Monday, March 25, 2013




Today, we continue tracing the footsteps of Jesus, as Monday morning he returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. 

Along the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. 

Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God's judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine, living faith is more than just outward religiosity. True faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person's life.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves." (Luke 19:46)

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Jesus Clears the Temple of Money Changers
Bible Story Summary

From Jack Zavada

Scripture Reference:

Accounts of Jesus driving the money changers from the Temple are found in Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46; and John 2:13-17.
Jesus Drives the Money Changers From the Temple - Story 


Jesus Christ and his disciples journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. They found the sacred city of God overflowing with thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the world.
Entering the Temple, Jesus saw the money changers, along with merchants who were selling animals for sacrifice. Pilgrims carried coins from their home towns, most bearing the images of Roman emperors or Greek gods, which Temple authorities considered idolatrous.

The high priest ordered that only Tyrian shekels would be accepted for the annual half-shekel Temple tax because they contained a higher percentage of silver, so the money changers exchanged unacceptable coins for these shekels. Of course, they extracted a profit, sometimes much more than the law allowed.

Jesus was so filled with anger at the desecration of the holy place that he took some cords and wove them into a small whip. He ran about, knocking over the tables of the money changers, spilling coins on the ground. He drove the exchangers out of the area, along with the men selling pigeons and cattle. He also prevented people from using the court as a shortcut.

As he cleansed the Temple of greed and profit, Jesus quoted from Isaiah 56:7: "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers." (Matthew 21:13, ESV)

The disciples and others present were in awe of Jesus' authority in God's sacred place. His followers remembered a passage from Psalm 69:9: "Zeal for your house will consume me." (John 2:17, ESV)

The common people were impressed by Jesus' teaching, but the chief priests and scribes feared him because of his popularity. They began to plot a way to destroy Jesus.

Points of Interest from the Story:

Jesus drove out the money changers from the Temple on Monday of Passion Week, just three days before the Passover and four days before his crucifixion.

Bible scholars think this incident happened at Solomon's Porch, the outermost part on the east side of the Temple. Archaeologists have found a Greek inscription dated to 20 B.C. from the Court of the Gentiles, which warns non-Jews not to go any further into the Temple, on fear of death.

The high priest received a percentage of the profit from the money changers and merchants, so their removal from the Temple precinct would have caused a financial loss to him. Because pilgrims were unfamiliar with Jerusalem, the Temple merchants sold sacrificial animals at a higher price than elsewhere in the city. The high priest overlooked their dishonesty, as long as he got his share.

Beside his anger at the money changers' greed, Jesus hated the noise and commotion in the court, which would have made it impossible for devout Gentiles to pray there.

About 40 years from the time Jesus cleansed the Temple, the Romans would invade Jerusalem during an uprising and level the building completely. It would never be rebuilt. Today on its location on the Temple Mount stands the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus Christ was ushering in a new covenant with humanity, in which animal sacrifice would end, replaced by the perfect sacrifice of his life on the cross, atoning for human sin once and for all.
Question for Reflection:

Jesus cleansed the Temple because sinful activities interfered with worship. 

Do I need to cleanse my heart of attitudes or actions that are coming between me and God?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

HOLY WEEK TIMELINE - Day 1: Palm Sunday's Triumphal Entry

Holy Week - Day 1: Palm Sunday's Triumphal Entry

Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Photo: Getty Images

Beginning with Palm Sunday, we'll walk the steps of Jesus Christ this Holy Week, visiting each of the major events that occurred during our Savior's week of passion.

On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for the sins of the world. Nearing the village of Bethphage, he sent two of his disciples ahead to look for a donkey with its unbroken colt. Jesus instructed the disciples to untie the animals and bring them to him.

Then Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

On Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples spent the night in Bethany, a town about two miles east of Jerusalem. In all likelihood, Jesus stayed in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

Jesus Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing full well that this trip would end in his sacrificial death for the sin of humanity. He sent two disciples ahead to the village of Bethphage, about a mile away from the city at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He told them to look for a donkey tied by a house, with its unbroken colt next to it. Jesus instructed the disciples to tell the owners of the animal that "The Lord has need of it." (Luke 19:31, ESV)

The men found the donkey, brought it and its colt to Jesus, and placed their cloaks on the colt. Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In his path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air.

Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9, ESV)

By that time the commotion was spreading through the entire city. Many of the Galilean disciples had earlier seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Undoubtedly they were spreading the news of that miracle.

