“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” Luke 22:19-20
In giving his account of Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before He was crucified, Luke includes Jesus’ having said that both His body (as seen in the giving and sharing of the bread), and the new covenant in His blood (as seen in the giving and sharing of the cup), were both given “…for you…” (for His disciples). We live in a selfish world where so many people are more interested in taking and in getting ahead rather than giving of themselves and putting others first.
Jesus died on a cross for you! He took on your sin and mine so that we could be forgiven our sin and made right with God now and forever! (See 2 Corinthians 5:21). The next time you take Holy Communion at your church or, if you have been avoiding Holy Communion for some reason, I challenge you to go with a joyful and thankful heart the next time it is being served, knowing that He gave His life (His body and His blood) on the cross for you! No greater love has ever been shown than the love Jesus has for His body the church, and that includes, you! Praise Him! Pastor Louie
White as Snow
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”
I used to love to make snow ice cream in Alabama when I was a little kid. I learned from my grandmother Mabrey that the best snow could often be found on top of the cars, so I would go outside, scrape off the clean new-fallen snow into a big bowl, bring it inside, add sugar, milk, and vanilla flavoring, mix it all together, and then proceed to eat the best ice cream I’ve ever had!
What’s really awesome is how the prophet Isaiah, speaking the word of the Lord to wayward Judah, tells of God’s desire to cleanse His people of their lawless deeds to the degree that they would be as white as snow and as pure as wool! Is this possible? Yes! Isaiah was foretelling of Jesus the Messiah, the innocent and sinless Son of God, who would willingly shed His blood upon the cross so you and I could be forgiven and could be made right with God as if we had never sinned!
If you have surrendered you heart and life to Jesus Christ; if you have met Him at the cross, this is how God sees you now and forever- white as snow! Begin here today, and allow the Holy Spirit to breath new life into your Christianity as to who you are in Jesus, and then, when you do sin, get with God ASAP and restore the relationship which the ongoing effects of the blood provide (See I John 1:6-9).
Made White as Snow by the sacrificial love of Christ. Praise be to God! Pastor Louie
Gethsemane Before Golgotha
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.’” Luke 22:41-42
“They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.” John 19:17-18
Golgotha in Aramaic means “skull.” When Nancy and I visited Israel in 1994, one the most impressive sights for us was a hill located outside the city of Jerusalem adjacent “The Garden Tomb” tourist site that looked like the face of the skull. Now, they don’t know for sure if this is the actual sight of Jesus’ crucifixion, but it could be. Our tour guide told us that at the place where Jesus would have been crucified, it would not have been uncommon to find a collection of skulls of those who had been executed and their remains left there unburied. Also, he said, “If a hill were involved, some criminals would have been pushed off the hill and left to die at the base, therefore giving the sight its name.” The truth is, the Bible says Jesus was crucified between two men at a horrible place called The Place of the Skull. There He would announce “It is finished!” The victory has been won, Jesus conquered death, the grave, and Hell itself!
But the battle, the initial victory, was won in agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane! I believe Satan had returned once again to tempt Jesus to turn away from the betrayal, trials, horrific pain and torture He would undergo before and on the cross! The tremendous weight of bearing the sin of the world was evident in Jesus’ request that the cup of suffering might be taken from Him, but He told His Father that He surrendered to His will, and not that of His (Jesus’) own. Thank you, Jesus, that your stayed and prayed in Gethsemane for us and for me! (Read Luke 22:39-46)
The Pain of Denial
In the Upper Room: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” And he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to prison and to death!” And He (Jesus) said, “I say to you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” Luke 22:31-34
In the Courtyard of the High Priest: “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Denial at any age cuts deep! Impulsive Peter was, yet again, ready to die with Jesus and yet, just a few hours later, he would disown Christ publicly not once, or twice, but three times! How we like Peter are so easily swayed to take our eyes off Jesus out of fear or for other reasons, when the circumstances of life become intense.
But at the communion table, Peter learned of the greatest expression of Jesus’ love for him next to His dying for Peter on the cross, and that is our Lord’s ministry of prayer! Couple that with Peter’s honest and sincere repentance for his denial of Jesus when in the high priest’s courtyard, and you find a man after God’s heart that was used mightily in the days ahead: “…when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Oh, the mighty grace of God! One pastor has said, “And remember, there are no roosters in God’s museum!”
Praise to the One Who bore my denial upon the Cross!