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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Resurrection Sunday
Mark 16:1-7; John 20:1-2

Mary Magdalene had been given great healing by Jesus and from then on had been a devoted follower of Him. Now as she came to the tomb with the spices to anoint the dead body of Jesus, which would put a close to a very sorry chapter of her life, she discussed with Mary, the mother of James, as to who is going to roll the large stone away from the tomb.
She was fully convinced in her mind that Jesus had died, and that there could be no future without her Master and Teacher, a future as she knew it. To their surprise, when they got to the tomb, the large stone had been rolled away and a young man sat on the right side of the tomb. They both were told that the Jesus of Nazareth whom they are looking for and who was crucified, had risen from the dead and is no longer there. They were told to look for themselves as well as to go tell Jesus' disciples, and Peter, that Jesus is to be found in Galilee, just as He had told them before.

But how did Mary react? She did the first part, meeting Peter and John on the way back, and she gave the message which was still in her mind and heart; the message of disappointment, sorrow and hopelessness. Instead of believing what the young man had told her, she told Peter and John that Jesus had been stolen from the tomb, and that "we" do not know where they have laid him!!

As we read further in John's Gospel, Mary continued to focus on what she believed to be true, inspite of what she had been told by the young man, words that Mary had heard before from Jesus. "There you will see him, just as he told you." Let us read further in John's Gospel:

John 20:11-18
She continued to look down into the tomb, stooping while weeping in grief and sorrow, focusing on what was, what could have been, what should have been, what should be and so forth.

Finally the angels who were present asked her for the reason for her weeping. "She repeated that which she believed to be true, inspite of what had been told her by the young man at the tomb: "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."

After she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing by her, but did not recognize Him. (One commentator says that the look of reverence on the faces of the angels may have been what caused Mary to turn around to look) Jesus (unknown to Mary) says, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" By her answer she clearly was not looking for a resurrected Jesus, but was yet convinced in her mind that the Jesus she had known was a part of history.

Then the Voice of compassion and forgiveness spoke, which she had first heard earlier in her life, when He had cast out of her seven devils.
(ESV Luke 8:2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,)

She immediately responded to that Voice, and said, Teacher!
She wanted to hug Him, but was not allowed to. Jesus spoke the words that are written in John 20:17: "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

To which Mary responded by going to tell the disciples: "I have seen the Lord"- and that he had said these things to her.

What caused her to go from a mind of doom to a heart of hope and of the future? What caused her to repeat a message of hope this time? For when the young man had told her the truth, she could not believe and acted accordingly? What made the difference?

One of our biggest difficulties in life is disappointment in the circumstances of life and in people, both in ourselves as people and in our circumstanances as well as in disappointment in other people. We have a tough time dealing with circumstances, but for the most part circumstances are created by people, which includes ourselves also. For we fall short of that which we should be, as well as people do not always live up to our expectations. If we lean too heavily on ourselves or others, rather than hope and depend on Christ, most often disappointment and disillusion will follow. Let us consider this thought first in relation to Mary.

Mary had heard the Voice of grace and truth earlier in her life, by which she had been transformed from a life of sin to a life of blessing in the following of the Lord, Whom she referred to as Teacher. It undoubtedly was a close relationship of devotion and commitment. But did she understand the "bigger picture" of Jesus' coming to this world?

She apparently did not, for if she had, she would have remembered that through His death, He had conquered death, hell and the devil, and that it was all in God's plan for her future that Jesus died, would arise and would ascend to heaven.

She would have believed and trusted in the words of Jesus which spoke of death not being able to hold Him, but that He was going to rise again. We all fall victim to this forgetfulness in our dealings with circumstances and people.

What changed Mary? What changes us from disillusionment to an attitude of love, peace and joy, which always give us a hope for the future? What happens to us that we are able to go from a heavy feeling of hopelessness in our current situation to the certainty that He is with us, He knows what is going on, and He has a plan for the future, regardless how bleak it looks?

Jesus began to bring Mary from her place of unbelief by approaching her in her place of grief and disappointment. Did He then brought her back to the time in which she had first heard the Voice of compassion and forgiveness? For it was when she heard the Voice of her Deliverer, her Saviour speak her name, the name of Mary, the scales fell of her heart and then off her eyes of Who this man was. She cried, "Teacher!"

