Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Passion Week - Wednesday Devotional Thoughts

Today we reflect on the events surrounding Jesus on Wednesday (April 1, AD 33).

Amidst the week Wednesday is the calm before the storm, but there is one passage I want us to consider:
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” - Matthew 26:6-13
Monday night I read through Russ Ramsey's meditations on this passage with my family - we recorded it so you could join in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Passion Week - Tuesday Devotional Thoughts

Tuesday (March 31, AD 33) was a full day for Jesus - sharing parables, answering questions, pronouncing judgment on the religious leaders and even sharing a prophecy regarding the future destruction of the temple. Matthew provides the most thorough account of Tuesday's events so I encourage you to take some time today to read Matthew 21:18-25:46.

Tuesday includes...

  • Jesus cursing the Fig Tree
  • Jesus authority challenged 
  • Parable of the two sons 
  • Parable of the tenants 
  • Parable of the wedding feast 
  • Jesus is questioned about taxes 
  • Jesus is questioned about the resurrection 
  • Jesus is questioned about the greatest commandment
  • Jesus applies Psalm 110:1 to himself 
  • Jesus pronounces "woes" on the Scribes and Pharisees (I love his creativity in this section)
  • Jesus laments over Jerusalem 
  • Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple 
  • Parable of the ten virgins 
  • Parable of the talents 
  • Jesus speaks to the final judgment

So as you can see it was a "full day." Many of the passages and parables that we know well came to be on the Tuesday of Passion Week. But for the Scribes and Pharisees this day's interactions with Jesus only solidified their resolve to end him.

Jesus threatened their authority. Jesus humiliated them. This is why the Parable of the Tenants stands out to me among all of the other events. Matthew records this parable in 21:33-46. In the parable the Vineyard creator and owner (Yahweh) leaves his Vineyard (Israel) in the care of Tenants (Religious Leaders) but when the owner sends his servants (Prophets) to gather fruit from the vineyard the tenants beat one, killed one, and stoned another. This cycle continued, until finally the owner decided to send his own son (Jesus) saying, "they will respect my son." But they do not respect him, instead they plot against the son, desiring his inheritance for themselves, and kill him. Jesus asks, "what do you think the owner will do to those tenants?"

At the conclusion of the parable Matthew records, "When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parable they perceived that he was speaking about them." Their perception was right.

Matthew records these words (which seem to bring Tuesday to a close), "When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 'You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, 'Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.'" Matthew 26:1-5

Did none of them make the connection between Jesus parable and their actions? Whether they did or not the wheels are turning and there is no stopping what is coming.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Passion Week - Monday Devotional Thoughts

This week we will be considering the days leading up to Jesus crucifixion. We begin today reflecting on Monday, March 30, AD 33. 

Passages to consider today: Matthew 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14 - Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-28 - Jesus Cleanses the Temple 

Please take time to watch this video as I explain my intent this week, suggest some books and read Russ Ramsey's chapter on Matthew 21:12-17. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Reflection on Psalm 9:10

This morning I was reading Psalm 9, which is jam packed with amazing truths, but one in particular caught my attention. It is in verses 9-10..
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
  And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
For those of you who journeyed through the Old Testament with us in 2019, I hope it catches your attention too. It's the opening line of verse 10, "And those who know your name put their trust in you." His name? What does his name have to do with anything?

Well what is his name? If you go back to verse 9 it reads, "The LORD...". All caps means this is the personal name of the God of Israel - Yahweh. Now that we know the name let's plug it in: "And those who know your name - Yahweh - put their trust in you."

Here David reflects on the character (we might say the track record) of Yahweh. He has never once abandon his people or the promises he made to his people - think Joshua, Israel, the Judges, Ruth, Samuel, David, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

So David declares those who know your name...those who know who you are...those who know what you have done...those who know how gracious and merciful you are...those who know how faithful you are...those are the people who put their trust in you.

Do you know him? If you do...if you really KNOW him...then you WILL trust him. And by the way we get to know him by digging in the Bible; by reflecting on Psalm 9; by reflecting on Mark 9 (both are our assigned reading for today).

Finally let me encourage you that whatever you face today YOU CAN TRUST HIM. He is faithful.

Monday, January 6, 2020

How Often Do You Need to Read the Bible?

Yesterday I issued a challenge to the Meadowview family to READ SCRIPTURE in 2020. We considered Psalm 1; Matthew 4:4; Job 23:12; Jeremiah 23:29; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17. One quote that I intended to share was this one by John Blanchard:
Surely we only have to be realistic and honest with ourselves to know how regularly we need to turn to the Bible. How often do we face problems, temptation and pressure? Every day! Then how often do we need instruction, guidance and greater encouragement? Every day! To catch all these felt needs up into an even greater issue, how often do we need to see God's face, hear his voice, feel his touch, know his power? The answer to all these questions is the same: every day! As the American evangelist D.L. Moody put it, 'A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it. (Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 28)
This year - 2020 - focus on the God's Words. They are far more moving than anything you can watch on Netflix. They are far more encouraging and life-giving than anything you will find on Facebook or Instagram. Set aside the time, follow the plan (Mark 4; Psalm 4 today), pull out and focus on at least one truth from what you read, and finally create accountability - let's do this together.