Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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"We want to see Jesus"
On this Monday of Holy Week, we find ourselves desiring to be refreshed and renewed in the knowledge of Christ's love for us. We begin our journey through this week with Him by joining alongside the Greeks who "wanted to see Jesus."
John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Martin Luther wrote: "The right way to reach a knowledge of Christ's sufferings is to perceive and understand not only what He suffered, but how it was His heart and will to suffer. For who looks upon Christ's sufferings without seeing His heart and will therein must be filled with fear rather than joy, but if we can truly see His heart and will in it, it gives true comfort, trust and joy in Christ." From his sermon in 1525.

We hear from Jesus that we will see Him in His glory when He is lifted up on the cross, for through His suffering and death all are drawn unto Him. In another place in John's Gospel, the Jews asked Jesus for clarification as to who He is. This is how Jesus responded to their request.

John 8:25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Both references point to the death of Christ on the cross. The Son always did those things that please His Father, and He has not been left alone by His Father........so far, we can say as we know what is coming for the Son. He was committed....to the end.....

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

May the Spirit give us ears to hear His voice today, on this Holy Monday.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Mar 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The King enters Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) 3/24/2013
Sermon: March 24, 2013: Jesus Enters Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)

Front Cover: KJV Matthew 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Call to Worship: Dear Lord, we thank and praise you for humbling yourself in order to enter into humanity to save our souls from sin and death!

Opening Hymn: Hosanna (1st two verses)
Praise Song: Oh, How He loves you and me
Reading: Psalm 118:19-29
Praise Song: I Will Enter His Gates
Praise Song: Great Is The Lord
Scripture Reading/Prayer/Lord's Prayer/Offertory Prayer: Zechariah 9:9-17
Offertory Hymn #71 Ride On, Ride On in Majesty!
Sermon Text: Matthew 21:1-17
Sermon Title: Jesus enters Jerusalem
Speaker: Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Closing Hymn: #76 Ten Thousand Angels

Dearly beloved,

We are approaching the final stages of the life of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The crowds in Jerusalem had grown very large as they made their annual pilgrimage there in order to celebrate the Passover that they had been called to do by God many years ago, (Exodus 12) a celebration which commemorated the crossing of the Red Sea in their flight from Egypt and its land of bondage and slavery.

No doubt that news traveled that Jesus was coming to the Holy City,and undoubtedly the excitement grew as they watched for and waited for him to arrive. One can imagine that they were craning their necks to get a glimpse of this amazing man of God, and perhaps shouts of "down in front were being heard." When He came into view riding on a donkey, instead of a white horse which would be more fitting for the arrival of a king, perhaps many were confused. Yet the crowd shouted its praise and adoration of their long awaited King, they showed homage to Him by putting their clothes on the street in front of him and they waved the palm branches as Jesus rode quietly by, clippity clop, clippity clop, clippity clop on His way to the cross and to His death.

As we watch (with our mind's eye) His entry into the Holy City today, as we actively participate in the Holy Sacrament next Thursday, as we silently observe His final hours traveling up to Calvary's mountain, and as we meditate upon His suffering and death next Friday, may our hearts be being prepared to receive tthe joyous news of His resurrection next Sunday. But let us not hurry too quickly through that which Jesus experienced through the events of Holy Week.

Today we begin Holy Week by reading, hearing and thinking about the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This entry is recorded in all four Gospels which makes it one of the few happenings that all four Gospels include in their writing. These accounts are in Matthew 21:1-17, Mark 11: 1-11, Luke 19:28-40 and John 12:12-19. We have been focusing on the theme of repentance in our weekly Lenten Services and now as we enter the final week of our Saviour's life, we concentrate now on the events of the last week of his life. It is my intention to post a daily meditation which will be designed to give us opportunity to reflect on the final days and hours of our Lord's life here on this earth. I invite to you join me as we travel with our Lord into Jerusalem towards the cross......beginning with his entry into Jerusalem...to His death and consequently to our death.....
Here is the first part of our text......

