Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

in Easter

Make All Things New, Week 1, Day 2

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JOHN 11:30-36 | 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

What passions existed in Jesus’ heart? He was passionate about the pain people feel when love becomes a loss. On the 23rd of March, I lost my mom, Anne. She was my spiritual mentor and someone in whom the grace of Christ was very visible. I was fortunate to be allowed in to see her despite the lockdown at her nursing home, and I was next to her during her final hour. I remembered the emotion Jesus showed at his friend Lazarus’ death, and the courageous desire he had to free Lazarus’ family from their grief. I felt his comforting presence as I prayed, sang hymns, and recited passages with Mom.

All throughout his ministry, Jesus was determined to comfort those who mourned.

Blessed are those who mourn. They will be comforted.

What blessing is there in mourning? What comfort?

 

in Easter

Make All Things New, Week 1, Day 1

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John 11:7-8 | 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”

JOHN 11:11-16 | 11 After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 2 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

John Calvin: This is the wonderful exchange which out of his measureless benevolence, he has made with us; that becoming son of man with us, he made us sons of God with him, that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power; that receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us; that, by taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself, he has clothed us with his righteousness.“ (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.2)

The passion of Jesus shows us God’s passion for the world and for us. Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and the week that followed, is a window into the Divine Heart. His decision to enter Jerusalem and suffer the cross became inevitable once Jesus decided to raise his friend Lazarus from death. Lazarus’ resurrection meant Jesus’ final confrontation and crucifixion, because Lazarus’ home was close to Jerusalem in Bethany and pilgrims were gathering for Passover, a festival charged with Messianic hopes for release from Roman rule. Raising Lazarus raised the stakes and set prior plots to assassinate Jesus in motion. (See John 11:45-48)

The long quote from John Calvin describes the wonderful way in which each of us is like Lazarus. There is an exchange through our connection with Jesus, he takes responsibility for our weakness and waywardness and mortality and we are infused with his strength and goodness and divine life. His beautiful heart with its passions can grow within us.

Turn Calvin’s quote into a prayer of thanksgiving addressed to Jesus.

 

 

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