The Story of Easter
How would you spend the last week of your life knowing that it was your last? The last week Jesus was on earth in human form was filled with memorable moments, fulfilled prophecies, intimate prayer, deep discussion, symbolic acts, and world-changing events. Designed to start the Monday before Easter, each day of this Life.Church Bible Plan walks you through the unfolding story of Holy week.
This passage illustrates one of the key purposes for Jesus’ life on earth, to be a human example of how God wants us to live. Jesus said, “Do as I do.” The most incredible part of this command is that it comes with an offer of the power to live it out. Jesus doesn’t just ask us to try to live like the Son of God out of our own strength – His resurrection gave us access to His strength. Today, meditate on the example Christ left for us. What does washing feet look like in your own relationships and circumstances? How can you serve others in this most basic way like Jesus did for His friends?
In the picture of the vineyard, we must make sure we know who we are. We are the branches. Our only one job is holding on to Jesus, the vine. By doing so we will fulfill our solitary purpose: bearing fruit. Literally all of the other work that takes place in the vineyard will be done by the gardener. That’s God. Not me. Not you. Our job is to allow Him to work through us by staying connected to the vine. Meditate today on who you are and what you’re called to do. Clinging. Remaining. Connecting. Holding on. Abiding. That’s all, nothing else.
Jesus had a last request. He knew what was facing Him in the next day, but His last prayer was not for Himself, but for you. For all of us. Jesus prayed for His followers. Jesus’ prayer is a wonderful window into God’s will for us. Be an answer to Jesus’ prayer this week. Go through His prayer line-by-line to see how. This weekend, as the global Church unites to celebrate His resurrection, let’s look for ways to be one with God and one with each other. Make Jesus’ prayer your prayer, that the world will see His glory and come to know Him through our unity and God’s love.
Put yourself in the place of the first followers of Christ who were there at His death. Your heart would be broken. Your mind would be racing. This isn’t anything at all like what was supposed to happen to the King of the Jews. He was supposed to set everything right. Mend what was broken. Restore what was lost. But now, it would seem, all is lost. Everything is broken. Nothing is right. Spend some time today trying to live in that space between the cross and the empty tomb. After hope has left. Before grace has come. Use that feeling to fuel your prayer for someone you know that lives there every day. Ask God to show you how to reach out to them and invite them into your Easter observances this weekend.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3 that he wanted “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” Although it seems impossible to want to experience this horrific scene, the miracle this story offers is that we can truly know Christ. When we look at the peace, joy, serenity, and grace shining through all the violence, you can see the beauty of becoming like Him in His death. How simple His life had been trusting wholly on God. He had no earthly care but a mother who He entrusted to His best friend. His only asset was a robe that fell to a gambling guard. That simplicity. That clarity of focus. That devotion to God’s purpose. That complete trust in His Father. That is something to long for.
The woman broke her jar and poured out all of her perfume. She lavishly wasted everything that was of value to her. Breaking her jar effectively eliminated any chance of keeping any for her own use, then or later. She gave everything she had-past, present, and future-to Him. Jesus said that people would remember her remarkable love forever. Then at the last supper, those same words appeared again. He broke His body and poured out His blood for us. This time when you read Jesus saying, “Do this in remembrance of me,” don’t just picture crackers and grape juice. See communion as a picture of what it calls us to. He was beckoning us to do what He did: be broken and poured out. Go all in. Hold nothing in reserve. Completely relinquish control. That’s what would truly commemorate what Jesus did. Not cherishing a ritual, but being a memorial. What should “broken and poured out” look like in your life?
On this awesome day, we’ll spend time meditating on the cross, the empty grave and all that it has given us. But let’s also meditate on the task this day calls us to “go and make disciples…” The pure gospel that Christ passed on to His disciples was the good news of a grace to be passed on, not just received. Jesus left His disciples equipped to make other disciples, to bear fruit. We can tell it worked because the people that they made disciples of were making disciples too. And so it has been passed on for two thousand years. But probably in every generation, certainly in ours, sometimes the gospel we spread mutates into something weaker. Instead of truly bearing fruit, we cultivate seedless grapes. As we spend time worshiping and thanking God today for the grace we have received, let us pray to be more challenged than ever to pass on that grace and to live out the Great Commission.
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