I challenged myself during the month of April to immerse myself in the story of Jesus. I created a reading plan and everything. I wanted to still my mind and prepare my heart for Easter. On April 1st, I began at the beginning and I had no idea all that the Lord would teach me during the 30 day period. As the month progressed, I found myself excited to read the next day’s passage. The Lord began opening my mind and digging out my ears (if you read my reflections on Day 5, you’ll know what I mean).
Today, I finished. And you know what made the most impact on me during these past 30 days? The unity of the Bible. Written over hundreds of years by forty plus different people – each story tells the same. Each story tells about Jesus. The entire Bible foreshadows the events in the Gospels. Too often we open up Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to find Jesus’ words, but every single book contains his red-letters.
The entire Bible points to the coming of Jesus. God keeps his word. He sends us a Redeemer.
Day 1 – God Will Provide a Sacrifice
I think about Christ watching the scene unfold in front of him. Abraham taking the wood and laying it on Issac to carry up the mountain. How he would one day do the same for his beloved people. Carry the crude yet beautiful wood up the mountain himself. I wonder if he felt God’s hand on his shoulder as they heard Issac question Abraham “My Father, where is the lamb?” knowing that he would one day too cry out “Abba, why have you forsaken me?” I wonder if God shared a tender look with Jesus as they watched Abraham and Issac both walking together up the mountain. Some two-thousand years later, God too, would walk beside Jesus as he dripped with sweat and sorrow, smearing his holy blood in the dirt as he walked up the same mountain to be our sacrifice.
I wonder if Christ caught his breath as Abraham reaches out his knife-filled hand, knowing that he would one day stretch out his own hands. This was the plan from the beginning of time. As he spoke the trees into existence, he knew he would one day be hanging from one. He tells Abraham to stop. God saves Issac. But no one tells God to stop – he stretches out his own hands and then the knife of sin falls. He is the sacrificer, he is the sacrifice. And God saves mankind.
Don’t harden your heart, my friend. Don’t stiffen your neck. Don’t disregard the truth of the Gospel. It has the power to change your life. Lean in. Draw close. The hands he stretched out are still stretched out for you.
Day 2- Passover Foreshadows Jesus’ Sacrifice
I have a smudge of hyssop in my Bible. It reminds me that nothing is coincidence in God’s epic story of rescue and redemption. Hyssop was brought to Christ’s lips on the cross and was what the Isrealeites used to spread the blood over their doors during Passover. God tells the Israelites to celebrate Passover prepping the generations to come for Jesus’ coming. Then Jesus and the disciples remember Passover right before Jesus would take up his cross to become our Passover Lamb.
I get chills at all the Holy connections. The Isrealeites covered their tent posts with the blood of the lamb, Christ’s blood covers the “tents” in which we live. The blood is the sign and seal of God’s protection and provision, such as the Holy Spirit is to us today.
I almost wept as I looked up the Hebrew word for pass over as it is used in Exodus 12:13. God tells them “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Pass over is “pacach” and it means “to spare, TO MAKE MORE ROOM FOR ANYONE.” I immediately thought of Jesus’ words in John 14:2 “There are many rooms in my Father’s house.” Before Christ, there was limited access to the Gospel. Before Christ, people were reliant on animal sacrifice to atone for their sins. But Christ, our Passover Lamb makes room for all to know him. All nationalities, all colors, all tongues. All. There is room for you in his house, beloved of God. There is room for you.
Day 3: Jesus’ Substitutionary Sacrifice Prophesied
I cleaned my house and began to dig in all before 8am. It’s my favorite part of the days I’m not working, to slowly savor and soak in his word.
Isaiah 53 begins with a question: “Who has believed the arm of Jehovah?” Then 700 years before the New Testament, the prophet foretells Christ’s sufferings on our behalf. The act and providence of the Lord to fulfill Christ’s own words in Luke 22, “What was written about me has its fulfillment” gives me chills. For God to impress in hearts and move time and space for it to come together EXACTLY as it was foretold shows us the validity and reliability of his word.
