All posts by Ben

Article: Holy Week 2023

Holy Week crown of thorns background.

We begin the most important week of the year: Holy Week.

Jesus came to forgive. To repair what was broken shortly after creation: Our Rebellion.

On Good Friday, Jesus gave his life as a ransom so that we can be truly free.

Much happens between Palm Sunday and Easter morning. More than we can describe in worship this coming week.

If you are interested in a timeline of the week, you came to the right place.


  • Jesus arrives in Bethany six days before Passover (Jn12:1)
  • Stays with Lazarus, Mary and Martha (his Judean home)
  • Possibly the supper and anointing in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper where Jesus is anointed by Mary. (Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8)

Palm Sunday:

  • Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-9; Mk 11:1-10; Lk 19:28-38; Jn12:12-18) Fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9
  • Jesus weeps over seeing Jerusalem and predicts its destruction. (Lk 19:39-44)
  • Jesus cleanses the temple. (Mt 21:10-17; Mk 11:11; Lk 19:45-46; Jn 2:13-25)

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:

  • Jesus curses the fig tree. (Mt 21:18-19; Mk 11:12-14)
  • Parable of the wicked tenants (Mt 21:33-46; Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19)
  • Returns to Bethany at night.
  • Jesus denounces the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23:1-36; Mk 12:37-40; Lk 20:45-47)
  • Jesus teaches in the Temple (Lk 21:37-38)
  • Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple. (Mt 24:1-3; Mk 13:1-4; Lk 21:5-7)
  • Possibly, on Wednesday, the supper and anointing in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper. (Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8) Mark’s account is just after he says that it was two days before the Passover.

Holy Thursday, Thursday Night, Early Friday Morning:

  • The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and preparation for the Passover for Jesus and the disciples. (Mt 26:17-19; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-13; Jn 19:14)
  • The Last Supper (Mt 26:20-25; Mk 14:17-21; Lk 22:14, 21-23; Jn 13 “before the Feast of Passover”)
  • Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; the betrayal of Judas and the arrest of Jesus.
  • Jesus taken to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest. Annas sends Jesus to Caiaphas (Jn 18:12-25)
  • Jesus taken to the high priest Caiaphas’ home where the scribes, elders, and the chief priests had gathered. (Mt 26:57-75; Mk 14:53-72; Lk 22:54-71)
  • Peter denies Jesus three times.
  • Jesus was kept overnight in a cistern below Caiaphas’ home.

Good Friday:

  • Early in the morning, the Sanhedrin meets, they lead Jesus to Pilate. (Mk 15:1; Mt 27:1-2; Lk 23:1; Jn 18:28)
  • Pilate sends Jesus to Herod (Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee) (Lk 23:6-7)
  • Herod mocks Jesus and then clothes him in gorgeous apparel, and sends Jesus back to Pilate (Lk 23:6-12)
  • Pilate examines Jesus and finds him not guilty of the Jew’s charges against him. Pilate has Jesus flogged and plans to release him. (Lk 23:13-16; Jn 19:1-13)
  • Jesus is crowned with thorns. (Jn 19:1-6)
  • Jesus is sentenced to death and is crucified at 9:00 in the morning (Mk 15:25)
  • Jesus dies at 3:00 and is buried in the tomb. (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; Lk 23:44)

 Holy Saturday: Jesus’ body in the tomb.

Easter Sunday:

  • Early in the morning of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Joana?) brought spices to anoint Jesus’ body. The stone had been rolled away, the tomb was open, the body was gone, and they were told by an angel (two angels, a young man or two men in white clothes) that Jesus had been raised, and to go tell the disciples that Jesus has risen and would see them in Galilee. (Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-12)
  • The disciples did not believe the women, but Peter ran to the tomb. (Lk 24:10-12)
  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and tells her to go to the disciples. She is the first person on record to see the risen Jesus. (Jn 20:11-17)
  • Matthew’s account: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were on their way to tell the disciples what the angel had said, when Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” “And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Mt 28:5-10)
  • Mary Magdalene tells the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”. (Jn 20:18)
  • Jesus appears to Peter (Cephas) (Paul’s account in 1Cor 15:5)
  • Two disciples walking to Emmaus recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. (Lk 24:13-32)
  • The two disciples immediately return to Jerusalem, find the Eleven gathered, and are told that Jesus has appeared to Peter (Simon). (Lk 24:33-35) “While they were saying this, Jesus stood among them…” (Lk 24:36) “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week…Jesus came and stood among them…” (Jn 20:19) “Now Thomas…was not with them when Jesus came.” (Jn 20:24)

Click here to look at the graphic more closely:

Make the journey with us this week. From the triumphal entry to the upper room to the cross and finally to the empty tomb.

