There he stood proudly with the rowdy crowds, on the side of the road that triumphal day! I imagine he joyfully gripped a palm branch tightly with his fist and waved it with all of his might, shouting to the top of his lungs! He was no longer limited to gazing between the legs and feet of soldiers, men and women as he lay vertical and near to the ground. Able now to stand and see at eye level, because of the miraculous healing that took place when he first experienced Jesus, his heart pumped with excitement as the roar of the crowds grew louder and the small donkey approached. Jesus was making His way into Jerusalem.
And there...perhaps at the beginning of the commotion, having just been healed hours earlier and walking with Jesus, was yet another with, I imagine, the same emotions welling up within. He had never seen the likes of such a crowd, literally. It was, the once, blind Bartimaeus all the way from Jericho! He was taking in every sight...absorbing every vibrant color, every smile, and every face. His experience with Jesus was life changing. He once was blind but now he could see. His faith had healed him. I can envision him to be among the first to shout loudly and lead in the rioted proclamation: "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" Bartimaeus was in fact a shouter! In his first encounter with Jesus, he shouted out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" In Mark 10:46-52, we find that he was emphatic about gaining attention and he shouted all the more when beckoned to remain quiet. Can you see him there, too? Read about Jesus' triumphal entry and Bartimaeus Mark 10:42 through 11:10.
We call this the beginning of "Passion Week" or "Holy Week."
I like to call it Passion week. For me, it's two fold. First, It's the time I remember and focus on the suffering, crucifixion, death, and love of Jesus Christ. His "passion" for us! Second, I reflect on my "passion" for Him.
During the days leading up to Easter, some 40+ years ago, I experienced Jesus in a way that I'll never forget! My life was changed forever and I became a new creation with a purpose for living! The old passed away and I gained new life in Christ. My spiritual eyes were opened and I could now see! Obedient and following Jesus, I was buried with in Him in baptism and rose to walk in newness of life! The theme of my heart and the words from my lips proclaimed, "Jesus saves!"
Having a personal encounter and experiencing Jesus does something to a person! It begins with your eyes...the eyes of your heart. Like Bartimaeus, they are opened! He knew Jesus could help him and change his life. Then, it moves to your feet. Bartimaeus JUMPED to his feet to meet Jesus and then he followed him along the road. Jericho was just roughly 18 miles from Jerusalem (an 8 hour walk!) I don't want to speculate, but, I just can't see Bartimaeus leaving Jesus' side!
So when I reflect during this Passion week, I ask myself, "Has my passion for Christ grown and what is the evidence?" Are my feet following Him with joy and determination to make His name known? Would I be among the first to lead out in proclamation on that 1st century triumphal day? What significant encounters am I experiencing now that cause me to WANT to share about His power, His truths, and His healing touch?
Let me encourage and challenge you to ask the same questions of yourself during this week of passion. What is the evidence in your life?
As you take some personal, quiet, reflection time, may this week be a pivotal point in your spiritual journey with Christ.
His passion and suffering for you was real! He sees you were you are, where you've been, and where you are headed. He is ever present and is cares for you affectionately! God is faithful and true.
As I was mulling over my thoughts of this blog, two things that came to my attention just recently are timely and apropos. I'd like to share them with you here. It's a portion of the words on Saint Patrick's Breastplate and a new YouTube video that you must see and hear!
Portions of St. Patrick's Breastplate: Deer's Cry
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day....
I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,...
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,...
He is the God who sees, hears, and cares! So many standing on the road into Jerusalem that day had had an experience with Jesus. They had heard him speak and teach. Some had been healed. Fed. Some followed him across the countryside, just to hear more of His words. Some chose to believe, other's to mock and scorn. I believe that My Jesus rode into town that day with me on His mind. With you! And then just days later, fulfillment of prophesy was completed. By His stripes we are healed. He still sees. He still hears. He continues to care for us. And as my husband sang this past Sunday, "Love Took His Breath Away."
My prayer for those of you reading this week, is that you will encounter Jesus like never before! May He touch your heart in ways that make you want to loudly proclaim His great love and care for you.
Reflecting during this week of Passion,
1 Peter 5:7 Amplified Version
Casting the [a]whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [b]once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you [c]watchfully.
Click here to watch the 12 min. film The God Who Sees: youtu.be/sz81dIfwf4Y It will be the best 12 minutes you've spent all day!
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