Day Two of Passion Week

Think on these things today.

(Matthew 21:12-17)

Jesus, fresh from His triumphal entry, where hundreds of people lined the streets to welcome Him into Jerusalem, went to the temple.  When He found it being grossly misused, He began to passionately cleanse the temple as He exclaimed, “My house shall be called the House of Prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13)

By doing this, Jesus was proclaiming to all generations that He had the right to determine how the temple was to be used and to purge it of corruptions.  As God’s Son, the temple was His dwelling place, the place where the worship of God was to be especially known. In cleansing the temple, Jesus was revealing how men were to treat and use the temple of God.

After Jesus cleansed the temple, He healed the blind and the lame there.  Then adults and children began worshipping Him as they cried out to Him, “Hosanna!”  Jesus commended the children on this day and quoted Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants God has perfected praise?” (Matthew 21:16)

It is interesting to note that Jesus began and ended His ministry by cleansing the temple.  The importance of the temple as God’s house of prayer and worship was thereby demonstrated.

Two wonderful things happened when the temple was cleansed of its corruptions:

1.  Those in need were able to come to Christ and have their needs met.
2.  Christ was able to take His rightful position within the temple and to receive the worshippers.

We are now the temple of God.  It is imperative that we keep our temple clean from the impurities of the world.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?   If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.  For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

It was a long day for Jesus, and the cross was looming just ahead of Him . . . but there was much to do before then.

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Day One of Passion Week

Palm Sunday
(John 12:12-19)

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—even on a donkey’s colt.

The people greeted Him as though He were an earthly king; they were sure He would end the Roman occupation and Jerusalem would again be a Jewish city.  They waved palm leaves as He entered the city which is why this Sunday is called Palm Sunday.

They shouted, “Hosanna,” which means “save us,” and comes from Psalm 118:25   Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.   However, many of the same people who shouted “Hosanna”, soon turned on Him and shouted “Crucify Him”.

This began Christ’s long week that led to the Cross.  He met the trials of this week with steadfastness, with peace, and with great courage.  He demonstrated that He alone is worthy to be called “Savior of the World”.

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Celebrating the Real Meaning of Easter

Easter is the time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, but this usually gets pushed aside by traditional Easter activities such as the Easter Bunny, colored eggs, and new clothes.  Easter comes at springtime and some of our traditions at Easter are actually a part of the pagan springtime celebration.  But that’s ok . . .  we can use these tangible things to help children understand intangible ideas.

The bunny stays in a rabbit hole in the ground all winter.  When spring comes, the bunny comes out of  his hole.  We can relate this to Jesus being in the tomb for three days, but on Easter morning, He came out and is alive today.

Eggs remind us of new life.   Coloring them reminds us of how beautiful our world is as the earth comes back to life again with new flowers and new leaves and grass.  Relate this to Jesus coming back to life.

New chicks, bunnies, lambs, and ducks are  also reminders of new life.    Jesus gives us new life by what He did on the Cross for us.

Put Bible verses on the eggs you hide and then gather together to read them all.  Some suggested verses are:

Revelation 21:5 Jesus makes all things new.

Galatians 2:20  Jesus Christ lives.

Matthew 28:6  Jesus is risen.

Song of Solomon 2:12  The flowers appear on the earth.

2 Cor. 5:17 (Living)   When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!

Make a cross out of twigs or craft sticks and keep it in a prominent place during the Easter season.  Point out that it is empty because Jesus didn’t stay on the cross or in the tomb . . . He is alive!!

A great book to teach the real meaning of Easter is Easter Bunny, Are You For Real?

10-hooray This is a song that children really love about the empty tomb .  It is from Every Song a Bible Story from Maranatha Music.

Make Easter a family time of worshiping together and thinking about the risen Lord.  Read the Easter story together from Matthew 27-28, Mark 15 – 16, or Luke 23-24.

Happy Easter from my family to yours.

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