Tag Archives: Jerusalem

XMAS, Improved

My friend, Rick Martinez, with whom I’ve shared wonderful intellectual and philosophical conversations—as well as my writing efforts throughout the years—comments on some of my blogs. This is in response to my last blog, and is a beautiful thought for the season. I formatted it as a blog, but the thoughts and words are Rick’s, unchanged.

Thank you, Steve, for writing about Christmas—the Birth of Christ. No matter of all the “scientific” facts surrounding when Jesus was born and who believes what–there’s at least two general things we all acknowledge and accept as true. At the time and in the area of Christ’s birth, what was true 2000 years ago continues to be true today–some 2000 years later: There were believers and non-believers and warring factions back then as there are now. And–for Christians all over the world, the most tragic words ever written of our Lord are those set down by the Apostle John in the beginning of his Gospel:

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Bethlehem had no room for Him when He was born;

Nazareth, no room for Him when He lived; and

Jerusalem, no room for Him when He died.

Home Again, Home Again

SONY DSC

It’s the middle of the night, and we just got back from the airport. At half past midnight, our daughter’s flight arrived after her soccer camp.

With all my kids I’m amazed at how I enjoy seeing them learn and do new things while simultaneously knowing that they’re so close to growing up and being on their own.

As we read in Ecclesiastes: The words of David’s son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem: Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays.

Each generation wants the next to be a little better. Better educated. Better positioned for a successful career. To do well.

However, the most important thing we really want for our kids is for them to do good. To know that God has a plan for them that is better than anything they could ever imagine for themselves. To know how to trust Him.

I don’t have the talent to convince them by logic or clever arguments, so my wife and I have to try to teach by example. Examples like showing up together (complete with her brother) at the airport in the middle of the night with a small (Walmart) bouquet and her favorite Tropical Smoothie.

I figure that if we show them what love is, it cannot lead anywhere but to God.

The Women of Holy Week

Vladimir BorovikovskyThe Crucifixion

Vladimir Borovikovsky
The Crucifixion

Holy Week teaches us many things. Peter, James and John couldn’t even stay awake while Jesus prayed.

Peter, the “Rock” crumbled at the hint of danger and denied that he even knew Jesus.

Caiaphas the High Priest used his influence to maneuvers procedures so that Jesus was tried and condemned in an illegal proceeding before most people were even aware of it.

Herod was so shallow he that all he wanted was signs and wonders. In other words, he wanted Jesus to perform some entertaining magic tricks.

The most powerful man in the area, Pontius Pilate crumbled before the crowd. If their discontent had been aimed at Rome, he would not have hesitated to have the soldiers take care of them in a heartbeat. In Jesus case he took the easy way out.

Judas – and we can only wonder about Judas – betrayed Jesus, despaired and then died.

So many weaklings. Who was strong for Jesus?

The women.

His mother, of course. How heartbreaking for her to see her son treated this way, especially since she had known all along who He really is.

Mary Magdalene – who was as devoted a disciple as any of the men.

Veronica – who wiped the sweat, blood and dirt from Jesus face.

The women of Jerusalem who wept for Jesus on his trip to Calvary.

The only man we know to have stuck it through to the end was John, the apostle “Jesus loved” – Jesus’ his best friend. He entrusted his mother to John’s care, and John, friend that he was, took her into his home.

When Jesus cured the ten lepers, only one returned to thank him. Of the eleven remaining apostles, only one remained with Jesus throughout His ordeal.

But the women were there.

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The Rocks and Stones

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, commemorating when Christ entered Jerusalem.

palmsunday

I think his apostles had been waiting for this day, especially Simon the Zealot. Jesus the Messiah, the leader, the man who would lead the crowd to victory.

His welcome was a hero’s welcome. Palms and cloaks were laid on the path as a sign of homage and honor.

Jesus was the only one who truly understood what was happening. On the one hand He knew how important the trip to Jerusalem was for not only the Jews, but for the whole world. He knew that it was so important that if the crowd hadn’t cheered Him, the rocks and stones would have.

On the other hand, He knew that He would be beaten, abused, ridiculed and abandoned. He would face the very worst that Evil could throw at Him.

He knew that the crowd cheering Him would be replaced by a crowd calling for and then celebrating His death. He knew that the evil crowd would include many of those who cheered His arrival into Jerusalem.

But the rocks and stones didn’t turn on Him. They didn’t betray Him. They didn’t deny Him. They didn’t kill Him.

The rocks and stones remained loyal.