Download the 2017 Passion Week Devotional
April 9th marks the beginning of Passion Week, the time of year that we reflect on our Lord’s suffering, death, and triumphal resurrection from the grave. For Christians, it’s both sobering and joyful to encounter the cross and the empty tomb. It reminds us of the ugliness of sin as well as the loveliness of our Savior who purchased our redemption with his blood.
In order to help prepare your heart and mind for Passion Week, we will have a devotional available to download. The devotional will include 8 short reflections meant to guide you through the week from the Triumphal Entry to Good Friday, and finally to Resurrection Sunday. Each day includes four components: Scripture, a reflection, a response, and a prayer.
Below is a sample of what you can expect from the forthcoming Passion Week Devotional. We’ll announce when it is available for download. We hope you’ll find the devotional encouraging, and we invite you to worship with us at each of our three Passion Week services this year.
This wasn’t the first time Jesus battled the great legal minds of his day, but as Matthew points out just a few verses later, it was the last. And this question was perhaps the most important of all – “what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Ironically, these Pharisees who had studied God’s law their entire lives were now conversing with the great Lawgiver himself. They didn’t realize that God in the flesh was standing directly in front of them. Who could better interpret God’s law than the very God who composed them hundreds of years before, and etched them on stone with his very finger (Exodus 31:18)?
And who could better to answer their question than the only human being who from cradle to grave perfectly kept God’s law?
Blind as they were, the Pharisees huddled up and thought they could stump the God-man, Jesus with a single question. What these religious elite also didn’t realize was that they were thoroughly incompetent law abiders. And that’s what Jesus was targeting in his answer. Keeping the law meant thoroughly loving God – you must love the Lord God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind – always.
There is no way that you can ignite your heart with love for your Creator. Instead our natural inclination is to hate God, and as children of wrath, forsake his law and live according to the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind (Ephesians 2:3). And the consequence is hell.
Let the burden and the consequence of impossibility weigh on you. But then let the wellspring of God’s love and grace wash over you as you remember this truth:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
Passion Week reminds us of God’s costly endeavor to leave heaven, put on flesh, suffer, die, and rise triumphantly from the dead. It reminds us that God removed the barrier of our sin and lawlessness so that we could freely and forever enjoy his love and presence.
Father, I know that there is nothing that I can do to earn your favor. Thank you for your love and grace that frees me from sin, saves me from hell, and restores relationship with you.