Resurrection, Judgment, and Destiny

May these Scriptures and the accompanying reflections be blessed by God to prepare us for the depths of Good Friday and the marvelous Easter-work of God in the resurrection of Jesus.

Monday – Matthew 16.24-28. “From start to finish, Matthew’s story is about the strange way Jesus became king. The whole point of the story is that Jesus—to the horror of His close friends—was now beginning to tell them that the way He had to become king was through suffering and death. Following Jesus means denying yourself, saying ‘no’ to the things that make up your ‘self’, and finding to your astonishment that the ‘self’ you get back is more glorious, more joyful than you could have imagined” (N.T. Wright, Lent for Everyone).

Tuesday – Philippians 1.21. “If you believe God has never spoken to you, ask yourself what you are doing that would give God reason to speak to you. Are you and God in business together in life, or are you in business for yourself, trying to ‘use a little God’ to advance your own projects? We are more likely to hear God when we can say, ‘I am living for one thing and one thing only—to be like Christ, to do His work, and serve His people with Him.’ My life is to bless others in the name of God” (Dallas Willard, Hearing God). Ask yourself, “Am I learning to live my life the way Christ would if He were me?”

Wednesday – Matthew 22.36-40. “In Scripture, God says two things about His essence: He is holy, and He is love. All holiness comes from God, and no one is holy apart from His presence. However, God is not simply holy; He is holy love. Because we came from His hand, we also cry out for a true and pure love. We long to find our fulfillment, not in our isolated desires and ambitions but in something bigger than ourselves” (Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master).

Thursday – Luke 23.32-35. Are you astounded by Jesus’ words on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”? The One who suffers unjustly forgives those who have anything to do with His suffering. How have you benefited from His forgiveness? How are you different? Do you need to forgive someone during this season of Lent and Easter? Or do you need to ask your heavenly Father or someone that you’ve wronged the ten words that can change your life: “I am sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”

Friday – Matthew 27.45-46. “Not even the cross, not even death, not even life, can destroy Jesus’ love for God. Not even God can destroy His love for God because the love He loves God with is God’s love empowering Him to love in return with all His heart even when His heart is all but broken. In a way His words are the words we all must speak before we know what it means to love God as we are commanded to love Him” (Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life).

Saturday – Luke 23.46. Trusting ourselves to God’s goodness and care when in the middle of sorrow, loss, or failure may border on heroic. That’s what Jesus did with His Father, even though His own suffering was overwhelming, and God seemed absent. How do we grow in trusting God? “In order to grow in trust, we must allow God see us and love us precisely as we are. The best way to do that is through prayer. As we pray, the unrestricted love of God gradually transforms us” (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust). As you wait in anticipation of the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, talk with God about where you could trust Him to a greater degree.