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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus is the Way’

The place name dogged me all week–my thoughts returning again and again to the words of John 18:5.THE NEW YOU

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. (NIV)

Familiar with the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, I knew of the events preceding the crucifixion. The humble Creator stooping over the dirt-encrusted feet of His disciples and cleansing them of Jerusalem’s desert sand—the actions of a servant. Christ—breaking bread in the presence of beloved companions and a friend turned foe.

But until a few days ago, my eyes seemed to pass by any mention of Kidron Valley. What could be its significance? Why hadn’t I noticed before? Jesus walked purposely through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to reach the Garden.

The symbolism is too rich to ignore. Kidron Valley, meaning black or sad, was a burial site to Jewish kings, priests, and prophets encased in tombs along the rocky slopes. And today? Thousands of limestone coffins stand end to end—the bodies of Jewish hopefuls awaiting deliverance through the long-awaited Messiah.

I can almost imagine Jesus surveying the valley and its surroundings. There, high on the slope, He could make out the southeastern edge of the Temple. How many hours had He spent within its walls proclaiming the truth? Inhaling deeply as He passed by a stand of olive trees, Christ might have swept His gaze to the far edges of the landscape and noticed the Mount of Olives. Did His stride quicken as He anticipated ascending into Heaven from that hill—the Father’s call beckoning Him home?

Determined, Jesus continued on as the dark valley rose sharply on either side–evening shadows deepening. He knew the history of the place—He’d seen it clearly from Heaven’s throne room. Christ knew of the treachery encased between the walls of this gorge—when the Chosen Ones had displayed worthless idols here. The people turning away from I Am not once…not twice…but three times. (1 Kings 15: 12-13, 2 Kings 23:6, 2 Chronicles 19:16).

Jesus knew—they would again turn from the Way and choose another.

And soon, the blood of hundreds of thousands of lambs would spill into the wadi, filling the valley with the scent of death; innocent blood staining its walls. The disciples might have noticed a look of satisfaction cross Jesus’ face as He considered the near future—that moment when His own, untarnished blood would pour out for all sin and sinners. Once for all—if they would only accept His gift. The perfect Lamb. The ultimate Sacrifice. The exchange of the Sinless for you and me.

Each step Jesus took in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, friends, brought us closer to Him. Because of His death and resurrection, we can claim the beautiful promise of Ps. 23,

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV)

 

 Thank you, Jesus, for walking the dark valley of sin that we might be the sinless ones. Praise God for His mercy and overwhelming love. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1410371904-christian-love

I’m an idealist. I believe in the Biblical standard, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

I don’t care if your skin is black, brown, white—or a funky “Sunset Orange” from the tanning booth. Pigment does not make the person; God does—and each one is created to be unique and beautiful.

You might vote as a registered Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian in November. And, gasp, in a season like this, you may decide no vote is better than any vote. I won’t allow differences of political conviction to sever relationships–even if we strongly disagree with each other

Are you a Buddhist? A Muslim? An atheist? Well…I’m a Christian and I’m going to love you enough to tell you about my Jesus….to raise your name up to heaven before the One who I know is the Way—because I care about where you spend the life after this one. What sort of friend would I be if I refused to live my faith out loud because of my own fear of rejection?

In this splintered, broken world people murder each other in cold blood because of prejudice…hatred…and unbridled, misdirected emotion absent of rational thought.

In a world of people crying out for peace, rogue policemen steal the breath of innocent men because they are draped in the beautiful, bronzed skin God gave them. An embittered man destroys five heroic souls who proudly wear the color blue–an emblem signifying a willingness to stand in the gap for those they serve.

Terrorists fill our streets with the blood of their hatred and the world shrinks back in fear—uncertain of the future and dreading the next brutal attack.

It seems the world has gone mad. It’s been ripped off its axis and sent spinning into a black hole of war and anarchy.

I want to remind my heart and yours…God is not pacing in His throne room.

He knows the beginning from the end. The evil and suffering in the world do not go unnoticed and soon—perhaps much sooner than we think—the Lion of Judah will return for His people.

Until then, we who already know Jesus must love others. How else can a groaning earth and aching people have any hope? Any chance of experiencing Christ? Any promise of eternal life unless we who know the Truth follow His example and just…love…others.

Scripture for Reflection

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Cor. 13:13 MSG)

 

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35 MSG)

 

I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. (2 Timothy 4:2 MSG)

 

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