Do not think for a moment that our sin isn’t that bad. That our good can somehow outweigh our bad. Look at the words used of Christ’s suffering, he carried off our grief, he carried the burden of our sorrows, he was laid open for our transgressions, and shattered for our iniquities. Our sin is a heavy burden. And yet, we turn our faces away from him in disgust. We hide our faces from the truth.
Though we will be pressed on every side in this fallen world, we cannot be eternally crushed – because Jesus was crushed for us. And it pleased the Lord to do so, because Jesus is our way back to him. Jesus is our way back home.
I’ve always thought it interesting that the Bible tells us there was no beauty about his appearance that we should desire him – because I think he is breathtakingly beautiful.
Isaiah 53 ends with telling us that Jesus intercedes for us which is literally translated “assails with prayers.” He assails heavens with prayers for us. He wants us to believe in the arm of Jehovah.
Day 4: Old Covenant Picture of New Covenant in Christ
I can picture it. The heaviness that falls on the high priest as he prepares to enter the Holies of Holies. He purposefully feels the weight of the holy garments, the weight of his responsibility, as he slides them over his clean body. He offers a burnt ram to purify himself and puts incense on the fire and a cloud erupts causing mist and fog to surround him, protecting him from clearly seeing the presence of God.
There are two goats. One is slaughtered, the sin offering. He takes the blood and sprinkles it on the mercy seat, THE FOOTSTOOL OF JEHOVAH. He places hands on the other goat, a scape goat, to carry the people’s sins deep into the wilderness. This is the Day of Atonement.
Then came Jesus.
The Old Covenant in Leviticus 16 foreshadows the way for the New Covenant in Hebrews 9.
Jesus, our High Priest, passes through heaven into the inner abode of the Israelites unapproachable and unseen God. He takes the place of both goats, the slain goat is symbolic of his death, the living scapegoat symbolic of his resurrection. Christ is our sin eater.
The people could not approach God while the veil was still standing. But Jesus. Jesus tears the veil in two. He was pierced (literally in Greek: laid open, give access to) for the curtain to be splayed open for us to have access to God.
Through Christ, we can come to his mercy seat ourselves. Christ makes God approachable again. God is unveiled. We can draw near again. Let us not take that privilege and grace gift for granted. Take some time today to approach his footstool and thank him for Jesus – for making a way back home.
Day 5 – Sacrificial System Replaced by Perfect Sacrifice
“By this fresh (new) and living way which He initiated and dedicated and opened for us through the separating curtain” – Hebrews 10:20
The Israelites were tempted to revert back to the old sacrificial system. The sacrifices offered by the priests year after year after year had no power to strip away sin permanently. It was a temporary fix.
The sacrificial system had fulfilled its purpose. It was unnecessary after Christ, who brought in the fresh (new) way of living with His Spirit. I love how the Greek verbs used here mean it’s present and actively and continuously happening. He continuously imprints his law on our hearts as a gift, he actively writes them upon our minds.
He gives us open ears, which literally means “Ears you have dug for me” in Hebrew.
Dig our ears out, Lord, that we may hear. Unclog them so we can understand. And when you reveal yourself, may we hold fast to the truth, unwavering. May we not be tempted to revert back to our old ways. For He who promised is indeed faithful.
Day 6: The Way Prepared
While one page separates the Old from New Testaments in our Bible, it represents 460 years of silence. 460 long, silent years. Then “the Word of God came to John…in the wilderness.” I’ve read Luke 3 many times but never actually realized the significance. God was silent for 460 years and where does he finally speak again? In the wilderness. In the solitude, in the known place of desolation he speaks again. His word is not lost in our wilderness seasons. He is at hand.
The power of the word of God after the long silence has a profound impact on the New Testament Israelites. John preaches the Gospel (the Good News) continuously and actively to the people. He fulfills the prophesy in Isaiah 40. He’s come to prepare the minds of men like one would prepare a feast, for the coming of Christ, the only one who was made to satisfy our starving souls.
The Gospel is the ingredient to prepare our hearts to receive His Spirit. The Gospel has made the way to heaven plain. The people are curious and expectant. They have lived in the wilderness of silence for 460 years and suddenly hope comes. They’ve been waiting and wondering for this moment and reason within their hearts, “Can this be the Messiah?” Preacher John tells them that he is not worthy of the duty of even the lowest servant in comparison to the true Messiah. I am not I AM, he tells the followers. The Lord Himself is coming.
Friend, if you are in a wilderness season, if it seems like it’s been 460 years since you’ve last heard from God, don’t lose hope. The Word of God is not lost in the wilderness.
Day 7: The Triumphal Entry
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Behold, your king is coming to you!” – Zechariah 9:9
Once again, the Lord fulfills prophesy down to the tiniest details. He requests a colt which had never been ridden to prepare the way for him to lie in a tomb that had never been used. There is no one like him.
Parts of this passage are foreshadowed in 2 Kings 9. God anoints Jehu (Jehovah is King) as king and the people cover the ground with their cloaks as a sign of reverence and exclaim “Jehu is king!” Jehu wipes out Baal worship, the pillar is demolished and made into a latrine. However, whereas Jehu was a military commander noted for his chariot driving and the fact that he was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, Christ comes to fulfill the law of the Lord. He comes to bring peace, not military might, riding in on a colt, not a mount.
Zechariah 9 continues with such powerful grace: “Because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set you free from the waterless pit.” Waterless pits were commonly used for prisons in Biblical days. They were wells that were dried up or broken. Our idols are broken cisterns, waterless pits. Like latrines, the are wastes – worthless to save us. But behold! Our King has come for us!
Day 8: Jesus Predicts His Death
“We wish to see Jesus.” The impact of these words struck deep. Is he my deepest desire, my greatest delight?
Two Gentiles uttered these five words and Jesus knew his death was soon coming. Jesus tells his disciples earlier in John that he has other sheep that are not of this fold, and he came for them too. Listen, for these two Gentiles to truly see Jesus and come to salvation, Jesus HAD to die. His death is what allowed ALL men and women the opportunity to receive him. That includes you and me, friend. (Cue the goosebumps). He says “It is for this purpose I have come.” He came for YOU. He came to draw ALL people to Himself, not just the Jews, but everyone.
One thing I’m continuously in awe of is the cohesiveness of the Bible in its entirety. Think about it. There are 66 books written by over 40 different people and yet they all tell the same story. One such example is when Jesus says he must be lifted up like Moses lifted up the copper serpent in Exodus.
Because of the people’s sins they were bitten by fiery snakes and many died. But God offers a way of hope, he tells Moses to put a copper serpent on a stick and whoever looked at it would live. We were once dying from our sins, slow and painful eternal deaths. But God sends hope. He sends salvation. And for all who look upon and believe that Jesus took our punishment and was lifted up on the cross and then rose from the dead – will be healed. They will live. They will be saved. Jesus tasted death for everyone, so we won’t have to. Look to him and live.
Day 9: The Plot Against Jesus
They meet in the dark. Collectively gathering in secret. Stealthily plotting. Deliberating. Crafting death. Fulfilling the foreshadowing in Psalm 2:2: The kings of the earth take council against the Lord and his anointed.
Did you know the Hebrew word for anointed is Messiah? Did you know the Greek word for anointed is Christ? I’m once again amazed at the cohesiveness of the Bible. Written in different languages and yet still pointing to Christ the Messiah. Gets me every time.
Publicly provoking didn’t work. They crouched, lying in wait to entrap him. Now they privately plot. Right before Matthew mentions the plot, Jesus had once again told his disciples for the FOURTH time that his death was coming. He told them the day (2 days from now). He told them the means (crucifixion). Plotting in secret is the work of a fool. The things we do in secret are already known.
Guys, I’m so glad he sees us. I’m so glad nothing catches him by surprise. That all the plots and evil purposes of the world aren’t unnoticed. The world echoes the words in Isaiah “Who sees us? Who knows us?” God does. And while they plotted to take him by surprise, he was preparing his followers for what was to come. Salvation.
Day 10: Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
If you’ve ever experienced a betrayal by a close friend, it messes with you. I had a decade of friendship fall apart and it messed with me for years. But nothing like what Jesus must have felt when he sat at the table across from his friend who just agreed to hand him over to be killed in exchange for silver.
