||40days|| week seven: Jesus Died

Jesus walked into Jerusalem hailed as a king. Within a few days, the crowd was calling for His execution: “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” (John 19:15).

A thorny crown fiercely adorned His kingly head (19:2). Purple robes signaled His royalty as soldiers spit on Him, slapped Him and mocked Him (19:3). But the only throne given to this King was a rough and brutal wooden cross (19:18). They raised Him up on it for all the world to see. A sign saying “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” displayed His identity in mocking irony (19:19).

Weak and pitiful, naked and bloody, thirsty andRead More »

||40days|| week seven: Jesus Prayed

Before His arrest, Jesus gathered with His closest followers. After teaching them, He knew what was to come and so He prayed (John 17).

He prayed that God would be glorified through Him.

He thanked His Father for the privilege of unfolding the Father’s will in showing Himself to these closest followers. He prayed that they would have the full measure of His joy. He prayed that these followers would not be removed from the troubles of this world, but that they would be protected from the evil one. He prayed that they would be sanctified as He sent them into the world.

He prayed for those who would become followers of Him through these first followers’ proclamation. He prayed for unity within His followers, just as He and the Father experienced perfect unity. He prayed that the world would believe through the unity of the followers to come. He prayed that the love of God would fill them.Read More »

||40days|| week seven: Jesus Knew

When Jesus came into Jerusalem, He knew what was to come. He was under no illusions about the hopes of the crowd that greeted Him with shouts of “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13). He knew they would turn on Him when He failed to bring the kingdom they so desired.

He knew that His journey into Jerusalem would lead to some sort of painful end for Him. He was aware that the religious leaders had secretly gathered in order to plot His death. While He may not have known the exact words, He could have guessed at the desires expressed by Caiaphas the high priest: “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (11:50).

He predicted with unveiled words that “the hour” had come for Him and that it would be like “a kernel of wheat Read More »

||40days|| week seven: Jesus

This ||40days|| journey culminates this week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. The journey brings us completely into focus on Jesus: His entry into Jerusalem, His preparations, His arrest, His death, and His resurrection.

And so, we enter into the pathways Jesus took this week. We come again with wonder and awe to what is often called Holy Week to experience once again evil’s impact and God’s grace.

We are walking with Jesus this week. We are seeing what He sees. We are listening to what He hears. We are experiencing again the horror of the cross, the finality of the grave, and the wonder of resurrection.

Ask God to help you to encounter Christ’s journey to the cross and resurrection with power this.

||40days|| week six: live in peace

Have you ever felt worried or distressed? Right, I know, that’s a ridiculous question because we have all felt worry and distress. Today, as we continue our ||40days|| journey, we want to follow Jesus into a life marked by peace. The Bible is not far away from these real experiences of our lives. In fact, the writer of Psalm 4 expresses thoughts we all could likely relate to:

Answer me when I call to You, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1)

Where do you turn to find peace in these times? Often, we turn to friends or family for support, or look to distractions like television or reading a book. In Psalm 4, we are directed in another way. the psalmist instructs us in the way we should turn in our distress.

God’s Strong Presence
First of all, the psalmist shows us to whom we should turn. ‘Of course,’ you might say, ‘you are going to say that I should turn to God.’ Yes, that is true, but it is not enough of the truth in this case. The psalmist says that Read More »

||40days|| week six: live in trust

If I told you to sit in a chair at my dinner table, I’m confident you would be more than happy to take a seat. But if I told you to sit in a chair that was rickety with only two good legs, you might reconsider. One chair is trustworthy but another is not quite so worthy of trust. Trust is only as strong as the object in which it is placed.

At this point in our world, many uncertainties flood around us: the economy, the political landscape, questions about employment, questions about relationships, and thoughts about our future. In all of the uncertainty what might we trust in?

The past few weeks, I’ve been pondering some familiar verses from the book of Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart,
Lean not on your own understanding,
In all your ways submit to him
And he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6)

In the Hebrew language and culture, the word trust derives its meaning from the concept of “lying helplessly face Read More »

||40days|| week six: live joyful

In the midst of our pursuit of God, we can sometimes focus so much on the seriousness of discipleship that we miss out on the joy of our life with God. Of course, there are good reasons for that.

First of all, Jesus called us to take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him. That is a serious call. Second, in this world we at times encounter suffering or difficulty, neither of which are light or easy. Thirdly, our discipleship is serious because, as Paul points out in his letter to the Ephesians, we are in the midst of a spiritual conflict.

Yet for all the seriousness of the pursuit of God, it is also true that God is the creator of joy. The ||40days|| journey reminds us that for all of the seriousness of following Jesus, it was Jesus Himself who said that following Him brings complete joy:Read More »