Lent Devotions 2012: Saturday 31st March

“And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39

Lent is the time in the church year when we focus our hearts and our Scripture readings on the events that took place leading up to the very moment of Jesus’ death. This verse in Mark, and the handful preceding it, make up the climax of the whole Gospel, and ultimately the theme of all the Scriptures: confessing that Jesus is the Son of God.

There was a crowd of people at the scene where Jesus was crucified, and a lot of them saw Him as just a man, a criminal being punished for His crimes. In their eyes the world would be better off without Him. This centurion however, and so many others, had seen Him teach with authority, and had seen Him heal diseases with power not of this world. Jesus was fully man, yes. He felt compassion and joy, He felt anger and He felt the pain of the torture He had to endure before and on the cross. In ultimate love, He took on the filth of all our sins and the punishment we all deserved. He is so much more than fully man; He is fully God. All scriptures point to it, and we know that the story and His love do not end here, when He breathes His last breath on earth. We know that in the course of a few hours Jesus defeated Satan in hell, and on Easter morning we celebrate His return.

His life was perfect, His ministry was powerful, and His works are what save us. And this final work that He did is the most important and life-changing one. On that Easter morning Christ rose in bodily form to show Satan, and the world, that we don’t have to live in separation from God. We no longer have to be slaves to our sinful nature because He took them on Himself! It is Christ’s works, not ours, which allow us to live in the joy and freedom of this blessed news: that we, too, share in the gifts of heaven, and will also be resurrected to live with Christ in heaven.

The centurion did not only believe it in his heart, but he spoke the words confessing Christ as the Son of God. And that’s what we do as well, when we receive the ultimate gift from God, salvation. It’s hard to keep it inside, isn’t it? When we stand before God and make the same confession with our own lips, Christ will stand in our place, the sinless one, and clothe us in His purity and righteousness. The day of Jesus’ death is a sobering day, to be sure. But the day He came back, the day He rose again and promised us a life with Him, is a day of celebration and joy that we can hold to in our lives every day.

Heavenly Father, You give us so many good gifts to be thankful for. Above all things, Father, thank You for Your Son and for His life, death, and resurrection, and for the faith through your Holy Spirit to believe on Him. Continue to show me how I can share Your great love with others for the furthering of Your kingdom. I pray this in Your powerful and ever-loving name. Amen.

Lent Devotions 2012: Friday 30th March

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished”, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19: 30

These few words do not seem strong enough to sum up the fact that Lord Jesus gave His last breath. He only lived a short life on earth but in those three decades He carried out God’s plan to perfection, to save us miserable sinners from all of our sins forever.

Think of the beginning with the humble birth and ending with the worst kind of death imaginable. Not lying down, falling asleep and waking up in heaven, the kind of death most of us would prefer to have. But this horrible death that holds everything, so that we can escape from Satan and hell. The hope that lies in the resurrection, the peace and comfort that this brings to us, and the love of Christ Jesus our Saviour whom we know loves us more than we can ever love Him in return.

How humble that makes me feel. The beginning, the ministry, the end, topped off with a sponge filled with sour wine for thirst. Not even a last request for an untainted drink!

Thank You Lord Jesus that from heaven to earth You came. You lived the life planned for You. Then, when the centurion who stood facing You saw the way that You breathed Your last, it was all recorded as one of the many things that help us know and believe that, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Amen.

Lent Devotions 2012: Thursday 29th March

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

The True Vine

Here Jesus is reminding His disciples that in order to bear fruit they must be connected to the vine, Jesus Christ. Growing grapes was something all the disciples would have been familiar with. They would understand that if a branch was cut away from the vine it would not bear any fruit. It would be the same as cutting an apple tree branch. Unless the branch is connected to the tree it cannot live and bear fruit.

Jesus is not only talking about bringing others to know Christ, He is talking about our prayer life (verse 7), the joy we have in our lives (verse 11), and the love we give (verse 12). He is most likely also talking about the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:5-8.

