Lent Devotional: Week Three
Introduction to the Lent Devotional
Before Lent was the tradition we understand today, an opportunity for church members to repent and seek spiritual renewal, it had a different meaning. Originally it was understood as an intense season of preparation for “Catechumens” (converts under training) who were preparing to be baptized on Easter. The church would walk with these new believers by encouraging, supporting, and praying for them towards the greatest of celebrations: Easter Sunday.
This year, as a church we’re taking that 40-day journey of Lent on behalf of the people in our lives we are committed to loving who do not yet know Jesus (who we at Vintage often call your “love one”), harkening back to the original observance of Lent when the church would walk with new believers. While most of our love ones are not yet followers of Jesus, it is our desire for them to know the freedom and new life that comes only from surrendering to him. This Lenten season we hope to do that with more focus and passion than ever. We are committing the 40 days of Lent to praying, fasting, and petitioning God on behalf of our love one.
As we walk these 40 days to Easter Sunday on behalf of our love one, this devotional is designed to assist us in the journey. The Scripture verses, questions, prayers, and quotes are all aimed at deepening our faith in God and our love for others. Use this as a tool or resource to carve out time each day where you’re seeking God and praying for your love one.
In addition, as we’re growing our faith through the current series in Hebrews 11, our hope is that it will result in all of us inviting those love ones to join us on Easter. And what if—just imagine—they responded in faith on that day and were baptized? How Vintage Church and all of heaven will rejoice! Let’s believe in God and go to him on behalf of our love one!
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
(Luke 19:1-10 ESV)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
(Matthew 23:37-39 ESV)
And when [Jesus] drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
(Luke 19:41-42 ESV)
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
(Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
(Romans 1:24-25 ESV)
Introduction to Week Three
During the third week of our Lent Devotional, we’ll use several passages as our text. Our hope is to take this 40-day journey on behalf of our “love one”, and this week we will both celebrate their beauty as God’s creation and lament the affect sin has had on their lives.
Read Luke 19:1-10. After reading, answer the following questions:
- Zacchaeus is a story of a traitor to his people; he benefited greatly at the expense of the Jewish people. Put yourself in the shoes of a neighbor of Zacchaeus. How would you have seen him?
- How did Jesus treat Zacchaeus? What title did he call Zacchaeus the traitor?
- In spite of Zacchaeus’ sin, Jesus saw in him the beautiful son God created. Consider your love one – how does Jesus look at him/her/them?
- In verse 10, what reason did Jesus give the crowd for his actions?
In this passage Jesus states his intention and purpose in coming as a man. Do you believe that Jesus came to seek and save your love one? Pray to God, spending time thanking him for creating your love one, and praising him for his heart that desires to save them.
Read Matthew 23:37-39 and Luke 19:41-42. After reading, answer the following questions:
- Why do you think Jesus wept? What stirred his heart to such intense emotion in these passages?
- In Matthew 23:37, what does Jesus relate his love for the people of Jerusalem to? What level of care does that image bring to mind?
- We see here that Jesus did not carry out his mission to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) as a disengaged stoic, but his heart was engaged deeply, to the point of weeping for the lack of peace in the lives of God’s people. What do you think God desires for your love one? How does he feel that they do not know and believe in Him?
Spend time in prayer, asking God to show you just how much he cares for your love one. Ask Jesus to give you the same heart for your love one that he has for them.
Read Psalm 139:13-14. After reading, answer the following questions:
- In this psalm, David addresses his creator. What do you learn here about how you were made?
- This means that your love one was also “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Genesis 1:27 tells us we were actually made in the image of God. Read this quote from Dick Staub that further describes this reality: “To be fully human is to fully reflect God’s creative, spiritual, intelligent, communicative, relational, moral and purposeful capacities, and to do so holistically and synergistically. Furthermore, though all humans possess these godlike capacities, each of us has the potential to express them distinctively, because God’s image has been imprinted uniquely on each of us. In God’s infinite creativity there are no duplicates; you are the only you there has ever been or ever will be.” Spend time thinking about your love one, and the beauty you see in him/her as a human. What is unique about them? What do you admire? Where do you see God’s creativity and imprint in their lives?
Spend time in prayer, praising and thanking God for the beauty, strength, and gifts you see in your love one.
Pray for your love one, asking God to change their heart so that they would see and believe in him and know the love he has for them. Pray they would find their true identity, which is only found in our Creator.
Read Romans 1:21-25. After reading, answer the following questions:
- How did the people treat God?
- What was the result of their actions?
This is a heavy passage to consider, but we see that our sinful desires lead us away from God. If we are left on our own, we are separated from God and without hope.
Spend time pleading with God on behalf of your love one. This beautiful person who was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14) has, like all of us, been deeply affected by sin. While we don’t often think about the serious nature of our sin and God’s holiness, Scripture is clear that without faith in Jesus Christ we are without hope in this life and will be in hell after our death. Recall Jesus’ words in Luke 19:10 “ For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Ask Jesus to make this true for your love one, and even to use you to bring this about. Ask God to give you the same heart for your love one that he has for them.
Re-read the passages from each day this week. As you read, write down what these passages reveal about how God made your love one, how he feels about them, and their current condition without faith in Jesus Christ.
- Luke 19:1-10
- Matthew 23:37-39
- Luke 19:41-42
- Psalm 139:13-14
- Romans 1:21-25