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.

###

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

A Call to Prayer

Therefore I exhort first of all that all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.    I Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the focal point of the news and of conversations. Hospitals are bombed. People flee Ukraine for neighboring countries and beyond, as refugees without a home. Wounded and dead on both sides leave grieving families.

It’s tragic, but what can we do?

Pray.

Praying for a friend or family member who is ill or facing a crisis is natural. We love them, so their anguish tugs at our hearts. To pray for someone unknown to us may not come readily to our minds. Yet we are called to pray not only for those we know but for all people.

Pray for kings and all who are in authority, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. Pray for the governments of the Ukraine, Russia, and others around the world involved in trying to stop the war in Ukraine by sanctions or other means. Let’s pray for our own country and local government as well, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.

Pray for peace.

Pray for peoples’ salvation. God desires all people to be saved regardless of political persuasion or nationality.  

Pray for truth to be known.

Pray for those who suffer. See James 5:13-15. Help if possible. During Paul’s missionary journeys, he gathered an offering for the Church in Jerusalem to help them in time of great need. Look for reputable organizations that are helping the refugees and the country of Ukraine.

Pray for other Christians at home, church, locally, and far away, including Christian brothers and sisters in Russia and in the Ukraine. Pray that they will stand firm in faith in the Lord and that they will follow the Lord in all things. Pray that they will not be swayed by false teaching. Paul prayed regularly for the churches where he sent his epistles. Paul prayed for those he knew, and he also prayed for those he hadn’t met. Paul had never been in Colosse, yet he wrote to the Colossians that he and Timothy gave “thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints…” Colossians 1:3, 4 NKJV

Pray for the persecuted. Many Christians in other countries fear letting others know they are believers in Christ Jesus because it is a death sentence where they live.

Pray for enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 NKJV.  When Paul instructed that prayers be made for kings, Nero was on the throne of the Roman Empire, the same Emperor that was killing Christians.   

Pray with a clean heart. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s time to act. Let’s pray.

Dear Lord God, I come to You, confessing my sins. Clean my heart, Lord. I pray for peace, and for the leaders of the governments involved. I pray for the people of the Ukraine and of Russia, especially for those who are suffering, and for the believers in those countries. Please use this conflict to bring people to salvation through Christ Jesus. Amen.


Thank you for joining me and for reading my blog. Devotionals post every other Thursday, with past devotionals still available under Devotionals. You may follow my blog and it will be sent to you. Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you! ~ Kathryn

Devotional

HOPE – Part 1 of 3

Hope Came on Christmas

[Simeon] took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”  Luke 2:28-32 NLT

HOPE. It seems that the Christmas season is full of hope. Perhaps it is to get the gift we want, or that we may get a Christmas bonus this year. Sometimes, we use the word ‘hope’ like it’s a wish because of the uncertainty of it. Our hope may be a deeper anticipation. Will we get a new job? Will we get together with family and friends? If we do spend time with them, will everyone get along? We can’t live without hope. A person who is hopeless soon gives up or falls to depression.  

Yet there is a certain hope, which is based on facts. It is an expectant hope, because the One filling it is trustworthy to come through and fulfill the desire. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines hope: To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

In Luke, chapter two, Simeon realized a certain hope. Living in Jerusalem before Jesus was born, Simeon was righteous and devout, eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel, also known as the Consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah, or Christ. Simeon believed God, knowing that whatever God said was true, and so he could hope with the certainty of having it come to pass.

The day that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple as the Law required, the Holy Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. Why was it so important to Simeon to see the Messiah? His hope was based on faith in God’s Word. God would be revealed to the nations! The promised and long awaited Messiah would come to Israel. How excited he must have been when the Holy Spirit revealed that this couple carried the Messiah with them into the Temple! The Savior had come at last!

Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Joseph and Mary marveled at the things Simeon told them about Jesus.

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Do we marvel at the hope we have in Jesus? He revealed God the Father to us in human flesh, while being God Himself. He bridged the gap so we could have the relationship with God that sin had broken. Do we trust Jesus with our future?

Let’s read verses every day that will remind us of who Jesus is. Here are a few to start with, if you like: Matthew 1:18-25, especially verses 20, 21, 23; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:36-40.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for the hope we have in You. We don’t have to go through life alone, for You, Immanuel, are God with us. May we never take You for granted. Amen.  

