The Tomb is Empty, is your heart?

The past few years when I was preparing for Easter honestly these were my thoughts:

“Ugh I have to go get new clothes for me, Ryan and the girls”

“Oh its the day when people who never go to church come to church”

“Someone is going to sit in my seat”

“Restaurants are going to be packed”

“Here comes all the Facebook pictures of people and their kids all dressed up for the one day of the year they attend church”

SHAMEFUL…right?!?

I am truthfully ashamed to admit those thoughts, but it’s true. My heart had become cold to what Easter was, hence my Holy Week blog series! When I set out on this journey I had no idea what I was in for. I could write out all the scripture about easter and tell you the usual “The stone was rolled away, he is risen, Death was defeated”, but that would be what you see every year.

You know what I want from you?

CHANGE!

The entire premise to my blog and my mission is to encourage Christians to get up, out of their comfort zone and start serving Jesus…for real. Not the mamba pamby, twice a month church visits and an occasional bible study. I mean 100% sold out for Jesus. You can’t do that sitting back and watching everyone else serve. You can’t do that from your couch watching Netflix.

Looking at the entire week leading up to this day helped me see Easter in a new light. My heart has been transformed. This Easter this will be the posture of my heart

“Oh I haven’t seen them in a year, I want to go make sure they feel welcome and ask how they are doing.”

“I am so excited for the opportunity to see folks I don’t get to see often, I hope that I can find out whats going on in their life and help them draw closer to the Lord”

“Oh I am so glad they sat in my seat! I get to go talk to them now”

“I’ll cook lunch for my family, and spend extra time with just them”

“I can’t wait to see all the folks on Facebook that made the choice to go worship our Jesus today, I know He must be so joyful”

If Jesus can come to this earth, live amongst us, have all the emotions we have, be beaten, betrayed and then still choose to die on the cross for even Judas….I can get over myself and do everything I can to take advantage of all the extra people at church today.

Lord,

One would think this would be the longest blog of the whole week, but instead the purpose of today is to worship. To remember you are alive. I pray that I run into so many new faces and have an opportunity to share your love. I pray that old faces come back and get encouraged and come back next week too. You are a God of forgiveness, mercy and grace. You sent your only Son for me. Thank you for His death. Thank you for His resurrection. I pray my heart never grows cold to what this day is ever again. Lord I pray that the person reading this turns over a new leaf. I pray they ask for a new yearning for your word. Lord I pray for the reader that doesn’t know you at all. I pray they find you and ask you in their heart. I love you Jesus. I am so thankful for this blog series and how it drew me closer to you. In your name I pray

Amen

Thank you for joining us in this Holy Week blog series. It has been eye opening and wonderful. I pray you’re heart is stirred to dig into the word.

Check out the podcast interview with myself and Lexi cannon! https://tuxproductions-theunpackitpodcast.libsyn.com/website

The Darkness

“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (Which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” (Matthew 27:45-46 NIV)

This is our Savior, our Jesus, as He is hanging on the cross and crying out to God. Can you imagine what the people standing by and witnessing this thought when darkness overcame the land? Were they scared? Did they think the world was ending? Did they realize that Jesus must have been the Messiah? I have so many questions. I’ll be honest- I have skipped over this section of the Easter story many times. I have even wrongly assumed this darkness happened when Jesus gave up His Spirit to the Father. But here in this scripture, the words plainly state this darkness overcame the land while Jesus was on the cross, alive and still in suffering.

There are so many scientific guesses on what may have caused darkness in those hours. Was it an eclipse? Was it a dark cloud that covered the area? Did God somehow stop the sun from shining? We don’t know what caused this period of darkness. But here is what I do know: there was a purpose for it. I’ll be honest, this subject was a hard one to process. I am (usually) a bright and optimistic person, but the darkness of the crucifixion is harsh and gut wrenching. In my studying and digging, God took me all over the Bible in searching for a deeper understanding of what exactly took place during those three hours of darkness. Follow me as we dig in together.

