Ephesians 1

In the king, and through his blood, we have deliverance –that is, our sins have been forgiven –through the wealth of his grace which he lavished on us.

Here Paul is showing how God is at work all along to rescue and restore all of creation. There is a shadow that runs through what he says that points back to the Exodus of God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. Led by Moses, the Hebrews escape death by putting the blood of the lamb on their door frame.

When Jesus comes along this happens again, only on a much greater scale, indeed a cosmic scale because all of creation is being restored. All people, not just the Hebrews, are delivered. Only this time, instead of escaping from Pharaoh, all people are rescued from slavery to the worst taskmaster of all- sin. That which enslaves us and keeps us from God. This great deliverance from sin is, of course, forgiveness, and it comes to us because of the blood of Jesus, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Do you see how God is telling his story all along? Jesus is the greater and more expanding exodus who is for all people.

ME

Knowing your sins are forgiven is meant to be freeing. When have you been forgiven by someone that brought this sense of freedom?

 

Monday March 7- Trust

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Mark 14:26-31

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.

Everyone knows when you are going through awful times in life, you don’t want to be alone. Jesus is testing this out for the rest of us.

First, Judas leaves the Last Supper.

Then Jesus and his friends finish up dinner and then go out singing, Are they going to look up at the stars, or are they going to look down at the lamps and great fires of the Temple? Is it going to be a campout on the Mt. of Olives? We don’t know yet.

Jesus says, “You guys,” the Bible predicts what is going to happen. “You are all going to dump me. But after I am raised from the dead, I’ll see y’all in Galilee.”

There goes a good Passover meal. Thanks for the encouragement Jesus.

Then his best friend speaks up.

They might desert you, but not me buddy! I’ve got your back!

No you don’t have my back, Peter, you are going to abandon me like everyone else. Worse, you’re going to deny you even know me.

What? You’re crazy, Jesus! I will die for you!

Every one of them said the same…

No way they will abandon their friend.

Me

Trust is the most important quality of a healthy relationship. What if you can’t trust anyone? Trust anyway. Who do you need to trust?

Thursday March 3- More Than Words

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 14:22-24

While they were eating, he took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said. ‘This is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant,’ he said, ‘which is poured out for many.

Here Jesus makes the connection between what he is going to do and the Passover. Jesus is the one greater than Moses who is going ahead of his disciples, Israel and all people of the world and fighting one more evil than a thousand Pharaoh’s, Satan himself. He will come face-to-face with a terror far greater than the waters of the Red Sea and he will lead all people to freedom.

Holy Communion is a celebration of the presence of the living Jesus in our midst, but even more it is an explanation far deeper than words of what is happening the next day. Friday….

Me

When you receive Holy Communion next, think about it as fuel for living a Jesus-soaked life. Recall it for several days following, frequently repeating, “He did it for me.”

Tuesday March 1- Attaching to the Feeder not the Food

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 14:12-15

On the first day of unleavened bread, when the Passover lambs were sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples said to him, ‘Where would you like us to go and get things ready for you to eat the Passover?’ He sent off two of his disciples, with these instructions. ‘Go into the city, and you will be met by a man carrying a water-pot. Follow him. When he goes indoors, say to the master of the house, “The teacher says, where is the guest room for me, where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upstairs room, set out and ready. Make preparations for us there.’  

Meals help us learn to interact face-to-face from the very beginning. If there is a God who wants us to be filled with joy, peace, and security, then a baby nursing, feeding at her mother’s breast would be a brilliant way to design us. Ahh, and so he does…

We learn, through this simple act, to attach to the feeder. A high joy environment in the home increases healthy attachment to the feeder and others. If the first year of life is low joy and filled with stress, then from day one we learn to attach to the food to bring us temporary relief, rather than to the feeder, the true source of comfort.

It has been said that if you take the meals and the mountains out of the Bible, you wouldn’t have much left. Certainly God guides his people to use shared meals as a way to attach to him and to other people. We learn to use food in the way God intends as a means of bonding with him and others. We don’t get attached to the food, the food is an aid to attachment to God and other people.

God is especially a fan of meals of celebration. This is where our faith is bonded in our relationships and we share joy because we are glad to be with God and each other. We learn that eating at these special times throughout the year connects us to each other and to those who shared these celebrations in the past.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter “feasting” come to mind for Christians. For Jesus and his fellow Jews, of course, the greatest celebration is Passover. This is when escape from slavery in Egypt is reenacted and freedom celebrated. It is at this time that Jesus uses his final Passover meal to say to his followers what he most wants them to hear. He is inviting them to a new kind of celebration.

But, the meal is bittersweet…

Me

Share at least three meals with other people this week. No smartphones, no TV. People, table and food.