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/

# # #

Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless you throughout the New Year!

Devotional

How Do You Picture God? Part 2 of 3

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:22, 23 RSV

How do you picture God? What is He like?

In How Do You Picture God? Part 1 of 3 (below this devotional), I listed some of the attributes of God, as revealed by His Son, Jesus Christ. In our challenge to find character traits of God in Scripture, what did you find out about God?

Let me share some of the Lord’s attributes and character traits that I discovered.

The character of God is revealed in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit are exhibited in the believer who is following after the Holy Spirit and not following the flesh. It’s not something we go out and get like we were at a market, but it comes from within as we are yielded to God.

Fruit of the Spirit by Kathryn Hughes

Jesus was and is God, and wholly yielded to His Heavenly Father. Jesus produced the fruit of the Spirit in His life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Love. Jesus’ love for us brought Him to earth and to the cross to pay our penalty for sin. It was the Father’s love for us that had Him give Jesus for us.

Joy. Jesus wants us to share His joy in our lives. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11 NKJV

Peace. Jesus had peace, even when He was dealing with difficult people. He desires peace for us. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

Kindness. Blessed be the LORD, for He has shown me His kindness… Psalm 31:21 NKJV

Faithfulness. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly. Psalm 40:10 NKJV

Gentleness. Consider the gentleness that Jesus showed to the woman caught in adultery. She expected to be stoned to death, according to the Law.  Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground. He told her accusers “He that is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Scripture doesn’t say what Jesus wrote. I wonder if it was a list of their sins, for her accusers left from oldest to youngest. Jesus asked her where her accusers were. “Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:3-11 ESV

There is so much more about God we can learn. May we know God better every day.

How do you picture God? Has your image of Him changed by looking at His Word? What additional traits have you discovered? I would love hear from you in the comment section.

Dear LORD, Please show me who You really are. Reveal Yourself to me as I search Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

###

Top Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

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 4 of 4

A special weekly series for the Easter Season

Reflections on the hymn Christ the Lord is Risen Today

And the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” Matthew 28:5-7 NASB20

Charles Wesley composed more than 6,500 hymns. Some of the best known among Wesley’s hymns are “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”; “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”; “Rejoice, the Lord is King”; “Jesu, Lover of My Soul” and the hymn of this week’s devotional focus, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” (also called “Christ the Lord is Ris’n Today”). The lyrics below were published in 1739; Music from Lyra Davidica, London, 1708 public domain. Six verses are shown here, so some may be new to you as verses five and six are new to me. Emphasis in bold is mine.

Verse 1.	

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Verse 2.	

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Verse 3.
	
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
Verse 4.	

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Verse 5.
	
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

Verse 6.	

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!
Easter Image by fedden from Pixabay
Christ the Lord is risen! I love that the angel showed the empty tomb to the women, people who at the time were around the bottom of the social strata. They weren’t allowed past the Court of Women in the Temple. The angel gave them proof that the seemly impossible had happened. Death no longer had its sting. Their Savior was risen, just as He said. Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. 

Jesus gave us reason to raise our joys and triumphs high. He died to save our souls. Our redemption from sin is done.

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Foll’wing our exalted Head, Because Christ Jesus is alive, we can follow Him every day. Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, We can know Him by studying the Scriptures and by having a personal relationship with Him. His power is proven not only by His resurrection, but by the change He brings in our lives as we trust and rely on Him and become more like Him.  

Heaven is open to those who believe in Christ Jesus. When death comes, or if Jesus returns again before we die, His followers will rise to everlasting life.

Alleluia!

Let’s spend time thanking Jesus for what He has done. He fought the fight, the battle won. Christ the Lord is risen!  Let’s praise Him.

Lord, thank you that You gave me a reason to have joy! Thank you for Your redeeming work on the cross for me. I’m sorry it took the cross and Your death to rescue me. Thank you for allowing me to follow You. I praise You, for You alone are worthy of all praise. Amen.

* * *

Dear Reader, thank you for following along with this four-part special Easter series, Jesus: His Cross and His Resurrection. If you missed any of it, or would like to review it, they are posted under devotionals on the following dates: 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.