Pentecost – It’s in the Waiting!

For ten long days, the disciples sat in the Upper Room waiting on a promise from the LORD.  “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  They did not know what it would look like, how it would sound, or even when it would come, only that it would!  So, they waited, they trusted, they prayed, united in a promise from their beloved Saviour.  Waiting.  Not something I do well.  Waiting and trusting that the Holy Spirit would come.

Acts 2:1 says; “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  Pentecost was a day of great celebration for the Jewish nation – a day when the first fruits of the wheat harvest were offered up to God, it was the Feast of Shavuot.  The holy city of Jerusalem was jam-packed to the brim with God’s chosen people.   In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, a group prayed, a group waited – trusting in Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit.


What happened next was absolutely revolutionary, changing the world as they knew it forever.  It was incredible, unprecedented, and something totally brand new;  “and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”  This was a gift given to them straight from The Great I Am himself!  I have so many questions about that day.  How loud was the wind?  What did it feel like to have tongues of fire settling upon you?  Were they all afraid?  Did they remain standing in the presence of the Holy Spirit or did they drop to their knees in worship?  Was it totally weird to speak in a language you had never known before?


Acts goes on to tell us; “those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”  Three thousand souls!  That’s a lot of people!

Did I say earlier that this was unprecedented?  Well, mostly unprecedented!  God was indeed doing something new and totally miraculous!  But, way back in the book of Exodus, we see the shadow of something else quite revolutionary.

Another Pentecost day.  The Jewish nation had fled from Egypt and after forty days they reached the base of Mount Sanai.  The Great I Am descended upon the mountain in fire and smoke and the whole mountain quaked greatly!  There was a blast of a trumpet that grew louder and louder and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain.  Moses spent many days upon the mountain with the LORD, coming down about 10 days later – on the day of Pentecost!

How terrifying and absolutely thrilling it must have been, thunderings, lightning flashes, trumpets, and smoke!  During the time Moses was on the mountain, God gave His covenant to him, written by the very finger of God on tablets of stone!  But here, way back in the time of the exodus, the people of God did not wait for the promise of God.  Their impatience caused them to sin and when Moses came down the mountain with the Covenant of God in his hands the Israelites had already turned to idolatry!

Exodus 32:28 tells us; “so the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses.  And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.”  Three thousand men fell that day!

How fascinating the parallels! At Pentecost in the time of Exodus, God gave His law to the newly free Israelites.  His commandments, engraved in stone, a gift to His chosen ones.  Amidst thunder, trumpets, smoke, and lightning, the covenant of God was given to God’s people.  Ironically, three thousand people died that day.  At Pentecost in the time of Acts, the people of God waited for the promise of God.  Amidst fire and the sound of a rushing wind, the Holy Spirit was given to the newly free people of God.  So great was the infilling of the Holy Spirit that about three thousand souls were added to them that day!  The day our Father gave His new covenant to His chosen people!


St. Augustine said this, “Here is a great and wondrous mystery, brethren: if you observe closely, on the day of Pentecost the Jews received the law written by the finger of God and on the same day of Pentecost the Spirit came.”  The Holy Spirit is the sign of the New Covenant given to us from the heart of God.

You see, it is all in the waiting, back in the time of the exodus, back in the Upper Room, and it is still in the waiting even now.  Waiting for the promise!  Waiting to receive power from on high!  Waiting!  Will we wait on God during these days leading to Pentecost or will be consumed by all the many distractions.  All the idols that beckon to us, Netflix, TV, new projects, more work, another Zoom call?  Join us in the virtual Upper Room as we wait on the Lord, as we cry out for healing across the nations, as we believe for an unprecedented harvest?  Then when Pentecost comes, we can mount up with the wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.  What a wonder it is to realize that God had everything planned from the very beginning of time!  So many tiny details went into Almighty God’s strategy, this plan to be in a beautiful covenant with the people God chose and the people God loves!  A covenant to see you set free, restored, and empowered!  What an incredible God we serve, a God with intricate plans for your life!


