From the Internet Archive site: A few classic posts from Fr. Al Kimel’s old blog Pontifications, of which, sadly, only a few files still remain accessible online:
I highly commend to you the Holy Week Devotional today at Desiring God’s blog, it’s a wonderful and deep Scripture-filled reflection on Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemene.
Here’s an excerpt:
If Jesus had not been obedient unto death, he would have been swallowed up by death forever and there would be no resurrection, no salvation, and no future world filled with the glory of God’s grace and God’s children. This is what Jesus prayed for “to him who was able to save him from death” — that is, save him from a death that would not succeed its saving mission.
“He was heard for his godly fear.” God did save him from the threat that such a death posed to his obedience. Jesus did succeed. There is salvation for all who believe. There will be a new world full of the glory of God’s grace and God’s children.
And all of this is owing to the greatest prayer in the world. Every hope of the gospel succeeds because of Jesus’s reverent earnestness in prayer, and the answer of the Father. “Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly . . . and he was heard because of his reverence” (Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7).
Evidently, by the time Jesus was done praying in Gethsemane, the Father had not only made clear that there is no other way than the cross, but also that this way would succeed. The Lamb would have the reward of his suffering. He will “see his offspring; he will prolong his days; the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he will see and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:10–11).
Surely this is why Hebrews 12:2 could say, “For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross.” Beneath the terrors of present agony was the taste of future joy. The angel had come, “strengthening him” — clarifying, confirming, connecting the coming joy.
But take the time if at all possible to go and read the full entry.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You prayed earnestly and were strengthened in Your obedience to the Father, even unto death. Lord, I’m challenged that I need to watch and pray, being willing to give up sleep and other comforts in order that I might learn obedience. Father, help me to delight in seeking Your will, to persevere in prayer until I can find joy in obedience. Thank You Lord Jesus that even now You are at the Father’s right hand interceding for me and all Your followers. Strengthen us to watch and pray that we may not fall into temptation, we pray in Your most holy name. Amen.
I think all the music links are now working properly. WordPress seems to be very balky with embedded music this week. My apologies for any problems in listening to the songs. I’ve provided alternate links whereever possible.
In 2012 I posted three separate devotional entries for Maundy Thursday, each containing art and music:
I will be posting some new music later today, and perhaps some original devotional reflections as well.
Several other of the best illustrated & musical devotionals for Holy Week from our archives include:
The Rev. Glen Scrivener at the King’s English blog writes daily devotionals on key phrases of Scripture – passages from the King James Version that have shaped our language and culture. But his entries are not about linguistics, they are all focused on Christ, and how even very small details in Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments point to and exalt Christ and His work of redemption and salvation.
Here are passages from the Maundy Thursday readings with Glen has posted in previous years. They are all excellent. Take some time to delve deeply into the Scripture and symbolism of all Christ did and said this day before His crucifixion.
Related to the Last Supper:
Foot Washing John 13:1
Jesus Took Bread and blessed it Matthew 26:26
This is my body Matthew 26:26
This is my blood Matthew 26:28
Related to Christ’s prayer in Gethsemene
Abba Father Mark 14:36
Let this cup pass Matthew 26:39
Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak Matthew 26:41
Trevin Wax who is one of the bloggers at The Gospel Coalition, yesterday posted a beautiful poem / reflection on Christ’s outstretched arms of love:
Here’s the beginning:
Those hands need nails to keep them in line.
Something must be done.
Those arms must never embrace again.
We saw His arm reach out when He touched the leper, in defiance of our purity laws.
We saw His hands lift the face of an adulterous woman, thwarting our execution of her just sentence.
We saw Him welcome children into His arms, as if one must become like an infant to belong to His kingdom.
We saw Him break bread and divide the fish, as if He were supplying manna from heaven.
We saw His arms beckon sinners to His table, as if by repentance one can wash away the past.
We saw His arms do nothing to stop a sinful woman from anointing Him, as if He were a treasure greater than her priceless perfume.
We saw His arms crack the whip and overturn the tables, as if He were in charge of the temple.
And then we watched Him lead the blind and the lame inside, as if God’s house were for the broken and weary.
His hands are tainted, unwashed, defiled.
His hands, just like His speeches, are always about Him. He never ceases to point to Himself.
As if He were the only way. As if He alone has truth. As if He alone gives life.
His arms are open to anyone (anyone!) who will repent, and yet He bars the door from those of us who need no repentance.
The Holy Week Devotional series at Desiring God’s blog continues… (these are excerpts from the new book by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger, The Final Days of Jesus,)
Wednesday went quietly. Too quietly.
With the previous three days awash in drama — Sunday’s triumphal entry, Monday’s temple cleansing, and Tuesday’s temple controversies — now Wednesday, April 1, A.D. 33, comes like the calm before the storm.
But out of sight, lurking in the shadows, evil is afoot. The church has long called it “Spy Wednesday,” as the dark conspiracy against Jesus races forward, not just from enemies outside, but now with a traitor from within. It is this day when the key pieces come together in the plot for the greatest sin in all of history, the murder of the Son of God.
The Plot Thickens
Jesus wakes again just outside Jerusalem, in Bethany, where he has been staying at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. His teaching again attracts a crowd in the temple. But now the Jewish leaders, silenced by Jesus the day before, will leave him be. Today they will avoid public confrontation and instead connive in private.
Caiaphas, the high priest, gathers to his private residence the chief priests and Pharisees — two competing groups, typically at odds, now bedfellows in their ache to be rid of the Galilean. They scheme to kill him, but don’t have all the pieces in place yet. They fear the approving masses, and don’t want to stir up the assembled hoards during Passover. The initial plan is to wait till after the feast, unless some unforeseen opportunity emerges.
Enter the traitor.
Desiring God has a nice Holy Week devotional today: The Escalating Conflict: Tuesday in Holy Week, by Justin Taylor and Andreas Köstenberger.
Here’s the beginning:
It is now Tuesday morning, March 31, A.D. 33. The disciples point to the withered fig tree that Jesus had cursed the day before. Jesus gives his disciples a simple lesson from it: have faith in God. In particular, he says, if they have undoubting faith they can throw even the mountains into the sea.
Now if the disciples had ears to hear they would recognize that Jesus is talking about more than seemingly magical powers that can curse trees and crumble mountains. He is talking about realities bigger than this.
Note that he closes this mini-lesson on mountain-moving, undoubting faith by saying, “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 11:25). Jesus is reminding them that failing to forgive looms as a bigger obstacle to answered prayer than a mountain. The disciples will soon face great challenges to their faith and their ability to forgive. Will they remember this withered tree on the road from Bethany?
As they approach the Holy City, the events from the day before could not have been far from their minds. As Jesus enters the Temple Mount, crowds gather to hear him teach (Luke 21:38), and the chief priests, scribes, and elders waste no time in making their move. They will try to lay four traps to ensnare their adversary.
Note: This is the third post in Desiring God’s 2014 Holy Week series “The Final Days of Jesus,” inspired by the new book of the same title by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger. Holy Week illustrations provided in partnership with Crossway Books and Adam Greene. Previously in the series: