Bread and wine, these elements of creation, become the symbols of re-creation. For his body broken for us and his blood spilt for us are the signs of renewal and restoration.
We always think of the story of Peter denying Jesus as involving a random cock crowing. However, it is more prophetic of Jesus if he not only predicts Peter’s betrayal, but also the time it happens. It’s more likely that the “cock crowing” was a Roman trumpet played every morning before dawn to signal the changing of the guard…and it all happened in Jerusalem.
The ancient Greco-Roman city of Bet She’an was a huge city in Jesus’ day. It was one of the pagan cities of the Decapolis that was later destroyed in an earthquake. Since the 70’s it’s been discovered and excavated. It’s interesting to us because it MIGHT have been the site of the first missionary (the man possessed by a legion of demons and then freed by Jesus) to the gentiles.
The Western Wall is famous all over the world. We have all seen the pictures of people praying and inserting written prayers into the wall. However, there is story in the gospels about Jesus’ temptation that also took place at the “highest point of the temple”. Let’s visit the Western Wall.
Where was Jesus crucified and buried? There are two locations that have been suggested, but ultimately the specifics don’t matter as much as this fact: he is risen.
Jesus most likely spent his last night in this hole under the house of Caiphas, the high priest. Reading Psalm 88, it’s hard not to see it as a prophecy about Jesus’ experience. That night, as the psalm says, darkness was his only friend.
Why did Jesus take his disciples so far north to ask them a couple simple questions? Caesarea Philippi was in pagan territory after all! Let’s take an unofficial tour and see this famous bible story with new eyes…
I sensed this was the week that above all weeks was to be set aside for the journey into death. I knew the worship of the church would take me by the hand and lead me step-by-step into the experience of death and rebirth, if I would allow it to do so. I resolved then and there to walk in the way of the cross. I purposed to make this the week God intended it to be for me, a week of intense spiritual struggle—and reward!
-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
I recorded this prayer experience in the chapel of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. I know it’s a Catholic church and we have some theological differences, but it is a beautiful space and one that has engaging pictures and sculptures. For example, the sheaf of wheat carved into the alter table that points to Jesus being our “first fruits”.
So as the season of Lent is a time to confess our sins and become more aware of our own mortality, here is a prayer experience based on Psalm 130. For more on this prayer model, click here.