At this point Mary still lived in the limited knowledge of who Jesus was and of His real purpose for coming into our world, for she saw him as an instructor, a model of virtue, example for all, so naturally she wanted to embrace Him in the way that she had been accustomed to. But Jesus responded with these words:

"Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Here Jesus reveals to Mary that the fellowship and the communion which we today enjoy in the spiritual body of Jesus Christ is far superior to our earthly relationships, as close and as connected as they may be. For He had spoken these words earlier in his ministry:

KJV John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

As a result of His resurrection and ascension, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, our fellowships are given gifts of grace by which we have fellowship with and serve one another.

Ephesians 4:1-16

He wanted to show her (and us) and reveal to her/us of the far greater purpose that He had come for, that through the descending of the Holy Spirit to this earth, He will come to us! KJV John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

He comes today to us with His transforming power, His power of forgiveness, His enabling power, His staying power, His power of patience, His power of vision which enables us see the future as bright rather than dismal, His power to trust Him inspite of circumstances and people, and so forth... All from the Holy Spirit, which is not a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of self-control/discipline.

So, as Mary said it, "I have seen the Lord." (Not teacher)And, instead repeating what she had formerly said in unbelief, she went and told the others precisely the words that Jesus had told her. She saw by faith that which Jesus had described in his teachings, that the huge fellowship of believers (the Kingdom of God) which Jesus had come to make possible was going to be a communion of oneness in Spirit, which would not happen unless He triumphed over death and ascended to heaven.

She saw that the relationship which she had formerly had with Jesus was going to be superceded by a greater relationship of love, peace and joy throughout the whole world, which would unite all true believers in Jesus in a common bond of love, commitment and purpose.

She saw that our relationships here on earth are between imperfect people who are sinners, and that through relationship with Jesus do we relate and fellowship with one another. She saw that our joy is full when we forgive one another even as we have been forgiven.

She saw the power of a Christ filled life in the midst of disappointments in people and in circumstances. She saw that through the remembering of His Word, the believing of His Word, and the trusting in the promises and instructions of our Lord, His purpose for our lives and His plans for our lives will go forward. .

Be assured, His plan is for blessing, for good in the future, for hope, and this comes as we hear Him through His Word and Spirit,

Remember His kind Voice today, the Voice of compassion and forgiveness which we have heard in the past, and which is coming to us today through His Spirit.

For it is a Voice of acceptance by and in Him through His great love, it is a Voice of understanding of your circumstances today, it is a Voice that gives joy and peace on this day of Resurrection, and it is a Voice that when it is heard and seen gives hope for the future.

Lord, may we hear your Voice today, May we see you even as Mary saw you!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 12 Apr 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Palm Sunday to the Cross 4/07/09

KJV Mark 11:1 And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?
6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.


Introduction



Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the most significant week in the Christian church year. Traditionally today is described as the "Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem." Note: All history is dated from the time of Jesus Christ, from the time of his birth. It is either B.C. or A.D

{The calendar era that they refer to is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus Christ, with AD denoting years after the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of this epoch
.Because B.C. is the English abbreviation for Before Christ, some people incorrectly conclude that A.D. must mean After Death, i.e., after the death of Jesus. If that were true, the thirty-three or so years of his life would not be in any era.[3. (Wikipedia)}

Setting



It was the last Sunday before Passover week: one of the most important religious times of the year for the Jews. Passover was one of the three times each year when every male 12 years old and older was required to make a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem to “appear before the Lord” in worship.

Passover and its origin



The city of Jerusalem was filled with people for this annual passover celebration, which was held once a year during a specific time and was held in commemoration of the passing over of the angel of death in Egypt. On that night the Children of Israel were told to slay their lamb and to place the blood of the lamb on the door posts of their house and to stay inside their house. So when the angel of death came it passed over those houses which were marked with the blood of the slain lamb.

Christ is our Passover



For us as Christians, Christ is our passover as it is written in 1 Corinthians 5:7 where Apostle Paul writes: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Prophecy fulfilled



Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet Zechariah had foretold the coming of the King of Jerusalem, a prophecy which was now fulfilled on this day. ESV Zechariah 9:8-9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Both Matthew and John refer to this in their Gospels (Matthew 21:4-5, John 12:15))

Jesus' method of announcing/heralding the beginning of His Mission



At His birth He had been born in the stable in a manger, and now even though He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He chooses to begin the Passion week by coming into Jerusalem on a donkey. After spending Saturday night at Bethany with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, His bosom friends, Sunday morning He sent His two disciples to fetch his means of making His grand entrance into Jerusalem.