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

Jesus, the one who created all things, including the beasts of burden, had walked in his ministry, but now he sends his disciples to get the means by which he would make his entry into the Holy City. They went, it was just as he said it would be and they brought back the two animals. It was a simple matter for the Creator of all to use them for this time and in respect for the man whose daily living may have depended on having the animals back, the disciples were instructed to tell the man that he would get them returned to him. After bringing the animals back, they put their clothes on the animals and placed Jesus on them. It is not clear as to why there were two animals and how he was placed on both of them..

Matthew also records that what was being done was done to fulfill the prophecy that had been spoken by Zechariah, around 500 years ago:

Zechariah 9: 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

It is important to understand that in the people's minds this was not an unusual manner by which a king would come into their presence, for they would have remembered of the days of Solomon, the great king of their nation around 1000 BC.

1 Kings 1:32 And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.
33 The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: {mine...: Heb. which belongeth to me}
34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.
35 Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.

So they were looking for their king, the long awaited Messiah, and as we can imagine, there must have been great great excitement. They put their clothes on the roadway for him to travel on and in this way showed great honor to their King. We know that it is a very honorable thing for a man to put his cloak or coat on the street in order that a woman would not have to step in the mud or in water. It could be that the materials on the street would have made his ride smoother...

8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

As the crowd surged and struggled to stay with him, both in front of him and behind him, great shouts which had been already spoken of concerning this day in the book of Psalms 1000 years earlier, were loudly proclaimed:

25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD

During King David's era (1000 BC) this word Hosanna meant to save us, deliver us and was connected with a prayer. In this context here it would seem to have the same meaning, but for most today Hosanna is simply used in the sense of praise. Nevertheless, even as the people on that Palm Sunday shouted for deliverance, they were giving praise and honor to the One who would give them their deliverance, but it would be in a far different manner than they were thinking it woud be. For simply by praying, Our Father who are in heaven, we are not only asking for help, but we are ascribing honor to our God.

10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

As they entered Jerusalem, quite naturally the question was asked: "Who is this?" Jesus then answered their question by doing what He does, resists the proud and receives the humble and lowly.

12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

There would be much to say about this, but we will not do so for brevity's sake. It is sufficient at this point to say that the keepers of Israel had gone far away from the true worship of their God and were using the temple to subvert people and not to serve them.

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

Here we see the blind, the lame and the children coming to Jesus in the temple. He refers to Psalm 8 in addressing the chief priests and scribes complaints against the praises of the children.

NLT Psalm 8:2 You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise.1 They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.

As we begin this Holy Week, we know that there is a collision which is going to occur between Jesus and the leaders of the Temple, which is going to end in death for Jesus. It is a death that has been ordained from the foundation of the world. (1 Peter 1:19-20) As we reflect on these things, may the Lord help us to see what He has done for us, is doing for us today and what He will do for us in the future.

Even as the collision is coming between Christ and the Temple leaders, likewise a collision comes to us in our lives, daily and continually. May we be open to that which the Lord desires to show us during this Holy Week.

In closing, I wish to share about a young lady whom I have been reading about from a book that she has written, called Kisses for Kate. She grew up in a very affluent home, her parents loved her and wanted her to be educated and prepard for a successful life here on earth. Butt at an early age she felt that she wanted to go a different way. As she began to look for ways to serve others, she was led to go on a trip to Uganda, where she fell in love the country and the children there. She left her life with her family and friends, and now has been in Uganda for around 4 years and loves being there to serve Christ by serving the little children.

I have read only a small portion of the book so far, but there are a few comments that she has made that have had an impact on me and which have been helpful to me as I enter into my Holy Week readings and meditations. Here are a few things that she has shared.

"People are people and every life matters."

"Jesus wrecked my life." "He stopped for me so why can't I stop for others?" Now being in Uganda, I am much more afraid of complacency, comfort and ignorance than I am of any physical danger."

Psalm 37:4 ESV Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

"It does not mean that God will give me my dreams, but that He will change my dreams to His dreams for my life."

"In light of the difficult conditions that I serve in and in light of the many things that are hard to deal with, I keep looking forward to that which I know that God will work out in the future."

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, {covenant: or, testament}
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless these meditations in His Word for His glory and for our edification and growth in Him!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 24 Mar 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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"We want to see Jesus"
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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3/21 7:00 pm:Lent service
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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns