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Friday, July 17, 2015

It’s all about Jesus: The Final Prayers of Christ

(Part 1)
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”-1 Corinthians 11:23-24.
“The night Jesus was betrayed.” That phrase, taken from 1 Corinthians 11:23, always grabs my attention. So much happens the night prior to Jesus’ execution it is hard to narrow down what to focus on. For me, this year, I have been meditating on the prayers that Jesus prayed leading up to his crucifixion; each of them point to various themes of our Christian faith that I feel are important for us to acknowledge including thankfulness, sacrifice, submission, unity and forgiveness.
The first prayer we come to in Luke 22:17-19 recounts for us the prayer Jesus prayed during the final Passover meal he shared with his disciples:
“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Two times in the passage Jesus stops to give thanks; once over the bread the other over the fruit of the vine. In fact the cup from which they drank is often referred to as the cup of thanksgiving. By this Jesus announced the initiation of a new covenant based on his sacrificial death; the bread representative of his body broken for our healing and the fruit of the vine representing his blood shed for the forgiveness of sins.
This passage captures two important elements of our faith: thankfulness and sacrifice. Jesus stops two times to offer thanks to God for His provision and grace. By doing this Jesus modeled the significance of thankfulness in the daily life of every believer. Thanksgiving is not relegated to a single day of the year, but is a demonstration of our daily dependence on God. By giving thanks we communicate the goodness of God and our reliance upon Him to meet our needs.  It is a form of praise that recalls God’s mighty hand at work in our lives. It recounts His faithfulness, longsuffering, provision, and mercy; thereby strengthening our faith and trust in Him.
Jesus’ prayer also communicated the significance of sacrifice. Through the blessing of the bread and the fruit of the vine; Jesus communicated the price he was willing to pay in order to secure eternal salvation for those who would trust in him. In this way Jesus modeled for us the importance of living sacrificially for others. Communion became not simply a lasting memorial of Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross on our behalf, but a continuous reminder of our responsibility to live sacrificially for others.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

It’s all about Jesus: Our Passover Lamb

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.”-1 Corinthians 5:6-7.
Without understanding the story of the Passover lamb it is hard to appreciate the statement Paul made here to the church in Corinth. The story of the Passover lamb was more than a bedtime story told to children. It was a legacy ingrained into the hearts and minds of every Israelite; so that when Paul referred to Jesus as “our Passover lamb” everyone understood clearly Paul’s inference.
So where did the idea of a Passover lamb originate? The Passover lamb was the animal that God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice, while they were in captivity in Egypt, on the night God struck down the first born sons of every household. This was the final plague that God used against Pharaoh that ultimately led to him releasing the Israelites from bondage. In the book of Exodus 12:5-13 we read how the Israelites were instructed by God to select a year-old male lamb without blemish or defect. At sunset they were to slaughter the lamb and apply the lamb’s blood to the door post and thresholds of their homes. If they obeyed God in this, He promised that He would cause the destroyer to pass over their homes. However, any home without the blood of the lamb would have their first born son struck down in the night. The lamb used in this sacrifice became known as the Passover lamb.
God instructed Israel to remember that night and observe the Passover feast as a lasting memorial:
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord-a lasting ordinance.”-Exodus 12:14.
Paul recognized that the Old Testament Passover lamb, although a reality in that time, was a mere foreshadowing of a better and final Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. Paul wasn’t the only one to see this. John the Baptist, speaking of Jesus, declared “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”(John 1:29). Peter described Jesus as “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). The Apostle John described him as “A Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.” (Revelation 5:6).
Jesus qualified to be our substitutionary sacrifice because he too was chosen at the prime of his life; without the spot or blemish of sin, to die for us. Through his sinless life and sacrificial death, Jesus became the perfect sacrifice giving people a way to escape death and the hope of  eternal life with God.
Just as the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes caused God’s judgment to pass over Israel; so Christ’s blood applied to the doorposts of our hearts causes God’s judgment to pass over us.
How much more, then will the blood of Christ, who through the Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.”-Hebrews 9:14.
Just as the Passover feast was memorialized with a meal; so today we remember Christ’s sacrifice through the receiving of Holy Communion. When we receive the bread and the fruit of the vine we are receiving the Passover Lamb. Today truly is all about Jesus; so let us “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the World!”
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's all about Jesus: Ignore Him, Crucify Him, or Worship Him (Pt.2)

Part 2

A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”-Matthew 21:8-9.

Among the multitude following Jesus that day were two differing sets of worshippers. One group had been following Jesus from the very beginning; walking with him daily. The second group was comprised of those who joined in as the rejoicing throng passed by in hopes that he was about to deliver them from the oppressive Romans.

