The road to Calvary

Gethsemane (Mark 14: 32-42)

‘Abba Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but, but what you will.’

Mark 14:36

There in the Garden of tears my heavy load He chose to bear; His heart with sorrow was torn, ‘Yet not my will but Yours,’ He said.

The words from Graham Kendrick’s hymn ‘From heaven You came.’ Words that sum up not only Jesus anguish but his choice to be obedient to God. Humanly speaking if there was a point in Jesus life where he could have said, ‘No! I can’t do this,’ it would have been in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus famous words ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’ are not words of resignation or defeat. They are words of worship, obedience and trust. Father, I don’t understand, I can’t go on, it is to much for me. Father please change this because it frightens me, it overwhelms me, because I’d rather face anything than this.

Yet Lord, my trust in you, my faith in you, my desire to be obedient to you, to live through whatever you set before me is greater than my fear.

Have you faced your Gethsemane yet? Some of us will have, some of us are and some of us will. There will be those who say if our faith was greater, we would have not had to face it, or if our faith had of been stronger, we would have overcome, we would not have been as deeply distressed (v33). Yet Jesus himself was overcome with anxiety and fear. He had an inexpressible desire to do anything else, he called out to God to change what lay ahead. God’s answer to his only Son was to not take any of it away.

This morning I invite each of us to take up the roll of the disciples who watched and prayed with Jesus. Pray for those we know who are facing their garden of Gethsemane, fearful and overwrought with distress.

For those of us who are facing our Gethsemane… be still and know you are being prayed for this morning. Be still and know that ‘My God will Stand beside Me.’ Use the song below to help focus on God’s presence in your garden of tears knowing that you do not bear your heavy load alone.

Prayer Lord, for those in the garden of tears, their heavy load we pray you would bear. Where their hearts with sorrow are torn, we pray your healing as you take upon yourself their pain. Amen

For those in the Garden…

Prayer Lord Jesus, come…….

Other reflections from Moneydig Presbyterian Church

The Road to Calvary

Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13: 1-17)

Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

John 13:1

This is quite the statement especially when we know what the apostle John means by the loving to the end. Tomorrow is Good Friday when our minds will turn to the cross. Jesus, having loved his own who were in the world loved them to the end.

The first question we need to think about is who Jesus’ own in the world were? On one hand it is the disciples. It was them he was with and as we read through this passage it was their feet he washed. Yet Jesus love is not limited to the disciples. Later that evening after he had washed the disciples’ feet Jesus prayed not just for them, but all believers who would believe through their message. (John 17:20)

When the apostle John said Jesus, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end he wasn’t just talking about the disciples but looking forward into history he was talking about you and me, all who will believe. We are loved until the end.

How was Jesus able to love to the end?

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.

John 13:3

Jesus was comfortable in his own skin. He knew who he was but more importantly he knew what God thought of him, he had total confidence in his relationship with God. This is significant because it is why Jesus was able to wash the disciples’ feet. If Jesus had any doubts about who he was, if he had any doubt about God’s love for him, if he had any doubt about God’s calling on his life would he have been secure enough to preform such a menial task?

Yesterday we talked about how the road to Calvary was a road of extravagant love. Read yesterday’s reflection here. This is another example of that extravagant love. Jesus was so sure of the father’s love that he stripped to the waist, wrapped a towel around himself and took on the role of the lowliest servant.

What stops us from showing this same extravagant love? Is it our insecurity, are we worried that someone would think less of us, we are above washing feet? Understanding the love lined road to Calvary fills us with security to love as Jesus loved, to obey the command he gave in that upper room. ‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.’ (John 13:14)

Has the time come for us to take up the basin and the towel – to know the abundant love of the Father as we take the position of a servant and follow in the footsteps of a saviour?

Prayer Lord Jesus, we thank you for the complete confidence you had in God the Father. Thank you for the way you were comfortable in your own skin, because you were confident in God. Today we ask that you reveal to us that same love of the Father. That we too would be filled with the confidence of his love in order that we would wash feet. That we would love as you love. Amen

Other reflections from Moneydig Presbyterian Church

The Road to Calvary

Anointed at Bethany

‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you,[a] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.

Mark 14: 1-11

The road to Calvary is all about extravagant love. The cross being the ultimate expression of this extravagant love. Jesus Christ, the Son of God laying down his life out of love. Love for God in this ultimate act of obedience and love for you and me in an unparalleled act of sacrifice. The extravagance of Jesus love is incredible.

Yet it is not only Jesus who is to be extravagant in showing love. As this woman came to anoint Jesus who was eating in Simon the Leper’s home, so she was extravagant in her love for Jesus. Mark does not tell us who this woman was because he doesn’t want us to focus on who she is but what she did. Taking a very expensive jar of perfume, she breaks the jar and pours the contents on Jesus head.

