IT IS HOLY WEEK
A WEEK TO TRY TO COMPREHEND THE LOVE HE HAS FOR US
HE IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD
WHO WILLINGLY LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS LAMBS
IN ONE OF THE MOST MYSTERIOUS VERSES OF SCRIPTURE
WE ARE TOLD:
HE IS THE LAMB OF GOD SLAIN
BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
THE INNOCENT LAMB OF GOD
THE HOURS JESUS SUFFERED ON THE CROSS (9 to 3)
WERE THE SAME HOURS THAT THE PASSOVER LAMBS WERE
IT ALL COMES TOGETHER
Because this is holy week, we will do the lesson slightly differently. I want you to abide each day, and I’ll give you small pieces so you can. Good Friday will have more, and I encourage you to give Him good time that time. You may want to fast the hours He was on the cross. I’d really like you to listen the sermon twice — once early in the week — and just listen — and then more carefully on Good Friday.
Here’s the link — my son J. R. found this for me — and I knew it was the one for us this week. It’s free:
All week, try to comprehend the love He has for you. As Cyndi said last week, if we get that, “everything else pales in comparison.” It’s the last week of Lent, before our Celebratory Easter week, so let us finish well.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?
3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?
Monday: FOR A GOOD MAN, ONE MIGHT DIE…
It so happens I’m going to be on Moody Radio today from noon to one central time. (I’d love your prayers!) If you have a Moody station in your area, you can listen live — or online — or tomorrow they will have the podcast up. Click here:
Today I want you to contemplate Romans 5:7
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.
This is a theme in many stories that have stirred our hearts, pointing to the truer story.
Last Sunday my grand-daughter Jessa rode to church with me. She’s a reader, a writer, a contemplative, a kindred spirit with her grandmother. This is a picture of her with her mother Julie as a storm rolled into our cabin at the lake.
She had her copy of the first in the series of The Hunger Games with her. “Would you like to read this, Grandma?”
I paused, not feeling too enthusiastic.
She had her debate ready. “Grandma — you know J. R. Tolkein says that the very best story theme, because it points to the gospel, shows someone who is in safety coming forward and risking their life for someone who is not in safety. That’s the story of The Hunger Games.”
I smiled. Her little sister Analise piped up from the back seat: “Jessa! You said you had a bunch of friends waiting for that — so I had to buy my own. Grandma doesn’t even want to read it.”
“Actually, Ana,” I winked at Jessa, “your sister has persuaded me. I’m going to read it. And sometimes Grandmothers get special ranking.”
Silence from the back seat. Big smile from Jessa.
So, I have read the first book and, indeed, found it compelling, even if it isn’t great literature. And yes, it is the noble theme and helps me understand why it is stirring the hearts of young and adults alike. (I also appreciated hearing the author interviewed, saying part of her purpose was to help teens not romanticize war.) In The Hunger Games, Katniss sacrifices herself for her little sister, Prim.
It’s is true — both the true stories, like Bonhoeffer and Jim Elliot, and the fictional stories, like Tale of Two Cities and Life is Beautiful tap into the beauty of the Gospel love. Of love so great the one lays down his life for his friend.
Each of us wants to be loved like this — enough that one would sacrifice himself for us. We have one, The Good Shepherd, who loved us so much he both suffered and died for us.
4. Read Romans 5:6-8.
A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.
B. For whom would you give your life?
C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?
D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.
Does anyone know the source of this painting — I’ll put it in if you do!
5. What does Jesus say in John 10:11-12 about Himself? Do some research on how true shepherds risked their
lives for their sheep.
Tuesday: THREE CRIES IN THE DARK
This holy week we are going to contemplate “three cries in the dark.” Even though Jesus was on the cross from 9:00 A. M. until 3:00 A. M. when it is usually light, it became DARK by the sixth hour. Have you ever wondered how the prophecy Jesus made was fulfilled, that like Jonah, he would be three days and three nights in the belly of the whale? I could find pieces of three days — but three nights? Yes — one was a supernatural night when God darkened the sky as His only Son hung on the cross. Then there were the natural Friday and Saturday nights.
5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark?
Beginning tonight, and each night this week, when it gets dark, I want you to go outside and cry out these three cries. As Keller said, it was dark — hard to see — but you could hear. Jesus spoke three times between nine and noon, and three times just before he died. Keller doesn’t deal with the cry, “I thirst,” but deals with two others, and the cry of the centurion after Jesus died. These are the three cries we will consider.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
It is finished.
Truly this was the Son of God.
CRY THESE OUT — SEAL THEM IN YOUR MIND TO TRY TO COMPREHEND WHAT HIS DEATH MEANS. I WOULD LIKE YOU TO LISTEN TO THE KELLER MESSAGE TWICE — FIRST — JUST LISTEN — THEN, ON GOOD FRIDAY, TAKE NOTES.
HERE’S THE LINK AGAIN:
WEDNESDAY: WHY JESUS SCREAMED
Keller said if the Gospel writers were making this up, as some have claimed, they would not have had the founder of their religion scream as he was dying. Why did Jesus scream? There’s so much here.
Think about the people you are the closest to in all the world. My hunch is it is someone you’ve been with a long time — a mother, a husband, a child… time to be knit, time to build memories, time to weep and time to rejoice…someone, if you lost, would cause you to scream from the depths of your soul…
Now — here’s a mysterious truth that sets Christianity apart from all the other religions. The early church fathers had a name for it: Perichoresis — The Father, The Son, and The Spirit in community, in a dance, from all of eternity. C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkein have described this…such a mystery.
How can you portray the Spirit and the Father? I don’t know — but this pictures the perichoresis to me — the dance of the Trinity.
Other religions either have warring gods or a monolithic god. If there is love at all, it came later. Christianity has a fellowshiping community. Love from the beginning.
6. Find the community of Jesus with the Father and the Spirit — love from the beginning:
A. Genesis 1:26
B. Proverbs 8:27-31
C. John 1:1-2
D. John 5:19-21
E. John 10:30
7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habbakuk 1:13?
8. He didn’t have to do it — He could have called upon 10,000 angels. Why does Peter tell us He did?
A. 1 Peter 1:18-19
B. 1 Peter 3:18
9. Why did Jesus scream in the dark? Give Him praise here.
THURSDAY: WHEN THEY CUT JESUS, HE BLED SCRIPTURE
This is one of the most mysterious psalms in Scripture — for in every other psalm of lament, it is a picture of something the psalmist actually suffered, but then, behind, you can see a reflect of The Man of Sorrows. But this psalm depicts an execution — a crucifixion — and we know David did not endure that. So what is the answer? Tim Keller says Acts 2:30 explains that David was also a prophet — so he foresaw and spoke about the death and resurrection of Christ.
You may want to listen to Keller’s sermon on this — which is called The Doctrine of Salvation. It is not a free sermon, but it is excellent. Remember how we have said that beholding the gospel transforms us? This sermon certainly does that, and I think is a particular comfort to those who are suffering.
10 Read Psalm 22
A. The way psalms were identified in biblical times was not by number, but by first lines. Keller says Jesus most important moment was when he was dying — and spoke these words — so this, therefore, may be the most important psalm. What are these words in verse 1, and what do they mean to you?
B. Name the verses that are clearly prophetic of the actual crucifixion.
C. Keller said this psalm has been a source of debate in Judaism. The explanation given is that this must be Israel
who suffered. But Keller said, in our free sermon, this has a flaw — do you remember what it is?
D. How did Christ fulfill verse 24?
Listen to the Keller sermon and share your notes. Share what particularly quickened you and why?
Here’s the link again:
10. What is your take-a-way and why?