Palm Sunday – Luke 19:28-44 – Triumphant Entry
Sunday marks the day when Jesus rides into Jerusalem a King. Luke’s gospel shows Jesus weeping as everyone shouts for joy. They missed who Jesus was and their vision of what he was doing was too narrow.
Reflection: In what ways have you viewed Jesus too narrowly in the past?
Action: Read through the Gospels and write down the characteristics of Christ.
Monday – Mark 11:12-33 – Cursing the Fig Tree and Cleansing of the Temple
Jesus clears the temple the next day. John’s gospel points to Jesus being the temple. Mark shows that the chief priests and the teachers of the law looked for ways to kill Jesus because of what he did in the temple. The temple had lost its purpose as the place where heaven and earth came together with the presence of God. Jesus calls it a house of prayer for all nation! The temple is supposed to be the place where all people can come to the presence of God (this is the essence of prayer).
Reflection: We, the church, are the temple now. In what ways do we, the church, fail to live up to our calling?
Action: What is one thing you can do to help the church be the church we are supposed to be?
Tuesday – Matthew 23:13-36 – Seven woes on Pharisees
Jesus has spent his ministerial career in the countryside preaching the good news of the Kingdom and is now in the middle of Jerusalem throwing down with the Pharisees. They have spent their time getting everything to look right in order for God’s presence to come back and be with them. The problem Jesus has with them is that while they get everything in order in their lives, their hearts are left unchanged and they are just rearranging chairs on the Titanic. When they convert someone, they have made them twice the child of hell as they are.
Reflection: How much time are you spending on sin management vs time spent in heart transformation?
Action: Create space in your schedule for 5 more minutes of spiritual discipline in your life: read a short passage in the gospels and ask God what you need to hear from it.
Wednesday – Matthew 26:1-16 – Judas agrees to betray Jesus
What are some of the reasons you think Judas betrayed Jesus after following him for as long as he has? All of the apostles haven’t fully understood who Jesus is. They don’t understand till the Resurrection and when the Spirit comes. When it became clear that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah Judas through he should be, did Judas act out of anger? Judas didn’t want the Messiah he had, he wanted the Messiah he wanted.
Reflection: Jesus’ call to all of his disciples is, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” Where are some areas of your life that are hard to crucify?
Action: Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) like a mirror for your life. Read just one section a day asking the question, “What needs to change in my life to make this true?”
Thursday – John 13 – Celebration of Passover and Jesus washes the Disciples’ feet
This day is often called Maundy Thursday. Maundy means “Command” and is based off of Jesus giving a new command in John 13:34-35, ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus is very calculated with everything he does. Why does he choose to come into Jerusalem to be crucified during the Passover celebration? Why does he establish his new covenant with the Passover meal? This new covenant comes not only with a meal of remembrance but also with an action of service. The way into the new exodus is through lowering yourself to becoming a servant to others.
Reflection: Jesus washed Judas’ feet knowing that he was going to betray him. With that in mind, who is unworthy of your service?
Action: Think of someone you struggle to love and find a way to serve/bless them anonymously over the next month.
Good Friday – John 19 – Jesus is Crucified
Read through this slowly, paying attention to Jesus’ actions and words. What attitude or mood do you see in Jesus? Is he calm? Frantic? Sad? Annoyed? Out of control or in control? As I reflect on the age-old question, “Who crucified Jesus?” John reminds us that no one took Jesus’ life but that he gave it up freely. He knew the Resurrection was coming! That is hope. That is faith. He willingly and faithfully walked into the storm to be peace for the world because he knew where his hope belongs.
Reflection: There are areas of life where chaos reigns more than peace. Those areas of my life are often found in areas that I am trying to control rather than giving them to God.
Action: Place your hands on your lap with your palms up. Close your hands tight. Ask God to reveal areas of your life that you are holding too tightly. As you open your hands slowly, ask God to loosen your grip. When your hands are open, ask God to take control of those areas of your life. Let this be a regular exercise in your life for giving God control so that you might find peace.