Saturday Morning, 30 Nov 2019, Acts 2:1-47 ~ On the day of Pentecost… everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit

Saturday Morning

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening:  (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading: Acts 2:1-47 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit Comes

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”

Peter Preaches to the Crowd

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.

In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.

And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. King David said this about him:

‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.

You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’

“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand

until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’

“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”

Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

The Believers Form a Community

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
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Morning Reflection:

“Brothers, what should we do?”
– Acts 2:37 –

The annual Feast of Pentecost attracted “devout Jews from every nation” to Jerusalem. To their amazement,  they were aroused by a commotion in the streets and went outside to see what was going on. And Luke records the event – When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. But the commotion was more than just loud noise – Luke records their surprise – And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

It’s at this point that Peter steps up to explain that what they are witnessing is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy –
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.”

Peter goes on to explain the events surrounding the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and lays the responsibility for Jesus’ crucifixion at their feet –
“God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”

Their response was immediate – Peter’s words pierced their hearts,
and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter’s instructions speak to seekers in every age and stage –

 “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God,
and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

– Acts 2:38 –

 Questions for consideration:

  • Have you ever felt the weight of responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus? Please explain.
  • Can you remember when the story of Jesus life, death, and resurrection first pierced your heart ? Please explain.
  • What has repentance of your sins and turning to God involved in your life? Please explain.
  • Have you been baptized? What were the circumsatnces? Please explain.
  • Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit? How do you know? Please explain.
  • What difference did receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit make in the lives of Jesus’ followers? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: – For the Day of Pentecost

Almighty God, on this day, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, You revealed the way of eternal life to every race and nation:

  • Pour out this gift anew, that by the preaching of the Gospel Your salvation may reach to the ends of the earth;
  • Renew the hearts of Your faithful people by sending us the light of Your Holy Spirit;
  • Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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“Come Holy Spirit Fall Afresh on Me” – Mark Kwan, City Harvest Church, Singapore

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Friday Morning, 29 Nov 2019 – Acts 1:1-26 ~ “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

Friday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Acts 1:1-26 (NLT)

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The Ascension of Jesus

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

Matthias Replaces Judas

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying.

Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.

During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them. “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.”

(Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines. The news of his death spread to all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”)

Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’

“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.
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Morning Reflection:

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—
in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

– Acts 1:8 –

Introduction: The book of Acts tells the story of the origins of the church and its extension from Jerusalem to Rome. In his Gospel account, Luke focused on the person and works of Jesus. In Acts, the focus is on the person and works of the Holy Spirit through the apostles. The events Luke recorded cover a period of about 30 years beginning with the Lord Jesus’ ascension in A.D. 33 to Paul’s two-year Roman house arrest that ended about A.D. 62.

Purpose: Luke’s purpose was:

  1. To provide an inspired record of selected events that show the spread of the gospel and the church from Jerusalem to the ends of the Gentile world, Rome in Luke’s day.
  2. To show how the plans and purposes of God were working out through history, i.e. how Jesus Christ was faithfully and irresistibly building His church.
  3.  To show the early church’s relationship with Roman officials (not one of whom opposed Christianity because of its doctrines or practices), and how the church survived in its struggle with a hostile pagan environment.

In today’s reading, Luke describes the transition in dependency upon Jesus who ascended into heaven, to dependency upon the Holy Spirit whose power they were about to receive. While they waited, they reorganized their leadership and were united in prayer – all 120 of Jesus’ remaining followers.

Questions for consideration

  • How would you describe Jesus’ followers after His resurrection and ascension into heaven? Please explain.
  • When they prayed to receive the Holy Spirit, what do you think they expected? Please explain.
  • Have you ever prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit? What did you expect? What happened? Please explain.
  • What do you think the purpose of the Holy Spirit is in a believer’s life? Please explain.
  • Has the Holy Spirit ever helped you tell anyone about Jesus? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For the Filling of the Holy Spirit (Steve Seamands)

Lord Jesus Christ: Increase my desire for more of You, and more of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Give me a hunger and thirst for Your Spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ: Increase my willingness to surrender myself to You, and give up control of my life. Heal my hurts, habits or hangups – and anything else that prevents me from going deeper with You.

Lord Jesus Christ: Increase my faith in Your promised gift of Your Spirit. Give me confidence in the Father’s goodness and willingness to give me even more than I ask or expect.

Lord Jesus Christ: Help me to be persistent in prayer, that I might be empowered to faithfully love and serve You wherever You send me – all to the glory of Your Name. Amen.

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“Holy Spirit Rain Down” – Darlene Zschech (Hillsong)

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, 28 Nov 2019, Ephesians 5:19-21 ~ “Give thanks to God for everything.”

Thanksgiving Day

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening: – Psalm 95:2-3 (NLT)

Come to the Lord with thanksgiving. Sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.

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“Give Thanks” -Don Moen

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Morning Reading: Ephesians 5:19-21 (NLT)

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves,
and make music to the Lord in your hearts.
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Morning Prayer:

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

+ We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

+ We thank you for setting us at tasks that demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments that satisfy and delight us.

+ We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

+ Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he conquered death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

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“Let All Things Now Living” – Mennonite Magnolia Chorus, Calvary Christian Fellowship Mennonite Church, Paris, TN.

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Wednesday Morning: 27 Nov 2019 – Luke 23:26-24:53 ~ “You are witnesses of all these things.”

Wednesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Luke 23:26-24:53 (NLT)

The Crucifixion

As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.

The Burial of Jesus

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin.

