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Tag Archives: Passion Week

S.A.N.S. Episode 302: Glory (Let There Be Peace)

While I don’t agree with most of the political stances that You Tube takes in the United States, this internet platform has become beneficials for songwriters and worship leaders across this country and throughout the world. Today’s song comes from Matt Maher who is from Newfoundland, Canada. A few years ago, Matt’s song Glory (Let There Be Peace) was selected as one of the top hundred Christmas worship songs.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you,] John 16:33.

The context of the passage above is shared by Jesus with the disciples in private during Passion Week. As Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his ultimate sacrifice, the purpose of this act was to bring peace to the earth. Not peace in a political sense between nation. Rather the peace Jesus introduces is a spiritual peace brought forth by fulfilling God’s will for His life. May the words of Glory (Let There Be Peace) help you make room in your heart for Jesus this Christmas Season.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 296: Never Alone

There are several remixes of Transform’s song Never Alone. While I wasn’t able to find an older remix that is longer and better than the attached video, this one will have to do. While the lyrics aren’t that spiritual in nature, the song points to the biblical promise in the passage below. In his letter to the Church at Rome, the apostle Paul tells this congregation that nothing can separate you from the love of God. Therefore, you’re never alone.

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things [n]impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, 39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:38-39.

One of the ways Jesus comforted his disciples during Passion Week was to introduce the concept of a Holy Ghost, John 14:16-17. While Jesus doesn’t go into detail like the prophet Isaiah, Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to a spiritual counselor and guide. When you add this fact to the apostle Paul’s words, Christians should never feel alone. If you do, it’s likely due to the schemes of the Devil trying to separate you from God’s flock, 1 Peter 5:8. May today’s song comfort your heart.

by Jay Mankus

How Great is Your Love?

One of my first nights as a college freshman, a girl in my dorm opened up about a traumatic experience that happened over the summer. Her parents’ house backed up to one of the major interstates in New Jersey. While hanging out in her backyard, she heard a large explosion. Something inside of her moved her toward this massive pile up. Moments later, she helped drag a child from a burning car. This instinct was something she couldn’t explain, but it was a sign of love deep inside her heart.

This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do, John 15:12-14.

As God’s plan for His life was a few days from being fulfilled, Jesus began to open up to His disciples. Passion Week served as a way to prepare these twelve men for life after His ascension into heaven. Looking back, it’s clear that Jesus is pointing to his death on a cross in the passage above. Yet, most of the disciples thought that Jesus was merely introducing another expectation for his followers. To someone like Peter, this is an extension of Matthew 16:24-27, a call to prove your love for God.

Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us, Romans 5:7-8.

Alain de Lille is a French theologian and poet who referred to the apostle Paul’s letter to Rome as the Road to Romans in 1175. This first century epistle is considered one of the most theological books in the New Testament. The passage above along with Romans 6:23 play a crucial role in Evangelism Explosion, a course I took at a local Methodist Church in Delaware. Paul illustrates the greatness of Jesus’ love. Nearly 2000 years after his death and resurrection, Jesus wants to know how great is your love on earth?

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 252: I Am the Way

As a former coach, one of the most overused sayings is that “there’s no I in team.” This expression is designed to highlight that a true team is composed of a group of individuals working together for a common goal. Unfortunately, in this age of social media, there is always at least one athlete who believes they are bigger and greater than their team. This is the complete opposite when you become a member of God’s team, Romans 10:9-11.

Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me, John 14:6.

Mark Schultz sings about this concept in the passage above. The context of Jesus’ words “I Am the Way” occurs during Passion Week, days before his own death on a cross. Mark started his career as a member of the group Up with People before pursuing a solo career. Jesus isn’t bragging about being God’s One and only son. Rather, Jesus is attempting to comfort his disciples by showing the way as a spiritual leader. May today’s song remind you to turn to Jesus to find truth and life.

by Jay Mankus

The Shaft to the Abyss

Half of the Gospel of John is devoted to the events of Passion Week: Jesus’ final week on earth. In the passage below, Jesus drops a hint about Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A first century doctor either interviewed Jesus following his resurrection or had a vision of Jesus’ trip to Hades, Acts 2:31. Paul devotes 1 Corinthians 15 to explaining the significance of Jesus conquering death via his resurrection.

In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way, John 14:2-4.

Jesus doesn’t explain how He was able to visit the Abyss which John uses to describe hell. Yet, during one vision, John sees a shaft open up momentarily to unveil this bottomless pit. As soon as the fifth angel in heaven blew his trumpet, the shaft to the Abyss opened to reveal a glimpse of hell. Out of this shaft came a plume of smoke like a modern-day industrial plant polluting the sky above.

Then the fifth angel blew [his] trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth; and to the angel was given the key [a]of the shaft of the Abyss (the bottomless pit). He opened the [b]long shaft of the Abyss (the bottomless pit), and smoke like the smoke of a huge furnace puffed out of the [c]long shaft, so that the sun and the atmosphere were darkened by the smoke from the long shaft, Revelation 9:1-2.

Hell is one of those topics which rarely comes up at a funeral. To avoid depressing family and friends, heaven is brought up to bring comfort to those in audience. Yet, when you consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:13-14, few people follow the less traveled road. Therefore, may this blog cause you to consider the shaft of the Abyss. May the fear of death scare people straight toward eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

The Unleashing of the Seven-Fold

Over the past 30 years, I have been introduced to theology which is the science of God. After attending seminary for a couple of years, the deeper you get, the more confusing the spiritual realm becomes as you’re introduced to various theologians with opposing views. During a recent study of the Book of Revelation, I discovered a new concept that John calls the seven-fold Holy Spirit.

I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you, John 14:25-26.

John was first introduced to the Holy Spirit during a conversation with his spiritual mentor. Jesus’ last week on earth has been given the title Passion Week. As His death on a cross approached, Jesus turned to the future when his presence would be replaced by an invisible counselor. Jesus compares this spiritual entity as an advocate and intercessor when you are in need or uncertain of what to do.

Out from the throne came flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne seven blazing torches burned, which are the seven Spirits of God [[c]the sevenfold Holy Spirit]; Revelation 4:5.

Acts 2 describes the unleashing of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. A first century doctor is like a reporter on the scene explaining this as a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, Acts 2:2. As great as this encounter was for Jesus’ followers, John has a vision of the sevenfold presence of the Holy Spirit. This unleashing of the Holy Spirit provides a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 16: Song of the Harlot

The Violet Burning was one of the first Christian groups to add an alternative flavor to worship. I could have chosen a half dozen songs from their best album Strength. Yet, the Song of the Harlot comes right out of the Bible. As Passion Week begins, Mary Magdalene is led by the Holy Spirit to anoint Jesus’ feet with an expensive bottle of perfume. This selfless act is deemed a waste of money by Judas Iscariot.

Mary took a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard [a rare perfume] that was very expensive, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume, John 12:3.

The Violet Burning uses the lyrics as a means to put yourself into this situation as if to ask, “who would you be in this story and why?” Would you play it safe, do what is socially acceptable or follow the Holy Spirit? Going against the flow takes guts and fortitude, especially if this means being cancelled by today’s culture. Therefore, don’t let stereotypes keep you powerless to act by remembering this harlot.

by Jay Mankus

When I Ran out of that Grave

According to the apostle Paul, more than 500 people witnessed Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Sometime before Passion Week, Jesus performed a miracle, raising his good friend Lazarus from the dead. While Jesus was dead for three days, Lazarus had been dead for four days. An eye witness of this amazing feat writes about the stench from Lazarus’ decaying body. Nonetheless, moments later Lazarus ran of this grave to embrace friends and family.

Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! 40 Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and [a]promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger], John 11:39-42.