And Jesus broke bread with him still. “The hand of who betrays me is with me on the table” he says. Even this fulfills Scripture. David pens in Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” The heel phrase reminded me of Genesis. Satan contrives to break Christ’s head (by killing him and eradicating the truth from the world) but he can only bruise Christ’s heel. Rather it is Christ who crushes Satan’s head under his feet.
My main takeaway: 30 pieces of silver. That’s what Jesus’ life was worth to Judas. What is Jesus’ life worth to me? Is he my everything or am I still secretly worshiping something else?
Day 11: The Last Supper
They all recline around him. “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you,” his voice fills the room. His hands take the cup. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Hundreds of years before, their ancestors stood back watching Moses approach God alone. He was their mediator, only he was allowed close. They worshipped from afar. Moses returns and sprinkles the blood of sacrifice upon them. “Behold, the blood of the covenant” he declares.
Perhaps they would’ve recalled Moses’ words as Jesus, with cup in hand, links it to the Old Testament peace offering.
All this fulfills the foretelling of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31. “They shall all know me,” it says. Moses was a mediator type figure for the Israelites, but Jesus is the Mediator for ALL. We no longer have to stand far off in worship. As Jesus held up the cup of wrath, he took it from our hands and by doing so created a way for us to come close to God once again. Jesus came among us. He bridges the gap. We who once had to worship far off can now lean upon him. He’s approachable. Leanable.
We don’t have to rely on a Moses or a high priest to tell us God’s word – he gifted it to us personally. Jesus, God Himself, is now our teacher. And we can have as much of him as we want. Mercy of mercies.
Day 12: Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
Washing of the feet was typically a task reserved for non-Jewish slaves, which is why John the Baptist exclaims he is not even fit to wash Jesus’ feet. And yet Jesus, who has no need for cleansing, sets aside his garments and goes to his knees – one by one washing the dirt and filth off his disciples (including the one who was betraying him). As I read this, I was reminded of a very interesting fact I heard in a conference. When people were baptized in the Jordan, the symbolic sins of the people washed down the river into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is the lowest elevation on Earth’s surface. Our sins are washed away to the deepest parts of earth (Micah 7:19). But in order to be clean, we must first see our need for it. So thankful for Jesus who came to wash our sins away.
Day 13: Garden of Gethsemane
Gethsemane is not a garden as we would think of one. It’s actually an olive grove and the name means “olive press.” It is where they trod the olives to extract the oil. There are two main parts of an olive press: the base and the grinding wheel.
What an apt depiction of the turmoil of Christ before his arrest. He prays three different times for the cup to pass. He is in agony. The crushing has begun. The grinding wheel of sorrow presses on him extracting sweaty blood drops…that would soon turn into puddles. He trods the press alone. Only he can take the cup from us. What if he hadn’t? I can sit at his table and read his word. I can know him. I can have hope. All because he took the cup. All because he took the crushing. All because “Yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Day 14: Jesus Arrested
Earlier in Matthew we see a woman who deeply desires to just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. She touches, and is made whole. Here we see raging men lay hands on Jesus. Not to be healed, but to punish. They seize him. They want to eradicate anything or anyone that threatens their way of life. And Jesus, he turned their world upside down. The irony is – as they grabbed him, they were fulfilling scripture (Isaiah 53). As they led him away, Jesus was making a way…a way back to him and healing for all.
Day 15: Peter Disowns Jesus
The account of Jesus’ arrest ends with the disciples fleeing. Christ is seized and they run. Now we see Peter deny knowing him. Precious Peter, one of the three. “Satan demanded to have you,” Christ foretold the denial. I immediately thought of Job. Perhaps, there was a similar exchange in the heavenly realm. Satan, the Accuser comes demanding Christ’s disciples. Wanting to violently shake their faith. To overthrow their hope. To cause them to fall.
And Peter’s faith is shaken. Three times. And Jesus physically turns his head and looks at him. His eyes meet Peter’s and Peter comes undone. Peter disowns Christ, but Christ does not disown Peter. “How can I give you up…My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender.” – Hosea 11:8
Day 16: Jesus Before Pilate
The more I read the Bible, the more amazed I am at its unity. As I read this passage, I couldn’t help but think of all the prophesies that were fulfilled.