As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.

The Resurrection

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.

The Walk to Emmaus

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

“What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

“Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!

“Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.

Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.

Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.

“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Fat.her promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

The Ascension

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
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Morning Reflection:

“‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
You are witnesses of all these things.”

The span of today’s reading is almost too much to take in –

  • Jesus’ crucifixion and death on the cross – its apparent finality
  • Jesus’ burial and miraculous resurrection – the empty tomb
  • Jesus’ physical appearances to his followers – in different places
  • Jesus’ instructions to wait for the promised Holy Spirit
  • Jesus’ commission to preach forgiveness of sins for all who repent
  • Jesus’ ascension to heaven filling his followers with joy and praise

And all of Jesus’ followers, not just the eleven, witnessed these things.

Questions for consideration

  • Since you began following Jesus, what have you witnessed first hand? Please explain.
  • Have you ever personally experienced the presence of Jesus? How did that affect you? Please explain.
  • Have you received the good news of repentance and forgiveness of sin? How has that changed your life? Please explain.
  • Have you personally experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? In what way? Please explain.
  • Who comes to mind who needs to hear about what God has done for you? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Our heavenly Father sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world,
but that the world through him might be saved;
that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin.

+ We pray for the holy Church throughout the world: that the Lord our God may preserve her in unity, peace, and safety, bringing into divine subjection all powers and principalities; and that he may grant us to dwell in such peace and tranquility that we may show forth the glory of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ We pray for your holy catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth, with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

+ We commend our nation to your merciful care, that being guided by your Providence, we may dwell secure in your peace. Grant to our President, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in your fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ We pray for the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ We pray for all those who do not believe in Christ, that the Holy Spirit may enlighten them through the Gospel and bring them into the way of salvation. Have compassion on all who do not know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ; let your Gospel be preached with grace and power to those who have not heard it; turn the hearts of those who resist it; and bring home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there may be one flock under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Christ We Do All Adore Thee” – The York College Concert Choir

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Tuesday Morning, 26 Nov 2019, Luke 22:7-23:25 ~ Jesus’ agony of spirit

Tuesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Luke 22:7-23:25 (NLT)

The Last Supper

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

“Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.

He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

“You have stayed with me in my time of trial. And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”

But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?”

“No,” they replied.

“But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”

“Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”

“That’s enough,” he said.

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”

He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.

At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.

But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”

Peter Denies Jesus

So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.

About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at him.

Jesus before the Council

At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?”

But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.”

They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?”

And he replied, “You say that I am.”

“Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.”

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!”

Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!”

“Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked. When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)

Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, and he announced his verdict. “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”

Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”

But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
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Morning Reflection:

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.
Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently,
and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
– Luke 22:42-44 –

It’s impossible for us to comprehend Jesus’ “agony of spirit” in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke tells us that during this ordeal “Jesus’ sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.”

Our reading today does put Jesus’ agony  in context, bracketing Jesus’ suffering in between “The Last Supper” and Pilate’s acquiescence to mob rule.

  • Jesus celebrated the Passover meal and instituted a new covenant sacrament with people He knew would abandon Him, one of whom would betray Him.
  • Jesus celebrated the Passover meal while listening to His companions argue over who would be greatest among them.
  • Jesus celebrated the Passover meal offering a way of repentance and restoration for Peter’s impending denials, despite his protests to the contrary.
  • In Gethsemane Jesus asked His followers to watch and pray with Him, anticipating their succumbing to the temptation to sleep.
  • In Gethsemane Jesus anticipated the horrific suffering He was about to experience, asking God to take it away, yet submitting to God’s will.
  • In Gethsemane Jesus met His betrayer and those who would arrest and abuse Him with equanimity and resolve.
  • In the High Priest’s home, Jesus watched Peter’s denial and remorse, as He was left alone to face His accusers.
  • In the High Priest’s home, Jesus acknowledged that He was “the Son of God,” thereby guaranteeing the jury’s verdict.
  • In Pilate’s palace, Jesus acknowledged He was the Messiah, the King of the Jews and watched as Pilate declared Him innocent of all charges.
  • In Herod’s palace, Jesus remained silent as Herod urged Him to perform a miracle, and His accusers ridiculed and degraded Him.
  • In Pilate’s palace, Jesus watched silently as Pilate yielded to the mob’s outcry – instigated and inflamed by His accusers.

Is it any wonder that Jesus was in great “agony of spirit” in Gethsemane as He pondered His future?

Questions for consideration:

We can’t actually know what Jesus was thinking or feeling during His ordeal. All we have to go on is Luke’s account of what Jesus said or did. Nevertheless, we can try to put ourselves in His place and imagine how He felt and what He thought.

  • What do you find most disturbing about the events described in today’s reading? Please explain.
  • How would you describe Jesus’ feelings during The Last Supper?” Please explain.
  • How would you describe Jesus’ feelings in Gethsemane when He discovered His followers sleeping? Please explain.
  • Knowing Himself to be “the Son of God,” the “Messiah,” the “King of the Jews,” what do you think was going through Jesus’ mind when He was being accused and abused in the High Priest’s home, Pilate’s palace, and Herod’s palace? How do you think being moved from one trial to another affected Him? Please explain.
  • How do you think Jesus felt when Pilate, knowing He was innocent, gave Him up to the mob? Please explain.
  • What did submitting to the will of God cost Jesus? What has it cost you? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Submission to God’s Will (Joseph Mercier)

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you.  Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me.  Tell me what I should do; give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Amen.
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“Your Will Be Done”– Feast Worship

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen