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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Palm Sunday

John 12:12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

The Triumphal Entry

The Jews of Jesus’ day wanted a leader to overthrow the Roman rulers. At Passover time, the Jews were celebrating the power of God. The Jews were celebrating the time when they painted the lamb’s blood on their door posts and the plague of death passed over them while they were held captive in Egypt.

The Jews of Jesus’ day wanted military power and might. During Jesus' day, there was corruption, there was sin, and there was little hope for the Jews to be free of Roman rule except through this man called Jesus who had amazing powers. No wonder the crowd was stirred up. If any man on the face of this planet had the power to take over the world, Jesus was the man. He could have taken over by creating a military force, by creating earthquakes or earth changes, by creating circumstances that would literally force people to follow Him. Jesus was the man and this Passover time two thousand years ago was the time. By today’s standards of success and power, and by the standards of success and power two thousand years ago, Jesus was a failure. Jesus dropped the ball just as He was crossing the goal line. He could set the Jews free, could have built a massive worldwide kingdom on earth, and could have changed the course of history. By the standards of worldly power and success, Jesus failed. However, He did give individual human beings the opportunity to choose Him as their Savior and God, which in turn changed the course of the history of these individual human beings forever. The message here is not about power as the world thinks of power. The message of the crucifixion is about the power of love transforming one heart at a time. The message here is about you and your heart. Jesus did what He did, and refrained from using force to take over the world because of you.

It Is Personal

The story of Easter and Palm Sunday is about just you and Jesus. The story is about your coming to Christ hanging on the Cross. The story of Easter is about your coming to the foot of the Cross in humility and contrition. Our loud preaching is necessary in some places and is required by God for some people to get the message. However, there are millions of other people, who still do not get the message about the personal nature of Christ. Jesus did not take over the world…because of you. Jesus did not marshal the forces of nature to pound the minds of the masses into submission…because of you. Jesus did not use any supernatural power to take over the world…because of you. You are the sole reason He went to the Cross and died the most horrible of deaths. You are the reason He was flogged until He almost died from the flesh being torn off His back. The whole Christian thing, all the preaching, evangelizing, great ministries, missionary outreach programs, giant cathedrals, little chapels, homeless programs, TV, radio, internet, this ministry, all the enormous work and effort…all this is being done because Christ did something just for you. He died for you.

Unless we come to see the acts of Christ as the most personal acts any human being has ever done for us, or ever will do for us, personally, then we will not find the power of His love and grace. Many Christian believers (and non-believers) are trapped in the idea of Christ dying for billions of people and these people count themselves in that mass of humanity. They see themselves as not having a personal one-on-one relationship with Christ but with a one-on-billions type of relationship with Him. You must remember is Christ is God. He can duplicate Himself trillions of times, be in trillions of places at the same time, and do trillions of things at the same time. This is how our relationship with Christ can be a personal relationship. Our relationship can be what it is because He can be everywhere at the same time, doing trillions of things at the same time, touching trillions of hearts at the same time, and He can do all of this in an individualized, customized, totally personalized, one-on-one way. In our scientific and technological age we want to know how Christ can do this but we do not know the "how’s", and often the "why’s". of God.

There are millions of Christian "believers" who go to church and help build the church who have never truly encountered our personal God, or personal Savior. For millions of believers and non-believers, the idea of Christ living, being crucified, dying on the Cross, and being raised again is abstract. These believers and non-believers do not connect the events of two thousand years ago to themselves except in some abstract, remote, intangible way.

Most people consider Christ a great historical figure but they have no personal friendship with Him. They have no personal love connection to Him. These people can think about the Cross and not feel much emotion other than compassion for the poor man who died on the Cross. Most people in the world can look at Christ dying on the Cross and not feel any sorrow whatsoever because sin has hardened their heart. If you can look at Christ dying on the Cross or you can think about Him dying there and not feel any sorrow, guilt, or remorse, then sin has killed your heart and soul. That is bad news. It is always bad news to have a dead heart and soul. However, the good news is that no heart and soul needs to stay dead. Every heart and soul can be revived from the tomb. The good news is there is new life ahead for you when your heart and soul has died. There is for you an electrifying and energizing moment when you look at your life, your ways of thinking, you falling short of what God wants from you, and you decide you want to change. We are all ego centered enough we may first just try to change ourselves. However, dead hearts and souls cannot come alive by the force of our will power or our "want power." When your heart and soul are dead, only the touch of Christ’s nail-scarred hands can revive you. What is the most remarkable event in all of history is the moment you hold out your heart to Christ, asking Him to forgive you, and then He touches you and makes you whole. This remarkable event happens so quickly once the event is set in motion we cannot measure how long it takes because it does not take time as we know time. This event of being revived from the dead heart and dead soul malady is a grand and unexplainable supernatural event. This event is the highest pinnacle of human supernatural spiritual experience.

