Sunday Devotional: John 11:47-52

So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do since this man does many signs? If we let Him continue in this way, everyone will believe in Him! Then the Romans will come and remove both our place and our nation.”

One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all!  You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.”  He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,  and not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God.”

Last week was the celebration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  It is the salvation we are able to receive because of the payment for our sins by Jesus dying for our sins.  He freely gave His life for us but the chief priests, scribes and the people were a part of how that came about.

The chief priests and scribes conspired to kill Jesus because they were threatened by Him.  Several times they tried to kill Jesus   But after the time that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the plot to conspire to kill Jesus was really put into effect.

But even with all this, truth shone out.  The words that Caiaphas spoke saying “that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish” served as prophetic words.  Jesus would die for the people so that the people would not perish.  But not only that, He died so that Jews and Gentiles alike, all nations, all people, all languages would be gathered together to be apart of the family of God.

Even though the season of Easter has passed, the hope that came from it does not.  It is an everyday hope that all followers of Jesus have.  Because of one man dying for the sins of the world, we have hope.  Because of His resurrection, we have hope.  Let us share that hope with others.

Sunday Devotional: Mark 16:1-8

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they could go and anoint Him.  Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise.  They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?”  Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away.  When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him.  But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.’”

So they went out and started running from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.”  (Mark 16:1-8)

Today is Resurrection Sunday.  Today is the culmination of all that transpired during Holy Week.  Today is the day we celebrate that there is an empty tomb.  Today is the day we celebrate that Jesus was resurrected.

Even some nearly 2,000 years later, it is something that is simply amazing.  Death could not keep Jesus in the tomb.  The hope of salvation rung out and stepped out of that tomb.  We who follow Him now can follow Him into new life.  He paid the price for our sins on the cross.  Now we get to celebrate in the new life that we have and that will culminate in His return.

It was a shock to those followers who came to the tomb to see there was no body.  They were astonished.  I imagine if we had been there that Sunday morning that we would’ve had the same emotions and thoughts.  It took a while (and several visits from Jesus himself) for it to really sink into their hearts and minds that Jesus had truly risen.  And for us, it may take a long time for it truly to sink in what all it means for Christ’s death and resurrection.  But the good news is that God is patient with us and loves us.

Today (and everyday) let us celebrate Christ’s resurrection.  Let us celebrate the hope that has come from His death and the new life that has come from his resurrection.  He is Risen!

Thoughts on the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Trailer

Today the first trailer for Episode 8 in the Star Wars Trilogy The Last Jedi released.  It was a long time waiting for a trailer compared to Episode 7 The Force Awakens.  Since this is a first trailer this is just a glimpse into what’s in store but I do have some thoughts:

1.) There is an “Empire” feel to this trailer.  It feels like Rey will have her “Dagobah” time with Luke.  From the training to the “what do you see”? I do hope at some point if it’s this film or Episode IX that she builds her own lightsaber.  Every one else in the saga has built their own lightsaber, it would make sense and only be right that she constructs a new lightsaber just for her.

2.) There looks like there will be some sweet space battles.  That was one thing lacking in The Force Awakens was great space battles.  Hopefully that will be remedied in this film.

3.) Finn in stasis (or whatever that was) reminded me of Han in carbonite freeze.  I wonder how much of Finn in this film will be still unconscious/recovering and how much will be him participating.

4.) I’m guessing there will be more Poe which hopefully will be connected to the space battles.  More time with him and Black Squadron will be a definite plus.

5.) The “Jedi to end” line is the one that has me scratching my head and partly concerned with the track of the film (and Episode IX).  Granted that’s what the director Rian Johnson wants is to leave it so vague like that.  What I hope is that it doesn’t actually mean the end of the Jedi.  I think that would be a mistake and would be wrong.  In a way if that happened, the Emperor would have succeeded.  He wanted to get rid of all the Jedi and if Luke sees to its end then what the Emperor wanted to happen would’ve happened.  Maybe it’s a moment of crisis and with Rey the Order is restored.  I don’t know.  Out of all the things in the trailer that concerns me.

There are a lot of feelings.  I think the main one (and I tweeted a GIF of it) was “What?”  There are a lot of “what?” moments.  To be honest given how things are I’m very excited but I’m also a little anxious.  It feels like trusting someone to handle a very priceless artifact and seeing them carry it to you.  You’re excited to get it but at the same time worried they might get careless and drop it.  The verdict will come in December.

2017 Book List

It is a little later than normal but the yearly tradition continues.  For now the 13th year (starting in 2005), I have kept track of every book that I’ve read.  So far this year at this point I’ve finished 3 books and just starting my 4th book.  Here is the list so far:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Sunday Devotional: Matthew 21:1-11

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.  If anyone says anything to you, you should say that the Lord needs them, and immediately he will send them.”

This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:

Tell Daughter Zion,
“Look, your King is coming to you,
gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
even on a colt,
the foal of a beast of burden.”

The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their robes on them, and He sat on them. A very large crowd spread their robes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting:

Hosanna to the Son of David!
He who comes in the name
of the Lord is the blessed One!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!

When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee!”  (Matthew 21:1-11)

Today is Palm Sunday.  This day recognizes the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem prior to his death and resurrection.  It is both a reminder of His Glory as well as what is to come for Him.

Everything surrounding his entry into Jerusalem both was prophesied and also foretold the future.  It was prophesied in that He would ride into the city on a donkey, not a horse as a king would normally ride into a city.  But it does foretell in his return (as prophesied in Revelation) that He will triumphantly ride in on a white horse.

His disciples that were with Him shouted praises and sung joyfully entering the city.  It is an interesting contrast between the beginning of the week and how joyful the disciples were to the end of the week and the sadness that had taken them with the death of Jesus.  But the great reminder of for us today is that just as Jesus was triumphant entering Jerusalem on that day, He is still triumphant today.  And one day He will return triumphant riding on a white horse to fully establish the kingdom of God here on earth.