55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55 – 57)
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9 – 17)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Today we conclude our 40-Days-of-Discipline journey. Thank you for being a part of this experience!
We are all living through challenging times brought on by the pandemic, and we have seen potent reminders of the world’s need for God. It was timely therefore, to consider our role in advancing God’s kingdom supported by Spiritual Disciplines. The world’s need for God means that the world also needs those who are prepared to be soldiers in God’s army. If not you, then who?
Let us recommit to imitating Jesus as He empowers and inspires us to represent God’s kingdom. We can do this with discipline because the Holy Spirit provides the resources we need.
- Please review the key points from this week and reflect on the overall 40-Days-of-Discipline journey.
- Pray specifically for God to show you what he wants you to focus on.
29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” 36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:29 – 39)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Today we celebrate one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, Good Friday. As we have examined Jesus’ final week of earthly ministry over the last four days, we have considered His identity, integrity, investments, and intimacy. Today, as we look to the cross, we can only conclude that Jesus is incomparable. Along so many dimensions, what Jesus did for humanity by dying on the cross is matchless. The grace, mercy, and love He demonstrated changed the course of human existence. Because of His sacrifice, we now have access to the Kingdom of God, our sins can be forgiven, and eternal life secured. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). There is nobody like Jesus!
Please prayerfully read the passage above and respond to the request below.
Please spend some quality time today reflecting on all that Jesus has done for you, and share any reflections that others could benefit from.
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Mark 14:3 – 9)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Over the last three days we have considered Jesus’ identity, integrity, and investments in the lives of others. Today we will examine the heart beat of Jesus’ activities – His love for people. We will see examples of His love through powerful displays of intimacy. Jesus has a tremendous impact on people because he cares deeply for them. He is not distant. He is truly Immanuel – “God is with us”!
Our passage today captures one example of the kind of deep care Jesus practiced. There are also other stories worth noting. Starting with the raising of Lazarus just before the triumphal entry and ending with the Lord’s supper, here are 5 powerful summary examples:
|Reference||Occasion||Act of Intimacy|
|John 11:17 – 43||Jesus raises Lazarus||When Jesus saw the grief of Mary and Martha caused by the death of their brother Lazarus, He felt their pain and wept.|
|Luke 19:41 – 44||Triumphal entry to Jerusalem||When Jesus contemplated the calamity that would befall Jerusalem, He weeps for the people of the city.|
|Mark 14:3 – 9 (Today’s passage)||A woman anoints Jesus with expensive perfume||When a woman performing an act of worship is abused, Jesus rises to her defense and tells those who rebuked her to “Leave her alone”.|
|John 13:1 – 17||Jesus washes the disciples’ feet||Jesus intimately taught powerful kingdom principles with a towel and basin of water.|
|Mark 14:12 – 26||The Lord’s supper||Jesus hosted a special final dinner with His disciples and brought them into the loop on key events to come.|
We are left with no doubt that Jesus loved deeply and established deep relationships. Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.
What lessons do we learn from Jesus about developing deep relationships to advance God’s kingdom?