Jesus Christ is - The Wonderful One
To Him be the glory both now and forever.  Amen.

Passion Week Devotionals

Jesus’ Week of Passion(2012)

Daily Bible Verse

By Charlie Garrett
and Rory Wilson

Saturday:  John 12:3 – This week we'll take a short break from Revelation to honor Jesus’ life leading up to the cross.

Sunday:  John 12:5 – A humble manner.

Monday:  Mark 11:17 – Jesus went into the temple.

Tuesday:   Mark 12:17 – …and to God the things that are God’s.

Wednesday:  Psalm 62:1 – Today's verse takes us back to the Psalms.

Thursday:  John 14:3 – Deeds of love to our Savior.

Friday:  Matthew 27:46 – Paid in full.

Saturday:  Matthew 27:66 – …in a tomb which had been secured and sealed… a glorious new day was coming.

Sunday1 Corinthians 15:20 – …we are granted renewed and eternal fellowship.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.  Psalm 115:1

Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. John 12:3

For the next 8 days, we’ll take a break from our Revelation study to look over Jesus’ life leading up to the cross.

Today’s verse occurred on the day before Palm Sunday. This was “six days before the Passover;” a Sabbath day. It was in the home of Lazarus who had been dead, but whom Jesus had raised. He was at the table with Lazarus, and Martha served them. While they were relaxing, Mary poured this “very costly oil of spikenard” on Jesus’ feet and then wiped them with her hair. When she did this, Judas Iscariot, made a pretense that what was done was wasteful.

The perfume was worth almost a year’s wages and he said the money would have been better used on the poor. However, John tells us that he couldn’t have cared about that, but that he was a thief and was demonstrating greed in his heart.

In accomplishing this act, Jesus indicates that Mary, of all of the people around Him at the time, understood Jesus’ mission and that He was destined to die. He said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.” Instead of using it for herself, she had intended that it be used for this purpose alone.

The question each of us should ask ourselves as we contemplate what Mary did is, “Am I willing to give my best for the sake of Jesus too?” We will all face Him, this much is certain. What are we willing to do for Him now that will be remembered and credited to our account in the eternal future? There is nothing as precious as what we do for the Lord. Everything else is temporary and fleeting, but our deeds of faith done for Him will be evident for all time to come.

Lord, You know the depths of my heart and the things I cling to which have no real value. Give me a willing heart to serve You with my every possession and my every ability. May the life I live be a testimony to Your greatness alone! Amen.

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
Behold, your King is coming,
Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”
John 12:15

This occurred on Palm Sunday, the 5th day before Jesus’ cross. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a “donkey’s colt.” Donkeys in the Middle East are small animals, not nearly as large as a horse. To watch someone sitting on one, the words “majestic” would never come to mind... especially as their feet drag alongside the animal. Now imagine Jesus coming into Jerusalem not on a full sized donkey, but on a donkey’s colt. Jesus was certainly a well built man, having been the son of a carpenter. And His clearing of the temple of merchants also indicates a man of size and stature. But in an act of humility which was prophesied by the prophet Zechariah, Jesus comes in a humble manner –

 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Someday, Jesus will return as the Conquering King on a white horse and in full glory, but in His first advent, Jesus showed us the very heart of God for the people of the world. He came as a servant and with humility and gentleness. Yes, He is just and He does hold our salvation in His hands. He offers it to each of us – peace with God from the King of kings.

Lord, I have strutted around as if I were big stuff, I have looked down on those around me, and I have thought far more of myself than I ought to have. I know this because when I look at how You came and lived among us, I can see the folly of my ways. Give me a gentle and humble heart, O God, that I may be a pleasing servant to You. Amen.

Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” Mark 11:17

The events of this verse occurred on Monday, 7 April 0032. Jesus went into the temple as the Passover Feast was approaching. He was certainly asked many questions and He would have taught the people who came to Him. During His time there, He brought to remembrance the words of Isaiah, some of which are quoted in today’s verse.

In context, Isaiah 56:3-7 shows that God intended the temple to be a house of worship for all who sought the Lord. But the Jewish people tried to distance themselves from the nations and not allow this concept to reach its fulfillment. They sold right in the temple courtyards, charging exorbitant prices for the sacrificial animals that were required as offerings. They also maintained their own currency, so the standard monetary unit of the Roman Empire had to be exchanged for temple shekels.

In the process, the money exchangers surely profited from unfair exchange rates. Because of this, Jesus called them a “den of thieves.” This quote is taken from Jeremiah 7:11 –

“’Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,’ says the Lord.”

Has anything changed since this occurred? Does the church at large act any differently than those in the temple who made access to God difficult for outsiders? Let’s look back to the time before we were saved and thank the Lord that someone was willing to share Jesus with us. Then, let’s make the same effort for others. Take time to read Isaiah 56:3-7 and see how God cherishes those who may seem outside of His favor by someone who is already a part of the covenant community. He would ask us to accept all people, regardless of their race, color, ethnic group, or social standing.

Heavenly Father, forgive me when I forget my duties to faithfully respond to those who are reaching out to You. Give me a willingness of heart to be attentive to their call and to not shun them because they are somehow different than me. I know that I am unworthy of the good gifts of life and salvation You have granted me, so humble my heart, O Lord. Amen.

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Mark 12:17

Today’s verse from Mark 12 occurred on Tuesday, 8 April 0032. The gospel accounts are full of Jesus’ teaching from this day as people came to Him with a stream of questions. He also made many important observations and conveyed a panorama of important prophetic statements.

In this account, some of the leaders of Israel, the Pharisees and the Herodians, came to Him in order to trick Him. After buttering Him up with a supposed compliment, they asked Him a question which they thought would put Him into an unanswerable bind. “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If Jesus were to answer “yes” they believed that the crowds would turn away from Him.

Remember that just two days before, they had hailed Him as the coming King and the One who was prophesied in the Psalms as coming in the name of the LORD; in other words, the Messiah. They believed the Messiah would break the yoke of the Romans and cast off their rule. Surely no Messiah would acknowledge paying taxes to Caesar!

At the same time, if Jesus answered “no” then the leaders, who profited highly from their position and were aligned with Rome, would be able to report back to the Romans that an insurrectionist had arisen who said the people shouldn’t pay taxes. This was a capital offense and they would be rid of Jesus.

No matter how He answered, it seemed that He couldn’t win. Instead of a “yes” or “no” Jesus noted that it was Caesar’s face and inscription on the coin and so obligations were due to Caesar. At the same time, He noted that the Jews were God’s people and so obligations were due to God. In essence, there is a hierarchy and each is due a particular type of payment.

As Christians, we are to pay our taxes and other debts, but we are to do it based on a priority system. God’s law is first. We are never to violate our obligations to God at the expense of our obligations to the government. We need to hold fast to a moral value system which always places our allegiance to God first.

Thank You, O Lord, for the wisdom and guidance You show us in Your word. There are issues that we face in our lives which are confusing and even troubling. However, when we know and properly apply Your word and what it mandates, our choices become clear and without difficulty. Give me a willing heart to obey You above all else. Amen.

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
Psalm 62:1

In the week before the cross, nothing is recorded about what Jesus did on Wednesday. His week was an immensely full one, right up until the time of the crucifixion, but we are left with this seemingly empty spot in the account. Whether He did many things or simply walked around Jerusalem looking at the bustle of life going on around Him, He knew what was coming and He didn’t shy away from it. The cross was quickly approaching and His mission was almost finished.

To think that the Creator of the world was heading towards the trial to come is beyond imagination. What great love God must have for each of us. His plan and His purposes for the people of the world make no sense apart from the work of Jesus Christ. Everything is temporary and ends in futility. If the grave is all there is, then it would just be better to head there now and save ourselves the troubles of life, the pains of the body, and the ravages of age. But even those who don’t know Jesus cling to life despite what is surely ahead. It makes no sense at all unless there is a reason for our lives. No end apart from the hope of peace with God because of the cross gives us anything to look forward to.

If God exists and there is a judgment day coming, without Jesus it is just a coin toss – and one which we will lose every time. But Jesus alone can give us full assurance now of the glory to come. When we call on Him, we are restored to God through His work. The debt is paid and the future is sure. Truly we can say, “My soul waits for God.” From Him alone – through the work of Jesus Christ – comes our salvation. What a wonderful, glorious promise. We don’t know what Jesus did on that Wednesday, but we know that it led Him up to Calvary. In Him, God made all things new.

O God, what is the value of man that You would send Your only begotten Son to walk among us, be despised by us, and be crucified at our hands? How can it be that we are of such value to You? Thank You for Jesus and thank You for the sure hope of eternal life in Your presence. Amen.

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. John 14:3

Despite people trying to tie this account in and call it the same occurrence as the one in John 12, these are two entirely separate days and in different locations. Six days before the Passover, Mary “took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” Now, on the night of His cross, the act is repeated, but this time the flask is broken and the remaining amount is poured on His head.

This is most certainly Mary again and she seems to be the only person that has a true grasp of what is coming… Jesus is going to die and it is going to be in the next hours. The first time when she perfumed His feet, she was showing humility and tender love for the Lord. Feet get dirty and in a place like Israel, the dust clings to them. She was willing to not only wash His feet, but to wipe them with her hair.

Now, on the evening of His funeral, she is finishing the preparation for His burial, but it may be significant in another way as well. Anointing a person’s head was used to ordain both priests and kings in Israel. Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection proved that He held the ultimate position of both of these offices. He is our great High Priest and He is our King.

