JOURNEY WITH JESUS: INTRODUCTION
Most of us have heard about Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter. They are significant events recorded in all four of the Gospels. Some of us may even know something about Maundy Thursday! Maybe you have even celebrated some of those events in a church service. They are all part of one week in the life of Jesus that have become known as “Holy Week” or “Passion Week” in the Christian Church. This Holy Week begins with Jesus being hailed as a king, it continues with his betrayal, torture and crucifixion, and it ends with Jesus’ glorious resurrection from the dead—demonstrating that he truly is the Son of God, and securing life and salvation for everyone who truly believes.
But what else happened during that week? What significance did those events have in the life and ministry of Jesus the Messiah? And what can these things teach us about how we are to live a God-honoring life in our world today?
I invite you to Journey With Jesus this week, looking at the events of his life each day as recorded in Matthew’s gospel. I encourage you to reflect and meditate daily on these events, and allow Jesus to continue to teach us how to live and follow him. Each day you will receive a brief reading from Matthew’s gospel, a description of the events described that day, a brief reflection challenging us to apply the event to our daily life, and a prayer for Christ’s help and grace in following him. Come Journey with Jesus!
Day 1 – Monday: Jesus Clears the Temple
Read: Matthew 21:12-22
On Monday, “Jesus entered the Temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” He quotes the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, reminding them that God says, “’My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Clearly Jesus had a problem with the commercialization of religion and the exploitation of the vulnerable people who were there legitimately seeking God. Immediately after this, Matthew tells us that the blind and the lame came to Jesus at the Temple and he healed them. What a contrast! This whole interaction, combined with the children continuing their shouts of “Hosanna!” in the Temple courts, left the religious leaders indignant. And it put Jesus on a direct collision course with the establishment.
Reflection: Jesus Stirs Things Up (Video)
Lord Jesus, once again you want to enter our cities, our churches, and our homes.
Once again you have come to stir things up, to clean things out and to make things right in our lives. Forgive us, for the many times we have become comfortable and complacent with you—when the temples of our hearts have ceased to be houses of prayer and have become places of spiritual indifference or pride. Restore our joy in your presence, revive and renew your church, hear our prayers and heal our land, we pray. Amen.