Enjoy these three devotions for Lent this weekend!
Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus at the Feast of Booths
7After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews[a] were seeking to kill him. 2Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand.10But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
Can This Be the Christ?
25Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from. 28So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me. 30So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
Instead of going to Judea, as the disciples had harshly encouraged Jesus to do in order to show the world all He was capable of, Jesus instead took a long stroll through Galilee to purposefully avoid Judea. His time had not come.
The Feast of Booths was a community-wide festival where everyone would camp in booths, or temporary housing like tents, in order to remind themselves of their people's long homelessness while wandering in the desert for 40 years. This somber festival acutely reminded the people their hoped for Savior had yet to come.
When we don't immediately get the hoped forpermanent fix to whatever temporary problem we might be facing, we often begin to question whether Jesus is with us at all.
But we read that Jesus lingered in the Feast of Booths festival. Their Savior was there bearing permanent housing; they were just unaware.
Jesus dwells with us in the housing of our temporary problems even while preparing an eternal home for us without struggles. He never leaves our side.
And so it's in the context of this great festival, wherethese people were again acutely reminded of their need for a Savior, that they begin to question who Jesus really is. They had been hoping for a long-promised Savior on the one hand, and on the other, their leaders had publicly let it be known that they wanted to kill Jesus. They start to question among themselves if this could this really be the Christ? Why else, they figure, have the leaders not killed him yet? Might He be the One? And then, almost as quickly, they talk themselves out of it saying, "Nah, it can't be; we know who this man is and where He comes from."
May we extend our hand to Jesus during this Lenten season and accept His embrace even when we hear, "not yet" from Him.
Unlike Jesus' contemporaries, we know who He is. We know His power triumphs even over death.
Consider a few areas of your life where you are waiting for Jesus to move. Are these areas temporary structures? Does it seem others have moved on ahead of you?
Take some time in prayer and thank God that He is with you while you wait for your permanent home.In the midst of whatever temporary trial you may be in, Jesus' hand is extended toward you. You know who He is. Take His hand and wait. He is with you in the tent that one day will become a mansion.
Image by just_a_cheeseburger
Saturday in the Fourth Week of Lent
John 7:40-53English Standard Version (ESV)
Division Among the People
40When they heard these words, some of the people said, This really is the Prophet. 41Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Is the Christ to come from Galilee?42Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was? 43So there was a division among the people over him. 44Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, Why did you not bring him? 46The officers answered, No one ever spoke like this man! 47The Pharisees answered them, Have you also been deceived?48Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed. 50Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does? 52They replied, Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.53They went each to his own house.
Jesus has a way of stirring things up. The dissension and chaos surrounding Him continues to grow. It's pretty easy to notice that people see Jesus through whatever lens they personally possess. Some call Him a prophet, others a Savior. Notice that the views people hold regarding who Jesus is are many and disparate, and grow even more divergent the further removed they are from Him.
When the officers were instructed to take Jesus into custody and returned empty-handed, they had to face the wrath of the chief priests and Pharisees.
Why did these officers not arrest Jesus?
In the midst of the wide range of rumors and opinion of who Jesus was swirling all around this scene, these officers formed a different opinion, an opinion not formed from a distance, for they had spoken directly to Him.
Why did they not arrest Him? Because they listened to Him. They didn't form an opinion of who Jesus was from a distance. They talked to Him.
This, of course, was immediately dismissed by the leaders who concluded the officers had been deceived like everyone else.
And just as we often do when we encounter challenges to the way we see things, instead of embracing the conflict within themselves this had created, instead of surrendering their false views of who Jesus was, everyone simply went home.
They just left.
Don't we often do the same?
Often, when we are invited to live in a new home, a new way of thinking and being,instead of giving up our old way of thinking and being, we simply go back home to what we know.
Everyone simply "went home each to his own house." (verse 53)
To give up their old home, to see Jesus for who He really is, was too much for them.
Jesus is always stirring up our preconceptions of who He is and who we are.
How have you lived your spiritual life with Jesus from a distance? Have you formed opinions of who He is from afar instead of going to Him?
What would it entail for you to listen to who He says He is?
Jesus created you with a vision of who you are in mind. Areyou be able to accept who He created you to be even before you were bornand pack your bags andlive with Him in what He originally had in mind for you? Why or why not?
If you simply want to go home and forget all of this talk of moving, does yesterday's post help you to see that Jesus is with you even in your temporary home?
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Read Today's Scripture: John 11:1-45
The Death of Lazarus Where Jesus Weeps
On the traditional Lenten calendar, we are now in the last week before Holy Week. We feel we still have so much more to surrender, so much more to change about ourselves, so much more grace to receive, and yet, Jesus continues to journey with us like He did with the disciples knowing full well they didn't "get it" yet.
Neither do we.
And that's ok.
This passage instructs us that, thoughour striving to be more like Jesus won't befully completed before we die, even death won't stop what Jesus will do in us.
We love our God who can speak life into death, who can shine light into the darkness.
Read through thepassage above prayerfully.There are a cast of characters from Mary, Martha, Thomas, the disciples, among others, who show up in this story. Who do you most identify with?Why?
As you read through aa few more times, what conversational responses or actions by Jesus really speak to you personally? What is Jesus saying to you?
Do you believe Jesus has ever wept for you? Why? If so, how does this make you feel?
Enjoy journaling your reactions if this is a spiritual practice you favor.
Image by Marion Doss