Day 7

In and around the Temple…

Luke 19:47-20:8 NIV84

Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.

One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”

He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John’s baptism — was it from heaven, or from men?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” 

So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Who wanted to kill Jesus?

Those in positions of authority wanted to know the source of Jesus’s authority. Why do you think this was important to them?

Jesus responded to their question with a question. How did those in authority answer? What did they consider before they answered?

The chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders were not really interested in the truth or what they believed in their hearts. They were only concerned with their status. What about you, when it comes to Jesus’s authority in your life? Do you walk a line that protects the status quo? Are you willing to search your heart and offer an honest answer?

Jesus, recognizing the true source of Your authority requires that I give up my authority. Help me to live a life that reveals my belief in You as the Son of God: Lord of lords and King of kings.

Day 6

In and around the Temple…

Matthew 21:10-17 NIV84

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus entered the temple area 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. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of robbers.'”

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”

And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

In what ways did Jesus stir things up in the temple?

How did the different groups react to the stir: the disabled? the priests and teachers? the children?

When Jesus enters a place He stirs things up: convicting, healing, cleaning up. What has He stirred up in you during your walk as His disciple? How do you feel about it? Are you drawn to Him with praise? Or does a spirit of indignation take over?

As a Believer, you are the temple of God, the place where His Spirit resides. Would you describe it as a “house of prayer”? or a “den of robbers”?

 Father God, make me open to the cleansing of the “temple”. May my heart — my mind, will, and emotion — be a place that is pleasing to You.
Holy Land exhibit. Taken by Peetie Edwards.

Day 5

On the road to Jerusalem…

Luke 19:41-44 NIV84

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

What was it that Jerusalem did not know that caused Jesus to weep over it?

What do you think He means by: …but now it is hidden from your eyes…?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being none and 10 being perfect) what level of “peace” do you experience in your life?

Do you know what will bring you peace? Make a list the things that, if you had them, they would give you peace.

Jesus, You long for me to have peace and weep over me when I don’t. As the Prince of Peace, I ask You to lead me to the true source of peace.

Day 4

On the road to Jerusalem…

Luke 19:29-40 NIV84

As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'”

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

How was Jesus’s divinity revealed in this passage on the road to Jerusalem?

How is Jesus’s divinity revealed in your life today?

Lord, may my life be evidence of Your divine nature and power. Fill my mouth and heart with praise, so the stones will not have to cry out.

Day 3

On  the road to Jerusalem…

Mark 10:46-52 NIV84

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

How do you think this experience changed those in the crowd who witnessed Jesus — the Rabbi — calling to Himself one who was blind… unclean?

What do you think Bartimaeus would do if he came upon another in need along the road between Jericho and Jerusalem?

Examine your heart. Do you feel protective of Jesus as you follow Him, keeping the “unclean” at a distance? Or do feel joy-full in your walk with Him, humbly bringing others in need to Him?

Lord Jesus, search me. Shine your light in my heart. Reveal my need that only You can heal. I want to see.

Day 2

On the road to Jerusalem…

Mark 10:35-45 NIV84

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

What did James and John want from Jesus?

How did Jesus respond? What about the other ten?

Do you identify more with James and John? the ten? or Jesus?

Jesus came to serve, and calls us to serve. Ask Him how He wants you to serve today. Then be on the lookout for a chance to serve someone in some way, some place, some how…

Lord Jesus, help me to accept Your definition of “great.” Teach me how to serve and resist the temptation to rule.

Day 1

On the road to Jerusalem…

Mark 10:32-34 NIV84

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

Read the passage again:
Imagine what it would be like following Jesus on the road to Jerusalem as one of His disciples and hearing what He had to say to you…

Now see yourself today… following Jesus… knowing that He asks you to take up your cross and follow Him…

What emotions stir in your heart as you follow Him?

Father God, as Easter approaches, help me to understand the price Jesus paid for my freedom, what it means to follow Him, and the cost of discipleship.

Holy Land countryside. Taken by Peetie Edwards

Miscalculation: 50 Days of Easter to begin February 10

In our excitement and anticipation of Easter, we got ahead of ourselves by a whole week!

Please excuse our error and look forward to the beginning of the journey on February 10, 2013.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
John 1:16

In His Grace,
Grow Team

An Offering In Anticipation of Easter

Beginning Sunday, an offering of Scripture readings will be posted  for your consideration and meditation as we approach Easter.

Fifty passages of Scripture covering the last days of Jesus’s life on earth…
On the road to Jerusalem
In the Temple
The events in and around the Last Supper
His arrest and crucifixion…
Resurrection and beyond… 
…as told through the eyes of those who walked with Him.

We pray that they will remind you that…

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24

We invite and encourage you to post comments and share insights as you journey toward Easter. 

The Ultimate Example

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…
Philippians 2:5

Jesus — the babe in the manger — exemplifies a life of worship…
Sacrificing all out of love for the Father and for creation…

The One who knew no bounds…
the Word who spoke creation into existence…
chose to empty Himself of all
to be contained in a fragile vessel… an infant…
placing His life in the hands of those He created…
just as we are to place our lives in His…

From conception to death, His life reveals a true life of worship…
doing nothing of His own will…
but only what He saw His Father doing…

The Gospels, the authorized biographies of Jesus, can teach us to live as worship to Him. When we study… meditate… and consume…. His life story, we come closer to Him…

Who being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death — 
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:6-11

As we move past Advent and into a new year…
consider all that Jesus sacrificed to enter the womb of Mary…
consider all He has blessed you with…

What are you willing to sacrifice…? …to live a life of worship…?

Father God, open my eyes and heart to the truth of what it means to be a living sacrifice. Fill me with a desire to know Jesus intimately and 
for His attitude to flow through me.