His Loving Whisper

I like clear directions, distinctive, and well-defined. A GPS versus instead of a vague turn right by the blue house or go north at the end of the road. You could say I like to hear; loud and clear! There are times in the Word of God when God’s people hear that audible voice of the Great I Am, but more often it is that ‘still, small voice.” Take Elijah for example; “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12)

As Elijah rested in a cave at the top of Mount Horeb an incredibly powerful wind tore through the mountain, ripping apart the rocks. Then a fierce earthquake shook the mountain and finally a burning fire, but the LORD was not in any of these significant events! Finally, a small, gentle whisper breathed into the air, in Hebrew, ‘the sound of thin silence!” A quiet voice, a powerful whisper!

You see, so often a loud shout or yell can frighten us or make us nervous, but a soft, gentle whisper is the sound of soothing calm, quiet serenity. Absolutely, a loud noise can certainly get your attention, but that whisper is the sound of closeness, of intimacy. If I would like my husband’s attention in the middle of a crowd, I may raise my voice, but at night, just before the lights are turned down low, in the closeness of our bed, I whisper – “I love you.”

When our loving Father takes the time to whisper in that still small voice; it means He is near! God’s desire is to be close to you and He wants you to draw near to Him and so He whispers! He speaks to you in that still small voice. In the secret place where it is simply the two of you, our LORD leans in and whispers gently! Draw close, draw near, and listen carefully, our Abba Father is in that still, small voice!

Silent Saturday

Silent Saturday

Silence.  A Holy Hush descended over the heavens and the earth.  Waiting.  Suspense hanging in the air like the ticking of a clock. 

It’s Saturday.  That in-between day.  A day of mourning.  A day of grief.  A day when the sun refused to shine.  A day of gloom, and shadows, and melancholy moments.  I like to imagine it is a day when it rained all day and the children couldn’t go out to play, but that might not have been the case.  This was a day of separation, when the eternal detached from the divine.  This was the day Jesus had been dreading.  Separation.  Estrangement from His Father, the one He had not been separated from since eternity began. 

I’m sure the Father’s heart was broken too, unable to be in communion with His only Son.  I remember when my daughter moved back to Canada, it felt as though my arm had been amputated.  I felt so lost without her.  No cellphones or FaceTime to be found here.  The pain within the Father must have been immense.

But dare I say it?  Within myself, I wonder if this was also a day of anticipation.  A day when heaven held its breath in hope and faith.  I can imagine our Abba Father and Holy Spirit sitting together, anticipating the next day.  Can you see the Holy Spirit saying to the Father, “I can’t wait to see their faces!!  They are going to be so surprised!” 

You see with anticipation comes expectancy.  They were expecting Jesus to rise.  It was a given.  It was promised that Jesus would fulfill the prophecy, just like He had fulfilled all the rest. 

Did the angels know?  I would think they did, the disciples had been told on the way to Jerusalem, but had they really heard or understood?  “On the third day He will be raised to life again.” Matthew 20:19. I would imagine heaven would have been a buzz, whispers of excitement in every corner.  “Jesus will be raised to life, just wait, and see!  The prophecy will be fulfilled.  Oh, isn’t this just so exciting!”

Anticipation, like faith and hope, expectancy and trust, the forerunners of a promise fulfilled.  As so many have quoted before me – Sunday’s Coming!  And Jesus will rise again, completing the picture, finishing the task set before Him, against all odds.  The Apostles Creed says it so well, “On the third day He rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.”

And so, I ask myself, what is the level of anticipation in my barometer?  Not just for Sunday because we know that Jesus rose again, we celebrate this, He lives!  But am I anticipating His return?  Am I looking forward to that day that Jesus returns with expectancy, trusting that not only did Jesus rise just as the prophecies predicted but He will return for His bride?  Is there a longing in my heart to see the coming King?

Revelations 1:7 tells us this, ““Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.”  It is foretold, it is prophesied.  Jesus is coming again.  He will return and so we wait with anticipation and expectancy and cry with all the saints, “Come LORD Jesus, Come!”

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”  Revelations 22:20,

“And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8

It Is Finished!

Hundreds of years ago, right back at the time of the Exodus, the Jewish people were instructed to make sacrifices twice every day for the atonement of their sins.  God was very detailed about how the sacrifice was to be done; it was to be two male lambs without blemish and had to be done at a specific appointed time.  (Numbers 28:1-8) 

For 1400 years the tradition of killing a lamb twice a day continued, a lamb was chosen and led out at dawn.  At the 3rd hour that lamb was sacrificed.  At the 6th hour a second male lamb, spotless and without blemish was chosen and led out to the altar where it was given a drink from a golden cup and tied to the altar!  At the 9th hour that second lamb was sacrificed, and the priest raised his shofar and blew it to signal to the people that there had been atonement for their sins. 

