When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Lord Jesus, You were in control of Your life, even as You prepared to die. You are all-knowing, all-powerful, with wisdom beyond our feeble understanding.
You listened to Your Father, who wrote the plan for Your life – and for mine. You are creator, Lord, of the Earth and everything in it, including us. Your desire was not for anyone to suffer, and yet when suffering entered this world, you embraced it – for Your glory.
Your Father created a perfect kingdom, then invited us weak, sinful human beings to enter it. All we have to do is accept Your invitation.
Jesus, You are our savior. You entered our world and became one of us. You offer us meaning and purpose in this life, and the promise of a glorious, never-ending day of joy once we leave this earth.
For all of this, we give You praise.
When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.” … The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:55-57, 61-62
Jesus, how weak we are. It’s so easy to look at Peter and judge his lack of faith, his fear in the moments before You died. But would I have acted any differently? No, I would not.
I give Peter credit for even being there, for hanging around a death scene. Like the other apostles, I very likely would have fled long before then. Not seeing the big picture. Not understanding why You had to die, or comprehending the resurrection You talked about.
No, Lord, I am a sinner, in need of forgiveness. I think of myself far too often. My own “needs.” My emotional roller-coaster ride. I deserve nothing from You. In the daily battles, it’s easy to leave You behind. To forget that You are supposed to be my Lord as well as my Savior.
Does everyone I meet know that I know You? I’m sure they don’t, Lord. Some do, but many don’t.
How often I have denied You.
Unlike Peter, I have yet to weep bitterly over this. Perhaps that is my greatest sin.
As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.
Lord, Simon of Cyrene was there to help You in Your darkest hour. Something about him drew the Roman soldiers to pick him out of the crowd, to carry Jesus’ cross.
Thank You, Father, for Simon. For his availability. For his strength to carry the heavy wooden cross – he was physically able to do that, or he wouldn’t have been chosen.
Simon of Cyrene entered Jesus’ story in His time of greatest need. None of His disciples were there. None of His most high-profile followers. Simon was a man in a crowd, just one of hundreds, maybe thousands, along the road to Golgotha, the place of the cross. But You, Father, picked him out of the crowd. The soldiers thought they chose him, but it was You, Father, who put Simon of Cyrene there, in the right place at the right time.
You do that with me as well, Father. Thank You for choosing me, for picking me out of a crowd – not because I did anything to be noticed, but just because I was there. Available. That’s all You ask.
Jesus, I can’t say I’m strong enough to carry Your cross. But in a way, that’s what You ask each of Your followers to do. We carry Your cross to those who need You.
Jesus fell, weak and abused. I wonder if Simon fell too. I certainly fall, repeatedly.
Thank You, Jesus, for the courage to get up and continue on.
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph … and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Jesus, I wait expectantly for Your second coming. Your first coming gave us life; Your second coming will give us eternal life with You and Your Father. Please come quickly, Lord. These days are hard. The hope of Your coming is a shining light in a very dark world.
Father, please open the hearts of friends and family who don’t know You personally. Father, as we celebrate Your Son’s death and resurrection this week, I pray that many of us would understand the meaning behind these events, perhaps for the first time, or perhaps in a deeper way than we ever have before.
This Joseph kept his faith hidden because he feared reprisals. But when he saw You die, he forgot about his fears and stepped forward to ask for Your body, so he could give You a proper burial.
Father, take away my fear too. Help me to step out in faith, in public, and serve You, as Joseph did.
Joseph didn’t understand the coming resurrection; no one truly did at that moment. But he served You anyway. Father, may my faith be like that.
… Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you. … Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.” … While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 24:36, 39, 41-42
Father, changed lives are the proof of Your Son’s resurrection. Changed for the better. Not change for the sake of change, but now we have meaning in life.
The disciples were stunned, shocked, filled with disbelieving joy and wonder. Could this be? For real? The miracle of miracles? Is this what He meant?
Then You proved it, Lord, by eating a piece of fish. Ghosts don’t eat solid food. Dead people don’t eat solid food, either.
Jesus, You are alive!
All we ask or seek in Your name, it’s true!
This is why we celebrate Easter Sunday, Lord. You overcame the last, most vicious of Satan’s weapons: death. We don’t have to face that anymore. Our earthly death is nothing more than a transition to a glorious life with You.
We adore You, Father. Thank You for allowing us to see and know Jesus, and because of that to know You. The day is coming when we will know You completely.
May that day come soon. Very soon.