Lent Devotional: Week Six

By vintagechurch  -  On 27 Mar, 2015 -  0 comments

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!


Introduction to Week Six

The Easter account is a familiar one. Many people know the story of Jesus riding in on a donkey, the palm branches, the last supper, the crown of thorns, the cross, and the empty tomb. As Easter Sunday approaches yet again, we would be remiss to focus merely on the logistics of the week. Instead, as our 2015 Lenten season comes to a close let’s continue the focus on these events in light of the people in our lives who do not yet know Jesus. We’ll see the events of Holy Week were more than acts of humility or even obedience, but all part of the greatest rescue mission in history.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”(Luke 19:10 ESV)

Day One: The Triumphal Entry

Read Luke 19:28-40.

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Luke 19:28-40 ESV

After reading, answer the following questions:

  • Jesus had entered Jerusalem many times before, but never like this. What evidence do you see of his intention to enter on a donkey?
  • Roughly 500 years before Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the prophet Zechariah wrote these words:
    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
    humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9 ESV)

    On this day, Jesus was declaring himself the king promised by God. What do you see in Luke 19:28-40 that show the people are in agreement with Jesus’ declaration?
  • In verse 39, we see the Pharisees believe the crowd was in error, and asked Jesus to rebuke them. What did Jesus respond? What do you think he meant by this response?

Without question, Jesus declares himself the promised King through his actions in Luke 19:28-40. What kind of king would he prove to be? Consider his arrival not only as the King of Kings, but also what lay ahead of them this week; the king of the world would also lay down his life for the world. Spend time considering what a humble and loving king we have in Jesus. Pray those you know and love would come to know him for who he truly is.


Day Two: Jesus Cleanses The Temple

Read Matthew 21:12-16.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
 
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
(Matthew 21:12-16 ESV)

After reading, answer the following questions:

  • In his commentary on Matthew, theologian D.A. Carson wrote, “But letting these things go on at the temple site transformed a place of solemn worship into a market where the hum of trade mingled with the bleating and cooing of animals and birds. Moreover, especially on the great feasts, opportunities for extortion abounded.” What action did Jesus take when seeing what was taking place? What do you believe this action tells you about Jesus’ passions and beliefs?
  • To explain his actions, Jesus quotes Isaiah 56:7. Go now and read this in context by reading Isaiah 56:6-8. Who does the prophet mention “joining themselves to the Lord” in verse 6? In verse 8, who does he say the Lord God gathers to himself? Consider your love one; would they fall into either these two categories when standing before the God of the Universe? Jesus is fighting to bring about God’s heart to open his house to “all people.” Pray now that your love one would know such an inviting God.
  • Matthew writes the blind and the lame were healed. According to verse 14, what action did they take to receive this? Does this fall in line with your beliefs—do you believe action is required on your part for healing, or that we simply have to go to Jesus?

Jesus’ actions in Matthew 21:12-16 show his passion for people. He fought for their freedom to worship and know God without manmade obstacles. He healed all those who came to him. He loved people, and during a religious festival shared with everyone God’s heart for them. Pray now that God would show you his love for you and the freedom you have simply by coming to Jesus. Pray now on behalf of your love one, that they too would come to Jesus and find healing in him.


Day Three: The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Read Matthew 22:1-10.

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
(Matthew 22:1-10 ESV)

After reading, answer the following questions:

  • Jesus often spoke in parables, which teach us through stories. In this parable, the king first calls “those who were invited to the wedding feast.” If God represents the king, who do you think falls into this category? How did they first respond? Upon being called again to the feast, how did they respond?
  • Who does the king then open up the wedding feast to?
  • The Pharisees were highly religious people who devoted their lives to obeying rules in order to gain God’s favor. How does Jesus’ teaching here go against their beliefs of who God accepts?

This parable is a picture of God’s scandalous grace. The wedding feast is filled with “both good and bad,” showing us the kind invitation of Jesus is not based on our own righteousness. Consider how you may unknowingly add qualifications to being loved and invited by Jesus. Pray that God would continually show you the good news of his grace, and that he would open the eyes of your love one to that grace as well.


Day Four: The Mandate

Read John 13:1-15.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
 
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
(John 13:1-15 ESV)

After reading, answer the following questions:

  • Look back over v. 1-3. How would you describe this moment? How do you imagine Jesus was feeling at this time?
  • In light of what you answered to the questions above, consider the actions Jesus took in v. 4-5. He knew his time was limited before his arrest and crucifixion. What does this communicate to you about Jesus’ love? What do you learn here about Jesus’ view of leadership and servanthood?
  • How does Peter respond? Why do you think he had this response? Why did Jesus respond the way he did in v. 8?
  • Jesus explains his actions and gives a mandate in v. 13-15. Would this describe how you love and serve others? As you consider this, pray that Jesus would help you love others the way he taught us, commanded us, and displayed to us.

This passage contains another picture of Jesus’ sacrifice and loving grace. Consider that even Judas was among those whose feet were washed, moments before he betrayed Jesus! No greater love can be found; pray your love one would know and receive the love of Jesus today!


Day Five: The Thief On The Cross

Read Luke 23:32-43.

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
 
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23:32-43 ESV)

After reading, answer the following questions:

  • These two criminals encounter Jesus as all of them are being crucified. It becomes clear the second criminal has faith that Jesus is God and yet, he does not try to justify himself or excuse his actions. Being found guilty, do you ever attempt to justify your actions? What do you think causes us to have that reaction before God?
  • What does the second criminal request of Jesus? What is Jesus’ response? Do you believe this criminal earned it by his own righteousness? Why did Jesus respond this way?
  • The invitation we receive from Jesus is the same offer he gives the criminal. Like the criminal, our actions have not earned us a standing before God. As you read this passage again, spend time thanking Jesus for the grace he has given you.

The Lent Devotional ends with another shocking display of Jesus’ love and grace. As you consider the crucifixion and what Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished, rest in his words from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Finally, pray that your love one would know the freedom, rest, and love that comes only from Jesus. Pray they would receive and believe in him, and be adopted as a son or daughter for all of eternity.

We look forward to celebrating the love and grace of Jesus on Easter Sunday!