JESUS SET HIS FACE TOWARD JERUSALEM




Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem. He began his final journey knowing that he would suffer and die… And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you…” Jesus gave himself to be broken and sacrificed for them… …and for us. His perspective on suffering is so different from mine. Jesus chose the path to suffering and death. I ask God to deliver me from pain and out of suffering. Jesus grasped that his suffering would bring about God’s will. Lord when I suffer, may I learn all that you have for me. May I seek you and find you in the midst of my suffering. Help me to identify, even in some small way, with your suffering and pain. Bring about your will in me.

William Waterman


  Reading: Matthew 27: 27 - 54

THE CROSS

I was walking along Belmont the other day with a friend and her two sons. The boys, apparently learning about shapes, pointed out various shapes they saw as we walked. When looking at a corner of sidewalk, the elder of the two said, “A cross.” Excitedly we both praised him for his knowledge and affirmed it was indeed a cross and continued on our way. As a shape, a cross is insignificant.
A cross is like a square, a circle or a triangle.

However, as a symbol of salvation it means everything. When it became two pieces of wood upon Jesus’ back as He carried them to His sacrifice, they became much more than a shape. When they nailed Him to these two pieces of wood, that shape became everything. Take a minute and imagine the scene. Jesus ascends the hill exhausted from carrying the heavy wooden cross, only instead of finding relief from His labor; He has reached the location of His death.

Can you picture it? Can you really see it? We hear the story perhaps many times. The cross was set down. Jesus waiting as it is prepared. He is nailed to it – a painful event in and of itself which we desire to quickly gloss over. The cross is erected and pain shoots deeper into Jesus’ skin as it is stretch from the pressure of now being what hangs Him on the cross.
The cross is a shape that changed our world forever. I am not often aware of the shape in my everyday life. I forget the difference it made; I forget the pain it caused for my Savior and the rest it bought for me. Lord, keep fresh in our minds what happened on Calvary when two pieces of wood formed in the shape of a cross became a catalyst for our sin to forever be forgiven.

Amy Gravseth

THE PRINCIPLE OF THE HARVEST

A grain, tiny almost insignificant, by itself not enough to feed a man, became the Bread of Life. Jesus, while completely holy and perfect in Himself, as man here on earth was severely limited, bound by time and space. His overriding interest was the Fathers Glory. ”I have come to do Your will O God”.
He therefore must follow the first principle of the harvest ‐ Fall into the ground‐ yield up His will in a supreme demonstration of dependence on the Father. When we fall our instincts are to brace ourselves, limit the potential damage, get back in control. But Jesus resisted His human instincts; “Not My will but Yours be done.” To come to earth, to die, as the complete sacrifice that God may have His harvest.
I thought today as I heard the name of notable man I knew who recently died, of little men. Little not because their gifts were small‐ not because their great talents were squandered, no little because it was in who’s service their lives were given. Little because in the end their great gifts, immense talents were used in service to themselves. Bread for a hundred to feed only one, drink for a thousand measured out for its calculated return. In His characteristic humility, Jesus describes Himself from our perspective as a common, everyday seed, fallen indiscriminately from the hand of an unknown farmer ‐ One among billions. Isaiah confirms that Jesus had no regal look about Him,”Nothing in appearance that we should desire Him.” Rather, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” When they took a poll, He was numbered as a common lawbreaker. This seemingly insignificant, common seed fell like all other seeds into the earth to die. It must die. In order for there to be "much of fruit" the seed itself must die. Jesus coming onto the earth, living th perfect life and returning to heaven would have saved no one. A popular Iranian film director recently produced a movie about Jesus. Despite his otherwise sympathetic portrayal of Jesus as a very good man ‐ he scripts Jesus as returning to heaven after the Last Supper – never dying. He reasons, “How can this beautiful beautiful man have such a bloody death?

But that is exactly the point that Jesus is making. He did not “fall into the ground” just to demonstrate His beautiful perfection. He came to die that He could reproduce that in‐kind life. God’s intention was to share with His estranged and broken creation His life. We now know Jesus not only as beautiful,‐ ”Fairest Lord Jesus”‐ but as that great hymn of the faith further leads us, “Beautiful Savior”.

It’s not an easy message – that the “beautiful, beautiful” man was hung on a bloodied cross, lifted up as a common criminal. This story can’t include a couple of chapters about my goodness or faithfulness. There is no room for plaques on donated walls, no statutes to look up to in the city square. We can’t bring those to the script of Jesus because history leads to the cross. All we are left with is to sing with a full throat:


“There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Emanuel’s veins.
And sinners plunge beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.”


From God’s perspective we are told the Father “Will see His seed and He will be satisfied”. GOD IS SATISFIED. Is there a better thing to hear in this world? “My Servant will justify the many, because He bore the sins of many.” The One for the many, the principle of the Harvest.

Gino Cuneo


JESUS' PRAYER FOR HIS FOLLOWERS

John 17 (selected verses)

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name… While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be sanctified.

A prayer for Jesus’ followers at the Pearl Jesus you prayed for us, so we add our prayer to yours. We live here in Portland while you are back living with our Father. Often life here for us is good. Sometimes it is hard. We love you. We ask that you would shine through us, that people might see you. You came to serve. Give us hearts to serve people you put in our lives. Teach us to live fully in this world, as you did. You sanctified yourself by continuing forward to suffer and die. Help us be willing to do the same, in your name. As we do, please protect us from the evil one, by the power of our Father. And as we love people…as we serve…may we know the full measure of the joy of your resurrection.

‐‐ William Waterman

 

Prayer By Henri Nouwen from Show Me The Way



O DEAR LORD

O dear Lord, what can I say to you? Is there any word that could come from my mouth? Any thought? Any sentence? You died for me; you gave all for my sins, You not only became man for me But also suffered the most cruel death for me. Is there any response? I wish that I could find a fitting response, But in contemplating your Holy Passion and Death I can only confess humbly to you That the immensity of your divine love Makes any response seem totally inadequate. Let me just stand and look at you. Your body is broken, your head wounded, Your hands and feet are split open by nails, Your side is pierced. Your dead body now rests in the arms of your mother. It is all over now. It is finished. It is fulfilled. It is accomplished. Sweet Lord, gracious Lord, Generous Lord, forgiving Lord, I adore you, I praise you, I thank you. You have made all things new Through your passion and death. Your cross has been planted in this world As the new sign of hope. Let me always live under your cross, O Lord And proclaim the hope of your cross unceasingly. Amen. --Submitted by Elaine and HalIN CONFUSION

In confusion’s fog I cry, Out of cloud mysterious You speak. In night’s gloom I stumble, Out of morning light You smile. In battle’s heat I wither, Out of desert streams You freshen. On earth’s bare brow I die, Out earth’s troubled tomb I rise with You.

Gino Cuneoby: Holy Week Devotional Guide to 2009; www.pearlchurch.com

 

 

By: Scott P. Richert - http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/p/Novena_HG.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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