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Day 27- Jesus Hailed as King

Day 27- Jesus Hailed as King. April 1, 2019

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” John 12:12-19

Jesus enters Jerusalem to the royal fanfare of praise from the people of God. “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” It seemed to the Pharisees and to all in Jerusalem that truly, “the whole world has gone after him!” Perhaps it is fitting that today’s devotional entry falls on April 1…for the praises would quickly turn to jeers, mocking, and slander. Shouts that hailed Him as King, soon turned to shouts for Him to be crucified. Truly Jesus was despised and rejected by men. No more cruel joke could be played than to decry Him King, and then murder Him as a criminal. Alas, as John depicts — “At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.” It was planned this way from the beginning, and men played their part perfectly.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for my part in Your rejection. I may not have been in the crowd that day, nor in the garden with Adam and Eve…but my spirit and the spirit of all mankind rose up together in united rebellion. We are all guilty of Your blood. But thank You that Your blood is what cleanses me from all my sin. It frees me from my debt, and has completely taken away my sin. I praise You God for Your marvelous plan…my grief remains over the fact that Your Son had to pay my penalty. I am so very grateful. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Day 26 – Jesus Anointed for Burial

Day 26 – Jesus Anointed for Burial. March 31, 2019

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
John 12:1-8

Mary takes a jar of pure nard, worth a year’s wages, and pours out the whole bottle upon her Lord, Jesus’ feet. This extravagant display of worship earned her no praise from the disciples, but instead rebuke. Now it may have been the traitor, Judas, who voiced it, but it is certain a few of the others were similarly concerned about the financial viability of this transaction. It didn’t make sense in financial terms to do this. But it made all the sense in the world to anoint Jesus for burial, since those burying Him would be so rushed after His crucifixion that no time was left for proper burial preparation (see Luke 23:55-24:1). But the disciples still did not understand the end game. That Jesus was going to die. If they had known, would they have also worshiped as extravagantly as Mary?

Lord Jesus, You are worth more than any wages I could ever earn. I know that I am often concerned with the practical dollars and cents of life. But I am reminded by Mary’s worship of You that no cost is too high, no sacrifice to big to offer to You for all You have done for me. Forgive me for my stingy worship, my meager offerings…remind me that I am to worship You extravagantly and unabashedly! Amen.

Day 25 – Jesus Most Wanted

Day 25 – Jesus Most Wanted. March 30, 2019

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. John 11:47-53

Jesus’ fate is sealed by this miracle. It scared the religious powers that be so greatly that they saw only one way to squash this story…kill Jesus. They could sweep it under the rug, and make it a tall tale that only a few nutters witnessed and believed in. Otherwise, everyone will believe in Him, and their system would be lost to the rulers of the Roman empire (amazing that the Jews were content with slavery once again, just like their days in Egypt). The rulers only thought this was their idea, however. In reality, this was the prophesied plan all along. Jesus was going to fulfill the prophecies made about Him in Scripture hundreds of years prior to this. Jesus suddenly became Jerusalem’s Most Wanted.

Lord Jesus, you became an outlaw, a wanted man, so that I could live. Your crime? Healing the sick, the lame, the blind, raising the dead, and revealing the truth of the Word of God to mankind. Thank You for being willing to suffer shame and reproach for my sake. Let me never fear the same labels that You were given. Let me not hesitate to love the way You did, and to evidence the power of God in any way You see fit. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love for me. Amen.

Day 24 – Jesus Moves the Deep

Day 24 – Jesus Moves the Deep. March 29, 2019

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. John 11:41-46

Here is the moment that Jesus cannot walk away from. He is now revealing His power, in His time for all men to witness. No longer can He keep this under wraps, for the people saw Lazarus dead. They buried him in a tomb, they watched him walk out of that tomb alive at the sound of Jesus’ voice! “Lazarus, come out!” Many now believed in Him, for this act of power was undeniable. “But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.” Jesus had fully revealed Himself, and would they fail to believe in Him now that He had raised some one from the dead? Yes. Just as he had predicted. Jesus so deeply moved, moved the deep and pulled Lazarus from the clutches of death. There is no denying that Jesus is the Messiah!

Lord Jesus, You are God! You are powerful and mighty! You are holy and awesome! You are the Messiah, and You are my Lord! Thank You for moving the deep so that death can no longer hold us. I praise You for Your perfect timing in all things. Please remove the grave clothes so that I will no longer be reminded of my dead life…but only move forward in my new resurrection life! All praise to Jesus, the Name above all names! Amen.

Day 23 – Jesus Deeply Moved

Day 23 – Jesus Deeply Moved. March 28, 2019

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
John 11:32-40

Mary, far from stoic, says the same words to Jesus as Mary — “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But unlike Martha, Mary weeps and falls at His feet in an almost irreverent display. Jesus is deeply moved by her display of emotion. So much so, that He weeps. He asks to see where Lazarus has been laid, and upon reaching the spot is once again deeply moved. He tells them to remove the stone, and Mary hesitates, warning the Master that the body has already begun to decay and, as the King James puts it, the body “stinketh.” Jesus sharply replies, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” When Jesus is moved, and He is moved by our pain, our anguish, our heartache, He is moved to action. And His glory is coming on the heels of our hurt. But we must believe.

