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Posts tagged ‘Followers of Christ’

The no one or nothing in the darkness

When we look at our life, sometimes it can make us depressive, having us feel the “emptiness“, the missing of like-minded people.

How many of us do not build upon many aspirations, hopes, dreams and expectations?

Our head tolls from the many questions we have going one ear in and one ear out. And every moment we try to look to the right or to the left it is like we are getting hit by a boxing glove.

Noticing it looks like we are alone with our faith in Jesus and the coming Kingdom, we sometimes feel abandoned. Though we should know God does not abandon us, like He did not abandon Jesus. But Jesus also had a moment to despair and was calling onto his heavenly Father crying unto HIm, why He had left him.

46 About the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice, saying: “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”+ (Matthew 27:46)

Like Jesus crying out from the wooden stake, we also have moments that we want to cry to God. Yes, it might happen to any believer that he or she questions God’s presence. It is understandable that we can have such moments that we have doubts about ourselves, about our faith, about God.

It is in such moments of doubt, in moments of fear and despair, that we are invited by our Creator and Sustainer to seek hope. He has given us His Word to give us daily food, to be able to go step by step and day by day. That Word of God we can take it up every moment of the day. It is God’s Love letter to us. From that great Book of books, we should be able to receive strength and hope. Hope comes from our trust that even when we don’t feel like God is present, God will show up for us. Often when we feel most abandoned, hurt and broken, we shall come to remember those moments as the ones where Jehovah God has shown up most powerfully for us. Those are the moments that shape our life and our faith.

Like Jehovah God had not forsaken Jesus, He shall not leave alone those who love Him.

28 For Jehovah loves justice, And he will not abandon his loyal ones.+ ע [Ayin]They will always be guarded;But the descendants of the wicked will be done away with.+ (Psalm 37:28)

Even when God might be with us, we can have that feeling to be just on our own with our faith, being surrounded by a majority who does not want to know about God or the Biblical Truth.

Constantly we seem to be confronted with an emptiness that draws us into the darkness. Sometimes it feels like we are a “no one”, or a “nothing”.
Without being someone and without having someone around us, we remain unfulfilled and incomplete. Our instinct wants us to mix with others. We are not made to be alone.

This primal instinct to be something is what drives our efforts towards avoiding being nothing.

The threat of which is the root to losing ourselves to the distraction of everything, when we lose hope of ever being something…to someone…but not just anyone. {Elusive peace…}

When we get older, this seems a bigger problem, than when we were young. Then comes a time when we want to scan our life and want to see what we established. How much effort we put in things and into what it resulted. What is clinging to our memory? What do we find worthwhile to remember?

Around us we see so many people who seem to be more successful than us. They can get a lot of listening ears, eager to hear their philosophies which give people only a shade of what they would love to see. Though we do know they can not offer that comfort or assurance that we love to offer people, because we live by our hope in Jesus Christ. Constantly we are confronted by those people who find that their way is the best way. But what they do not see is that what we want them to come to see: the way that seems right for so many men its end is the way of death.

12 There is a way that seems right to a man,+ But in the end it leads to death.+ (Proverbs 14:12)

We live in that world full of vanity, where man even thinks he can play for god and create whatever he wants.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility,+ not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope+ (Romans 8:20)

We would love to show those who think they can do it without God, that it is better to come under the wings of God. There is namely an alternative to the ultimate conclusion of doom and the futility of human philosophy.

23 For the wages sin pays is death,+ but the gift God gives is everlasting life+ by Christ Jesus our Lord.+ (Romans 6:23)

In this world, we do even have to struggle against those who say they are Christian but do not want to recognise who Jesus is and how important it is to I believe in him who God called His beloved son.

25 Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life.+ The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; 26 and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.+ Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to him: “I am the way+ and the truth+ and the life.+ No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Constantly we are confronted with those stubborn people who do not believe that Jesus existed, or who think that Jesus is God, instead of believing in the God of Jesus and accepting that Jesus is the way to God and not to himself.That unbelief makes us so sad, and when you stand there surrounded by so many unbelievers, it can feel so lonely, so dark in a world that offers so much but oh so little. Coming closer to the end times it worries us also so much, certainly when we see more lies encircling peoples heads. Fake news seems to have won the battle for attention.Though we should find the strength to continue calling people to come to follow the real Christ, the Jewish Nazarene Jeshua, the son of David and son of God. Continuing on our path to God, we should find comfort in the fact that there shall not be so many who shall believe in Jesus and do their best to stay on the right track, and that shall be able to enter the small gate to the Kingdom of God. We should see and follow that light in the world, which is given by God.

8 12 Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying: “I am the light of the world.+ Whoever follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light+ of life.”  (John 8:12)

13 “Go in through the narrow gate,+ because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.(Matthew 7:14-15)

We, when feeling down, should remember that the apostles and other first followers of Christ, also were just with a few who were not liked by the majority. They also had often to struggle. They also could find strength by knowing they could get to encounter many tribulations, but always would there be a way out, and the gate to God’s Kingdom, which would be much better than any kingdom here on earth.

22 There they strengthened the disciples,+ encouraging them to remain in the faith and saying: “We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.”+ (Acts 14:22)

18 “And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, what will happen to the ungodly man and the sinner?”+ (1 Peter 4:18)

All those who believe that Jesus is the son of God and the way to life, let them strengthen each other. Let us all be conscious that the road leading off into destruction is a road taken by the majority. When not being part of that majority we should not worry so much, because we should know there is Someone Who wants to carry us over the swamps and deserts of this world.

Let us not get the sand of the desert in our eyes by the many false teachings which encircle this materialist world. Instead of being a little grain of sand let us stick together as a lump of earth and join hands as sowers of productive seed.

44 It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body.+ If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. (1 Corinthians 15:44)

Let our voice keep going through the air and into the darkness so that somewhere a person might see the little spark of light.

We always should be aware of the importance of our own free choice. We always shall have to come to decide which way to go, the broad way of the world or the small way of God.