If we want to “bear” this kind of fruit in our lives – answers to prayer, joy despite our circumstances, and sacrificial love for others – we need to be attached to the vine, Jesus Christ. In order to be attached to Jesus Christ, we need to believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. Going to church, spending time in worship and in fellowship with other believers, spending time in prayer and reading God’s word will keep us connected to the vine. Then we will see much fruit in our lives and God will be glorified.

I am so thankful, Lord, that Jesus is the true vine and that I am one of His branches. Forgive me when I get so caught up with my life that I do not take time to stay connected to the vine. Help me to glorify You, Lord, with my life by bearing much fruit.


Lent Devotions 2012: Wednesday 28th March

“but they 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 be faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

The promise – that those who put their faith in God will never grow weary – was made to faithful Jews long before Jesus was born. How much easier, therefore, should it be for us Christians to achieve the same promise after Jesus acted as the sacrificial Lamb of God to intercede on our behalf?

We thank You, Lord, for that amazing promise, made in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. May we always remember it and lean on it for Your strength and endurance. Amen.

Lent Devotions 2012: Tuesday 27th March

“As many were astonished at you –
his appearance was so marred,
beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind…”
Isaiah 52:14

This verse is found at the beginning of the last of four Suffering servant song in Isaiah (Is. 52:13-53:12). Here we see a prophetic glimpse into the future; a vision of the battered and bruised Jesus Christ at His crucifixion.

There are many verses in the Bible that we just skip over and don’t really pay much attention to. One such verse is Mark 15:15, which reads, “and having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.” Most of us do not know what scourging is, so we lightly pass over it without giving it much thought. But scourging was commonly administered before one was crucified. The prisoner would be stripped naked, bound to a post with his arms above his head, and beaten with a flagellum. This was a whip with leather thongs plaited with bits of bone, lead or bronze, The lashes would cause deep contusions as they would literally rip off ribbons of flesh. At this time, there were no prescribed number of lashes, and often this procedure would kill the prisoner.

Jesus was also dressed in a purple robe as the soldiers spat on Him and battered Him with their fists. A crown of thorns was fashioned and beat down around His ears with a reed. At the conclusion of this flogging and mocking, Jesus was forced to carry His cross beam out of Jerusalem, causing Him to collapse under it. Finally, He was nailed to the cross and forced to suffer the humiliation of this most heinous of deaths.


Truly His body was marred beyond recognition. But these wounds were not merely the stripes of cruel injustice; no, Isaiah continues by saying “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Is. 53:5). His punishment was my punishment. And it is His suffering and death that brings me peace and healing.


So now we too are “astonished at You”, for You, Jesus Christ, did this willingly for me. Truly Your grace is “astonishing”; Your cross is “astonishing”; and Your forgiveness is “astonishing”.

Still not sure? Gaze up at His scourged, beaten, and crucified body hanging on the cross.

Lord Jesus, You were scourged, beaten, mocked, and crucified because of my sin. Forgive me, and always cause my eyes to look to You and Your cross for my peace and salvation, Amen.

Lent Devotions 2012: Monday 26th March

“And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!’”
Isaiah 6:3

The above passage is found in the Divine Service setting one, in the Sanctus part of the Service Of The Sacrament. It helps prepare us for holy communion. We sing this in praising our Lord God for His power and might. Heaven and earth are full of His glory. “Hosanna, Hosanna”, the Hebrew word of praise meaning save us now. We are blessed by Jesus Christ who comes in the name of the Lord. Glory in the highest.

We pray: Heavenly Father we praise You in Your Glory. In Jesus Christ, Amen.


Lent Devotions 2012: Saturday 24th March

“The crowd watched, and the leaders laughed and scoffed. ‘He saved others’, they said, ‘let him save himself if he is really God’s Chosen One, the Messiah.’” Luke 23:35

I sometimes wonder what it must have been like, being there at that time where Jesus was on the cross. Since the beginning of time, man only ever knew about sacrificing the flock, a new-born lamb and even his own children to keep the ‘gods’ happy. Since the beginning of time, man knew that there was a greater power and force on which the plantations depended, i.e. wind, sun and rain. In Roman times, man would bring sacrifices in order to be made right with God, but then Jesus came to the temple and drove the people out saying, “The scripture declares, ‘My Temple will be called a place of prayer’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” (Matthew 21:13). Jesus is the light of the world and He came at just the perfect time to be our Lord and Saviour. Jesus also said, “The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous to see” (Matthew 21:42).

It is plain to see how lost mankind really was but Jesus stepped right in! When the people asked this question saying, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is really God’s Chosen One”, I can see that yes of course He could save Himself but that was not part of God’s will. Jesus chose to drink the cup of suffering and became the ultimate sacrifice for us. The most powerful thing to see here is that Jesus died on the cross for our sin so that we don’t have to! That is so mind-blowing and powerful: that God gave His one and only Son to die on the cross in our place. The wages of sin is death and yes, it should be us on that cross, but God has given us a gift so amazing through His Son Jesus Christ and it is so marvellous to see. Hallelujah! No-one can come to the Father except through Jesus; He is the light of the world who has brought heaven to earth.

Dear Lord, Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ. You are the God of love; You came to this earth not to condemn it for all our sin but to serve us. Thank You for being our Lord and Saviour and teach us to be more like You! Amen.

Lent Devotions 2012: Friday 23rd March

“Later, knowing that all was now completed and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’” John 19:28

The scene is the gruesome one of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Roman soldiers had taken charge. John, whose gospel we are reading, was there with Mary, Jesus’ mother and some other women. Jesus, even in His anguish, shows love and care of His mother, that she be looked after by John.

When Jesus says,”I am thirsty” who is He talking to? Is He asking the soldiers for a drink, speaking to His friends or to His Father in heaven? Apart from physical thirst due to dehydration Jesus thirsted for the completion of His work on earth and the fulfillment of His Father’s plan, foretold in Scripture.

This is very nearly the end of Jesus’ life on earth. He died to destroy the power of death; to reconcile us to God, bring us into a relationship with Him and gain for us the resurrection of the body.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your amazing grace. Amen.

Lent Devotions 2012: Thursday 22nd March

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6


This valley of disgrace,
What is it we all choose to embrace?
Is it the fellowship with one another,
Breaking bread and drinking wine,
Worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ,
Who had victory on earth,
To save all our lives.

Or do we drown in that valley,
And only live our lives for our own demise?
Following our own footsteps,
And using the clouds to hide,
But knowing there’s a higher power,
But petrified of dedicating our own lives.

I once was that person,
And only cared for lies,
And deprived others of my love,
So my own cravings would suffice.

But one day I was seeking,
For an answer to the question of life,
And found myself asking the stars up in the sky;
But when I asked I found I received,
And through seeking I did find,
The answers were standing before my own deluded eyes.

There was a door,
And it’s one I had seen plenty of times before;
But I just walked past it,
And chose to ignore.

But this time I knocked,
Didn’t expect what I was to find;
A man with wide opened arms,
And an invitation to paradise.

He didn’t want no money,
Just for me to accept graciously;
And start to tell His truth,
Which only leads to being rewarded,
With eternal youth.

So what I ask you all;
Is when you’re looking for an answer,
Don’t deny what you find,
There is a God in heaven;
Don’t be stupid enough to think that you can hide,
Cause the day you don’t expect,
Will come and you’ll be left behind.


Lent Devotions 2012: Wednesday 21st March

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

In the preceding verses of Chapter 6, we are told in verse 6 to, “flee from the temptation of the love of money”. In verse 11 we are told how we can do this. As children of God to be free from all this we should, “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” In verse 12 we are told to, “Fight the good fight of the faith”. I think all of us fight the daily battle against sin. Our prize and ultimate goal is the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life. We are told to, “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called”. We are called individually and by name when we, “make a good confession in the presence of many witnesses”. In verse 13 it follows on by saying, “in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession”.

In this devotional verse God instructs us in what to do, how to do it and tells us why we need to do it. If we look and pray to God and study God’s Word carefully, we will find the answers to our questions. Although remembering it is in God’s time not necessarily ours. But the answer is always the same when we ask the question we need to ask: ‘How do we inherit eternal life?’. This is by confessing our faith in the sight of God and He will grant us Eternal Life.

May God keep us always in His arms, care and protect us and keep us as His children. Amen.