The church today does not and cannot celebrate Palm Sunday in the same way the original participants did. When the crowds cried, "Hosanna, save now," they were crying out for immediate deliverance from the Romans. The church celebrates Jesus' unique identity which was magnified that day. Palm Sunday gave a window into the hearts of those around Jesus as they responded to who He was.
This passage of Scripture embodies the very heart of Memorial Day. Nationally, we stand in the face of such love this weekend.
In combat, it is not necessarily the high ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that motivates a sailor or soldier to things he or she never thought personally possible. Rather, it is the love for the brother or sister in arms next to them in the conflict. Medal of honor recipient Lawrence Chamberlain tried to explain the willingness of men to face bullets in this way: "Simple manhood, force of discipline, pride, love, or the bond of comradeship." This longing for all to get home safely together motivates so powerfully in the heat of the battle! It is this special bond that creates a camaraderie so palatable that it lasts a lifetime and explains unbelievable acts of heroism.
Jesus Himself cites this axiom in John 15:13, and we do well to honor those who have fallen in the display of such love.
Our church mission statement states that "Grace Church of Mentor exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness." Our theme for the year of 2017 will be "I Am Not Ashamed." We will learn The Power of God in the Gospel as we study through the book of Romans.
Prayer is crucial to our spiritual development. Jesus' prayer in John 17 explains the purpose of Christ's life, which should be mirrored in the purpose of our lives. In this last section, we will seek to understand His passion for God's glory, which is His holiness and purity as demonstrated in His Son, God in flesh, who came to give His life as a ransom for all.
Prayer and Bible study are essential to the development of our spirit, that part of us that communicates with God. We are studying Jesus' prayer in John 17 to find the purpose of His life and how we can imitate it. In the second section, Jesus prays for His disciples at that time. His specific request in verse 11 is that they would be kept in the Father's name.
We are studying how to become more like Christ through prayer and reading God's Word. Jesus' prayer in John 17 shows His life's purpose and the influence He had. We can draw insight about our own purpose and influence from His prayer.
In our study of how to please God through our whole life, we are beginning with the spirit – the part of us that is being renewed against the effects of sin. Those who are born again have a new nature that is fed through our devotion to prayer and reading God's Word.
One writer said, "Whatever causes us to pray is a good thing." The Bible is chock-full of examples of God's people praying to Him. In John 17, we read an example of Jesus Himself praying. Christ relied heavily on prayer to sustain His life and ministry. His prayer in this passage shows the purpose of His life. We too can find particular purpose for our lives by studying this prayer and praying similarly.
On days of remembrance, the reality is especially poignant that our freedom is never free. In the history of this country, God has not primarily used religious or political leaders to safeguard liberty; He uses the sacrifices of men and women in the armed forces to secure our freedom.
Spiritual liberty, too, was bought at a high price. Jesus Christ paid his life for our eternal freedom.
The second chapter of John's Gospel shows the beginning of Jesus' public ministry – His first miracle, His first appearance at the Temple, His first Passover and His first cleansing of the Temple. The central verse of this section is John 2:17. All these events were the Messianic fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. We can study this passage to ask, "What is the activity and fruit of a life consumed with properly worshiping the Lord?"
Life can be difficult even during holidays. How can we handle it when hardship keeps coming? The apostle John knew about enduring affliction. He wrote five New Testament letters to assure hurting people of who Jesus really was.
John 1:14 summarizes who Jesus was and is. When we reflect on the truth of this one verse, we find that we are infinitely spiritually wealthy in Christ. We have been given everything that is needed for life and godliness both here and in eternity (2 Peter 1:3, Ephesians 1:3-14). Because of who Jesus is, the Christian does not have an option to disobey or quit. We have been outfitted to persevere.
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