April 20th: Saturday in The Tomb

Jesus’ body lay in its tomb, where it was guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day on Saturday, which was the Sabbath. When the Sabbath ended at 6 p.m., Christ’s body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices purchased by Nicodemus:

“He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.” John 19: 39-40

Nicodemus, like Joseph of Arimathea, was a member of the Sanhedrin, the court that had condemned Jesus Christ to death. For a time, both men had lived as secret followers of Jesus, afraid to make a public profession of faith because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community.

Similarly, both were deeply affected by Christ’s death. They boldly came out of hiding, risking their reputations and their lives because they had come to realize that Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Messiah. Together they cared for Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial.

While his physical body lay in the tomb, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by offering the perfect, spotless sacrifice. He conquered death, both spiritually and physically, securing our eternal salvation:

“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

Saturday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56, and John 19:40.


April 19th: Good Friday

“Good Friday”, is the most difficult day of Passion Week. It’s hard to witness the final hours leading to His death.

According to Scripture, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning.

Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After multiple unlawful trials, He was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment known at the time.

Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on Him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced Him with a crown of thrones.  Then Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where, again, He was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed Him to the wooden cross. 

Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross. His first words were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34. His last words were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46

Then, about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus breathed his last breath and died.

By 6 p.m. Friday evening, Nicodemas and Joseph Of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.

Friday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:1-62, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:63-23:56, and John 18:28-19:37.


April 18th: Maundy Thursday

Holy Week takes a somber turn on Thursday.

From Bethany, Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover.

By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how believers are to love one another. 

Then Jesus shared the feast of Passover with his disciples, saying:

“I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15-16

As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death. During this LastSupper, Jesus established the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, instructing his followers to continually remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements of bread & wine (Luke 22:19-20).

Later, Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed in agony to God the Father.  Luke’s Gospel says that “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44

Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.

Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing his Master three times before the rooster crowed.

Thursday’s events are recorded in Matthew 26:17–75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-62, and John 13:1-38.


April 17th: A Day of Reflection

Silent Wednesday 

The Bible doesn’t say what the Lord did on the Wednesday of Passion Week. Scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of Passover. 

So lets us reflect on this today…

Remember when you were a child, you waited all year for that one special holiday? It seemed like it would never ever get here….you’d go to bed early anticipating in a few hours what was to come in….AH! A living room full of gifts…

As a culture we spend a lot of time, money , and energy preparing for Christmas. There’s parties, presents, and twinkling lights, trying to outdo our neighbors with who has the most elaborate decorations in their yard. While I am thankful for the incarnation, for the warm cuddly images of Baby Jesus, lying in the manger- but without the cross, Christmas would mean nothing , the nativity manger would be a long forgotten story about a young Hebrew girl who gave birth in a barn. And yet it’s Christmas that gets all out attention. If you were to take a peak inside my garage too, I am guilty of the overindulgence by the number of plastic bins filled with Hobby Lobby decorations stacked one on another. Easter seems to sneak up on us, as we are recovering from Christmas’ excess.

Easter is not about a birth, but a death, which begs the question, When was the last time any of us wanted to gaze on a bloody, mangled body? Even the thought is too much. Instinctively our stomachs churn, our voices moan at even the idea of such a sight. As many of us sat in theaters watching The Passion of Christ…. the crown of thorns on His head, the piercing in His side, the whipping, the scourging, the nails in His hands and feet. We turned away. It was just too much too absorb.

But the manger…..the newborn babe… we smile, we Oooohh, we Ahhhhh at the cuddly baby Jesus. We can’t stop looking into that beautiful face with snuggly, sweet cheeks. Hope wrapped in a downy soft baby blanket.

A big difference from the cradle to the grave. And yet, this is the conundrum of our Christian faith-that Jesus, the son of God, was born to die. The innocence of His birth stayed with Him to His last breath on the cross. There He hung-naked, tortured, and there He died. And WILLINGLY He endured all of this for us because of His infinite love.

Even though we may understand Easter, it’s still Christmas that we eagerly anticipate and prefer.
The story of Mary, the teenage virgin who bravely birthed a tiny baby king is a much happier one. The sweetness of the Christmas babe being lullabied by an angelic choir is easier to embrace.

The necessity of a blood sacrifice just isn’t what we talk about in our daily conversation.
Most, give Easter little thought, time or preparation. We take a minimalist approach to celebrating the greatest event of history.
this is by no means to put a guilt trip on anyone for enjoying bright beautiful easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, plastic eggs, all your favorite treats, and my favorite of all…PEEPS! (Who doesn’t love peeps?)

