LENTEN DEVOTION – 2017
March 2, 2017 at 10:02 pm #28773
Where can He be?
… the Boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it (Luke 2:43b).
Read Luke 2:41-52
If you were a 12-year-old, left alone in a huge capital city, where would you go?
Mary and Joseph spent three frantic days trying to answer that question, as they searched for 12- year-old Jesus. Would they find Him roaming though the market place, staring up at one of Herod the Great’s three spectacular towers, or would He be gazing at his opulent palace in the north end of town? Was He watching the Roman soldiers practicing their military formations and running their drills in the Antonia Fortress? Would He be cheering along with the chariot races in the Jerusalem hippodrome – that same horse track featured in the movie Ben Hur?
The truth is none of these places held the biggest attraction for Jesus. He was in the last place most of us would ever expect a pre-teen to be. On the third day, they found Him in the temple courts, asking questions of the religious leaders. His greatest thrill was to be at His Father’s house fulfilling His great mission.
When His mother asked why He had treated them that way, Jesus’ answer confused both Mary and Joseph, “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” Jesus had important work to do, and He knew it. Everything was riding on it: His great mission and our eternal future. To open heaven to us He had to live a perfect life, with absolute obedience and perfection. He had to learn, understand and memorize God’s Word; He had to know it inside and out. He was a single-minded Savior on a single-minded mission.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your single-minded dedication to our salvation. Give me a similar hunger for Your Word too. Amen.March 2, 2017 at 10:08 pm #28774
FLEE THE COMING WRATHAnd he (John) went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3)
Read Luke 3:1-9
Luke anchors John’s ministry in human history by listing the Roman emperor, the governor of Judea, and the ruler of the northern province of Galilee where Jesus is living. John preaches in the region near the Jordan River. Huge crowds come out to him, but he is aware that some are here for the wrong reasons. Some are merely curious; others don’t recognize any sins in themselves that need to be washed away. John boldly challenges them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”These strong words challenge us to look deep within our hearts. John has come to prepare the way for God’s mighty Son. He calls us to recognize our faults and failings and humble ourselves before our God. This baptism is not an empty, meaningless ceremony. It is God’s solution to the deadly poison of our sin. Through water and the Word God washes away our sins, delivering us from death and hell, and saving us from His destructive wrath.On the Last Day, Jesus will return to earth to execute God’s judgment. He will cast into the eternal fires of hell all that refuse to accept the forgiveness and salvation He came to win for them. Today is the day for you to escape God’s wrath and find peace and eternal salvation in Jesus your Savior.THE PRAYER Almighty God, You sent John to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of Your Son Jesus. Through the powerful words spoken by John, prepare me for Jesus’ second coming, that I may escape Your fiery wrath. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.March 2, 2017 at 11:14 pm #28781
AdaoraParticipantMarch 2, 2017 at 11:41 pm #28784
Today is day two oooMarch 3, 2017 at 12:06 am #28786March 3, 2017 at 5:53 am #28787March 3, 2017 at 8:15 am #28788March 3, 2017 at 7:43 pm #28853March 6, 2017 at 10:21 am #28902
IS THIS THE MESSIAH?As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ (Luke 3:15).
Read Luke 3:15-18
If John were here today, he would have a lot to say about our fear to confront those who live contrary to God’s Word. He was a bold and powerful preacher; he was unafraid to stand up to the self-absorbed religious leaders or expose the errors of powerful political rulers.
It’s not difficult for the crowds to see the power of God at work in his ministry. So we should not be surprised to hear them asking if John might be the great prophet that Moses predicted long ago. Is this the Messiah God had promised to send?But John immediately set the crowds straight. However powerful he might be as a prophet, he is nothing compared to the One who is coming. Compared to Him, John is like the lowest house slave, unworthy even to stoop down and lay his fingers upon the sandals of the great Messiah.Even now, this mighty Son of God is living in Galilee. Soon He will come to John to begin His ministry, by which He will accomplish His great rescue mission. John baptizes with water, but the Christ will pour out the Holy Spirit and His cleansing fire upon those who hear and believe.What thoughts must have rushed through those crowds, hearing the long-awaited Messiah is near? What thoughts cross your mind when thinking of Jesus, who not long ago was that tiny Baby laying in Bethlehem’s manger? How amazing is it that He will soon stride forward in humility and poverty to save the world?THE PRAYER:Almighty God, thank You for sending Your great Son to save us from death and hell. Accept our thanksgiving and praise for Jesus’ sake. Amen.March 6, 2017 at 10:24 am #28903
A NEW BEGINNING…and when Jesus had also been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove… (Luke 3:21b-22a).
