The Calm before the Storm

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days it will be the Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1-2 —EHV)

Today is what is often called, “Silent Wednesday.” Scripture has much to say about the events of Holy Week—in fact, almost half of John’s Gospel (12-20) take place during Holy Week. We know Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. But what about the other three days? They have names too—and those name differ depending on a few different factors. However I prefer to the following: Busy Monday, Teaching Tuesday, and Silent Wednesday.

It was on Monday that Jesus overturned the money changing tables in the temple (this was the second time he did this—he did it at the beginning of his ministry as well; Jesus also cursed a fig tree, and he taught the crowds about his suffering and death (and they heard the voice of God the Father). On Tuesday Jesus taught in the temple and he was challenged by the Jewish leaders (“Should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?” and “If a woman marries seven brothers whose wife will she be in heaven?”) Jesus taught about true obedience (the parable of the two sons and the parable of the Tenants and the Vineyard), and he taught about stewardship (the Widow’s mite). Much of what Jesus talked about on Tuesday was the End Times, the signs of the Last Day.

The words above are Jesus’ last Words on “Teaching Tuesday.” Verses 3-5 talk about the plot of the chief priests to kill Jesus; while verses 6-16 offer a flashback (see John 12) to before Palm Sunday as the reason why Judas betrayed Jesus. Then verse 17 picks up Holy Week in the afternoon of Maundy Thursday when Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare the Passover Meal. And you know the rest of the story.

What this long summary shows us is that today is indeed “Silent Wednesday.” The Gospels have much to say about the other days of Holy Week, but not what happened on Wednesday—it was the proverbial, calm before the storm. No doubt Jesus spent the time in Bethany, about two miles outside of Jerusalem with his disciples and other followers teaching them more about God’s Word. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit chose not to tell us about what Jesus did and taught on Wednesday of Holy Week.

However, what stands out to me are Jesus’ last words on Tuesday—once again prophesying about his suffering and death on the cross. That is why Jesus, resolutely set out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). And why he rode into Jerusalem as our King on Sunday. It is why he went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and it is why he allowed himself to be arrested. Jesus knew it was all going to happened, soon he would suffer in ways we can’t imagine—yes the physical pain was enough, but nothing in comparison to the spiritual pain that he would endure for us. And before it all would happen—and Jesus knew full-well what would happen, he took sometime to be alone with his disciples as he taught them God’s Word—something important both for his followers and for his human nature to do!

On this “Silent Wednesday” I hope and pray, that you are spending some time in God’s Word (outside of this devotion), pick up your Meditations, study some of the prophecies about Holy Week (Psalm 22, Psalm 118, Psalm 16, Isaiah 53); Read the accounts of Jesus suffering, death, and resurrection (Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, and John 18-21). I pray that you sit down and contemplate all what Jesus did for you and for salvation—it will certainly be worth your time. The Lord will bless you through your study of God’s Word and give you comfort and encouragement to face whatever troubles you are dealing with and hope for a perfect life with him in paradise through his resurrection from the dead! And we also do well, during this time of uncertainty and doubt, God’s promise in Romans 8:32, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?

How can our hearts not be filled with love and praise for our Savior! And although we are sad that we cannot meet together this Holy Week to physically join together in the praises of our Savior, we thank the Lord that we can do so virtually. And even though our church building will be empty this Holy Week, we also praise the Lord that so is Jesus’ tomb! His victory is ours and we’ll live with him in heaven forever!

Pastor Andrew Frey


Church News

Worship Services

Our plan is to still Livestream our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Worship Services this week. I know that this is not quite the same as gathering together as a large group at Church, but we can be very thankful that we are still able to gather around God's Word through this technology.

Another easy way to access our worship services is to go to our homepage on our website: www.stjohn-appleton.org There you can do one of several things to find our services:

  • Scroll down to find the youtube link labeled “Now Live Streaming” this will take you directly to our youtube page where you can find and watch all our services.
  • On the top of our page under, “Grow in God’s Word” click on “Sermons” this will take you to a page that has the video for each service, an audio only version of the sermon, and a written version of the sermon.
  • Also under “Grow in God’s Word” click on “Weekly Bulletin” and this will take you to a page where you can access and/or print a PDF copy of each bulletin. This link can also be found in the description under each of our videos on youtube.

Share Facebook Events

Below is an announcement sent late last week. Let us know if you have any questions/comments.

With Holy Week starting on Sunday with Palm Sunday, we wanted to take the time to call your attention to our worship services at St. John, to offer up some links for you to find those services, and to invite your friends as well. 

https://www.facebook.com/stjohnlutheranappleton/photos/a.194789797785096/619332371997501/?type=3&theater

Because some with slower internet speeds are having trouble streaming the service when it is live and because it takes 30+ minutes to download and be found once the service is over, we will be recording each service ahead of time. This way by the time of our first regularly scheduled worship service of that day, you will be able to find the video of that worship service. 

After each service we will post a direct link on our facebook page for easy access to each service.

We have also made “events” for each service so that you can easily share it with your friends and encourage them to hear the gospel message—which we all desperately need to hear at times like this (as we always do). We highly encourage you not only to join in worshiping our Savior with us this Holy Week, but we also pray that you invite your Friends, Associates at work, Relatives, and Neighbors (F.R.A.N.) to do the same.

Here is the link to our facebook “event” for Holy Week.

https://www.facebook.com/events/3531016173581621/

Please do not hesitate to ask one of your Pastors if you have any questions or are having troubles in any way.

Spiritual Resources For You To Use.

We Are Here To Help

We want you to know that we are here to help you through any troubles you might be facing. Please don't be afraid to call any of the Pastors or the Church Office with any of your questions. We will do our best to be of assistance. We ask for your prayers and patience as we go through these uncertain times.

Please also keep an eye on each other. Stay in contact with those who are elderly or living by themselves or those who may be going through medical issues. If you happen to run into some financial hardships or know someone who may need some financial help, please don't hesitate to call one of the Pastors and we will seek to provide some sort of financial assistance.