Monday, April 28, 2014

"This Is The Week That I Died" ~ Jesus

For The Joy Set Before Him, He Endured the Agony
He Became The First Fruits... the First of Many To Be Resurrected

By Duane David DuBois

When I wrote the last post “Eleven Years,” I noted that this year was the first year since 2003 that Palm Sunday fell on April 13, and I wasn’t sure if there was any significance to that.  Later that afternoon, I realized that the day might have been a lot different if it hadn’t been Palm Sunday on April 13, 2003.  The support of my spiritual family as well as my natural family is what helped us all survive the coming days.

Because it was Palm Sunday, my friends were in church that morning.  After I had called Pastor Dennis, it was easy for him to get the news of the accident to all of them at once.  If you read the post that I wrote about “that day,” you know that I had just returned from a conference where I had heard testimonies of miracles, and that my faith was high, and I truly believed that this was a test… that the devil was the entity behind this accident and that if we would pray for resurrection, we might see a miracle.  After all, it was Palm Sunday, and Resurrection Day (Easter) was coming!  And there had been documented cases of people returning from the dead just recently.  So when I called Pastor Dennis, right after having returned from the accident scene where I was told that Duane “didn’t make it,” I asked him to gather anyone who would be willing to join me at the hospital to pray for a miracle.  They did.  We did.  But I later learned that Duane made a choice to stay with Jesus that day.  When given a choice, who wouldn’t?  You can read all about that in previous posts.

I want to focus on what the Lord did for me this year. 

I had anticipated that perhaps this year all the memories would come flooding back and it would be more difficult than previous years, just because of it being the first April 13 Palm Sunday since 2003.  But to the contrary, God used it to bring me full circle, I guess you could say.  During worship that morning, someone sang a beautiful spontaneous song.  I wish I had written down all the words.  It was the Lord singing to us about what this week really is, this week called “Passion Week.”  Through that song, Jesus said, “This is the week that I gave myself for you.”  Those words went deep into me, and I wrote them down… and then these words flowed through my pen: “This year, the Lord changed this week back to the proper focus for once and for all.” 

This year, on April 13, 2014, the Lord pointed me back to the real meaning of this week, this week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter.  It was as if He said right to me, “This is the week that I died.”  His words through the song continued, “I did it for you.  There is no way you can do it for yourself.  No one can do it for you.  I did it, says the Lord.  You laid me in a tomb, you dressed me in burial cloths, you rolled the stone in place and sealed it.  Most of you do not have the faith to believe what comes next, even though I told you… and that is where you should wait until I rise next Sunday.”  We were then told that as we wait for the next week, we should read the last chapter of one of the gospels, and ponder it.  I did.  I not only read the end of all four gospels, the accounts of the crucifixion and the resurrection in the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but I also studied the week from the aspect of the Jewish calendar, which is what Jesus would have followed.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey that day, it was to fulfill a prophecy recorded in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”   We call it “Palm Sunday,” but for Jesus, it was the time when the Jewish people went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover.  He knew when He rode into Jerusalem that, that very week, He would give His life upon a cross and would literally become God’s Passover Lamb.  Simply put, because of what Jesus did that week, I know that my sins are all forgiven, all my diseases are healed, and I have eternal life.  I know my God as my Father and I know that I will be resurrected too, unless I live to see the Second Coming of Jesus; in that case, I will receive my glorified body without having to go through death and resurrection.

And when I read the end of those four gospels, I was reminded that my job now is to continue the work of Jesus, which was to destroy the works of the devil.  The devil came to steal, kill and destroy and Jesus came to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted, to comfort the brokenhearted, to announce liberty to captives, and to open the eyes of the blind.  He came to tell those who mourn that the time of God’s favor to them has come, and the day of his wrath to their enemies.  He came to give beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. These are all the things Jesus came to do, and then He went back to His Father in Heaven, sent the Holy Spirit to earth to indwell those who believed in Jesus and now we exist for one reason only, and that is to continue His works.  What are those works?  I just listed them, from Isaiah 61.  And, in Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the lepers, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!”

Jesus really is risen from the grave, He really is alive, He really did tell me, tell all His followers, to occupy, to continue His work, until He comes again.  Yes, April 13 will always be the day we remember that Duane left us and entered Heaven, but now my main focus will be what Jesus said it should be.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are hurting people everywhere.  Maybe you are one of them.  There is Good News. 

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him."

John 3:16-18, The Message

Have you been introduced to Him yet?  Let me introduce you.  Come, put your hand in His and follow Him.  He will give you rest.  He will give you peace.  He will give you joy.  And most of all, He will love you, unconditionally, just as you are.

"Follow Me" ~ Bruce Marchiano as Jesus

If you already know Him, make sure you make the main thing, the main thing.  Life is too short to get sidetracked.  Oh, and don't go pointing your finger and telling people what's wrong about them or about what they are doing.  They probably already know that.  Love them and introduce them to Jesus!  

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