The question comes down to who will I believe. Will I trust the world that can give no guarantees and an uncertain future?

Or will I trust the sent one from God who proved himself by paying for my sins on the stake, dying in my place, and then arose from the dead in victory just as he said he would (Matthew 17:23, 20:19, 28:5-6)?

He too felt at moments on his own. He, too, had to trust his God. He put his own will aside for doing the Will of his heavenly Father.

Are you prepared to put your own will aside to do the Will of God?

Are you willing to go into the desert, like Jesus did, to talk about God and to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God?

When reading the Scriptures we shall become aware that Jehovah God is really the only One Whom we fully can trust. By the knowledge that He is trustworthy and faithful, we should get more trust in Him and allow HIm to take away our fear and sad, depressive mood. With Him in our heart, we shall not be disappointed.

To you they cried out, and they were saved; They trusted in you, and they were not disappointed.*(Psalm 22:5)

When feeling depressed or down because it looks like we can not reach people, let us  put on a spiritual kind of armour that comes only from God because we are engaged in a spiritual struggle rather than a physical one.

10 Finally, go on acquiring power+ in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. 11 Put on the complete suit of armor+ from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil;+ 12 because we have a struggle,+ not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces+ in the heavenly places.+ 13 For this reason take up the complete suit of armor from God,+ so that you may be able to resist* in the wicked day and, after you have accomplished everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

When we accept Jehovah’s help and rely on Him completely, we can succeed in opposing the adversaries of God. When we can have the same kind of confidence that the apostle Paul had. He wrote:

“If God is for us, who will be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

So, let us step out of the darkness, stretch out our hands to those who also love Jesus and his God. Let us join forces and focus most of our attention on learning about Jehovah and serving Him.

 Cause me to walk in your truth and teach me,For you are my God of salvation. ו [Waw]

In you I hope all day long. ז [Zayin]

(Ps. 25:5)

+

Preceding

When feeling alone, afraid to connect with others in order to grow in faith

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

++

Additional reading

  1. Lonely so lonely
  2. Fear, struggles, sadness, bad feelings and depression
  3. This was my reward
  4. Trouble in my brain
  5. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death
  6. A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow
  7. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  8. In defence of Doubt
  9. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  10. Life’s challenges may not paralyse you
  11. Faithfulness when most necessary
  12. He Becomes a Fool Through His Endless Desire
  13. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement
  14. A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
  15. He who beams never walks in the dark
  16. Confidence
  17. Hope begins in the dark
  18. It is not try but trust
  19. Give your tears to God
  20. Crying and trusting ones do not get disappointed
  21. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  22. Jesus son of God or God the son
  23. The Prophets Inquire into and Testify About Salvation
  24. A new decade, To open the eyes to get a right view
  25. Gospel or Good News
  26. Good News Breakers
  27. Bringing Good News into the world
  28. Preaching of the Kingdom

+++

Related

  1. The Void In Us
  2. Lonely… Empty… Why ?
  3. “Empty”
  4. Emptiness
  5. Emptiness “The space in time experienced as Emptiness is the predicate for Inspiration.
  6. An emptiness inside of me
  7. Why have you abandoned me?
  8. Ache
  9. Do you think Loneliness and Emptiness are two same words?
  10. When I Get Lost in My Loneliness
  11. Treatments for Depression
  12. A Conversation with Lama Shenpen about Emptiness and the Heart Sutra
  13. Emptiness Versus Hope
  14. A Moment’s Worth of Peace

When feeling alone, afraid to connect with others in order to grow in faith

In this life where there does not seem to be much interest in Jehovah God, sometimes we can feel just on our own, certainly when we have no church to connect with.

To break that chain of loneliness we should try to be courageous to make others know we are loving God and following the real Christ. We may be proud of our heavenly Father, Jehovah, and want others to come to know Him, but often, because we do feel so lonely we do feel on our own and too weak to go out to let others know our choice for life.

One of the best ways we can show love to others is by sharing the good news with them.

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations,+ baptizing them+ in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.+ And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”+(Matt. 28:19, 20)

Often, when we are on our own, we think we shall not be able to “make learners”, because we do not see people who want to be around us. The Greek verb ma·the·teuʹo has the basic meaning “to teach” with the intent of making pupils or disciples. As such we encounter situations when there are no direct people around us to be taught, but when we look around we shall see there are people whom we could attract by the right words to hear and follow our words.

There is given a command to those who want to be followers of Christ. This command to reach “people of all the nations” was new in the first century. Prior to Jesus’ ministry, the Scriptures indicate that Gentiles were welcomed to Israel if they came to serve Jehovah.

41 “Also concerning the foreigner who is not part of your people Israel and who comes from a distant land because of your name*+ 42 (for they will hear about your great name+ and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm), and he comes and prays toward this house, 43 may you then listen from the heavens, your dwelling place,+ and do all that the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you,+ as your people Israel do, and may know that your name has been called on this house that I have built. (1Ki 8:41-43)

Today we cannot hear the Name of Jehovah resound over the land. We do not hear the Great Name of Jehovah mentioned often. Because of the Name not being known and not being spoken about a lot, people can not easily come to meet with others who love that Great Name and want to praise that Divine Creator.

What if we are timid? How can we become bold? How can we find the guts to go out and speak about that Great Name?

We grow bold when we focus on how happy we can make Jehovah and how much others will benefit from learning about him. Though we might feel on our own, without people feeling likewise about Jehovah God, we should come to know and come to feel that This Great God above all gods, is willing to help us when we are willing to work for Him.

Jehovah will give us the courage we need. He helped our first-century brothers to become bold, and he will help us too.​

For although we had first suffered and been insolently treated in Phi·lipʹpi,+ as you know, we mustered up boldness* by means of our God to tell you the good news of God+ in the face of much opposition.* (1 Thess. 2:2).

Even when we live in a country where the government is not having people to talk about Jehovah, we should think about the first Christians and their prosecution.
At the beginning of the expansion of the movement of followers of Christ, those true Christians bore the consequences of their faith. In the first centuries after Christ had died, his followers expected to be persecuted.

