Daily Devotionals March 6-11

Lent Day 6:  No Detail Too Small

Monday, March 6, 2017

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”  “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, Luke 22:8-10

THE TEXT:  He (Jesus) said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters …” (Luke 22:10).

This momentous day begins with a meal which will be remembered and rehearsed until the day Jesus returns. It will be Jesus’ last Passover, a beautiful legacy He will leave for His church. So He sends two disciples to prepare the meal. Their first task will be to secure a space large enough to accommodate Jesus, the 12 followers He called, and any others who are with them. He instructs Peter and John to follow the man carrying a jar of water. Maybe this sounds like a rather odd direction. We might expect them to see a large number of men carrying jars of water. But these two disciples know women normally carried the water. It is extremely unusual to see a man carrying one, so he will be really easy to spot. But even so, Jesus has to know exactly when that one male servant will be at that place, and coordinate His disciples’ arrival so they will be passing into the city gates exactly when he walks by. For the Son of God, no detail is too small as He makes sure everything will be on hand for His disciples to complete the preparations for this great feast. In the same way no detail is too small as Jesus coordinates all the events in your life to best serve His loving purpose for you. Don’t ignore those little details-the seemingly unimportant situations or people He brings near. Those are opportunities to experience His loving care, and to share the love of Christ in your attitude, your humility and kindness, your words and your deeds.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for taking note of every detail of my life. Give me confidence that You will guide all things for my eternal good. Amen.

Lent Day 7:  Borrowed Things

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

And say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Luke 22:11-12

THE TEXT:  “He will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there” (Luke 22:12).
As Jesus directed, the two disciples enter the city gate and find the man carrying the water jar. He will guide Peter and John to the house where they will prepare the Passover for Jesus. But for these disciples the strangest thing may not be the man carrying water. The strangest thing may well be that a room large enough to accommodate at least 13 men is still available in Jerusalem. The city is bursting with Jewish pilgrims gathered together from all over the Roman Empire to celebrate the Passover. But as Jesus predicts, they won’t just find a large empty room, it will be fully furnished, with all the furniture and utensils they will need. Thirty-some years ago a Jewish carpenter diligently searched for just such a room in the little town of Bethlehem, a few miles southwest of here. In fact, Luke uses the exact same Greek word for “guest room” here as he uses for “inn” there (see Luke 2:7). But no such room was available that first Christmas, so Jesus had been born in a humble shelter for cattle. But this time it is different. A room has been held back and reserved. In this space Jesus will celebrate His Last Supper and institute Holy Communion. The owner of this house knows the Teacher, and will be deeply honored to lend Him this room. He is the second man in recent days who has been privileged to loan his property to the Savior of mankind. Just the previous Sunday a man had loaned Him his young donkey, which had never been ridden before. And before the sun sets again, a prominent Jewish ruler will lend Jesus his unused tomb.

THE PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing to honor us with Your presence. Use our time, treasure, talents and lives to spread Your Kingdom and glorify Your Holy Name. Amen.

Lent Day 8:  Cryptic Instructions

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night.  Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name.  Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.  Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.  You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the LORD your God gives you except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.  Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents.  For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work. Deuteronomy 16:1-8

THE TEXT:  And they went and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover (Luke 22:13).

Jesus’ instructions must surely have challenged the faith of Peter and John. What were the odds they would see a man carrying a jar of water? That he would lead them to a house with a large guest room, furnished and available? Yet this is exactly what they experienced. Surely, it strengthened their faith when one by one, Jesus’ strange instructions worked out for them. But was there another reason Jesus gave such cryptic instructions? He was well aware that one of His 12 disciples was carefully watching for an opportunity to betray Him in the absence of the crowds. When Peter and John asked Jesus where they were to prepare the Passover, it is the moment Judas was waiting for. What better occasion to find Jesus away from the crowd, in a house that can be surrounded, with no way of escape? If Jesus had identified the house He had in mind, Judas could have found a way to sneak out and inform the Jewish leaders. Then there would have been no time to eat with His disciples, to institute Holy Communion, or to prepare Himself through prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Each of these things is essential, and Jesus won’t permit Judas to gain that knowledge until the time is right. In a similar way, as Jesus guides us through life, He keeps our enemies in check and thwarts their plans to harm us-unless it suits His loving, divine purposes for us and for them.

THE PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, we are surrounded by spiritual enemies who wish to destroy our faith and do us eternal harm. As You watch over us and limit what they can do, give us loving hearts to share Your Word so that You may bring them to repentance and faith. Amen.

Lent Day 9:  Treasuring Time Together

Thursday, March 9, 2017

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. Luke 22:14-15

THE TEXT:  And He (Jesus) said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).

According to the Bible’s reckoning, the day began at sunset rather than midnight. So as Jesus sits down in the upper room to eat, He is well aware the final day of His earthly life has begun. Much lies before Him: three grueling hours of prayer, His arrest, three trials, mistreatment and mockery, bitter suffering, abuse, torture, six hours of agony on the cross and, finally, His death. These great Passion events could easily dominate His thoughts, but instead He pushes them aside and focuses on the moment. He wants His disciples to know how important they are to Him. His literal words make that clear: “With great desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you.” What was so important about this meal for Jesus? It was the people who surrounded Him-the people He loved and for whom He would soon lay down His life. Jesus feels the same about you and me. He treasures the time we spend reading His Word, gathering with our brothers and sisters in worship, praying to Him. He promises, “For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). Here in the upper room they will soon eat the Passover lamb and remember how God had delivered their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. But they don’t realize that among them sits the Passover Lamb. It is He who will this very day will go to the cross to deliver them from the slavery of sin, death, Satan and hell-and open wide for all of us the gates of Paradise.

THE PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, thank You for living in my heart. Deliver me from all evil and lead me to Your eternal home. Amen.

Lent Day 10:  Fulfilling The Passover

Friday, March 10, 2017

For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Luke 22:16-18

THE TEXT:  “For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16).

First, Jesus shocks His disciples by saying He will soon suffer. Then He tells them He will not eat the Passover again until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom. They knew that the first Passover occurred long ago when the angel of death had struck down the firstborn in Egypt, but passed over all those houses marked with the blood of the Passover lamb. The act was completed more than 1,400 years before, but Jesus tells them it still isn’t fulfilled. In the original Passover only the firstborn were in danger. But all of us are slaves of sin and under the curse of hell. Not even the blood of all those Passover lambs could save us from eternal death. Only the blood of the Lamb of God, shed on the cross, can do that. Whoever is shielded by Christ’s blood on Judgment Day, will watch the angel of death pass over and will spend eternity with Him in heaven. The next time Jesus will eat the Passover it will be a memorial feast in heaven, looking back on His completed sacrifice. Each time we receive Holy Communion, we partake of that meal, celebrating the new Passover, remembering His sacrifice for us, and eating the body and blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

THE PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, keep me firm in this faith until You bring me to heaven to share Your great Passover feast. And throughout my days on this earth, work through me to bring many others to saving faith that they too may share this eternal feast with You in heaven. Amen.

Lent Day 11:  Fulfilling The Passover

Saturday, March 11, 2017

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.   I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29

THE TEXT:  And He (Jesus) took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:19-20).

During this Passover feast, Jesus and His disciples ate the lamb’s meat. In doing so they remembered those lambs whose blood had been spread on the doorposts and lintels in Egypt to cause the angel of death to pass over the houses of Israel’s firstborn. Now Jesus takes unleavened bread from the Passover table, and makes it a new memorial. The Son of God-God’s own Passover Lamb-miraculously joins His own body to the bread and His own blood to the wine. As we eat the bread and wine we receive that same body and blood that was nailed to the cross and poured out of His wounds. Jesus Christ gives us a very vivid reminder that He has taken away the sins of the world through His suffering and death. Sealed by His body and blood, we are safe and secure, assured the angel of death will pass over us on Judgment Day. It is a new covenant, a new binding agreement by which God our Father promises to accept Christ’s sacrifice in our place, and to give us full forgiveness and peace for Jesus’ sake. And it is Jesus’ new testament-His will which is in full force ever since His death-giving to us forgiveness, peace and everlasting life in God’s presence.

THE PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, in the wondrous meal of Holy Communion, You give us Your very body and blood to forgive our sins, and reassure us of Your complete and free forgiveness. Help me treasure this precious meal always, and to remember Your death until You come again. Amen.