March 2018

Sunday 4th March: Lent 3: John 2 13-22

What chaos Jesus caused in the Temple.  The building –built to worship God – was being used as a market.  The animals were for sale to be offered as a sacrifice to God in that worship, but no do but the traders did all they could o make a huge profit.  Jesus’ strong actions were challenged by the Temple authorities.  His reply, about the Temple being destroyed and re-built in three days was misunderstood.  He was foretelling his own death and resurrection.  ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild’ we sang as children, but Jesus was far from meek and mild when he needed to make a point.

Sometimes we have to stand up and be counted when society and individuals challenge our Christian values.  Can you remember a time when you could have spoken out in the cause of justice?  A quick prayer to God will give you the support you need.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.  So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”  His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”  But the temple he had spoken of was his body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

 

11th March: Lent 4: Matthew 18 21-35

Peter thought he was being generous when he suggested forgiving someone seven times but Jesus’ reply must have shocked him  “Seventy times seven” Jesus said, meaning as often as it takes …every time.  We are called to forgive every time someone wrongs or hurts us. Forgiving is not always easy, especially if the other person seems not to be sorry.  By dying on the cross, Jesus forgave the sins of the whole world – past, present and future.  We’re called to follow him by forgiving others.

Is there someone who has hurt you whom you need to forgive?  Ask God to help you.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? ”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

18th March: Lent 5: John 12  20-26

“We want to see Jesus”.  The Greeks had heard about Jesus, but they wanted to meet him – to discover who he really was.  We all know about Jesus, but how well do we actually know him?  Today is Passion Sunday when we begin to think about the last two weeks of Jesus’ life on earth.  We think deeply about what Jesus did for us – all of us. We are invited to take up our cross – whatever it might be – and to follow Jesus wherever he leads.

How well do you know Jesus?  How can you get to know him better?  Can you make a commitment to follow him, whatever the cost?

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival.  They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me”.

 

25th March: Palm Sunday  Mark 11 1-11

The crowd was excited.  They followed Jesus shouting “Hosanna”. Did they really know what they were saying?  Hosanna originally meant “Save now” and was linked to prophecies about the Messiah. Jesus was the Messiah, but not in the way the Jews expected.  They thought the Messiah would be like King David of old – a military leader who would save them from the Roman occupation.  Jesus, though, came to save the whole world from sin and death – not by fighting, but by dying and rising again.

Do you feel saved by Jesus?  If so, what is your response?

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.  When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.




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