Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Special Easter to Me

How long will you people turn my glory into shame? Psalm 4:2 

A writer has made a sad list of the “honors” the blinded people of Israel gave their long-expected King: 1. They gave him a procession, in which Roman soldiers, Jewish priests, and average men and women took part, with Jesus himself bearing His cross. This is the triumph the world awards to the One who comes to overthrow humanity’s worst enemy. Derisive shouts are His only acclamation, and cruel taunts His only songs of praise. 2. They presented Him wine. But instead of a golden cup of fine wine they offered Him a mixture with myrrh, intended to deaden a criminal’s pain; He refused it, because He would taste death unimpaired. Afterward, when He cried, “I thirst,” they gave Him vinegar, thrust to His mouth on a sponge. Oh, the wretched, detestable inhospitality shown to the King’s Son. 3. He was provided a guard of honor, soldiers who showed their esteem by casting lots for His clothes, which they had seized as their own prize. Such was the bodyguard of the One adored by heaven—a squad of brutal gamblers. 4. A throne of honor was found for Him on the bloody cross; rebellious humans would give their faithful Lord no easier place of rest. The cross was, in fact, the full expression of the world’s feeling toward Him. “There,” they seemed to say, “you Son of God, this is the way God himself should be treated, if we could only reach Him.” 5. The title of honor was supposedly “King of the Jews,” but that the blinded nation distinctly repudiated the name. By preferring Barabbas and by putting Jesus in the place of greatest shame between two criminals, they really called Him “King of thieves.” So His glory was turned into shame in all things by the children of men—but it will still delight the eyes of saints and angels, forever and ever. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Easter is upon us as it comes this time every year.  A set of reminders go out from various churches.  Stores play it up for a rabbit, selling candy galore.  But as Spurgeon is pointed out this is what Easter is about. 

In my own life, I grew up in the Grace Brethren Church.  That was all I knew until around 2009 or so.  It was a small leap in some ways to Baptist churches but not extreme.  The fundamentals, if you will, are mostly the same.  One standout difference to me has been in the area of Communion. 

Whereas most every Baptist Church that I have attended practices the Bread and Cup, the Grace Brethren go farther.  To encompass the whole blessing of it.  There is what's called the Love Feast.  A small dinner together. Sharing testimonies. Enjoying the fellowship as the Scriptures show us Christ was doing with the Disciples.  Then there's the Foot washing.  We would go to a second room and pair up. Men with men, women with women. Then in those groups pair up to wash one another's feet.  Before finishing we often sang hymns.  Then after a brief clean up. Head back to the tables we ate at to follow the rest of Scripture. The Bread and Cup. Reading what the Scriptures say of each. 

But something different happened with me a few years back.  I was involved in a production at the Church we attended.  I was going to play one of the Disciples at the Last Supper.  

Was rather cool. Getting to participate.  But God took that moment and burned it into my memory.  The man portraying Jesus came to wash my feet.  My character was supposed to do as you read.  Protest Him doing so.  But then it hit me full on.  The idea of Christ washing my feet.  Wow.  God superimposed what happened over 2,000 years ago into that moment for me.  It hasn't been the same since. 

God has a way of taking the ordinary and making the extraordinary happen.  Just when something looks to have been all learned out...He shows you something new. A new perspective, a morsel you didn't know was there. 

A very profound prayer came to me also many years ago.  I never knew how powerful until God began granting it more and more since then. "Show me more."

People often find reasons to avoid obeying God.  Israel went their own way most all their existence as a people.  

To the point in the Prophet Samuel's life of demanding a King as all the other nations had.  Rejecting the Lord as their King over them.  

Churches today have done the same as in the footsteps of Israel.  Adding things or taking away things that God said should be done.  How do I come up with that?  What did Jesus say right after washing the Disciples feet?  Don't take my word for it. What did Jesus say? John 13.

Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."

So. What happened that so many Churches don't do this?  I can't speak to all who don't.  But to say the least, what I have been told amounts to a lot of excuses.  Do difficult to set up.  Too many people. It's hard to set up. It's not necessary (huh?).  You have to arrange for child care.  The modesty factor.  These and many more. 

The truth is in what Jesus said. Blessed are you if you DO them.  In the context of being a Disciple in that play, it forever changed my view on it.  It indeed was a profound blessing on me to visualize it being my Savior washing my feet. 

Scripture also says for every man to be convinced in their own mind. Not unstable in their ways. Not double minded.  Whereas I participate in Churches where they only use the Bread and Cup.  I remember the days of the past when it meant so much more.  

Looking for special blessings from Jesus to make them your own is a wonderful thing when going through the Scriptures. 

I have heard people say, when they read of things like foot washing, "I could never do that".  Would be a whole different thing if it was Jesus standing before you saying that's what He wanted to do with you. 

In some ways I wonder if that's part of what Jesus was referring to by people being ashamed concerning Him. 

Jesus.  Think about that. Jesus wants to bless, in special ways to His followers.  

It's up to you to lay aside excuses and to do.  Pray that prayer. "Show me more".

See what He will do. 

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