city, into our hearts and lives, forever changing the landscape of life, death…ushering in Redemption and access that we would not have without it, without Him.

These palms we see in the gospels at the entry of Christ? They were there in temple as well, on the walls that King Solomon had built, that Christ would enter tomorrow…but they are also there in Revelation, in the hands of ¬†every tribe, nation and language honoring the Lamb of Passover seated on the throne. Those palms are waved today in us, with shouts of Hosanna, Save now! For we celebrate His entry into the city, into our hearts, into salvation and redemption, into life eternal for us.

On Location This Week

Hey all…I know it’s been quiet this week around here but I wanted to let you know you can find me a couple of other places this week.

For one I am over on Single Roots answering the big Q about whether guys and girls can be friends with some of the other SR Team. You can find that post here. I would love for you to weigh in on that there in the comments. Did we get it wrong? What are your thoughts on this age old question?

The second place you can find me is today…I am over at JourneyOn Today, the daily devotion series from Brentwood Baptist where I am a part of the Lenten series. Go back and read the other amazing devotions if you don’t have a good devotion for Lent. They are crazy talented and spiritual giants writing these. I was honored to be asked to write for this, and if you have some quiet time today to take a look at my post on the Passover. Special shoutout to a friend who helped me connect a piece of that writing with a thought I couldn’t quite sew up.

 

I hope you all are having a great week! We’ll meet back here soon!

Accepting Obedience

I was not an obedient child, at least not instantaneously. Oh I would eventually do as I was told (mostly by my mom or sister, because I was a good kid to everyone else), but not without some fussing and fighting on it. There were tears, there were hurt feelings, there were defiant stances and stuck out lower lips. I was not one to go quietly, nor easily when it came to obedience.

I think the same holds true many times in my relationship with God. I will war and wrestle with Him on what He has asked me to do. After much struggling, and lessons learned I will go obediently about His business. As we study God’s Unfolding Story at church I was drawn into the small narrative of the Passover today.

I am familiar with the story, and the significance it has within the larger context of both the Jewish and Christian faiths alike. It is a ritual that reminds us of the captivity, bondage and saving grace of God. But I had missed parts of this story before as I dwelt in the meaning of the Passover within the confines of the story of Moses and the slaves.

Moses has just gotten Word directly from God. It’s a good word, but it’s also very specific in instruction. They are to go and bring a lamb into their home to slaughter. The blood is to be drained and then painted upon the doorposts and lintel of the home. This will save them from the destroying angel. They cannot leave their homes until morning. They were to share the story with their children, as they performed the ritual each year then. But nestled right after all these words is two sentences that have wrung me out…

So the people bowed down and worshiped. Then the Israelites went and did [this]; they did just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

After being given instructions to save their first born males, after being told specifically to paint in blood on their homes they accepted and submitted-worshiping God for His command. They fully accepted His word as truth, going forth in obedience and did. They didn’t argue, they didn’t wrestle with the decision, they didn’t try another way before giving in to that way as the answer.

\No, they are the picture of what God wants from us. When He speaks (and He does, we choose other things to hear many times) He desires for our hearts and minds to follow Him. That we would openly submit, worship, and obey. Until seeing that the Israelites worshiped in the midst of their obedience, I hadn’t thought of it being significant.

But it is y’all. Worshiping is submission and obedience too. It is giving God His glory back, pouring back our praise on Him for His goodness towards us, His love outpouring on us to guide us and lead us in every aspect of our lives. It’s saying we are lesser than, recognizing that He is greater….than any and every thing else. When we worship in our obedience, we are submitting to Him who we are and asking for Him to use us for whatever means and whatever ways.

When we accept obedience without pouting or fighting, we are praising Him for His sovereignty and goodness. We are faithfully obeying a God who will do whatever He needs to do in order to save us, and that to me is worth accepting and obeying all that He asks of me.