Love understood.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Last Sunday we discussed the intensity of love Jesus requires from us. He doesn’t require it as a command without substance, for He lived out the very love He asks us to live. He modeled complete committed love for us and asks us to follow in His footsteps.

If you did your homework and read Revelation 3:14-21, you saw Jesus’ attitude toward those who stand at a distance and are lukewarm. We know that non-committal love is not sufficient for Jesus and is insufficient for us who follow Him.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we have been called to follow Jesus Who is the ultimate model of overwhelming love. Importantly, we hear today that following Jesus provides us with the incredibly beautiful promise Jesus speaks of. If we love Jesus and keep His word, the Heavenly Father holds us in His love and beautifully the Father, Son, and Spirit come to us and dwell with us: We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.

Having God dwelling with us, and key here is that dwelling does not mean just hanging out for a bit, but rather living continually with us, gives us key privileges.

We hold the privilege of eternal life in the heavenly Jerusalem described in Revelation. As God dwells with us, so at the same time we dwell with Him not just now, but forever in the heavenly place of light and peace, of worship and praise.

We hold the privilege of God’s peace. It always fills my heart with joy when I hear people tell me that they find this place to be one of peace. The witness of so many of our parishioners and friends attests to the peace of God that is here as He dwells with us. Here with Jesus, we can let go of whatever it is that binds, worries, stresses, limits, or causes fear in our lives. We know that God is dwelling with us and no matter what fears the world may bring we overcome it. God’s peace is that which removes the weight of life which is the fear of what is next. We already know our next – eternal life.

We hold the privilege of the Holy Spirit. As we now start our approach to the Solemnity of Pentecost in these last two weeks of Easter, we are reminded of the Spirit’s presence in the Church which is in us. We know, as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is here to teach [us] everything and remind [us] of all that [Jesus] told [us].

With the privileges of God’s permeant presence and our presence with Him forever, peace that overcomes all things, and the Holy Spirit teaching us and reminding us, we come to understand and live the enormous love we are called to each day.

Love understood.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

My dearest friends, I don’t have to tell you that love is hard, complex, difficult to grasp, and every so often so overpowering that it leaves us standing in awe. At times love is so powerful that it changes the direction of our lives.

Jesus speaks to us of that kind of love today. It is His call to us to engage in overpowering, awe inspiring, imitation calling, changing love, in the model He left us, a model of complete self-giving one-for-another.

Jesus wants us to be overpowered by His love, a love so intense, so powerful, so strong and dedicated that He offered His life for it. Jesus wants His love offering to change our life direction. He wants the intensity of His love to move us to the self-same way of loving.

His love took the weight of all our shortcomings and failings and placed it on His shoulders. He bore us broken so that we could rise with Him perfected in the happiness of freedom forever. So just as Jesus did, our love must raise others up.

Jesus calls to us to engage in overpowering, awe inspiring, imitation calling, changing love. We are to live in active love, to give our all, to sacrifice everything for love of each other.

We have much to face in the world. Hatred and antagonism are rampant. Fortresses of one against another are being built. The worldly are in love with death – the kind of death that negates sacrificial love – and calls for an end to love. We cannot let this just be, standing in silence, gathering in our little possessions, and think it cannot or will not touch me. It will. Instead, we must do as Christ’s disciples do – witness to the overpowering, awe inspiring, imitation calling, changing love of Jesus by doing as He did. It is the only antidote.

We must be those couples that love each other – not because of infatuation or for reasons of beauty – but because love calls us to give ourselves for the other – even if we get nothing in return. We must be those parents that love their children – not with stuff, or the adding up of cost, or giving in to cultural whims or the latest you must do this and that – but with an abiding love that says I am here and always will be no matter when, no matter what, for your good, so you know God and His love by my example. Similarly, we must be brother and sister and minister to each other and our community, giving our hearts and time. Standing at a distance and being lukewarm is not sufficient (cf. Rev. 3:14-21).

Jesus is the ultimate model of overwhelming love. We must love as He did for doing so will make the true meaning of love understood to us and in understanding we will have joy.

Hearing and moving.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.”

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday as the fourth Sunday of Easter is always known. We encounter the shortest Gospel concerning the Good Shepherd, only four verses. In other years it is either eight or ten verses. Yet in these four verses we clearly see the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd – the Shepherd Who cares for and protects us, the Good Shepherd Who lives up to His promises and speaks to us.

Last week we heard about Jesus’ feeding of His Apostles by the seaside. He also spoke a command to them, and to us, that we are to feed and tend His flock.

Now, we should take a moment to check in. Did we hear what Jesus asked of us concerning tending and feeding? This is important.

Today’s gospel contains a great promise to all followers of the Christ. Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice!” He does not say we could hear his voice, or we should hear his voice, or we might hear his voice. Rather, Jesus is exceptionally clear that we do hear His voice.

As such, we should always be alert, awake, and ready to act on what God is speaking to us. It may sound strong… but if we are not hearing anything, if all we hear is silence, or if we ignore what we hear, then we are not walking in the Lord’s will. We have placed ourselves outside the sheepfold.

Think of it this way. When our moms called out to us, or call out to us, did or do we hear them? I can tell you from personal experience, when my mom wanted her will done, I could hear her, even down the block. Jimmy, Jimmy… I wanted to bury my head in the dirt, but the call and the request for a response were real. I responded.

That is what the Good Shepherd is saying. We cannot help but hear and if we are within the sheepfold we must then act.

We easily know God’s call to us because His voice is clear, right here in Holy Scripture, in Holy Tradition, in the Holy Spirit guided teaching of the Church. We indeed know God’s will and desire for us.

On top of that, we have the voice of the Holy Spirit we have each received. He leads us to the places He wishes and asks us to carry out the work He needs done: witnessing, serving, evangelizing, and more.

When the Good Shepherd’s voice is stirred in us His words are words of life. Jimmy must get up, get going and do. We all must so we may live in His sheepfold forever.

Moving forward.

When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

This passage taken from John, Chapter 21, verses 1 through 18 is just so beautiful. It encapsulates the gospel of our Lord and Savior in all its richness, all its joy.

The first part of this passage reveals how Jesus calls us, asks us to recognize Him, moves us from where we are to where we must be, and then gives us the great grace to draw many into the Kingdom.

Here we have a group of men just doing their thing. They were fishing, trying to get by. Many were fishermen to begin with, so they were comfortable back in this lifestyle.

But as happens with Jesus, He would not let them just remain there. They had far more important things to do.

The first thing we must do, as the Apostles had to do, is recognize Him. We must see the risen Lord and hear His call to us.

Like the Apostles, Jesus desires to move us forward in our Kingdom work. He does not want to leave us alone by the seashore (or anywhere else) fishing randomly and catching nothing. He rather infuses us with His grace to bring in an abundant catch; to gather people into the Kingdom and feed them with the Bread of Life – just as Jesus fed them by the seashore.

The second part of this passage reminds us that Jesus’ love and forgiveness is so much greater than our faults, failings, unworthiness, and sinfulness.

Peter, on the night Jesus was betrayed, despite all his protestations of being a great and brave follower of Jesus, one who would die with Him, rather took the course of denying Him. ‘I do not know Him.’ he said.

Certainly, the pain of that great sin weighed on Peter. We recall that the gospels tell us that Peter wept bitterly after his betrayal. Similarly, our sins should weigh on us. We should weep, not just for the great sins we commit, but for every little betrayal of our Lord, every way we fail to measure up in living the gospel life and evangelizing.

Like with Peter, our lLike with Peter, our love response to Jesus brings forgiveness, restoration, and a deeper commitment to doing all He calls us to – the tending and feeding of His flock for which we are all responsible as we follow Him.

[A Sermon offered to the congregation of the Evangelical Christian Church of North America (Restoration Movement) out of Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania this Sunday, April 24, 2022.]

I am saved by Christ.

Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross has freed me.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection has restored me.

I am a citizen of the Kingdom Jesus ushered in from the cross when He declared, “It is finished.”

I have work to do!

Brothers and sisters. I am coming at you from Romans, Chapter 8.

This past Friday was, as is commonly called, Earth Day. On this day people take a moment to reflect on humanity’s care for the earth. People gather to do some good work – whether a neighborhood clean-up, planting trees and such, or some other effort. They might say – I have work to do!

None of these things is bad, for indeed God gave us stewardship of His creation. We are to see to His work and treat it with respect. However, from what perspective are most people seeing this day? Where are they coming from who exert so much effort to care for creation? To whom is their work dedicated?

You might agree that many see no hand of God in creation. They see no place for God in this work, or in fact in anything. It is merely human endeavor, human work. We, on the other hand, see differently. We see in all things God’s righteous and mighty presence. This is because we are the children of the Kingdom. We live in the Kingdom. Our perspective has been changed. Our vision is clear. Our call to God’s work is here and now.

As children of the kingdom, we live a different existence, an ‘other’ existence. We, as St. Paul tells us, live by the standards of the Spirit, who gives life through Christ Jesus. We have been set free from the standards of sin and death. (cf. Romans 8:1-4)

God condemned what was broken, futile, hopeless, and against Him in His Son Jesus Who took on our corruption to free us from it. Free from condemnation, from brokenness, futility, and hopelessness we live now in the Kingdom by our faith filled confession and acclimation. We live spiritual lives; lives of peace that do not regard or grasp after the world’s peace – for indeed Jesus told us on the night before He would suffer, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

Since we live in peace and by a much different standard than those who belong to the world, how should we view “Earth Day?” What is our call to work?

The clue to this is found is Jesus’ post resurrection discourses with His disciples: 

From Luke 24:46-48: He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

I say it again: “You are witnesses of these things.”

From Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…”

I say again: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”

For us Earth Day is not about just a day, but about continuously seeing the world for what it is, and for what is possible because we belong to Christ. The Kingdom Jesus ushered in is not a someday somewhere else place. Indeed, the Kingdom, I say again, is the very place we dwell, with the Holy Spirit in us. Therefore, having a realistic and honest view of what is out there, and where we are, we are called to the work of remaking the earth, to bring to fulfillment the Kingdom, to draw many to know, love, and serve the Lord, to confess His Holy Name.

Earth Day for us as followers of Jesus must be a call to respond to creation groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. (Romans 8:22) Our work is to give birth to the kingdom in the hearts of those who do not know Jesus or who fail to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior.

The worldly are groaning in their ignorance. They desire to really know Jesus, to enter the Kingdom life, but they need the work of witnesses to show them the way. They need people of faith to stand up and say – see Your salvation is at hand, repent. The Kingdom is at hand for you. Confess, profess, and enter.

You see my beloved brothers and sisters that Earth Day is a constant call for Christians to view the world as it is – a sin destroyed landscape that rejects God, the dwelling of the evil one, and the opportunity to offer that landscape hope and salvation. That is our everyday earth day work. 

Thus, we have mission work to do. Wherever we go, in our work, driving about, shopping, selling, family time, cooking, eating, planting and growing, morning, noon, and throughout the night, we must be prepared to give and account of our reason for hope. (1 Peter 3:15) We must be constantly on alert for the chance to change the landscape, to bring souls to Jesus, to expand the Kingdom with the very next soul we encounter.

Is remaking the earth easy, is the work of bringing the Kingdom to its fruition and flower a casual task? Of course not. But we have assurance, Divine assurance.

St. Paul goes on to tell us in verses 14 through 16

Certainly, all who are guided by God’s Spirit are God’s children. You haven’t received the spirit of slaves that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the spirit of God’s adopted children by which we call out, “Abba! Father!”

We must not walk in fear or quiet ourselves for we have a great and mighty God to proclaim, the salvation of His Son Jesus, and the outpouring and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are not slaves to the world and its agenda, but free citizens of the kingdom with much work to do.

Listen to Romans 8:31-39 for it instructs us on confidence and assurance:

What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  God didn’t spare his own Son but handed him over to death for all of us. So he will also give us everything along with him. 

Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. 

Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ is in the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. Christ also intercedes for us. 

What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love? As Scripture says:

“We are being killed all day long because of you.
We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.”

The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.  I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.

We, my friends, my brothers and sisters, have much work to do – but we Count it all joy (James 1:2). We are opposed, but the world opposed Jesus Who has the ultimate victory. He will not let our work of winning souls and remaking the earth fail. He will bless and grant abundance to our work of evangelizing and taking the gospel of grace to the streets and the door posts of all people.

I am saved by Christ.

Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross has freed me.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection has restored me.

I am a citizen of the Kingdom Jesus ushered in from the cross when He declared, “It is finished.”

I have work to do!

Now let us set to it.

Spread the Word.

So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Low Sunday. 

Christ. is risen! Church declare: He is risen indeed!

We once again focus in this Easter season on our call to evangelize – to spread the Gospel message and to invite people to know, love, and serve the Lord.

This is a great time to do that – for we are filled with Easter joy, the excitement of the season, the promise of everlasting life made apparent in Jesus, who taking on our human form continuers in that form – yet glorified as we will be when we are resurrected.

But, you know, even the most ardent evangelist, those most deeply committed, and those most filled with Easter joy sometimes run across a problem.

The scene is set for us in the gospel we just heard. Jesus appears to the disciples. HE IS ALIVE – HE IS RIGHT HERE. Can you imagine the energy, the joy and wonder? The Gospel tells us that they rejoiced. In Greek the word is Echarēsan -they were delighted and filled with joy.

Can you imagine being that filled with that joy? This was a joy unlike any other for it filled them with immediate thanksgiving, gratefulness.

Those disciples were on top of the world, literally amid the Kingdom – and then Jesus fills them with the Holy Spirit. His power is now in them. They were supercharged.

Now it is time to spread the word – the Lord is risen; He is risen indeed! 

The first to receive that proclamation, to be evangelized, was one of their own – Thomas. 

Yep – their own brother would be the first to push back on their joy and to rail against their evangelism. “I will not believe.” he says.

Jesus answered the dilemma for the disciples and showed them the way forward as He does for us. He visits them again and says to Thomas – come and see. Know what it is to meet Me.

And… there is the answer when in our joy we meet that person who doubts, who says they’ll think about it, who says maybe next week or in a month or in a year. We must invite them over again to come and see, to meet the Lord. We need to spread the word of joy, the Echarēsan so that they can know what it is to meet Jesus by meeting His people. Just try it. Come and see. See so that: you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name. 

Hope forever.

For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Easter. Today we are filled with a renewed hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is risen! Church declare: He is risen indeed!

Early in the morning on the third day after Jesus’ death, a woman named Mary Magdalene made her way to the tomb. Other places in the scriptures tell us that she had gone to anoint His body for burial. When she arrives, she finds the tomb empty. She saw insult added to the pain of the injury she was already feeling. Mary concludes that someone must have come and taken Him away. She is devastated. She runs to tell the others. She needs to share her hurt with those closest to her crucified Lord. They run to the tomb and find it empty except for Jesus’ burial cloths.

They didn’t quite get it yet. The shock of the past days and their fears got in the way for a moment. They forgot the lessons Jesus taught about His death and resurrection; the way He prepared them for all these events. 

They were like children searching for eggs in the yard, searching the horizon for God’s subtle signs of hope, and all still a mystery to them.

Jesus would not leave them there in pain and sorrow, in confusion, just searching without finding. Soon the rollercoaster of reports and experiences of the risen Lord would bring the reality of the resurrection home to them. Soon, fear would be replaced by hope and the hope flowing from the resurrection would set them free. 

Easter is a permanent reminder that God is in the business of awakening hope within us, that He brings life out of death, and that He offers us a future filled with assurance. In Him we are assured of finding, of not being left in pain and sadness. 

We now, because of the ministry of those who firsthand experienced the resurrected Lord, know much more fully the hope we own. Their hope inspired freedom would move them to draw many into the Kingdom life. We are the beneficiaries of their witness, and we too are now witnesses before the world. 

Our hope is in this: Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross set us free from captivity to sin. Our hope is in this: We will be resurrected as Jesus was. We will be glorified in our bodies and enter the great joy that is heaven, live life with God forever in the very same glorified way Jesus showed forth.

What Mary, Peter, and John did not immediately get is the powerful revelation that is our hope, that if Jesus can overcome death, there is nothing in our lives that He cannot defeat and overcome.

It is finished

For those familiar with the various forms of the Stations of the Cross we use here in the parish, you know that in several, after Jesus is buried in the tomb, it says: But this was not the end, it was only the beginning.

Indeed, Jesus came with the message, Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand. It is soon, it is about to be ushered in.

The Kingdom of God was ushered in today. It became a reality today. Jesus, on the cross, in His last breath declares: It is finished. The Kingdom is here and now. The sacrifice has been completed.

We, the people of God, are now alive with hope – not just living, but alive in a new hope filled life – in the Kingdom. The times and places where we fall short, where we get caught in ruts, are not our end or our staying place. They have now become experiences of healing. The times and places where we said, Away with Him, have now become a desire to grow ever closer to Him.

As Jesus’ lifeless body was removed from the cross and subsequently laid in the tomb, we were all given a new beginning in the Kingdom. The Kingdom brought our new hope filled life – life for all of us who have become one with Christ’s death in our baptism. We have hope where our times and places were formerly hopeless. We have hope forever because of today.

So when He had washed their feet and put His garments back on and reclined at table again, He said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’  and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow

Today we enter the Pascal Triduum, the three days that changed everything, the three days that offer hope to the whole world in the present tense.

In our readings and Gospel are set forth the means for offering hope – something we as kingdom citizens are called to offer – the model Jesus gave us to follow.

Hope is offered in this – That we share in the Eucharistic feast – the great feast of thanksgiving wherein we dwell with Christ for all eternity. 

Those invited and who come into the kingdom, no matter how it happens – never have to want for the presence of Jesus. We and they live with Him here and now, and forever.

