Spending Time With Friends

Spending Time With FriendsThis Easter I read the accounts of Christ’s final week before the cross looking for insight as to what his activities teach me about his mission. I wanted to know how I could better participate in that mission (John 20:21). I gained some new perspectives on the 7 days leading up to Easter.

Christ’s post-resurrection activities.

I’ve been thinking about what shape Christ’s mission took in his post resurrection activities. What did Jesus do during the 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension?

Today I read “Jesus is Risen but What Happened to the Kingdom?” by Christine Sine over at Godspace. She writes,

“No neon lights, no CNN interviews, no leading armies against the Roman legions. All we see is a man spending time with his friends – sharing meals, (even cooking breakfast for them) calming their fears, dispelling their doubts and overturning their confusion…”

It got me to thinking about how Jesus did life together with his followers. He sends us as agents of reconciliation in  his Kingdom mission but he also models for us the life habit of doing everyday stuff with fellow sojourners.

Christine draws these conclusions and I resonate in agreement with her,

“…maybe the kingdom looks like us living as representatives of that loving God – loving others as God loved us – sharing meals and other resources, calming fears, dispelling doubts and in the process laying the foundations for a loving, caring community such as we see portrayed in the book of Acts.”

Grace and Peace,
Terry

Join the Conversation: How does spending time with other Christ followers fulfill the Kingdom mission on which we are sent by Jesus?

Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb

Easter CrossWe are so quick to rush to Sunday and the resurrection that we don’t stop to think about what it was like for Christ’s followers on Saturday. For us Saturday is a day of waiting because we know what happens on Sunday. But for the disciples it was a day of mourning that undoubtedly left them with feelings of hopelessness.

Something deep in their guts cried, “No more!”

  • No more miracles – Jesus is dead.
  • No more healing of broken bodies – Jesus is dead.
  • No more stories about the Kingdom – Jesus is dead.
  • No more Messiah – Jesus is dead.
  • No more water of life – the river is dry.
  • No more bread of life – the oven is cold.
  • Only shadows – no more light.
  • Only the eerie quietness after the passing of a storm.
  • Only death – a tomb – emptiness – hopelessness.

We know the end of the story that they were soon to learn. That they would soon be able to say, “The Lord is risen” and respond with “He is risen indeed!” We know their hope is restored when they encounter the risen Christ.

But, let’s not rush to the empty tomb just yet.

Let’s take some time today and try to feel the pain, the emptiness, the lostness. Let’s try to identify with those all around us who have not yet found the hope of the resurrection.

Pause on this Saturday and as best as possible feel the hopelessness of a world without Jesus.

Related Posts from 7 Days Leading Up To Easter

    1. Sunday – What Kind Of Entry Was It?
    2. Monday – 12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter
    3. Tuesday – Seeing The Unnoticed
    4. Wednesday – The Calm Before The Storm
    5. Thursday – How Washing The Disciple’s Feet Pictures The Incarnation
    6. Friday – It’s Friday But . . .
    7. Saturday – Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb

      It’s Friday But…

      Igniter Media Group describes their video Sunday’s Comin with these words:

      The story of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion is one of betrayal, brutality, despair, and pain. Yet we know even before His death that redemption was promised to be coming soon. We know that the story does not end at the cross. We know what many did not realize — that Sunday’s comin’.

      Watch here as Pastor John L. Jefferson narrates . . .

      It's Friday But Sunday's Comin

      Related Posts from 7 Days Leading Up To Easter

      1. Sunday – What Kind Of Entry Was It?
      2. Monday – 12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter
      3. Tuesday – Seeing The Unnoticed
      4. Wednesday – The Calm Before The Storm
      5. Thursday – How Washing The Disciple’s Feet Pictures The Incarnation
      6. Friday – It’s Friday But . . .
      7. Saturday – Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb

      Foot WashingOn Thursday of the final week in the life of Jesus we have the stories of the upper room where Jesus observed the Passover meal, washed the disciple’s feet and instituted the meal of the new covenant. John records a long section of the teachings of Jesus in chapters 14-17. We also have the stories of the betrayal by Judas, Jesus praying in Gethsemane, his arrest and illegal night trial conducted by the Jewish Sanhedrin.

      Today I want to focus on Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in the upper room as recorded in John 13:1-17 and view it as a picture of the incarnation. We will compare it with Philippians 2:5-11.