True Christians expect to be persecuted.  No matter where we live, secular authorities may suddenly and unexpectedly ban us from worshipping our loving God, Jehovah. If a government bans our worship, we might wrongly conclude that we do not have God’s blessing. But remember, persecution does not mean that Jehovah is unhappy with us. Take, for example, the apostle Paul. He certainly had God’s approval. He had the privilege of writing 14 letters of the Christian Greek Scriptures, and he was an apostle to the nations. Yet, he faced intense persecution.

23 Are they ministers of Christ? I reply like a madman, I am more outstandingly one: I have done more work,+ been imprisoned more often,+ suffered countless beatings, and experienced many near-deaths.+ 24 Five times I received 40 strokes less one from the Jews,+ 25 three times I was beaten with rods,+ once I was stoned,+ three times I experienced shipwreck,+ a night and a day I have spent in the open sea; 26 in journeys often, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own people,+ in dangers from the nations,+ in dangers in the city,+ in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers, 27 in labor and toil, in sleepless nights often,+ in hunger and thirst,+ frequently without food,+ in cold and lacking clothing.  (2 Cor. 11:23-27)

We learn from the apostle Paul’s experience that Jehovah allows his faithful servants to be persecuted.

Jehovah is not partial, He does not judge by outward appearance, favouring people because of their race, nationality, social standing, or any external factors and He is happy when He sees us show love to others, no matter what their background may be.

34 At this Peter began to speak, and he said: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial,+ 35 but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.+ (Acts 10:34, 35)

Out of love for our neighbours or fellow man, we should be willing to step out of our isolation and should dare to come to talk about Jehovah. We should master our fear for the other, and dare to speak to them around using our neighbourhood. We should know we have something special to offer. Those who listen to us can improve their lives now and gain the prospect of enjoying everlasting life in the future.​

16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.+ Persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.+ (1 Tim. 4:16).

Jehovah is a loving parent, so He wants His family to be happy.

65 “I have let myself be searched for by those who did not ask for me; I have let myself be found by those who did not look for me.+

I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that was not calling on my name.+ (Isaiah 65:1)

14 Look! My servants will shout joyfully because of the good condition of the heart, But you will cry out because of the pain of heart And you will wail because of a broken spirit. (Isa. 65:14)

Even when we are just one servant of God in isolation, not having it easy to feel connected with other believers, we in our heart should be pleased that we can be partakers of the Body of His son and be part of His widespread family. It is true our spirit may often being hurt and feel like a piece of crystal glass thrown on the ground completely shattered into many pieces. Our courage can often sink deeply into our shoes, yet we have to put our hope that one day there will be more people around us who want to be connected with us. In the meantime, we should not let ourselves be caught by depressed moods from feeling lonely.

We should look up and aim for Jehovah God as our Sustainer and Inspirer.

Trusting God we shall have to find the courage to keep going on in our solitude and to prepare the path for others still to come. Trust and patience are what should keep us going. This should make us not afraid to invite others to dwell with us in the house of the Highest God above all gods, all the days of our life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

 One thing I have asked from Jehovah  —It is what I will look for— That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life,+ To gaze upon the pleasantness of Jehovah And to look with appreciation* upon his temple.*+ (Psalms 27:4)

We can remain happy because we have the sure hope that life will get even better in the future. We know that soon Jehovah will remove all the wicked and that under the direction of His Kingdom, the earth will be restored to Paradise. We also have the wonderful hope that those who have died will be raised to life and reunited with their loved ones.

28 Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice+29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.+30  (John 5:28, 29)

What a joy that will be! And most important, we are sure that soon everyone in heaven and on earth will give our loving Father the honour, praise, and devotion that he deserves.

So let us find the courage to overcome our sadness of being alone. Jehovah God is always with us, like our shadow, and it is Him Who can give us wings and strength.

 I will be a guest in your tent forever;+ I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings.+ (Selah) (Psalm 61:4)

We might feel in the dark, but by our faith in the resurrection of Christ light should shine in our life. We should let others know that he is the way to God, the light and life, but also the one who provides us with a grand hope. With our hope for a better life out of brotherly love, let us share our hope with others. Those who listen to us can improve their lives now and gain the prospect of enjoying everlasting life in the future.

16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.+ Persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.+ (1 Tim. 4:16).

+

Preceding

Let us not fret or worry about next season

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Inculcate God’s words and speak of them

Testimonies to observe, inspired by God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

Good or bad preacher

A Society pleading poverty

Be strong

++

Additional reading

  1. “Unnoticed”
  2. Alone in the cold and dark
  3. Loneliness (as seen by Tess Connor)
  4. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  5. When I Get Lost in My Loneliness
  6. So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes
  7. Walking alone?
  8. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  9. God’s forgotten Word 2 Lost Lawbook 1 Who has still interest
  10. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  11. The post-Christian world
  12. Dealing with worries in our lives
  13. Not staying alone in your search for truth
  14. Measure of loneliness whilst time drags
  15. Christadelphian Support Network Meeting: The Age of Loneliness
  16. Pascal’s Possibility
  17. Today’s thought “Ability to receive ableness from God” (May 11)
  18. The Big Conversation – Christadelphians in the United Kingdom
  19. Being in isolation #2 Looking at the word “Isolation”
  20. Being in isolation #3 Gathering and Sharing
  21. Being in isolation #5 Isolated Biblical figures and Confessional isolation
  22. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  23. Avoiding the big questions
  24. Life’s challenges may not paralyse you
  25. Determine the drive
  26. Courage is fear that has said its prayers
  27. Courage for every day living
  28. Be strong and take courage
  29. Be Not Thou Weary
  30. Courage doesn’t always roar
  31. Fearing the right person
  32. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  33. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  34. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  35. Trust the future to God
  36. Finding our identity in serving God
  37. Believe that moves stones
  38. Companionship
  39. Creating Community and Togetherness
  40. How should we worship God? #4 Christian Congregations
  41. Ecclesia – Church – Minding your reference
  42. Church indeed critical in faith development
  43. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  44. In all circumstances preaching Christ
  45. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  46. Daily thought for July the 8th and the Summer months
  47. Prayer theme in this Corona time: Compassion
  48. Bijbelvorser looking for ways to reach others
  49. The Most Appropriate teacher and Scoffers in our contemporary age
  50. Today’s thought “A blessing and a curse” (April 25)
  51. Today’s thought “When approaching the battle against your enemies today” (May 03)
  52. Today’s thought “When in need of encouragement” (May 18)
  53. Today’s thought “If we endure” (May 26)
  54. The Big Conversation
  55. The Big conversation Why it matters
  56. Reason to preach #5 Trained to do it God’s way
  57. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
  58. Abound To Every Good Work (2 Cor. 9:8)
  59. Only once and with consequences
  60. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  61. Learning from ourselves
  62. Reflections on Existence and Teaching
  63. Preaching by example
  64. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  65. Evangelizing in the “Time of the End”
  66. A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
  67. God is Positive
  68. When God Moved a Mountain
  69. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  70. From house to house #2: Continuing to bring the good news right to the world
  71. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies
  72. Paradise restored