Each time we gather around the table of the Lord and come to the Eucharistic moment – the words spoken by Jesus – and since then spoken over and over by His ministerial priests – who act in His very Person to do exactly what He did – we are there with Jesus for all time and eternity.

We cannot help but have hope because Jesus, the Son of God, made it such that we can be in heaven with Him, not just later, after we die, but right here and now. Being that close to Jesus means He knows all we face. He knows all we need. And, He knows where we need a push, a nudge to follow more closely the gospel path. In His eternal presence we live in hope, for nothing is beyond Jesus’ saving power.

Hope is offered in this – That gathered as kingdom citizens we partake of Jesus and have Him dwelling in us, not just alone, but together with all who receive. 

Jesus left us His body and blood, not just a symbol – but rather the full reality wherein we eat His flesh and drink His blood, so that He may not only be in us, but that the kingdom life might shine out of us as a whole.

He gives us the bread of life and the cup of salvation so that as we participate in them and  receive them, we become one body.

We cannot help but hope for we are not alone. We are joined fully with each other and with all who have gone before. Jesus has drawn us together, made us a family, a body, a people who are not just one with Him, but with each other.

Hope is offered in this – that we can minister in washing each other of sin. We certainly fall, we fail, we err, do wrong, and withdraw into ourselves.

Sin is the great separator, the overwhelming place of aloneness, without connection, without any other presence but our own. That is what sin was always meant to be – for as Satan separated himself from God – into the desolation of apartness – so he tempts us to do the same. Be broken, be apart, go your own way and be alone. Let now and eternity be just me, myself, and I.

Hope means that sin is not our end. Sin has been overcome by Jesus as we will see tomorrow on Good Friday. To ensure us of His continual mercy and forgiveness He gave us the example of what we are to do. We are to wash each other.

Did you ever consider the words of the Confiteor we pray every week? No matter which is used they all contain this phrase – I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the saints and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. We must pray for each other, that we each overcome what is broken in us. That we receive the grace of not just forgiveness but also repentance – the change that we need. We must pray over each other so that sin be washed away and so that we each realize I am not alone.

Let us spend time this evening contemplating before Jesus, reposed in this symbolic prison, a place of suffering and pain surrounded by and filled with the glory of God, how hoping in Him surrounds us and fills us with His glory in every circumstance.

In these three days let us choose to embrace the hope that is offered to us in Jesus. Let hope lift our spirits. Then let it be in us forever.

It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.

Throughout Lent we talked about what Jesus came to fulfill. Today we enter the week of ultimate fulfillment that took away our bruises and reignited us.

We start the week of fulfillment at the moment Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph, to the acclamation of Israel. Then, at the very end of our Liturgy of the Palms we are starkly presented with the Scourging of the Crucifix. 

On this first day of the week, we move from triumph to the torture leading to the Cross. Yet even in the Scourging of the Crucifix we hear the promise: “It is written, they strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But, after I am resurrected, I will go before you to Galilee.” He will indeed rise and be with us. He is not abandoning us. He is saving us, not just for a week, but forever.

Let us look at Jesus’ weeklong journey and its parallels to our journey as citizens of the Kingdom.

We, the people of Christ Jesus, now reside in the Kingdom Jesus came to establish, that He has conferred on us – no, not just on the Apostles, not just on those who were there back then – but on all of us who live now in eternity with Him along with all who came before and will come after us.

Because of this week we have come out of a world mired in tortuous death, a world blind and deaf, and have entered the Kingdom life. We dwell in the Kingdom of everlasting life, a place of seeing and hearing where Jesus’ gospel path defines our steps.

Because of this week we have been pulled free from the imprisonment of fear and want. We are no longer jailed by the type of fear the Jewish leadership fell into – The Romans will come and destroy... No one can take away what we have! No one can remove Christ’s promises from us. Satan still tries to accuse us, but we are able to say confidently – away from me, I am washed in the blood of Jesus and have been set free. I have the promises of Jesus, so I have no want, the chains of my captivity have been broken. I have absolute fearless assurance.

Because of this week we have an eternal ‘year of favor, a year acceptable to the Lord.’ The “year acceptable to the Lord” that Jesus spoke about that day in Nazareth, which He brought about this week, was a reference to a Jewish Jubilee Year. The Jubilee Year was one in which all debts were remitted, all lands restored to their original owners, and the liberation of all slaves. In the Jubilee Year the people were invited to see the world through God’s eyes. We live in that eternal year now, where the debt of sin has been paid and where we hold God’s vision of us – as beautiful forever by Jesus’ redemption. It is all about this week!