Now picture this – Good Friday.  Early in the morning.  In fact, it was at dawn when the first lamb was being chosen by the priest, at this very same time Jesus is standing before the Sanhedrin who condemned him to die.  At the third hour, they nailed my Saviour’s hands and feet to a cross and crucified him – the high priest killed the first sacrificial lamb at the third hour.  At the sixth hour, darkness covered the land, and the priest chose the 2nd male lamb, without spot and blemish to be sacrificed for the people’s atonement. 

But get this, this is extraordinary.  And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated as “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34) “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last” (Mark 15:37)

At precisely the ninth hour the priest slaughtered the atonement lamb for the forgiveness of sins and raised his shofar to notify the people that they were forgiven.  At that very moment my Saviour, my Redeemer, the precious Lamb of God cried out “It is finished” “And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30.   IT IS FINISHED!!!  As the priest raised his shofar to tell the people they were forgiven the veil of the temple was torn in two!  IT IS FINISHED!!!  No more did we have to make the daily sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus paid it all!

Do you think all these times are purely coincidences?  I think not!  It was all part of God’s perfectly orchestrated plan, planned for you from the beginning of time.  A plan to bring you back to Him, back to His heart, and Jesus Christ was the one who paid it all!

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29

Jesus is Always There

Isn’t it a mystery how you can read a passage of scripture dozens of times when all of a sudden a sentence will jump out at you as if highlighted, and you’ll wonder – “Why did I not see that before!”  This is the absolute miracle of the Word of God, it is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword!  The words etched on these pages are not dead, they are not passive or lifeless, but alive, endless, they have a power of their own!

While reading Luke 22, the story where Peter denied Jesus three times, I noticed a few details that I hadn’t seen before.  One small sentence containing eight little words!  “Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”  Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the LORD turned and looked at Peter.”

“And the LORD turned and looked at Peter!” The LORD was there!  Our Saviour heard each and every denial Peter made, one blow to His heart after another.  Jesus heard every defiant renunciation that fell from Peter’s lips.  How did I miss this, how did I miss the fact that Satan sifted him right in front of Jesus?!  Oh, how that must have stung, how personal and painful this particular rejection!  And from Peter too – the one who knew that Jesus was the Messiah!  The one on whom Christ promised to build His church.  But even more than that, this denial came from one of His closest friends!

The LORD turned and looked at Peter – a look of compassion, a look filled with love and a look of understanding.  It was this look that broke Peter causing him to weep bitterly, this look that finally brought Peter to the end of himself.  If Peter had not been completely broken, he could not have been completely transformed.  Wholly changed.  Peter’s transformation was so dramatic that he did indeed become the rock on which God’s church was built, bringing the gospel to the gentiles.  He died a martyr’s death being crucified upside down upon a cross. 

Of course, Jesus was there!  He always is.  He is always standing beside you, watching over you, taking care of you, looking upon you with a love that is simply never ending.  He is there in the good times and the hard ones.  He is there when you fail, when you stumble, flounder, or fall.  He sees the potential within you and believes wholeheartedly in you.  He knows that when you come to the end of yourself, then His story can begin in you.  The purposes and works that He has planned for you can begin and be established.  When you find yourself at the end of your rope, remember, Jesus is always there.  Where else would He be?!

Every Detail a Masterpiece

Bible scholars have identified over 100 prophecies that were fulfilled that dark Friday when Jesus hung on Calvary.  Imagine that.  One hundred prophecies fulfilled at the cross! Our Abba Father wove a thousand thoughts into every little detail of His Masterpiece. Signpost after signpost pointing the way to Jesus, the corridors of history echoing the Messiah. One of those precious prophecies is one that is so easy to miss, why would we think about the clothes Jesus wore? But this one blows me away, it’s the story of a seamless garment, the one our beautiful Saviour wore!

            John 19:23-24 says this about the seamless garment: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,’ that the scripture might be fulfilled which says: ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’” 

            What was so incredibly important about this seamless garment? About this robe that was woven in one piece?