– Jesus gave no answer | “did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7)
– He is scourged. These Roman beatings are often fatal. They beat Jesus near death so he won’t remain alive past sundown | “His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:14)
– In John, the Jews say that it isn’t lawful for them to put anyone to death, but they try to push Christ off a cliff and try to stone him. They have no problem taking the law in their own hands, but they take him to Pilate | “This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.” (John 18:32)
The entire Bible points to the coming of Jesus. God keeps his word. He sends us a Redeemer. The people tell Pilate they take his blood on their heads as they condemn him to die. Little did they know, his blood would set them free.
Day 17: Soldiers Mock Jesus
Romans were infamous for playing cruel and torturous games with prisoners condemned to death. They mock Christ. Placing a robe on him and a barbarous crown of thorns. They give him a reed and then take it and beat the thorns further in his skull, inflicting more pain. They stripped him and spit on him.
They made a sport of death. Much like Satan. He takes such delight in the death of souls, the death of marriages, the death of testimonies. He delights in making our lives a living hell.
But Jesus, he did not hide his face from the shame and spit (Isaiah 50:6). We see Jesus’ humanity in full here, but we also see his kingship and authority. Think about it. He is also fully God. He foretold this very thing in Matthew 20:19. He knew what was going to happen. As they gave him the reed and spit in his face, imagine the holy restraint it must have taken to not knock them all over dead. But he didn’t. He took it all – for us.
After they mocked him they led him away to be crucified. A root word for led in Greek is “place of separation.” They lead him to the place of separation where his soul will be separated from his body, where he will be separated from God, where he will take upon himself to separate us from our sins forever. And one day everyone will bow at his feet. They won’t be mocking. They’ll be worshipping.
Day 18: The Crucifixion of Jesus
He hung, lifted up by nails, with bones out of joint. “Father, forgive them.” Each word sapping precious strength as suffocation enclosed. As he hangs, looking his murderers in the eye, he asks God to forgive them. “They do not know what they do.” They don’t understand that they are killing not just the King of the Jews, but the King of the World.
But he also prays for us. “We might have known. There was the preaching of the Word, but we did not care to hear. There was this blessed Book, but we did not care to read it.” (Spurgeon)
As he suffers what seems like 1000 deaths, he begs God to forgive us. This is the purpose of the cross. “Father, forgive them. Do not punish them, forgive them. Do not remember their sin, forgive it, blot it out, throw it into the depths of the sea. Remember it not, my Father. Mention it not against them any more for ever. Father, forgive them.”
Day 19: The Death of Jesus
The Light of the World is suspended and darkness falls. He cries out with a loud voice. It. Is. Finished. With his last breath, Christ declares God’s victory. It’s his battle cry against death and the enemy. God has won. The exact time when the Jews would begin to make their evening sacrifices, he voluntarily releases his spirit. The last sacrifice. The “it is finished” work planned even from the beginning of time with the “it is finished” work of creation. The temple curtains tear in two. Access to God is granted again. Christ brings us back to God.
Day 20: The Burial of Jesus
When Joseph asks Pilate for Jesus’ body, the KJV says he “begged” Pilate for him. In Mark, it says he “craved” Jesus’ body. As I was trying to study this morning, I was fighting back growing annoyance as my whinny toddler couldn’t seem to give me even five minutes to read.
Then I heard it. He was saying Bible. He said it over and over and over. He didn’t stop until I located his colorful children’s Bible so he could find all the birds in it. (Birds are his current obsession). And it hit me. God made us all, big or small, old or young to know him. To crave him. Even my 19-month-old craved the truth before even comprehending its great importance. Jesus, may we crave you. May we beg for you. Because there is no one else like you.
Day 21: The Resurrection
While light began to touch the sky, the women sought Jesus. They presently and actively went to seek him at the tomb. But he was not there.
Then Jesus met them. The Greek uses two conjunctive root words for met. One means separation. One means opposite.
Met – opposite of separation.
Jesus closed the gap. No more separation. And they held him by the feet and worshipped. The anointed feet. The pierced feet. The feet that walked beside them. The feet of the Gospel Himself. “I AM He that (presently, actively, continuously) LIVES. I was (past tense) dead. I AM (presently, actively, continuously) ALIVE.” -Revelation 1:18
Day 22: On the Road to Emmaus
In Luke 24, rumors of a risen Jesus circulated all throughout Jerusalem. Two men walked and talked. Continually and actively reasoning and questioning the accounts they heard of the empty tomb. Step-after-step, examining it amongst one another. And suddenly, a man draws near and joins in their steps and their discussion.
The men on the trail were examining their thoughts on scripture and Jesus gently inserts himself in their conversation, meeting them along the way. But the men didn’t recognize him as the resurrected Messiah. When the Bible says he drew near, the Greek root word is actually describing the curve of a bent arm, that which closely enfolds. Even though they didn’t recognize him, he intended to show them, like one who throws his arm around their shoulders as he journeyed with them. Oh, slow of heart to believe, Jesus says as he joins in their discussion – has it not been written since the beginning of time?
Who knows how long Christ walked with them, but as they reached their destination it appeared like he was going further but he stays. He tarries. He breaks bread with them and as he tears the bread, the symbolic representation of his breaking body three days prior, the men’s eyes were opened. Their eyes were opened and they knew him well.
He opened the scriptures and then opened their eyes and heart to receive it with understanding. He sits at the table with them, stares into their eyes and in his grace inflames their hearts with his divine heat and opens their eyes to his divine light.
Day 23: Jesus Appears to the Disciples
Jesus Himself stood among them. He knows their minds “Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” See me, he says. See my hands. See my feet. Touch me. The power of God made near. God made approachable. God made visible. God made touchable.
He then opens their minds to understand the scriptures. I love this verse. It is God who uncovers and digs out our ears. He moves our hair and tucks it back to whisper the secrets of his word. He digs through to bring together the truth and reliability of his word. “Everything written about me must be fulfilled.” 1 John 5:20 tells us the WHY. Why does he uncover our ears? Why does he dig our ears open? Why does he open our minds to understand? He gives understanding so that we may KNOW Him. So that we can touch him, believe him, see him, eat with him.
Before we open our Bibles, may our prayer be “Open my eyes to understand your word so I may know you deeper. Desire you further. See you nearer. Feel you closer. And believe you wholeheartedly.”
Day 24: Jesus Restores Peter
I love that the Bible includes Peter’s redemption. Jesus gently pulls him aside and allows him to reconfirm his love three times – the amount of times he previously denied him.
According to the Greek verbs, Jesus issues four commands. He says (presently, actively, continuously) feed my lambs. (Presently, actively, continuously) tend my sheep. (Presently, actively, continuously) feed my sheep.
And then he reconfirmed Peter. Presently, actively and continuously FOLLOW ME. He reissues the first call on Peter’s life.
I love you, Peter says. I love you. I love you. And he does, because duty wouldn’t make him follow Christ to the death. Obligation would’ve run rather than follow Christ’s footsteps to his own crucifixion. And as he was led the way he did not want to go, perhaps he’d repeat this sweet moment with Jesus over and over, knowing that on the other side he’d be reunited with the one he loved so dearly.
Our God is a God of sweet redemption. Of grace we do not deserve. Of callings we cannot claim. Of love we cannot truly fathom.
Day 25: Go Make Disciples
I often struggle with guilt over my unbelief and times of doubt. And yet here we read how people saw the resurrected Jesus and some still doubted. Just verses before, the angels say “He is risen, AS HE SAID.” As He said. Jesus tells the truth. He came and died to give us another way to live – a life no longer defined by wavering back and forth from doubt-filled suspense.
He urges the disciples to teach about Him. Go make disciples, he says. Go be a teacher of the Truth. For the Truth will set them free. “God’s word is sincere, it doesn’t lead us on or jest with us. It has no other design towards us than our good.” -Matthew Henry
Day 26: Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
The Gospel ends where it began. The disciples see Jesus’ accent and with great joy they continuously worship in his temple. Zechariah’s prophesy from the beginning of Luke is fulfilled.
He has visited and redeemed his people (1:68). Yes, he has. And he changes everything.
Day 27: Christ’s Sacrifice Provided Eternal Redemption
In our sin, we were once enemies of God – children of wrath. As His enemy, we were alienated from Him. Without God = Without Hope.
Shut out from knowing Him, from intimacy with Him (and therefore real intimacy with anyone) devoid of His peace and joy – decaying in body and soul, godless, not known, lost… But JESUS — the cornerstone, tore the veil to make a pathway to God, so we can know Him, draw near to Him, to be completely reconciled and brought back to former harmony (Eden). Now we are no longer wandering exiles, but concentrated to God, His own, citizens of Heaven, belonging and full of hope and with a purpose. We have access to God’s heart – restored to Eden – walking beside God, knowing Him as friend, seeing Him face-to-face.
Day 28: The Necessity of the Resurrection
The foundation of Christianity hinges on two things: Christ’s death and Christ’s resurrection. However, in Corinth, there were some who still did not believe the resurrection.
Fun fact: the concept of a physical existence after death was considered laughable and fable like by the educated during this time (and if we’re honest, most still feel this way to this day)
If there is no resurrection, then your faith is futile, pointless, empty and if Christ was still dead then we would all still be wrecked by sin without hope.
If there is no resurrection, then we who believe are the most miserable of people placing hope in nothing.
If there is no resurrection, then all faith is in vain.
BUT IN FACT – What hope-filled beautiful words.
BUT IN FACT – Christ HAS been raised from the dead!
And because he has, if you believe in him – your faith is founded. Your faith is not pointless. You have hope outside this world. You are no longer in your sins, but set free. And as Christ rose, you will one day rise again as well. Made new. Whole. As you were created to be.
This hope we cling to. This hope we hold fast to. This hope we bind on our heart and tie around our neck. This hope we have, because he is risen, AS HE SAID.
Day 29: The Holy Spirit Comes
When I began reading Genesis at the beginning of the year, I started looking for references to the Holy Spirit. I wanted to investigate his presence and involvement from the very beginning. Genesis 1:2. That’s how far I got before highlighting.
In Genesis, the Spirit hovered over the waters, brooding over the dead elements, ripening them for the state of new creation. He is the mover. I wonder if He hovered over Jesus’ body in the tomb like he hovered over the dark recesses of the earth. I wonder if he fluttered over his lifeless body until breath once again entered His lungs and He rose to His feet.
Only He can make something out of nothing. Only He makes dead things come alive. And miracles of miracles, the same spirit that brings life from nothing is the same helper that God sends to us in Jesus’ absence. He hovers over the chaos of our minds, and as he does, he begins a new work deep inside our soul-seats working to bring order in disorder.
And in Acts 2, his spirit comes with power and force. The Spirit that moves over the waters, now moves over our hearts. He is the one who woos. He is the one who convicts. The people were cut to the heart and from the overflowing of repentance they exclaim, “What shall we do?” What a reminder to us all. Am I just reading his word for knowledge or am I allowing it to sink deep in the waters of my spirit?
Forgive us Father for quenching your spirit. Cut through the apathy in our hearts and spur us into action. What is he asking you to do? Go do it! Because the one who lives, lives in you
Day 30: The Fellowship of the Believers
When I started this 30 day reading challenge I had three goals.
- Explore Old Testament prophesies leading up to Jesus’ birth
- Examine the importance of passover and make important connections from the Old Testament to the New Testament
- See the necessity of the resurrection and what all of this means for us as believers on this side of the cross
I finished the reading plan today with koinonia. Fellowship. Such a sweet conclusion to a study of His word that has revealed so much to me personally.
We are created for fellowship. Fellowship first with God, but also fellowship with others. If you examine the Greek verbs used at the end of Acts 2, they are present, active, and continuous actions. Devoting themselves to teaching, breaking bread together, partnering with one another.
Jesus was no longer among them, but he was now in them. And he added to their numbers daily. This is the heart of our calling as Christians today. Surrender. Unity. Discipleship.
Let’s end with one more challenge together: Go invite that friend to coffee and share what God is doing in your life. We need each other.
If you participated in the 30-day Easter Reading plan with me, I’d love to hear about it. Head over to Instagram and let me know some of your take-aways! Let’s celebrate together all he has, is doing, and will do in our lives.