JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the meaning of Hosanna.
It’s called the Triumphal entry. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Matthew 21 records that a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
Hosanna means “Save, please.” The origin of this word “Hosanna” shows up in Psalm 118:25 in the form of a prayer: “O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.” By the time Jesus stepped onto the scene, the meaning of this word was changed to a shout of hope and exaltation.
So, it changed from a prayer request to an exclamation of praise. Hosanna reminds us that Jesus is the answer to our prayer for salvation. Those who gladly welcome Him as Messiah are filled with expressions of praise, because of what Jesus has done for us and what He means to us.
The meaning of Hosanna is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the evidence of God’s unfailing love.
Thomas saw the evidence in John 20. The disciples had seen Jesus and told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas was skeptical. He would not believe it unless he saw the nail marks in his hands.
A week later, Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas and made him a believer by showing him his nail-scarred hands. Thomas responded by saying “My Lord and my God.”
In that moment, Thomas was seeing three significant things. The first thing that he saw was that Jesus was brought back to life. His grief turned into joy after seeing His beloved leader alive again.
A second thing that Thomas saw was the power that Jesus had over the grave. In seeing the resurrection power of Jesus, Thomas’s fears turned into hope.
A third thing that Thomas saw was the expression of love that was evident in the nail scars. His doubts turned into confidence that Jesus is alive, and he could trust that the love of Jesus would never fail him.
The evidence of God’s unfailing love is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the significance of the bread and the cup.
In First Corinthians 11:23, the Apostle Paul wrote, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
Communion is a time of remembrance to the defining moment in history when the love of Jesus was poured out for us sacrificially so that we could live for His glory, live through His power, and live with Him in relationship forever.
Whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup of the communion table, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
The significance of the bread and the cup is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life.
In John 11:25, Jesus said to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Then, He turned to Martha and asked her a question that is relevant for us as well. Jesus said, “Do you believe this?”
There are various beliefs about Jesus today. Some say that He was a good man, who demonstrated wise teachings and who did good things for people, but not more than that. To others, He is a swear word. To others, He was a deceiver. Others echo the response of Martha, who said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
By saying this, Martha was affirming that Jesus was not just another ordinary man, but that He came from heaven as a promise from God, and is the source of eternal life for all who trust Him for salvation.
The eternal life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Bread Of Life.
After feeding 5,000 people, starting with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus taught a lesson of faith about spiritual bread.
He said in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus was inviting us to come to Him for a type of nourishment that physical food could not provide. Blaise Pascal has said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.
There are many different things that people seek to fill this vacuum. Some people seek satisfaction in money, fame, or pleasure. These are shallow substitutes for the long haul. Seeking Christ opens the way for us to live in relationship with God, and to experience His love and righteousness. In this way, we can have a fulfilling and thriving relationship with God that lasts forever.
The Bread of Life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the living water that Jesus offers us.
Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Water is essential for us to live. Physical water refreshes us for a period of time, but then we need to have more to sustain us. Going three days without water puts a person’s life at risk. The water that Jesus offers is enough to satisfy our soul forever.
Today, Jesus gives us the opportunity to drink from the fountain of His grace. This grace is a gift from God. It’s not something that we earn or buy with money. His grace is a gift that we receive by trusting in Jesus for salvation.
Psalm 34:8 invites us to taste and see that the LORD is good. This becomes a reality when we embrace God’s grace.
The Living Water that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the freedom and healing of the righteous.
In Malachi, chapter 4, we find a description of a day that is coming when the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. In Verse 2, the LORD says, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
The reference to healing in this passage indicates that God’s people will experience wounds in this life. Some of those wounds surface in the form of physical pain. Others may take the form of emotional scars. Other wounds may result from persecution because of our faith in the Lord. On the day of the LORD, there will be healing for those who live with reverence for His name. The scars will be removed. There will be nothing fearful to give us nightmares. Painful memories will no longer make us sad.
The reference to freedom in this passage indicates that the righteous will experience liberty to worship God without interference. No one will be able to censor our testimony, or our expressions of love for God. Our faith will be unchained. It will be like a refreshing day of spring after a paralyzing, snow-covered winter.
The freedom and healing for the righteous on the day of the LORD is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the meaning of “Ebenezer.”
We often hear that word during the Christmas season related to the Charles Dicken’s novel, “Ebenezer Scrooge.”
However, Ebenezer is also found in the Bible in the book of First Samuel. In their distress, the Israelites gathered together to fast and confess their sins to God. When Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, heard that they were gathered together, they set out to attack them. The Israelites pleaded for Samuel to cry out to God on their behalf.
The LORD heard Samuel’s petition and thundered against the Philistines and routed them before the Israelites.
That is when Samuel set up a stone and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the LORD helped us.” Through life’s storms, challenges, and conflicts, Ebenezer is a term that helps us to remember where our source of help comes from. According to Psalm 121, “my help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
God’s help in times of distress is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the purpose of life and the promotion of heaven.
The Apostle Paul lived with this eternal perspective in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Paul lived with the perspective that as long as he lived in his body, and as long as God gave him breath, his service for God would mean fruitful labor. He knew that the church would benefit from his ministry. Paul was committed to laboring for the Lord so that the church would make progress and experience joy in their faith.
Yet, internally, Paul was torn. His heart was where his treasure was. His treasure was Jesus. His longing was to be with Christ. He knew that death was a promotion into the presence of the Lord forever.
As we follow Jesus with a sincere heart, we also are likely to feel this type of internal struggle. That is a normal reaction for the person who loves Jesus in the midst of a world that loves sin. But with an eternal perspective, we acknowledge that God has placed us here on the earth “for such a time as this” to live for Christ and make Him known.
For the follower of Christ, our purpose in life and promotion to heaven is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the value of a true blue friend.
H. G. Bohn has said, “Friendships multiply joys and divide griefs.” There is something deeply meaningful when we celebrate special occasions with friends and loved ones. Perhaps this is why we tend to invite our circle of friends to our birthday parties and wedding ceremonies. We are also comforted by the support of friends in our low moments, when we have lost a loved one or if we have lost our job unexpectedly. Friends may not have the solutions to take away our pain, but they do offer us love and encouragement, which we really need when we find ourselves in a tough place.
The Bible reveals the value of a true blue friend this way:
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Jesus is the ultimate expression of a true blue friend. He told His followers, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” The next day, Jesus laid down His life for His friends.
The value of a true blue friend is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.