The Pharisees, who were jealous of Jesus and afraid of the Romans, said: "'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'" (Luke 19:39-40, ESV)

Points of Interest from the Triumphal Entry Story:

• When he told the disciples to get the donkey, Jesus referred to himself as 'The Lord,' a definite proclamation of his divinity.

• By riding into Jerusalem on a the colt of a donkey, Jesus fulfilled an ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (ESV) This was the only instance in the Gospels in which Jesus rode an animal.

• Throwing cloaks in the path of someone was an act of homage and submission. The people were recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah.

• The people's cries of 'Hosanna' came from Psalm 118:25-26. Hosanna means "save now." Despite what Jesus had foretold about his mission, the people were looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and restore Israel's independence.

Question for Reflection About the Palm Sunday Story:

The crowds refused to see Jesus as he truly was, placing their personal desires on him instead. Who is Jesus for you? Is he someone whom you want to satisfy your selfish wants and goals, or is he Lord and Master who gave up his life to save you from your sins?

(Sources: The New Compact Bible Dictionary, edited by T. Alton Bryant; New Bible Commentary, edited by G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France; and the ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bibles.)


Holy Week is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.

Holy Week includes Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) and Good Friday, which, together with Holy Saturday, are known as the Triduum. Before the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, Holy Week was the second week of Passiontide; in the current calendar, Passiontide is synonymous with Holy Week.

During Holy Week, Christians commemorate the Passion of Christ, Who died on Good Friday in reparation for the sins of mankind, and rose on Easter Sunday to give new life to all who believe.

Thus, while Holy Week is solemn and sorrowful, it also anticipates the joy of Easter through the recognition of God's goodness in sending His Son to die for our salvation.


Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9), when palm branches were placed in His path, before His arrest on Holy Thursday and His Crucifixion on Good Friday.

It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent, and the week in which Christians celebrate the mystery of their salvation through Christ's Death and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Quick Facts:

Date: The Sunday before Easter Sunday

Type of Feast: Solemnity

Readings: Luke 19:28-40 (at the procession with palms); Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Philemon 2:6-11; Luke 22:14—23:56 (long form) or Luke 23:1-49 (full text here)

Other Names for the Feast: Passion Sunday, Sunday of the Passion, Yew Sunday, Branch Sunday, Entry of the Lord Into Jerusalem

History of Palm Sunday:

Beginning in the fourth century in Jerusalem, Palm Sunday was marked by a procession of the faithful carrying palm branches, representing the Jews who celebrated Christ's entrance into Jerusalem. In the early centuries, the procession began on the Mount of the Ascension and proceeded to the Church of the Holy Cross.

As the practice spread throughout the Christian world by the ninth century, the procession would begin in each church with the blessing of palms, proceed outside the church, and then return to the church for the reading of the Passion according to the Gospel of Matthew.

The faithful would continue to hold the palms during the reading of the Passion. In this way, they would recall that many of the same people who greeted Christ with shouts of joy on Palm Sunday would call for His Death on Good Friday-a powerful reminder of our own weakness and the sinfulness that causes us to reject Christ.

In different parts of the Christian world, particularly where palms were historically hard to obtain, branches of other bushes and trees were used, including olive, box elder, spruce, and various willows. Perhaps best known is the Slavic custom of using pussy willows, which are among the earliest of plants to bud out in the spring.

The faithful have traditionally decorated their houses with the palms from Palm Sunday, and, in many countries, a custom developed of weaving the palms into crosses that were placed on home altars or other places of prayer. Since the palms have been blessed, they should not simply be discarded; rather, the faithful return them to their local parish in the weeks before Lent, to be burned and used as the ashes for Ash Wednesday.



Freedom is not standing still. A symbolic feature that people cannot see is the broken chain wrapped around the Statue's feet. Protruding from the bottom of her robe, the broken chains symbolize her free forward movement, enlightening the world with her torch free from oppression and servitude.


The original statue of Liberty gifted by the French to America was not the stern-faced green Roman looking woman that you see today holding a tablet and a torch. The original and first Statue of Liberty was a Black woman holding the broken shackles of slavery. She was refused on the notion that the black statue would be a constant reminder of the liberty that the slaves earned, from successfully fighting in the American Civil War. The true Black Statue of Liberty remains rejected, forgotten and lost in broken fragments of Black history.

Why was the Statue of Liberty Really Created?

French historian Edouard de Laboulaye, chairman of the French Anti-Slavery Society, together with sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, proposed to the French government that the people of France should present the United States – through the American Abolitionist Society – the gift of a Statue of Liberty in recognition of the Black soldiers who won the Civil War in the United States, earning themselves their freedom. It was widely known then that it was Black soldiers who played the pivotal role in winning the war, and this gift was supposed to be a tribute to their prowess.

