This highly dramatic event would have made for a great end to a blockbuster film. One can almost hear the roar of the earthquake, see the painful glare of the lightening-white clothing of the angel, and feel the fear of the guards as their world shook around them. It is as if the scene was intentionally shocking. Because it was so shockingly impossible, it leaves hearers two options: to reject it outright, or to believe wholeheartedly. Hearers are given the invitation to be all in, and then to go out, spreading the news of the miraculous events, and extending the invitation to anyone who will hear.
Read: Follow the stories of early believers and missionaries.
Sunday, Matthew 28:1-10, Easter: Matthew
Monday, Psalm 118:19-24, Psalm
Tuesday, Matthew 28:11-15, The Report of the Guard
Wednesday, Acts 1:12-26, Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
Thursday, Acts 2:37-42, The First Converts
Friday, Acts 5:12-16, The Apostles Heal Many
Saturday, Acts 5:17-42, The Apostles are Persecuted
Study: Study the reading and consider the background.
Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, venerated and adored as the king who would redeem Israel and save her from the oppression of Rome. The people had no way of knowing that Jesus’ purpose was much greater; to save people from sin and death.
Many things in this story indicated that the people were celebrating Jesus as a king. The donkey and the colt, the spreading of cloaks and the branches were all signs of royalty. The people shouted, “Hosanna!” which means “save, rescue, savior.” They acknowledged Jesus as a prophet, which meant that his actions were directed and blessed by God. A good king would protect the people from harm, provide basic human needs (food, shelter, safety) for his kingdom, and rule with justice.
Follow the stories of Jesus’ final days on the earth.
Sunday, Matthew 21:1-13, Triumphal Entry
Monday, Psalm 118:26-29, Psalm
Tuesday, Matthew 27:1-14, Passion
Wednesday, Matthew 27:15-26, Passion
Thursday, Matthew 26:17-30, Words of Institution
Friday, Matthew 27:27-61, Crucifixion
Saturday, Matthew 27:62-66, The Guard at the Tomb
Study: Consider the background.
Jesus told this parable to help people see God in the faces of those we typically would not acknowledge; the hungry, thirsty, poor, naked, sick, and imprisoned. Jesus was intentional about indicating that we are expected to act. Our world has needs, and our actions are crucial to creating in this world an environment that more closely resembles the kingdom God intended for this world.
Read: Follow the parables and teachings of Jesus, as Jesus moved ever closer to the cross.
Sunday, Matthew 25:31-46, Last Judgment
Monday, Psalm 98:7-9, Psalm
Tuesday, Matthew 24:29-51, Teachings of Jesus
Wednesday, Matthew 25:14-30, Parables of Jesus
Thursday, Matthew 26:1-5, The Plot to Kill Jesus
Friday, Matthew 26:6-13, The Anointing at Bethany
Saturday, Matthew 26:14-16, Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus