‘Day One’ Blog

Lent 2020 ~ ‘thank you!’

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He Has Risen From the Dead! – April 08, ’20

(A read through all the gospel passages is necessary to grasp the whole recorded picture of Jesus’ resurrection. The apparent discrepancies in the different texts are dealt with my many scholars and would make a very interesting search if you are interested. My research left me confident, there is truly no discrepancy at all. There are links to the gospel passages for your convenience.)

Meditation for the Soul ~

Now after the Sabbath,
toward the dawn of the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
went to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake,
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven
and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning,
and his clothing white as snow.
And for fear of him the guards trembled
and became like dead men.
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid,
for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.
Come, see the place where He lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples
that He has risen from the dead,
and behold, He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see Him. See, I have told you.”
So they departed quickly from the tomb
with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Matthew 28:1-8
(See also: Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12;
John 20:1-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

Reflection for the Mind ~

The event of Jesus’ resurrection involved more people than we might think. It all began a little before first light on the third day of His death. The soldiers guarding the tomb, many different women, Jesus’ disciples, and a few other favored ones were invited into the first hours of the greatest, most significant event in history. The tomb was empty and Jesus was alive!

Fear, great joy, trembling, astonishment, weeping… all were experienced by various ones depending on how and when they arrived on the scene. Some felt an earthquake, some witnessed an angel rolling the stone away. Some were spoken to by an angel. All were dumbfounded to find Jesus missing from the grave where they had personally laid Him.

This new news was equally as disorienting as Jesus’ death had been. How could it not be! Those whose memories failed them had the words of an angel to remind them that Jesus had already told them He would rise from the dead. Still, this was something no natural mind had space to entertain. Before too long though, Jesus would show Himself to His beloved ones and they would know, without doubt, HE HAD RISEN!

Response for the Heart ~

Oh Lord, how relieved I am to be at this part of the story! You rose from the dead, just as You said You would! Praise You, Risen Savior! The days of mourning felt as though they would never end and of course, Your followers were not sure they would. I would have been just like them. I would have thought You were really gone, that I was parted from You for good. But that is NOT what happened! You rose again! You defeated death! You purchased the redemption of anyone who would believe what You did and declare You Lord of their life! You did that for me! Thank You! Thank You! Praise You! Death could not hold You! I bow before You, Jesus – my risen Lord! ~ Amen

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Two Days of Silence – April 06, ’20

disbelief & disorientation

(The Holy Shroud – 1488 B.C.)

Meditation for the Soul ~

Truly, truly I say to you,
you will weep and lament,
but the world will rejoice.
John 16:20
For my sighing comes instead of my bread,
and my groanings are poured out like water.
For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
and what I dread befalls me.
Job 3:23-25
The Spirit himself intercedes for us
with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26

Reflection for the Mind ~

This Lent we have committed ourselves to being occupied with thoughts of Jesus and who He showed Himself to be in the last days of His earthly life. As we approach today’s entry, we do so with the premise that those who followed Christ were very much occupied with thoughts of Him in the two-plus days after He died.

There is no way to understand what Jesus’ followers would have been experiencing at the time of His death. Their Beloved had just been savagely tortured and then executed. The psyche’s immediate response to trauma is to put a temporary stop on all normal responses and shift into a shutdown mode for self-preservation. So I don’t think the extent of their bewilderment can be measured.

But the thing that takes their experience even further out of the known stratosphere is this: Jesus wasn’t just their beloved companion and teacher. He was the one who was going to save them. He was the Christ, the Messiah. He was the Son of God. He was their future hope – and He was dead.

Fear also gripped those left behind. They hunkered down trying to stay off of the Jewish leaders’ grid. That adds yet another complicated, significant layer to all the followers of Christ were trying to navigate. It was just a terrible, terrible time for them. Honestly, Jesus was so detailed trying to prepare them for His absence, but it didn’t appear as though much of it was able to come to bear for the disciples and others.

A few of Jesus’ followers, mainly the women, were able to make themselves useful by preparing His body for burial and taking care of the burial details. That might have been a helpful “if temporary” distraction. But the majority were left to do nothing but wait (in hiding) and pray that the cloud of disbelief and disorientation would mercifully dissipate.

Response for the Heart ~

Lord, even as Your Spirit takes me back to that terrible day, I grieve Your death. The idea that one could be without You, for a moment, let alone three interminable days is beyond my comprehension. I know You sustained Your devastated followers, though I doubt they would have been able to feel it. What would You have me understand as I sit in these days of silence? Speak to me Lord and teach me. I praise You and I worship You! ~ Amen

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All Was Now Finished – April 04, ’20

The Death of Jesus

Crucifixion of Christ (detail). Crete. 17th Century.
The Menil Collection, Gift of George R. Bunker.

(There will be nothing added to the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ death. My reflections would diminish the holiness of the scene.)

Luke 23:44-49 ~

It was now about the sixth hour,
and there was darkness over the whole land
until the ninth hour,
while the sun’s light failed.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
And having said this He breathed His last.
Now when the centurion saw what had taken place,
he praised God, saying,
“Certainly this man was innocent!”
And all the crowds that had assembled
for this spectacle,
when they saw what had taken place,
returned home beating their breasts.
And all His acquaintances and the women
who had followed Him from Galilee
stood at a distance watching these things.
Luke 23:44-49

Mark 15:33-39 ~

And when the sixth hour had come,
there was darkness over the whole land
until the ninth hour.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried
with a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means,
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
And some of the bystanders hearing it said,
“Behold, He is calling Elijah.”
And someone ran and
filled a sponge with sour wine,
put it on a reed and
gave it to Him to drink, saying,
“Wait, let us see whether Elijah
will come to take Him down.”
And Jesus uttered a loud cry
and breathed His last.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two,
from top to bottom.
And when the centurion, who stood facing Him,
saw that in this way he breathed His last, he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Mark 15:33-39

Matthew 27:45-56 ~

Now from the sixth hour
there was darkness over all the land
until the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out
with a loud voice, saying,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is,
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said,
“This man is calling Elijah.”
And one of them at once ran and took a sponge,
filled it with sour wine,
and put it on a reed and gave it to Him to drink.
But the others said,
“Wait, let us see whether Elijah
will come to save Him.”
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice
and yielded up His spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two,
from top to bottom.
And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
The tombs also were opened.
And many bodies of the saints
who had fallen asleep were raised,
and coming out of the tombs
after His resurrection
they went into the holy city
and appeared to many.
When the centurion and those who were with him,
keeping watch over Jesus,
saw the earthquake and what took place,
they were filled with awe and said,
“Truly this was the Son of God!”
There were also many women there,
looking on from a distance, who had
followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him,
among whom were
Mary Magdalene and Mary
the mother of James and Joseph
and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Matthew 27:45-56

John 19:28-30 ~

After this, Jesus,
knowing that all was now finished,
said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”
A jar full of sour wine stood there,
so they put a sponge full of the sour wine
on a hyssop branch
and held it to His mouth.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,
“It is finished,”
and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

John 19:28-30

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The Crucifixion – April 01, ’20

(The crucifixion is recounted in all four of the gospels. I highly recommend reading all of them carefully so that you have the fullest picture possible. There are links for your convenience.)

Meditation for the Soul ~

So they took Jesus, and He went out,
bearing His own cross,
to the place called The Place of a Skull,
which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.
There they crucified Him, and with Him two others
one on either side,
and Jesus between them.
Pilate also wrote an inscription
and put it on the cross.
It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Many of the Jews read this inscription,
for the place where Jesus
was crucified was near the city,
and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather,
‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written I have written.”
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took His garments
and divided them into four parts,
one part for each soldier; also His tunic.
But the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from top to bottom,
but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.”
This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things,
but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.

When Jesus saw his mother
and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby
 He said to his mother,
“Woman, behold, your son!”
Then He said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother!”
And from that hour the disciple
took her to his own home.
John 19:16-27;
(See also: Luke 23:26-43; Mark 15:21-32;
Matthew 27:32-44)

Reflection for the Mind ~

John, “the disciple whom He loved,” was recalling what he witnessed at Golgotha. He is the only one to record Jesus’ words in this part of our Lord’s ordeal, and they are highly personal. Once again Jesus was the caregiver, knowing what His inner circle’s needs were. As He hung on the cross dying, He saw to it that His mother would be properly cared for. It’s a stunning act of other-centeredness, something no ordinary human would be capable of.

Meanwhile, the Jewish leaders were straining at gnats about the wording of the sign Pilate had hung over Jesus’ head. The soldiers who crucified Jesus gambled for His clothing, and passersby jeered as Jesus was suffocating to death. The thieves who hung on either side of Him made their own contribution to the degrading dialogue, but that exchange ended in the salvation of a man’s soul… one more act of other-centeredness from Jesus.

Response for the Heart ~

Jesus, the pain of crucifixion was known to be beyond description. Just the thought of it would send fear into any heart. So, I cannot understand the level of pain you were in let alone how You were able to care for Your mother, for the soldiers who nailed You to the cross, and for the criminal beside You. Praise You for all Your marvelous, sacrificial works in those final moments. I pray You would lead me in my thoughts and feelings as I meditate upon You there. I love You, Lord, and I thank You!
~ Amen

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