Tag Archives: Asheville

Kendra Graham Online Bible Study – Jeremiah

 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes. But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NASB)

 What does it say?

Blessed is the man who trusts the LORD and in the LORD

He shall be like a tree planted by water that extends roots by a stream, will NOT fear heat, its leaves green, not anxious in drought nor cease to yield fruit.

What Does it Mean?

The desert is a hard, unforgiving place. God seems to have a pattern of leading His people to the desert: from Moses to King David, to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, Jesus, and many others. All these individuals had been driven to the desert to experience God. The desert is a place of thirst, with brutal temperature changes from unbearably hot during the day to freezing cold at night.  And if the desert climate doesn’t do you in, there is danger from wildlife and deadly insects—AWESOME, right?  So why would God lead His people to the desert? To kill them? To torture them?

The desert places in the Bible were not locations where God led His people to drive them off a cliff.  The desert was a place where God brought His people to the point of total dependence, and then provided for them in extraordinary ways. These desert places were transformed from a place of danger and dread to a place of refuge and provision. The desert became the place where God taught His people to walk with Him—a place where God came and lived among the people He so loved. The desert became a place of intimacy with God, where the Word of God did not dehydrate and dissipate; in the desert the Word of God came to life.

I shared a little bit in my last post about my journey which lately seems like a desert place (link to previous).  There have been days in which I struggled in the morning just to put my feet on the ground and start the day and then struggled to continue the day through to the end.  How do I walk with God in the desert?  I have felt alone, left to decompose by the elements that have been beating down with relentless force. I recently began to study the desert’s vegetation and animals. The desert is actually home to me, so I went back in the recesses of my mind to Tucson, AZ, where in high school we took a class called “Desert Survival.”  I know that if God has led me to this place, then He will provide for me here.  Yet to be honest, I don’t like God’s provision in the desert because I don’t like the fact that I’m here at all.

In my last blog post on the desert broom tree, God showed me He has provided just enough shade in this desert place to decrease the intensity of the heat and make it bearable for me.  God is my shade at my right hand. I am not the only one in this desert place, but the vastness of the desert often makes me feel that way.  Recently, I found myself speaking praise out of one side of my mouth for the shade God provided, and out of the other side of my mouth curses for calling me here. I found myself asking WHY, as the frustration of this place rose within me.  Can anyone relate?

God showed me the acacia tree, so I want to show you as well. The acacia tree is a relatively slow-growing tree; it takes around 20- 30 years to mature.  According to Jewish plant experts, this tree will grow much taller than the broom tree: at full height an acacia will be six to nine feet tall.  The leaves of an acacia tree all come together at the top and cast an umbrella like shade across the desert floor. The welcome shade decreases the heat for groups of travelers as well as for their animals. Native to the Judean Negev desert, the acacia has evergreen leaves and is found only along dry river beds that are subject to flash flooding in the desert.  The roots of the tree drive deep into the earth, further than most desert plants, finding the smallest bits of water to survive. When the rains come and the floods rise, the packed earth of the desert floor cannot receive all this water; however, the acacia trees readily soak up the excess.

In addition to providing shade for desert animals and Bedouin travelers, its leaves produce food for camels. The pods (fruit) that the tree bears become food for deer and other desert animals and are also used for reproduction of the tree. The wood of the acacia tree is incredibly hard and difficult to chop down; acacia branches will burn long into the night to keep the Bedouin nomads warm and protected.  In periods of severe drought, the tree will go dormant; yet at the first sign of rain, the acacia will burst back to life and produce its fruit in season. The acacia is an incredible tree!

The prophet Jeremiah was often in the Judean desert, and the acacia is quite probably the tree he is speaking of here in chapter 17.  When we read this verse (and a similar passage in Psalm 1), we may think of a tall Oak tree planted by a rippling stream—a lush and beautiful source of complete shade towering above green grass, colorful flowers and cheery butterflies.  That is the picture we want—a soft place.  We sometimes believe that if we follow God, He will lead us to greenery and comfort 24/7.