Read Luke 3:21-23For 30 years Jesus had grown and lived in obscurity in the northern region of Galilee, working as a carpenter, alongside His father Joseph. None of His neighbors knew His true identity. But now it was time to set aside those carpentry tools and reveal Himself to the people of Israel. The great Son of God made His way to the Jordan River to be baptized by His prophet John.As He steps out of the water two amazing things happen. Something in the form of a dove comes down from above and lands on Jesus, while a voice from heaven thunders, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”The “dove” was the Holy Spirit who came down from heaven to set Jesus apart from all other Jews. It singled Him out as the “promised Messiah” (Hebrew) or the “Christ” or “anointed one” (Greek). The booming voice was that of God the Father; He declared His approval of Jesus’ life from childhood to this point.Winning God’s approval is no small feat, for God is far stricter than any human father. He demands complete and perfect obedience in all our thoughts, words, deeds and desires. And that is exactly what Jesus accomplished. Every day of His life He completely obeyed God’s will. Now He goes to work completing His great mission to save all people from sin, death and God’s fiery judgment.THE PRAYER: Almighty God, when the time was right, Jesus began revealing Himself to His people. Through this season of Lent reveal Him to me as well. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.March 6, 2017 at 10:27 am #28904
“HOW DARE HE?!”But Herod the tetrarch who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison (Luke 3:19-20).Read Luke 3:19-20“How dare he challenge me like that? Doesn’t he know who I am?” Like most wealthy, powerful people, Herod didn’t want anyone telling him he was wrong, especially not a young wilderness wanderer, who went around wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey. The Baptist didn’t like Herod’s choice in women, but wasn’t that Herod’s own business? True, he had married his half-brother Philip’s wife, the ambitious Herodias. But what was that to John? It was fine when John was laying into the Jewish religious leaders, but Herod thought his family should be off-limits.But God had sent John to confront sinners, so they would acknowledge their sin and find forgiveness in the promised Messiah. It didn’t matter how high and important you were. John knew it was better to face up to your sins now, so God could take them away. The alternative was to wait until life was over, and you were standing before God’s judgment seat.Herod should have listened to John’s words and repented; instead, he seized and arrested John. He added this to his many other sins. Not only had he refused to heed John’s timely warning and escape the wrath of God, he cut John off from the people who desperately needed to hear God’s warning.THE PRAYER:Almighty God, Your Word confronts my pride and my sin. For Jesus’ sake, move me to repent of my sin and seek Your forgiveness. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, I ask this. Amen.March 6, 2017 at 10:31 am #28905
THE BATTLEAnd Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil…(Luke 4:1-2a)
Read Luke 4:1-13
When Satan first squared off against humanity he tripped up our parents in the Garden of Eden, with his cunningly twisted words. They disobeyed God’s Word, ate the forbidden fruit, and plunged our world into death and destruction. Now Satan squares off against our Savior.
For 40 days Jesus ate no food as our enemy unleashed a devastating torrent of deceitful temptations. Luke records three final devious traps Satan set for Jesus.First, he appeals to Jesus’ great hunger: “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” It sounds innocent enough, but Jesus sees the trap. Following Satan’s advice will show He doesn’t trust God to provide for His needs. Jesus answers, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'”
The tempter next offers to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He will worship him. Jesus answers, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'” He came to walk His Father’s difficult saving path-not Satan’s shortcut.
In one final temptation Jesus is placed on the pinnacle of the temple. Satan challenges Him to jump, appealing to God’s promise in the Psalm, “He will command His angels to guard you … lest you strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11a, 12b).
If Jesus won’t jump, it looks like He doesn’t trust God’s promise. But Jesus sees through it. He doesn’t have to prove His faith to Satan. He replies, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Having no success in his temptations, Satan departs from Jesus, waiting a more opportune time.THE PRAYERAlmighty God, where Adam and Eve fell to Satan’s lies, Your Son stood firm. Thank You for His salvation. Help me trust You as He did and cling to Your Word alone. I pray in Jesus’ Name. AmenGuys…so sorry about the gap. I couldn’t quite manage my juggling act this weekend. I promise to do betterMarch 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm #28919March 7, 2017 at 8:59 am #28946March 7, 2017 at 9:10 am #28947
THE FIRST REJECTIONAnd they rose up and drove Him out of town and brought Him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw Him down the cliff. (Luke 4:29)
Read Luke 4:14-30Having defeated Satan’s temptations Jesus then travels from village to village in Galilee, sharing God’s plan of salvation and working many wondrous miracles. Months later He returns to His hometown Nazareth. Entering the synagogue Jesus reads from Isaiah, the Old Testament book that most clearly talks about His work as the Messiah. He tells His neighbors of the forgiveness, peace and freedom He has come to bring.At first they are amazed by His gracious words; then they remember all the years He lived among them, and how they had never seen anything remarkable about Joseph’s Son before. Having heard about His miracles in the neighboring towns, they want Him to heal them too.Jesus wants to help them, but He will not reward their unbelief. He reminds them how in the past God withheld healing miracles from Israel, when His people refused to believe.Filled with fury they rise as an angry mob to drive Him to the cliff to throw Him to His death. In one blind moment they foreshadow the rejection and violent death He will suffer at His own people’s hands. But God has chosen a different time, and a different place.Jesus gives them one last miracle to consider. They have Him firmly in their grasp, ready to fling Him off the cliff, but then Jesus suddenly turns and calmly goes His way through their midst – never to return. He leaves this final warning to His neighbors: if they stubbornly refuse to repent, they will have to stand before Him on Judgment Day.
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, today Jesus comes to me offering to forgive, restore and save me. Give me faith to trust Him, so I may escape Your wrath and live in Your loving, glorious presence forever. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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