He rides into town on foal of a donkey. A donkey which He acquired from a stranger, revealing His divine nature to His disciples in the process of acquiring the animal. An animal used for sacred purposes must not have been ridden before. (Numbers 19:2)

The crowd swells



As He was seated on the donkey, coming into Jerusalem, great joy and expectation filled the great mass of humanity that was making its way to Jerusalem, the city of Peace. As the city was full of Pilgrim Passover worshippers, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they flooded out to meet the King. They were confused but yet encouraged by the passivity of Jesus and of His willingness to be hailed as their King, for up to this time He had resisted those who would have desired to place Him on a kingly throne. John 6:14-15 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

They worshipped their King by (Mark 11:8-10) spreading their garments in the way, some cuttting down branches off the trees, and laying them in His pathway..
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
Taken from Psalm 118:25-26 in which it is written:

KJV Psalm 118:25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
KJV Psalm 118:26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.>/bible>

"Hosanna" seems to be both a cry for salvation, while at the same time is a declaration of praise.

Application



Today is a day of many contrasts. Jesus enters Jerusalem to the praise of the Passover Pilgrims and yet He knows that He will die before the week is over. He is incredibly popular with some, but, as with all popular people, He has powerful enemies. Jerusalem welcomes the coming of the anointed one - the Christ - the Messiah. Yet, the crowd's ignorance shields them from the knowledge that this anointed one has come to Jerusalem to suffer and to die. Jerusalem celebrates while all of history holds its breath as it prepares to witness the single most important event in all of time.

Many times He had told His followers that He was going to suffer beatings, floggings, crucifixion, and that death waited for Him in Jerusalem. Up until the day that we call Palm Sunday, He had always said, "My hour has not yet come," but after He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He said, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." He also said, "Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out." It was clear to Jesus that everything was now in place for His sacrifice. The final events that would lead to His death had begun. The climax of his mission was mere days away.

Anticipation of these events already began to take their toll. He shared His thoughts with the people who had praised Him and now listened to His teaching, "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour." Jesus is the perfect human being and His impending suffering and death bothered Him just as much as it would bother anyone. He knew very well what was about to happen and it troubled His soul.

As Jesus was sharing His heart with the people who came to hear Him, He once again told them how He would accomplish His role as Christ. "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Passover Pilgrims saw Him as the one who would restore the Empire of Jerusalem back to the days of King David. They rejoiced. They celebrated. They prepared a way with palm branches and cloaks. They were ready for Jesus to restore the rightful place of Israel back among the empires of this world.

When Jesus told them that He came to Jerusalem to die on a cross, His hearers were confused. This Jesus was not what they expected. They did not understand that although the Christ will establish an eternal kingdom, He must suffer and die to do that. They did not understand that Christ's kingdom is not of this world and that the entrance to that kingdom is through death and resurrection. They did not understand that the Christ's death and resurrection from the dead were a part of that eternal reign.

To us the experience of Palm Sunday may be compared to an earnest money agreement that is placed on a house. It is a promise of that which is to come in the future. It is a prophecy and a promise that by faith and trust we receive that which is already accomplished. Meaning. For example, we read in the book of Revelation: Revelation 7:9-10 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.


In the same way that they long ago waved their palm branches to offer worship to the Messiah on the first Palm Sunday, we likewise do that today by faith and look to receive the reality of that which has been promised to us. In that place we will worship Him forever and forever.

From the standpoint of the world, the procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seemed a lot more victorious than the procession out of Jerusalem on Good Friday, as Jesus and another crowd moved toward the cross on Calvary's hill. Never the less, the true victory took place on that Friday and the evidence and power of the victory was shown on Sunday Morning, Resurrection Day. There on the cross, the King who rode in majesty will battle sin and defeat it with His own death. The victory that He won with His death will enable a new procession, a procession that began three days later and has not yet ended. And we are caught up in that procession, for this is a procession up out of the grave and into eternal life. Jesus led the way with His resurrection from the dead and all those who believe in Him will follow Him into eternal joy. We have received salvation as individuals, but we journey toward our right homeland in a multitude that no man can number, a group that is called the body of Jesus Christ. Therefore we say, Hosanna, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest! In Jesus Name, Amen

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 07 Apr 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Resurrection Sunday
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/7 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/14 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/21 7:00 pm:Lent service
3/23 11:30 a.m.:Senior Luncheon
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.
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