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Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring sunrise
Spring Sunrise

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"The Triumphal Entry"

"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51).  "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).

Triumphal entryYesterday we observed Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy mentioned in Zechariah 9:9. He was lauded with glory, honor and praise from the crowd of onlookers. "Hosanna!" they cried out; a cry for salvation and declaration of praise.  This was the beginning of the final days that led up to His crucifixion.  

Boston Marathon heartbreak hillWhen we lived in New England several times we went to Boston during the Boston Marathon held every year in April. One year we went to observe and cheer the runners on at what is probably the most famous slope in all competitive running, known as "Heartbreak Hill".  This hill isn't particularly steep but comes at a psychologically difficult time during the 26+ mile marathon.  The gentle grade wears at the weary runners as they are about 2/3 of the way toward the finish line at this point. Crowds are huge and the voluminous cheering of spectators gives impetus for the runners to endure the long stretch ahead.  

A spiritual "heartbreak hill" is an experience that virtually all believers will encounter in life.  In fact there will likely be several heartbreak hills in one's lifetime.   Perhaps some of our readers are wearily treading an extended uphill grade right now. Paul describes a "heartbreak hill" in his life as being,  "hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Let's consider the definitive "heartbreak hill" that Jesus endured. Luke's narrative gives us a glimpse of His deep resolve to fulfill His Father's mission, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."   Of course before Jesus was taken up into heaven He, once for all, made the final blood sacrifice by the shedding of His own blood.  That sacrifice would take place through Jerusalem. We will see this resolution most powerfully demonstrated through the events that unfold this Passion week.

Just prior to the Triumphal Entry we read in Luke 19:28, "He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem."  The phrase "going up" is very purposeful, translating the Greek "anabaino"; the same word used when Zacchaeus "climbed" the sycamore tree.  The King James Version translates it "ascending".  This was our Savior's greatest "heartbreak hill" but certainly not in relationship to the elevation difference or the physical exertion.  Luke reveals the spiritual heartbreak of Jesus in the following statement, "As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it" (19:41). His heart was broken for the lost! The hymnwriter describes it this way: "Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?"

Today my word of encouragement to my fellow runners, some who are presently treading up Heartbreak Hill: "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).

Why is Christ's entry into Jerusalem referred to as the Triumphal Entry when Scripture reveals that over the next few days anguish, sorrow, and death would overshadow any potential victory?

Because, in the midst of the evil and cruelty that is about to unfold, God's plan to provide salvation for humankind was not thwarted, but divinely fulfilled.  Christ's triumphal entry was truly triumphant because He came into Jerusalem:
•    As a victor not a victim. 
•    To fulfill the ultimate plan of God.
•    To demonstrate the full extent of His love.

Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world. He had fulfilled His Father's purpose and was Victor over sin.  He loved His own, and in His act of great sacrifice, He showed us the full extent of His love.  Today, let us joyfully live for Him who willingly died for us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, our hearts are deeply stirred as we consider the extent of Your love in sending Jesus to die for our sins.  As He wept over Jerusalem we see His tender humanity in relation to our sin problem.  How grateful we are that Jesus yielded Himself fully to be used as a sin sacrifice, once for all, not just for Jerusalem but for peoples of every tribe and language; for all generations prior to His sacrificial death and for all who follow.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Amen.

Some photos of our trip to Chicago last week.

When we arrived at our hotel near Chicago I found that it was a short distance from the headquarters of Weber Grill, which of course I find interesting, although there is no relation!  Frankly it really wasn't very impressive!

Weber Grill Restaurant 3/25/10
However I found that a short distance away they had a Weber Grill Restaurant and that sounded like a place I would like to eat, especially since they had barbecue!

Weber Grill Restaurant indoor grills 3/25/10
They grill inside on real charcoal on these large kettle grills 
and you can watch them cook your meal! Ester watched them grill her hamburger.

Ester at Weber Grill Restaurant with Weber classic burger 3/25/10
Here's a photo of Ester ready to bite
into her Weber Classic Hamburger.  Does that look like an eye appealing advertisement for a great looking burger!!

Jesse & Wilma Dourte with family 3/25/10
We went to the Chicago area to attend the viewing and service for our friend Jesse Dourte's older sister Grace.   Here's a photo of Jesse and his wife Wilma along with two great nieces and their husbands. The family was very pleased to see their Uncle Jesse and Aunt Wilma!

Grace WolgemuthEster and I attended the viewing and service. It was a very inspirational time.  Her family posted a beautiful website as an online tribute. It was one of the most inspiring and well-organized services I have ever attended. It was uplifting even though we had never met Grace. We are aware that some of our readers did know her and will appreciate watching the video of the service.  However even for those who didn't know her this service just may be a blessing as well!

Due to our trip we did not post daily encouragement messages on Thursday, March 25 or Friday, March 26.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"The Bridge"  Video  This powerful dramatic video illustrates the sacrifice God made in allowing His Son to die for our sins.

"Lamb Of God"  Video  Twila Paris

"All Glory, Laud and Honor"  Video  Piano Instrumental

"Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"  Video

"Hallelujah, What Savior!"  Video  Includes a powerful clip of Martin Luther.

"Loud Hosannas"  Video  David Wyper

"When It's All Been Said And Done"  Video   Robin Mark, singer and writer.  A musician at Grace's funeral service sang this song prior to the service Friday.  The words continue to repeat in my mind as it says so much about living one's life to the glory of God, staying above the fray of this world.

Major Events of the Passion Week

Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46
  • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Matthew 21:28-23:36; Mark 12:1-40; Luke 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: John 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6
  • The Last Supper: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  John 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12
  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Matthew 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25; John 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30
  • The glorious resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

Finally today:

Jim Schmidt on manure spreader
When we were out of town our friends Jim and Dorothy Schmidt from New Jersey visited our area.  They visited Jesse and Anna Ruth, our Amish friends, and Jesse apparently put Jim to work pulling the manure spreader (he was a willing volunteer, I'm sure, knowing Jim).  I suppose that's an experience very few of our readers have had or have listed on their "Must Do" list!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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