Category Archives: Easter Season

Enough


There is a small poem from St. Teresa of Avila that has been ringing in my mind over this last week.  Read and think.

Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.


Amazed (or Mark 2, part 2)


Yesterday I posted some thoughts from Mark 2:1-12, but I really only made it through part of the story. So here are a couple of thoughts on the rest of the story. Let me know what you think about the passage.

Mark 2:1-12

New Living Translation (NLT)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

I’ve been thinking about this story in two parts. First, the friends and what they did to get the paralyzed man in front of Jesus. Second, I’m not sure Jesus’ response was what the guys were expecting.

It is pretty awesome to me that it is the faith of the friends that moves Jesus to respond. But I have been wondering if his first response was what the guys expected. At this point in the story, people have heard about Jesus healing people with incurable illnesses. So that makes me think the four guys were taking their friend to Jesus so he would heal him. But that was not Jesus’ first response. Did you read what Jesus said?

“My child, your sins are forgiven.”

It surprised people! I think it may have even surprised the four guys on the roof looking down. But here is what I think is significant about that.

Jesus knew what the guy really needed.

Even if his friends did not know the depth of the man’s need, Jesus knew and Jesus went straight to it. He went above and beyond their expectations. He takes care of the real issue (forgiveness of sin), and then Jesus turns back around and heals him physically too. People can’t believe it. They were amazed. I think the four friends had to be amazed as well!

So here is what this part of the story says to me:

Sometimes I don’t know what is needed, but Jesus does. And Jesus will do what only he can- if I will just go to him.

What about you- what does it say to you?


Inconvenience (or Mark 2, part 1)


Inconvenience.

I am not a fan.

But something stood out to me the last time I read Mark 2:1-12.

The story is basically this:

Jesus is becoming very popular and loads of people are coming to listen to him, see him, and watch what he might do next. So he is in a very crowded house talking with people. Four guys hear that he is close to where they are and they decide their friend needs to be brought to Jesus. They have to bring him because he is paralyzed and cannot walk on his own. So they carry him to the house- but the house is too full to get near Jesus. So plan B.

This is where it gets interesting. The guys decide to get on the roof of the house and remove the tiles that are the ceiling. Then they lower their friend down in front of Jesus.

Two things I can’t get past at this point in the story- First, they really had to go out of their way to make this happen. I know it’s great to do good things for a friend, but really, this was not convenient for them. Second, what was everyone thinking as tiles started moving overhead? This couldn’t have happened in just a split second. It must have taken a little bit of time. So what was everyone thinking? What was the house owner thinking? Why didn’t anyone speak up and say, “Hey, you guys want in here? You don’t have to pull the roof apart…” So what were they thinking?

On both sides I see an issue of inconvenience. It took a lot of work for the guys to get their friend to Jesus. Rather inconvenient. Their actions also interpreted everyone’s day. I am inclined to guess that no one offered to help them get into the house because it would be inconvenient for them.

So what do I learn from this? This is what:

Helping people get to Jesus is often “inconvenient.”

I don’t really think the guys anticipated that much trouble getting their friend to Jesus. It was not an easy task to get their friend to Jesus. But they were determined. They were sure if they got to Jesus, he would do something. But it took some work for them to get there.

But the value of placing their friend in front of Jesus outweighed any inconvenience.

The response of Jesus amazes me. Verse 5 says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man…” The faith and the determination of the friends to get the paralyze guy in front of Jesus moved Jesus to act. This challenges me.

There are times that I find myself thinking I’m too busy or tired to spend time praying for someone (placing them in front of Jesus)- it feels “inconvenient.” But how can taking someone before Jesus be inconvenient? At least that is what I hear this story saying to me. The four guys did not allow a little inconvenience stand in the way of getting their friend to Jesus. So, seriously, what’s my excuse?

I don’t want to be part of the everyone in the house. It was not their faith that Jesus responded to. It looks like they allowed inconvenience to stop them from helping the guys get into the house. I don’t want to be part of them. So while somethings may be able to fall under “inconvenient,” I am learning to never think of it as inconvenient to help take my friends before Jesus.


Easter


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Saturday


This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin.  As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. Luke 23:54-56

Holy Saturday. The day Jesus was completely dead.

One of the concepts that I keep coming across this year is hope. The first emphasis of Advent is Hope. Since then, hope has continued to show up in conversations, books, and scripture studies. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to have hope, or to be hopeless.

In thinking about today, I was struck with the gravity of hopelessness that the friends of Jesus must have experienced on this day… the day after Jesus is buried. All of their hope for their future had been wrapped up in this man. Many of them really believed he was the only hope for their lives and their nation. He was the answer to their freedom. He was the one bringing about the kingdom of heaven. He was it!

But then he was dead.

Hope was dead.

Yet, if they had paid closer attention, they would have realized what was going on… Jesus told them this would happen (Luke 18:31-34). There was a greater plan that went even beyond that for which they could hope. Jesus had not actually left them without hope!

But Saturday still happened- I can’t imagine a day on which contrast between hope and hopeless was ever greater. In some ways, I believe I need Saturday to really understand Sunday. The hope that is resurrected on Sunday is made so much more significant because of Saturday! So while I am reminded what life could be like without hope, I am also encouraged to realize that God does not ever leave us without hope. Even on the worst day ever, there was still a glimmer of hope.IMG_0093


Resurrection Sunday


Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

“Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

(John 20)


Shhhhhh…..


Sometimes I just need to be reminded… Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20