+++

Related

  1. Lonely and Depressed…
  2. “Empty”
  3. Changing the World
  4. When is a ‘Church’ Not a ‘Church’?
  5. Church: Mind Your Reference!
  6. The Good and The Bad Within the Church Part-1 – Unleashed
  7. Darrell L. Guder – The Continuing Conversion of the Church (2000)
  8. Seeing is Disbelieving (2020)
  9. Power and authority (Part two)
  10. Proverbs 25:21-22
  11. Selah – סֶלָה
  12. Easter Sunday 2021: out of darkness
  13. Walk and talk!
  14. What the church needs
  15. Daily Bible Verse For The Day 7th April, 2021
  16. The wind blows where it wishes
  17. Matthew 13:44
  18. Making Disciples
  19. Why do we make disciples
  20. Yes To The Cost
  21. Who do we Listen to God or Man
  22. Making Space to Do What We are Called to Do–Make Disciples
  23. In Search of More Mountain Guides: Making Disciples by “Traveling With” Instead of “Talking At”
  24. Making disciples is the Biblical-mandate
  25. Bringing Up Baby
  26. What Snacks Teach Us About Making Disciples
  27. The Supply and Demand of Making Disciples
  28. Where are the Shepherds?
  29. How Deeply Do You Care?
  30. Belief and Behavior
  31. Celtic Evangelism and a New/Old Way to Win a World
  32. What makes a man cry
  33. Scripture for Meditation #1
  34. Scripture for Meditation #2
  35. Do You Care If Anyone Knows Jesus? (Christian Leadership In Today’s Culture Part 5)
  36. Tumbling Stones and the Art of Pastoral Care
  37. Don’t Be Ashamed
  38. Forget Public Opinion…Keep Your Eyes on God’s Opinion of You.
  39. A Passionless Christian Asked a Question.
  40. Preaching to the Hard hearted with Joy
  41. Making Disciples
  42. The Master “Group Plan” of Discipleship
  43. Mentoring: Harnessing God’s Overflowing Love
  44. Who is the “Buddy” that is Pushing You to Grow in Christ?
  45. Christ’s Church – Part 3
  46. The Spread of the Gospel
  47. Harvest Workers; February 27, 2021
  48. Where is the Harvest?
  49. Straight Methods, Narrow Message

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #3 A sincere man or an imposter

After the horrible experience, having seen how their beloved master had died on the stake, the apostles had retreated themselves. The women who had watched the impalement from some distance got the courage to see if they could not give their friend a proper burial before the high holy day.

“30 Therefore, when he had received the vinegar, Jesus said, “It has been accomplished!” And then his head fell and his last breath escaped.

31 Since it was Preparation, the Jews, so that the bodies might not remain upon the stake–for it was the day of a Great Sabbath–they requested that Pilate break their legs and take the bodies down.” (Joh 19:30-31 mhm)

“38  Now after these events Joseph of Arimathea–a secret disciple of Jesus out of fear of the Jews–asked Pilate that he might carry away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave his permission. So Joseph came and removed the body. 39 Also, Nicodemus–the person who approached Jesus at night originally–brought a roll of myrrh and aloes weighing a hundred pounds. 40 And so, they took the body of Jesus and bound it in bandages with the spices, according to the custom of the Jews in preparation for burial. 41 Now near the place where Jesus was impaled there was a garden, and in the garden a new memorial tomb in which no one had ever been placed. 42 It was there, then, because of the Preparation of the Jews, they placed Jesus.” (Joh 19:38-42 mhm)

They were aware many had a big laugh, now having seen that special man being killed as a criminal. For many, it looked like all the stories they heard about that Nazarene were just fake messages. How was this dead person going to save the world like he so many times had given the impression?

The day after Jesus had died, the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, remembering what Jesus had said over those few years when he was actively going around the region. For them, it was clear that Jesus was a nice talker and a deceiver who could please a lot of people. Now they were afraid some of his friends would do everything to have his predictions come true. Jesus had more than once said he would rise again after three days. For sure such a thing could and should not happen according to those leaders. Therefore, they asked the governor to command that the tomb be made secure at least until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and tell the people,

‘He is risen from the dead’;

so that the last deception will be worse than the first.

“62 On the next day–after Preparation–the religious hierarchy and Pharisees assembled together before Pilate, 63 saying, “Lord, we remember that plotter said when he was alive, ‘After three days I will be raised up.’ 64 So, command that the grave be secured until the third day so none of his disciples can come and steal his body and then claim to the people, ‘Jesus was raised up from the dead.’ Then the final plot will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them: “You have a custodial guard. Go and make the security as you know how.” 66 These went their way and secured the grave, sealing the stone with the custodial guards.” (Mt 27:62-66 mhm)

In the stillness of the night, soldiers kept guard in front of the tomb.

