SFB Sermon 04.12.20Pastor Mark Hanke
00:00 / 33:57
SFB Sermon 04.10.20Pastors Mark Hanke, Jeff Poush & Tyler Hanke
00:00 / 25:21

Holy Week Prayer Guide

Living in the Shadow of the Cross

Dear SFB Family,

 

This year we will not be able to gather for our prayer times during Holy Week. I sure will miss being with you face to face at our three different prayer times each day.  I love those times. So we wrote this little prayer focus for our church.  It is our hope that most of our church will find some time in each day to read through each passage, take a few moments to reflect on the passage and then pray.  We may not be together in the flesh, but we are together in the Spirit.  It is your pastors’ prayer that as we live in the shadow of the cross,  we may experience together the power and the glory of God’s grace in this unprecedented season.  Each and every day we will be praying with you for the eyes of your heart to be opened to the wisdom of God.

Monday, April 6

​Scripture:  Mark 14:12-26

Reflections:  There is a great passion these days to see all religions as simply different tributaries of the same river.  After all, if we are really the same, then I can practice my faith experience any way that I want.  Contrary to such a passion is the Scripture that describes Jesus Christ as anything but similar to other founders of religions.  There are a dozen things that significantly set Christ apart from every other founder of a religion.  The Lord’s Supper is one of those distinctives.  What is the dinner?  It is a reminder not of your faithfulness to God, but His faithfulness to you.  He will die for you.   He will get you home.  If you believe this, then you will relax and stop trying to earn His love, doubting His care for you and wondering if He still loves you.  He took an oath over you.  As surely as God is good—He will not eat of the fruit of the vine until Christ returns for us and we are home safe.  

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, the One who drank the cup of wrath so that I could drink the cup of grace, I come to You today.  I live in the shadow of Your cross.  I walk in the shadow of Your grace.  Help me to relax in Your love, to trust Your love and to never doubt how much You love me—a love so deep, so vast that You would die for me. 

Tuesday, April 7

Scripture: Mark 14:32-43

Reflections:  Where is Jesus going?  It tells us that He is making His way into a garden.  But His is not one filled with beautiful flowers and with nice trellises.  This garden is called Gethsemane.  It was a place Jesus and His disciples often would visit.  I wonder if He did not go there so many times so that in this final battle He would be focused not on the surroundings---but on the battle itself.  The name means “oil press.”  It was a press for crushing oil out of olives.  It would be this place that Christ would feel crushed, for it was here that He would begin to look down into the chambers of hell itself.  

It is hard to face such a daunting event alone—but that is what happened this night.  He took three of His closest friends to be with Him in prayer, but they would fall asleep.  It was here that the betrayal began.  No friends, no angels, just Jesus and the Father taking on the enemy of life.  

Certainly they did not understand what was before Christ or they would have never fallen asleep—would they?  Certainly they knew He was about to die for them and needed their support—didn’t they?  But they could not, or would not, stay with Him.  

Jesus faced temptation alone, He faced this final battle with no one at His side.  What enabled Him to make His way to the cross having our sins poured on Him?  It was His Father; it was the Holy Spirit.  The Triune God fought for us that night and today in your battle they stand with you again.

 

Prayer:  In the moment of this prayer, I sense Your presence with me.  I know that I am not alone, that I face this temptation with You and that You will never abandon me.  Though my flesh is often weak, Your commitment to me is never weak.  Though my resolve to follow through is often in question, Your abiding love is never in question.  Therefore, as I am pressed, crushed by my current battles, I am upheld by You.  I know You secure my victory.  I know You promise my victory.  Therefore I will live in hope, for the best is always yet to come with my Savior.

Wednesday, April 8

Scripture: Mark 14:43-52

Reflections:  The term "kiss of death" comes into our English language from our story today.  If you look up the definition, it tells you that the kiss of death is to become intimate with something that causes your very destruction.  The interesting thing is that Jesus is not destroyed—Judas is.  The passage is about life and death—but not so much from a kiss—rather the focus is on swords.  

