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The Heart Of The Gospel

Title: The Heart Of The Gospel
Materials: Digital Illustration
Description: From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, we trace Jesus’ footsteps on the path that leads him to the cross. It’s a familiar story but an all-important one, one that speaks of God’s immense love for His people and the extent to which He would go to save us from our sins. Let’s shrug off any familiarity and approach the most important moment of history with refreshed eyes. Let’s focus our eyes on the heart of the gospel: Jesus, God’s gift to us.

PALM SUNDAY

On the Sunday before Easter, Jesus is welcomed into Jerusalem with palm branches and coats strewn across the road. As the people celebrate Jesus as Savior and King, it’s a timely reminder to us to do the same: open our hearts and bow before Jesus, our Savior and King.

 

MAUNDY THURSDAY

On the night He was betrayed, Jesus broke bread, poured out wine and washed His disciples feet, which signified His body broken, His blood poured out and His sacrificial love for us. Today, we partake in communion, proclaiming His death and remembering his costly sacrifice for us on the cross. Do our hearts swell with thanksgiving and praise to the one who gave His life so that we can live?

 

GOOD FRIDAY

As soon as Jesus breathed His last and gave up His spirit on the cross, the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. His death fulfilled the price we needed to pay for our sins, and gave us open and unfettered access to God. It’s only through Jesus, that a way has been made for us to reach the Father, to be reunited with Him. Every time we confess our sins, praise God and make our requests, let’s remember that.

 

HOLY SATURDAY

The crown of thorns. The nails that nailed Jesus to the cross. The sign above His head. And the cross. What do each of these mean to you?

 

Jesus was willing to endure the pain, shame and mockery for us. He wore the crown of thorns he did not deserve. For all that He has done, will you persevere in the face of persecution for Him and stand unashamed for the Gospel?

 

 

It was our sin that nailed him there. Yet, by the holes in his hands and feet, we are made whole. What might you want to nail to the cross so that you can be restored to live the abundant life God promised those who obey Him?

 

 

“King of the Jews” : It was a sign made to mock Him, but ironically, was the precise truth. Today, Jesus is not only king of the Jews, but also the gentiles, which includes all of us. Have you given Him the rightful place in your heart as King?

 

 

Once used as a punishment for criminals, it’s now the symbol of redemption and grace. Because of Christ, the meaning of the cross has changed forever. Knowing that it was in God’s plan since the fall of man to redeem us by the sacrifice of His precious and beloved son, how else can you respond but in worship and adoration?

 

EASTER SUNDAY

His defeat of death proves who he claims to be – God Himself. His resurrection proves the immense power of God. His victorious resurrection proves He accomplished what He had promised. And He has promised to return again. This glorious promise of hope is worth basing our life upon. Let’s serve Him in love and obedience as we wait expectantly for His return.

 

Palm Sunday To Easter Sunday

Title: Palm Sunday To Easter Sunday
Materials: Hand-lettering

YMI-Palm Sunday

“The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting” (Matthew 21:6-9)

This was a truly unusual way for a triumphant king to enter a city. Conquering rulers normally rode on mighty stallions. But Jesus wasn’t riding a warhorse. This reveals what kind of King Jesus is. He came in meekness and lowliness. Jesus came, not for war, but to establish peace between God and us (Acts 10:36; Colossians 1:20-21).

What kind of king is Jesus to you today? How can you honor Him as your King?

YMI-Good Friday

Some days, I’m in awe of you. Other days, I’m overwhelmed by life’s challenges.
But despite my consistent inconsistency, you love me the same.
Thank you Jesus for your constancy. For dying on the cross for an undeserving sinner like me.
For your abounding grace and unending mercy.
Once again, I ask for your forgiveness for the times I’ve sinned.
Once again, I give my life to you. Use it Lord, for your sake.

 

YMI-Easter Sunday

E – nter God’s presence with thanks and praise
A – llow Him to give us His embrace
S – ubmit to God out of love and respect
T – reasure His goodness lest we forget
E – ndure pain and sufferings like Christ
R – eady to take risks and pay the price

S – eek God’s kingdom and His righteousness
U – ntil they are added unto us
N – ever deny Christ as our Savior
D – aily commune with Him in prayer
A – lways the same is Christ, our Brother
Y – esterday, today, and forever

– Bernard (Gideon) Lim Kean Hyn, Malaysia (ODJ Contributor)

 

When Good Friday doesn’t seem so good

For most of my life, Good Friday primarily served as a heads-up for a nice candy-gorge. I glossed over what it really represented, anticipating instead the large egg-hunts with my cousins around my grandparents’ farm on Easter Sunday.

It was only a few years ago that I gained a painful understanding of the true significance of Good Friday. That happened when one of my closest friends from middle school, Erica, died suddenly in a car accident. All throughout late elementary and middle school, Erica and I had been joined at the hip. We attended summer camps together, were pairs for science-class projects, and even had our 15 minutes of fame at a statewide jump rope competition (yes, you read correctly: jump rope).

We communicated less as we went through college and pursued separate ways after graduating, but we never lost our mutual respect and affection. I had planned to contact her after the Easter holiday to reconnect before she moved overseas for missions work.

But in the late night hours of Good Friday, I learned that Erica had died in a car accident while driving home that day. It was inconceivable. In the wake of her death, I was confronted with the reality of how wrong and intrusive death could feel.

Yes, death is wrong. We weren’t designed to experience the sudden separation of death. But because of the Fall of man, death became part and parcel of life. Suddenly, I had a glimpse of the confusion, anger, and sadness that the disciples of Jesus experienced when He died.

But then, I also saw hope. The day I had previously ignored—Good Friday—commemorates two things. One, the torture and wrongful murder of the one who claimed to be the world’s Savior; two, the “good” result His death achieved: a way out of death for us! His resurrection three days later, which we commemorate on Easter Sunday, gives us hope for a lasting solution to death.

Thanks to what was accomplished that first Easter, I could rest in the fact of Erica experiencing paradise right now even as I grieved her unfathomable death and the depth of our earthly separation.

What has been of immense encouragement to me are the words that Jesus gave His disciples in John 16:33 before His crucifixion, which summarize the incomparably low moments of Good Friday and the unsurpassed high of Easter. Jesus told them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Today, we still experience effects of the fall. The emotions and pain that Jesus’ disciples felt still exist in this life. But even when we experience these extreme lows, we have the truth of Easter to hold on to. Jesus has already overcome the wrong by taking our place on the cross, and, accrediting His righteousness to us, declared, “it is finished” (John 19:30).

Knowing that Erica had fully accepted Jesus as her Savior, I look forward to seeing her again one day. And hey, for old time’s sake, maybe we’ll go ahead and earn another ribbon with our old jump rope routine!

Stations At The Cross

These wood-crafted panels were done for Sacred Heart Church in Samford Village, Queensland, Australia to replace their aged and fading framed reproductions of the Traditional Stations of the Cross.

Prayerfully painted on 1.2m tall hoop pine kneelers stripped from old church pews, these Scriptural Stations of the Cross are rich in symbolism.