Jam Kids – Virtual Sunday School
JAM young adults have a separate programme JAM 11:30am-12:30pm – Please contact Gary Torbet on email@example.com for more details of today’s programme.
‘Through Lent’ Baptist Union reflections Week 6 ‘Perseverance’
Baptist Union of Scotland National Prayer Livestream – The monthly prayer livestream takes place next on Sunday 4 April, 2021 7.00–7.30pm.
Holy week events @ Broughty Baptist Church
We have many services planned for this Holy week. Click here to find out more.
This service is led today by Rev Gary Torbet
Hello everyone, can I give everyone joining us this morning a really warm welcome to our Church at Home on this Palm Sunday!
It is so exciting to be able to gather for worship together and I especially give a welcome to those joining us for the first time and …. From the furthest flung places on the planet
May you all feel at home as we worship the Lord Jesus together and enter for us as Christians the most special, reflective and hopeful week of the year – Holy Week.
Call to worship
20 These gates lead to the presence of the Lord,
and the godly enter there.
21 I thank you for answering my prayer
and giving me victory!
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
24 This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Please, Lord, please save us.
Please, Lord, please give us success.
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God, shining upon us.
Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you!
You are my God, and I will exalt you!
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!Psalm 118: 20 – 29 New Living Translation
His faithful love endures forever.
There are days when the last thing we want to do is rejoice. Our mood is down, our situation is out of hand, and maybe our sorrow and guilt is overwhelming.
We can relate to the writers of the Psalms who often felt this way. But no matter how low the writers felt, they were always honest with God. And as they talked to God, their prayers ended in praise. God has given us this day to live and to serve him – let us indeed rejoice and be glad.
We shall begin our time of worship by singing the same words as the crowds on Palm Sunday – “Blessed be your name.”
Our opening song of praise and worship is: Blessed be your name
Loving Heavenly Father, what a privilege to be able to come into your presence to worship you!
To encounter you Jesus – yes we sing “Blessed be your name” – help us afresh today to reflect on what that means for us.
Help us Father, to put aside what might distract us, yes we may be at home and not together – but help us Lord – engage with you!
With our Father in heaven, through the Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit – our fuel Lord for hearing from you, our fuel for hearing your truth, our fuel that you give us to live for you!
Forgive us O Lord when we take this for granted. Forgive us O Lord when we go through this time – as ritual – instead of what should be vibrant, life-giving, surrender and encounter with you!! Wake us up Lord to all that you have for us, in you.
Help us today as we reflect on the story of Palm Sunday – to not just be the crowd cheering you on one day – and turning our back on you the next – turning our back on the call you have on our lives to live for you every day!
By the praise, by the prayers, by the testimony of your people; By the reading and hearing of your word; By the preaching of your word;
By the gathering around your table – let us take out the ritual and see it again today as a life-changing, life transforming meal that sees us participating in your mission Lord to the world.
Enable us by your Holy Spirit, we invite you to renew us, transform us together today. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 19; 14
“May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in your sight – my Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer.”
For we pray in the mighty and powerful name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:
All Age Talk “Who do you follow?” Rev Gary Torbet
So in our passage from Luke 19 that we will look at later on, on Palm Sunday we see the crowds shouting and singing, praising God;
But later, we read in Luke 23; 13 – 25, when Pilate was trying to release Jesus because he had done nothing wrong – some people who had been in the same crowd the previous week cheering Jesus, were now shouting;
“Crucify him, Crucify him”
They were turning their backs on Jesus.
That got me thinking about football. As many of you know I am a life-long supporter of the world famous Dundee United! I have followed them for 45 years now, followed them through thick and thin, watched them winning cups, titles, in European finals and also seen them relegated and in the doldrums.
There are also others in our church who are football fans;
Which team do you support? Would you ever think of supporting a rival team? I thought not. And yes, same with me, I am a Dundee United fan – they will always be my team.
Did you know that the very same thing happened to Jesus? Do you know what these are? (Hold up the palm branches.) These are branches from a Palm tree. In the country where Jesus lived, the Palm tree was everywhere. The branches of the Palm were a symbol of victory and joy. During the time of Jesus, people used to wave Palm branches as they cheered in celebration when an important person such as a king rode through the streets of town.
On the Sunday before he was crucified, Jesus rode through the streets of Jerusalem on the back of a small donkey. As he rode along, people waved Palm branches and shouted and cheered. They shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The people cheered Jesus as their King.
Just a few days later, Jesus was arrested, tried, and led to a hill called Calvary to be crucified. The cheers that he had heard on Sunday now turned to jeers. Many of the people who just a few days before shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” had now turned against him. They were now shouting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! He is not our king. We have no king but Caesar.” They were even offered the choice of whether to free a criminal named Barabbas or to free Jesus. They chose to free Barabbas and crucify Jesus. Many of His once-faithful followers had forsaken him.
You and I have to make a choice. We can choose to follow Jesus and make him the King and Lord of our life, or we can choose to forsake him like the people who cried, “Crucify Him! He is not our king!” Will we be found faithful?
Let’s pray; “Jesus, Blessed Jesus, today we choose to make you King and Lord of our life. Help us to be strong, and to follow you, even when all others have forsaken you. Amen.”
Song: ‘Hosanna in the Highest’
Prayers for others
We come before you as children do to their fathers, with confidence, trusting in your loving kindness, your mercy and grace.
We ask for your mercy on our world, and pray for people devastated by war in Yemen, Myanmar and Syria, especially for the children. We pray for all those involved in charity and missionary work that seek to bring food and medical help and compassion to people in need.
We pray for peace and justice in our world and for courage and wisdom for those who are in power to bring peace and justice to their people.
We pray your blessing on those campaigning for environmental issues, that your beautiful world would recover from the mistakes we have made.
We pray that many more people would have access to Covid vaccinations, no matter where they live.
We pray for our Queen and for our Parliaments, and for all those who are in authority over us. We pray for wisdom when we come to use our votes.
We pray for our NHS and for all those involved in healing and caring, for your help and strength and energy for those supporting people through physical and mental illness.
Father, we pray for those in our church family both here and abroad, that you would bless and have compassion on us. We pray for help especially for those who are having a hard time with long term illnesses, financial difficulties and stress.
In the silence, we bring before you those close to our hearts, that they would know the power of your presence and blessing, each and every day……..
Thank you Lord God. Amen
28 After Jesus had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As He approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, 30 ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” say, “The Lord needs it.”’
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ 34 They replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As He went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!’ 40 ‘I tell you,’ He replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’ 41 As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it 42 and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.Luke 19:28-44
43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.’
Before we come to listen to God’s Word let us sing: ‘Make way, make way for Christ the King’
Luke 19:28-44 What causes you and I to weep?
It is one of the happiest times of year in the Jewish religious calendar. It is one of the few times in the year when people in that country 2,000 years ago got some time off. Most people would have had a spring in their step and a sense of expectancy as they gathered with the vast crowds in Jerusalem. Yet in Luke 19:41 Luke records of Jesus on this visit to Jerusalem having this response: As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it. Jesus’ perspective on that occasion was extremely different to the majority of people present that day. This account gives a hint to us that some things other people, even a majority, might rejoice in may cause deep sadness to a follower of Jesus. Taking a step back from this account of that Palm Sunday two thousand years ago, we reflect on our own situation and that of others in our communities.
We have passed the anniversary of a whole year of lockdown restrictions. The experience of people of these islands has been decidedly mixed. A percentage of people have loved it, enjoying working from home instead of a long daily commute saving money usually spent on travel. Others with enforced free time carried out more DIY or found a new interest in home baking. Some people claim to have taken up new hobbies or enjoyed lots more time with their families. Great fulfilment has been experienced by some who were able to serve as volunteers in local communities and some lower-paid workers have had self-esteem boosted by being referred to as ‘essential workers’. Feeling valued is now acknowledged as crucial for contentment. (The Times, 23 March 2021).
By contrast, the pressure on others in frontline services such as health and social care, at times was dangerous, leading to excessive stress and an increased number suffering from physical, mental or emotional health problems.
An unknown number have suffered from ‘long covid’ and are finding it incredibly hard to recover their health and strength. Each of us can quickly compile lists of things that we or others have struggled with over the past year. However, what events in the recent past or even the present have brought sadness to your heart – or even tears? Some of us, for example, have lost someone close to us who has died.
Others may be struggling to cope with serious health problems that have caused us to shed tears. Over the last year plenty of people will have cried with frustration over work issues, either due to extreme stresses within the workplace or out of fear of employment that might be lost as a result of lockdown restrictions. Others maybe out of a sense of loneliness as they are unable to meet with family or friends. The list of possible causes can be quite lengthy. However, what is also likely is that some of those who shed tears do so because of the suffering or difficulties of other people. We wish they didn’t have to go through the circumstances we have become aware of.
Here in Luke’s account of this joyful festival in the Jewish religious calendar, the author draws attention to something quite unexpected, something that causes deep distress in the heart of Jesus. His coming to the capital city was part of God’s plan in making history in what would be the most important few days in human history to date. So what was it that happened that Sunday?