You have the swords of the army, which Christ mentions as if to say, “Why are you coming with them?”  You also have the sword of Peter, which Christ speaks of, telling him to put it away.   Jesus goes as far as to say, “Anyone who takes up the sword will die by the sword.” 

The sword speaks of power; it speaks of a system of coercion, a system of political rule.  He is speaking of the kingdom of force and power and money and the kingdom of Christ.  Jesus is confronting every person with a question, “What do you think I am doing, bringing a revolution of force to overthrow governments?”  Second to that question is this one, “Which kingdom are you going to align with?”  Do you want to live your life by the power of this world or do you want to live under the Kingdom of Christ?  Judas has voted and the scripture tells us he has moved his political party from one of the twelve to the crowd.  Nevertheless, this text will ask us the same question, "Which Kingdom will you align with, the one of this world or the kingdom and the sword of Christ?"

Prayer:  Father, when I invite Your kingdom to come into my life, I also invite Your reign to come into my life.  I realize that I am moving out of the system of this world into the ways of Christ.  I understand that in Your kingdom the first is last, leaders are servants and suffering is often the path to victory.  Therefore, Lord help me endure well during this season of inconvenience with the Covid-19; help me live with Your kingdom values and Your willingness to put others’ needs ahead of Your own. 

Thursday, April 9

Scripture: Mark 15:16-32

Reflections:  Human beings made in the image of God treated their creator with the most despicable and deplorable behavior—they mocked Him.  Not only did our Lord experience the total wrath of God—all the weight of our sin poured on Him, and not only did He experience the physical pain of the cross—but in the cross He experienced the additional pain of shame.  

 

According to law, the guilty victim had to carry his cross, or at least the cross beam, to the place of execution, and Jesus was no exception.  He left Pilate’s hall bearing His cross (John 19:16–17), but He could not continue; so the soldiers “drafted” Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Him.  Roman officers had the privilege of “impressing” men for service, and the way they used this privilege irritated the Jews (Matt. 5:41).

 

When you consider all that our Lord had endured since His arrest, it is not surprising that His strength failed.  Indeed, “He could have called 10,000 angels,” yet He willingly bore the suffering on our behalf.  Beaten, broken, bruised beyond recognition, you have to wonder—why the purple cloth, why the laughter, why the crown of thorns, why the false worship?  They did it, the scriptures note, because they mocked Him.  At the heart of some of the cruelest treatment ever given to a person was the shaming of our Lord.  Why would anyone do such a thing?  

 

The scriptures tell us that they hated His claims and sadly, they hated His actions.  Even when His actions benefited people by healing them, feeding them, bringing dead children back to life, they hated Him for it.  As sad as this reality is, there is another story that occurred during this time.  As men and women were mocking Jesus, the Father was affirming His Son.  His words were so strong, so filling that they filled Jesus to the point that He set His face like flint to face His accusers:  “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.  Therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.  He who vindicates me is near.”

 

Prayer:  How thankful I am, Lord Jesus, that You listened to Your Father.  How marvelous that the Father so affirmed You, so that those who attempted to condemn You were ultimately silenced:  they wore out like a garment that was eaten up by the moths.  I celebrate Your vindication, I cheer Your endurance, I walk in Your life and receive Your grace.  Lord, You put to death shame, and I ask that You take the blanket of shame from me.   I long to walk in the strength of the Sovereign Lord who helps me. 

Friday, April 10

Scripture: I Corinthians 1:18-31

Reflections:  You stumble when something is different than you expect.  You stumble when you are walking and there is something you did not see, or you hit a curb or a child leaves a toy in the middle of the room.  It says the Jews stumbled over the cross because Jesus wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted.  That is strange, because the Jews had been carefully picked by God.  He had watched over and protected them down through the generations, and had prepared them to be the nation through whom the Messiah would come.  However, when He came, they crucified Him.  The Bible says that Jesus "…came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (John 1:11) 

 

If He had marshaled an army, and led them into battle, and defeated the Romans—if He would have shown them that He was successful and victorious—they would have marched behind Him.  But the cross got in the way.  You see, dying on the cross doesn’t look like success or power.  It doesn’t look like victory.  It looks like weakness.  It looks like failure.  It looks like defeat.  So they kept stumbling over it.  It kept getting in the way.

 

Today is Good Friday.  It is good because it is the day we remember the unchanging message of the cross.  The cross is the place where God placed the sins of the world.  The cross is the place where your Savior took your sins that caused a separation between Himself and His Father.  It was the cross that saved because our God allowed His death to be a substitute for our penalty.  Today we remember Jesus, taking our place, taking our sin and dealing with our death.  It’s a Good Friday.  Some might stumble over such a message.  Some might even dismiss it.  But those who understand the power of the cross will brag about God’s wisdom.  It is a Good Friday.

 

Prayer:  Today I remember Your death, Lord Jesus.  Today I remember the fact that You took my place.  “He who had no sin became sin…so that I might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)  Thank You for taking my place.  Thank You for not giving into Your flesh, for not shrinking away from that awful assignment.  I wonder if I will ever fully grasp the extent of Your love.  I wonder if I will ever understand the pain You experienced when You became sin and the Father turned away from You.  In my humanness, I doubt I can ever comprehend what You experienced.  Thank You for loving me even when I do not get it.  Thank You for taking my place even when I do not fully appreciate it.  It is a Good Friday.  

Saturday, April 11

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8

Reflections:  When you look back over history, there are a few inventions that merit the statement, “Now that changes everything.”  Certainly, electricity has changed everything.  It changes the way we live, the way we cook, the way we work.  Another might be the internal combustion engine and later the invention of the jet engine.  Travel has changed in the last 100 years.  What used to take months to travel from New York to Oregon now takes six hours.  You wake up in the morning and drive to work or to school.  Your vacations are different because of the engine; your place of residence has changed.  We live much farther from where we grew up on average.  One last invention that has come into our lives is the internet.  Ask the U.S. Postal Service if the internet has changed things.  Through Skype you can talk to your kids around the world.  During our “Sheltering at Home” season the internet has been a gateway of escape for many.  You can have access to so much information that you could never digest it.  When it comes to the internet, one could easily say—“Now that changes everything.”

 

It was Sunday morning, two days after a burial.  The disciples were bewildered, discouraged, scared, and had no idea what they were going to do next.  If the death of Jesus was not enough, they were summoned to His grave to be gripped by fear when they saw the stone was away from the entrance, and they surmised that someone had stolen the body.  Their grief was momentarily halted, for now they were filled with a heightened confusion coupled with fear.  At this point they encountered a young man dressed in white who said, “Don’t be alarmed, Christ has risen, He is not here.”  Now THAT changed everything.  

Prayer:  Jesus, because You are alive, Your resurrection changes everything in my life.  It changes my perspective of You, it changes my perspective of death, it changes how I see the Covid-19 virus, it changes the way I live my life and the way I worship.  It changes the way I read my Bible, the motivation I have to read the Bible.  The resurrection changes the way I pray and even how I feel about prayer.  Your resurrection gives me hope when I pray because I believe that what I pray about matters to You and You have the power to act upon my prayer.  When I encounter fear, I will remind them that You have conquered death.  When I hear anxiety, I will remind them that You can give peace.  When I see impatience, I will help them see Your gentleness.  When I see bitterness, I will attempt to introduce them to Your forgiveness.  When I see despair, I will help them see Your hope.  The resurrection changed everything.  

Sunday, April 12

HE'S ALIVE!

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Salem First Baptist Church
395 Marion St NE
Salem, OR 97301
503.364.2285
fbc@fbcsalem.org
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