Why was the Black Statue of Liberty Rejected?

When the statue was presented to the U.S. Minister to France in 1884, it was rejected on the notion that the dominant view of the broken shackles would be offensive to a defeated U.S. South, who despised their former captives and would not want to be faced with a constant reminder of Blacks winning their freedom.

When Did This Hidden Piece of History Publicly Resurface?

Dr. Jack Felder, a biochemist, educator, author and historian, asked this startling question in a New York newspaper, the Daily Challenge (July 16, 1990):

Did you know that the original Statue of Liberty was to have been a Black woman being liberated from slavery with broken chains in her hands and at her feet and that she also had a dark Negroid face?

In the newspaper article, Dr. Felder further writes that:

Eventually, Bartholdi built a model faithful to the wishes of de Laboulaye with broken chains at her feet and a broken chain in her left hand and a distinctly Negroid face. The broken chains were to show the broken chains of slavery.

This list is of the documents of proof, presented in the same newspaper article by Dr. Felder:

1.) You may go and see the original model of the Statue of Liberty, with the broken chains at her feet and in her left hand. Go to the Museum of the City of NY, Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street write to Peter Simmons and he can send you some documentation.

2.) Check with the N.Y. Times magazine, part II_May 18, 1986. Read the article by Laboulaye.

3.) The dark original face of the Statue of Liberty can be seen in the N.Y. Post, June 17, 1986, also the Post stated the reason for the broken chains at her feet.

4.) Finally, you may check with the French Mission or the French Embassy at the U.N. or in Washington, D.C. and ask for some original French material on the Statue of Liberty, including the Bartholdi original model.

The Journey of Edouard de Laboulaye and Frederic Auguste Bartholdi in Creating the Statue of Liberty

Edouard de Laboulaye, an internationally renowned lawyer and author of a three-volume history of the United States, first presented the idea of a symbol of the end of American slavery at a dinner party in 1865, at his country home near Versailles, France, among many abolitionists including Victor Hugo and Frederick Auguste Bartholdi.

After Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1861, the French liberals and abolitionists including Hugo, Bartholdi, and Laboulaye urged Lincoln to free the slaves even if Civil war resulted.

When the war ended in 1865, French abolitionists again urging Lincoln to free all slaves, Laboulaye and Bartholdi requested permission to build and dedicate a colossal monument to symbolize the freeing of all slaves in America. The assassination of Lincoln saw a pivotal turning point for the intended Black Statue of Liberty.

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, an outstanding French sculptor had a life changing experience the year of 1855 when he toured Egypt and saw the magnificent colossal monuments and statues created by the ancient Black Egyptians. It was this experience alongside his ties with Laboulaye that inspired Bartholdi’s creation of a giant Black ex-slave female with broken chains at her feet and left hand. One which was readily accepted in France, by 1881 some 100,000 people and 181 towns throughout France had contributed money.

In 1871, Frederic Bartholdi at the urging of Laboulaye travelled to America to promote his idea of a colossal statue symbolizing the end of chattel slavery in the United States. He took with him a large terra-cotta statue and many drawings to clearly illustrate the Black Statue of Liberty. Bartholdi found little American support for his African slave model. In 1878, as the African head of Miss Liberty first went on display at the Universal Exposition in Paris, France, rampant reaction raged throughout the American South.

Unfortunately, Bartholdi was forced to conform to specific white supremacist ideals that saw the statue evolve to the Statue of Liberty we see in New York today. The African face was re-sculptured into the face of his mother Madame Bartholdi and a tablet of law tucked into her folded arm that bears the date July 4, 1776, replaced the broken chains in the Black female slave’s left hand. Ironically, the chains were left at the feet but the meaning changed from broken American slavery to broken English tyranny.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Philippians 4:13 I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me!

Philippians 4:13 
I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me!....I need to always remember that....I am just honored, humbled and thankful for GOD'S 'AGAPE' (unconditional) LOVE for me!!!

I'm just ME!!..A work in progress!..I truly love GOD!

I love kids.....that's why I volunteer to help out with kids/youth organizations. I hope and pray that I can impact/make an impression and difference in at least one child's life while I am here upon this earth. I will continue to work with/for kids here in the United States; but one day, I hope and pray to be able to do missionary work in Africa / Haiti---hope to help some of the kids over there as well!!!... :)