The word “maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum which forms the basis of mandate. Maundy Thursday highlights the mandate given to us by Jesus to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34). The events of that final evening Jesus had with his disciples before his death carry with them much significance for us today.
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” ~Jesus (Luke 14:27)
When talking about discipleship, Jesus does not mince words. It is hard and costs everything. The weight of the decision to follow Jesus should not be taken lightly. In fact, he even challenges us to think through it before jumping on the disciple-of-Jesus wagon.
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9)
This tree, which was failing to produce any fruit, was taking up valuable resources and limited soil space. The man caring for the vineyard had given time and energy in order to prune and water this tree. Despite all his efforts, after three years, still nothing to show for it.
The movie has been out for a few days now. You’ve seen the trailers, read the reviews, heard all of the reasons you should or shouldn’t see it. Some may question the commitment to your faith if you pay money to see and support this inaccurate portrayal of the biblical story. This has resulted in some calling for a boycott of the movie.
“…life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” ~Luke 12:15
We often hear about stress tests that doctors use to tell us how well our hearts are working, or not working. This typically involves walking/running on a treadmill in order to raise one’s heart rate, increase stress on the body, while being connected to a bunch of machines to monitor results. Over the past few years we’ve started hearing about stress tests for banks. A similar idea, when the markets fluctuate and cause stress on financial institutions, how well will they perform? Bank stress tests give us an idea of these results. What about the idea of a life stress test?
Last week a controversial figure passed away. Some saw him as the very definition of hate, others saw him as speaking truth. Many rejoiced in his passing, hoping he would experience the eternal judgment he deserved, expecting justice to be served. A few mourned his death and used it as their own pronouncement of judgment on the rest of us. They are expecting their own form of justice.
After turning into my subdivision, you find yourself on a long boulevard lined with trees, street-lamps, and landscaping. It’s as if you just turned into Central Park. Driving for a bit brings you to the first stop sign. From this point on, everything changes.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’” (Luke 11:1-4)
Jesus was intentional about prayer. He was intentional about finding the time and the right place to pray. He made room to pray.
“Do this and you will live.” ~Jesus (Luke 10:25-37)
What does it mean to really live? This question struck me as I’ve been spending time with chapter 10 of Luke’s gospel this week. So, I thought I would ask you the same question. We are certainly given plenty of suggestions on what it means to really live; everything from what to drive, what to wear, what to smell like, what to drink, who to date, music to listen to, etc. All of these things are about the individual and seem to miss the point of what it means to really live.
3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” (Luke 9:3-5)
Jesus had just told his disciples to go and tell people about the “good news” (aka gospel) of the Kingdom and to bring healing to the sick. He told them to rely on the hospitality of others along the way. He also told them to be prepared to “shake the dust” from those who were resistant to their message.