#1 God created darkness and separated it from light.

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2-3 NIV)

I believe that God created everything. Yes, everything… even darkness. Right away we see that God separated the light from darkness. They take turns in creation, and each one serves a distinct purpose in life. The separation of light and darkness is the first thing God did in the creation story, and spiritually speaking, they cannot exist together. This is so important in the way we live our lives. The truth is we are either pointing people towards the light or the dark. There should be no grey in the way we live our lives.

#2 Darkness can be felt and used as judgement and punishment

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt – darkness that can be felt.’” (Exodus 10:21 NIV)

Three days of darkness was the ninth plague that God sent to Egypt through Moses. It wasn’t just any darkness but a “darkness that can be felt.” What do you think darkness feels like? Does it feel scary, suffocating, and painful? I think it’s all of those things and more. To me, darkness is lonely. The enemy does his best work when we are alone and in the dark. We have all probably felt darkness at some point in our lives. Can you imagine what days and days of darkness is like? Or what about an eternity of darkness?

God used darkness here as a judgement and punishment for the way the Egyptians and Pharaoh consistently chose to ignore God. The Egyptians worshipped a son god. This was further proof that their god was powerless against our Creator.

#3 Darkness (sin) cannot exist in the presence of God.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 NIV)

In this verse, sin is referred to as darkness. Just as there is no light in the darkness, there is no sin in the presence of our Holy God. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we get to enter into the presence of God on day.

Now that we have a better understanding of how darkness was used in the Bible, let’s go back to Jesus on the cross. The three hours of darkness that everyone experienced during His agony has so much meaning. Let’s review!

God created darkness and light and separated it. They never go together.

Jesus is our light, but in the hours of darkness, He had to take on the darkness of our sin.

In that moment, His Father had to separate himself from His Son because sin doesn’t live in the presence of God. In that moment, our darkness of sin was felt by Jesus – it was so heavy that he cried out, “My God, my God Why have you forsaken me?” It wasn’t a moment of wavering faith but of anguish. In that moment, the weight and punishment of my sin and your sin was on His shoulders.

Could these hours of darkness be the exact moments that the Father had to completely separate from His son? The punishment of the world was upon Him, and given what we know about darkness, was this the moment God had to separate Himself from the Son? Was He lonely as darkness fell over the land in the last hours of His agony? Jesus took on the sins of the world in every part of His suffering. But I think we can use what we know about darkness to give us an unsettling picture of what Jesus was going through at that point.

I know this is heavy, and honestly it brings me to tears to think about my Savior taking on so much pain because of my sin. But there is good news! For Christians, we get to step into the light.

Jesus took on darkness in the form of our sins so that we would never have to.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NIV)

Jesus took on darkness in the form of judgement so that we would never have to.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1 NIV)

Jesus took on darkness in the form of separation from God so that we would never have to.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3-4 NIV)

Dear Jesus,

I see that in these hours of darkness You took on every weight and sin of mine and the rest of the world. I can only imagine the heartache as You were separated from the Father. Lord, let me never take for granted what You did so that I may never have separation from You! Thank you for taking on my darkness so that I may have light and eternity with You. As I reflect on how You did all of this for me, I can’t help but think of the immeasurable amount of love You have for us. Thank you Jesus! We love You and praise You. Amen.

Written by Amanda May

Amanda lives in West Monroe with her husband Brent and 3 kids. She works for Varsity Spirit as the Louisiana State Director. She is a member of Fair Park Baptist Church where she severs as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator and loves encouraging women through God’s Word. She loves all things sports and gameday related and has a vision of bringing people to God’s word through the shared interest of sports.

The Crucifixion

A mothers perspective

“He was someone’s baby boy!” I recently heard these words spoken about Jesus, and suddenly my whole perspective about him changed. It’s something that obviously I’ve always known but never really considered until I was pregnant with my own baby boy. 

On that dark day so long ago there were so many emotions. Some people hated Jesus. Some were his followers. But Mary…Mary was his mother.

As Pilate was questioning Jesus, asking what he had done that his own people would bring him to be tried, Jesus finally answered him back saying “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

Can you imagine as a mother not fighting to keep your child from being handed over to death while listening to the majority of the crowd pleading for Barabbas, an actual criminal, a murderer, to be released instead of Jesus? And then watching your child be mocked, flogged, slapped, and taken to be crucified when you knew he was innocent? And even Herod nor Pilate believed he was guilty? 

Try picturing your child carrying his own cross and walking to his death. Thinking about the moment that Mary sees someone carrying a cross walking towards Golgotha and then realizing it is her first-born son takes my breath away.  Running, screaming, trying to get to him and feeling so helpless that there was absolutely nothing she could do to stop the inevitable.  Can you imagine the rollercoaster of emotions Mary must have been on? 

She knew he was the son of God and ultimately was sent here to save us all. She knew there would be a day that something like this would happen. But how do you prepare for a day like this Friday? Furious at the people that were doing this to her baby, so extremely heartbroken that her baby was being taken away, hanged on a cross, killed in the most horrific and tragic way we can imagine. But then maybe somewhat comforted as he made sure she would be taken care of by John. And so proud that he was so strong through it all and willing to undergo this torture to save even those that we’re doing this to him.

Mary sat at the foot of the cross not just as his mother, but also as a disciple of Jesus following him all the way up to the time of his crucifixion. She watched as the nails were driven realizing her son was dying FOR HER! As the parent it’s our job to save our children, but Jesus was saving his mother and at the same time the accuser, the doubter, the stranger, the sinner. And even if his worst enemy was the only one that needed saving, he would have done it just for him. Let that sink in for a minute!

Mary watched as soldiers gambled away Jesus’ clothes. Waited until he cried out to God, took his last breath, and his spirit released. Stayed through the earthquake that occurred as the veil between Heaven and earth was torn. And witnessed her son being wrapped in linen cloth and placed inside a tomb.  I can’t help but wonder if she was brought back to the day of his birth when he was born in a lowly stable and wrapped in swaddling cloths.  Neither his birth nor death would have been what anyone would expect for a king.

Even if you are not a parent yourself, everyone is someone’s child. Insert yourself or your mother into Mary’s role. 

The way I feel as I think about Mary on that day makes me imagine how God feels about us daily. Oh how He loves us! To send His perfect son with intentions to be crucified on the cross so that we, His imperfect children, could one day be with Him in heaven. 

I hope I never grow immune to how significant that Friday was. To how Mary must have felt watching the events of that day. And that I always remember that “he was someone’s baby boy.”

Dear gracious Heavenly Father, Thank you just doesn’t seem sufficient. I don’t know how you did it. You sent your son to be the ultimate sacrifice for us…for ME! I am forever grateful for your act of unconditional love. I am sorry for the times when I have downplayed the significance of that day. I am sorry for all the times I have taken his death for granted. Forgive me for all my sins that made this day necessary. Lord, I ask that you would help me to never grow numb to hearing the story of the crucifixion. And to remember all the goodness that has since come from that day. It’s in your holy and precious name I pray, amen!

Written by Mallory Meredith

Mallory Meredith, a West Monroe native, resides in Calhoun, LA with her husband, Bryn, and their three greatest blessings, Maggie Mae, Nora Kay, and Briggs. She is a science teacher by trade and serves as one of the middle school science content leaders for the district. Mallory is a member of Fair Park Baptist Church where she helps serve in the women’s ministry. She has a heart for helping women grow in their walk with the Lord and a strong passion for the retreat ministry. Her prayer is that her portion of this blog series will encourage readers to look at the bible stories we’ve heard for so long from a new perspective, that new revelations would be discovered, and the significance of the crucifixion would never become mundane!

