Welcome to Day Seven of this Holy Week devotional journey as we follow Jesus during the week leading up to his death and resurrection. What did Jesus focus on? What was He concerned with? What does God want us to see? And how will we respond?
Before we focus on the scripture, let’s make space to be still and pray. Take some time to pause, slow down, be still, and cast your cares upon God.
The Bible says he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Do you have any cares, hopes, pain, or lies you need to let go of? Are there people and circumstances to give to God? Take some time to do just that, by praying, “Jesus I give you…”
We will be making our way through the Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus’ week leading up to His death and resurrection. Take a few seconds to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the scriptures:
What stood out to you? What captured your attention? Usually, this is what God wants you to think about, consider, and focus on. Take a few seconds and ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into the scriptures. What verse, verses, or phrases stood out to you. Why?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Finally, Let’s read 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and Romans 15:13 again.
The hope of the triumphal entry seems to have been short-lived. Jesus has died.
Hope defined is “a feeling of expectation or desire for certain things to happen”. The expectations of those closest to Jesus seem to have been unmet. And for those that followed him, many scattered and fled for their lives (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:5). Their expectations crushed – gone.
Have you been there? Where all that you hoped for is ripped out of your hands. The bible says delayed hope makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). Yet the second half of that same verse says a desired fulfilled is a tree of life. So Jesus redeems their loss to change the disciple’s desire and hope, ultimately setting them up for life. He often does the same with us. What can we do when we feel hopeless, need a fresh perspective, and a change in desire?
When Hope Seems Lost, We Can Remember Jesus’ Teachings
The disciples had forgotten the teachings from Jesus’ own mouth that he would be killed and then rise again (Mark 9:30- 32; Matthew 16:21–28; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:1-2; Luke 9:22–27).
We forget too. But Jesus invites us to come and, “walk and work with me— watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace….keep company with me, and you will learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30) – his way is better.
When Hope Seems Lost, We Can Stay Committed to the Way of Kingdom Living
Joseph of Arimathea was a good and righteous man – he was not a willing party in Jesus’ death and was looking forward to the Kingdom of God (Luke 23:50-51). Even in the face of difficult circumstances, he stayed committed to the teachings of Jesus and looked forward to a different kingdom. In any situation, so can we! With the Spirit’s help, we can “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
When Hope Seems Lost, We Can Take Healthy Responsibility and Fulfill Daily Work
When hope gets crushed, others scatter, and everyday tasks become mundane, we can follow the example of Jospeh and the women. Joseph could not resurrect Jesus but asked for Jesus’ body, prepared it, and placed it in a tomb. The women could not protect Jesus but honored him through the mundane tasks of preparing burial spices and perfumes. They chose to be present in a difficult situation, not check out. Their work was produced by faith, labor motivated by love, and endurance inspired by hope (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
When Hope Seems Lost, We Can Rest
According to the commandment, the disciples rested on the Sabbath (Luke 23:56). So much could be said about Sabbath, but here it challenges us to let go of outcomes while resting in the character of God and his work behind the scenes. In our rest, we are to stop fighting to secure results (Psalm 46:10) and trust that if God began the work, he will bring it to completion in our lives (Philippians 1:6). Our ultimate trust, peace, and confidence are in the God of all hope (Rom 15:13). Why? Because the cross and tomb did not have the last words. Resurrection is coming!
Now we want to pray back to God what stood out to each of us in a personal way. What insight, challenge, opportunity, promise, truth, or step to take with Jesus stood out to you? Take some time right now to personalize and pray back to God what he has shown you in today’s scriptures.
Next, we want to come away from our time with Jesus in the scriptures with an “I will statement”. What is God inviting us to do? To practice? To surrender? Take some time to pray and write down your “I will statement”. Then share it with someone you trust and who will encourage you to do what God has said to do.