Holy Week is a special time in the life of the Church. It is a time to remember the events that transpired in the life of Jesus between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday. This devotional details these events.
Each day begins with a section called “READ”. I encourage you to read the listed text more than once. Slow down, read, and attempt to come to the text with a clear mind and an open heart. Next, read the “THINK” section. This section gives you insights from the text to consider. Finally, read the “APPLY” section. This is an important step because it is in this section that you will see how your life can be more conformed to Jesus.
Conclude your devotional time with prayer. We have provided prayer prompts for you in the “PRAY” section based upon the text but do not limit your time in prayer to just the prompts. During your prayer, pray for other things and people as well. God desires to hear your prayers and He will answer them.
I’ll be praying for you and I look forward to hearing how God used this devotional in your life.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Read Mark 11:12-18.
Mark 11:12-18 details the events that took place the day after Christ’s triumphal entry. The first event is a peculiar miracle—the cursing of a fig tree—which took place in the presence of the disciples. Jesus cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit. The vine and the fig tree are common symbols of Israel, and the message here is that Jesus came looking for fruit in Israel but found none. Though they appeared outwardly righteous they were spiritually barren and Jesus pronounced judgement that the fig tree, Israel, would remain barren forever.
This event is followed by the cleansing of the temple, a dramatic scene that displays Jesus’ righteous anger toward the irreverent commercialization of the temple and the neglect of the true worship which should be taking place there. As Jesus cleansed the temple the chief priests and the scribes plotted to destroy Him because of His spiritual authority and influence among the people.
These two events demonstrate the authority and supremacy of Jesus and the deteriorating religious condition of Israel. R.C. Sproul writes, concerning this text, “Jesus curses the fig tree as a miraculous sign that God will soon destroy Jerusalem and its temple.” Once again, God’s judgement and reproof will fall upon His people for their wickedness. The usury in the temple is reminiscent of the sins of the priests to whom Malachi prophesied and illustrates the dilapidated state of worship among the Jews and their need for redemption.
- Consider your personal worship. Do you long to serve God and spend time in His Word and in prayer for His glory or does your personal worship have some self- serving motives behind it?
Consider your corporate worship. Is your worship truly from the heart or could you possibly be attending church for outward appearances or to please others?
- Ask God to reveal any areas in which your worship is marred by self-serving practices.
- Worship God in your prayer, give Him the honor and the glory He deserves.
Read Mark 11:20-12:44.
Controversy is seen throughout this passage between Jesus and the religious leaders. The religious leaders were relentlessly asking Jesus a series of questions regarding the law. Finally, Jesus answered one of their questions in a manner that caused them to stop...“and after that no one dared to ask him any more questions”.
One of the scribes who came to Jesus asked Him which of the commandments was most important and Jesus’ responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”. What is most unusual about Jesus’ response is the way He combined the two commandments. Jesus said we can’t truly love God without loving our neighbor, and we can’t truly love our neighbor without loving God. We can never keep God’s commandments or be righteous in His eyes by our own efforts. Jesus alone is righteous and we need Him to be our righteousness.
Reflect on how you can love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. The only way to truly know and obey God is by reading, studying, memorizing, and applying His Word to your life daily, as He transforms your heart and mind by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Do you really know Jesus, or do you just know about Him? Do you love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength?
These are questions you must daily ask yourself as you strive to live a life that glorifies God the way Jesus commanded us, by loving Him, obeying Him, and loving your neighbor. When you fail—and you will fail—let your failure drive you to the cross of Jesus and the hope of your salvation, remembering that your salvation is not from any merit of your own but by His grace.
Ask the Lord to help you love Him more today than you did yesterday.
Ask God to reveal any sin in your life or anything you have placed before Him, and confess it to Him.
Ask the Lord to give you a heart to love Him and others more than yourself.
Read Mark 14:1-2.
As the Jewish people were preparing for the Passover, the Pharisees were planning for the arrest and eventual death of Jesus. The celebration of Passover contains significant meaning for what Jesus would experience in the very near future. This festival remembers the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and how God rescued His people from a life of servitude and gave them a life of freedom. In the book of Exodus, God commanded His people to commemorate this celebration through The Feast of the Unleavened Bread which would begin the Passover festival.
The first Passover that the Jews experienced took place in Egypt. God commanded the Israelites to prepare for the Passover by sacrificing a spotless lamb and marking their doorposts and lintels with the blood of the lamb. Every household that did not have this marking on their doorpost would experience the death of their firstborn son. Death would “pass over” every household that made this sacrifice. The entire nation of Israel obeyed this command and the blood of a spotless lamb
provided for the redemption of God’s people.
Mark 14:1-2 provides a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus would provide. Rather than marking one’s doorpost with the blood of a lamb to experience redemption, it is the simple placing of faith in Jesus, who provides redemption for us through His blood.
- Remember the Passover.
- Understand that the passover points to Jesus’ life and His death, burial, and resurrection.
- Tell others about the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
Ask God to help you live faithfully and point others to the great sacrifice of Jesus.
Read Mark 14:12-16.
Jesus celebrated roughly thirty-three Passover celebrations in His earthly life. The last three Passovers He celebrated with His closest friends—His disciples. In chapter 14, Mark recorded what would be Jesus’ last Passover.
The Passover celebration was an important feast for the Jews as they looked back on how God had rescued His people out of slavery in Egypt and spared their lives by the blood of the lamb. Passover was a reminder of what God had done for them. In His perfect wisdom, God designed the Passover to be the ideal picture, under the Old Testament law, of a future redemption that is found in Jesus Christ alone. God’s sovereign timeline brought Jesus to the cross at the very time of the celebration of the Passover. Jesus shared His last Passover meal with His disciples the day before He would save His people with His own blood—the blood of the true Passover lamb.
Tomorrow Jesus would go to the cross. The entire purpose for His coming would reach its culmination. In His final hours, Jesus celebrated God’s perfect plan of redemption, redemption that the passover lamb pointed toward—a redemption found only in Jesus for all generations.
Look back and remember the time of your salvation when God passed over your sinfulness because of the blood of Jesus.
Reflect on your present life and how God is directing your steps as you trust in Him.
Look to Jesus. Rest in His redemptive work and commit to serving Him with your life.
- Give thanks to God for the salvation He provides through His Son, the true Passover Lamb.
- Ask God to continue killing sin in your life and giving you strength to live for Him.
Read Mark 15:24-32.
The gravity of history’s greatest moment is written in these four words, “And they crucified him”. There can be no greater injustice than killing the Son of God. His earthy life was taken. He was crucified with thieves and His possessions were snatched up. His life and His mission were insulted by the mocking of the chief priests, people passing by, and even those who were crucified with Him.
The irony of Jesus’ death was that His life was not taken at all, but He gave it up willingly to seal God’s covenant of salvation with His people. Jesus literally signed the covenant with His blood. He was crucified with thieves not because He sinned but because He bore the sins of the world in His body. The sarcastic accusations that He was “King of the Jews” were ironically true. Those who ridiculed Him saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself”, were ignorant of the prophecies that it was in the Messiah’s death that He would save His people.
Jesus came to save the lost and as the perfect Lamb of God His death alone could appease God’s wrath toward the sinner who trusts in His sacrifice. Our redemption is made possible by Jesus’ willful sacrifice of Himself.
There is an old hymn that asks, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Perhaps the best answer to this question is found in the lyrics of another hymn, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”. Reflect on these words:
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
Think of the scene of the cross and imagine yourself there, not as one of Jesus’ disciples but as a scoffer. Consider the depth of Jesus’ love that even while you were still sinning, Jesus bore your sins on His shoulders and died that you might know God’s forgiveness and salvation.
- Give thanks to God for Christ, who willingly gave His life for you to be saved.
- Confess your unconfessed sin to Him
- Ask for strength to live boldly and righteously for Him.
Read Matthew 27:62-66.
This passage speaks of the authority of Jesus over death and the authenticity of His resurrection. After Jesus died, the Jewish leaders came to Pilate in fear that a lie would spread about a false resurrection and cause people to believe in Jesus. They feared Jesus’ body might be stolen which would incite belief that He rose from the dead, but they wanted this false teacher to remain dead.
The Chief Priests did all they could to stop what they believed to be a false gospel from spreading; guards were placed at the tomb and the stone was sealed shut to secure it. They thought they were dealing with a common man but they were dealing with the Son of God. Neither the power of death nor the power of man could hold Him in the grave. Jesus’ death and resurrection were real; the knowledge of His death gives credence to the reality of the resurrection despite the efforts of man to prove otherwise.
When we think about the fear of the Jewish leaders, concerning the resurrection, we should be reminded of its power and effect for the lost. This truth should embolden the believer to preach the gospel which changes not only hearts and minds but changes lives for eternity. We serve the risen King!
- Who have you been afraid of sharing the gospel with?
- How does the truth of Jesus’ resurrection help conquer the fear of sharing the gospel?
- What can you do this week to make an opportunity to share the gospel?
- Give thanks to God for Jesus Christ, our risen Savior, who’s resurrection assures us of His power to give us eternal life.
- Pray for boldness to share the gospel with others.