He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.
Matthew 28:6 NLT
Enjoy the simple beauty of this music video:
I Will Rise
by Chris Tomlin
There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem. Mark 15:40-41 MSG
“Watching from a distance.”
Not weeping, not speaking. Watching . . . as Jesus, whom they had faithfully served and cared for, was brutally crucified on the cross.
These women were not watching in the sense of watching a TV show or a sporting event. The word “watching” in Greek is the word theoreo, which means to be a spectator of, to discern, to literally or figuratively experience, or intensively acknowledge. They watched with discernment.
They watched intensely. They watched as one who tries to enter into the experience of another.
Despite the horrific suffering they witnessed, so intense was their love and devotion, they could not turn their eyes away from Jesus.
But how could they watch? It had to be the most violent and horrific death ever witnessed.
Mary Magdalene watched, and couldn’t leave Jesus even after He was laid in the tomb. She had seen Him perform miracles, and received one herself when He had cast seven demons out of her. Imagine the torment she must have suffered until the day He set her free. So filled with love and gratitude, she was compelled to follow Him and serve Him wherever that would lead . . . even to the cross.
Despite how painful and traumatic it was to watch, she had to be there.
Have you ever had to witness someone you love suffer?
I remember sitting in the Emergency Room with my ten-year-old daughter watching and wincing as the doctor put five stitches in the tender fingertip she had almost sliced off with a pair of scissors. I remember holding my mother-in-law during an extremely painful test as she battled cancer.
It was excruciating for me. People I loved were hurting. But . . . I had to be there.
In the most painful experiences of their lives they needed to be surrounded by love, and I needed to be there.
Love compelled Mary and the other women to endure witnessing Jesus’ suffering on the cross. They couldn’t leave—even as He suffered and died before their eyes. While others forsook Him, and multitudes of people cried “Crucify him!” the women remained faithful.
“To their everlasting honour, these women evidenced more courage, and affectionate attachment to their Lord and Master, than the disciples did, who had promised to die with him rather than forsake him.” (Adam Clark commentary)
I want to be a woman like that. A woman who will be there, eyes fixed on Jesus…no matter what.
A woman who will watch.
I invite you to watch and pray with me today:
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:10-11 NLT
Thank you Jesus. You paid the price for a debt you didn’t owe. One we can never repay with words, though you will forever own our hearts.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:14 NIV
“I doubt she will work with you this morning. She refuses to get out of bed.”
80-something, independent-minded, and angry-at-being-in-the-hospital, she wasn’t going to budge out of her bed for anybody, and hadn’t for days.
Which is why they called me in.
She had to budge, move her arms and legs, get on her feet again, breathe deeply of life and start to move forward from the sickness that had landed her here. To not move was a slow prescription toward death.
All she wanted was to go home.
“I don’t want to get up. Just let me go home and I’ll be fine. I don’t need you telling me what to do.”
A bright sunny day lay just beyond the closed shades of her darkened room.
“I understand how you must be feeling, what can I do to help you feel better?”
“Just leave me alone.”
“I have an idea, you must be feeling sore from lying in bed so long, if you sit up I’ll massage your back for you.”
The defiance in her eyes softened. “Oh, alright, I suppose that would be nice.”
I gently washed her back and massaged her frail frame with lotion.
“I’ve got this nice chair set up and I’m sure it will feel good to be in a different position for a few minutes. We can move here and I’ll fill this bucket with warm water so you can soak your feet.”
More softening of the defiance.
Her feet were cold. They also gave evidence to how defiantly independent she was.
As her abandoned feet soaked in the warm sudsy water, she began to speak of her life. Farm girl, ranch wife, self-sufficient widow.
I sat down on the floor and began to gently scrub away the years of the lonely paths of self-sufficiency she had walked.
She looked down at me in embarrassment, and said, “I’m sorry they are so bad, I can’t reach them anymore.”
“I know, and you’ve always been the one to do for yourself and others, so it’s time for someone to do something for you for a change.”
“This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,” she said, trying to hide the glistening in the corner of her eyes.
“It’s my honor.”
I scrubbed around her crooked toes and massaged lotion into the cracks of her heels.
The door opened and an astonished nurse’s face peered in.
The woman who would never get up . . . was up. She had walked, was washing up, changing clothes, and . . . smiling.
“How did you get her to do that?” she asked me later at the nurse’s station.
“I just washed her feet.”
It worked every single day, with every single patient I saw in my work as an occupational therapist.
He washed the feet of his disciples and even his enemy, the man who would betray him.
It was an act of love to a person with perhaps the ugliest feet ever, the man who was the most un-loveable of them all.
LOVE washes the unwashed feet.
For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. Psalm 22:24 NIV
from Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peters Cathedral, Rome
They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. Psalm 44:3 NLT
On Sunday, Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna!”
On Monday, he entered the Temple courts and began overturning tables and clearing out the “den of thieves” that had taken up residence there.
Thieves and robbers living in the courts of the temple–the holiest place of worship. . .
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10 NIV
STEALS. KILLS. DESTROYS.
DRIVES OUT THE THIEF.
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34 NIV
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV
REBUILDS WHAT WAS BROKEN.
Our temples, our lives, our hearts.
Prayer . . . the white space of his house for us to fill.
Lord Jesus, I ask you to enter the courts of our hearts today, to upend the dwelling places of the thief, to cleanse us of the destruction and death, and to restore that which the thief has stolen from us–our lives, our love, our praise, and our prayers.
May we receive the fullness of your abundant life and beauty today, for you have written LOVE, in red, in the white space of our cleansed hearts.
Thank you Jesus. Amen.
We celebrate the beauty of words…written in the white space–the empty room of freedom of thought–where words are created that sing, dance and illustrate life’s beauty.
More Writing in the White Space:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:12 -13 NIV
Celebrating the triumphal entry of Jesus this Palm Sunday in words, pictures and music.
More Six Minute Sabbaths:
There is beauty here, each charcoaled fragment a girder of praise miraculously risen from the rubble.
Pendant pieces of resurrection; once sheltering a family of worshipers and housing a home for hearts that desired to draw closer to God.
Fire, at the hand of man, sought to destroy it all.
Yet fire could not destroy the home of praise that lived in the heart of each believer.
No fire ever can.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 NLT
I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Ezekiel 37:27 NLT
Praying for God to crown you with beauty today.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. Isaiah 61:3 NLT
More Beauty from Brokenness:
Your feet are tired of running, your knees sore from bending low, your hips weary from carrying the load.
Your body aches for stillness, your mind for tranquility, your spirit for harmony.
The breeze rustles the first leaves of Spring before it brushes warm against your cheeks. Your friend speaks…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
Breathe in the rhythm of grace . . . Breathe in rest.
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