Pastor Mark’s Easter Devotion

“Three Times”

Remember how he told you…” Luke 24:6

Early, that first Easter morning, Luke records women, who were followers of Jesus, rose in the dark and made their way to the tomb. The women stumbled upon a stone that had been rolled away and a body that had mysteriously disappeared. Suddenly, two angels, gleaming like lightning, appeared and declared the unbelievable news that Jesus was alive. Then God’s messengers said, “Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” Then we are told, “The women remembered his words”.

As I wrote on Friday, Jesus had been prepared for his death. But it is comforting to know that Jesus also tried to prepare his disciples for his death and resurrection. Three times, at various locations and hours, Jesus forewarned his disciples that He would be arrested, suffer and die – but on the third day be raised to life. On this Easter day, let us remember that Jesus also wants us to be prepared, whether tragedy or triumph. Today, as we center ourselves in Christ, and in his resurrection, no matter what comes, there will be ultimate victory.

It’s interesting that Jesus would speak of his death and resurrection three times. It is also interesting that three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus warns his 3 sleeping disciples. He tells them to pray and watch out for temptation. Jesus’ friends were never able to stay awake but it reveals the heart of Jesus. He wanted to prepare his friends for the events of the very near future.  

Even more personally, Jesus forewarns Simon individually. During the Last Supper, after a third discourse about washing feet, Jesus warns Simon that Satan has asked to sift him like wheat. What does “sifting” even mean? Perhaps we can replace the word, “sift” with the verbs, “pulverize” or “crush”. Understanding that Satan has the desire to “crush” Simon is a scary thought. Yet to know that Jesus wanted to prepare Simon, brings great comfort.

It should be noted that while Jesus was wanting to protect Simon, Jesus was preparing for his own “crushing”. You might think of the Garden of Gethsemane primarily as a place where Jesus prayed 3 final prayers to his Father- and that his sweat was like drops of blood. But going even further into the garden, reveals something even greater.  

Jesus gathered in the garden and prayed beneath the olive trees. Olive trees produce olives that when pressed and crushed, produce olive oil. Olive oil was used in anointing. Olive oil was used in anointing kings, anointing for healing, and other special purposes. Olive oil also represented light. Jesus was going to be the anointed King – and it would require a crushing on a cross. He would eventually be anointed King of Kings but it was going to take a mighty crushing in the process. When olives are crushed to produce oil, what process is involved? To extract all the oil from the olives, it requires the olives to be crushed 3 times. There would be three “crushings” required of our Savior – body, mind and spirit – a complete sacrifice to pay the price for sin.

Today is Easter day! May this knowledge of Jesus’ complete crushing and resulting resurrection protect and prepare us for whatever future we might face. May we remember that through his crushing and through his rising, he shines LIGHT upon this world.

So, let us shout three times. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Our anointed King LIVES! And He has CRUSHED DEATH FOREVER!!

Thanks Be to God!

Pastor Mark

 

    


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