Also among those surrounding Jesus that day were those that had no idea what was happening at all. They did not walk with Jesus. They were busy about their own lives and businesses and did not know that Jesus had come to them “gentle and riding on a donkey”:

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”-Matthew 21:10-11.

Then we have the religious crowd, who while Jesus was fulfilling scripture just outside their doors, were busy going through the perpetual motions of temple worship; oblivious to what was happening around them. They felt secure in their religion, so much so that they began to abuse it and manipulate it for their own personal gain. They were not interested in a Messiah or in having their lifestyles turned upside down, however that is precisely what Jesus came into the temple to do.

Finally, among those following Jesus that day were those who would crucify him. You might be surprised to know that those who made up this crowd were comprised, at least in part, from each of the above groups.

There were likely a group of those worshippers, who joined in expecting Jesus, would deliver them from Roman bondage, when they realized that he would not fulfill their expectations joined with those who were crying out for his crucifixion. There were likely business owners and money-changers present who were disgruntled about how Jesus and his “righteous” standards were creating a hardship on them and their ability to enjoy life. There were certainly religious people in the crowd, who refused to believe in him as their Messiah, King, and Lord. They would never lift a word of praise, but instead shouted for his crucifixion.

Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was to make himself known and he is making himself known still today. He is looking to establish himself as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in each of our lives; but how are we receiving him? Are we receiving him with praise and humility, are we ignoring him, or are we calling for his crucifixion?


Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It’s all about Jesus: Ignore Him, Crucify Him, or Worship Him (Pt. 1)

(Pt. 1)
They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”-Matthew 21:7-9.
The triumphant entry is the story of Jesus coming into Jerusalem on what we know as Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Jesus’ crucifixion. It is one of the incidents in Jesus’ life that is captured within all four Gospels.
The story is unusual in that it was totally out of character for Jesus to draw that kind of attention to himself. Typically he told people things like “Go and tell no one” or “My time has not yet come.” However, this occasion was special. It was going to initiate a sequence of events that would ultimately lead to his crucifixion; not his coronation, as many would hope.
In Matthew 21:2 Jesus gives his disciples some very specific directions:
Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to me.”
This was done to fulfill what was written by the Prophet Zechariah:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.”-Zechariah 9:9.
Jesus purpose for riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was to make public His claim to be Israel’s Messiah and king in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. It is evident in the behavior of those who were with him that day, that they recognized the significance of the event,  as they began laying their cloaks and branches down in front of him as an act of homage towards the king.
Unfortunately, the praise that many lavished on him, although genuine, was misguided as they did not recognize him as their Messiah (Savior), but rather welcomed him as their deliverer; expecting him to set them free from Roman bondage. Although he came to save them, it would not be in the way they anticipated.
His journey into Jerusalem led him to the temple where he encountered and witnessed once again the abuses that were taking place inside the temple and once more he overturned the tables of the merchants and money changers.
 The triumphant entry is a foreshadowing of Christ’s second coming.  Jesus will one day return to the earth, east of Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives; from there he will enter the Eastern Gate and travel to the temple mount where he will judge the abuses that he has witnessed for generations.
Before Jesus came into the Temple to judge the second time, however, he revealed himself as Israel’s Messiah; exposing his true identity to the hearts of men. How would they respond? Would they ignore him, crucify him, or worship him?
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

It’s all about Jesus: Healing Miracles (Pt.2)

(Pt. 2)

 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking and the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.”-Matthew 15:30-31.

 Jesus healed a range of sicknesses and diseases, cast out multiples of demons, and raised the dead; with each miraculous event Jesus proved that no sickness, disease, or spiritual affliction was outside the scope of his healing power. The diversity of people touched demonstrated that healing transcends all social classes, gender, race, cultures, and nationalities. He even used a variety of methods from simple prayers to the laying on of hands; and although many were healed instantly, some were healed progressively:

So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked and said, “I see men like trees, walking” Then He put His hand son his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.”-Mark 8:23-25.

Healing is a restorative work which makes is a central theme of God’s Kingdom message. Jesus came preaching this message proclaiming victory over sin, sickness, and Satan:

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”

He then commissioned his disciples to carry out that message in Matthew 10:7-8:

And as you go, preach, saying ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

And even to us today He gave us this message and a mandate:

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”-Mark 16:15-18.

The kingdom of heaven is near and the power of the Lord is present to heal! God is looking to restore His relationship with mankind; may we carry that message to the ends of the earth and demonstrate God’s power as we pray and lay hands on the sick.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church