“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!
“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.
“Go into the village ahead of you…untie the colt and bring it here…’The Lord needs it.’” What an amazing Lord and savior, always involving us in his work. I am sure Jesus could have miraculously created or made a donkey to appear anytime for his needs, but instead some person or family is invited to supply the donkey that Jesus needed on this day and this time and he finds a faithful, generous sharing in response. What simple things does Jesus ask of you? How easy do you find it to share? Yes Jesus, whatever you need. Amen.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Modern Christians often expect God’s love to be found in celebrative music, positive preaching and expressive emotions. What is the role of fasting, weeping, and mourning in experiencing God’s love? When was the last time you fasted? What part do weeping and mourning play in your prayer life? We thank you the “even now” you offer us is the invitation to return to you with all our heart. Give us grace to accept your invitation. Amen.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Love is foundational to the keeping of God’s commandments in the Old Testament and in Jesus’ summarizing the law and purposes of God in the New Testament. Why is love the best? How does it bind all the other virtues together? There is much talk of love in the culture all around us, how is this love we are called to here similar or different than how the term is used elsewhere? Help us to love, Lord Jesus!
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved…Bear with one another” A list of synonyms for “bear with” includes “put up with,” “make allowance for,” “withstand,” “accept,” “tolerate” and “endure.” None of these is easy in the context of our relationships with people. How are these new clothes working out in my life? What makes it possible to “bear with” when my way and needs are not being appreciated or met? Lord Jesus, be it with family, disciples, sinners, Pharisees, or soldiers on the way to the cross, you demonstrate “bearing with.” Grow me to bear with all people every day.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with…patience.” I have heard Christian friends talk of patience probably more than any other virtue. Sometimes they are praying for it, sometimes telling people not to pray for it since God might give you really hard things to bear. What if Paul’s imagery is right, that patience is a virtue that we put on like clothes? It might not feel right. I might look a strange wearing that new outfit, but what if I simply start practicing patience in all situations? Lord Jesus, through intentional practice; make me more patient daily.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with…humility and meekness…” Philippians 2:3-4 share Jesus’ example of humility and meekness as “doing nothing from self-ambition, considering others better than self, and putting the interest of others ahead of your own.” If this represents the best in humility and meekness, how would I look different in my actions toward those around me if I put on these qualities? In what way could I practically put others interest first through this next week? Spirit of Christ; help me this practice putting others interests ahead of mine. Make me aware. Amen.
NOTE: This Lenten season I will focus our devos on “clothing ourselves with the character of Jesus.” Often Lent focuses on “giving up something” and leaves “putting on the new” untouched.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion and kindness…” These qualities are not something we possess, but rather the manner in which we live with people in everyday life. I think of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery in John 8, how did Jesus show compassion and kindness in this real life situation? How does compassion and kindness show through my life? How can I intentionally practice these in my life and ministry? Holy Spirit, Spirit of Christ, clothe me with your compassion and kindness. Amen.