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Another Side of Sunday: The Path

The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.

Mark 15:1-5, 15

“Very early in the morning they made a decision.” The decision would condemn an innocent man. The decision  would bring shame to the Jewish people. A decision that was prophesied. A decision which resulted in promises being fulfilled and lives changed forever.

We make many choices and decisions throughout the day. How will the choices you make today affect others? Will you make them flippantly or with careful consideration. Will you allow God to work through you to show love and kindness and extend Grace that has been given to you?

I pray that during this week of the Lenten Season you think of your choices as having a ripple effect. Will the ripples that spread into your home, community, and world be positive?

Remember, you may be the only “Jesus” a person sees in a day. Don’t sell him out.

Father, you have taught us, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Those are easy words to say, but so often difficult to live by. Help me to recognize those times that I judge, whether it be consciously or not. Remind me that if I walk in your ways, O Lord, my path will remain clear and my heart open. Amen.

Music for your reflection:

 

 

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Another Side of Sunday: The Path

When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.”

Luke 22:66-71

Jesus turns it back onto his accusers. Are you the Messiah? Are you the One we have been promised? It really doesn’t matter if He is or not – Jesus already revealed them for what they were: men who put their religion on for show. They weren’t searching for a Messiah. They probably really didn’t want one, because at that point – their show would end.

Do we have to ask, “Are you the Messiah?” and if we do are we ready for the answer? The decision of the Sanhedrin was made even before Jesus was brought into the room – the leaders just needed to make it look legitimate to ease their consciences.

How many times have I eased my conscience? How many times have a rationalized: “The ends justifies the means”? It’s a difficult topic to be honest about, but it happens, and far more often than I’d like to admit.

Dear Lord, I hate to admit that I could find myself on the side of the Sanhedrin – looking you square in the eye and trying to figure out how to send you to the cross. It’s at those times, in spite of myself, that I need you the most, and I know in my heart, you will not turn away.

Worship Through Music:

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Another Side of Sunday: The Path

Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.

Mark 14: 43-46

Look back, before the fatal kiss was given. Judas sitting as Jesus washed his feet. Eating the Passover meal with the others. Did he feel his gut tighten when Jesus mentioned betrayal? Did he realize he was caught?

Imagine when Judas took the bread from the hand of his Savior. The moment their eyes locked and he recognized the pain, the hurt. I wonder what thoughts flew through his mind as Jesus said, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

The pure evil of it all catches us by surprise. But make no mistake, God is never surprised.

He had a plan from the beginning. He knew what man did not. For in order to save the world, His Son had to suffer and die, just like the prophets foretold.

The weight of it all was just too much for Judas. His guilt and betrayal too heavy to bear. So burdensome, he took his own life.

Do you ever wonder what might have been if Judas, in the midst of his guilt and shame, ran hard to the cross where the Savior hung and asked for forgiveness? What might have happened if he took Jesus at his word and trusted his future to the one who holds the fate of the world in His hands?

Are you bogged down in the heaviness of Lent? Feeling guilt and shame over your own choices?

Take heart! The Savior paid the price. There is no need for restitution. No need to carry the weight any further. Just do what Judas didn’t. Run fast to the cross and trust the one who suffered for you. For He is faithful and true to His Word.

Dear God, I know there are times I have turned away from You. I know there are times I have been no better than Judas. In my heart, it is my desire to run to you and not away from you. Give me the understanding to recognize those times. Give me strength to resist the temptation of a kiss.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. …”

Matthew 11:28-29

Music for your reflection:

 

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Another Side of Sunday: The Path

Jesus in the Garden

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26: 36-41

What is your story?

Has God asked you to walk through a fire? Like Jesus, have you asked, even begged Him to take the trial away?

It’s human nature. Jesus experienced the same feelings of sorrow, his trial being much more extreme than what most of us are asked to walk through. Even so, He followed God’s will.

Like Jesus, with whom do you share your struggles? Who do you ask to be by your side? Who prays with you and encourages you to keep the faith?

Lord, these trials I face are no surprise to you. You have meticulously planned out the days of my life. Help me to remember that these times are when I need to draw nearer to you, for you are my strength and my shield when I am weak. Amen

Music for your reflection:

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The Path

The Lenten Season is a time to reflect on the sacrifice and gift Jesus made for us on the cross. Some make a sacrifice of their own through fasting. Some choose to observe a spiritual discipline throughout the days of Lent.

Our time of Praise and Prayer on Sunday mornings at 9:00 began during the season of Lent. It was a time set apart to focus on God’s grace freely given through His death and resurrection.

This year marks the beginning of the third Lenten season of Praise and Prayer.
Members of Out of the Boat have written weekly devotionals to guide you as you consider the path that led Jesus to the cross. Scripture and songs for the week are included.

For each devotional posted during the Lenten season:

Meditate on the Scripture. Read it silently. Read it out loud. Read it more than once, then be still.

What is God saying to you at this moment?

Be aware of the Scripture as you walk your path during the week. Look for ways God reveals his Word to you in your life.

Listen to the music. Links to each song are provided for you at the end of each post.

Is there one song in particular that speaks to you? Does one song amplify the message of the Scripture?

Finally, pray. Pray for our church family as we walk this path together. Pray for those leading, those following, and those who haven’t heard the Good News of the season.

Father, we praise you for the sacrifice You made on the cross, for the pain, suffering and rejection You endured for us. Set our feet on the path that leads us to you. Let us not be distracted or turn aside. Amen.

We invite you to gather with us on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary at 9:00 a.m. for Praise and Prayer. It is a wonderful way to begin your Sabbath.