Yet what if this acacia in the desert is the tree that Jeremiah speaks of?  What if he’s referring to this tree that survives in the harshest conditions in the Negev, giving shade, food, protection and care to others who are traveling through? This tree is planted by the dry river beds, with its roots extending deep into the empty riverbed, awaiting the waters that will rush in during monsoon season. The acacia will not fear when the heat comes; even with such little rainfall throughout the rest of the year, its leaves remain green. The acacia is not anxious in a drought because it will go dormant just waiting for that next drop of water which will bring it back to life and produce fruit.

What if this is what we are called to be?  What if God was our shade, our broom tree, at our right hand so that He could grow us into an acacia tree on the desert floor?  Oh, we don’t like it.  I don’t like it.  I would rather someone else be the acacia tree so that I can navigate through this place as fast as humanly possible… but what if God was our shade so that we could be the shade someone else needs in the same place?  The Word of God says we will be blessed in this desert place if we can trust in the LORD.  Psalm 1:2 tells us how we can be that tree firmly planted; it comes down to meditating on God’s Word day and night.  We have to be in God’s Word and know what God says.  We have to know what He promises and hold on to that promise in the times of flood, drought, rain and heat. Regardless of our current condition, God calls us to trust in that Word that He has given us. The only way to trust in His Word is to know what it says.

To be an acacia tree is a high calling where deep roots are required for survival.  Our desert survival depends completely on soaking our roots in the Truth of God’s Word.

What Does it Mean to Me?

How deep are your roots, and what are they soaking in?  Are you soaking in the ever-changing landscape of the world around us, or in the unchanging Truth of God’s Word and His promises?

When have you been called to be an acacia tree to someone else?  How was God your shade so that you could be shade to others?

Often we feel so alone and isolated in these desert places, which is why when you share your story of God’s provision, you become that oasis in the desert to someone else.

LIVE IT OUT

Today I will seek out that Living Water found in the God’s Word even in this desert place.  I will seek to be that acacia tree for someone else as they travel through the same desert, so that they know that they are not alone and that God is who He says He is and His promises are all yes and Amen in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).  Oh, that we may rise out of the desert floor to become an oasis for others!

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Weekly Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9

Our Bible verse for the week  comes from 2 Corinthians 12: 9

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'”


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot: Highlights from the Training Center

It has been such a beautiful week at The Cove! From a Pastor Renewal Retreat to guest groups to visitors just passing through, this week has brought people from all over the nation!

Our Pastor Renewal Retreat was a blessing to so many pastors and their wives. They arrived here from Los Angeles, Tampa, Columbus, and various other parts of the country–there were 21 states represented! Regardless of how far they had traveled, each guest was inspired and encouraged by Pastor Jim Henry’s series of messages on “Jesus: The Joy of the Journey.”

The connections made between these pastors and their spouses was so wonderful to see. During breaks and meal times they took the opportunity to get to know one another better and encourage one another in ministry.

Some of the pastors and their spouses took time to just be on the Training Center deck and relax in front of the  gorgeous views of the mountains!

The Cove is blessed to have the best chefs around! They work hard to make sure every detail of the dining experience is perfected. One of the retreat sessions with Pastor Henry ended just before lunch,  and the aroma of the barbecue ribs seemed to fill the entire Training Center! 

The Cove also has the friendliest volunteers! They give a warm welcome to each guest and greet everyone with a smile! 

Many of our guests were able to stop by Ruth’s Attic Bookstore and purchase the most recent Franklin Graham book entitled, “Through My Father’s Eyes.” This book includes one of the most touching and moving chapters of the last moments of Ruth Bell Graham. It is a wonderful read about Billy Graham, written from the perspective of a son who knew him best.