The Garden

“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[d] with me.’ 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:36-39 ESV).

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I don’t have a green thumb. I am a plant killer. I try. I really do! I set out with the best intentions of being a good plant mom with a beautiful flower bed. Somehow, my plants always wind up dying despite my best efforts. Don’t even ask about my Japanese Maple, may it rest in peace. It has become a little bit of a joke in my family. Give me all the fake plants, and let’s just call it a day.

Gardens are places of intentional growth for provision. If tenderly cared for, what grows in the garden can produce beauty and sustenance. But our fall began in one, too- the disobedience of all of mankind in Eden. There was another beginning that occurred in a garden thousands of years later, in Gethsemane, where Jesus’ obedience began the restoration of the created to the Creator. Sin and death never really stood a chance. God always had a plan for our redemption.

After the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples move to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, a garden Jesus frequented often in His travels. This was a location known for its huge olive trees. Gethsemane actually means “oil press.” The process of retrieving olive oil involves the deliberate crushing and bruising of the olives. For the oil to pour forth, the olive is utterly destroyed beyond recognition. As Jesus enters this garden, He is preparing to be bruised and crushed for our sin, as prophesied in Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53: 5). And the knowledge of this impending pain is agonizing for Him.

There in the garden, hours before His arrest, the Savior of the world prays the most desperate prayer ever known to man: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26: 39 ESV). Don’t miss that! The Messiah asks His Father for another way. Wow.

Here are a few things we can take away from this scene:

1. Jesus understands pain.

When scripture states that Jesus was in a state of sorrow and agony, I am reminded of His humanity. It is sometimes easy to forget that our Messiah was fully man, fully capable of feeling pain, fully terrified of the brutality of the cross. Jesus was familiar with the details of crucifixion. Jesus was also fully aware of what He was about to shoulder- the weight of our sins. All sin. Separation from the Father in order to redeem the lost sheep. And this truth caused Him unfathomable agony. This convicts me because my sin is what caused His pain, His separation. I have prayed desperate prayers for healing and forgiveness, for wisdom and safety. But I have never prayed a prayer as desperate as the prayer of Jesus here in Gethsemane. None of us ever will. We will never know the anguish of bearing the sins of the world and having the Father turn His face away. We are spared God’s wrath because Jesus endured it.

2. Jesus wanted the Father’s will more than He wanted relief.

This is the most incredible part. Yes, Jesus has compassion for our pain because He knows ultimate pain. Yes, He understands our desperate prayers because He has prayed the most desperate prayer. His prayer exemplified a life bowed down to the Father: “not as I will, but as you will.” There it is- His heart and His body physically prostrated before the Father in a posture of worship. My prayers don’t often look this way. No amount of anguish could make Him deny the Father’s will. While Jesus begged for this cup to pass, He resigned to do God’s will, even if it meant that He would be crucified. This one is so tough for us to model. We beg for relief from painful circumstances, from sickness, from death. But sometimes, we will walk through hardships, and our suffering can be an avenue to know Him more deeply. We have a Savior who sees; we have a Savior who knows.

There in Eden, all of mankind fell to sin. But there in Gethsemane, Jesus’ obedience paved the way to our redemption. Spend some time today in prayer, remembering His agony and sacrifice.

Written by Alecia Bryant

Alecia lives in West Monroe, Louisiana, and she teaches high school English. She is married to Chris, and they have two beautiful children, Parker and Avery. Alecia is passionate about God’s Word, leading worship, and writing. She also loves to travel and scope out her next favorite Mexican restaurant 🙂 Alecia is a firm believer in the Lord’s unwavering goodness and kindness, even in seasons of heartache. Go follow her blog at wovenword.org to find encouragement about weaving God’s Word into everyday life!