In one of the apostle Paul’s letters, he refers to Jesus’ resurrection as swallowing up death, 1 Corinthians 15:53-58. This one event has changed the course of history. While Jewish religious leaders bribed Roman soldiers to claim that Jesus’ disciples stole and hid his body, Matthew 28:12-15, those who saw Jesus ascend into heaven quickly disposed of this lie, Acts 1:8-11. When Jesus cancelled the written code of death, Colossians 2:13-15, this one miracle opened the door for eternal life.

When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! 44 And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go, John 11:43-44.

In John 21, Jesus appears before his disciples for a third time in his resurrected body. Yet, the scars of the nails that held Jesus to a cross could be felt by a doubting Thomas. While 99.9% of human beings will never experience or see a modern resurrection, for those who pass away on earth, your grave clothes are temporary. For as soon as Jesus returns for His second coming, the dead will arise, run out of their graves and then lifted up to heaven for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

The Mystic Secret of Faith

The English term Mysticism comes from the Greek word μύω meaning “I conceal”. The Greek derivative μυστικός, also known as mystikos refers to “an initiate.” The Christian definition of Mysticism is that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of a direct and transformative presence of God. The mystic part comes into play when the Holy Ghost, an invisible presence can transform the life of a rebellious and wayward soul.

They must possess the mystic secret of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience, 1 Timothy 3:9.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul claims that the truth about Christianity is hidden from the ungodly. Since Paul doesn’t go into greater details, perhaps Paul is referring to individuals who are self absorbed by their own sinful nature. Jesus uses imagery like light shining into darkness, John 1:5. One of the ways truth is hidden is when Satan snatches away what was sown in someone’s heart, Matthew 13:19. When you add this to lust of the flesh and pride. 1 John 2:15-17, the love of the world prevents many from trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior, Romans 10:9-10.

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you, John 14:26.

As Passion Week began, Jesus gave hints to the transformative presence of God. The Holy Spirit is like an inner guide who helps, discerns, intercedes and guide you toward what God wants you to do and where you should go. Jesus demonstrates the mystic secret of faith while praying early in the morning, Mark 1:35-36. While the disciples had their own ideas on how they were going to spend the day, the Holy Spirit gave Jesus precise instructions. To a certain extent, I never really know what topic I am going to write about each week, but when the Spirit moves I follow by typing until my blogs are completed. In the end, faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

by Jay Mankus

The Burning within Us

On the original Easter Sunday, a group of individuals traveled from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a 7 mile walk. Without any electronic devices to pass the time, this group reflected upon all that had happened during Passion Week. Going along on this walk was Jesus, disguised and playing coy. Jesus asks a series of questions, setting the tone for this afternoon stroll. Upon arriving, Jesus is asked to stick around for dinner. This is when an internal burning sensation began deep inside the hearts of these men..

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, Do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days? 19 And He said to them, What [kind of] things? And they said to Him, About Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a Prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people— 20 And how our chief priests and rulers gave Him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him, Luke 24:18-20.

Based upon the knowledge of a first century doctor, Cleopas appears to have been one of 72 additional disciples chosen by Jesus in Luke 10:1. Since no one else is mentioned directly by name, Cleopas seems to be the leader of this caravan. Jesus continues to asks Cleopas questions as if a stranger, unaware of the previous events that took place from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. Cleopas responds to Jesus with a befuddled expression as if to suggest, “where have you been man?”

But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them. 30 And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them 31 When their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly). 32 And they said to one another, Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us [the sense of] the Scriptures? – Luke 24:29-32.

The mood of this group changed during a meal. Reclining at a table, Jesus let his guard down as the conversation ignited a spiritual fire within those who attended. It’s unclear what triggered their minds to finally recognize Jesus, but this communion like atmosphere opened their eyes. As soon as Jesus vanished like a ghost, this encounter struck a nerve in their consciences. Perhaps, there was a sense of regret, “I can’t believe Jesus was with us the whole time.” Inspired by this special moment, Cleopas’s group turned around, walking 7 miles back to Jerusalem as the fire inside their hearts continue to smolder.

by Jay Mankus

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