The close friends of Jesus were not at all interested to take away Jesus’ body. For them, it was more important to have their master teacher buried according to Jewish customs and to pay him honour by mourning for him.

Around those apostles and friends of Jesus it had become very quiet. That moment of silence is in Belgium remembered by several churches as “Stille Zaterdag” or “Silent Saturday”. Some churches also call it “Holy Saturday” or the “Great Sabbath”, “Easter Eve” or even “Black Saturday” according to the custom that people were clothed in black when in mourning and that we now had to mourn for the death of Jesus.

The followers of Christ were sad they had lost their master and could not understand how the one they thought was going to save them from the Roman oppression, was now impaled and could not do anything anymore, because he was under the dead. In the Jewish faith (as in our faith), dead people can do nothing anymore, because their corps disintegrates to become dust.

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ec 9:5 NIV)

They did not forget Jesus so quickly, though the religious leaders would have loved to see that happen. Those religious leaders and their disgust for Jesus were enough to hide and to keep themselves quiet. Their fear of coming out in public was to stay like that until the day of the festival of Pentecost.

The apostles knew how Joseph from Arimathea had given his own prepared sepulchre so that Jesus could be buried there. Having received a place in that rich man’s grave Isaiah’s prophecy became fulfilled.

“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isa 53:9 NIV)

“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.” (Mt 27:57 NIV)

“So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.” (Mr 15:46 NIV)

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no-one had ever been laid.” (Joh 19:41 NIV)

The women had balsamed Jesus and wrapped him in a linen cloth before they laid him in the tomb which had been cut out of a rock for Jesus’ (secret) follower Joseph. They were fully aware that there was rolled a stone against the door of the tomb and that soldiers were guarding the sepulchre.
They could stay inside with confidence, with the assurance that their master would not be done about it now and that no one could steal his body.

The felt very sad because they had lost the one in whom they trusted so much. On him who they hung their very hope, their everything. They were so sure he was going to lead them to a new kingdom and be their king. Now they came to see those Romans still governing over the Jews.

Many of them forsook all to follow him. They left their trade and day by day they were with the man they believed to be the Messiah. But now all their hope seemed to have gone. There was no Messiah any more because their master was dead. Would the sayings of some be true, and had they all the time followed a con-man, a charlatan or defrauder?

How could an eternal Kingdom now be established?

Those who had seen how Jesus was hanged, wept and wondered how it would go with them and what would happen with their dreams and hope they so deeply felt.

They had heard so many stories from their master about him going to build a new temple and to restore God’s Kingdom and how we had to be patient and wait for God to intervene. How could this now fit the plan about which Jesus spoke so many times? Could it be true, that that man from Nazareth was just a good storyteller and was fooling so many?

For the close followers of Christ there was a lot of disappointment. For them this could not be the plan to see perfection torn to shreds, to bury a breathless body in forged out stone to fit the one they thought was the beloved son of God. They did not understand this way of God’s handling, letting His son be killed in such a manner. At that time they perhaps forgot how Jesus had spoken of the Lamb of God and the need for him to bring the sacrificial offering as a ransom for all.

“The next day John saw Jesus approaching, and he said: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world of humankind!” (Joh 1:29 mhm)

For them it was a real sad Passover, them not seeing yet Christ was the new Passover lamb. Several days later they would come to understand ho Jesus was a very special lamb, his bloodshed being the part of whitewashing our sins.

“Purge out the old leaven that you may be a new mixture as you may become unleavened. For, surely, Christ our Passover was sacrificed!” (1Co 5:7 mhm)

“but rather with the precious blood of an unblemished and spotless Lamb –Christ’s.” (1Pe 1:19 mhm)

Many churches remember that day after Jesus death where the apostles were mourning with other friends and beloved ones of Christ. For some, it looked like the darkest of all nights because all their hope seemed to gone up in smoke.

Some of them saw Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah and heard there for a second time that their master was the beloved of God. How now could God let such a thing happen to His beloved son?

“1  Now after six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John (the brother of James) and ascended with them to a very secluded place on a tall mountain. 2 And right before them Jesus was metamorphosed–his face illuminated like the sun and his cloak as white light. 3 And, look! they could see Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus.” (Mt 17:1-3 mhm)

“5 Yet while Peter was talking, look! a shining cloud rested over them, and, look! a Voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son whom I approve–listen to him.” 6 Now, hearing this the disciples were frightened and fell on their faces. 7 Jesus approached the disciples and touching them, he said, “Rise and do not be afraid.”8 But, when the disciples looked up they saw nothing but Jesus himself. 9 Now while descending the mountain Jesus charged the three disciples: “Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Humankind is raised from among those dead.” (Mt 17:5-9 mhm)

They remembered that Jesus spoke about him being raised from the dead, so they wondered, could that really happen? In the silence of the night, they waited for a miracle to happen and wondered how Jesus could have life in him and could give life to others, when he was now under the dead.

They kept believing Jesus was the sent one from God and believed also he was the beloved son of God. Today there are still lots of people who call themselves Christian, but do not believe that Jesus is that son of God who died for our sins. That is a shame, and that brings us also to mourn for those lost souls who do not want to believe in Jesus, him being able to bring us closer to his heavenly Father, the God of Israel and the God of Jesus and his disciples.

“I tell you this truth: The person who listens to my word and continues to believe in the One who sent me possesses endless Life. And so that person does not come into condemnation, but has crossed over from the Death unto the Life.” (Joh 5:24 mhm)

“For just as the Father has Life within Himself, so also He gave to the Son to have Life within himself.” (Joh 5:26 mhm)

“I know You always hear me. But, because of the crowd standing around I said this so that they should believe that You sent me forth.”” (Joh 11:42 mhm)

“Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can approach the Father, if not through me.” (Joh 14:6 mhm)

With sadness in their eyes, they kept praying to their heavenly Father, the God of Christ and asked for strength and guidance.

We too when we remember Christ’s death can think about his ransom offering and how by his blood could come liberation to us. Like the apostles sometimes doubted, we do that as well. It is part of life and part of our imperfection and part of our not yet mature faith in Jesus and his God.

