You are welcome to use the writings on these pages or pass them on to others who might find a touch from God in the words. Our purpose is always to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you everything, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring these words to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom its been shared. All rights reserved. Peggy Hoppes
Christian Bible Study Pages
Travel PagesSalisbury Plain
Our Lord is so good, He grants us many blessings. We can see Him in the daily course of events, in our homes, our jobs, our lives. I pray that these words help you to grow in your faith and recognize His hand in even the most mundane circumstances.
The picture to the right is of a Celtic Chapel located in Cornwall England. This building is approximately 1700 years old, and contains a holy well known for its healing powers.
(Click for enlarged)
"On the morrow a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. And Jesus, having found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, bare witness. For this cause also the multitude went and met him, for that they heard that he had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing: lo, the world is gone after him." John 12:12-19, ASV
We have spent the last few weeks journeying with Jesus as He made His way toward the cross, learning what it means to live in His shadow and to follow Him in His light. We stand at the edge of the end of His story. A few years ago, I followed the footsteps of Christ during Holy Week. We will do so again this year, looking back on those devotions with new eyes. For the next few days, we will follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus from the moment He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem through His final words, the New Covenant, the betrayal and denial, the trial and death and then finally to the moment when He was raised again into new life. We will experience His Passion day by day and watch as He went from triumph to agony to even greater triumph.
Any kind of story, whether it is literature or performance, follows a pattern. There is a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning of the story sets up the information, such as characters, setting and plot. The middle of the story takes us through the story, developing characters and story line. We see the plot thicken as we progress through the pages and a conflict is created that needs a conclusion. At the end of the story, we see the resolution of the conflict.
The Bible is the Story of God and His people. We have a beginning. The book starts with "In the beginning" and tells of God and creation. Throughout the book, we see the development of Israel and the world around them. We meet many characters, each having a purpose in the story. The conflict that is developed throughout is the desire of God to be close with His children but our sin stands in the way of that relationship. Jesus Christ is the conclusion to His story.
For three years Jesus ministered to God's people, teaching them how to live according to the promise of God. The Gospels are filled with stories of His healing, teaching and loving. He was loved by many, but not by all. The Word He spoke was difficult to understand and accept by those who were set in their thoughts and ideas. The people thought they knew God and thought they were living a godly life. However, Jesus came to share the truth.
Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus began to show the people, particularly those close to Him, that there was only one way for us to be able to live according to God's promises. There had to be one final sacrifice. He had to die. His disciples and the people did not understand when Jesus spoke about death, because they saw His life as triumphant. They saw Him as a king among men. A few, by the power of God, understood.
The life and ministry of our Lord Jesus was filled with incredible signs, wonders and teachings. From the first miracle at Canaan when he changed water into wine, to the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and everything in between, Jesus showed Himself to be different from anyone the world had ever seen. When He taught in the temple and on the hillsides, people were amazed at the Word as it became alive before them. He helped people understand that there was a better way of living and that there was a deeper meaning to the scriptures.
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Jesus' ministry was at its peak; He had a large following. The crowds gathered to listen to Him speak about the kingdom of God. The people constantly sought Him to heal their illnesses and cast out their demons. The people saw Jesus as the answer to their prayers. They sought a Messiah, someone who would set them free from the oppression of the Roman invaders of their land. There was talk about making Jesus king of an earthly kingdom. They wanted to be a free nation again and live as they did during the Golden Age of Solomon their king. Their image of the Messiah was misplaced; they tried to convince Jesus to take the world by force; it would have been easy for Him to do. Though His followers were not a mighty army, they were willing to do anything for Him. By the time He rode into Jerusalem, the people were in such frenzy that it would have taken just one word from Jesus for them to rise to fight. Jesus had other intentions. He rode into Jerusalem as a king but not in a chariot with fine horses and swords. Rather, He rode into Jerusalem as the Servant King.
As the Passover of His third year of ministry approached, Jesus knew the time had come for Him to fulfill the promise of His Father. It was time to go to Jerusalem. Jesus sent His disciples to a village with the instructions to get a colt that is tied there. The owners asked, "Why are you untying the colt?" The disciples answered, "The Lord needs it." We will discover this week that Jesus was always in control. Though the world thought that they were leading Jesus, Jesus was willingly following the path that God had ordained. Every physical need was already answered, every desire fulfilled before spoken. There is much more to this week than the incredible provision of God. Jesus did all this to complete His mission, which reached far beyond this world.
