Core scripture: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Message: I never understood them. The same people who welcomed Jesus with shouts and cheers on Palm Sunday totally turned their backs on Him four days later. Four days. That was all it took for them to call for His crucifixion.
What happened to them? How did they change their minds so quickly? And why? Did they have a change of heart? Were they persuaded somehow? Or were they just a bunch of fair weather fans that succumbed to peer pressure?
I probably shouldn’t criticize so quickly. Would I have acted any differently had I been in their shoes? What if a Pharisee told me to call for His death or else? I might be doing the exact same thing.
Jesus went through a lot this week. Of course the physical pain of scourging, beatings, the crown of thorns, and crucifixion come to mind. But what about the emotional turmoil of people’s hearts changing? What about the disciples abandoning Him?
Judas betrayed. Peter denied Jesus three times to save his own neck. And the rest of the disciples? They get one small verse. Right after Jesus is arrested, Mark 14:50 states, “Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away.” Yet He still submitted to God’s will.
Do you ever flee Jesus? I do. I go off on my own path. For me it is not one monumental event but rather a pattern of silly small choices that lead to sin. Satan is sneaky that way. I start following my flesh without even knowing it. Before I know it, I have wandered down a dark path that deceives me.
Lately, these small choices have done that for me. I pretend to listen when I am just saying, “Uh huh.” I grab a handful of M&M’s that are not mine to satisfy a craving. I allow sarcasm to spew from my mouth. I forget about prayer and operate on my own selfish instinct.
None of it seems really that bad. But over time it piles up inside me, making me sick to my stomach. Like eating too much cake. It tastes sweet going down but your tummy turns sour later. I have to admit that I do not like the sourness inside me right now.
That is the blessing of Easter. That is why Jesus went to the cross. How lucky I am that I have a Savior who offers grace to me! And I don’t deserve it. Nobody does. He gives it to me because His love for me is unconditional.
Lord, thank you. Thank you for your sweet precious grace. Thank you for forgiving me time and time again. Thank you for never giving up on me and reassuring me that You didn’t endure the cross for nothing. Help me remember that this week of Easter.
Reflect on that this week. Bask in His presence. Let His goodness fill you to where it has no choice than to spill into others. Romans 15:13 says, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.
Challenge: Reflect about grace and what it means. Confess your sins and praise God for His continual love. Let that feeling of love flow from your every step. Not for your own glory but to honor Him.
A doctor speaks: I watch this video every year at Easter. It is a powerful reminder of what Christ endured for us, and I encourage you to share it with others.
Scripture study: Read Matthew 27-28 and journal or discuss the following questions.
- How did Jesus respond to the accusations?
- Could Jesus have rescued Himself?
- Why did He endure the cross?
- What does that mean to you?
- How will you respond to that message?
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for sending His one and only son to die for us so that we can live!
- Pray that the Lord would prepare your heart for Easter weekend.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will overflow joy and peace from your soul into others.
Suggestions: What is on your heart? Is there any topic you would appreciate a Christlike perspective about? Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will prayerfully consider your topic for my blog.
Just for fun: Pastor and former football player Derwin Gray has a hilarious take on the true meaning of Easter. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Easter Linebacker.
Prayer: Father, words cannot express how grateful I am for what You did for us this week of Easter. Thank you so much for Jesus! Amen.
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