Because of her actions, Mary has been given a place of high honor in Christianity – “She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” And even to this day, 2000 years later, we remember her deeds of love to our Savior. As we go about our lives, we should look for similar opportunities to bring Him the honor He is due.

Thank You Lord for including this story in the pages of Your word. It shows us how we can also live lives of faith and love and gives us a clearer understanding of what You cherish in Your people. May each of us be obedient and faithful servants in our Christian walk, to Your glory and honor alone! Amen.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

In the moments before His death, Jesus cried out the words of the 21st Psalm, fulfilling all that was required to satisfy the penalty of sin for the people of the world. A sin committed by a finite human against and infinite God demands an infinite penalty. Because man is fallen in Adam, in relation to our Creator we are infinitely fallen – both in time and in physical existence.

In time, the separation is eternal, meaning that it began at the moment man fell in the Garden of Eden and it will last until the ages of ages. As long as time exists, the gap will exist.

In physical existence, our fall means that no matter what we do and no matter how much of it we do, it is insufficient to reconcile us to God. Even if we made our own life a sacrifice, or if we were to offer our own child to God, it couldn’t bridge this infinite gap.

At the moment of His death, Jesus cried out the words, “It is finished.” These come from a single Greek word – tetelestai. In essence, this word means, “paid in full.” When Jesus died, He satisfied God’s infinite justice for any who will accept what He has done. The sins of the people of God can never be punished again because that would violate His justice. What each person needs to understand is that sins can only be punished once, either by a substitute, meaning Jesus, or by oneself. If you want to pay for your own sins, then God’s justice demands an infinite penalty be executed upon you. The other option is to hand your sins over to Jesus Christ and let Him be your substitute. Because of the Incarnation, the infinite penalty was satisfied infinitely in God’s own Son.

The sky darkened as His life fled away

But the glory of the act is what paved the way

For man to be reconciled to an infinite God

Allowing us forever, heavenly streets to trod

Hallelujah and Amen.

All hail the great and awesome work of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. Matthew 27:66

There is often confusion as to which day Jesus was crucified and what subsequent day certain things occurred. In order to clarify these things, one needs to pay careful attention to all of the gospel accounts. One important point to know is that different ways of determining time are used in the accounts. For example, John uses Roman time, which is like modern reckoning of time. However, the other writers follow the Jewish day which goes from sunset to sunset. If one misses this, then the days overlap in a confused way.

One phrase is used in all four gospel accounts and shows us without any doubt that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, He lay in the tomb throughout the entire day Saturday, and rose early on Sunday morning. The term is “Day of Preparation.” If you read all four accounts, noting how the term is used in relation to the surrounding events, the timeline becomes clear.

Here are the verses which precede our highlighted verse today –

“On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,  saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.”

Jesus’ body laid quietly in a tomb which had been secured and sealed by the authority of the Roman Empire and which was guarded by soldiers. But the power of God can’t be restrained by such things. After the time of rest in the tomb, and sorrow for those who beheld His cross, a glorious new day was coming…

Lord God Almighty, we remember the events of Jesus’ week of Passion and we marvel at what You did for each of us. In exchange for our sins and our disobedience, You gave us Your Son. In exchange for His obedience and sinless life, You gave Him a cross. What a glorious story of promise, redemption, and love. Thank You for our Lord and Savior – Jesus! Amen.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20

The cross of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus combine to form a single and defining act of God. Paul, speaking in Romans, shows us that this is so. He says Jesus…

 “…was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”

When Jesus died on the cross, He proclaimed “It is finished.” The debt had been paid and the wrath of God which was directed at each of us was satisfied. But a sin-payment without the resurrection makes no sense. Paul says in verse 19 of 1 Corinthians 15 –

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”

What hope is there in a sin-debt payment without the promise of eternal life? In other words, if all the people of the world are destined to die, return to the soil, and never be heard from again, then a sin-payment holds no true significance. If the end of all souls is the same, then we might as well party it up and have all the fun we want.

But because of the resurrection, we know that the sin-payment has eternal value. We are not only reconciled to God through the death of Jesus, but we are granted renewed and eternal fellowship with Him because of Jesus. God’s promise is that all who have received Christ as Lord will be granted the same resurrection as His Son. He is the “firstfruits” of those who have fallen asleep.

The firstfruits is an Old Testament phrase. During the harvest, the first of the edible crop was cut and offered to God; it was emblematic of the entire crop. God received the first fruits and thus He has accepted the entire crop. God received the work of His Son and raised Him to eternal life. And because of Jesus, He receives our faith in Him and will raise us to the same eternal life. In this life we have hope. And more… we have an eternal one as well!

Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose! Amen.

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