Story of the first Good Friday through the eyes of a criminal who receives the same brutal crucifixion sentence as Christ. “My Last Day” is a short film of regret, repentance and redemption.
Sometimes the most significant moments are hidden in a first small step.
The land that remains from the original farm stretches like a long green finger out to the country road. When we first saw the house almost four years ago, I told my husband it would be perfect for an Easter egg hunt. Then these words tumbled from my mouth: “We should invite all of the neighbors.”
By our first spring in the house, we still hadn’t met a single person. The cold winter—not to mention a split-rail fence smothered in brambles—felt like an impenetrable barrier. It was loneliness that brought the idea of a neighborhood egg hunt to mind, but I was afraid no one would come. Or, I was afraid children would come but then break their ankles in some hole left by our resident woodchuck.
Over the years I have learned to listen to whispers and respond to small nudges. Despite my fear, I ordered 2,000 plastic Easter eggs online. Quickly, before we could change our minds, my husband and I gathered a stack of invitations, still warm from the printer, and dropped one at each neighbor’s door. There were 115 invitations adorned with a clip-art bunny.
In the parables of Jesus, the great and glorious kingdom of heaven always begins in some small, insignificant way. It is a tiny seed. It is yeast. It is a pearl. It is treasure buried in a field. For me, it has been like a pink Easter egg with a single jelly bean inside.
Though their subject matter is grand and everything is at stake, these parables seem to ask so little of us. We must only toss a seed or knead the dough. Sometimes, all they require is that we open our eyes and recognize what is being offered to us: a pearl worth far more than any risk we must take or any fear we might harbor.
On that first Easter weekend, I was astonished when a crowd of 100 began to pour through the gap in our back fence. Children swarmed our small playset. Neighbors brought over potted tulips and platters of blueberry muffins. I felt just as I had earlier that morning when I noticed, for the first time, early golden daffodils emerging in great drifts all along the drive. I had not planted those flowers, but there they were. Mine to gather. Mine to enjoy.
This year we will host the fourth annual neighborhood Easter egg hunt. I am no longer surprised when a crowd begins to walk across our lawn in search of conversation, connection, and candy. Yet just as it did that first day, our community celebration reminds me of God’s promise that His glory will “dwell in our land” (Ps. 85:9).
The egg hunt has turned out to be very much like those daffodils. What began with a whisper as small as a buried bulb, became an unexpected revelation of glory across our swath of land. God dwells with us in surprising and unanticipated ways, but then He invites us to participate in that indwelling.
This Easter, I will watch dozens of children search for eggs among the daffodils. With the help of my children, I will have filled all of those eggs. And in these small ways, I cultivate a little more ground for the glory of God. It’s like digging for a treasure that I know can be found.
And while I dig, I pray: Thy kingdom come.
BY CHRISTIE PURIFOY
Jesus knew what was about to unfold. He sensed death and darkness closing in upon Him, yet He did not seclude Himself in preparation. Rather, the Lord chose to spend the final fleeting hours with His friends around a table flowing with bread, wine, and spiritual significance. Jesus wanted to be close to those whom “He loved … to the end” (John 13:1).
The apostle Luke takes care to point out that Jesus and His disciples gathered in the upper room to celebrate the Passover. There, they shared a meal known as the Seder, whose liturgy and symbolic foods recall how God liberated Israel from bondage in Egypt, crushed Pharaoh’s armies, and cared for the former slaves in the wilderness until they arrived in the land He’d prepared as their home. Every Passover at the shared meal, Jewish families retold the grand story of God’s provision and rescue—a reminder that God was not finished with them, that He would restore and spiritually heal their people yet again.
Given this, Jesus’ meal with His disciples carried all these echoes of Israel’s history and stirred again their tenacious faith in the guarantee of God’s promises. In the days ahead, those men would face despondency and confusion. Stung by the horror of the cross, they would quake with fear and outrage. They’d grasp for hope, clinging to any possibility that the story Jesus had begun was not finished. But all this travail was still to come. For now, Jesus ate and drank with the disciples and tried to explain to His perplexed friends how He would soon pour out His very body and life for their healing.
Offering this cup and broken bread, Jesus knew that His death would enact what the prophet Isaiah foretold—that it would require His wounds if any of us were ever to be healed (Isa. 53:5). Though the disciples could not comprehend the meaning of His words at the time, our Savior presented a promise to die and then to rise from the dead for them, for all of us who would believe it.
by Winn Collier
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Luke 10:21)
When the Lord Jesus was here on Earth, He was, among other things, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). One aspect of that example, no doubt, was His prayer life. He prayed and gave thanks before He fed the multitude (Matthew 15:36) and also when He ate with His disciples at the last supper (Luke 22:19). It is surely right, therefore, that we should give thanks in prayer before each meal, whether in a small group as with our family or in a large public dining place.
Jesus spent much time in prayer. On at least one occasion, He “continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12), and no doubt a goodly portion of His prayer was thanksgiving prayer, as well as intercession. But there seems to be only one specific item of thanksgiving by Him actually recorded in Scripture, and that is the item in our text. (The same is also given, verbatim, in Matthew 11:25, so we can infer that the Holy Spirit considered it very important.)
That is this: the wonderful truths of salvation and forgiveness—eternal life in heaven and God’s guidance and provision on Earth—are easily understood by the simplest among us, even by little children, even though they often seem difficult for “the wise and prudent” to comprehend.
Many are the intellectuals who can raise all kinds of objections to God’s revealed Word and His great plan of creation and redemption and who, therefore, will end up eternally lost. Many are the simple folk and children who just hear and believe and are saved. “Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” HMM
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. —Romans 1:20
The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but of the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide Himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being.
An attribute, then, is not a part of God. It is how God is, and as far as the reasoning mind can go, we may say that it is what God is, though, as I have tried to explain, exactly what He is He cannot tell us…. “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Only to an equal could God communicate the mystery of His Godhead; and to think of God as having an equal is to fall into an intellectual absurdity.
The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures.
I can’t comprehend You entirely, God, but I thank You for what You have revealed. Help me to learn all I can about You through an understanding of Your attributes. Amen.
By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place. (Hebrews 9:12)
I think most of us remember with assurance the words of the Charles Wesley hymn
which was his own personal testimony:
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God!
Wesley testified here and in many other hymns to an inner illumination!
When I became a Christian, no one had to come to me and tell me what Wesley meant. That is why Jesus taught that whosoever is willing to do His will shall have a revelation in his own heart. He shall have an inward revelation that tells him he is a child of God.
Too many persons try to make Jesus Christ a convenience. They reduce Him simply to a Big Friend who will help us when we are in trouble.
That is not biblical Christianity! Jesus Christ is Lord, and when an individual comes in repentance and faith, the truth flashes in. For the first time he finds himself saying, “I will do the will of the Lord, even if I die for it!”
There is one great event, which every day attracts more admiration than do the sun, and moon, and stars. That event is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. To it the eyes of all the saints who lived before the Christian era were always directed; and backwards, through the thousand years of history, the eyes of all modern saints are looking. Upon Christ, the angels in heaven perpetually gaze. “Which things the angels desire to look into,” said the apostle. Upon Christ, the eyes or the redeemed are perpetually fixed; and thousands of pilgrims, through this world of tears, have no higher object for their faith.