Worshipful Wednesday

Then One of the Twelve— the one called Judas Iscariot— went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16 NIV

Bet you’re wandering “Emily why you calling this ‘worshipful Wednesday’ when this is when Judas decided to betray Jesus?”

I hear you

It’s a stretch, but I pray you’ll hear me out.

For some reason when I think about Judas and his betrayal I am brought back to the story of Saul. Saul was chosen as king of the Israelites. They insisted on a king so God gave them one. According to 1 Samuel Saul was a loyal worshipper of God and he instructed the Israelites how to worship. He made a big mistake when he disobeyed Samuels instructions (1 Sam 15:3,9) God then rejected Saul.

What happened?

How does a loyal worshipper make such a terrible mistake?

Arrogance? Disobedience? Fear?

Judas was chosen as a disciple (Matt 10:4)

When God chose the disciples he gave them authority: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons…etc (Matt 10: 8-15)

What Happened?

Greed? Disobedience? Satan? Did he feel

Betrayed by Jesus?

Both men were chosen, both men knew how to worship and both men fell out of character.

When you take your eyes off of the father and look at how you can benefit, true worship is lost. These men knew what to do, but their hearts were not pure.

John 4:24 says God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth

Saul knew how to worship and he let his own agenda cloud his judgement.

Judas know how to worship and he let his own misjudgment cloud his judgement.

1 Samuel 15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the end and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord”

Remorse

Matthew 27:3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. I have sinned, he said for I have betrayed innocent blood “What is that to us, they replied. That’s your responsibility.”

Remorse

Saul lost his kingship and Judas lost the thirty pieces of silver.

God knows our hearts. He knows we struggle with flesh. Saul had Samuel to give him instruction, Judas has Jesus, and now we have the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had to die for us to be freed. Without Judas betrayal Jesus wouldn’t have been handed over. It’s a hard truth to take in, but this decision he made on Wednesday should drive us deep into worship.

Worship Him with our praise.

worship Him by reading His truth and living it out.

Praise the Lord we have the Holy Spirit. Saul and Judas had the law. Because of Jesus we now have constant access to the inner circle of the temple. We no longer need a sacrificial lamb to atone our sins, Jesus was the final offering.

If that doesn’t bring you to your knees in worship… its time for a heart check.

Dear God,

Help me keep my eyes on you. Help me never lose focus of what matters. I pray that the life of Saul and Judas can be an example of what NOT TO DO. I pray we will never take for granted the advocate you sent us. Thank you for Judas. Thank you for all the bad because from the bad we gained the ultimate gift of salvation. Lord I pray today we stop and worship you. I pray we prepare our hearts for what comes tomorrow.

Amen

Written by Emily Yeager

Teaching Tuesday

Imagine you know when your life will come to an end. You know the date. You know the how, the where and the why.

What would you do the whole week leading up to that day?

For me I would like to think I would spend time with my family and do all the fun things imaginable. Take my kids to places they have never been and let them experience it with mom and dad before I inevitably leave forever.

I also can see the dark side of me, the flesh side, trying to run and fight my fate.

What did Jesus do?

We learned on Monday he went through the temple and cleaned it and then performed healing miracles.

On Tuesday he taught. He didn’t teach the way we are accustomed, he spoke in parables. This wasn’t a new thing for Jesus’s followers, but the idea that he did this days before his crucifixion really gives you an insight into His heart.

Picture from filming of the Chosen

Parable (מָשָׁ֑ל, mashal; παραβολή, parabolē)- A story or saying that illustrates a truth using comparison, hyperbole, or simile. It can be a model, analogy, or example. In Greek rhetoric, parables were used in argumentation to clarify, prove, or cause something to appear livelier (Rhet. Her. 4.45.58–4.48.61). Rabbinic parables explain passages of Scripture or illustrate an interpretation of a passage already provided.

Intense huh?!

I love to teach. I didn’t even realize I loved to teach until here recently. Naturally I love the teacher quality of Jesus. He will soon be beaten and hung on a cross, but he takes an entire day to teach his last few lessons.