A pity that even when we live in the aftermath of the resurrection there are still so many who do not want to believe that it was the son of man and son of God who really died (remember God cannot die) and who was taken out of the dead. We know today that what we celebrate at Pascha and remember what happened on that third day after Jesus’ death, is the promise, bore witness to by the Spirit, that we who believe will one day be raised with him. And that is our consolation and Blessed Hope.

After several centuries there have come many false prophets and teachers, trying to bring people away from God and from His well beloved son. They have told people that they would not be able to understand the Scriptures on their own. And many believe that and prefer following the human doctrines instead of taking the words of the Bible for what they say and to go by the biblical doctrines.

Mankind now is in such darkness and silence as it was the days before Jesus his resurrection.

Three days after the death of Christ came a big change for the apostles, bringing not only disbelief and wonder but also a renewed hope. (That is for next chapters.)

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Previous articles

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #1

Matthew 27 – The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – Bible Students Intro

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #1 Matthew 27:1-2 – Priests Hand Jesus Over to Pilate

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #2 Matthew 27:3-10 – Judas Hangs Himself

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #3 Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #4 Matthew 27:15-23 – Barabbas or Jesus?

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #5 Matthew 27:24-26 – “His Blood Come Upon Us!”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #6 Matthew 27:27-31 – Jesus Afflicted by Troops

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #7 Matthew 27:32-37 – Executed at Golgotha

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #8 Matthew 27:38-44 – The Mob’s Abuse

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #9 Matthew 27:45-50 – Jesus Expires During a Darkness

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #10 Matthew 27:51-54 – Temple Curtain Torn in Earthquake

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #11 Matthew 27:55-56 – The Women Who Witness the Execution

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #12 Matthew 27:57-61 – Jesus’ Body Given to Joseph of Arimathea

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #13 Matthew 27:62-66 – Guards Seal the Tomb Against an Imposter

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #1 Abandonment and burial

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #2 A son of God and king who died

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Additional reading

  1. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ??
  2. Jesus son of God
  3. Jesus son of God or God the son
  4. Jesus Christ, his Mission, Life and Work
  5. Spoken in the name of Jehovah God for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience
  6. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  7. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  8. A meal as a mitzvah so that every generation would remember
  9. The Last Supper was a Passover meal
  10. Inauguration of the New Covenant
  11. The New Covenant Victim and Mediator
  12. Not dragged unwillingly to death
  13. The day Jesus died
  14. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  15. Ransom
  16. Crucifixion for suffering
  17. A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection

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Related articles

  1. On god the son
  2. Beloved son
  3. Another Son of God? Pilate’s Tiberieum at Caesarea Maritima
  4. Why is Jesus called the “Son of God” in the Bible?
  5. Like a Lamb to the Slaughter
  6. Jesus our Passover
  7. The Passover Lamb
  8. Behold the lamb
  9. Silent Saturday
  10. Silent Saturday – Many call today silent Saturday. “nothing” happens in the Biblical text between the Friday crucifixion and Sunday’s resurrection, and yet this silence encapsulates much of our lives today.
  11. Silent Saturday – For the first time in decades, it seems like the world has gone quiet… no more major sporting events, concerts canceled, and Late Night T.V. hosts are home in their pajamas watching the television
  12. Life is a lot like the Saturday before Easter
  13. A Silenter Night
  14. Animating The Atonement (Where the Beams Meet)
  15. Jesus is Dead: What’s Next? Hopelessness or Hope?
  16. Sound of silence
  17. The Silence of Saturday
  18. Prayer for Holy Saturday
  19. Waiting for God
  20. Understanding the Passover and Good Friday
  21. 2020 Vision: Pacem
  22. Let’s Go TO and FROM Bethlehem: Preparing
  23. Breaking Bread in Our Homes… Passover 2020
  24. Pandemic 2020-vision: The Tomb

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

This coming Wednesday it is going to be a very strange particular night to remember.

Normally 14 Nisan is the day that followers of the Nazarene master teacher remember the night that Jesus came together with his close disciples to commemorate the liberation of the People of God. As a devout Jew, Jesus kept to the demand of his God to commemorate that the Elohim requested that month to be the beginning of months for them (the first month of their year). Jesus had not forgotten to tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of that month they had each to select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ households, one animal per household and how they had to keep it until the fourteenth day of that month.

Passover – The sprinkling of the doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel having to slaughter the animals at twilight. For they had to take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.

Jesus remembered how they are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs…

Here is how you must eat it: you must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.

This Wednesday it is that day of remembrance.

It is the night that we normally would come together to remember how the messenger of God passed through the land of Egypt on that night and struck every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. It is the night that we remember how everybody in the land had to know that there is only that One God, Jehovah, the God above all gods and leaders (be them a Pharaoh, King, President or minister) of a country.  It is That Invisible God Who will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt, but also over all other gods of the world and over all people on this globe.

Wednesday night is the night that we remember that the blood on the houses where those people in Egypt were staying was to be a distinguishing mark for them but also for us.

“1  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Ex 12:1-13 NIV)

For God and His people it was clear that meal should be imprinted in the memories of the following generations, and every night of this commemoration the elders had to tell about what happened and why it happened and how God liberated and guided His people. Therefore, real lovers of God should continue the tradition to tell others about what God has done for His people.

The tradition wants that all believers in God and in His son, Jesus Christ, also come together on 14 Nisan to have a Memorial Meal.

In 2020 the world got an unseen enemy raging over the globe, and as such most people have found themselves under the rules of lockdown, not able to come together with other believers to have a memorable evening or great night in unity. They shall have to stay at home in isolation and just have the meal on their own with a restricted family gathering (in many cases not even having the children able to visit their parents).

