Hey! He’s Alive!

 

 

It’s almost Easter!

 And so, I wanted to share a post to commemorate this.

 The following is my response to a Daily Post prompt.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

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The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: FORLORN

My Chambers 21st Century Dictionary gave the following definitions:

Forlorn:               1exceedingly unhappy; miserable.

2deserted; forsaken.

3desperate.

 

Have you ever felt forlorn?

The word for me conjures up a picture of a typical Charles Dickens’ character.

I have an image of a poor young orphan child—and I mean dirt poor. She goes to live with relatives who clearly do not want her. She is marginalised from family life, turned into a skivvy and treated abysmally.

The next thing that comes to mind when I think of this word forlorn, is Jesus’ close disciples—apart from Judas of course! How they must have been devastated after his death.

For three years they’d shared his life, heard his sermons, engaged with his teachings, watched his miracles and harboured hope for a life where they’d no longer be subject to the Romans.

But then he dies!

This was not part of their script. They’d bought into the concept of the kingdom of heaven… the righteous rule of a holy and just man—their friend Jesus Christ. And if Jesus was the ruler, and they were his close friends, surely they were going to figure in the leadership team – right?

We know that they thought about things like that… that they quarrelled among themselves regarding who was going to be the greatest. We even hear about two shrewd brothers, who went so far as to get their mother to ask Jesus if he’d grant them the honour of sitting either side of him, in the new kingdom.

Each disciple had hopes – high hopes. No longer would they be the underdogs. Oh No! They would be top dogs!

So when the religious leaders conspired to kill Jesus, when they arrested him and brought false charges against him, when they stirred up the crowd to ask for Barabbas (a murderer and thief) to be released, rather than their friend Jesus (who’d done absolutely nothing wrong, absolutely nothing worthy of death), when they watched him being nailed to the cross, when they witnessed him die and then buried, all their hopes, all their expectations, all their dreams were buried along with him. They were forlorn.

What to do?

Well, go back to their pre-Jesus life. Go back to their trade. Go back to fishing.

However, whilst they struggled with their confusion and feelings of disillusionment, whilst they threw their nets half-heartedly into the sea; their friend, their Saviour, their teacher, their master, their dead and buried hero, appears as large as life, on the beach.

And when they finally recognise him, when they realise that the strange thing he’d told them about (that he’d rise from the dead), had actually happened, their sense of forlornness disappeared. Their hopes were resurrected. Their dreams of a new kingdom were revived.

Their friend, the Son of God, was ALIVE!

Dear reader, have you ever felt forlorn? Have you ever considered yourself to be an orphan, whether literally or metaphorically?

Jesus is longing to be your friend. And he is an exceptional friend, a faithful friend. You can be confident that whatever you say to him will never be shared with anyone else. He will keep your secrets. And unlike your bestie, your BFF, when you share your heart, your hurts, your fears and failures, your desires and dreams, Jesus can do more than just listen, he can actually help you.

Purpose-driven believer, whether you are looking for support or solutions, Jesus is both willing and able to do something about your circumstances. He can heal your hurts. He can transform you into a new person. He can give you hope, a confident expectation that no matter what happens in your life, you can emerge as a victorious overcomer.

Dear friend, Jesus can turn your forlorn hopes into miraculous reality. If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour and friend, I highly recommend him. And if you’ve been acquainted with him in the past but circumstances have caused you to lose meaningful contact, to withdraw from, even abandon him, let me encourage you to mend that relationship, to trust him once again. Do it TODAY.

You will find no better friend, believe me.

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If you’d like to participate, or read what others wrote on this prompt, please visit: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/forlorn/

 

CREDIT: the above CCO image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

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May I wash your feet?

JesusWashingFeet (BennoOosterom)-1051030_960_720

Image from Benno Oosterom – Pixabay.com

 

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.

After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’  feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

John 13:3-5 (NKJ)

 

In recent weeks we’ve been looking at life metaphors. One of mine is that life is a journey. I believe most of you would agree with me that we are all on a journey of some kind—a journey towards our dreams and aspirations, towards God’s purpose for our lives and ultimately towards our eternal destiny.

In biblical times it was the custom for hosts to wash the dust and grime from the feet of their guests. It was an act of hospitality but also seen as an act of servitude. To wash someone else’s feet requires humility, as demonstrated by Jesus when he laid aside his garments to wash the feet of his disciples.

In Luke 7:36-47 we read an account of a woman filled with deep remorse over her past sins. It would seem she was convinced Jesus was the expected Saviour sent by God to save, i.e. deliver people from the guilt, stain and shame of sin (Matthew 1:21). She makes her heartfelt plea for forgiveness… for release from her transgressions, by anointing and washing the feet of Jesus.

I find it ironic that a Pharisee, to whom observance of the rites of washing represented an important religious tradition, would invite Jesus to dinner, insult him by not offering the common courtesies of a host, yet when this woman anoints Jesus’ feet and washes them with her tears, he is inwardly critical of Jesus, he is inwardly dismissive and despising of this woman.

Here is a man who needs salvation. Here is a man, I am sure, would have heard about the miraculous works of Jesus. Did he only invite Jesus to dinner so he could look good in front of his friends? Did he not recognise Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah? Did he not realise that he himself was as much a sinner as the prostitute, who’d gate-crashed his dinner party, who lay prostrate at his guest’s feet, weeping and seeking forgiveness?

We gain further insight into this man’s heart after Jesus shares the story of two debtors (Matthew 26:39-47). In a nutshell, because Simon saw little need for forgiveness from Jesus, his love and respect for his invited guest was measured accordingly. In fact, Simon even doubted the authenticity of Christ’s pedigree: “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.

Simon was perhaps only curious about Jesus, or wanted the kudos of being able to say that Christ, a celebrity, had dined at his house. Although he had little love and respect for Jesus, he was willing to use the Lord for his own purposes.

When you do not respect the one who died for you, it is easy to take his life, presence and ability to bless you for granted. It is easy for you to care only about what he can do for you, instead of falling down on your knees in remorse, repentance, gratitude and worship for all he has done for you. It is easy to forget that Christ sacrificed his life for us, even though, as *John Newton observed, we were an undeserving wretch.

The only reason we are now worthy, the only reason we have been exalted to the position of God’s heirs and joint-heir with Christ… to a position of kings and priests in the Kingdom of the only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15), is because Jesus willingly subjected himself to the cruellest death imaginable, so that I, so that you, so that whosoever wants to, can be saved, healed, delivered and restored.

As followers of and visitors to my blog, I would like to extend to you this biblical hospitality. Figuratively, I would like to wash the dirt, dust and grime from your feet as you pause to rest, before continuing on your journey.

I pray God will use the words I write to wash away the dirt from dashed hopes and dreams, defeat, despair and bitter disappointment. I believe God will anoint my words and use them to remove the dust of self-sufficiency or self-pity. And, I am trusting that God will remove the grime of pride (if and when applicable), whether it be pride of life, status or accomplishment. I pray he will do this both in your lives and in mine. Will you allow Him to do so?

Make no mistake, we all need the water of God’s Word to continually cleanse us, or quench our thirst. We all need the refreshment of his presence, his words of comfort, encouragement and peace. So my invite goes out to you all. Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, come and accept my hospitality. Come, and let me wash your feet, let me serve you with the precious love of Jesus.

*Author of hymn Amazing Grace


 

And, whilst you’re here, I take this opportunity to wish all my followers and visitors a Happy Easter!