What is good about Good Friday? Listen to today’s reading and decide.
If you were to be at the table with Jesus and his disciples on the night he was to be betrayed, where do you imagine yourself sitting? Are you scooting as close as you can get to hear what Jesus is saying and to ask him the questions burning in your heart?
Those in the room were celebrating the Passover meal. In case you’re not familiar with the stories in the Bible, or in case you need a refresher, here’s a quick overview:
- The Old Testament follows the adventures and history of one family, the family of Abraham.
- Abraham’s great-grandson Joseph had been sold to Egyptian slave traders by some of his brothers. Though his brothers intended to harm him, God used this for their good. When there was a famine in Israel, Joseph—who had since risen to a position of power in Egypt—was able to save his people. Which is how the Israelites ended up in Egypt.
- Their small clan grew fast and became a threat to the Egyptians, who changed their status from guests to slaves. For 400 years, they worked as slaves, until Moses confronted the Pharaoh, saying, “Let my people go.” But who’d let 2 million slaves go just like that? Despite Moses calling forth plagues, Pharaoh dug in his heals.
- But then God told Moses that each family should take a perfect lamb and prepare what they are to call the Passover meal. They should take some of the blood of the lamb and paint it on the door frame. That night, God moved through Egypt and killed the firstborn of every family in Egypt. Those whose homes were marked by the blood were not only saved, they were then freed from slavery.
- In the events around the Passover table in today’s reading, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. This is more than an act of servant leadership. It’s about forgiveness. And it’s about brining new life. It was a precursor to the events that would unfold in the next 48 hours, where he would be killed and then come back to life—events that would change our lives forever, allowing you and me to walk into freedom!
As you listen to today’s reading and prayer, consider Jesus’ invitation to wash your feet, to wash away whatever it is that you’re holding onto, believing that Jesus couldn’t possibly forgive you. He can. And he will. I invite you to scoot up closer and pour out your heart to him today.
If you could be around that table with Jesus, what would you be asking him?
… and the truth shall set you free.
That statement of Jesus has been used in ways that don’t represent the original intent. Listen to today’s reading, where Jesus talks about who he is, how how know that truth shall in fact set you free.
Place yourself in the shoes of the political leaders. Who do you think Jesus is?
Next, think like a Pharisee or one of the other religious leaders of the time. What would your feelings be toward Jesus?
Finally, put yourself in the shoes of Jesus’ disciples. How are you feeling about the stir your Master is causing in Jerusalem?
Since it’s Holy Week, we ponder the gravity of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Today’s reading and prayer is centered around the questions people had about Jesus. Was he a political leader? Was he the savior that the Jewish scriptures had prophesied would come? The one they have been waiting for?
Today, consider, who do YOU say Jesus is?
Since it’s Holy Week, we ponder the gravity of Jesus’ death and resurrection. For us, the natural progression is life to death. In Christ, it becomes death to life!
Today’s reading and prayer is centered around the fears we might have around asking Jesus certain questions. While Jesus spoke a lot about the fact that he was going to die and rise again, the disciples were afraid to ask him what he meant by “being raised from the dead.”
What area in your life can you ask Jesus to bring back to life today?
Hosea is one of several prophets in the Old Testament who warned God’s people of exile. We might think that messages about Israel’s exile don’t pertain to us thousands of years later. In the literal sense, they might not.
But you and I still face exile as a human condition in that we return to situations from which we may want to—or need to—escape.
Hosea 11 is a message of hope for the future, a clear reminder of where God has brought us from and his care for us.
May you be encouraged today by this reading.
P.S. If you want to dig a bit deeper into the theme of exile in the Bible, you’ll want to watch this video by the Bible Project guys.