1. The Plan of Jesus (Luke 19:28-31)
After Jesus had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem (Luke 19:28). What had Jesus been talking about? It had been about the cost of discipleship. It will not be easy to live in the way God wants us to live. Open Doors, a Christian ministry supporting the persecuted church, in 2017 reported that 215 million Christians in fifty countries endured serious marginalisation or were vulnerable to physical attacks or endured formal persecution or lived in a society where it is illegal to practise the Christian faith [Jeremiah Johnston, Unimaginable, p. 20]
In the worst case scenario some Christians will be martyred for their faith; many more will be discriminated against in a whole variety of ways that make life very difficult for them. Of the first disciples of Jesus the apostle John was the only one to die of ‘natural causes’ and that was after serving a lengthy term of imprisonment in the slate quarries on the Island of Patmos. All the others were martyred for their faith. Although the formal persecution of the Roman authorities against followers of Jesus only began in the 60sAD it was never uniform across the Empire and was often centred on particular locations where a key leader was particularly opposed to the presence of this new faith. Christians were a small minority in any case and what is more the majority of them were enslaved people or the very poorest of the poor, with only a tiny proportion of the wealthier classes professing faith.
Therefore, it was easy to pick on them as the Roman Emperor Nero did in particular. Yet despite all that was thrown at them, the Christian Church slowly but steadily grew until in the early fourth century an Emperor called Constantine professed faith and declared that his empire would recognise Christianity as the main faith in its midst. It would lead to a remarkable transformation of society with a huge reduction in racism, together with a growing respect for life both of the most vulnerable in society from its very youngest to its oldest members. The Christian Church was responsible for the foundation of healthcare facilities and education which we take for granted too often today. What was Jesus expecting when He got to Jerusalem?
(a)His knowledge (Mark 10:32-34) They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. 33 ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ He said, ‘and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.’
Jesus was in no doubt concerning what lay ahead of Him in Jerusalem. As you read through Mark’s Gospel it is not difficult to see that He repeatedly explained to His disciples what would happen to Him and how things would turn out. It is equally clear that they did not even come close to understanding what Jesus was saying to them.
It is possible that they were secretly hoping God had a ‘Plan B’ by which Jesus could avoid the cross and all the suffering that accompanied it and somehow set up His glorious future kingdom without any of the difficulties He had mentioned along the way. Their grasp of what God had planned for Jesus was not in line with His divine purposes. If we stop for a moment to reflect on their error we ought to ask ourselves to stand in their shoes and think what kind of response we might have given then and what kind of response we would give now to God in our current circumstances.
Our natural human reaction is to want life to be straightforward and if we work hard for things to expect success in what we are doing. Yet Jesus was perfect and did exactly what God the Father had for Him to do, but it was anything but an easy road to travel. The author of the book of Hebrews wrote these words in Hebrews 2:9-10:
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what He suffered.
These are deeply challenging and sobering words.
Jesus’ professed followers today number more than 2.3 billion individuals, but the total number during His earthly ministry who were committed to following Him was fairly small. If the ‘Church Growth’ experts had been evaluating Jesus’ earthly ministry I am not sure how positive they would have been. What is of greatest importance here is how it ended; death on the cross or burial in a borrowed tomb was not the end.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead on Easter Sunday was God’s verdict and declaration of triumph! We are a resurrection people following in the footsteps of Jesus. Therefore, although we will have disappointments and heartaches and setbacks along the way, the final triumph of God in building His Church is assured. We must lift our eyes from the difficulties to focus on the One who was triumphant over all the obstacles placed in His pathway.
(b) His command (Luke 19:29-31) As He approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, 30 ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” say, “The Lord needs it.”’
Jesus and His disciples are within sight of Jerusalem and will soon have a glorious view of the city from the nearby Mount of Olives as they make their descent down towards Jerusalem. At a time when they were passing through two tiny villages very close to one another Jesus made a request to two of His disciples. It was not a surprising request because in that culture a Jewish rabbi could ask to borrow a donkey for a day.
He had a duty to take care of the animal and to return it in the condition in which it was loaned to him.
We have no knowledge of the details here as to whether Jesus had a prior arrangement with the owner or not, but on the surface it looks like a supernatural revelation of Jesus in predicting that an available animal would be tied up in a specific location, and thereby be available for Him to borrow. There appears to be a specific form of wording He gave to His disciples to say, if they were challenged about their course of action.
