Happy Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day!
New Living Translation (NLT)
The Last Supper
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”
And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark, my words-I, will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus’ triumphal Entry into Jerusalem:
(Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19).
It was only one week before the historic Passover and the city of Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims who had come there for the annual Passover celebration.
Jesus and His disciples would soon come to Jerusalem to take part in the festivities. They had been travelling for months; connecting with the towns and villages of Palestine. Everywhere Jesus went He preached the Kingdom of God and healed the sick.
As they journey to Jerusalem, Jesus warned His disciples that the time is come for Him to die, but after three days He would rise again.
So, as they came near Jerusalem, Jesus told two of His disciples to go into a nearby village and bring a donkey that would be waiting there. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Crowds of people spread their coats on the ground in front of Him. Some waved branches of palm trees, a sign of victory. The people shouted,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
As one who strive to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, I try to focus on the big picture–the crown that awaits me at the end of my journey. Still, I realize it is a steep climb, and I cannot do it on my own. Therefore, to be successful, I must pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings, and the things He stood for, and most importantly what He did on the cross at Calvary.
Hence I most certainly cannot allow myself to get distracted by trivialities, like, what is right and what is wrong. Instead, I should attempt to let my life be a mirror that reflects Jesus Christ.
Too often Christian folks get embroiled in social fights that result in heated exchanges. And sometimes these back and forth arguments and name callings get so out of hand that it is hard to differentiate the saved from the unsaved.
The apostle Peter says Christians should
Be tender-hearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9).
I especially like what Paul wrote in one of his letters to the Church in Philippi:
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining as bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, you will be proud that you did not run the race in vain and that your work was not useless (Philippians 2:14-16).
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 7:21). Even so, one would have to search long and hard to find a professing Christian, who does not think he or she is ready to meet the Bridegroom.
The truth is, Just like unrepentant sinners; many people who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior–are in danger of getting shut out of the banquet hall when the Bridegroom returns. Not that they are bad people, but humans like to do things their way and not God’s way. The prophet, Isaiah, talking to his country men and women, declared: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).
Surely, many of us have intentionally detoured from the path that Jesus walked. We have turned to our own way. Then, we convince ourselves that we can get back on the right path in time to meet the Bridegroom. In fact, the five foolish virgins who went to buy oil for their lamps also thought they could get back in time to meet the Bridegroom. They were wrong..
Of course, one could argue that the five foolish virgins were not bad people. On the surface, it seems they did all the right things, and they were just as excited about meeting the Bridegroom, as the five wise virgins. However, they came up short when it matters most.
There is only one way to prepare for the Bridegroom, and that is, Follow the step-by-step plan that Jesus has laid before you. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Therefore, friends, If one walk as Jesus walked, rest assure that a seat awaits you at the banquet table when the Bridegroom returns.
New Living Translation (NLT)
James Is Killed and Peter Is Imprisoned
King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.) Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
Peter’s Miraculous Escape from Prison
The night before Peter was to be placed on trial; he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered.
So Peter left the cell, after the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.
Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”
Racism and discrimination are undoubtedly significant problems in America; yet still, many people including Christians pretend these evils of society do not exist. No one wants to tackle these problems in any meaningful way.
Even some of the most celebrated, Religious leaders who assumed duties as moral compasses, and who, of course never minced words when it comes to talk about abortion, gay rights, contraception and other hot button political and social issues are silent on racism and discrimination.
Why? It is hard to say. However, I do not think it is unfair to assume these people are either afraid or are part of the problem.
Still, racism and discrimination are age-old problems. Jesus was a victim of discrimination too. The only reason His people rejected Him was because He was different.
Unlike today’s Religious, Jesus was never silent on the problems of race and discrimination. When He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He was speaking directly to the racial problem that existed between the Jewish people and their Samaritan neighbors; and when a pesky lawyer said, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with the parable of the good Samaritan.
Behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25, ESV)
Jesus asked him to repeat what the law says, and the man responded: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, ESV)
Pressing further, the lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
In parable form, Jesus told of a man (a Jew) travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers attacked him, took his possessions and clothes, beat him, and left him half dead.
A priest came down the road, saw the injured man, and passed by him on the other side. A Levite passing by did the same.
A Samaritan, from a race hated by the Jews, saw the hurt man and had compassion on him. He poured oil and wine on his wounds, bound them up, then put the man on his donkey. The Samaritan took him to an inn and cared for him.
The next morning, the Samaritan, gave two denarii to the innkeeper for the man’s care and promised to repay him on his way back for any other expenses.
Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three men had been a neighbor. The lawyer answered that the man who showed mercy was a neighbor.
Then Jesus told him, “You go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37, ESV)