21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
Jesus, our Cornerstone, the One that holds all things together, saved us through His death and resurrection. This is the way of God, who leads us in and through all things for our joy and God’s glory. This can be a stumbling block for many, who want to follow one who is above suffering, but the invitation that Jesus extends to us is to follow him into his suffering and death, that we may be found victorious with him in his resurrection.
- What is giving you joy today?
- What does it mean to you that the chief cornerstone, God made flesh, was rejected by the builders, those who should know better?
- What is difficult for you about following Jesus into suffering? There are differing degrees of suffering, but where is God meeting you in your own pain right now?
Gracious God, thank you for drawing us to yourself and being the source of all, the one that holds all things together. This truth gives us joy in the new day. Help us to carry this joy and your truth of salvation into all we do and say today, that we might be your followers and bring you glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”
Times like this can challenge the best of us. Our work may require us to put on a strong face and push through, but God knows that under it all, we may be weary. These circumstances weigh on all of us, regardless of age, and God meets us where we are and gives us strength from his infinite resources.
- In your circumstances, what does it mean to you that God’s understanding is unsearchable?
- In what ways do you need God to give you strength today?
- What are you weary of?
Lord God, Creator of the ends of the earth, we are reminded of our humanness in this passage, and your invitation to lean into your infinite strength. Fill us with your strong presence that we may be faithful to do today what is ours to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
3 A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Jesus came to bring us hope in the wilderness, to lift up the valleys, to smooth our way. This promise was not just fulfilled in his birth, but in his ministry, his invitation to follow, and in his journey to the cross. He has come to ease our path and to give all people access to him.
- What on your path is difficult right now?
- When you think of the paths of those around you, what can you imagine is difficult for them?
- How can you encourage someone today so that they may see Christ in the midst of a wilderness season?
Gracious Lord, you came to level the path so that we all might come to you. Thank you that your arms are open wide and you reveal your glory in your ministry, death and resurrection. Help us to turn to you in this time and to turn to others, to ease their load and to encourage them. In Your precious Name, Amen.
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
This is such a poignant moment for the disciples, a sort of initiation into the ministry and character of Jesus to which he invites his disciples. The visual of Jesus dressed as a servant, the act of washing their feet, the engagement with Peter, assuring him that he was already clean but there was the daily cleansing that was needed. And Jesus’ willingness to even wash the feet of the one who would betray him.
- What did Jesus know about Himself that inspired him to wash his disciples’ feet?
- How does your identity in Christ free you to take the role of a servant?
- How would you feel if Jesus wanted to wash your feet? What do you believe about Him or yourself that would make it easy or difficult?
Gracious Jesus, as we follow you into the next few days, we are humbled by your character and the character of your ministry to which you invited the first followers and to which you are inviting us. Instill in us confidence that is rooted in you that allows us to go into the world as servants to one another and to those who so desperately need to be served. Knowing that in you we are worthy, help us to treat others as worthy of your love. In Your name, Amen.
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Today we enter the interlude between the death of Jesus and his resurrection. We know tomorrow is coming but today we sit in the darkness of Jesus’ sacrificial death. We may not see it, but Christ is doing the overpowering sin and death and reconciling the world to Himself. And so we wait, grief mingled with hope, and await the coming of the Lord.
- How are you experiencing grief and hope in your life?
- What is God doing in the soil of your soul today, though it may be difficult to see?
- What emotions are stirred up in your in this liminal space between death and resurrection?
Gracious God, we remember that though we cannot see it, you are at work today. Keep us from being busy today and distracting ourselves from the tenuousness of this day, where grief and hope mingle. Work in the soil of our lives in ways we cannot see, and we trust in your comfort and power. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.