On other occasions Jesus clearly had made plans such as the upper room used for their Passover meal. In Luke 22:7-13 it states: Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ 9 ‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked.10 He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.’ 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
These incidents remind us that there will be occasions in our lives when we have clear instructions about how we live our lives as Christians, but there will be plenty of others where we have guidelines for our behaviour and choices, but we have no detailed blueprint for our course of action. There will be particular times when we need the special blessing of other people coming alongside us or even in response to our prayers when God the Holy Spirit intervenes in a special way for our good and for God’s glory. The issue here was trust. Do I trust Jesus enough to follow Him? Am I willing to commit the whole of my life to honour Him? It is the biggest call you will ever make. Have you taken that step of faith? I hope each one of us has done so.
2. The Obedience of the Disciples (Luke 19:32-35)
(a)Our trust in Jesus (Luke 19:32-35) Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ 34 They replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’ 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
These disciples had learned to trust Jesus on a daily basis as they had walked around the country with Him over the past more than three years. They still had plenty to learn, but let us give them the credit due for what they did that day. How strong is your faith and trust in Jesus? It is important when we pray for something, if we notice an answer to write it down in a notebook so that in difficult times we can encourage ourselves by what we have recorded on previous occasions. Jesus is trustworthy.
Are you following Him? Or is today the day when you will start following Him? We are a people called to prayer both individually and corporately. What expectancy do you have of God working in you or through you this week, for example? If we expect nothing then we are sure to hit the target! I am fairly certain that these disciples did not know what Jesus was going to do with the donkey – in terms of where He had planned to go with it. So often you and I likewise in our journey of faith will not know how and when God will work in particular circumstances for which we are praying. His message to us is quite simple: ‘Will you follow Me?’
Is there a situation you are struggling with at the moment? Are you wondering how you should act in a particular situation? We need to keep on praying until God makes clear His will or opens or shuts a particular door of opportunity we were considering. In so many life situations there is no obvious right or wrong choice, instead it is often between a good and legitimate choice versus the best choice in that situation. We need the aid of the Holy Spirit to help us make our choices.
(b) Our trust in His Word (Zechariah 9:9-10) Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey… He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the Riverto the ends of the earth.
What Jesus was doing on Palm Sunday was not a last minute impulsive action, first thought of that morning. It was something prophesied 500 years earlier by Zechariah, one of the spiritual leaders of God’s people after the return to the Promised Land from exile in Babylon (Iraq). We can often forget that there were 400 years of apparent ‘silence’ after the end of the book of Malachi with no more revelatory words we are aware of before the ministry of John the Baptist.
We know very little indeed about those centuries with respect to their walk with God or how the people of faith viewed their circumstances in most of that time. Yet God had not forgotten them or delayed the fulfilment of His promises. We in our day make many requests to God and at time wonder why something we are praying for is taking so long to happen. It is important to remember that His timescale is often longer than ours. God knows what He is doing even if we are unclear why things take place the way they do in many situations. We can trust His Word because God is in control.
In God’s time came One who would proclaim: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3-10).
The militaristic Messiah most Jews had been hoping for and expecting was so different to Prince of Peace. The final triumph of King Jesus at His second coming is still to take place, but we can trust God’s Word for the future just as much as rely on it for events fulfilled in the past.
3. The Response of the Pilgrims (Luke19:36-38)
36 As He went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37 When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
The crowds grew larger the closer Jesus got to Jerusalem. Almost certainly many of these people cheering Jesus that day were Galileans who had recognised Him from the meetings they had attended and the miracles they had witnessed. There was genuine enthusiasm for Jesus presence that day it was not contrived or forced like the applause at political party conventions that differs little across the range of parties here in the UK from those of regimes overseas that choreograph praise for the great leader or President!
It was not confetti and plastic flags distributed by public relations personnel employed by major sports teams or other well-funded agencies at work here. It was genuine and sincere with Palm branches strew along the pathway and some coats put down on the road as well. However, although these expressions of praise are heartfelt and once again a fulfilment of prophecy with a citation of Psalm 118:26 Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord it was only a part of the picture.
Around the world the Church of Jesus Christ is growing with more people added every week, but as we know in our own cultural context a positive response to the claims of Jesus is not the perspective of the majority in our land. However, we rejoice with those who have the humility and wisdom to receive the grace of God and commit their lives to follow Jesus.
4. The Indifference of the Majority (Luke 19:39-44)
(a)The folly of the Religious leaders (Luke 19:39-40) 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ 40 ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’ A few moments ago I cited the first part of Psalm 118:26: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. The second half of that verse states: From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The general public on the streets welcomed Jesus, but the words not cited from the second part of the verse was also with good reason. The religious leaders ought to have welcomed Jesus, but were mostly indifferent or actively opposed to Jesus and what He was proclaiming. It is extremely sad that things have not changed over the centuries. In every generation there have been religious leaders, some holding extremely high offices who have taught opinions contrary to the teaching of Jesus. We must always check things out with God’s Word. What does the Bible say? What does the Bible say in context!
I have heard over the years some outrageous things claimed as being ‘what the Bible teaches’ by people indifferent or hostile to following Jesus. It is so easy with the Bible or even simply with the words of someone else in conversation to twist what has been said. It happens all the time in the media.
Here on Palm Sunday it was the ordinary Jewish pilgrims from Galilee who acknowledged Jesus more accurately than the religious leaders. It is a challenge to us, always to take care with our words and even prior to that in our listening to other people so that we may hear accurately what they are seeking to communicate to us. How tragic it was that Jesus was not welcomed into God’s House, the Temple in Jerusalem, by the religious leaders. Have you welcomed Jesus into your life?
(b) The heartache of Jesus (Luke 19:41) As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it These verses in Luke 19 are a part of the Palm Sunday story that is often overlooked when we consider that day, but it is part of the story we need to consider most carefully. Jesus cared deeply for these people. It saddened Him deeply that so many had missed out on the relationship with God that their heavenly Father intended them to experience. How much do you care for people who don’t know Jesus? It costs emotionally at times when we seek to share something of our faith with other people.
It is painful at times when others indicate that they don’t want to know about the Lord Jesus or are not interested in the invitation we are offering to them. Behind the happy palm branch waving and celebrations Jesus was broken-hearted that the good news He was presenting was not wanted by a majority of the population of that major city. There is nothing new under the sun. Cultures and outward forms of things in society change with great regularity but the underlying human needs and aspirations don’t change from one generation to another. What is more, people’s need of God is just the same for everyone whether they recognise it or not.
We must keep on praying for people even if it takes years before we see them come to Christ. We are involved in a work for God over the longer term when current fads and fashions of the wider society have receded into history. Who are you praying for week by week to come to know Jesus? Safeguard your time for that investment even if it is only for a very short time; we must be intentional about finding a little time to spend with people as a little over the medium to long-term adds up to a significant amount of time over the years.
We will have our tears of disappointment like Jesus, but people will only care what we know and stand for when they know first of all that we genuinely care for them as people. There are no quick fixes. We are in it for the long haul. How much do you care for people who don’t yet know Jesus? Who are you praying for and who might you invite to an Easter online service this year?
(c) The misjudgement of the people (Luke 19:42) and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The religious leaders were worried that there would be a reaction from the Roman authorities if people increasingly followed Jesus. It was astonishing that at the very time when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, not long before the first Easter that some people together with their religious leaders could so misjudge the situation. In John 11:45-53, just after Lazarus was restored to life, it states:
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.’
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take His life.
It was a catastrophic misjudgement. How could they get it so wrong?
(d) The consequences of their actions (Luke 19:43-44) The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.’
This prophetic message refers to the Jewish–Roman War, 66-70AD. In Josephus’ contemporary work the History of the Jewish Wars, the details of the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem and the Jewish nation were recorded: while the sanctuary was burning…neither pity for age or respect for rank was shown.
On the contrary children and old people, laity and priests alike were massacred (Book 6:271); the Emperor ordered the entire city and the Temple to be razed to the ground, leaving only the loftiest of the towers…and the portion of the wall enclosing the city on the west…as to leave future visitors to the spot no reason to believe that the city had ever been inhabited (Book 7:1-3). Jesus was unpopular with some because He cared for them and for this city.
Not everyone will welcome the good news of the gospel, but because we care for them, we will continue, month after month and year after year to make Christ know. We will have our tears of sadness at some of those rejections, but I trust we will never cease praying week by week for the people God places on our hearts; while an opportunity remains we will proclaim Jesus by word and actions so that those we encounter have the chance to own Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, Amen.
Our song before we come to communion is: ‘O Lord, the clouds are gathering’
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus invites all Christian who have committed their lives to follow Him to participate in this act of worship. The apostle Paul wrote these words of Scripture in I Corinthians 11:23-26 to guide our observance of Communion.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Prayer: Choose your own words of prayer to give thanks for the bread and wine that represent the costly gift of His body and blood for us.
Take the bread: Jesus said: ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
Take the wine: Jesus said: This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’
Our closing song is: ‘Living Hope’
Lord, You are the head of the Church, we truly want to love and worship You more. We desire to grow more like You as we read and reflect on Your Word and as we spend time with You in prayer and in fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Help us this week and in coming weeks to have a greater desire to make You known and share You with others, in the light of all You have done for us, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Benediction: The Grace