      1. Jesus knew that he had come from God and was going to God
        • Jesus is in very nature God
      2. Jesus got up from the meal
        • Jesus, not considering his equality with God something to be grasped, got up from his position of eternal, pre-existent equality with God
      3. Jesus lay aside his outer clothing
        • Jesus left his splendor and glory with the Father
      4. Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist
        • Jesus clothed himself with humanity
      5. Jesus took the position of a slave and washed the disciple’s feet
        • Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant
      6. Jesus finished his task, put on his clothes and returned to the table
        • Jesus finished his work on earth, ascended to the Father and was exalted to the highest place

      So what does this have to do with us?

      After washing their feet, Jesus told the disciples:

      “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. – John 13:13-17 NIV

      Jesus does not call us to sit around discussing the mystery of the incarnation. He calls us to live out that mystery.

      He lives in us. The church is his body in the world today.

      We are to incarnate the community – and wash feet.

      Grace and Peace,
      Terry

      Related Posts from 7 Days Leading Up To Easter

      1. Sunday – What Kind Of Entry Was It?
      2. Monday – 12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter
      3. Tuesday – Seeing The Unnoticed
      4. Wednesday – The Calm Before The Storm
      5. Thursday – How Washing The Disciple’s Feet Pictures The Incarnation
      6. Friday – It’s Friday But . . .
      7. Saturday – Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb

      The Calm Before The Storm

      The Discipline of SilenceWednesday is a day of silence in the final week in the life of Jesus. There is no biblical reference to any activity on the part of Jesus or the disciples.

      We can only assume what might have gone on that day. Did Jesus spend time alone in prayer as was his custom? Did he enjoy the closeness and fellowship of friends?

      Whatever Jesus did, that Wednesday was the calm before the storm. In a few hours he would be facing arrest, trials, beatings and ultimately crucifixion.

      Most of us find silence difficult.

      We try to fill the emptiness of our hearts with noise and busyness. Noise keeps us from focusing on those things we don’t want to think about.

      “Silence is frightening because it strips us as nothing else does, throwing us upon the stark realities of our life.” – Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

      But this is a silent Wednesday. Here we learn the discipline of quieting every voice, including our own inner voice as well as outer voices, so we can hear God.

      If the mission of Jesus were marked with times of silence, we too need this habit.

      Why should we practice the habit of silence?

      • To follow the example of Jesus
      • To better hear God’s voice
      • To regain spiritual perspective
      • To affirm God’s will
      • To prepare for difficult times
      • To help withstand trials

      Give the discipline of silence a try.

      Grace and Peace,
      Terry

      Related Posts from 7 Days Leading Up To Easter

        1. Sunday – What Kind Of Entry Was It?
        2. Monday – 12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter
        3. Tuesday – Seeing The Unnoticed
        4. Wednesday – The Calm Before The Storm
        5. Thursday – How Washing The Disciple’s Feet Pictures The Incarnation
        6. Friday – It’s Friday But . . .
        7. Saturday – Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb

          Seeing The Unnoticed

          The final day of Jesus’ public ministry was on Tuesday of that last week. It was a long day of confrontation, controversy and rejection. Mark records the stories of this day starting in Mark 11:20 and continuing through Mark 14:9.

          Let’s look at one of those stories told by Mark – a widow Jesus observed giving her offering in the temple courts.

          We are not going to talk about the offering. We are not going to consider the men who made a big show of their gifts or even the woman who quietly gave out of her poverty.

          I want us to consider Jesus and how he noticed the unnoticed. I think we can learn a lot about the mission he sends us on from his example.

          Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

          Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 NIV

          Do you take time to notice?

          It does not seem that the widow gave her offering to be noticed in contrast to those who made their giving a big show, but Jesus saw her in her quietness.

          Sometimes we are distracted by the loud, boisterous show of some while neglecting to see the quiet ones around us. Sometimes we’re just too consumed by our own agenda to notice.

          Wasn’t Jesus always noticing those around him; the city of Jerusalem, the widow, a friend who denied him, a thief on a cross next to his? He sets the example for us to keep our eyes open.

          Take some time today to notice those around you.

          Grace and Peace,
          Terry

          Related Posts from 7 Days Leading Up To Easter

            1. Sunday – What Kind Of Entry Was It?
            2. Monday – 12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter
            3. Tuesday – Seeing The Unnoticed
            4. Wednesday – The Calm Before The Storm
            5. Thursday – How Washing The Disciple’s Feet Pictures The Incarnation
            6. Friday – It’s Friday But . . .
            7. Saturday – Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb