After Jesus death, the disciples were consumed with questions: Why did Jesus have to die? What will happen now? Would they too be arrested, tried, and executed? Somehow, the followers of Jesus needed reassurance. Two had an encounter with Christ that “cut them to the soul.”
Before the end of the week, Jesus is arrested, tried, whipped, humiliated, spat upon, cursed, plotted against, crucified, dead and buried. When Jesus was born there was no room for him in the inn. When He died, there was no room for Him in the world.
God is not condemning us for being healthy or wealthy or talented or highly educated or successful. God is warning us to be more aware and more vigilant about using our health, our wealth, our talents, our education, and our success to benefit others in service of Jesus Christ.
When it comes to following Jesus, love must rule our hearts. To love is first a choice, then it grows into a commitment filled with joys and problems. At times love becomes a crucial responsibility but when the love of Christ truly leads and guides our lives, we become more unified than divided, filled with a faith that is stronger than our doubts.
Yes, Jesus was really nice but why would religious leaders of that day be so mad at such a nice man. So mad, they wanted to kill him in the most gruesome way possible. Movies about Jesus don’t help because they often portray him as short and thin with long hair, almost like a flower child from the hippie era. Why would anyone get so mad at someone who is so nice?
It is one thing to hear: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up the cross and follow me.” It is quite another to literally give up our own way, physically pick up that cross and make those sacrifices as we focus on following Jesus.
This week: 1. We are dealing with effects of a ferocious string of winter storms. Many without power, especially in Texas. 2. Continuing issues with COVID-19 mostly centered around distribution of the vaccine. 3. Dealing with serious food shortages many children and families in our area.
Now, we are in the Christian season of Lent. At first, I wondered, how can we think about Lent with all these calamities facing us? But I realized something important: Lent is when we focus on enhancing our relationship with God. Remembering Christ’s life, ministry, and death through prayer, reading the Bible and helping others also teaches how God is with us even in a crisis.