Obediently Follow

Posted on August 20, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Think of a time when you felt like your life was completely out of control. Now, remember how God brought you through that time. Thank Him for His faithfulness.

Read Matthew 26:52-56 in your Bible.

“’But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted Him and ran away.” —Matthew 26:56

Ask yourself:
• Why didn’t Jesus try to stop the events leading toward His death (v. 53-54) Explain.
• Jesus knew what was about to happen to Him and didn’t fight the arrest. What does this indicate about Jesus’ understanding of the Father’s plan? His trust in His Father? His love for you and me?

Read John 18:1-11 in your Bible. Think through the following:
• In what ways did Jesus immediately take control of the situation?
• What was “the cup” Jesus referred to in verse 11? Explain.
• Compare the two passages from today’s devotion. List Jesus’ words and actions that indicate His willingness to fulfill His Father’s plan.

RESPOND

• As you go through your day, consider this: Jesus knew He would be arrested as part of His Father’s plan, yet He didn’t fight it. Would I be willing to be arrested for living out my faith?
• Jesus followed His Father’s plan completely and willingly. Examine your own life and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you check your heart. Do you obey God no matter the cost? Honestly talk with God about any struggles you may have when it comes to following His plan.
• In what way are you like Peter, fighting against God’s difficult and painful plan? Ask God for strength to help you respond to difficult situations in a way that honors Him.

BEHIND THE STORY

Throughout Judas’ betrayal and Jesus’ arrest, Jesus displayed an understanding of the coming events—what would happen if He allowed them to arrest Him. Jesus didn’t hide from the soldiers and religious leaders; instead they found Him in a place He frequented. Jesus also foreshadowed His sacrifice by stepping in front of His disciples and ensuring they were released. Some Bible scholars suggest that this action was a picture of His sacrificial death to pay the penalty for their sin and ours.

THE POINT

Despite the torment ahead of Him, Jesus obediently followed through with His Father’s plan.


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Fulfilled

Posted on August 13, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

What kinds of things make you feel out of control? Thank God that He is in complete control.

“For I tell you, what is written must be fulfilled in Me: And He was counted among the outlaws. Yes, what is written about Me is coming to its fulfillment.” —Luke 22:37

Read Luke 22:37 and John 19:31-37 in your Bible and reflect on these questions.
• Beside each Old Testament reference, record the prophecy made about Jesus. Beside each New Testament passage, note the way Jesus’ trial and crucifixion fulfilled that prophecy.

Old Testament New Testament
Psalm 34:20 John 19:36
Isaiah 53:12 Luke 22:37
Zechariah 12:10 John 19:37

• The Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in these verses were written hundreds of years before Christ was born. What does that tell you about God’s knowledge of the future? His omnipotence?

The day of preparation mentioned in verse 31 was the day before the Sabbath of Passover week. This was a significant day for the Jews— it was the day the lambs would be sacrificed for the people’s sins. When the high priest sacrificed the lambs for the sins of the Jewish people, Jesus sacrificed Himself as payment for the sins of all people.

RESPOND

• The Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ remind us that His sacrificial death was God’s plan all along. Journal a prayer of thanks to Him for planning so far in advance to rescue you from the slavery of sin.
• For further study on prophecies Jesus fulfilled, read 100 Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus (Rose Publishing, 2001).

BEHIND THE STORY

During the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, over 20 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. In order for Jesus to be counted among the outlaws, it was necessary for the legal system to declare Him guilty and treat Him like a criminal. The number of prophecies fulfilled through this event solidly points to God’s foreknowledge and perfect plan.(1)

THE POINT

Jesus’ death on the cross fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

(1)Kenneth Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary — John,(Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), 361.


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Freedom Isn't Free

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Listen to Seventh Day Slumber’s song “Nothing But the Blood” (Take Everything, 2009) and focus on what Jesus’ blood has accomplished.

Look at the definition of sacrifice below. What does sacrifice look like to you? What does it look like to God? Journal your thoughts.

“How much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?” —Hebrews 9:14

Read Hebrews 9:12-14 in your Bible and think through these questions:
• What did the sacrifice of bulls and goats purify (v. 13)? Do you notice anything these sacrifices failed to cover?
• Old Testament law required that sacrificial animals be without blemish
(Lev. 1:3; 3:1). In what way was Christ a sacrificial lamb?
• What did Christ’s sacrifice cleanse (v. 14)?
• Compare and contrast the Old Testament animal sacrifices and Christ’s sacrifice.

SACRIFICE (n.) = Giving up something of value for something considered more important.

RESPOND

• In the your journal, list specific words that describe the freedom you experience because of Christ’s sacrifice. Thank Him for the sacrifice He made for you.
• Do you know people who don’t know that Jesus gave His own life to offer them freedom from sin? List a few names in your journal and commit to pray for those people this week.

