Tag Archives: Jesus

Resurrection Witness of Spring

Dianthus

I love spring and always look forward to seeing what will come back for another year in my gardens. This year I discovered plants that I forgot I’d moved; plants that I thought I’d moved and didn’t; and even plants coming up from the seeds of parent plants. All remind me of God’s promise to make all things new.

Teresa, my Georgia golf buddy and budding gardener, sent me the above photo of some dianthus she’d left in a pot in the back of one of her gardens. She commented, “These stayed outside over winter. I thought they were dead…but surprise!”

She also told me she had tossed two more out in the woods after they died. Now, with a full understanding of “perennial,” she scurried into the woods to retrieve them. The plants–still alive– are back in their pots and enjoying a lot more attention now.

That’s the beauty of perennials, isn’t it. They come back from the dead and are enduring, constant, and everlasting.

Jesus promised His disciples He would come back from the dead too, but they didn’t believe Him until they saw Him again either. Over 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus and talked with Him. His disciples even ate with Him. They enjoyed His presence for 40 days before He ascended into heaven so He could multiply His presence on earth through the outpouring of His Spirit into the hearts of believers everywhere.

His presence in our lives begins with just a small seed of belief; and like our plants that bloom where they are planted in our gardens, Jesus comes alive and blooms in the garden of our hearts when we plant Him there.

The glorious blooms we see in our gardens now bear witness to the resurrection glory that awaits us in God’s eternal garden. Let’s nurture His seed.

Unity: That They May Be One

Unity

Did you know that people learn a lot about us when we they hear us pray? Through prayer, we reveal what is foremost in our hearts and on our minds.

As Jesus faced His crucifixion, He prayed for unity, and He allowed His disciples to listen as He prayed for Himself, for them, and for us as future believers. We are privileged to read His Words.

In the first three verses of John 17, we witness the intimate interaction of the Holy Trinity–the divine mystery of perfect unity. Listen as the Holy Spirit prays from the realm of eternity to God the Father for Jesus, the Son. Listen as He intercedes for Jesus.

“Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”

To know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us today, in the same way, is beyond my understanding. But Jesus continued this High Priestly prayer by giving an account of how He lived His life here on earth.

We, too, will be called to account for how we have lived our lives. Will we be able to say to our Father as Jesus said, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do?”

Jesus recalled for God that He had revealed Himself to His disciples. He gave His disciples the Words God had given to Him. He prayed for their protection from the evil one, and He prayed for their sanctification–that they would be set apart as believers.

Then Jesus explained that He set Himself apart to die for us so we could be set apart to live for Him. He told His Father He had lived His whole life, “So that they may be one as We are one.” In other words, He prayed for the unity of His disciples.

Unity. That special oneness with the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spiritual bond that crosses the boundaries of denominations and knits His church family together.

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that, “Jesus is still praying for us today.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that we are on His prayer list?

He prayed, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me, and I am in You.” He even gave us the glory that God gave Him, so we may be brought to complete unity. He said it was, “to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved me.”

Can you imagine? Jesus, Son of the Most High God, not only loves us and wants perfect unity with us, He wants us to be with Him where He is. He wants us to see His glory.

Jesus taught His disciples, so they could teach us. Now, we are to continue the work that God has called us into perfect unity to do. When we focus on Jesus instead of ourselves and jointly seek a closer walk with Him, we are assured a closer relationship with each other. We are assured the unity He seeks.

We can do this. For Jesus’ sake.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for hearing our prayers, too. Help us to set ourselves aside and follow Your will to protect the precious unity of Your church.

From Law to Everlasting Life

Hosanna

The First Palm Sunday: A Time of Transition

Have you ever noticed how people respond to change?

Some love it and readily adapt to it. Others gripe, grumble, and  resist. But those who feel most threatened by change are the ones in charge of the old way– especially when the new way of doing things wasn’t their idea in the first place.

It’s the same today as it was in Jesus’ day.

When Jesus began His ministry, He began a transition from the law to life everlasting. The Pharisees, or teachers of the law, violently opposed Him because He threatened their secure positions socially, politically, and religiously.

But Jesus came into this world to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to save us instead of to hold us hostage to a lot of rules made up by the religious rulers of the day. And He performed miracles so that we might believe and have life in His name.

Some believed. Some didn’t. Some–like the Sanhedrin, the high Jewish Court of Chief Priests, Elders, and the Pharisees–wanted to kill Him. And the battle between good and evil raged on especially after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. But, that miracle gave the people hope.

“If He can raise Lazarus, He can raise us, too.”

Jesus’ miracles represented a real dilemma for the Pharisees. If they let Him go on teaching and working miracles, everyone would believe in Him. If everyone believed in Him, the Romans would take away their temple, their nation, and–to their way of thinking–the prestige of their position as teachers of the law.

But Caiaphas, the high priest that year, solved their problem when he said, “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

The interesting thing is that Caiaphas didn’t know God had prompted him to prophesy that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation and all the scattered children of God. Caiaphas didn’t know that his actions would bring them together and make them one as Jesus said, “one flock and one Shepherd.” But Jesus knew.

When Caiaphas and the Pharisees plotted to take His life, Jesus withdrew with His disciples to Ephraim, a village near the desert, to continue teaching, encouraging, and preparing them for His death. Why? Because they would be the ones to spread the Gospel to the world.

Then six days before Passover, when the Jews celebrated God’s delivering them out of Egypt, Jesus and His disciples went back to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ home for a dinner in His honor. The next day a great crowd of Jews who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead heard that He was on His way to Jerusalem, so they went out to cheer for Him, wave palm branches, and shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” (John 12:13).

The whole crowd of believers shouted praises because of Jesus’ miracle, but the Pharisees jeered, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

Jesus replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

In other words, “If they don’t praise and honor Me, the stones will. The stones know –even if you don’t– that I am the Redeemer of all creation.”

I hope Jesus enjoyed that brief moment of praise during His entry into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. It was the only time during His ministry that He received a hero’s welcome.

But, “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you,’” (Luke 19:41-44).

In other words, they didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They did not recognize the time of His visitation here on earth.

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, I hope you recognize Jesus as the Messiah. I hope you will set aside a time to praise Him for who He is and all He has done for you. And if you don’t know Him as Lord and Savior of your life, I hope you will welcome a change in your beliefs and shout, “Hosanna!” For only Jesus can resurrect the dead to everlasting life.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your Son and for the brief time of praise He received while He was here on this earth. May He continually hear our praises now that He is safely back home with You.