We are so thankful for the guests the Lord brought to The Cove this past week, and we’re grateful for the inspiration and renewal they received. We are excited and expectant to see what God has for us in the coming week! Have a blessed weekend!


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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National Day of Prayer: 5 Insights from Billy Graham and Anne Graham Lotz

“Have you ever said, ‘Well, all we can do now is pray?’” the late Billy Graham once asked.

“When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.”

Prayer, that is talking honestly with God, is a gamechanger, and today on this National Day of Prayer, Christians across the United States of America are coming together to ask God for unity, peace, wise leadership and that His Name be glorified.

Consider the following 5 insights on prayer as you go before the Lord today and every day:

1. Pray Locally & Globally: In addition to talking with God about your own life and the lives of those around you, don’t forget to bring up what’s going on nationwide. Franklin Graham, who is conducting one-day evangelistic prayer events in Californiaand the Pacific Northwest, urges Christians, “The most critical thing you can do is pray, pray, pray. The intercession of God’s people is crucial if we are to see a return to the Biblical faith of our fathers, the faith that has guided and sustained our country for so long.”

2. Don’t Get Discouraged: Prayer sounds like it should be easy, right? Just talk with God. But if you have questions, it’s time to get some answers. Billy Graham offers the following guidelines in Prayer 101: How Do I Talk to God?

3. Dig Deeper: There may not be a perfect prayer, but Anne Graham Lotz drills down on the best kind of prayer. Join Billy Graham’s daughter as she explores the power of prayer in this devotional: The Prayer That Heaven Applauds.

4. Stand United: It’s true that God made each of us unique to play a different role in His kingdom, but those differences should still present a unified front for Him. Be encouraged today as you listen to this timeless Billy Graham message on unity of the spirit.

5. Don’t Give Up: Whether you’re burdened for this country, a loved one or something else, God hears you. And He loves you. Take comfort as you read this Billy Graham daily devotional.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Saturday Snapshot: Will Graham Celebration

The Tri-Cities Will Graham Celebration is this weekend in Johnson City, Tennessee at the Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Since 1950, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has held Crusades all across the globe for one purpose: to proclaim God’s love to people who need Jesus Christ. Today, Will Graham Celebrations continue this life-changing mission. A Celebration is not just an evangelistic event; it is a process of prayer, training, outreach, and followup that takes place over a 12-month period—and it begins and ends with  the local church.

The Celebrations usually consist of 4 services:

  • Friday Night for Adults/Families
  • Saturday Morning KidzFest for Elementary Aged Children
  • Saturday Night for Youth
  • Sunday Afternoon for Adults/Families

“No matter where I go in the world, people seem to be searching for the same things in life,” said Graham, who returned from preaching in Romania just in time to travel to Kingsport to speak. “They want to find hope. They’re seeking their purpose. They long for peace and security. I believe that all of these elusive elements can be found in Jesus, and I’m looking forward to sharing that message with the people of the Tri-Cities area.”- Will Graham

This weekend, Will Graham shares hope from Johnson City, Tennessee, with music by Aaron Shust, Crowder, Ellie Holcomb and more. It will be streamed LIVE tonight and tomorrow if you click on this link: Will Graham Celebration Live Stream 

It will air at the following times:
Saturday, April 28 @ 6:30 ET
Sunday, April 29 @ 3:30 ET

The volunteers and team in Johnson City have been working endlessly since last fall to connect with churches and area pastors to pray and also spread the word in their communities.

We are excited and expectant of what God is going to do this weekend! We ask you also to join us in prayer for this amazing event and we hope that you can either attend the event or watch it online! Feel free to also share this link with your family and friends.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Where is Your Focus? Devotion on Psalm 16:8-11

Where is your focus? 

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:8-11)

I love how this verse starts: “I keep my eyes always on the Lord.” We must ask why? Why does this verse start with these words? As we read  further in the passage we see the result of keeping our eyes on the Lord. Let’s take a look at what happens when we do this.

