Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…The writers of the New Testament see the resurrection as a central truth of Christian faith. Is the resurrection seen by modern Christians as the center of our faith? Why or why not? Is there a new birth or a living hope without the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How important is resurrection to the faith? May your church Lord, give testimony to the risen Christ!
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” Kings of Jesus’ day would celebrate their conquests with big pompous parades. Jesus enters his kingship on a donkey, as a humble servant of those who came to save. What might this suggest about the way Jesus enters the life of a sinner who needs him? What might it suggest about our approaches to ministry in our day? Let your church O Christ, live humbly, preach humbly, and be like Jesus in announcing his Lordship over all. Amen.
“They came to Philip…and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.'” Seminars and classes teach many things about going out to share the Gospel with others. Many of these have valuable information and skills we can learn from, but often the simplicity of “people are looking for Jesus” gets lost. We don’t need to market Jesus a little better, people already wish to see Jesus. Am I ready to pay attention to those around me? Am I ready to point the way or share a word of my encounter with Jesus? Lord, let it be true of me!
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Often the Good News of the Gospel is shared through the amazing word of John 3:16 – “he who believes…shall not perish but having eternal life.” No less of a wonder however is the God displayed in John 3:17 who did not send his Son to condemn, but to save the world. Do I present God as one who is more interested in saving than condemning? Why or why not? Give us your heart O God.
“After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this… they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” Being a disciple is a process. We don’t always catch things the first time. Some of what Jesus taught his first disciples had to simmer until after his death and resurrection. What parts of God’s word do I need to remember and believe so that it can be fruitful in my life? What have I been forgetting these days? Speak Jesus so that I might hear, understand, and live in congruence with your word. Amen.
“And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Jesus.” It is hard to be honest about our desires to correct Jesus and tell God that our way would be better than his. Peter’s blunt honesty gives Jesus room to transform Peter’s thinking and show exactly why his way is not God’s way, because it is rooted in listening to the wrong voice. What do I wish I could change Jesus’ mind about in my life? What voice am I listening to these days? May I listen only for your voice Lord Jesus. Amen.
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.” Most of us do not see ourselves as “preachers.” “Preachy” is not the word want label us. Paul calls us to preach that Jesus Christ is Lord! What does it mean to preach Jesus as Lord without drawing attention to ourselves? How can I be a servant to others, through my giving witness to Jesus as Lord? Jesus, be the Lord of all, including our witness.
“I try to find common ground with everyone; doing everything I can to save some…to spread the Good News…” This verse has been used to justify many actions and strategies to be “relevant” to different audiences as we share the Gospel. Paul’s point here is really more about sacrificing my understandings and cultural biases in order to put the Gospel first. How might my cultural perspectives, political views, and nationalistic pride get in the way of the message of the Gospel I preach and witness to? Lord, give me a heart to reach across barriers to share your Good News!
But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. In youth group, college, seminary, and ministry I’ve had occasion to debate many people on different sides of many different issues. What if knowledge is not the “main thing?” What if loves trumps right answers, Biblical accuracy, and what we think and believe? What is making you feel important these days that misses the strengthening that love could bring to those around you? Teach us Lord Jesus. Amen.
“Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” It is very easy to become attached and comfortable with the “things” that fill our lives. It is easy to expend great energy to save, hold, and grasp things we feel like we are losing. What am I currently attached to and holding on to that does not matter for the long haul? Lord, free us from our attachments that hold us back from living fully for you.