Your browser does not support JavaScript. Please note, our website requires JavaScript to be supported.

Please contact us or click here for assistance.

Easter Devotionals

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

 Easter Sunday
Kerby Anderson, Teacher, Examine Bible Fellowship
Passages: Matthew 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–7; Luke 24:1–43; John 20:1–23

Imagine that Sunday morning. The women looking for the body of Jesus are confused and frustrated. When a young man in a white robe speaks to them, they are afraid and flee from the tomb (Mark 16:1–8). Later, the disciples hear that the tomb holding Jesus is empty. Peter runs to the tomb, and then returns home marveling at what happened (Luke 24:8–11).

Two followers of Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus talk about the news they heard from Jerusalem when they are joined by Jesus. They do not recognize Him until He breaks bread in front of them (Luke 24:13–35). Then this small community of Jesus-followers starts hearing that others have seen Jesus alive. He appears to most of the disciples while they are eating, and shows them His hands and His side (John 20:19–20). But Thomas is not with them and does not accept their enthusiastic testimony until he is able to see Jesus (John 20:24–28).

We know the rest of the story, but they do not. Even on that Sunday morning, afternoon and evening, they have trouble understanding the Resurrection. They had seen Jesus demonstrate His power over nature. They had seen Jesus demonstrate His power over disease, and even death. But now they have to believe that He even had power over His own death. Believing Jesus is alive must have seemed more than they could believe. That morning changed their world, and it changed our world.

The Resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal event in human history. Jesus predicted His Resurrection when He proclaimed to the religious leaders, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days” (John 2:19). He not only appeared to hundreds of people, He also spent 40 days with the disciples, traveling and teaching (Acts 1:1–10; 1 Corinthians 15:6).

The Resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our Christian faith (1 Corinthians 15:16–19). Paul reminds us, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21–22). Paul also teaches that belief in the Resurrection is a foundational element of our salvation: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

The Resurrection of Jesus also proclaims victory over death. Death is not the end; instead death is the final enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Paul asks, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). That is why he can boldly state: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:21–24, NKJV).

On this Resurrection Day, we sing “Christ the Lord is risen today.” That makes all the difference in the world. The Resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith. The Resurrection of Jesus is the basis for our salvation. And the Resurrection of Jesus demonstrates His victory over death and our sure hope of eternal life.

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

Saturday
Alan Moore, Minister to Senior Adults
Passages: Matthew 27:62–66

It was a dark and difficult day for the followers and friends of Jesus. Their Master, Lord and friend had just suffered the cruelest of deaths. He was now buried, and through earthly eyes, all hope seemed to have ended. Although He had explained the Father’s plan, could they fully grasp it? Their journey with Him, as they had known, was finished.

Jesus had poured into them, demonstrating His love and power time and time again. The Father’s plan was being fulfilled. Now, He was dead.

As we read in today’s verses, the chief priests and Pharisees still believed Jesus had deceived the people. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. Blasphemy! The people were still clueless about who Jesus really was. They implored Pilate to secure the tomb, and Pilate sent them to carry out their wish. The tomb was sealed to prevent the disciples from stealing the body and claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead, making for an even worse deception. They were determined to put an end to this man, Jesus, who had offended them, challenged their laws, beliefs and practices. Now, they could rest peacefully, knowing He was dead and securely buried!

We are living in what some might refer to as a “season of darkness” with the COVID-19 outbreak. Our world as we’ve known it, with the comforts, conveniences, and normalcy, has pretty much been turned upside down. And our faith is being challenged like never before.

Although we know God has a plan and is completely trustworthy, we sometimes find ourselves taking matters into our own hands. We worry, fret, and get overly stressed trying to determine how we will survive these days. Many around the world are suffering the loss of loved ones and loss of work, battling depression and fear as our earthly securities are being shaken.

How are we responding to this dark time? Unlike the disciples and others, we know the rest of the story. We know Jesus was victorious over death and is alive and well. We know from Scripture and from life experiences, God is sovereign and still on His throne. First John 4:4 reminds us, “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” We can draw strength and gain courage knowing firsthand that God is faithful. He is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in times of trouble. These are troubling times, but with God’s help and our constant abiding hope and faith properly placed in Him, the Church will not only survive this time but thrive during it!

Pray, asking God to give you a teachable spirit to learn what it is He has for you during these difficult days. Press into Him and allow Him to have His way in your life as you simply trust and follow our risen Lord, day by day.

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

Good Friday
by Berta Delgado-Young, Editor, Communications Ministry
Passages: Matthew 26:47–27:61; Mark 14:43–15:47; Luke 22:47–23:56; John 18:2–12, 18:15–18, 18:25–19:42

We are living in unprecedented times – desperately protecting ourselves from a silent enemy. As the numbers of those infected with the coronavirus soars worldwide, and the fatalities increase, we find ourselves struggling with fear, grief, anxiety and stress. Our heart aches for those who are battling to stay alive and for those who have lost loved ones. And many wonder, where is God?

As we examine the last week in the life of Jesus, we have our answer. On Good Friday – He is on the Cross.

Christ’s unbearable death was a sacrifice so that we could receive the unearned gift of eternal life. There was no other way. Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled as written in Isaiah 53:5: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds were are healed.” 

The first Good Friday unfolded with Jesus praying in Gethsemane, knowing what was to come: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). After the betrayal by Judas that led to the arrest of the Messiah, Jesus acknowledged that “all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matthew 26:56).

After Jesus was arrested, He faced ridicule and false accusations from Jewish authorities during three stages of their religious court; they were willing to try anything, even illegalities, to convict Him. Because it was unlawful for them to put Him to death, they handed Jesus over to the Roman governor, Pilate. While Jesus suffered at the hands of Jewish leaders, His disciples experienced their own torment – Simon Peter denied Jesus three times and Judas hung himself. 

Jesus would face three other stages in the Roman court. Although Pilate would find no wrongdoing by Jesus, even symbolically washing his hands of the matter, he finally relented to pressure from the Jews to crucify Jesus. 

Beaten nearly to the point of death, Roman soldiers tortured Jesus with atrocious, inhumane scourging. They terrorized Him, mocking His claim of being the Messiah, stripping Him of His clothes, covering Him with a purple cloak, and pounding a crown of thorns upon His head.

On the march to Golgotha, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – body weakened – would struggle to carry the heavy wooden cross He would die on. An innocent bystander, Simon of Cyrene, would carry the cross when Jesus could no longer.  

Soldiers nailed Jesus to the Cross, placing an inscription reading “The King of the Jews.” And hours into the extreme torture of crucifixion, as He hung between two criminals, Jesus cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

Consider that somber yet powerful and magnificent moment: skies already darkened, the earth trembled, rocks split, the huge temple veil tore in two, and tombs broke open! Jesus had accomplished what He was supposed to, for mankind, for us. He was lowered from the cross and wrapped in fine linens and buried in a tomb – awaiting the Resurrection, His triumph over death.

As we contemplate the suffering of our Christ on this Good Friday, let us remember that we are never alone in our own suffering. No matter how dark and desperate life becomes, Jesus is there. 

Let us also be a body of believers that reaches out to the hurting to tell them of this hope we have in Christ. Tell them about our sinless Savior who was whipped, beaten, mocked, and crucified because God loves us and wants to spend eternity with us. 

We must share how Jesus endured all those hours, beginning with the betrayal by a disciple and concluding with the Crucifixion between two thieves. He looked ahead to what was to come – something so beautiful, so glorious. Because for believers in Christ Jesus, there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. 

We reflect on Good Friday knowing that Easter is coming.

 

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

Thursday
Jorge Fraige, Minister to Adults, Prestonwood en Español 
Passages: Matthew 26:17–46; Mark 14:12–23, 14:26–42; Luke 22:7–46; John 13:1–17:26

As the Jewish people look forward to the feast of Passover this evening, Jesus spends intentional time with His disciples, knowing that the time of His Crucifixion is fast approaching. Passover is a time to commemorate and celebrate how God delivered the Jewish people from Egypt. This Passover meal with Jesus and His disciples, however, would be particularly important and unique.

During this final meal together, Jesus wants to communicate to His disciples that He is the one true Lamb. Jesus breaks bread and shares it with His disciples. The unleavened bread symbolizes His body that will be broken on the cross, and the cup they share symbolizes His blood that will be shed for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus institutes this practice, namely, the Lord’s Supper, as a way for His followers to commemorate His sacrifice. This act of remembrance not only honors Jesus’ suffering on the cross, but also points forward to His return.

While they are eating, Jesus astonishes His disciples by suddenly taking on the role of a servant and washing their feet. Although He is the Son of the Most High God, He humbles Himself to the lowest possible position and chooses to serve them rather than be served. In this act of service, Jesus models how His disciples are to serve others. It challenges them to be humble. As followers of Christ, this is the ultimate model of how to put others before ourselves and love them unconditionally.

Sitting next to Jesus at the table is Judas, the disciple who is about to commit the most heinous act of betrayal. Being sovereign, Jesus already knows Judas’s plans. Jesus prophesies the coming betrayal, but the other disciples cannot wrap their minds around this shocking revelation. Even when Judas leaves the meal early and goes out into the night, the other disciples still do not realize that Judas has turned his back on the Lord.

Not only does Jesus experience the betrayal of Judas, but He is also about to be denied by one of His closest disciples. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him three times. Peter, however, doesn’t deem this possible because of his devotion to Jesus. In both situations, with Judas and Peter, Jesus demonstrates His sovereignty and His supreme love. Jesus is fully aware of what these men are going to do, but He does not reject either of them. The love that is drawing Him to the Cross extends to His most trusted followers even as they are deserting Him in His time of greatest need.

After the Passover meal, Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He takes Peter, James and John with Him and commands them to watch and pray. He seeks the support of His closest disciples during this time of agony as He prepares for His Crucifixion. Instead, Jesus once again feels the sting of rejection as He returns to find them asleep instead of praying. Despite how they continue to fail Him in this simple request, Jesus doesn’t respond in anger, but responds with grace. He continues to pray for the strength to submit Himself to the will of the Father.

On this same day, as it is recorded in John 13:34, Jesus commanded His followers to love one another as He has loved us. Each of this day’s events is an example of how Jesus loved others even when He wasn’t loved in return. Take a moment to evaluate whether your life reflects Jesus’ example. Are there any areas in your life where pride is keeping you from loving others as sacrificially as Christ did?

As you reflect on today’s events, take a moment to pray for humility, a greater dependence upon the Lord, and a passion to reach those who don’t know Him as Savior.

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

 Wednesday
Lisa Clark, Co-Teacher, The Blend BF
Passages: Matthew 26:3–5; Mark 14:1–2; Luke 21:37–38, 22:1–2 

For the follower of Jesus Christ, we believe and agree that the events and circumstances of this final week of Jesus’ ministry are the most important of all human history.  As we reach the mid-point of this Holy Week, and Jesus prepares for Passover, we observe Him maintaining His purpose with steadfastness and resolve. He could be found, this last week of His life, teaching in the temple. Let that sink in. While most of us, knowing our days on this earth are limited, might find ourselves doing something, I don’t know, for ourselves, Jesus was investing in the lives of His followers, breathing out words of life, and retreating with His Father.

Certainly the crowds grew exponentially each day to gather at the temple to hear Jesus. Rumors of His turning over tables and quieting the church leaders had likely made their way through Jerusalem and beyond. These followers, onlookers and, yes, enemies, would soon exchange their listening ears for shouts of “Crucify Him!” Jesus knew the cup that would be offered Him in the days to come, yet He continued to do His Father’s work. O what a Savior!

Behind the scenes, the religious leaders, chief priests, and scribes were scheming hard. They wanted Jesus dead, plain and simple. But they were afraid of the crowds. That’s an interesting thought to me. As He gained followers, the ones who were most frightened by His popularity were those whose position He threatened. It seemed that those looking for hope were drawn to the One who was preaching love and forgiveness, and healing and performing miracles, offering up words of life. But those who thought they were the hope wanted Him dead. God, forgive us.

But in God’s divine providence, He was setting the table for the greatest moment ever in human history.

Jesus knew the cup He was to drink only days later, yet He continued to live His life in total obedience to His Father. He poured Himself out each day until His final breath. All the while, knowing the scheming and plotting that was happening behind the city gates. That next Passover celebration would see the final Lamb given in exchange for the sins of the world. Jesus was coming to the end of His life on this earth, and the church leaders and those in authority could not thwart what God had designed from the beginning of time.

During a recent trip to Israel, I stood on the steps that Jesus used to enter the temple each day. I can just visualize His sandal-clad feet walking up those steps on His final days, knowing He would be teaching His last lesson for those who had come to see and hear. He never wavered in His calling, even to the point of His death. From the temple steps, you can look across the city and see the Mount of Olives. Scripture tells us that Jesus went there those final nights to rest. The Garden of Gethsemane is located just below the Mount of Olives. And from both places, you could clearly see the temple. While visiting there with friends recently, we spoke often of Jesus’ being able to see the band of soldiers, and religious leaders coming in the night with their torches. And He waited. Patiently waited to offer up Himself for you and for me. O what a Savior!

As we meditate on the life of Christ, His final week, let us see Him as One who never wasted a moment to bring glory to His Father. As followers of Christ, we have that opportunity every day, don’t we? Nothing is mundane or unimportant. Whether we are buying a coffee at Starbucks or walking our dog, we can glorify God while we are doing it. Jesus set the perfect example for not wasting one moment. What a privilege it is to know God through Jesus Christ. The perfect, Lamb of God. O what a Savior!

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

Tuesday
David Cobbs, Teacher, Davis/Cobbs Bible Fellowship
Passages: Matthew 21:20–25:46; Mark 11:20–13:37; Luke 20:1–21:36

After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, complete with all the hosannas from the crowd that had gathered, He went to work in Jerusalem on Monday, turning everything upside down – literally – as He challenged the hypocrisy and hollowness of the religious establishment. Jesus was taking the city by storm, and the crowds gathered and grew more frenzied as they watched Him take organized religion to task.

On Tuesday morning, Jesus returned to the city. He was hungry as He walked toward Jerusalem; and seeing a lone fig tree by the side of the road, He found nothing on it except its leaves, and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. Seeing this, His disciples were bewildered, essentially saying, “How did you do that?” Jesus used this as a teachable moment, telling them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it shall happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew’s Gospel does not give us the disciples’ response, but we have to wonder how it must have caused them to think.

On the heels of this, Jesus arrived at the temple, and the chief priests and elders quickly came up to Him and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Although the crowds had been fascinated with Jesus’ actions in the temple the day before, the religious leaders were not amused. They viewed Jesus as a troublemaker and a threat that they needed to snuff out. And so, their questions were actually part of a plan to discredit Jesus and catch Him saying something that would lead to His arrest.

These religious leaders took every step they could to trip up Jesus, to catch Him in an untruth, or to show that He was breaking the Law. But they were unable to outwit Jesus. Instead of answering their question directly, Jesus told them that He would answer their question, but only if they would first answer His question. He asked, “Was the baptism of John the Baptist from heaven or from man?” The religious leaders were baffled. They could not answer “from heaven,” because John testified to Jesus as the Lamb of God. On the other hand, they could not answer that the baptism of John the Baptist was “from man,” because Mathew’s Gospel told us that these leaders feared the crowds. Stumped, all they could answer was, “We do not know.” And so, Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

These religious leaders were publicly humbled and embarrassed by this (and probably quite angry). At this point, Jesus took the opportunity to share several parables, all of which challenged the perspective and authority of the religious leaders. These included the parable of the two sons, the parable of the wicked tenants, and the parable of the wedding feast.

The parable of the wedding feast would particularly sting these religious leaders. A king was preparing to throw a wedding feast for his son. He sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, but they were unwilling to come. Baffled, the king tried again. He sent out more servants, telling the guests that everything was ready, and that there was plenty of delicious food. This time, the guests killed the king’s servants.

Enraged, the king sent out his soldiers. The guests were destroyed, and their city was set on fire. The king said, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.” The parable goes on to describe that immediately, the king invited new guests, and it was not whom you might expect. They gathered together “all they found, both evil and good, and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.”

Frankly, this is such an odd story. But these hypocritical religious leaders who were listening to Jesus understood it painfully and completely. God had invited the religious leaders to come and enjoy fellowship in his Kingdom through His Son, Jesus, but when God sent messengers – including the Old Testament prophets and John the Baptist – they rejected the invitation, and they killed the messengers. Suddenly, the future looked quite dark for these powerful religious leaders.

As these events continued, the crowds grew even more enthusiastic in their support of Jesus. It became clear that Jesus was exposing these empty-hearted religious leaders for who they were. Jesus even pronounced a series of “woes” toward the religious leaders, using terms such as “blind,” “hypocrites,” “fools” and “brood of vipers” in describing them. On this day, it became clear to these religious leaders that if Jesus continued His ministry, there would be no place for them. He was exposing the emptiness of their hearts.

Today, Tuesday, we can praise God that He has invited the likes of us to the wedding feast! In fact, He has extended the invitation to the kingdom of heaven to all nations, all tribes, and all tongues – everyone! All He requires of us is our faith and our trust in Him.

So today, consider the question these religious leaders asked Jesus: “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” The same question can be asked of us Christ-followers today. Under whose authority do you operate today? Do you really claim the power and authority that Christ has given to us, as His followers? Do you act in a manner that reflects the power He has given us as His disciples?

Lord, we seek to follow You in Your suffering and in Your glory. Oh, that You would find us faithful in claiming Your authority as we bear witness to You in this fallen world. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” This is the promise of God to us.

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

Monday
Lorne Book, Teacher, Awakening Bible Fellowship
Passages: Matthew 21:12–13, 18–19; Mark 11:12–18; Luke 19:45–48

The Confrontational Love of Jesus
We see righteous anger erupting out of Jesus in today’s reading. All eyes are on Him after He has put on quite the prophetic display, riding into Jerusalem and symbolically announcing Himself Israel’s king. In Roman-occupied Israel, declaring yourself a king is a good way to get yourself killed.

Nevertheless, Jesus stages a confrontation with Israel’s leaders right in the temple, the heart of Jewish life and culture. The priests have set up a pretty lucrative moneymaking scheme, charging exorbitant interest on out-of-towners, exchanging their local currency for temple currency, and simultaneously price-gouging the cost of animals being purchased for Passover sacrifices. That Jesus upends the tables where they are selling doves is no accident. Doves are the sacrifice of those too poor to purchase lambs.

This is not what the God of Israel intended for the temple. The temple was supposed to be a place where Yahweh’s presence dwelt, and His chosen people reflected His goodness and grace to the world.

Jesus does something so seemingly out of character: He goes on a public tirade. Until now, Jesus’ ministry has flown somewhat under the radar. From Capernaum to Jerusalem, Jesus has grown in popularity, yes, but He has also tried to keep a low profile. On more than one occasion, people identifying Jesus as Israel’s Messiah have been politely asked to keep it under their hat. Until now.

This enraged display – flipping tables over in the middle of the temple – is pretty theatric. Theatrics are the style of the Old Testament prophets who confronted Israel’s corrupt leaders of old. Isaiah walked around naked for three years (Isaiah 20). Ezekiel chopped up his hair with a sword and scattered it about Jerusalem (Ezekiel 5). Israel’s leaders know exactly what He is doing. He is calling them out. Jewish leadership is still corrupt. The poor are still being abused. Things are not OK between God and His people, and all the animal sacrifice in the world won’t fix things. It’s time for a change.

Jesus’ kingdom – the real kingdom – has arrived. In this kingdom, people love one another. They serve one another. The greatest among them take the position of the lowly. Israel has it totally backward. Israel has turned their God’s “house of prayer” (Isaiah 56) into a “den of robbers” (Jeremiah 7). Jesus’ passion is incendiary. He’ll tear the place apart before He’ll let the poor and the wounded be abused right in front of Him.

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

Jesus is on His way back to the temple and comes across a fig tree with leaves but no fruit, so He curses it. Does Jesus hate plants? Of course not. Jesus brilliantly seizes upon a moment to ingrain the gravity of the situation on His disciples. He does this by bringing to life an image they had undoubtedly read about over and over in their Jewish youth and life: the fruitless tree.

What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave (Micah 7).

Israel has produced no fruit. In their hardness of heart, they have rejected His offer of the true kingdom. This rejection will cost Jesus His life to save them, and He willingly gives it out of love. Love for His disciples, love for His enemies. Love for me, love for you.

I have three boys at home. It infuriates me when I see the older brothers perpetrate on the younger just because they can. They’re bigger. They’re faster. They know the younger can’t yet stand up for himself. Honestly, it incenses me. I have taught the older ones better than this; What are they thinking? As much as I love them all, it’s remarkable to me how angry I can get when I see their injustice against each other.

Doesn’t that sound weird? I love them so much that it makes me angry. Love is the root emotion. The anger is but secondary.

I think that is comparable to how we see Jesus here. His love is so consuming, but it burns Him to see the weak being abused. He’d literally rather die. This passionate, all-consuming love will push Him to take on the Cross. For His disciples, for His enemies. For me, for you.

Absorb the depth of Jesus’ passion for you today. It may sometimes be confrontational, but it is always rooted in an all-consuming love for His children.

This devotional series explores the last week in the life of Jesus, day by day.  

Palm Sunday
Liz Steckel, Leader in Young Families Ministry
Passages: Matthew 21:1–11, 14–17; Mark 11:1–11; Luke 19:29–44; John 12:12–36

We have felt a shift in our world over the past few weeks. A shift in perspective. A shift in priority. For some, a shift in peace. We have stepped into a chapter that seems to hold more questions than answers, and yet we are gently wooed toward the truth that our future rests in holy hands. One of the blessings of Scripture is that it allows a unique opportunity to look back and be reminded that God’s promises remain intact, from generation to generation, no matter the shift.

In history we see that Passover was approaching and the people of Israel were restless. It was a time of discontent in the Holy Land where people were anxious for change. The Promised Land was occupied by foreign oppressors and the Jewish people were forced to live under the hand of the Romans. You can almost hear them shout from the pages of Scripture, “It was not supposed to be this way!” The prophet Isaiah had painted a picture of a strong, independent Israel, and yet the chaos around them portrayed one of weakness and fear.

According to Scripture, deliverance would take the form of a man, a Messiah, one who would provide peace and restore joy amidst brokenness. There are hundreds of prophecies describing the coming Messiah; one such prophecy describes Him as a mighty king who will make Himself known by entering Jerusalem in humility on a donkey. This is what the people knew to look for, and today, Palm Sunday, this is exactly what they will find.

It’s nearly Passover, and Jesus and the disciples join countless other pilgrims who flock to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival. It is an event to remember God’s intervention and rescue of Israel from the clutches of Egypt. Jesus will choose this day to make Himself known as the Messiah – today He will fulfill prophecy.

In preparation for His journey, Jesus sends two of His disciples to find the donkey that He will ride into Jerusalem, and He begins his journey. As He travels, the disciples spontaneously take off their outer cloaks and lay them out in His path on the dusty road as a tribute to the Messiah.  Other pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem follow suit, cutting palm branches from nearby fields and placing them on the ground in front of the colt. As they do so, they shout out these words:

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

What they’re shouting is “Please save us,” looking to Jesus as the Messiah who will throw off the shackles of Rome and rescue them, just as God had done when He saved Israel in Egypt.

The beauty of this moment is that Jesus wouldn’t be saving them from just this momentary affliction, but from a profound and eternal rift between God and humanity.  Jesus’ deliverance will completely eclipse the work celebrated at the Passover feast.  

As we step into the weight and beauty of Holy Week, we invite you to remember the choice that was made on your behalf. The choice of a Cross over comfort. The choice of sacrifice over safety. Jesus knew where the road He took that day would lead, and yet He did it anyway.

Celebrate Jesus today. Praise God for a king who is mighty to save. Praise God for His faithfulness when we least deserve it. Praise God that He made a way when there was no way.

If you have children at home, ask them to list some of the things they’re grateful for. Bring the conversation around to Jesus and remind them of all of the reasons they have to celebrate in Him.


Journey with Us During Holy Week

We encourage you to come together as a family and join us online as we walk where Jesus walked during Holy Week. (Please note you will need a free RightNow Media account.)

Preteens, click here for Bible lessons with Matt and Connor that will help you dive deeper into your faith.

Parents, download the simple, interactive Daily Activities and Jerusalem map. Your kids will love finding household items each day that represent what Jesus did right before Easter, and "walking" along on the map through Jerusalem!