Jesus never asked us to commemorate His birth, but He did command us to remember His death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

I want to encourage you, let’s make Easter a season, like Christmas by preparing earlier, teaching our family, about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And-don’t stop celebrating the Resurrection after Easter Sunday! Most of us leave our Christmas lights up through the New Year…or even til Valentines Day (yes that’s me)

So why not continue the joy of this life-changing event…Christ is RISEN!!

*written by Kathy Cochran


April 16th: Holy Tuesday

Day 3:  Tuesday.    Jesus teaches on the Mount Of Olives. 

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus spoke to his companions about the importance of faith.

Back at the Temple, religious leaders, upset at Jesus establishing himself as a spiritual authority, organized an ambush with the intent to place Him under arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced harsh judgment on them, saying: 

“Blind guides!…For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” Matthew 23:24-33

Later that afternoon, Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which sits due east of the Temple and overlooks Jerusalem. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an elaborate prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. 

Scripture indicates that this Tuesday was also the day Judas negotiated with the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court of ancient Israel, to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

After a tiring day of confrontation and warnings about the future, once again, Jesus and the disciples return to Bethany to stay the night.

The events of Tuesday and the Olivet Discourse are recorded in Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38.


April 15th: Holy Monday

On Monday, Jesus throws the money changers from the Temple. 

The morning after the Triumphant entry, Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem.    As He was making His way to the city, He cursed a fig tree because it failed to bear fruit. 

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of money changers.  He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” Luke 19:46

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Monday’s events are recorded in Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.


April 14th: Palm Sunday

Day one in the Passion week is known as Palm  SUNDAY. It is the day that we celebrate what is known as Jesus’ triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem… 

On the Sunday before His crucifixion, Jesus began His journey into Jerusalem to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.  

Fulfilling Old Testament prophesies, according to Zechariah 9:9: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey… 

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

A great crowd welcomed Him crying out, “Hosanna, to the son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord…” 

What we now know is that just a few short days later, many of those same people would betray Him & witness His torture & death.

That night, Jesus spent the night in Bethany.  

These events are recorded in: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.


April 13th: Heart of the Matter pt. 2

The heart of the matter will be the matter you choose to put in your heart.

Think about next Friday, Good Friday, for a minute. Think about what took place that day all those years ago as Jesus took so much on our behalf on the cross. In those last moments He would push up on His nailed feet digging His exposed bones and flesh against the wood for another gasp of air to say “My God My God, why have You forsaken Me?” and realize, my sin is within Him.  And after Jesus declared for all of humanity “It is finished” a soldier thrust a spear into His side between His ribs and into His heart immediately releasing the water and blood of a broken heart. 

   Three days later, He was risen from the dead and in doing so, provided us an opportunity to do the same – die to ourselves, be a servant to all, pick up our cross moment by moment, and live to His glory!  Often times, we complicate this by getting in our own way, choosing the convenience of when, where and why we want to “invite Him into our heart” (that He made). As though we were standing at the noontime deli counter in Publix, oblivious to the fact He is the beginning and the end, standing beside us, ready, willing and wanting to engage and even serve us that sandwich! 

Matthew 6:33 gives us a great picture of how to respond with our heart to the cross, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”.  Here’s some more tips for setting your heart before God…

Be consistent in asking the Holy Spirit for His power to do a work within, to cut deeper into your heart so that you can be filled with more of Him and who He called you to be for His purpose.  Ask for His understanding and wisdom before reading His Word daily, so that you will be consumed with wanting more. Believe and know that His promises and Word are Truth.  Act and be obedient to the work He does in you sharing Him with everyone you can on the straight path which He directs. 

Think on this today: There is no limit to how much of Christ is available to us but the limit we put on ourselves. 

Smith Wigglesworth said “I don’t often spend more than half an hour in prayer at one time, but I never go more than a half an hour without praying”.  The heart of the matter will be the matter you choose to put in your heart.  1 Peter 4:1-2 “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God”, Amen. 

“Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:23

*written by Joseph Costello


April 12th: Heart of the Matter pt. 1

Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross this type of living within our heart and mind is possible.

Ancient Hebrew defines heart (levav) as “authority within”, considering it the center of a person’s mind or thoughts. Scripture confirms this thinking in multiple passages including Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies”, Luke 5:22 “Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, why are you thinking these things in your heart?” Psalm 26:2 “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart” amongst many others. 