  1. He is our strength.  “With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” The Word tells us in Psalm 61:3, ” For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” Also we see his strength in our lives in Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” When we keep our eyes focused on the Lord, He is always with us. Regardless of the  battles we may be facing, He is our strength. With Him by our side, we will not be shaken. We can rest in complete assurance that He is with us in all situations. Even in our thought life.

Have you ever had something come into your mind that gave you fear, frustration, anxiety, or anger? These things are not from the Lord. These are things the enemy uses as a strategy to shake us up. You see, satan knows that if we take our eyes off the things of the Lord, then our eyes will be focused on what he has distracted us to see. The Lord says that we should focus on, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9) When we focus our eyes and think of Him, we have peace. We have joy. We will not be shaken.

2. He gives us joy and He is faithful. Verse 9 states, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.” As we just saw in Philippians, we will have joy and peace, and we can rest when our eyes are focused on God.  He takes delight in us and views us as His perfect and most beautiful creation. He is faithful to us and is always with us.

We see His goodness in Zephaniah 3:17 ” The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  This beautiful time with the Lord is what the enemy wants to steal from you. How can you stay in this place of perfect peace? A place where you have lasting joy, no matter your situation? The answer is simply by putting your focus on Him always. 

3. He gives us direction and all eternal pleasures!You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” What a way to end this passage! By keeping our eyes on the Lord, we can know the path of life, we are filled with joy and His eternal pleasures! No wonder the enemy would love for us to take our eyes off the Lord. 

 My prayer for you today is that you turn your eyes and your focus to Jesus. That you combat anything that the enemy of this world tries to use to distract you. I pray that you can remember the Lord’s protection and love for you.  As you finish reading this blog, I would ask you to focus on the words in this next passage. This is His promise to you today. This is what He will give you when your eyes are on Him. 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’  Surely he will save you  from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you,no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because heloves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.'” Psalm 91

Have a blessed day!


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.


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COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 23RD

He is Faithful

Our verse for the week comes from Hebrews 10:23. 

He is faithful in all things. We can have this hope and not fear or doubt because He is always with us.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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Saturday Snapshot: Spring at The Cove

Spring at The Cove

One of the most beautiful times of the year at The Cove is spring. The flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the trails are perfect for hiking. It’s a time to be outside and enjoy God’s beautiful creation.

The tulips planted by the entrance are showing their bright spring colors.

As you drive through, you are met with beauty and reminded of God’s most perfect creation. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”(John 1:3)

When you enter The Cove, you can leave the world behind and have a time of rest.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) 

The beautiful trails and creeks lining our property offer great opportunities for hiking or just sitting on a bench while you listen to the birds sing and the water bubbling over the rocks.

As you head towards our chapel, you will see even more beautiful flowers along the way. The chapel is open for visitors and is a wonderful place to come and sit for a while to pray.

To end today’s blog, we’ve included a special poem about Spring that was  written by Quinn Graham (son of Will Graham) right before Easter.  Quinn is 12 years old and loves to write psalms. May this “Psalm of Spring” bless you!

Spring is Right Around the Corner

“The cold winter winds are almost over
The winter snow all gone
The trees start sprouting their green leaves
The nice warm air is almost here
Easter is also right around the corner
Soon we will celebrate the day that Jesus rose from the dead
We will all rejoice
Because Jesus is not dead
Spring is right around the corner
The day of life waking up
Just as Jesus rose from the dead
Animals start coming out of hibernation
And plants start sprouting
The wonderful spring life is almost upon us.”

We hope you’ll come visit us at The Cove this spring! We have some wonderful seminars, events, and guest concerts, or you can create your own spiritual retreat.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Special Easter Message from Will Graham

“What then shall I do with Jesus?”

By: Will Graham

For Christians, Easter is one of the most holy times of the year. With all that surrounds the holiday from a worldly perspective,  I find that many people simply miss the point of why we rejoice. Easter exists because Jesus died for our sins and conquered the grave. We celebrate life at Easter, because death lost its sting with Christ’s triumphant resurrection.

