The Bride of Christ

John 14:1-7, (NIV)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14_2Back in biblical times, the courtship process was often long as the suitor would work to build up the necessary wealth to pay the bride price as arranged with the family and then once the bride price had been paid both the man and the woman would return to their respective homes. For the next year the man would prepare their home while she would prepare for married life by learning how to be a wife. The home that the man would prepare would be an addition to his father’s house. It had to be a suitable place to bring his bride and for his family to begin. While the groom would be building their house the bride would be learning all that she had to learn about being a good bride so that her groom would be pleased.

When Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you” (v. 2) He was making direct reference to the process that a bride and groom would have gone through as they entered into a marriage agreement in anticipation for their union where they would have become made one flesh (Mk. 10:8). Jesus is our groom and the church is His bride. Our representation of marriage is directly correlated with our union with the Lord which is why the sanctity of marriage is so important. It is not just a legal document or arrangement; it is a direct representation of Christ and the church. Jesus has already paid the price for us and He has now gone to prepare a room for us, but we have a part to fulfill as His bride. We are to prepare ourselves to return to His house with him. How are you preparing yourself today?

Thank you Jesus for being our groom. Thank you for going to prepare a place for us in your Father’s house. Lord while we wait on you to return for us we ask for you guidance in preparing ourselves for you. Help us to hear your Holy Spirit who is working in our lives to make us holy and pleasing for you. We long to be united with you and eagerly await your arrival. Help us to remain strong in faith and in Spirit, knowing that you always keep your word and that you will care for us always. Reveal to us the ways in which we still have to prepare for your return. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Joy of the Lord!

The following is a free writing response given to me following reading the book of Ecclesiastes. I urge you to take some time to read Ecclesiastes and to reflect upon the words that you read and apply them to your life and your motivations in life. Here is what was revealed to me.

Oh what a day is this day. We are here today and gone tomorrow. No one knows what awaits him and no one knows what time will bring. We toil, but to what reward. We worry but to what end. There is nothing that we can control but that of an image of control. The wise set their hearts upon knowledge but only to seek more wisdom. The rich seek to advance their riches but only to more toil. The strong seek to increase their strength but only to be weakened. To what advantage are we that live in this world if we do not seek the will of God and follow? We wander aimlessly about life trying to fulfill the matters of our heart, but we do not fulfill them. We see that many great people have died before us only to leave their riches to the person who follows. Do we seek riches that fade away or that are built for someone else or do we seek our Father in heaven who gives us life?

Where does joy come from? We seek riches and wealth, we seek knowledge and wisdom, we seek comfort and stability, but there is no joy within them that is not fleeting. For today will come and go as will tomorrow and the next day and the next day… We do not know what tomorrow will bring. All is folly that is of this world, but God brings joy to our hearts and brings gladness to our lives; a sweet kiss from our love, a gentle hug from a friend, the softness of the sun’s kiss gently upon our face, the calm of listening to the crashing waves of the mighty ocean. There is nothing that we know or can know that will bring us joy other than to live for the Lord and to bask in the Glory of his presence. For all that we build will one day fall and all that we learn will one day fade for we are here today and gone tomorrow.

Peaceful mountain

Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday)

Hopefully Wednesday gave you some time to reflect upon what Jesus has done for us while looking forward to Resurrection Sunday, Easter, in anticipation as we know that Christ has risen from the dead! Thursday often called Maundy Thursday comes from the Latin word for commandment mandatum (Andy Rau, BibleGateway). Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34-35).

Today is the day of the Last Supper and the Lord’s Supper. It is the day that we have received the tradition of communion within the church; the day we join in the partaking of the bread and the wine representing His body and blood. It is also today that we see Jesus’ example of servitude when He washes his disciple’s feet. So much happened on this day and I encourage you to read about the different events of the day in Matthew 26:17-75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-65, and John 13-18:27. For now we will focus on the events in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Garden of gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-50

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”

Have you ever felt called to do something that you did not want to do, something that you had hoped you could skip over because the danger was high or the cost seemed to be too great? Imagine being Jesus and knowing what your fate was to be and what you would have to go through to fulfill your purpose? Jesus is God and was certainly able to circumvent what was about to happen, but where would that leave us today? Jesus knew what needed to be done, He knew the cost, but He also knew the repercussions if He did not fulfill his Father’s will. He was grieved to agony over what He knew was to come and He asked the Father to remove the cup that was before him if it were at all possible, but in the end He was instructed to drink so he drank. He did not run away, He did not fight back, instead He walked directly into what God had called Him to do. The hour was near and his time had come.

Jesus betrayed

Jesus knew his destiny, but He also knew what ours would be if he refused to drink of the cup that was before him. I don’t know if you can remember a time when you did not know Jesus or not, but for me the most memorable time was right before I came back to God when I was at the end of my rope. I no longer knew how I could make it any further doing what I was doing. I knew what my future looked like, I knew what I deserved, but at that moment I fell to my knees and prayed and Jesus Christ raised me from the dead life that I was living and showed me a glimpse of His might and His love for me. The anguish that I felt as I knelt and prayed is only a small glimpse for me to see what it was that Jesus was about to face. All I had to do was to surrender, just as Jesus surrendered to the will of God and to the crowd that had come to condemn him. Luckily for me and luckily for you our Father has given us a new life for trusting in Jesus with our lives. Let us remember that it was today that Jesus made the ultimate decision to give His life for you and me.

Father, gracious and heavenly Father, we thank you so much for Jesus. We thank you Jesus that you drank of the cup so that we do not have to. We thank you that you did not fight, but went willingly to show us how much you love us and long for us to be with you in Paradise. Forgive us where we have failed you. Forgive us where we have forgotten just how much honor there is in being called your sons and daughters. Forgive us for forgetting that you have always had our best interest at heart. Help us to follow you and trust you Lord. We turn to you Father, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Lord you know exactly what we need. We submit to you Lord. Take control of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.