       There’s no denying how closely these two (mind and heart) are connected in feeding one another, both literally and figuratively.  Our heart pumps blood continually to the most complex, thought processing, reasoning and intellectual organ in our body. Likewise, thoughts, taken in through our various senses, are a direct result to the passion, hope, emotion and desires within our heart.  You cannot have one without the other and call it a relationship much less faith.

God in His Word described David as a “man after my own heart” in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22.  Instead of choosing to only see lies, adultery and murder – God looked on his heart and saw repentance, obedience, faith, sovereignty, devotion, trust, humility, respect and love.  David did everything God wanted him to do and he did it relentlessly.  Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses begins “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the Law of the Lord.  Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart- they do no wrong but follow His ways”

David went after God with his mind and it showed in his heart! The Good News is, you can too. It requires intentional living, direction and focus of what we value in the time that remains in our lives. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross this type of living within our heart and mind is possible.

How is it possible you might ask? For me, I can’t help but think and ask for it to forever dwell within my heart, the unexplainable and unconditional love Jesus had for each and every one of us as he came to die for yours and my sin. I find it so important to dwell on how He endured being wrongfully accused, mocked, spat on, flogged, muscle torn from His back, a crown of thorns beaten into his head, nailed naked to a cross and the first thing He says “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”

Let us strive to look at our heart in this season and ask the question “Have I let Jesus and the work of the cross deal with the heart of all my matters?”

*written by Joseph Costello


April 11th: Scars

We should be willing to show off our scars that have created the roadmap that has brought us to every mile marker in life.

It was a normal day for us at the beach with our family and friends at the end of this past summer. My husband, our 9 year old daughter, myself and few other family members were out in the water ducking under and over waves when all of a sudden I hear my daughter come up screaming next to me. I look over and she’s holding her arm screaming that she had been bit! I go into full panic mode and yell for my husband who immediately picks her up and gets her to the shore. He starts peeling these long, purple strands from her arm. I stopped looking and counting after the fifth one he peeled off. She had been stung by, what we thought at the time, a jellyfish. Come to find out later she had actually swam into a rather large Man of War and it’s tentacles had wrapped themselves around her arm.  Multiple doctor appointments, two missed days of school, bursting blisters from the tentacles and a round of antibiotics later and our daughter was left with some pretty angry looking wounds. Wounds, that over time, have turned into a road map of scars going from her elbow down to her wrist.

It’s been six months since she was stung and those scars are still very noticeable. She recently had a kid in her class tell her that her scars were scary looking. To which my daughter got rightfully upset and asked if she could wear a jacket to school to cover them up until they go away so no one would ask her about them anymore. She said she wanted to hide the scars because they made her feel different and she didn’t want people to see such an “ugly” thing on her. It broke my heart but that moment also birthed such a revelation. How could this amazing, bright, wonderful child think any part of her was ugly? She is treasured and loved so completely. She was made on purpose for a purpose and with everything I had in me as her parent I was going to make sure she knew that. I cupped her face and made her look at me and told her nothing could ever make her ugly. That she is beautiful and I was so proud of her for being such a strong kid.

And then it hit me. This is exactly how our Father sees us. He sees those scars that are both easily seen and deeply hidden. He not only sees them but he knows how you came by each and every one. He sees the deep cuts left on your heart by a cruel word or a false accusation. He sees the still angry marks that were self-inflicted or left by a surgeons knife after a life-saving operation. Our all-powerful, all knowing God sees them all and calls them beautiful. He holds your face in His hands and pulls you to Him saying “I am so proud of you my beautiful child”.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and after He had risen from the dead, he appeared to his disciples. John 20:20 “As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord”! Jesus wasn’t ashamed of his scars. It’s such a small gesture but carries such a tremendous message. We should be willing to show off our scars that have created the roadmap that has brought us to every mile marker in life. Just as the disciples were filled with joy when they saw Jesus’ scars, we should be just as accepting when others reveal their precious marks to us. Jesus’ scars preached a powerful story that no one could deny. His scars were a representation that all things work together for the good who love the Lord.

Brothers and sisters, what testimony is waiting to be shared in your scars? Do not be ashamed of those marks, the seen and the unseen ones. Our scars are not there to remind us that we have been hurt but to remind us that we have been healed.

*written by Krissy Hairston