BEHIND THE STORY

The sacrificial system of the Old Testament anticipated the ultimate price Christ would pay in sacrificing Himself for our sins on the cross. Although the Old Testament system was incomplete, it introduced the concept of God’s law, humanity’s inability to keep that law, and the need for a perfect sacrifice. The word translated “redemption” in verse 12 refers to the price paid to liberate a slave. Christ’s sacrifice liberates people from slavery to sin and the ultimate punishment—death and eternal separation from God.(1)

THE POINT

God’s plan, from the beginning of time, paved the way for Christ as the ultimate sacrifice and final blow to death.

(1)Thomas D. Lea, Holman New Testament Commentary — Hebrews & James, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1999), p. 174.


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The Dark Before the Dawn

Posted on May 14, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Find a quiet place and silence your cell phone. Sit quietly, relax, and prepare your heart to see what God has to say in His Word.

Good and evil are constantly locked in a spiritual battle, but in today’s passage Satan directly challenged God by entering Judas. Although we can’t ignore the fact that Judas was still responsible for choosing to plot against Jesus, we have to acknowledge that Judas gave in to temptation, particularly in regards to His desire for wealth.

“While He was still speaking, suddenly a mob was there, and one of the Twelve named Judas was leading them. He came near Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
—Luke 22:47-48

Read Luke 22:1-6,47-53 in your Bible and answer the following.
• What caused Judas to agree to betray Jesus to the priests and religious
leaders? Explain.
• The soldiers and religious leaders likely expected Jesus to fight back. Instead, He went with them peacefully and willingly. What does this tell you about His character and the importance of God’s plan? Jesus referred to Judas’ betrayal and Jesus’ arrest as “the dominion of darkness” (v. 53). The events that followed Jesus’ arrest probably caused the disciples to feel hopeless, but God was victorious—He raised Jesus from the dead.

RESPOND

• List a few areas you’re currently struggling with giving over to God. Then, ask Him to help you trust Him no matter what you face.
• How can you focus on the victory we already have in Jesus as you face difficult situations? Record some ideas in your journal.
• For further study on Judas’ betrayal and Jesus’ arrest, read Matthew 26:1-5, 47-49; Mark 14:1-2; and John 11:47-57.

BEHIND THE STORY

In Luke 4, Satan tempted Jesus for 40 days without success. Jesus fought temptation with God’s Word and God’s power. By Luke 22, Satan changed strategies and instead tempted Judas. Trent Butler says, “Satan could not lure Jesus with his tempting, but he did prevail over Judas. This was more than yielding to temptation. Satan actually entered Judas, controlling him as if he were possessed by demons.”(1)

THE POINT

It may seem like evil overcomes for a time, but God has already won the ultimate victory through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

(1)Trent C. Butler, Holman New Testament Commentary — Luke, ed. Max Anders, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), Under “Luke 22 — Opposing the Glory.” Accessed via mywsb.com


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True Devotion

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Reflect on all that God has forgiven you for and thank Him for giving you the opportunity to be in relationship with Him.

“Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” —Luke 7:47-48

Read Luke 7:36-50 in your Bible. Consider the following:
• Look at verses 37-38 and 43-46. Compare and contrast the woman’s actions to those of the Pharisee.

• The Pharisees considered this woman an outcast—she was labeled as a sinner. But she approached Jesus and anointed His feet with an expensive perfume. How does her gift demonstrate her thankfulness for Jesus’ forgiveness? Her faith?
• Though the woman’s gift may seem extraordinary, the greatest gift in this story is Jesus’ forgiveness of the woman’s sins. Even before His death on the cross, Jesus had the authority to forgive. What is significant about the phrases “your sins are forgiven” (v. 48) and “your faith has saved you” (v. 50)? Explain.

RESPOND

True gratitude leads to action. Jesus died to forgive the sins of all people for all time. Those who choose to receive His forgiveness and trust in Him as Savior will spend eternity with Him.
• In what ways have you responded to Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins? Journal a prayer thanking Jesus for His forgiveness.
• How will you show gratitude to Jesus this week? In the way you prioritize your time and resources? Serve God and others? Worship? List a few ideas on an index card and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Glance at the card throughout the week to remind you to show gratitude to Jesus in all you do.
• For further study on forgiveness, read Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:18-19; Colossians 1:13-14; and 1 John 1:9.

BEHIND THE STORY

Both the alabaster jar and the fragrant perfume were expensive items in Jesus’ time. Luke didn’t say why the woman cried, but he did tell that her tears mixed with the perfume as she anointed Jesus’ feet. Bible scholars suggest that it’s possible the woman’s actions—wiping His feet with her hair and kissing His feet—demonstrated strong emotions such as gratitude and reverence.

THE POINT

Jesus died to forgive our sins. We should love Him above all else, serve Him, and worship Him.


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