Thursday, March 13, 2014


They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Mark 14:32-34

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Luke 22:44

Shalom PCC!

My Gmail greetings come from the shores of the Sea of Galilee where I am with 30 PCC’ers on a trip literally Walking in the Dust of our Rabbi Jesus!  We just experienced our first full day and it has been an incredible experience.  The highlight for me was in Nazareth, in a synagogue that was replicated to show what a first century Nazareth synagogue would have looked like.  We experienced in 3D what Jesus would have experienced weekly during His lifetime.

We are singing hymns every day at various sights (thanks to Paul Sahlin, who combed through our itinerary and graciously created our hymnal). In this synagogue, we robustly sang the hymn, Fairest Lord Jesus, repeating the 4th verse twice!

Beautiful Savior!  Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.

It was what preceded our synagogue experience that gave such meaning to the hymn.  We were in a first century Nazareth olive-press room.  Our guide meticulously walked us through the process of pressing olives, starting with a large millstone wheel that crushed the olives.  He then alerted us to the Aramaic word for the press; it is “Gethsemane!” 

At the mention, the spiritual reality fell afresh on us all, as we internalized the weight of pressure Jesus took on in the Garden of Gethsemane. As is the case with the effused olive oil under the weight of Gethsemane, Jesus effused blood and sweat as He wrestled with the weight of obedience to the cross. We fell silent in the Gethsemane room; words would have eroded the holiness of the moment.

What struck me afresh and anew is the humanity of Jesus!  What humility, what obedience! So now you understand why, in the synagogue, we had to break out in worship for our Beautiful Savior, declaring that all glory and honor be His forever!

Be encouraged today as you experience the weight of pressure that life brings. Jesus not only identifies with you, He comforts us, and promises to enable us to carry the weight of pressure we feel.

This weekend, 30 of us will be worshipping in Israel, and most of you will continue in our Proverbs series in Redwood City.

I love being your pastor!