Good Friday

On Good Friday, we remember the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. A most gruesome act, yet for the Christian, its our boasting.

Galatians 6:14 (ESV) But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

The only reason we Christians can boast in the crucifixion of Jesus is because Jesus is not dead, but alive!

I know, that’s what we celebrate on Sunday not today. However, I’ve always had a hard time isolating Good Friday from Resurrection Sunday. Just can’t do it.

Jesus is alive!

We have a surety of historical evidence that tells us Jesus is alive. The record of Scripture, the record of non-Christian historians (like Josephus), the bold lives of Jesus’ disciples who went to their death proclaiming that Jesus was alive, the existence of the church today…

Jesus’ death and his life produced glorious things for us. We will talk about substitution Sunday in the worship service, but all the glorious goodness of God to us as sons and daughters come from the death and resurrection of Jesus.

So, through the somberness of Good Friday let the glimmer of hope in knowing how this story ends give rise to anticipation.

It’s like watching your favorite movie with a glorious ending that arises out of such dark circumstances. You know what’s coming, and that helps you endure the dark parts of the movie. There is the feel good feels on the way, so this dark part is not so bad. Good Friday is like that for me.

So, what does the resurrection mean for us? Lots of things, but begin or continue the lifelong journey of unpacking the resurrection’s meaning(s) with some background to what it meant for the first disciples.

This short video of N.T. Wright explaining what the resurrection meant for the first century Christians is gold. Enjoy!

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Maundy Thursday

If you are like me, and not a Latin scholar, or did not come from a “high” church tradition, you don’t have a clue what Maundy means. It’s like the word “maundy” is from the first word in John 13:34 as it’s translated into Latin “mandatum”. John 13:34 starts, “A new commandment I give to you…”

So, Maundy Thursday is held on the day that Jesus had the Passover meal with his disciples, washed their feed and gave them this “new commandment”.

So, Maundy Thursday is “Mandate Thursday”. Since I don’t speak Latin, and I’m not Catholic and do nothing in Latin (dead language), I’m going to stick with some English.

What is mandated strictly from John 13? Likely not the washing of feet, but that we love one another just like Jesus has loved us.

Jesus said that love for each other like he has loved us is how all people will know we are his disciples.

I don’t want to be all negative on Mandate Thursday, so I’ll try to state some applications of loving each other like Jesus loved us in the positive.

How can we do Mandate Thursday everyday?

  1. Actively pursue covenant relationship with one local church. It’s hard to love anyone you are not covenanted to. Actively loving people you are covenanted to looks like knowing them, serving them, engaging with them, being present in their lives. Pursue covenant relationship with a local church.
  2. Be a giver of yourself. There are 59 one another statements in the New Testament. To be a giver of myself I have to care about the other.
  3. Seek church membership and live it out. Church membership is precious and vital and taught in the New Testament. Here’s a link to a previous post Church Membership
  4. Jesus died to secure his church that is composed of people from all nations. Jesus did not die to secure the Christian non-profit. The cross has implications on our identity as children of God and as citizens of his kingdom. The church is the community of the kingdom of God not any other non-profit. The extent to which a non-profit serves the body of Christ and his mission is the extent to which that non-profit is worthy of time. Jesus did not die to secure the mission of the non-profit. Jesus command to love is for the church.
  5. Make sense of the local church. Don’t assume anything. Define church rightly. Small group is not church. Small group must be a function of the local church or it’s just a community, and frankly, lacking in the manifestation of the gifts unless it’s tightly connection to the mission of discipling the nations. There is no promise of the gifts for people not on mission. The gifts are mission focused and driven for people to do the work not so they can revel in the gift.
  6. Work out how to love well. It’s easy to say love, but it’s harder to walk it out. Evidenced by points 1-5. Jesus’ example of one way to show submission to, service to and love for his disciples was washing their feet (a common practice of the day to honor guests and keep things clean). He washed the feet of the people he was covenanted to, spent time with, and was on mission with (Great Commission). Jesus modeled it. We know what to do, but the current of culture and sometimes sinful desires disguised as spiritual wants or needs hinder us. So, fight to walk out love. Think it through. If you have the Holy Spirit, God’s word and pastoral covering (oversight that is part of membership and required to be in covenant community since it’s one of the words God uses to describe the role of his “undershepherds” as pastors, elders and “overseers”) you can understand the what, why and how of love.

So, don’t just think about the last Passover and washing feet and what was awaiting Jesus. Think about how to obey the “mandate” that was delivered and conveyed in the John 13 encounter with his disciples that Jesus modeled and died and rose to make possibe…no, not possible, to make a reality to be experiences. It was not the Passover or the washing of feet. It’s the mandate to love one another. That takes some thought and practice.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (ESV) To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.