Lets look at two of the ones he told

Matthew 21: 28-32 Parable of the two sons

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”

Matthew 21:28-32 NKJV

I can’t help but giggle a little right now because when we went through this in our bible study at church, one lady said “I hate parables, I just wish He would have said what he meant”

Those words may sound harsh, but honestly those words are real! That is how many Christians feel when it comes to trying to understand the Bible and our attempt to be more like Jesus. The flesh side of me high fives that sentiment but the spirit side of me knows that these parables spark thought. It makes us stop and really dissect the words and it makes us call on Him for understanding.

Now back to the two sons? Can you see where Jesus was going here? The pharisees knew the answer immediately, but their own obsession with the law was clouding their judgement. So much so that they completely misjudged John the Baptist. They had the law spelled out for them and it wasn’t enough. Which is why Jesus was there. He was there to free us all from the law.

Following that parable Jesus tells the parable of the evil tenant farmers. I actually want you to take time, grab your Bible and read this parable for yourself.

read Matthew 21:33-46 leave comments about the parable if you feel led

I pray this teaching Tuesday piece has sparked a fire in you. I pray that your interest will make you go dig deeper. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the guy who does.

Stop depending on other people to explain the Bible to you and dig in for yourself. There is so much truth in there. Find someone to read with you, maybe find two people.

Scriptures that cover this day-Matthew 21:23-24:51

Dear God,

Thank you for your son. For these last minute parables that speak volumes. I pray that the reader will go dig deeper. I pray they beg for desire for your word. You gave it to me and I know you will do the same for them; they need only ask. Lord I pray as we continue through Holy Week we would stop and be still. I pray we would take time to remember and be thankful. Thank you for your Son. It’s in His name I pray. Amen

Written by Emily Yeager- Christian, wife, mom, CRNA, writer and creator of life2drybones.com

Holy Monday

Consider this thought for a moment:

Knowing that Christ was fully God and fully man do you think some of his rage in the temple may have been a way of expressing his emotions of possibly fear or grief as he knew the torture and pain that awaited him at the cross?

When have you let these specific emotions, pain, fear, even grief, control your actions?

Now that you are muling that over let’s talk about Holy Monday. It’s often said that this is the day Jesus cleanses the temple and He certainly didn’t use lysol wipes if you know what I mean.

One time while serving at church camp I overheard a few teenage girls discussing what Jesus may have looked like. One of them turned to the other and said “ya know I think Jesus was probably hot. If I was God I would’ve made myself hot.” It was then when a middle aged lady, that I had befriended on our volunteer team, gasped and said “Did I just hear the words Jesus and Hot!? That is my Holy Lord!” Soon after, the whole dorm room of girls burst out in laughter and created a moment we’d never forget.

Mark 11:15-19 gives us an account of what went down in the temple that day, and I encourage you to take time to read this on your own.

Basically Jesus comes into the temple and instead of people praying and worshiping God He sees people selling goods and services like merchants. So it was then Jesus , our “Holy Lord”, starting flipping tables and chasing people out with a whip according to other gospel accounts. He then asked “Is it not written that my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But you have made it into a den of robbers.”

(Mark 11:17)

After this “teaching moment” Jesus then goes out in search for a tree bearing good fruit since he was hungry. He comes across a fig tree, but the fruit isn’t fit to eat, leading him to curse it. Now this isn’t like the kind of cursing that we might do when we stub our pinky toe and let some less than holy words fly, Because of the power of God Jesus cursed this thing and it withered up and died. I mean that’s some wild stuff. When the disciples saw this they questioned Him and He then used this as a moment to teach his disciples again saying,

“ Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

(Mark 11:23-25)

So back to my original question: when was a time your emotions got the best of you?