Sadly, so many of our family, friends and neighbors enjoy Easter, but have never experienced the true meaning of it. They may know of Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross, but they can’t or won’t make a decision about Him as their Savior.

In the Bible, we see a man who will forever be linked to what we call Easter. He talked to Jesus directly, he evaluated him, and yet he too, couldn’t bring himself to make a decision about what to do with Christ. His name was Pontius Pilate and Matthew 27:11-25 tells us a lot about this Roman Governor who oversaw the trial of Jesus.

First, Pilate rejected Jesus’ own confession of who He was: the Christ, the Savior. Pilate asked the question and heard the truth (straight from the mouth of the Son of God), but he took it no further.

Second, Pilate rejected clear evidence. Pilate investigated Jesus and came to the conclusion that He was innocent, finding that He had committed no crime. Pilate realized that the only reason Jesus was on trial was the envy and hatred of the religious leaders, but he rejected that truth.

Third, Pilate gave in to pressure. Though he heard the claims of Christ and knew He had done nothing wrong, Pilate was compelled to sentence an innocent man to death because of the influence of the crowd.

Finally, Pilate tried to cleanse himself from the death of Jesus. He knew that he had just condemned an innocent man to die, and he was responsible. In a symbolic gesture, he washed his hands and proclaimed the guilt for Christ’s death on the crowd instead.

My friends, Pilate had a decision to make. He knew the truth, but he couldn’t take a stand one way or the other. Instead, he asked a question: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22, NKJV)

That’s the question that so many today, perhaps even you, have a hard time answering. In far too many situations, people know the truth but – like Pilate – they give in to the pressures of others and walk away from Jesus, putting the decision off for another day.

However, indecision is a decision. Making no decision for Christ, is making a decision about Christ. And it’s one that has eternal consequences.

If you have been putting off the decision to follow Christ and make Him the Lord of your life, now is the perfect time. Jesus’ death and resurrection, which we celebrate as Easter, paved the way for you. I encourage you to receive that hope and accept Him as your Savior today!


To learn more on how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to have Peace with God, click here. 


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Kendra Graham Online Bible Study: Mark 15:39

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM Mark 15:39

A Triumphal Entry

And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

What Does it Say:
The Centurion standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God”

What Does it Mean:
The book of Mark goes through the narrative of the crucifixion in a unique way.  Recently I was reading, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire by Nigel Rodgers and was pretty amazed by what I read.

Romans had what was called a “Triumph”.  A triumph started probably back in the days of the Greeks, but Octavian, Caesar Augustus made the honor of triumphs for emperors of Rome only.  When Rome would win a major battle, there would be a huge parade, celebration in the street which would parade the captives of that particular battle in front as proof of his accomplishment and then the emperor, “humbly” behind.

The triumphator, the emperor, would be taken into the place of the palace called the Praetorium, where the Praetorium guard of Rome would be.  The elite soldiers would take a special sash called a toga picta, which symbolized, and drew the connection between the emperor and one of their Roman gods, like Zeus, Mars or Jupiter.  The emperors since Octavian were known as the “sons of the gods” and these triumphs would remind the people of that very thing.  The Praetorian Guard was the closest thing to the emperor so they would of course know the deity of the emperor more intimately than anyone, so for them to dress the emperor was a very important part of the triumphal process.  The emperors would often pay off the Praetorian Guard, so that they would really make a convincing show of this whole process.  The soldiers would place a crown of laurel upon the head of the emperor.  The emperor would begin the processional in the field of Mars  (Campus Martinus) and proceed down the sacred way to Capitoline Hill (the place of the skull where tradition has it that as the Romans were building their city, a full in tact human head was found here).  At Capitoline Hill the captives were either killed or they were set free depending on the rule of the emperor.  The Roman guard would go before the emperor on this journey and would exclaim to the crowd, “HAIL! The son of god!  HAIL, the son of god!”  The crowd would cheer and bow as the emperor passed. Lastly the emperor would ascend up the steps of the temple of Saturn with one man on either side.   One man would tell him that he is the son of god and the other would remind him that he is mortal.  The emperor at the top of the steps would be offered a goblet of wine, which he would pour out on the ground as an offering to the gods and to Rome signifying that the emperor would give his life blood for the gods and Rome. The crowd would cheer.  An animal would be sacrificed there, at that place to satisfy the payment to the gods in thanks in adoration for the victory and power that Rome enjoyed.  The city would feast the rest of the day.