Like every other effort in life, there is work required to reach this pinnacle of spiritual experience. To get to this peak of the supernatural world requires we not want to go there. Just to have the pinnacle experience because we want a peak experience prevents us from achieving it. Christ can reach out and touch us only by being truly humble in our spirit after we have seen how far short of the mark we have fallen.

There is deep emotional work involved in getting to a full relationship with Christ. Many people don’t want to take that deep a journey. Their sin prevents them or blinds them to the love and grace existing just an instant from them. When you do not want to take that deep a journey then you are missing the real power. You are missing the power changing lives, families, hearts, companies, and even nations. You are missing the power healing, restoring, blessing, and empowering you to deal with anything coming at you in this life.

To take this deep emotional journey to the Cross requires faith. God requires you to believe in Him…believe His words that you read in the Bible…believe in the moral code presented in the Bible…believe God really did send His only begotten Son to earth just for you and you alone…believe Christ did indeed die just for you and you alone on the Cross of Calvary…believe Christ did come back to life after being dead three days…believe Christ did walk among those He loved after being in the tomb… believe Christ did ascend bodily into Heaven…believe Christ has prepared a home in heaven for you if you just believe…and a whole lot more.

It would seem no one who does not now believe any of these things could find the power to believe or find this amount of faith. The truth is, finding this power is not a matter of grabbing at a straw in the wind, or reaching out and grasping anything at all. Finding the power of grace and love from Christ is possible only by letting go of the dark chains enslaving your heart and soul. Sin and darkness may have you but they have you only by your consent of will. No power of darkness can stand against the real power of the universe…the power of love and grace, the very the substance of God, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. More than anything else, God wants you to surrender your life into the hands of Christ. It must be reiterated, God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are about you. Christ knew you before you were born and He holds you now in the palm of His hand. By surrendering your life to Him, you are given the spiritual awareness to know as a fact and as a certainty He holds you.

What is most mystifying of all is millions of people are believers yet these believers have not surrendered. Millions of people, perhaps you, readily accept Christ died for them, but they have not given their life to Him. Millions of other people who once stood on the spiritual mountaintop with Christ and were lifted up by His power of love and grace no longer experience His power. You must remember the chains of darkness and sin are easily broken but are just as easily reattached. Satan is not willing to go quietly away and leave you in the hands of Christ without a fight. Satan wants your heart and soul and Satan can and will kill you, kill all the people you love, and kill every human being on earth. Satan will not leave you alone with Christ without attacking you. Satan does not play fair. Satan will deceive, lie, cheat, steal, and murder to get you. Satan will undermine, corrupt, and infect your heart and soul to get at you. It is because Satan is so aggressively trying to snatch you from the hand of Christ the power or force of your will should always be directed toward the love and grace of Christ. In Christ’ hands, with your will directed toward Him, with a humble and contrite heart, you can fight off the attacks of Satan and win big.

A Personal Note

I am philosophically opposed to using my life or my personal experiences in this ministry but I will break my pattern for just a moment.

At Easter-time, it is customary to show films depicting Palm Sunday/Passover and the crucifixion of Christ on television. I cannot watch these films. I cannot bear to see Him on the Cross. The grief and pain are too deep. The trauma to my heart, soul, and spirit is to great for me to bear. I have tried but I just cannot stand to see my Savior, my Friend, my All in all, my Power of Love and Grace, be murdered. It is just a personal thing. I have this constant relationship with Christ who empowers me to move my fingers over this keyboard and who does now put thoughts into my heart and mind. When I see Him being murdered, it is too much of a trauma for me to watch. Not only is it a trauma because of who He is, but it is a trauma because I put Him there. I put the nails in His hands and feet. I am more surely guilty than the Roman soldier who was following orders. I do not want to admit these things. I do not want to write these things. However, what I joyfully write is this...He has forgiven me. How He has forgiven me, I do not know. I do not know the mechanics of His forgiveness, I just know He has done it and I accept it and I am humbled by it.

May Christ Jesus bless you and keep you in His grace and love.

 

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018