            Going back in time to Exodus 28, we first discover an ornate, seamless robe made especially for the High Priest. A robe woven with great care, not something that anyone else would wear because of the great cost. This robe was worn by the one who would enter the Holy of Holies, on behalf of the children of Israel, and bring offerings to the Great I Am for the sins of His chosen ones.  The priest was taught that he must never tear his clothes, for if he did, he would invalidate his ministry as High Priest. Jesus wore that garment—that precious, seamless robe of the High Priest!

            Have you ever noticed that when Jesus stood on trial before Caiaphas, the High Priest, Caiaphas ripped his garments once he had finished questioning Jesus?! “And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!” (Matthew 26:62-65)  In rage and self-righteousness, he tore his robe and disqualified himself from the priesthood! Why? Caiaphas had been replaced! Replaced by a High Priest who would go to the cross as an offering for the sins of the world! 

            I love how the Father does all things well, right down to the tiniest detail. Christ’s seamless robe was never torn; the soldiers cast lots for this precious garment, and it remained intact for all time! It is the seamless robe of Jesus, our High Priest, who sits at the right hand of God, forever making intercession for us!

Broken or Crushed?

‘Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.’  Matthew 21:44

Which would you choose?  The breaking or the crushing?  Honestly speaking I’m not sure that I would want either, but this is the choice given by Jesus to the chief priests and Pharisees.  I’m sure our Saviour’s heart was heavy as he left the temple that day, the knowledge that His words would have fallen on deaf ears discouraging.  

I remember a time in my life when I was broken.  So broken.  Into little pieces.  Not my bones, but my heart.  Dashed upon the rock.  Truly rock bottom, my life shattered into little pieces around me.  Sounds awful doesn’t it.  But I remember what happened next.  Jesus picked me up, took my broken heart and mended it, took the shattered pieces of my life, and put them back together until they were beautiful.  Psalm 40:2 became my song, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.”  From that broken place my Abba Father truly put joy in my heart and for that I am eternally grateful.  Not only did He give me joy but life everlasting, relationship with the King!

You see, Jesus is that stone, our precious cornerstone, the one that we can fall upon, the one that we can go to in humbleness of heart and say, “I can’t do it, LORD, help me, heal me, save me.”  When our hearts are shattered into a million tiny pieces we can fall upon The Rock.

If we head to the concordance, we can see that the word ‘broken’ in Greek means broken!  Or even shattered.  But dig a little deeper, the root word of that broken denotes ‘union, companionship, completeness!’  It speaks of relationship, relationship with the very God we have fallen upon.  When we humble ourselves in that broken place and fall upon Jesus, we come into relationship with the very God who created us!  Perhaps choosing the breaking is not so bad after all.

What about the crushing then?  Being crushed by the rock?  In comparison crushed means ‘ground into powder, scattered in the wind.’  Dissolved into dust and disintegrated to nothingness.  Truly a point of no return.  The crushing fury of God’s judgement coming down with full force, crushing into nothing.  “I think I understand now LORD, I think I’m ready to make my choice.”

We can choose to either fall on the rock and be broken, let Him fill every area of our lives, give our lives to Him, and let Him take those broken pieces and refashion them, remake them into something wonderful.  Something that reflects Christ.  Or we can choose to let the rock fall upon us, the rock of God’s fury, obliterating us to dust.  We can choose life or death. Following Jesus or not following Him. Not wanting to preach gloom and doom or even hellfire and damnation, but not choosing is also making a choice.

Now today, when I think about Jesus, I wonder if as He said these words, he was thinking about the choice He too had to make?  Did his thoughts stray to the fact that only in just three days He would be crushed by the rock?  Crushed instead of us, for us!  Taking the punishment, we deserved upon Himself, drinking the cup of God’s wrath.  Today, as I think about Jesus, I know what my choice will be just as I know what His choice was.  Do you know yours? Today, I am thankful that because of Jesus, I can throw myself upon the rock, my Saviour and Redeemer.

 “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10 and 11.

The Two-Faced Fig Tree

The Two-faced Fig Tree

The story of the fig tree is one that has always fascinated me.  Why would Jesus curse the poor fig tree and cause it to wither and never bear fruit again?  What made Jesus so mad with the fig tree? The power of Jesus’ words is quite breathtaking, that power of life and death in the tongue.  The power to simply speak something into existence or speak it out of existence!  Kind of reminds me of the words mothers around the world say when frustrated, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it,” except Jesus really could!

Let’s take a look at Jesus’ day.  Matthew 28:12-13 says this; “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”  Our Saviour entered the temple, a place that should have been one of prayer, and what He saw infuriated him.  Instead of a place where His children gathered to earnestly seek the LORD, a place of true repentance, it had become a gathering place of thieves! 

Jesus saw the very heart of those in the temple which is why He quoted Jeremiah.  “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 7:9-11). The people of God committed atrocious sins believing that the sacrifices gave them permission to act in this way.  Almost as though thinking that we can behave any way we want to during the week, and then run to church on Sunday knowing God will forgive us.  The sacrifices then, just as Christ’s sacrifice now, do not give us permission to sin. (Romans 6:15) Our Saviour could see that the people were using the sacrifice as a way to absolve their guilt even though they had absolutely no intention of ever-changing, of truly repenting.  Oh LORD, let me not be guilty of this!

Let’s get back to our fig tree.“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.  Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.” Mark 11:12-14.  Jesus comes upon a fig tree full of beautiful leaves and being hungry looks to see if it is bearing early fruit.  Upon discovering that there is none, He curses the tree that has given the impression of having fruit but has failed to deliver.  Kind of like those robbers in the temple.

It’s like plastic flowers.  You know the ones, the ones that you stick your nose into and take a deep breath only to discover that they aren’t real.  There will never be any fragrance in these flowers.  They promise a beautiful aroma but don’t deliver.  Disappointing.  That’s how Jesus saw the fig tree, it was disappointing, the leaves had the promise of fruit but there was none.  Anticipation but no fulfillment. 

God’s people have always been called to bear fruit, Jesus himself talks about fruit many times during the New Testament.  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16. But in the temple, like the fig tree, all Jesus saw was pomp and circumstance.  On the outside everything looked glorious, there were crowds, celebrations, singing, and all the decorations were spectacular, but it was all for show.  There was no substance, no fruit, no real repentance.

And so, Jesus judged the fig tree as a two-faced fig tree and deemed it not worthy.  Cursing it and causing it to shrivel up.  The two-faced fig tree had pretended to have fruit. 

And so, I must look at my own life, on the outside I can look like a Christian that has it all, super spiritual even, but have I born fruit?  Am I connected to the vine?  Do I reflect the light of Christ?  Is my life one of intimacy with the Savior or do I simply look like I have that life without there being any substance to my claim?  Am I like a robber in the temple, a fake fig tree, or the real deal?  “Make me the real deal,” is my cry today, “make me more like you Jesus, cause me to bear fruit.”

The Fragrance of a King

Smell.  That oh-so-important sense can take us back within seconds to our childhood or to a memorable event.  The smell of the first rains on dry and dusty soil brings me straight back to Africa, the smell of a frangipane flower reminds me of my wedding and the flowers in my bouquet.  Often when my husband hugs me, I like to breathe in deeply as the smell of his aftershave makes me feel safe and after 26 years of marriage is one of beautiful familiarity.  But the fragrance of potpourri can make me feel nauseous straight away as it reminds me of my pregnancy when the tiniest whiff made me feel sick! 

Anointing oil was very important in Israel, and very expensive. Many oils were more costly than diamonds and were a sign of great wealth. Each King and Priest was anointed prior to their taking office, the aroma advancing before them so that everyone would know – the King, the King is coming! Now when the new King was anointed, they didn’t just drip a drop on his forehead, no – this could be as much as a pint of fragrant perfume! Let’s take a quick look at a story back in the Old Testament, an occasion of celebration, great joy, the anointing of the future King of Israel, King Solomon – “So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.” 1 Kings 1:38-40. This was quite the party, the people of Israel rejoiced so much that the ground literally shook! Zadok the priest took that anointing oil and poured it over Solomon, the smell would have been strong, radiating out through the crowd.

Fast forward to the week before Jesus’ death on the cross. Palm Sunday, also known as the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. “The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” John 12:12-15. Incredible similarity!