Palm Sunday was a day of rejoicing; the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem celebrated that the Messiah had come! In the midst of this joviality, a plot was being hatched to rid the world of this menace; many were threatened by His work, by His miracles, and by His words. However, on this day, Christ was honored as king.
***As you can see, we will be doing things a little different this week. I will write for the next eight days as we follow the daily footsteps of Jesus. I will not be writing Midweek Oasis on Wednesday; rather we will focus solely on Holy Week stories through Resurrection Day.
If you would like to contact me, please use the following address, replacing the bracketed words with the symbol. Thank you for your continued interest, prayers and messages of encouragement.
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"And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parables. And he said unto them, Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them. And he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables?" Mark 4:9-13 (ASV)
The kids are both grown and I don't have grandchildren yet, so holidays like Christmas and Easter are hard to plan. It is silly to do what I used to do for them, filling stockings or baskets full of candy and toys, but the 'toys' they want are too expensive to buy enough to fill a stocking or basket. Since Victoria lives so far away, I send her care packages on a regular basis, boxes filled with her favorite things from Texas and other silly things to make her smile. Her latest box arrived today, but she won't be able to access it until tomorrow. She's excited to see what I might have sent her in anticipation of Easter, to see what little surprises might be there.
Of course there are treats. I don't care how old they get; I will give them treats until there are grandchildren to spoil. It is a little harder for Zachary since he's still living at home. I asked him the other day if he needed Easter surprises. He said "No," but when I asked if he wanted Easter surprises, he looked at me with puppy dog eyes and said, "Yes?" I laughed and knew that there'd be something here for Easter morning. I know it is silly, but it is all in good fun. I'm sure Victoria will be surprised, although she probably has an idea about at least a few things in the box. I know what she likes and I buy what she likes. She is hoping for one thing in particular and it is there. She probably already knows. While there are surprises, she'll pull at least those few things out with a knowing smile.
Sometimes it is hard to keep surprises. When children are very little, Mom and Dad can easily discuss presents while the child is in the room. As they get a little older, it sometimes takes some creative coding to discuss these things in a way they will not understand. Soon, however, surprises must be discussed when and where they will not hear because they begin listening for clues. They know and understand the meaning of key words and phrases, and pay attention so that they might figure out the surprise. It takes a sort of faith to know that Mom and Dad might be discussing as important as presents for some special event.
The message that Jesus had to give the world was a surprise. In this passage, the word 'mystery' is used. In other versions it is translated 'secret.' We normally think of secret in negative terms, as a bad thing. We teach our children they should not keep secrets. Yet, sometimes secrets can be fun, like digging through that basket on Easter morning to discover a treat that they did not expect. The mystery of Jesus is not a bad secret, but is more like an insight which is given only to those who will hear it, those who have faith. Too many listened to Jesus and did not see that He was speaking about things beyond this world: the kingdom of God. They only heard stories about farmers that really made little sense in their world. It is even harder for us today since most of us have no real experience with many of the examples that Jesus used. Yet, in faith we hear these stories and we understand that Jesus is talking about our relationship with God and with one another. Only those with ears that hear will recognize the truth found in the stories. We have ears because God gives us the faith to hear His Word.
The following links provide some specially chosen scripture that tell the stories of the Birth and Passion of our Lord as Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as a fictional perspective of the Crucifixion. Spend time in God's Word, read about His life and learn of the wonderful gifts He has for you. Know Jesus Christ and honour Him today. Thanks be to God.
Scripture on this page taken from the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible which belongs to the public domain. Some scripture on this site taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
As you may be aware, I also write a weekly devotional on Wednesday called "MIDWEEK OASIS." For those of you who are familiar with lectionary scripture sources, MIDWEEK OASIS is based on the texts used by millions of Christians each Sunday. The lectionary consists of four texts: an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a passage from one of the Epistles and a Gospel text. We are now using the lectionary for our A WORD FOR TODAY texts. This devotional is posted on Wednesday, at both A WORD FOR TODAY and at MIDWEEK OASIS.
You are welcome to use these words to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you these gifts, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring them to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom you've shared it. Peggy Hoppes