Devotional

A Journey From Palm Sunday through Good Friday and the Cross

Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday – Part One of Two

Yet it was the LORD’s will to bruise him; He put Him to grief. When His soul shall constitute an offering for sin, He shall see His followers, He shall prolong His days, by His hand shall the LORD’s will advance. The results of the sufferings of His life He shall see—He shall be satisfied. By knowledge of Him shall My Righteous Servant make many righteous, for He shall bear their guilt.  Isaiah 53:10-11 MLV  

Resurrection Sunday is coming! It’s a joyful time for Christians, of far greater importance than Easter egg hunts and candy. Yet before we can get to Resurrection Sunday, we must journey from Palm Sunday through Good Friday and the Cross. Without remembering the significance of the Cross, Easter Sunday has little meaning.

Picture the crowd on Palm Sunday, placing branches down on the path before Jesus as He came into Jerusalem on a donkey. They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! The King of Israel!” (John 12:12-19) Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and fed the multitudes. The crowd was ready for Him to be king.

Being a political king was not Jesus Christ’s purpose of coming to earth. During His illegal trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus told him, “You say that I am king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” John 18:37 RSV 

It was not truth the people were interested in. How quickly the crowd was swayed to shout “Crucify Him!”

The Cross did not surprise Jesus. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup of His sacrificial death would pass from Him, but He willingly submitted to His Heavenly Father and to all He knew was coming. “…Not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus was committed to His Father’s will. His love for mankind prompted Him to provide the rescue for us even while we were yet unfaithful to Him.      

The Savior’s death should not have surprised the disciples.  Jesus told them, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1-2 NKJV) At the upper room Jesus said, “One of you will betray Me.” The disciples were unaware that Judas Iscariot had made arrangements with the chief priests to betray the Savior for thirty pieces of silver, as prophesied by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25) Mary of Bethany was one of the few to understand He would die; she anointed Him for His burial. (John 12:1-8)

How can we prepare our hearts as we journey from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday?

  • Reflect on why Jesus came to earth. He bore our guilt to make us righteous through belief in Him.
  • Set aside time to thank God for His love for us. Let’s remember what His love cost Him.
  • Let’s examine the areas where we struggle and need to be faithful to Jesus.
  • Seek truth.

The second part of this devotional series will go into the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, may I never take Your love for me for granted. Thank you for suffering and dying for my sins. Thank you for the hope I have in You because You live! In Jesus name, Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.

Devotional

Jesus: His Cross and His Resurrection – Part 2 of 4

A special weekly series for the Easter Season

Reflections on the hymn The Old Rugged Cross

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I Corinthians 1:18 NKJV

The cross of Jesus is despised by some. It seems like foolishness to the world. Why would God come to earth for humankind, knowing that they had already rejected Him or would do so in the future? Yet Jesus suffered and died on that cross to pardon and sanctify us. He sets us apart to follow Him, and to someday live in heaven with Him.

It is the message of the cross that led George Bernard to write the words and music to The Old Rugged Cross. He cherished the old rugged cross. (1913. Public domain.)

Verse 1: 

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,  
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;  
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best  
For a world of lost sinners was slain.  

Verse 2: 

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,  
Has a wonderous attraction for me;  
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above  
To bear it to dark Calvary.  

Verse 3: 

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,  
A wonderous beauty I see;  
For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died  
To pardon and sanctify me. 
Good Friday – Image by Marinas32 on Pixabay

Just think, Jesus left heaven for sinners- that’s us! I pray I’ll be faithful to Him, as George Bernard said in verse 4 and the refrain:  

Verse 4:	

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true, 
Its shame and reproach gladly bear; 
Then He’ll call me someday to my home faraway, 
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Refrain: 	

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, 
Till my trophies at last I lay down; 
I will cling to the old rugged cross, 
And exchange it someday for a crown

Our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus. He removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. I remember when I was on a church youth group trip, we wrote down our sins on pieces of paper and nailed them onto a board. After a time of silent confession, the nails with the attached papers were removed. Nail holes remained. For me personally the holes were a reminder of the consequences to sin, but that Jesus forgave my sins and chooses not to remember my confessed sins any longer. A variation of this is to write down our sins on a piece of paper, confess them, and then to burn the papers. I think I want to do that again. Perhaps you would like to do something similar? 

Dear Jesus, Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for removing my sins and not holding me eternally accountable for anything You have already forgiven. May I gladly bear the reproach of others for Your cross, and lay everything at Your feet. Amen.

Watch for the rest of this four-part special Easter series, Jesus: His Cross and His Resurrection.

3/18/21     Part 1-  At the Cross  
3/25/21     Part 2 - The Old Rugged Cross
4/1/21       Part 3 - Christ Arose
4/8/21       Part 4 - Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Devotionals post every other Thursday (Special series may occur more frequently, such as the Easter series, Jesus: His Cross and His Resurrection.) They are archived under Devotionals.

Devotional

Jesus: His Cross and His Resurrection: Part 1 of 4

A Special Series for the Easter Season

At the Cross

He humbled Himself and became obedient to death… on a cross! Philippians 2:8

Easter is less than a month away. I find myself singing or humming the great anthems and hymns telling of Jesus’ crucifixion and atonement for my sins, and songs of His resurrection. I love these songs, because they are packed with truths from God’s Word. I find that the songs lift my soul and bring me into the worship of my Savior.

Consider the lyrics in At the Cross (a.k.a. Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed).

Isaac Watts published the text in 1707. The refrain was added by Ralph E. Hudson in 1885. (Public domain) The emphasis in bold is mine.

Verse 1:         

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Verse 2:     

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

 Verse 3: 

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Verse 4:

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

Verse 5:

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
’Tis all that I can do
.

Refrain (Hudson):

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sin is such a burden to us. We mess up. The accuser points out our faults and tries to convince us that we don’t measure up, and that we might as well give up trying to please God. The devil wants us to stay blind to God’s great love and forgiveness He has for us. That evil rascal would rather have us wallow in the guilt of our sin than to confess it to our Lord. Jesus frees us from our guilt because He paid our penalty. With faith, our eyes are opened to the freedom God provided us through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection!

Let’s reflect on what Jesus Christ did for you and for me. May we enter this Holy season of Christ’s death and resurrection with a new view and appreciation of His love and sacrifice for us.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for loving me so much that You willingly took my punishment for sin. You died in my place. Soften my heart so I am quick to grieve when I sin and to confess it. May I be thankful. Lord, I give myself to You. Amen.