Faith Community Online

Friday’s Blog

Filed under: Passion Week 2013 — Pastor David Mar 29, 2013 @ 5:24 am

Should Christians today celebrate the Passover? It seems that all of the Old Testament celebrations are fulfilled in Christ’s death and resurrection, esp. the Passover. Luke 24:25-27, and 44-47! Paul also stated that we are not obliged to practice the Old Testament rituals since they are a shadow or a picture of what Christ completed (Col. 2:16-17).

However, recently, there has been a renewed interest in the Passover and its celebration in history. What happened after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in 32 AD? What did the early apostles and church do with the Passover celebration?

Surprisingly, Apostles John, Philip, and their disciples continued to celebrate the Passover on the exact dates for the duration of their lives. This continued until the time of Emperor Constantine in 300 AD. Constantine outlawed the practice by the churches under the Roman government. The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD agreed to discontinue this celebration on Nissan the 14th to the 21st as the ancient Jews did. It seems then, that the cancellation was not one from a Biblical perspective but from a political bent to disavow the Jews because they crucified the Christ. This gave rise to a movement to hate and repudiate Jews of the following generations. The church began calling Jews “Christ-killers.”The church took a dark turn in many respects and now we have to wonder about the celebration of Passover today.

I am content that Jesus fulfilled the meaning of Passover and that we may not be under compulsion to celebrate it today. But it does not mean that you should not or cannot celebrate it! If anyone wished to celebrate the Passover as their way to remember Christ and see the great truths locked up in this event, why not?! I think the early apostles did just that. After seeing their traditions of over 1400 years realized in what Jesus did on the cross it made it all the more meaningful to them. Remember Luke 24:44-45 and how Jesus opened their minds to be able to  see these truths hidden in the Old Testament. It was then that they saw the Passover meal and realized it was symbolic of all that the cross brought to the world. His death is our life, His loss is our gain and His poverty is our wealth. His judgment results in our forgiveness and His rejection… our acceptance! We are spared the wrath of God and are freed from the power of Satan, sin, and the self-centered nature we have inherited from Adam.

This day should certainly receive greater prominence for us because it is a day like no other for every Christ-follower. You will not find a command that says that we are to celebrate the Passover, but it could be something we do in the future as a gesture of love and respect for the great accomplishment of our Passover Lamb. “Behold, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.”

Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die in our place. Words cannot express all we owe to You. As the hymn says, “I scarce can take it in, that on the cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away our sins. How great Thou art!” In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday’s blog

Filed under: Passion Week 2013 — Pastor David Mar 28, 2013 @ 7:41 am

The rejection of Christ has now begun. Judas has set the place to privately conspire against Christ joining the leaders to arrest and execute Jesus in a setting without resistance by the crowds. Christ takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane where they will pray. Jesus spends three hours in prayer preparing for the hour of betrayal. He alone knows what is unfolding. The other disciples are completely unaware. They fail the Lord as they sleep through each requested hour to “watch and pray”.  Now 800 soldiers arrive with torches and clubs and weapons. Off they lead Jesus from the quiet evening to an awaiting tribunal. The plan of selfish men who want power is now in full bloom.

In the middle of this surprising hour Peter decides to swing one sword against all odds. Christ stops him and says, “Don’t you know I could call for twelve legions of angels right now and they would come!” 72,000 angels! From the visible perspective it looked like the soldiers were in complete control. But what is Jesus revealing? The unseen world has 72,000 angels surrounding that very place waiting for one small word of permission and down with heaven’s thunder they would descend.

As we follow Christ we may face hours of surprising rejection too. What Peter learned that night was a truth of immense strength. It may be a surprise to me but not to Christ! I may feel helpless and I may look weak. But there is surrounding every saint and child of God an innumerable host of angels. Whatever happens to us only arrives at our doorstep by God’s permission and only stays there by God’s permission. We are never in any situation as truly helpless.

God is asking us to put up our swords and stop whacking at the soldiers or enemies invading our quiet garden. Maybe you have already drawn your sword and swung at a head or two. Maybe you even have drawn blood and at your feet there is a bloody ear. Stop! Listen to the reassuring words of our Great master…all this is to fulfill the Word, the great plan of God! This painful moment is but part of the whole plan. Forgive. Rest. Be willing to be led away into a black and uncertain night. God will not forsake you.

Lord, help me to trust you when the darkness and unknown are all about me. I do believe but help me not to take matters into my own hands but to wait for your timing and plan to unfold.

Wednesday’s Blog

Filed under: Passion Week 2013 — Pastor David Mar 27, 2013 @ 7:01 am

We have watched the poor conduct and sorrowful rejection of Christ by the leaders of that day. On this day Judas went to these leaders and arraigned for the betrayal of Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of sliver, if it was in today’s market it would only be worth about $700. But if we see one silver equal to a day’s was then it was about 5 weeks of labor or about $5,000. How cheaply Christ was sold. It is a scene we leave with pain.

But today we read of a woman who worships and honors the Christ who had come into the world.  She was recognizing the truth of who Jesus really is. What are some of the qualities she shows that are true of all worshippers?

She came to where Jesus was. Here is the willingness to adjust my schedule and life to meet with the Lord. Here is the purpose of worship driving the worshipper…I must see Jesus. Let this be the driving force for every worship service, every time of prayer, and every day we live…I must see Jesus.

She expressed her love in a lavish manner. She has now come to the place where Jesus was sitting. She unashamedly expresses her deep affection and gratitude to the One who had just done great things for her. See John 11. Her heart is so full of love and gratitude she must lavishly express it! She gave a gift that was worth 300 days wages which about a year’s salary to worship Christ. What a contrast from Judas!

She poured out her wealth on Christ. This gift was a year’s salary about $50,000. She was glad to give it all so Christ would be honored. She uses her wealth to express her love. As Rick Warren said, “You can give without loving but you can not love without giving.” This gift was a major sacrifice, but not for the eager worshipper. It was a gift of gladness cheerfully and willingly poured out.

She was criticized by onlookers. Those who were standing on the scene scolded her for wasting this money on Christ. There are always those who miss the entire point of worship. In the name of social concern or the name of practical matters shall we stifle the lavish display of gratitude and love? Those not driven by the need to see Jesus will focus on lesser items.

She was praised by Jesus. Every word is full of blessing that flows from Jesus’ lips. I point out a few. “She has done a good deed to Me!” Oh to hear these words of praise from the Master! Wow! Then He lifts her even higher by saying wherever the gospel is preached she was to be remembered. In all ages, in all places, in all languages, in all other worshippers’ hearts she will hold a special place of honor. She is now the example for us to follow.

Lord, make me a worshipper like Mary. Generous, cheerful and lavish in my expressions of love and gratitude. I serve you with gladness as I live today.

Next Page >>>