He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38 NKJV) Reading: John 7 Power, popularity, prestige, position, food, fashion, success, wealth, passion, entertainment, etc. are the things with which people try to fill their lives. Here in the southeast, where we sometimes experience tornados and severe storms, people who have lost all their possessions often say, “We lost our homes and everything else, but we thank God we are still alive!” One of the greatest kings who lived on earth was Solomon who had everything – power, wealth, women, etc. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11) However, his cry was, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) But hear the words of Jesus: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38) Once more, Jesus gave an opportunity to the people of Israel to know who He was. He wanted them to know that He is the source of life. He wanted to give them the river of living water. For Jesus is the wellspring of salvation. He is the source of life and the giver of eternal life. The offer of Jesus is still true today for everyone. Jesus wants to give us the river of living water because He is the source of life, the bread of life, and the living water. Jesus offers His life to anyone. He alone can satisfy the hungry soul. He alone can fill the longing of hearts. Nothing else can fill the emptiness in a man’s soul. People in the world today try to pursue earthly dreams, success, worldly wealth, good life, and happiness. They try all kinds of things, relationships, and intimacy, but none can fill the void in one’s heart. Jesus alone can satisfy the soul, as He made a way for us to come to the Father, the giver and source of life. All the striving for happiness, success, and fulfillment cannot be compared with the joy and satisfaction of a relationship with Jesus. In Jesus, there is peace, love, joy, hope, the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. What Jesus offers and gives is not a temporary solution or a quick fix; He gives eternal redemption and salvation of the soul from sin and hell. In Jesus, all our needs are met – physical, emotional, and spiritual. He is the Provider of food, shelter, etc. He is the Healer when we are sick. Jesus is the Comforter when we are lonely and sad. Jesus is strength when we are weak. Jesus is Hope when we do not know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus is love when we feel abandoned. Jesus is Wisdom when we need guidance and direction. Jesus is Refuge when we need protection. Jesus is the Good Shepherd when we have lost our way. Jesus is the Resurrection and the life in time of death. And Jesus wants to give us more. Reflection: The invitation of Jesus is for everyone to come to Him and be filled. He wants to give us the river of life, the river of living water. He desires to fill the longing of our soul and to satisfy our spirit. Jesus wants to give us eternal life – a life connected to God in eternity. Prayer: Dear Jesus, I praise You and bless You! Thank you for your offer to give us the river of living water, that we could live with you here on earth and in eternity with our God. Thank You that I can come to you for everything and anything I need in life and in the life to come.
Reading: Mark 14:10-66
Key verse: “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’” (v.36)Mark 14: 36
Abba, means “Father.” Jesus called God His Father, meaning He has a personal and close relationship with God. Jesus knew He could call on His Father anytime, especially in times of trouble and distress. “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’” (v.34)
Jesus knew His Father, the Lord God, is all-powerful and all-knowing. “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You…’” (v.36). Jesus knew His Father could do anything. God created the heavens and the earth. He had all the power and resources. He could command His legions of angels to stop and intervene in His Son’s situation if He desired to.
Jesus knew well that His Father is gracious and merciful. “Take this cup away from Me.”
Jesus knew His Father loved Him very much, and He could spare Him from suffering if He wished to do so. However, in all these circumstances, Jesus still submitted to the Father’s plan and will.
“…nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Jesus was humble and submissive to His Father’s will because He knew His Father’s plan of salvation for us all. Jesus was willing to suffer because He knew His Father’s heart was to save everyone from sin and hell. Jesus knew His Father loved Him, but God the Father also loved every person in the world, so He was willing to sacrifice His only Son.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Because of God’s great love for you and me, Jesus gave His life on the cross. Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father for the forgiveness of our sins and salvation of our souls, to give us eternal life.
See: Philippians 2:5-11
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [b]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [c]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Dear Lord Jesus thank you for your willingness to submit to the will of the Father. Holy Spirit please help me be willing to submit also to my Lord’s will and plan. Amen.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”Jesus Christ – John 8:32
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, – by Paul, I Corinthians 15:3-4
So, then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. –
But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. -Mark 16: 6-8
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.- John20
The Apostles Commissioned
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
So, Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
From the Gospel of John Chapter 19, 20
Other References: Matthew 27 & 28, Mark 15, &16, Luke 23 & 24
There in the Garden
My Savior plead,
There in the Garden
My Savior knelt down and prayed,
“Father, not my will
But Your will be done”
There in the garden
My Lord surrendered
To His Father’s plan
Yet He had won
The Victor’s crown
There in the garden
My Savior wept
He cried bloody tears of surrender
There in the garden
My Savior won over sin and temptation
Death and evil no more have dominion
There in the garden my Savior won the Victor’s Crown.
“Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)
Reading: Mark 11: 1-10 ((See also Psalm 118:25-26)
Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt (v.7). Many people laid their clothes on the road as a carpet for the entrance of Jesus, while others spread out green leafy branches. They shouted “Hosanna, please deliver us, blessed is He who comes in the name of Adonai.” (Mark 11:9 Jewish Bible).
The people of Israel recognized Jesus as their long-awaited Savior and Messiah. They recognized Jesus was sent by the Lord God when they said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of God” (v.10). They also recognized Jesus was a descendant of David, the rightful heir to the throne of David when they said, “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David.” (v. 10)
The people of Israel were in a desperate situation because the tyranny of Roman rule was heavy upon them. They felt powerless and helpless. As life became harder for them with more taxes, less freedom, etc., they needed another Savior more than ever. Like King David, who saved them from their enemies, and like Moses who delivered them from slavery in Egypt, they wanted Jesus to deliver them too.
So, when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt, the people of Israel thought that their time of deliverance had come. Their hopes were up! They thought that was the best time to be free from the oppression of Roman rule. They thought God sent Jesus to deliver them. They cried and pleaded with Jesus, “Please deliver us!” However, God had a different plan. From the birth of Jesus, God’s plan and purpose was to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Yes, God wanted to deliver them from the oppression of their enemies. God still accomplished that plan. Later, after many years, Roman rule and power ceased. The purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth was to deliver and save people from their sins. It was sad that the people did not recognize their need for a Savior to deliver them from their sins because they did not recognize their own sinful nature. They did not recognize the condition of their hearts and souls, the sin in their lives such as pride, arrogance, hatred, lack of fear of God, etc.
Yes, many of them followed and obeyed the law and commandments of Moses, but their hearts were far from God. They were upset that a heathen nation was ruling them. The people of Israel did not recognize their Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ came to deliver them from sins.
So, Jesus came and taught them to turn away from sin and turn to the Lord God. As people were pre-occupied with how to survive the heavy oppression from Roman rule, Jesus taught them, “Do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25-33)
The people of Israel only wanted freedom from Roman rule so that their lives would be comfortable again. But God’s plan for salvation for all people was first deliverance from slavery to sin, salvation of souls to give us eternal life. God wants the hearts of people to turn to Him – to be free from sin. Then someday in the millennium and future eternity, Jesus will rule as King of kings, and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). Jesus will come back again to rule and reign with His followers. (Rev 20:6 and Rev 21:6-7)
“And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’” (Rev. 21-6-7)
“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,saying:
“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.” (Rev. 11:15-17)
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You came to seek and save me from my sins. Thank You for delivering me from the power of darkness and bringing me into your marvelous light. Thank You for rescuing me from slavery to sin. And thank you that you are coming back again to take me with you. Someday you will rule and reign here on earth as our Lord and King.