Day 31 – Jesus Confronts Satan. April 5, 2019
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” John 13:21-27
Jesus was betrayed by one of His own disciples. This man had witnessed the miracles, heard the teachings, walked many a mile, shared food and life with Jesus. Even those we may have trusted most in life can disappoint us, perhaps even betray us. Only five days ago, we read that Judas chastised Mary for pouring out a year’s worth of wages upon Jesus, as John points out, “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.” Judas had been around the things of faith, the miracles, around Jesus Himself…but slowly he had become hardened, calloused to his Master’s voice. I find it interesting that we see the very moment when Judas makes the decision to carry out his betrayal, and at that moment — Satan enters him. He became available for possession, by his decision to give away his passion for Jesus. So Jesus is no longer speaking to Judas, His disciple, but rather He is confronting Satan himself when He says, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
Lord Jesus, thank You for confronting Satan himself and disarming him of his ability to hold on to us through sin and death. Please help me to never harden my heart to Your teaching, never deafen my ears to Your Word. May I always be ready to respond to Your command and never be carried off with the promise of wealth or what the world may promise in return for my betrayal. May I never be overcome by evil, but always ready to overcome evil with good. May I only and always be filled by the Holy Spirit, so that there is never any availability to Satan’s control or possession. Amen.
Day 30 – Jesus Shows True Power. April 4, 2019
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:3-17
Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death. He will not always be present in human form to teach them and watch over them. Knowing this, he also “knew that the Father had put all things under his power.” God put all things under His Power. So to display His power He took a towel, wrapped it around His waist and washed the disciples’ feet. Not typically what we would think of as a great display of power. But Jesus shows His disciples true power is in serving one another. Washing another’s feet is the ultimate show of humility and lowering oneself in service to others. Jesus reminds them that no servant is greater than their master, and if the Master is willing to serve His creation, His own servants…then we should do likewise.
Lord Jesus, thank You for modeling servant leadership and true power. Help me to serve others with the same humility. Help me to be willing to offer myself as a servant and to do things that others are unwilling to do. Keep me from missing opportunities to be a servant, no matter the cost. Thank You, for being willing to show me how to do this. You are an amazing God, and a true Master. Amen
Day 29 – Jesus Source of Faith and Fear. April 3, 2019
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:42-46
Jesus was a source of faith and fear. Sometimes we miss that there were some leaders and Pharisees that actually became believers in Jesus Christ. But their faith in Jesus was full of fear. Many people were being put out of the synagogue because of their faith in Jesus. But one of their fears was losing human praise. When we value human praise and validation more than we value God’s praise and validation — we have lost touch with true faith in Jesus. Jesus said “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” Fear keeps us in darkness, it keeps us enslaved to the whims of men. Faith moves us into the light and we no longer fear what men may say or do to us. Does your walk with Jesus inspire faith or fear in you?
Lord Jesus, there have been many times when I have been afraid of what faith in You has called me to step into. Forgive me for my lack of trust and faith. Help me to be strengthened in my Spirit and stand firm in the faith, no matter what others may say. Thank You for the strength You provide when I am at my weakest. I praise You for Your power and might, and Your compassion to me. Amen.
Day 28 – Jesus Receives God’s Glory. April 2, 2019
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” John 12:20-28
Finally, a confirming voice from God the Father decrying Christ’s glorification. The voices of men, fickle and untrue, would give way to the voice of the One that truly mattered. The Father’s approval rang down upon Him that others might hear that Jesus was confirmed my God Himself. Jesus was troubled by the closeness of the crucifixion, but he could not deny that it was for this very purpose that He had come. Jesus explained that a seed must die in order for many seeds to be produced. Surrender of life is the way to keep it, and the only way to serve Jesus is to follow Him. Are you ready to become a seed that produces fruit that will last?
Father God, thank You for glorifying Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for letting us see His example. Help me to follow Him in all things, being willing to die in order that many more sons and daughters would come to know You. Let me not fear any sacrifice, but willingly submit to Your purposes in all things, giving thanks and praising God for His great mercy and lovingkindness. Amen.
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. 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.”
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. 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. 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. 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?”
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. 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.