Wednesday Weekly #106

It is Holy Week – There are special services tomorrow and Friday at St. Eleanor’s Catholic Church sponsored by the Lincoln County Mescalero Ministerial Alliance.  Pastor Charles Clary will be speaking tomorrow and I will be speaking on Friday.  The services begin at noon and there will be a meal for everyone to share following each service at approx. 12:30.  There are also special services on Maundy Thursday evening, Good Friday evening and there are Easter Vigils on Saturday evening of this week at various churches throughout the county.  Again I want to urge you to take part in one or more of these services – it will enhance your preparation for the most incredible day of the Christian calendar – Resurrection Sunday!

In John’s gospel account, chapter 18 verse 11, we have these words of Christ:  “Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  This is or course in the Garden of Gethsemane when they have come to arrest Him and take Him for trial.  Simon Peter had drawn out his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant.  This is the setting for Jesus’ words.

His question is not only for Peter and for His apostles, it is for us as well.  We can reference Isaiah 51:17 as a starting point for Christ’s words here.  Isaiah wrote, “Awake, awake!  Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger.” 

Christ willingly endured the wrath of God for your sin; for my sin.  Obviously, Peter was ready to fight, perhaps to die to stand up for His Lord.  But Jesus purposefully, blatantly, without reservation stops him. 

Please understand that sin always incurs God’s wrath.  It isn’t because He doesn’t love us; in fact it is because He loves us so much that Jesus willingly stepped in to take the wrath of God upon Himself.  Isaiah reminded us that this “goblet . . . makes men stagger.”  This is an incredible picture of the horror of sin.  These aren’t just adjectives trying to modify a noun; Isaiah was painting a picture to help us get a grasp on the unspeakable horror of sin, the incredible cost of sin; GOD’S WRATH! 

(Do NOT try these at home)  Put your thumb on the top of a bench and with your other hand take a hammer and with all of the force you can muster smash that thumb with the hammer.  There will be consequences; it is going to hurt!  Wait until the weather turns very, very cold again next winter.  On a snowy, icy day walk outside to a metal pole and stick your tongue out onto that pole.  There will be consequences; it is going to hurt!  Walk out onto the freeway or highway in the middle of the night with all dark clothing, put black shoe polish on your face and hands.  There will be consequences; at the very least it is going to hurt. 

Christ willingly took the wrath of God, He drank the cup of God’s wrath, the “cup the Father has given me” because He loved us so much and wanted us to find forgiveness.  There was no other way!  We aren’t going to find forgiveness any other way!  But forgiveness never meant that we could just go on and do whatever we want to do without consequences.  He will not force His forgiveness on us.

A woman was set up; the Bible tells us that she was literally caught in the act of adultery.  Now we’re all adults here, we know what that means.  We know that she was set up because to be caught in the act of adultery means that there were at least two people involved . . . where is the man that she was caught in the act of adultery with?  She was set up.  And she was set up not to get her, she is just a pawn in the whole charade.  She was set up to catch Jesus in a trap.  And it was the religious leaders of the day who did it!  (Does anyone else see the irony here?)  They probably dragged her from the bed and drug her naked in front of everyone to where Jesus was.  You see, women were just objects in that day and time.  It was Jesus who treated her as a person of worth, value & dignity!  When they brought her and threw her in front of Him they were trying to trap Him.  All of that is relevant, but it only gives more power and authority to what happens next.

Jesus challenged them, “Whoever is without sin can throw the first stone . . .”  The implication was that after that, everyone else could join in.  Well of course we know what happened; no one was willing to cast that first stone.  One author said that the thumping of the stones as they hit the ground was deafening!  THEN Jesus looked at the woman and said to her “Where are your accusers?”  She answered Him that they were gone and He said, “Neither do I accuse you.  Go and sin no more!”

When we truly see the horror of sin and recognize it for what it truly is, we will not treat sin lightly; we will not look at sin flippantly; we will repent.  Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”  He wasn’t telling her to do something that was impossible; He shared mercy and grace and He reminded her that she has a part to play in this.  It is a lifestyle; it is acting and living in concert with Christ in our lives each and every day.  If we blatantly ignore Christ’s call, we will feel the consequences of sin.  There will be a day when God judges sin.  It isn’t because He doesn’t love us; He loved us so much He made a way for us to escape the eternal consequences.  If we will choose to receive the free gift; if we will choose to receive the love of God for our lives, then He has already drank from the cup of God’s wrath.  If we choose to ignore that gift, we choose to receive the consequences as surely as if we decide to hit our thumb with a hammer.

He asks us, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  We decide, each one of us for ourselves.  He has done what is necessary, we choose if we will receive it or deny it.


One Response to “Wednesday Weekly #106”

  1. Betty Goudzwaard says:

    This is very nicely done…It is informative and welcoming!
    The pictures are great… so well done.
    I am happy to say “this is my church home”

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