From the Pastor Holy Week: Let’s pray for the impossible!

Holy Week: Let’s pray for the impossible!

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” -1 Corinthians 15:55

This week is Holy Week or Passion Week. Let us prepare our hearts to celebrate the high point of our faith—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly king, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
Now above the sky he’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Maundy Thursday
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. -1 John 4:10–12

“Maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum,” meaning commandment. This verse references the new commandment of love Jesus gave disciples: “Love one another.” We love because God loved us first. Such love isn’t optional. It’s the central requirement and identifying characteristic of the living church. By sharing God’s love, our lives will make a lasting impact; without it, nothing else we do will make the slightest difference. With love, God’s love is made complete in us. So when praying, let’s ask for the impossible: real, tangible, measurable love for one another. If you have anything against anyone, ask God to remove any bitterness or hatred and fill your life with his all-encompassing love for others.

Praise God for his love.

Good Friday
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. -Isaiah 53:5–6

Jesus came into the world in perfect holiness and sinlessness. He led the perfect human life without the slightest flaw. Then, like the prophets of the Old Testament, he was persecuted and killed for telling people the unpleasant truth about themselves. In their rage, they murdered him. But God used the raw material of sin and turned it into the building blocks of our salvation. We can’t claim we control (or in any way deserve) our salvation. It’s his work from beginning to end and has nothing to do with us. He alone is the Author of our salvation. In this act of God lies our total security.

Praise God for his mercy.

Holy Saturday
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

As Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried, and then raised to new life, so we are, in a sense, crucified with Jesus, dead with him, buried with him, and then raised with him. To have Christ’s Spirit dwelling in us is what it means to be a believer, a disciple—a Christian. Since Jesus is our Lord, Master, Ruler, Guide, and Commander, we live to and for him. There isn’t any split-level discipleship available. We can’t choose either a “First Class” Christian life of total commitment or opt-out for “Business Class” or “Main Cabin.” Jesus is either the Ruler of everything or the Ruler of nothing. Either Jesus’ spirit will dwell inside us (the biblical definition of a Christian life—see Rom. 8:9–10; 2 Cor. 13:5), or he isn’t. We’re his disciples, or we aren’t. So we live each day of this earthly life with faith in and dependence on the Son of God.

Praise God for his grace.

Easter Sunday
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
-1 Corinthians 15:51–55

For the believer in Jesus, death is a defeated enemy. Jesus’ resurrection has utterly overpowered it. We may recoil at its threat and how it can come to us. We suffer deeply when our loved ones are taken by it, but it’s not the final word or tremendous power over us. Its victory and sting have been neutralized. It is true not only in the personal, physical realm (death of the body) but also in the realm of our professions, broken relationships, and life dreams. Our jobs can be lost, our careers can take a downward turn, and our dreams may come crashing down in a single afternoon, but nothing lost in this world is beyond recovery. If our bodies can be brought back to life (more abundant than before), then the lesser things of life are equally open to restoration and transformation. The “little resurrections” (the rescues, healings, and answers to prayer) give us a solid reason to expect a great resurrection at the end.

This Easter, let us move forward in joy and utmost confidence knowing “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Praise God for the ultimate gift of his Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

-Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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