God bless you,
Pastor Ben


At the Feet of Jesus: Just Because

We continue on “At the Feet of Jesus” but this moment is different than all the rest. A woman named Mary is at the feet of Jesus to just be in his presence. Spending time with Jesus on a regular basis will minimize moments of anxiety and desperation.


Article: The Face of Jesus

What does the face of Jesus look like in the world? It looks like this…

Please click on the play button and watch. You will not regret it.

It resembles Jesus whispering into the ears of children to help other children.

It looks like the Holy Spirit giving power to an idea that becomes a reality because of an unstoppable drive and determination to help others.

It is a simple message, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) For when we do, things like this happen and the world is a better place.

God bless you,
Pastor Ben


Article: Lent Is For You

I like the season of Lent. This is the time I dig deep and look inside myself.  In the words of Alcoholics Anonymous, I take a “fearless moral inventory” of my life. I know some people make New Year’s resolutions; I prefer the internal reflection over the 40 days of Lent. No rush and no rash decisions, just time spent looking inward while spending more time in community at Community Lutheran Church.

On Wednesday at our first mid-week Lenten service, I said that spending time with Jesus also means spending time with each other because Saint Paul told us that the Church is the “body of Christ.”

I look at this way, being around other Christians brings out the best in me. That gives me strength to be my best when I am around others in the world. I want to be an example of God’s love in the world.

Last weekend in worship, I talked about the wisemen from Persia who followed a star to find Jesus. I know we all want God to write it in the sky that he is real and Jesus is the Son of God. But Jesus empowered us to be that star of Bethlehem for others in the world.

It is helpful for me to spend more time with the “Light of the world” (Jesus) so that I may reflect that light of love, joy, faithfulness and kindness to others.

Remember, Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything or even feel more guilt ridden in the season of Lent. The season is for us not for God. It doesn’t matter if it is March or November, God still wants to draw close to us and change our hearts by filling it with love.

Lent is for me and it is for you. Do with it as you wish (or nothing at all). Jesus will do the same thing he always does: Love.

As for me, I don’t want to miss a thing, so I’ll be at the feet of Jesus this season. There is a spot for you too.

God bless,
Pr. Ben


Article: What Kind of God do You Believe in?

What kind of God do you want? Or to put it a different way, what kind of God do you believe in?

John the Baptist was expecting one kind of God. A God who will bring punishment.

John talked extensively to the crowds about what God is like and what God is going to do when the Messiah comes.

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:10


His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12

John’s expectation was that God was going to show up angry and kick butt. It was clear that he was passionate about this, and he was convinced that some people were going to face a literal “come to Jesus” moment in their lives. He even called the religious leaders of the day a “brood of vipers.”

John believed in an angry God. A God who will wreak vengeance and judgment on all his perceived enemies.

Then Jesus comes, and doesn’t meet John’s expectations. After John was arrested by Herod Antipas the Roman appointed leader of parts of Israel, John sends a few followers to go ask Jesus if he is the actual Messiah (the chosen one of God).

John is having his doubts because Jesus isn’t doing the things he thought a Messiah should be doing.

When these followers of John asked Jesus if he was the “real deal”, he responded this way…

 “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the person who does not fall away on account of me.” Matthew 11:4-6

Do you see the disconnect between John the Baptist’s expectations and the reality of Jesus Christ’s actual agenda? There is a huge ideological gap between the two.

Humans are really good at making God in our own image. We sometimes convince ourselves that God hates the same people  we do and despises the same ideas we do. We want God to punish our enemies or at least smite those we disagree with on any major topic.

Instead of creating a God that looks like a superhuman version of ourselves, we should turn to the scriptures to see what God is really like.

When we read the gospel stories of Jesus, we discover a God who loves, forgives and is always present in our time of need.

Jesus wants to draw close to ALL people and not just the people we agree with. Jesus was willing to die to make that happen.

God bless you,
Pr. Ben