Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11
Thoughts: This is such a familiar text and provides great detail for creating a movie in your mind of Jesus’ humble and yet triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The King of Kings has arrived on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy. Those along the path recognize and accept him, and they offer branches and cloaks to ease his way. Jesus, who went through most of his life without fanfare, follows the description of the prophecy and makes clear to all that he has arrived. Those who know him, praise him and those who don’t are aware enough to ask “Who is this?”
Discussion: Knowing the ending of this story, what do you think you would say to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem? Are you prepared to shout praises for Jesus as his followers did on Palm Sunday, and then stick by those praises and not desert him in times of controversy or strife?
Activity: Read Zechariah 9:9 in which Zechariah foretells the coming of Christ the Savior and the glories of his final kingdom and then read Matthew 21 1-11. Open your heart and mind in preparation for passionate praises for our Lord and Savior this Palm Sunday.
Thoughts: Jesus knew his friend Lazarus was deathly ill. Jesus also knew what no one else did: God would raise Lazarus from his grave. Still, Lazarus’s sisters were pleading with Jesus to come and heal their brother. Instead, he waited till Lazarus died. Why? To show God’s power over death.
Lazarus probably didn’t appreciate Jesus’ delayed arrival. With his life slipping away, Lazarus may have wondered, “Where is Jesus? Why doesn’t he come?” But Jesus’ mission was not about his friends’ timeline. It was about God’s. The Lord’s timing is always right. And here, to demonstrate his dominance over death, Jesus waited till everyone could be absolutely sure that Lazarus was dead.
Now, Jesus’ intentional delay does not mean he was insensitive to grief. He too “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled,” and he wept. While people then and now may reason that he wept because of Lazarus, it was surely even deeper than that. Jesus wept because death is still our enemy. Far from being insensitive about death, Jesus came to take on the curse of death for us. And his purpose in all of this was God’s glory, so that we might believe in God and in his power, through Jesus, to cancel our sin and give us new life forever in his presence.
Thoughts: God loves a cheerful Giver. Imagine that: our Father loves when we give to Him. All parents love gifts their children give to them, even thought parents likely provided the means to make the purchase. I think I have paid for most of the gifts my children have give me. But, then again, God has also provided the means for everything I have given to Him. A cheerful giver does not give out of obligation or duty, but voluntarily as he purposes in his heart. Giving to God funds the wok of the gospel at home through His church, and helps to care for those in need. A cheerful giver is loved by God and loves to give to God. How joyful is it to know you rally cannot out give God. God loves to give. He has promised the giver will be provided sufficiency in all things and abundance for every good work. There is no remorse in giving to God because when you give you receive more than you give.
Discussion: How can we cheerfully give to God in ways besides our tithes & offerings?
Activity: Pray with me: Lord, thank You for giving to me so lavishly. Thank you for allowing me to give to You and invest in Your Kingdom. I ask you to grow my generosity so I may put to death covetousness, greed, and jealousy. Lord, please open the windows of heaven and fill me with the blessings of Your lavish generosity. Amen.
Weekly Devotional from Touched by Truth Daily Devotional, by Scott Yirka, Hivernia Baptist Church, Fleming Island Fl.
Thoughts: Leprosy was one of the scourges of the ancient world. Leviticus has many pages of instructions about the treatment - or lack thereof – of lepers. Leviticus 13:46 rules that “ … he (the leper) is unclean; he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” Luke tells us that the ten lepers stood far off from Jesus and called loudly, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Instead of telling the lepers that they are healed, Jesus instructs them to go show themselves to the priests, in strict compliance with the laws of the Old Testament. As Jesus told his audience in his Sermon the Mount, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law…. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
On their way to show themselves to the priests, the lepers were cleansed. Imagine their wonder, their joy!
But only one of the former lepers turned back, praising God and giving thanks to Jesus. We can picture the other nine scurrying on toward the priests.
Jesus’ reaction to the one grateful man is deliciously human. “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”
Now this polite ex-leper was a Samaritan. Perhaps he should be known as the other Good Samaritan.
Discussion: A former minister at our church was fond of saying, “You can’t thank people too much.” What do you think?
Activity: Thank at lease three people each day – for holding the door open for you – for giving you an emerald ring -
Weekly Devotional from Word at Home October 2010
Thoughts: The first two pursuits (do good and be rich in good deeds) relate to the generous use of our time and may be combined under the heading “serving.” The latter two pursuits (be generous and willing to share) relate to the generous use of our money and possessions and may be combined under the heading “sharing.”These endeavors reverse the pull of arrogance. Serving and sharing are two disciplines that counterbalance the potentially lethal effects of growing wealth.
Discussion: How do you practice generosity to rid yourself of arrogance? How do you serve others to live out humility?
Activity: How can you actively live out what is discussed in the scripture? Do it!
Devotional Thoughts & Discussion from FaithGate Daily Devotionals January 2014, "Where is Your Hope?" by Jeff Manion
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