Do you think Jesus may have let himself be taken by his emotions in some of these moments? He knew what lied in store for him, and I am not doubting that he knew it fully and that he used each moment as a teachable one, as just shown to us. I couldn’t help but think, and I think deep down I long to think, that in the human qualities of Christ he carried the heaviness, the grief, the anger, and possibly many other emotions with him that week leading up to his death.

I know when I experience times of grief I tend to feel heavy and those feelings sometimes linger depending on the loss even after I’ve surrendered my situation to God. I lost three dear friends last year and I, unfortunately, know those emotions all too well. Not to give you too much of a “spoiler alert, but we later see in Luke 22:44 as Jesus prayed his agony was so great he sweat blood. (Many scholars and theologians have conversed over it was really blood, and although the sweat may have not been pure-blood we have reason to believe that it contained blood-like qualities.)

I think in some ways Jesus was a lot like us and his very real emotions may have very well led to his very real anger, so friends whatever you are going through this Easter season I encourage you to lay your emotions at the feet of Jesus. Because when it seems as if no one understands, trust me, He does.

Be sure to stay up to date this week with the rest of the readings as well as catch a fun podcast as I have the wonderful privilege to sit with this week’s writers and dive deeper into the true meaning of holy week and the Easter season.

I pray that you have a blessed Holy week, and that we all would remember that He is the reason for the season.

Written by Lexi Cannon

Lexi Cannon is from West Monroe, Louisiana and attends Louisiana Tech University. Lexi is a writer, videographer, amateur CrossFit athlete, and podcast host. Lexi is also the founder and creative director of Tux Productions a multimedia production company. You can hear Lexi and her guest on the Unpack It Podcast.

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Palm Sunday

The first time I heard the term “Palm Sunday”. I was asked to fill in as a teacher for children’s church. This was a class full of 3 and four year olds and I had no children of my own! I was pretty panicked to say the least. I genuinely had no clue what to say but thankfully our children’s minister brought me some material to go through.

I am ashamed to say I didn’t recall what Palm Sunday was before this day.

Along with those 3 and 4 years olds I learned something new!

That was about 5 years ago. In the last 5 years I’ve learned so much more about the Bible. In December when my friend asked me about doing a blog spotlight on Holy Week, I was brought back to that feeling I had before Palm Sunday when I knew nothing about the topic.

Panic and anxiety set in but it led to a genuine desire to learn more about the most important week in our history. The week our Savior arrived in Jerusalem as the blameless, spotless, sacrificial lamb.

All four of the gospels talk about the “Triumphal Entry”, today I am looking at Matthews account in Matthew 21: 1-11 Im gonna paraphrase

When they (Jesus and the disciples) arrived near Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples to retrieve a donkey and her colt. When they returned he got on the colt and rode in Jerusalem. This would fulfill prophecy from Zech 9:9 “Behold your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey”

Upon riding into to town there was a large crowd singing and praising and laying down palm branches for him to cross over. Hence the name “Palm Sunday”

A beautiful image comes to mind of Jesus on that donkey with all the people singing His praise. My mind is also flooded with symbolism of what Jesus was on that day. This same day was the day a sacrificial lamb would be chosen for the upcoming passover feast. A celebratory feast that dated back to the first passover in Exodus. The celebration of the angel of the lord passing over the homes of those who sacrificed a pure lamb and placed the blood on the doors of their homes. The blood that saved their first born child.

This lamb would be the ultimate sacrifice. He was innocent, but his life was necessary. HIs blood would soon be displayed on the cross, the blood that would bring salvation to all who believe.

Over the next week, you will see daily blogs about Holy Week. I have some guest bloggers who picked a day and wrote beautiful words to help you dig deep and think about the events that took place from Sunday to Sunday.

I pray you will daily thank God for each event that occurred and fulfilled numerous prophecies. I pray you’ll look at Jesus in a new light and get a better understanding of the sacrifice made for you.

Written by Emily Yeager

Author and creator of Life2drybones.com