Today is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt that had never been ridden. In obedience to the Father’s plan, despite knowing full well He was riding toward great suffering and pain; He entered Jerusalem to the crowds joyously crying out hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord. How quickly would the tables turn and the enemy seemingly take control. However, he was never the one in control. The enemy can only do what is allowed by God. God had a purpose that was much higher, the salvation of mankind through the restoration of a right relationship between God and man. Even today with the Word of God to explain it, it is difficult to understand and take it fully into our hearts and lives. What Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden, God was about to restore.
Jesus was the means to this restoration but it meant great suffering, being misunderstood, plotted against by religious leaders who feared Him, betrayal, false accusation, being beaten almost lifeless and being crucified on a cross between two real criminals until His body hung there lifeless. Thankfully, that is not the end of the story! Three days in a borrowed tomb. Very early on the third day, the ladies went to the tomb…what is this? The massive stone covering the tomb had been rolled away. Placed there to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body and claiming He had risen, it was too heavy for someone to move and had been guarded by Roman soldiers to prevent tampering. Yet it was rolled back, the body was gone and the burial clothes neatly folded where His head should have been. Jesus was not there!
Jesus then appeared to Mary in the garden. She was overtaken with grief but when He said her name she recognized His voice. His sheep know His voice…. She was delighted to see Him. He told her to go and tell His disciples that He is alive!
Grace has made provision for each person, the question is will we receive and believe it has been provided for us and choose to follow Him? Our grace verses today come from 1 Peter 5.
In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under His mighty hand by casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him belongs the power forever. Amen. Through Silvanus, whom I know to be a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, in order to encourage you and testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. (1 Peter 5:5-12 NET)
This is an amazingly powerful passage as we tie up forty days studying God’s grace running through the scriptures and look ahead to the Passion Week and the days leading to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. This wonderful thing call grace winds itself from Genesis all the way through Revelation and even when the specific word is not used there is example after example. We have looked at many examples of God’s grace and mercy to His people. It is all around us. The above passage piggybacks on yesterday’s saying many of the same things. God gives grace to the humble; He care for us greatly and when we humble ourselves before Him, He will exalt us in due time; His time.
Because of how He cares for us, He tells us to cast our cares on Him. Cease striving and worrying and lay them at His feet believing that He is able to see us through any situation that we face. Suffering is part of the world we live in and everyone has times in their lives that they experience it. God sees our troubles and assures us in this passage that He Himself will restore us; strengthen us; confirm us; and establish us. He cares for us beyond what we can comprehend. He is for us and desires the best for us always. We have a real enemy who is fierce and is looking for every opportunity to steal the abundant life God has for us. The enemy seeks to bring fear and worry into our life, to tear down our faith and turn us away from God. Our job is to resist him and to keep the faith, building ourself up in our faith by learning who we are in Christ and what His great and precious promises to us are. This passage tells us to resist him, stand firm in our faith never forgetting our brothers and sisters also face the same kinds of struggles we do. Peter is encouraging his brothers and sisters to stand fast in God’s grace. Just as Peter encourages those to whom he was writing and encourages us also; we too should encourage those around us. How do we do this? We share our lives, testimonies of how God has been there for us; freed us; delivered us; gotten us through difficult times. Sometimes it is just as simple as sitting and listening. Other times it may be a shoulder to cry on or a comforting hug. We all have been the recipients of grace in our lives at one time or another. Costly grace. God’s grace, freely given to us yet it cost His Son everything! We are a blessed people…blessed to be blessings to those around us!
Thank you for joining me on this journey. May His grace, peace and blessings be abundant all your days!
The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-26 NASB)