By Natalie BennettWednesday 24 Feb 2021
Inside this edition you’ll find a collection of daily reflections on the reason for our hope, the person at the very heart of all we do as a ministry – Jesus. Together we’ll explore the beauty of His teachings, His heart and purpose, and His journey to the cross.
Send Me REAL HOPE – The Road to the Cross
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
The Road to the Cross Daily Reflections
Enjoy these 3 samples from our special Easter edition of the REAL HOPE devotional. Then sign up to receive The Road to the Cross direct to your door.
Sample 1: THE WINE AND THE TEMPLE
John has written two interesting accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus in this chapter of his Gospel. The first is a wedding in Cana where Jesus turned water into wine. The second involves Jesus telling those changing money and selling animals for sacrifices in the temple courtyard to leave.
There is rich meaning in these accounts, but today I will point out one thing I have learned from them that has changed the way I live. Jesus was passionate about serving others and allowing servant-hearted people to experience the wonders of God.
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Did you realize as you read about the water being transformed into wine at the wedding in Cana, that the servants were the ones who were in on the miracle? Jesus asked them to fill the pots that they were using for cleansing with water. Those same servants were then asked by Jesus to draw from those pots and take the liquid to the master of the banquet to taste. We are not told exactly when the water turned to wine, but somewhere between the filling and the tasting, it did, and the servants were a part of every step. These nameless people were literally the hands and feet that delivered a beautiful miracle of life celebration.
Then we are taken to the temple court at Passover. The temple was God’s idea of a physical place that would symbolize a home on earth where God would dwell and His people could come and be in His presence. But instead of being a house of prayer, people had made it a marketplace. The anger of Jesus at this point reminds me that we too can lose the sense of being at home with God in His presence in prayer.
My prayer today is that we would be a home for God’s presence and that we might be the hands and feet of Jesus to all those we come across.
written by KATH HENRY
Sample 2: JUSTICE DISPLAYED
Justice is a huge issue which is highlighted as one of the major themes of Easter. Christ’s death on the cross of Calvary in Jerusalem was not just symbolic or dramatic but in essence ‘satisfied the righteous requirements of the law’, giving mankind forgiveness of sins by acquitting us of guilt in the eyes of God. To say that it is complicated is an understatement, but once understood and received it becomes a liberating truth.
Because justice is such a central theme of Christ’s redemptive purpose, it comes as no surprise that it is also such a central part of His Gospel and teachings. In Luke 11:42, Jesus is quoted as saying to the religious leaders, ‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practised the latter without leaving the former undone.’
Justice is important to God and important to us. Although not mentioned by name in the classical five levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the cry for justice is universal, especially among those who are acutely aware that they have been robbed of it.
Jesus’ life and ministry was and is to inspire us to be the source of justice, not only the recipients of it. Can we capture this thought: ‘What if, through big and small ways, I can dispense justice to or for others?’ To do such things is to attract the favour of God, as Jesus promises: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy’. (Matthew 5:7)
written by JOHN SCOTT
Sample 3: THE WOMEN
Jesus’ journey to crucifixion is one of the most emotive events in the Bible. It’s the culmination of all we’ve read so far, and the fulfilment of what was prophesied long before He was born.
One thing I find intriguing about Jesus’ journey is that He didn’t do it alone. Two years ago, I was in Jerusalem just before Easter. We toured the streets Jesus walked, visited the Garden of Gethsemane and saw where each of the Stations of the Cross is believed to have taken place.
Beginning in the Garden, Jesus was with His disciples. They were His (sleepy) point guards as He prayed to God, wondering whether this cup could pass Him by. Then as Jesus was taken from the Garden to Pontius Pilate and ultimately to Golgotha, He had people by His side – praying, weeping, following and cursing.
The streets in Jerusalem where Jesus walked are right in the centre of the city. Markets line the passageway, and I can only imagine in Jesus’ day all the stalls and workshops He passed by.
Jesus’ greatest moment of pain wasn’t hidden from anyone. The shame His accusers thought they were heaping on Him by showcasing His trial only further publicised His act of sacrifice and fueled the fire of hope and sorrow in His followers.
I think we can all be encouraged that Jesus didn’t hide His worst moment from anyone. Certainly there was intention behind the spectacle made of Jesus, but He didn’t reject anyone who grieved over Him or traced His steps.
What’s more inviting than a God who takes us into His triumph as well as His trial?
written by LAURA BENNETT