The Passover meal of Jesus

Like Jesus earnestly desired to eat this Passover with his apostle we also should still do that this Wednesday on April the 8th 2020, the 14th of Nisan. Not only shall we then have to remember God, seeing the blood will then “pass over” the houses of the Israelites (Exodus 12:13), while smiting the Egyptians with the tenth plague, the killing of the first-born sons. After God used a man named Moses to deliver them from their slavery, around 1,500 B. C., we also remember God used a man named Jeshua (Jesus Christ) to deliver the whole mankind from their slavery of sin and to liberate them from the curse of death.

It was before he was to suffer, he received a cup to share it among his close friends. In the same manner, he had blessed the cup, he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples telling them that this represented his body which is given for them, but also for us. that symbolic act he presented to them on that night in the upper room in Jerusalem, he wanted to be done regularly in remembrance of him. That way we also should remember that installation of the New Covenant in the blood of this sent one from God, the Kristos or Christ, which is poured out for us all.

“14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said,

“Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Lu 22:14-20 NIV)

On 14 Nisan we do remember how God provided a sign of a lamb for the exodus from Egypt and how he about 2 000 years ago gave the lamb Jesus as the fulfilment of the Passover. Jeshua or Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, sacrificed to set us free from bondage to sin. (John 1:29; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) The blood of Jesus covers and protects us, and his body was broken to free us from eternal death (1 Corinthians 5:7).

These days it is very important to remember how Christ Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, to liberate us from all ailments of this world and to safeguard our spiritual life. Yes, we can be killed by a virus or by men, but no illness neither any man can take away the life given by the ransom offering of Jesus Christ. That knowledge should take away all fear that we might have by all the bad news that reaches us in these days of CoViD-19.

Traditionally the Bible Books have already lots of teachings concerning infectious diseases, cleanliness, and hygiene, which were well ahead of our time. They were ultimately inspired by God to benefit and protect humans from illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles. Infection control is an inherent part of Jewish teachings concerning hygiene, but Christians can learn a lot from them. The guidelines that are practised today by major health organizations are almost entirely inline and inspired by the teachings of the Bible and also of the Koran.

One reason why the Memorial was instituted also for non-Jews or goyim, had to do with one purpose served by Jesus’ death. He died as an upholder of his heavenly Father’s sovereignty. Christ thus proved that the idea the first people got in their head was a totally wrong idea and that the false charge that humans serve God only out of selfish motives, is just a lie. (Job 2:1-5) Jesus’ death in faithfulness proved this contention false and made Jehovah’s heart rejoice.​ Proverbs 27:11.

We should show the outer world that we keep ourselves safe by social distancing and by isolating ourselves, but that we do not serve God our of fear but out of thankfulness and willingness to please Him and not to please the world. The majority of the world namely wants to keep to human traditions and to heathen festivals. But real lovers of God prefer keeping to the God-given annual festivals, like Passover.

This year the Passover festival may fall at the same time of the Good Week of the Catholics and their Easterday may also be one of these days (Easter Sunday for Roman Catholics: Sunday, April 12; for Othodox Catholics: Sunday, 19 Apr 2020), though we can bet most of them shall not have such a religious meal as we have.
Let us make sure we keep to the command of God, and though we may not invite anyone from farther away, let it be a modest evening full of Bible reading and reflection on what God has done and of how He is good for mankind.

This Wednesday, even when we are not with many, let us remember that God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Indeed,

“ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro 6:23 NIV)

Observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal reminds us of the great love shown by both Jehovah and his Son in connection with Jesus’ sacrificial death. How we should appreciate that love!

Having escaped from the chains of death should not have us to think we are free from everything bad this world can offer. Make sure you do not tempt it. Always be careful to keep social distancing and keeping all hygienic regulations.

To have contact with others we shall have to rely on modern gadgets like Hangouts, Face Time, Skype, Messenger, Houseparty a.o., that way preaching and telling also other about why this night is so important.

As we commemorate this important evening in seclusion, let us sense that we will indeed be united with brothers and sisters all over the world in prayer and spirit in union with Christ Jesus.

Bread and wine symbols for the covenants of God and His liberation from slavery of man, salvation from the curse of death.

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Preceding

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception

14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus

14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast

14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain

Most important weekend of the year 2016

Preparing for the most important weekend of the year 2018

The Most important weekend of the year 2018

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Additional reading

  1. 1 -15 Nisan
  2. Purification and perfection
  3. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  4. High Holidays not only for Israel
  5. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  6. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  7. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  8. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  9. Observance of a day to Remember
  10. A night different from all other nights and days to remember
  11. Jesus memorial
  12. The Most special weekend of the year 2018
  13. Soon it shall be Erev Pesach and Passover 2019
  14. The unseen enemy
  15. Dark times looking like death is around the corner – but Light given to us
  16. In a time when we must remain in our place
  17. First time since Nazi time no public gathering
  18. No idea yet for 14 Nisan or April the 8th in 2020 Corona crisis time
  19. Only a few days left before 14 Nisan
  20. A meal as a mitzvah so that every generation would remember
  21. A Passover for unity in God’s community
  22. To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God
  23. The Application of the New Covenant
  24. Redemption #5 The perfect sacrifice
  25. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  26. Even in Corona time You are called on to have the seder
  27. Call to help others
  28. Catholics facing a totally different Holy Week

