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"THORNS"

GOOD FRIDAY 2018

Matthew 27
Rev. Dierdra Clark

Thorns

Reading Mathew 27 can bring both sorrow and joy. The joy is of course, that as believers we know the risen King. However, we also know that Jesus went through suffering at the Cross. It is the profound humility and strength that Jesus illustrates simultaneously, that can provide hope and restoration to us all. But many times, as followers we go right to the hope. There is no mistake that the book of Matthew provides a very illustrative account of the crucifixion, and therefore we can not only ignore that part, including the cruelty that was put upon Jesus, but we must also reflect on what it means for us as believers.

For me, the image that stands out is the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus. Matthew 27:28 says,” They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.” It brings to mind the thorns that haunt me. The things in my life that get in the way of my life in Christ. Those things that are my sins. We see the word thorns in Genesis, particularly in the Garden where Eve and Adam succumb to their own desires and sin. Genesis 3:17-18 says, “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field”.

Man is full of thorns that Jesus redeems. But in order to fully understand and appreciate all that God redeems, we must be willing to face our thorns. We must be willing to look at the ugly and to face all that it means for us.

In those final hours, Jesus was mocked and humiliated. Jesus was beaten, slandered and spit on. This senseless torture is sometimes hard to even imagine. But imagine and digest it we must! In all of the cruelty, God’s plan was not derailed and God’s ultimate victory was not set aside. And this is what we must remember when considering our own lives. The agony of the Cross illuminates God’s love for us. Likewise, in our lives we must acknowledge the thorns in order for us to truly understand who God is and how he can work in our lives. There is nothing that can stop God’s love for us. Matthew 27 teaches us that so well. So, we must go to God with all of who we are, including our thorns. That is when God can redeem it all and that is when we can truly feel the great joy of living our life in Christ. What are your thorns?

Posted by Dierdra Clark with

"THE LAST SUPPER"

Matthew 26:17 

The Last Supper. Judas betrays Jesus. Peter denies Jesus.

Reclining there around a Passover table, the disciples could not possibly understand what was about to unfold. Earlier in the day, Jesus had mentioned that his time was drawing near, and made arrangements to share the meal with them, and it probably seemed routine enough. But even after all these the shocks and surprises they've experienced with Jesus, I doubt they could have been prepared for what he would say that night.

They had spent so much time with him and they had sacrificed many things to follow, but here was a moment to pause as they celebrate one of the most significant moments in history between God and humanity. The Passover was the ultimate intervention of God, when he pulled his people out of Egypt after years of suffering and abuse. This powerful display of God's power marked the Hebrew people for the centuries that followed and became a defining moment in God establishing who he is - distinct and holy among all the other gods.

Here was a God who would not ignore the cries of his people. Here is a God who is not distant, but near. Here was a God who would step in with power to rescue his children.

This night, as they shared a meal and recalled God's mighty exploits, Jesus reveals that one of them would betray him. They are grieved, and wondered who it could be, saying "Surely you don't mean me, Lord?" Perhaps they were looking for reassurance from Jesus, or perhaps they were questioning their own commitment. Perhaps they were simply shocked... after sharing so much of their lives together, after seeing the miracles and experiencing Jesus' love and compassion, how could any of them betray him?

Posted by Sherin Swift with

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