April 19: The Wisdom of Holy Week

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”  Proverbs 3:11-12

All week long we’ve been seeing that Jesus fulfilled the Proverbs for us.  Martin Luther called it the great exchange.  All the suffering, pain, and death that we deserve as punishment for our sins were given to Jesus.  All the rewards, love, and life that Jesus deserves are given to us.  It’s a GREAT exchange!

Paul says a similar thing in Romans:  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.  In the tomb we see the results of our sin, but tomorrow morning we’ll see the gift of God as Jesus leaves death behind!

In Baptism God has connected you to the death and resurrection of Jesus and performed the great exchange.  Jesus takes your punishment on the cross and gives you His father’s delight!  Celebrate because God delights in YOU!



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April 18: The Wisdom of Holy Week

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,
 and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

“Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”  Jesus’ trust in His Father is remarkable.  There is more to life than living well.  Jesus teaches us also how to die well.  Dying well is all about trust, and Jesus had it in abundance.

Because Jesus trusted His father enough to die in His hands we get to live forever!  Psalm 23 is a psalm commonly prayed at funerals and even before, at the bedside of one who is departing this world for the next.  It is a powerful Scripture that helps to increase trust, and has helped many to die well.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.
 He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
 all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Jesus trusted perfectly so we get to walk in paths of righteousness!  He died in His Father’s hands so we get to live!  He was covered in blood, sweat, and tears so we could be anointed as royalty!  Jesus became mortal so we could be immortal!  The great exchange goes on and on always in our favor!

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April 17: The Wisdom of Holy Week

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

Jesus’ humility is striking.  He has people bowing down to him in worship and praise on a regular basis yet takes time to give glory to His Father.  He knows how many hairs are on your head, but takes time to get His Father’s advice.  In the Garden of Gethsemane we see the humility of Jesus as He fears the Lord and shuns evil.  Not my will, but THY will be done!

Philippians chapter 2:5-11 offers such a hymn of praise to Jesus for his servant heart and humble life.  Even though Jesus deserved much praise he chose to become a servant.  He chose humility.  He chose suffering, pain, and even death.

In a world where you and I and everyone else think we know best we see Jesus drop to his knees and ask His Heavenly Father for direction.  In that act of submission Jesus showed fulfilled Proverbs 3 for us.  His act of humility lead him to take the cup of wrath so we could drink from the cup of LIFE!  His submission means health to OUR bodies and nourishment for OUR bones!

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April 16: The Wisdom of Holy Week

“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”  Proverbs 3:9-10

Jesus was a homeless person.  His sacrifice for you and me was total and complete.  He wasted no time building his nest egg.  He spent no energy saving for a rainy day.  He had no place to call “Home.”

Along the way he received an expensive robe made of one solid piece of cloth.  It was a piece fit for a king, but was ripped from him unceremoniously on Good Friday.  The Roman Soldiers noted the quality of the clothing and cast lots for it so that it’s value would not be wasted.  Even that last bit of wealth was given for us.  That last bit of modesty.  That last bit of comfort.  That last bit of dignity.  Given for you so that you may be rich.

Jesus honored the Lord with his wealth, fulfilling this proverb so that we can be rich.  The Bible doesn’t promise earthly riches though.  This type of wealth is beyond what money can buy.  It’s wealth beyond our wildest imagination that is given.  Because Jesus became poor, we have become rich!  These riches are not for this world where moth and rust destroy and their value will diminish over time.  These riches are for eternity!

There’s a great hymn that carries this message to its fulfillment.  “I’m but a stranger here, Heaven is my home!”  Because Jesus honored the Lord with His wealth He has gone ahead to prepare your home.  Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms,” and, “I will go to prepare a place for you there.”  Because of his total sacrifice you have riches for eternity!


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April 15: The Wisdom of Holy Week

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’— when you already have it with you.”  Proverbs 3:27-28

Jesus selflessness is amazing.  With the weight of the world’s sin on his shoulders he takes time to care for others.  He would have had every right to check out during this last week.  He could have disappeared and took some extra time for himself, and none of us would have questioned him.  Instead of looking out for himself it seems he even extended himself beyond what one can imagine during this last week.

He took time to show his love to the disciples by washing their feet and joining them for the last supper where he gifted them with life and salvation.

As He was being arrested he stopped Peter from revolting and took the time to heal the injured ear of one of his captors.  He loved his enemies perfectly.

He stopped on his way to Calvary to comfort the women who were crying in anguish.

He spoke words of forgiveness to the very men who drove nails into his hands and feet.  “Father, forgive them!”

He used precious breath to invite a criminal into paradise.

He cared for his mother and his good friend in his dying moments.

When any one of us would have turned inward to care for our own needs, Jesus opened himself to the needs of everyone else he met.  His selflessness is amazing, and in that last week we see what we’ve always seen in Jesus.  He always took the time to bring GOOD to those around him, no matter the cost.  Jesus fulfilled Proverbs 3:27-28 and we get all the GOODNESS!

He continues to do the same today, as Paul says in Romans 8:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  That’s a great deal for you and me!

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April 14: The Wisdom of Holy Week

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4

Love for God and love for others drove everything that Jesus did.  Jesus had a simple mission statement:  Love God, Love Others.  And, he did both perfectly for us.

Jesus fulfilled this proverb and gave the good name to you and me!  He was perfectly loving and always faithful, and by faith you and I get to stand before God with a great reputation.  This is what Paul means in Romans 1 when he says, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

Righteousness, or a good name in the sight of God, is given as a gift by God to those who believe that Jesus loves them!  For God so loved the world that He sent Jesus!  Believe in Jesus and you’ll find yourself in great standing with God!

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The Wisdom of Holy Week: April 13

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” Proverbs 3:1-2

For the past six weeks we’ve been reading Proverbs 3 and thinking about what it looks like to live a wise life. It includes being loving and faithful. Wisdom directs us to a right relationship with God and others. It properly places material things as a tool to serve God and do good for our neighbor. Wisdom offers a sense of humility that places God at the forefront of our lives.

Along the way I’ve looked in the mirror and realized that I don’t live as wise a life as I think I do, or as I want to. Perfect wisdom is hard to attain, even impossible except for Jesus. In this all-important Holy Week we will look to Jesus for wisdom. Beyond wisdom we will look to Jesus for the perfection that you and I could not accomplish on our own. In Jesus we see one who loves perfectly, who trusts perfectly, who fights evil perfectly, who honors God with his wealth perfectly, who relates perfectly to his father, and who does good to others perfectly. In Jesus we see perfect wisdom and wisdom perfected.

Apart from Jesus, there is no wisdom, but in Jesus we see one who always knows not only what the right answer is, but also how to live it! In Jesus we find ourselves forgiven and strengthened in wise living for today. The Lenten verse has it right: “Come, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…”

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