But where was the fragrance? Where was the anointing oil with the Kingly aroma that would have told the crowd surrounding Him that Jesus was the King of Israel?

For that answer, we need to go back to the night before! Once again Jesus was at Martha’s house dining with Lazarus and many of his other friends. “Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” John 12:3. How I love Mary, always doing something unexpected, her love for Jesus always on display! Mary took a pound – that’s nearly two cups of extremely expensive oil and washed Jesus’ feet with it, using her beautiful hair as a rag! An astonishing display of devotion. 1 Corinthians 11:15 says this; “And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy?” A woman’s hair is her glory. Mary, in an act of absolute humility, laid her self-worth at Jesus’ feet, tenderly using her hair to clean away the dust and dirt from the day. Her actions saying, “I give you everything, all of me, from my finances to my self-worth, my identity, my dignity, every tiny little piece of myself.” “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” Not too surprising when you consider the amount of oil Mary poured out.

And so, our sweet Mary, fulfilled that part of the story. Perhaps the part of the story where the fragrance of Christ began, the fragrance of the King of Kings and LORD of Lords. The fragrance of the Great I Am, YHWH. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the deep fragrance of spikenard went before Him, almost like the dot on the i or the cross on a t. This is the King of Israel. In the final week before the cross everywhere Jesus went, He would have carried the fragrance of the King with him, it would have said to the Roman soldier, “I Am the King of Kings,” to Herod and Pilate, “I Am the King of Kings,” to all those who mocked Him, beat Him and put Him to death, “I AM the King of Israel!”

God’s Word on my Lips!

“Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them,  “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” – Matthew 20:18-19

The very beginning of a life-changing journey, a difficult journey, one that was no surprise to Jesus or even His disciples. The 14-mile journey from Jericho to Jerusalem was not long but it was the beginning of a walk that would change the world. As they hiked south to Jerusalem I would imagine that Passover was on the minds of the disciples, feasts, and visits with old friends. I wonder what was on Jesus’ mind? Was it the betrayal of a friend, the savage beating of a whip laced with iron, or the cruellest death upon that cross?

Sometimes staring at a future painful event for too long can be more distressing than the event itself. When my little girl, Hannah, told me she wanted to move back to Canada, I was devastated. The time leading up to her leaving caused me huge anxiety. An ocean of tears was cried, this was something I never imagined happening. To live apart from my baby girl was not something I had ever considered. My eyes still well up at the reality today. A trivial example in the light of the journey set before my Saviour.

I am more than sure that this final journey to Jerusalem was at the forefront of our Saviour’s mind, and I’m sure caused him much anguish. He was fully human just as He was fully God.

But look at that last line; “On the third day, He WILL be raised to life” Like the thrust of a spear into the enemy’s heart. Jesus began His journey with God’s promise upon His lips! ‘On the third day, I will be raised to life again! This was not something Jesus had control of, He trusted His Father, He trusted the promise. As Jesus turned to Jerusalem He declared the promise of God over His life!

God’s Word tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) But take heart, I have overcome the world! We can all agree with ‘in this world, you will have trouble.’ That is a given. But Jesus has overcome the world.

I know that many of you are on a hard journey, your future may seem uncertain, and anxiety over coming events may threaten to overwhelm you. Life’s journeys are uncertain. Jesus knows. He understands. He’s been there. He sees you. Accepts you. Loves you.

When I look backwards at my own tough journeys, how much easier would they have been if I had stepped into them with God’s promises on my lips instead of my own tangled words? If I had drawn the sword of God’s Word and declared His truth, let His peace settle in my heart, would anxiety and anguish be held at bay?

Jesus’ declaration, His trust in His Heavenly Father carried our precious Saviour through His hardest days, to His appointed time and through the other side. God’s Word took Him to that place of rejoicing, of overcoming, to that glorious place where the angels announced, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” (Matt 28:6) Exactly as Jesus declared, I will rise again. Just as our Father had promised.

Today if this is you. If your road is hard and the journey forbidding, if your future seems uncertain and anxiety overwhelms – what is God saying to you? What are His promises to you? Open up God’s Word, His Holy Bible filled with holy promises and find the ones that you can cling to, the ones that you can take as a sword and thrust into the very heart of the enemy, the ones that you can declare with eyes of faith, God’s promises on your lips.