(Picture:  Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

Now, read Mark chapter 15.  How would the disciples explain to the Roman world the triumph of the Savior, Jesus, to a pagan world who did not know the Word of God and were not looking for a Messiah?  Through the triumphal procession of Jesus.  The similarities cannot be ignored.  Mark 15:16, the soldiers took Him, Jesus into the Praetorium and dressed him in a fine kingly toga picta of purple and fashioned for Him a crown, not of laurel but of thorns.  They put it on Him.  The guard went before him on a procession (Mark 15:18) and exclaimed, “Hail! King of the Jews!” They led Him out of the palace and through the city, to crucify Him.  They brought Him to a place called , Golgotha, translated “The place of the skull” (Mark 15:22).  Jesus wound through the city along the way called the “Via dolorosa” which means the way of suffering and is seen today as “the sacred way” as many this Easter will make their pilgrimage down the same way.  The soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, Mark 15:23, but He would not drink it.  The guards continued their mocking and jeering in the face of the son of God who was not just symbolizing that He would pour His life blood out for His people the Jews and the world, but He was doing it (John 10:17-18).   He was crucified between two thieves.  One thief proclaimed, (Luke 23:39) “Are You not the Christ save yourself and us!” The other thief asked Jesus to “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).


(Picture: Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

All this was taken in by the Roman Praetorian Guard in Jerusalem.  This particular centurion soldier at the cross saw Jesus as the undeniable Son of God.  How many times had that soldier been a part of Roman triumphs?  How many times was he forced to bend his knee to the emperor exclaiming that the emperor was the son of god?  How often had he been paid off by the Roman authorities to pronounce the deity of the Roman leader?  Yet here, in front of the cross, this man proclaimed without payment or force, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  He had seen so many imposters, that here, at the cross, the Truth of Jesus was seen.  Even the Roman world would be able to see, understand and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).

Do you see similarities to that of a Roman triumph?  Truly this was the ultimate triumph.  The triumph once and for all for sin.  Jesus triumphed at the place of the skull.  Jesus triumphed over sin at the cross and three days later rose again and triumphed over death at the grave.  The cross is not a defeat, but the greatest triumph that the world will ever see.

Many of us have seen failures of men who claim to be next to God.  We have seen failures of leaders who preach the Word the God.  We have seen failures of godly men and women who have fallen to adversity in this world.  We have seen failures of the church.  We have seen failures in Christian schools and universities.  We have seen failures in Christian organizations.  It is so easy to focus on all those who have fallen, but truly isn’t that just proof of the reason and desperate need of the world for Jesus?  This Easter, let’s join the centurion at the cross standing in front of Jesus alone.  As we look to Jesus this Easter may our words ring ever so similar to that centurion as we proclaim, “Truly, this is the Son of God!”.

What does it Mean to me?

Who do you say Jesus is?  Everyone must decide about Jesus.  This Easter will you make that choice to cry out to Jesus who alone is able to forgive and redeem your sin? (Acts 16:31, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:33, Romans 5:8, I Corinthians 15:3-4)

When have you truly taken the time to see Jesus for who He has proven Himself to be?

LIVE IT OUT.

Dear God, I am a sinner and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Daily read the Word of God and get to know the love this God has for you since before time began.


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