Lord Jesus, thank You for feeling the same pain and hurt that I feel. Thank You for understanding and being ready to bring healing and restoration and Your glory. Help my unbelief. Don’t let me stagnate in unbelief and hurt, but rather lean in to Your presence and trust that You will move. I love You, and I am so glad that You understand. Amen.

Day 22 – Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life

Day 22 – Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. March 27, 2019

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:17-27

Jesus arrives to find that Lazarus has already been in the tomb four days. Upon arriving, Lazarus’ sister Martha goes out to meet Jesus. She exhibits an almost stoic faith in Jesus, affirming her belief that if Jesus had been here Lazarus would still be alive. Jesus tells her that Lazarus will rise again, and Martha once again affirms her belief that Lazarus “will rise in the resurrection at the last day.” Then Jesus tells her something earth shattering, “I am the resurrection and the life The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” Jesus really crushes death completely. Death cannot harm the believer in Jesus Christ. If we die, we live. If we live in Christ, we will never die! Jesus changes the final blow of death from a hammer smash to a feather drop. Death has no sting, the grave has no victory! Jesus is the life.

Lord Jesus, thank You for defeating death and conquering the grave. I will not fear what man may do, for he can only touch the outer man. But even though this body dies, I will live in Christ! And since I live my life in Christ I will not die! Thank you for the power of an indestructible life! Amen.

Day 21 – Jesus Confronts Death

Day 21 – Jesus Confronts Death. March 26, 2019

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:11-16

Jesus’ disciples are not happy to be returning to Jerusalem. They remind Jesus that He narrowly escaped death the last time He was there. They think Jesus is going to wake Lazarus from a restful sleep that will probably make him feel better. Jesus must then explain that He is going back to a Lazarus that is not sick, but dead. This makes even less sense to the disciples — just because Lazarus is dead, that’s no reason for all of us to be dead! But Jesus is going to confront death, so that the disciples may be assured that He is Lord over all things. Seeing Jesus’ resurrection power will help each of the disciples confront death after Jesus returns to the Father (for all of the disciples, except John were martyred). Jesus confronts death so that we too can look at death very differently than the rest of the world. Have you told Jesus, as Thomas did, “Let us also go, that we may die with him”?

Lord Jesus, I am ready to follow You, even if death is in store. For You are Lord over death, and You have resurrection power to defeat the power of the grave. Wherever You lead, I will go. Amen.

Day 20 – Jesus Tarries for a Purpose

Day 20 – Jesus Tarries for a Purpose. March 25, 2019

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. John 11:1-9

Jesus is interrupted by word that His friend Lazarus is sick. And apparently Lazarus was no ordinary friend, but one that Jesus loved. He also loved Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus however, does not rush to their aid. Instead, He tarries two more days. Jesus is on His own timetable, not man’s. He says there will be a purpose for His delay: “it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” I know when you need God’s help, you usually need it yesterday! We all need His help quickly, right now, hurry God, please! Remember that Jesus does not delay for your punishment or pain, but for a testimony to His power and greatness…and His timing is perfect! No matter how bleak things may look, you will find He is always right on time.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your perfect timing. Help me to trust Your timing more. Forgive me, Lord for, if I’m honest, I often rush Your timing. I try to push Your schedule and force something to happen when I want it to. Help me to be patient and continually wait upon Your timing and Your faithfulness. Amen.

Day 19 – Jesus Lays Down His Life for His Own

Day 19 – Jesus Lays Down His Life for His Own.  March 24, 2019

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”  John 10:7-18

Jesus continues His Journey to the Cross, by telling the people that He is the “gate” by which all who enter may be “saved.”  He also said that He was the “good shepherd,” one that “lays down his life for the sheep.”  A man only hired to look after sheep will run away when wolves come and attack, because he has no real investment in the sheep — they are not his.  But Jesus said as the good shepherd, He would give up His life defending His own — the sheep belong to Him.  He would even go so far as to sacrifice Himself, His very own life, for His sheep.  The Cross is once again in view and Jesus is trying to make it clear that He intends to do exactly what He says, lay His life down — die on the Cross — for the sheep.

Lord Jesus, I am humbled that You would give Your own life for mine.  I am so undeserving, and yet You find me worth dying for.  Thank You, Lord for Your sacrifice.  I receive it.  I only hope to live a life worthy of it, and I want to remain in Your pasture, with You as my Lord, me Savior and my God, forever. Amen.

Day 18 – Jesus’ Defender Expelled

Day 18 – Jesus’ Defender Expelled. March 23, 2019

We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. John 9:29-41

I’m always amazed when people choose to remain ignorant. When they insist that not knowing the truth, or believing lie is better than rejecting lies and knowing the truth. As this transformed blind man defends Jesus, pointing out their flawed logic and simply stating the truth that only God could heal the blind, and therefore Jesus must be telling the truth about Who He is, he is violently expelled from the synagogue (church) by these religious people. You too will be rejected by many who choose blindness over sight, lies over truth, the world over God. Many people think they see clearly, but their own unwillingness to admit their blindness is the very thing that keeps them from getting well. Have you admitted your need for Jesus? If so, do not be afraid to share your testimony, no matter the cost.

Lord Jesus, I am blind without You. I am sick and in need of Your healing touch. My mind needs to be washed clean and my thinking transformed into Your thinking. Help me to stand up and tell my story, even if I am thrown out of church! I want to know You better and I want to see Your truth more clearly. Open my eyes to Your truth and help me always stand on the side of truth with You. Amen.