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Further related

  1. Holy Week: a week set apart, in a time set apart.
    Today we begin Holy Week. This is the final part of a longer period leading up to Easter, called Lent. We do this every year, as part of the annual cycle. It is a familiar and comforting ritual for many people of Christian faith.
    This year, however, will be different. In the middle of a viral pandemic, with restrictions prohibiting gathering for worship, Christian people will be walking through Holy Week in their own homes, not in gatherings at church. This is a week set apart, for people of faith, in a time set apart, for all of society.
  2. Pandemics, Plagues and Passover
    It wouldn’t be right to have a blog called Life and Faith Today and ignore what is happening in the world right now! Today is April 4th 2020, and this day finds many centres of population around the world on lock-down, with everybody confined to their homes, while battles rage on the front-line; a front-line that moves relentlessly across the world. COVID-19 is a viral pandemic that has been fuelled by our modern lives and is now destroying them.
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    We pray for your protection for the old and vulnerable
    for pregnant mothers and those undergoing other treatments at this time.
    Almighty God, reach down and soften the hearts of the affluent,
    the greedy and opportunistic, bring humility, caring and giving back into their lives.
    We pray for positive change, that we all learn the lesson of caring for our environment,
    and to respect Your wonderful planet while it’s under our stewardship.
    Help us to learn again to care for each other
    and that together in Your name we are stronger.
    Almighty God, we come to you in deep humility.
    Hear our prayer at this time of our distress.
    Through Jesus Christ our Lord
    Amen
  3. Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ While Revisiting Easter Services
    Veering from grim warnings to baseless assurances in a single news conference, President Trump on Saturday predicted a surging death toll in what may be “the toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic before also dispensing unproven medical advice. He suggested again that Americans might be able to congregate for Easter Sunday services.
    “There will be a lot of death,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, where he and other American officials depicted some parts of the United States as climbing toward the peaks of their crises, while warning that new hot spots were emerging in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C.At one point Mr. Trump, who initially set Easter Sunday as a target date for reopening the country before backing off, said that the holiday would be a particularly “sad” day for Americans prohibited from gathering in large numbers. He said he would again like to consider relaxing social distancing rules for Easter services and that he had told advisers, “maybe we could allow special for churches” gatherings that were possibly outside with “great separation.”
  4. Easter Bread Recipe
    On April 19th, Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter and this year it’s different.
    Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak and things are not the same. While Easter celebrations are not about clothes or Easter eggs, people gathering to share the joy and true meaning of the holiday is. And this year it’s different! People are asked to remain isolated and social distancing is advised to prevent infection.
    Nevertheless, one thing remains, the faith of better days to come and hope that the coming holidays will bring more joy and peace to everyone.
  5. Virus alters Holy Week celebration worldwide
    For Pope Francis at the Vatican, and for Christians worldwide from churches large and small, this will be an Easter like none other: The joyous message of Christ’s resurrection will be delivered to empty pews.
    Worries about the coronavirus outbreak have triggered widespread cancellations of Holy Week processions and in-person services. Many pastors will preach on TV or online, tailoring sermons to account for the pandemic. Many extended families will reunite via Face Time and Zoom rather than around a communal table laden with an Easter feast on April 12.
    Pope Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, will be celebrating Mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of in the huge square outside filled with Catholic faithful.
  6. Holy Week & Coronavirus thoughts.
    coming around to special-ness of having Easter with my church family. looking forward to it since we hadn’t enjoyed it with our church in 3 years. then COVID-19 happened. and we haven’t had a church service in person in over a month. and we won’t be able to celebrate Easter together. best day, the best thing anyone could ever do for me and i can’t celebrate it on its traditional day with my brothers and sisters in Christ. i’ve went to the same church my entire life. 19 years. most of those people are like family. i love them so much. they are my family.
  7. Celebrating King Jesus while Sheltering-in-Place
    here we are, celebrating King Jesus on this special Palm Sunday, while locked down in our homes, helping to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this COVID-19 virus.
    Of course, we are not alone. It seems half the world is observing the “shelter-in-place” orders of the “authorities” over them. Paul told Pastor Timothy that such submission “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:3).

Matthew 20 It is never too late

In the twentieth chapter of Matthew we can once more come to hear about the position of Jesus and our position concerning the Kingdom of God.

Jesus compares that Kingdom or the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. he wants us to to understand the secrets about that kingdom of heaven and how it shall be for those able to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Each person has a different path in life. For some it may take a long time before they come to God or before they come to realise who Christ is and what he really has done. We must understand that it may happen that a person comes later in the Biblical Truth than us, but shall receive the same promised salvation as us.

In our lifetime we also came to a point where we had to decide which way we wanted to follow. We too like every individual had to make the right choice. By choosing to follow Jeshua or Christ Jesus we had to know we had to become workers for him. When coming under Christ we have to follow up his teachings but also have to fulfil the tasks he has given his disciples to do. They and all those who say to be followers of Christ have to become labourers in ‘God’s garden’. Having become a Jesus follower (or a Jeshuaist if you want) we can all share in the fruit of our labours together, with all the saints who participate, we should not wait before taking action. As soon as you have chosen to follow Christ you should get at work for him.

Many people think that just because they have been a Christian longer than another, they are entitled to have a higher ranking place or to receive more rewards in heaven than a ‘newly born Christian’. People also should be aware that just because somebody may have believed in Jesus longer, it does not mean that they were actively seeking him or doing his will or where really giving their life to him. God is the Only One Who can see in the heart of a person. But He is also a righteous Father Who wants all to come to Him and all having the same rights in His Kingdom. He is not going to favour one above an other because that one has become first to Him or has been longer a follower of Christ.

To each person, God simply asks that we work in His vineyard. These are those that are part of the kingdom of heaven and are saved. All others that stand idly by, doing nothing, have nothing to show for themselves and therefore, have no rewards in heaven.This is one of the parables Jesus tells us to make sure we shall come to recognise we have to do works and should not sit on our ass to do nothing or should not worry any more about good and wrong, with the idea that we are saved and as such can do wrong without loosing the grace of salvation.

We should know that Jesus is the householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. He might find in this world many who own things, while God continually calls unto them, but are so taken by the materialistic goods of this world they have not much interest in the heavenly goods. At the other hand Jesus also may find people who own less in this world, but who are with their heart by his heavenly Father . At a certain time in their life they may respond and by doing so shall be blessed by God.

We should know that everyone that loves and serves God is equal in the amount of blessings they receive. Therefore, it is better to work together in this world, going in union for God’s kingdom. For pride may bring you to a point where you no longer serve the Lord and shall come to see that his reward shall not be for you.

To those that are new to the faith, we should be pleased that they at last found the way and should welcome them in with our whole heart. They may not be treated differently. We also may never forget that many are called but few are chosen, this means that not everyone excepts the invitation to work in God’s garden or kingdom. The harvest is ripe but there are only few labours that listen to God’s calling and enter it, in order to do God’s will.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

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