During my devotional time this morning, I began meditating on the passage in Luke 22 where the Lord gives instructions to his disciples about preparing for the Passover.  Keeping the Passover was integral to who Christ is.  In actuality, He would forever become the Passover Lamb on our behalf.

As He was directing His disciples after being asked how to prepare for this specific Passover, Christ provided the following words:

“As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.  Follow him to the house that he enters, 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?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Luke 22: 10-12

In hindsight, it is easy to just expect that the disciples would do what Christ asked.  After all we know how the story ends.  But let’s just think about this for a minute.

Christ directs his disciples to go into a city and tells them that a man carrying a jar of water will meet them.  This makes it seem that the man will approach them and what will make him stand out is that he will be carrying a jar of water.  I am not a biblical scholar, but all the other references I find in scripture signify that carrying water was typically a woman’s job.  What an oddity to find a man carrying a water jar.  When this actually transpired, I wonder if the disciples found this extraordinary.

Did they even question the likelihood of finding a man carrying a water jar?  Did they grumble over how they could enter a city and be able to locate exactly the right person?  The account in Luke does not say that Christ provides them a name or even a more exact location where this clandestine meeting would occur.  Yet, there is no reference that the disciples ever questioned going or lacked confidence that things would transpire just as Christ said they would.

Jesus then continues in his directions by explaining that they are to ask the owner of the house where the man carrying water enters for space and accomodations for their celebration of Passover.  The culture was certainly different in that day, but let’s just think a moment.  It is one of the highest celebrations of the Jewish people.  A time that served as a reminder of the promise of a Messiah.  A time when extensive preparations were done in cleaning, preparing food, and preparing oneself for this spiritual time.

Yet, the disciples followed a stranger to another’s home that they did not know and asked for provisions to be made for them to utilize space in the Upper Room for the celebration of their own Passover observance.

Our family has been on some road trips in the past.  There are times when we must stop for a meal, bathroom breaks, or just to stretch our legs and get some rest.  I think we would be more inclined to just sleeping in the car and running into woods to use the restroom before we would approach a complete stranger about supplying our accommodations in their home.  Yet, none of this seems to phase the disciples.  There is never a suggestion in Scripture that they questioned Christ’s instructions.

Yes, the culture was more understanding of travelers needs.  However, I still find this amazing.

It also causes me to pause in wondering how I would have responded to their request if I were the home owner.  God’s Word is quite explicit in how we are to reach out to those in need and commands us to show hospitality to the stranger.  Would I welcome the disciples and Christ into my home?

God’s Word has not changed.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  So, is His expectation of us any different today than that which He expected of His disciples?  Do we chase after Christ in such a way that we have unabandoned faithfulness in carrying out His every command?  Do we have faith that no matter how odd the prompting in our hearts that He will provide for us and direct us completely?

He demonstrated this faith, love, and obedience in fulfilling the role of our Passover Lamb for all eternity.  If we are to be like Him, we must focus on how to be just as obedient, not because we will ever reach perfection, but in molding ourselves like Him as an act of worship and in recognition of His Lordship in our lives.

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The Significance of Palm Sunday

by Dawn Oaks on March 29, 2015

So many things about our faith seem to be getting labelled as “out dated”.  In a culture filled with busyness and so many competing interests for our time, it is so easy to just check things off the list and forget why we do what we do.

In looking at our own family calendar, the day to day events of the week could easily squeeze out time to prepare spiritually for the remembrance of our Lord’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.  This week we are trying to get school done before Spring Fever really hits, have a college visit scheduled, a planning meeting for graduation, and hubby’s birthday on Saturday.  Of course, there is also all the commotion of the hometown team making it to the Final Four with a perfect record for the season.

I find myself sitting back marveling at how easy it would be to lose complete focus on what this week really means.  Even if we were able to clear our calendars, it could be all consuming just making sure everyone’s clothes were ready to go, menu made and groceries purchased for a large Easter banquet, and goodies for the children in keeping with many American traditions.  I am reminded of the exclamations at church on Easter morning of “He is Risen” followed shortly by “I just love your dress.  Where did you get that?”

For many families, extra funds for fancy dresses or big meals with all the frills may not be an option.  The question it raises in my own mind is if we were to take away our more secular Easter traditions of the bunny and chocolates, remove the fancy outfits, and even chose to not make that splendid meal would it feel like there was anything left to make Easter special.

If I were to answer that question with a “No” or a sense of disappointment, then maybe I have lost my spiritual focus on what Easter really means and the need for remembering Palm Sunday and the important events biblically that lead up to our Savior’s death and resurrection.

Today marks the day that we remember Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Hallelujahs were resounding in the streets while he humbly road into the city on the back of a donkey.  In realizing what the coming days would hold and the changing tide of sentiment that His people would have, the Bible tells us that He wept.  He wept.  He knew how fickle our hearts can be and how weak our faith can also be when under pressure.  He wanted so much more for us.  He knew He was the answer, but it still broke His heart understanding that need far better than we ever will.

I condemn no one’s choice in how to celebrate what could be considered one of the most pivotal times in our faith and God’s provision for our need.  However, I challenge myself and each of you reading this to dig a bit deeper.  Look beyond the Easter dresses, the egg hunts, the commotion of the Final Four and general Springtime busyness, and search with all your heart for a renewing of the vitality of our faith.

He is Risen!  Hallelujah! May those be words that change our lives forever and not just an annual salutation.

To help prepare our hearts, the kids and I are reading The Vinegar Boy together to help refocus our minds on the reality of Easter and not just our society’s traditions.  If you have never read it, we highly recommend it to you.

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