Archive for April, 2015

Mark 15:33-39

April 3, 2015

Throughout the season of Lent our daily devotions have been written by members of the Faith Lutheran community. Our theme this Lent is “Jesus Our Healer.” Today’s devotion comes from Pastor Junfeng Tan.

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” Mark 15:33-39

Darkness covered the land and it was noon. Did the disciples know they had abandoned the Lord of the Universe? Did Judas know that his betrayal of the Master was the most despicable act? Did Peter know that his triple denial of Jesus was the most shameful thing he had ever done? They did not because they were acting in total darkness.

Did the Jewish religious authorities and Roman governor Pontius Pilate know that they sentenced the true Messiah to death, that their verdict on Jesus was a perversion of justice? They did not because they were acting in total darkness.

Did those Roman soldiers know that they mocked, tortured and crucified the Son of God? They did not because they were acting in the darkness.

How could they truly know the nature of their actions when Jesus himself appeared to be forsaken and abandoned by God? When Jesus himself seemed to be a total failure, a Messianic pretender? It was only after the death of Jesus that the Roman centurion confessed the truth: “Truly this man was God’s Son.”

Yes, Jesus had to die in order to fulfill the Messianic mission that the Father assigned to him. It is a mystery that no human mind can penetrate. Let all be silent when we consider the words of Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Let us pray, My God, my God, where was I when they crucified my Lord? Where was I when they nailed him to the Cross? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, to tremble. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Mark 14:22-25

April 2, 2015

Throughout the season of Lent our daily devotions have been written by members of the Faith Lutheran community. Our theme this Lent is “Jesus Our Healer.” Today’s devotion comes from Pastor Kerry Nelson.

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:22-25

Jesus stands at the center of the Christian faith, at a table, where a meal is spread, to which all people are invited. At this table we are fully engaged – our hearts filled with gratitude and the free flow of our emotions, our souls at peace in the presence of God, our minds freed for clear thinking and wisdom, and our bodies nourished with all the good things that sustain us.

This image – to be at one with God and one another – is what the Hebrews called “shalom” and what Christians know as the peace of God that passes understanding.

This sense of connectedness to God is freely available to everyone, everywhere, all the time. We catch a glimpse of it every time we gather in a room with other broken people, bearing witness through our presence and our words that we do trust that God is, in fact, our healer. Jesus, our Healer, gathers us in the same room, around a table, to do His healing work in our lives. To give us this day our daily bread. To give us a foretaste of the feast to come.

I have come to really love our annual tradition of providing Lenten devotions. As I have read each devotion, and shared them with others on the Internet, I see the faces of each writer. I know these people. It is so rewarding to me to see how the faith is landing in their lives and their willingness to give voice to the love of God within them.

Now we come to this day, as the whole Christian church gathers around the table. Thank you for sharing the faith with us through this Lenten season.

Let us pray: Jesus, our Healer, thank you for inviting us and including us around your table of grace. May our lives be flooded with the healing power of your love, that we might carry that message into the lives of all we meet through our witness and service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mark 14:32-42

April 1, 2015

Throughout the season of Lent our daily devotions have been written by members of the Faith Lutheran community. Our theme this Lent is “Jesus Our Healer.” Today’s devotion comes from Peggy Porter.

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.

He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:32-42

Jesus takes his disciples Peter, James and John to the Garden of Gethsemane where He needed to pray because His soul was very sorrowful.  He instructs them to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38).  The disciples fell asleep, three times, while Jesus went off a ways to pray to His Abba Father in Heaven that this cup of suffering (the cross which looms ahead) would pass from Him but He also prays “yet not what I will, but what You will.”  After this last prayer the betrayer and soldiers were there to take Jesus away.

Today, we see the sinful men who cannot stay awake but who fell asleep in the midst of Jesus’ great suffering.  The flesh indeed is weak!  The only one who is completely faithful in His love and service to God and mankind is JESUS!

He does not shrink away from His call to suffer for the sin of the world.  He is and will be faithful to the end.  Thanks be to God that this cup of suffering is not removed from Him and given to us instead to drink.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, I thank You for suffering the punishment of sin for me.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.