DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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The Power Of Love
 

The cross - the very word brings to mind-death. A death caused in cruelty and pain. The cross reminds us of Jesus; an image of love, patience, belief and grace who was crucified brutally by selfish & jealous people.

Mark 14:16-65
16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me."
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"
20 "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me.
21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."
23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.
25 "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
27 "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'
28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
29 Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not."
30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today--yes, tonight--before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the others said the same.
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray."
33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.
34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.
36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?
38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.
40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard."
45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him.
46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him.
47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 "Am I leading a rebellion," said Jesus, "that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?
49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled."
50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him,
52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together.
54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.
56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:
58 "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'"
59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?"
61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
62 "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
63 The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked.
64 "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death.
65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.


Mark 15:13,16-19
"Crucify him!" they shouted.

The cross - a turning point in most of our lives when we were studying the Bible. It made us make that crucial decision between heaven and hell. It taught us the extent to which someone was willing to go out of love for us, in order to save us.

Philippians 2:5-8
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!


Mark 14:22-24
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."
23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.


To Jesus the cross was the ultimate expression of love. This chapter talks about the farewell party that Jesus organised for his disciples. He wanted them to know that he was willing to sacrifice himself for their benefit and for ours. There are many examples of people's life changing permanently because of the love they experienced at the cross.

(a) The Centurion at the foot of the cross believed in Jesus.

Luke 23:47
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man."

(b) Jesus family who earlier came to take him away from the disciples and after his death joined the disciples in prayer.

Mark 3:31
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.

Acts 1:14
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

(c) Paul who persecuted the disciples started preaching powerfully after being baptised (Acts 9:20-21) about Jesus.

Acts 8:1
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Acts 9:1
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest

1. Allow the cross to change you

Ephesians 2:1-5
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.


We must understand that what we've got is far more than what we deserve. We all had a sinful past but God forgave us so that we could also forgive each other and out of gratitude we could help many others to draw close to the cross of Jesus. God loved us enough to make us alive in Jesus Christ through his pain on the cross for our sins. We have got to remember this every day of our Christian lives.

2 Corinthians 5:14
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

Therefore we will no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us.

Colossians 3:1-3
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.


Let us set our minds on things above and do away with bad attitudes, fault finding, petty quarrels, sexual immorality and the like and focus on the love that God has showered on us.

2. Love Unconditionally

Romans 12:9-21
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


This scripture teaches us to love like Jesus. Being devoted to one another is not easy since each one of us have our own opinions. But out of humility for God we must learn to obey. It is not easy to bless your persecutor but when you decide to love like Jesus you will be able to deny your feelings. (Share about an instance where it was difficult to bless someone who wronged you but you did it)

John 14:15
"If you love me, you will obey what I command.

To love unconditionally you have to love God first. Have a great relationship with God through prayer and Bible study.