We can only assume this perfume was precious, it was saved for, possibly kept for special occasions. Such has been Jesus impact on this woman’s life that she gives him what may well be the most expensive thing she owns; she gives him her complete adoration and worship not worrying how others are reacting. Extravagant love is not only what Jesus shows to us, it is what we should be showing to Jesus. How can we show that same extravagant love, what are we willing to give for Christ’s sake today?

Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, that you for your love, for it’s abundance and extravagance. Forgive me for the times when I fail to show that same extravagant love to you. Show me the things I hold onto instead of breaking open as an offering to you. Lord all to you I surrender, this is my act of love. Amen (Romans 12:1)

The Road to Calvary

The parable of the tenants

What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…”

Mark 12:9-10

Nobody saw this Coronavirus crisis coming. In January we were looking forward to a new year and a new decade. In January I planned my preaching for 2020, I arranged for other people to come and preach during the Easter holidays. As a church we were thinking about the future hoping our reviewable tenure would be renewed. By the end of February and the beginning of March everything had changed, and nobody saw it coming.

We tend to go through life assuming things will stay the same. We never seem to be prepared for big changes. In today’s reading on the road to Calvary Jesus is warning that things are about to change, and we need to be prepared.

Jesus told the story of a farmer who planted a vineyard and then rented it out. When it came time to collect the rent the tenants rebelled wanting to keep the vineyard for themselves. They killed the farmer’s servants and eventually his son.

This story is a history of our lives. God the farmer, planted the most wonderful vineyard. This earth in which we live.

He set another part of his creation, humanity, in charge of it. (Genesis 1-2) When it came time for God to collect his rent – which was not payable in pounds, shillings and pence but in obedience to him, the tenants refused to pay.

Throughout history God sent messengers to warn the rent would have to be paid. (His prophets). We rejected each of these messengers, we abused them and killed them. Eventually God sent his son, Jesus. Still we would not listen and so we killed him as well, all the time thinking we could keep what was rightfully Gods.

The warning in this story is that one day Jesus will come again. He will reclaim his vineyard throwing out the wicked tenants. He will then give the vineyard to another set of tenants who will give the farmer what is owed.

The new tenants are the people who have trusted in Christ. We trust in Christ when we place our trust in him. This means we confess how we have deprived God of what is rightfully his, trusting that Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf atones for what we have done. As we move forward we seek to live differently. Honouring God instead of dishonouring him, all the while holding firm to the fact that it is Christ who makes our offering to God perfect.

Jesus parable and the coronavirus crisis teach us that things never stay the same forever. Change always comes and always unexpectantly. As we walk the road to Calvary with Jesus will we change now, putting our trust in him before the owner of the vineyard decides to act for himself.

Prayer Lord Jesus as we walk this road to Calvary with you, so we are reminded of the seriousness of rejecting God. We thank you that you walked this road in order that we might be sparred. Lord Jesus, we trust in you today, we confess our rebellion and trust that in you we find our place as new tenants and so will not be thrown out when the farmer returns. Amen

The road to Calvary

Jesus clears the Temple (Mark 11:15-18)

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it “a den of robbers”.’

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

Mark 11: 15-18

Who could ever have imagined all churches would be ordered to close? Throughout the world places of worship lie empty and cleared. If we had to pick a time for churches to be emptied could we have picked a better time than Holy Week?

Reasons to Leave the House

The morning after Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem, he visited the temple and turned over the tables of the money-changers and those selling doves.

Why was the temple full of market stalls?

People travelled from far and near to Jerusalem for Passover. They needed to buy animals for their sacrifices somewhere. Jesus was angry because the stalls where making it difficult for Gentiles and women to worship, restricting access to the outer courts of the Temple. The only places in the Temple they were allowed to enter.

The Temple Courts

Restricting anyone from worshipping or taking part in temple life was contrary to why Jesus was on earth. He came so that all would be able to approach God’s throne of grace in confidence, without hindrance.

Our world has changed, many people no longer believe what the church believes . They live a different way to how we live. Has the church been a welcoming place to people who are not like us? Has our image or public perception been welcoming?

Now that our churches have closed how can we re-open them as a house of prayer for all nations? This is a challenge to church leaders everywhere, but it is also a challenge to each of us as members. Will we open our churches with an invitation and an encouragement for people to join us?

Holy week is about making approaching God as easy as possible for people like you and me. Will we continue to make that approach to God as easy as possible by inviting others to come and see?

Prayer Father I thank you for how Jesus has opened the way for me to approach your throne of grace. I thank you for how he has made this easy by simply coming through him. (John 10:9-11) Teach us how to make it easy for others (John 10:16). Forgive us for how we have made it difficult because of our expectations and man-made rules. Teach us how to be an open and welcoming church for all. Amen

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