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Thursday, April 6, 2023
The Suedberg Church of God along the Swatara rail trail was built over 150 years ago and based on their website still appear to be faithfully proclaiming God's Word for which we are thankful!
Message summary: We "consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men." The atoning death of Christ on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God's love. "The hour" was that singular moment in space and time for which Christ, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" had come to this world. Oswald Chambers states, "The cross is the crystallized point in history where eternity merges with time."
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"And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him" (Luke 22:14). "It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end" (John 13:1). "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Laifong is a long-time friend who currently serves with Wycliffe Bible Translators. She and her husband Nigel were a part of the church we served in New England in the 90's. She writes in her newsletter we received yesterday:
"Until quite recently, I have been reluctant to dwell on Jesus’ sufferings. It was easier to skip to the happy part of the story – when Jesus rose from the dead and defeated sin and death! Now, I appreciate being able to meditate on Scriptures such as Isaiah 53 because they assure me that Jesus empathizes with my pain because He bore them Himself. In addition, He heals me and gives me peace."
This week we are dwelling on Christ's sufferings or as our text calls us; "consider(ing) Him who endured such opposition from sinful men."
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
Today is often called Maundy Thursday, also referred to as "Holy Thursday" or "Great Thursday" in some circles. The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word for "command" or mandate. The "Maundy" in "Maundy Thursday" refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another; He did this not only in word but also in deed.
Since it is now Thursday of Holy Week let us consider the events that likely took place on this day. Maundy Thursday is the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper.
Consider the disciples twelve : it was only several years earlier they chose to leave all behind to follow Christ. Think how recently three years ago was in your life. The older you get the more "recent" they seem. But even in my twenties and thirties, the probable age of the disciples, three years wasn't very long ago.
What an experience they had listening to Christ's wonderful teachings, witnessing the astounding miracles, being edified through their close fellowship and enjoying the breaking of bread together.
At the time of His first miracle Jesus said "Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4). Earlier in Christ's ministry the opposition had tried to seize Him but they could not, "because His hour was not yet come" (John 7:30).
But this night was different; the careful historian Luke introduces His gathering with the disciples for the Passover meal with this solemn description, "And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him".
Now the Twelve leaned around a table and Jesus shared what surely seemed to them a confusing illustration as He inserted these unfamiliar words into the familiar Passover meal: "This is My body which is given for you, My blood which is shed for you."
"What is He talking about?" they surely wondered as they whispered amongst themselves. They must have looked at each other to get a sense of whether others were connecting or understanding Jesus as He again spoke of dying. Just days earlier He had come into Jerusalem to great fanfare and shouts from the crowd recognizing that He was the King. That's what they wanted. And that's what they got, just not in the way they expected.
"The hour" was that singular moment in space and time for which Christ, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" had come to this world. Oswald Chambers states, "The cross is the crystallized point in history where eternity merges with time".
May we who believe and follow Christ reaffirm our commitment to this great and loving God. We pray that the desire of Paul’s heart would also be the theme of our prayer: "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).
The atoning death of Christ on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God's love resulting in:
• Our redemption from sin
• Our reconciliation to God
• Our restoration to wholeness
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). On this Maundy Thursday of Holy Week, let us rejoice in the ultimate demonstration of Christ's supreme love.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I glory in the Cross of Calvary from which Your Son, my Lord and Savior, died for my sins. I choose to boast only in Jesus who lifted the heavy chains from my enslaved soul freeing me to soar to newness of life. Thank You, God, for demonstrating Your love toward me in that You gave Your one and only Son, Jesus, to die for me. At just the right time while I was still powerless and overpowered by the weight of my sin, He died for me. Because of this incredible act of love and forgiveness I have reconciliation with You, my Father, in heaven. My sins are erased and my burden is lifted. Praise be to God through Christ Jesus my Lord! Amen.
Here is a listing of different Scripture verses where Christ speaks of "the hour" in the sense of today's message:
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"How Deep The Father's Love" Click to listen on YouTube Phillips, Craig, & Dean
"Communion" Click to listen on YouTube Brooke Ligertwood
The Suedberg Church of God has this interesting discipleship page on their website.
(We are posting this information all through Holy Week)
The four gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. Most of this material deals with the 3˝ year period of His ministry. However an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels deal with the period from Christ's triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of material dealing with God's greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.
Here's an interesting chart from the Life Application Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible during Holy Week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read 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: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46
Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47
Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6
The Last Supper: Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room: Jn. 13-17
Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12
Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt. 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk. 14:53-15:20; Lk. 22:54-23:25; Jn. 18:13-19:16
Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt. 27:31-56; Mk. 15:20-41; Lk. 23:26-49; Jn. 19:17-30
The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk. 16:1-11; Lk. 24:1-12; Jn. 20:1-18
Tuesday following an early morning chaplain visit, we rode the bike trails in Swatara State Park. It was a beautiful day with temps reaching into the seventies. We shared several photos yesterday and want to share several more today.
Bordner's Cabin was built by a high school shop teacher and his students over 80 years ago and is a now part of the park. Brooksyne is standing inside the cabin where the large window was placed to view the waterfall.
Click on photo to enlarge
Now she is standing on the outside of the window. We ate our lunch at this table in as we viewed and listened to the waterfall streaming down the rock strewn mountain.
Click on photo to enlarge
During our visit a home-schooled family of five children arrived to explore the cabin and climb up the falls (look to the left). The falls weren't running that fully but still had a relaxing white noise sound so conducive to a resting place.
Click on photo to enlarge
When visiting the cabin, we often get a naturally "framed" photo of us standing below the waterfall taken by another visitor. Afterwards we take a photo of the visitor(s) so they too can take home a framed photo of their standing below the waterfall.
Click on photo to enlarge
The Waterville Bridge carries the Appalachian Trail across Swatara Creek.
Click on photo to enlarge
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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