Daily Easter Readings 29 March to 5 April

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Good Friday 3 April
Read: Matthew 27:32-61

Today is Good Friday – a day that sometimes feels far from good. How can such a horrendous unjust death be good? Our hearts are heavy at the price Jesus had to pay for us, but yet our hearts should also be bursting with praise – He paid the price for our sins. As that old pastor’s sermon goes, ‘It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming’. As we remember the crucifixion of Jesus today we also remind ourselves that this is not the final piece of the salvation puzzle – yes, Jesus died a horrible death. But that is not the end. Acts 2:23-24 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

As you dwell on the crucifixion of Jesus today do so with gratitude in your heart but also do so with the joy of knowing He is not dead, He is risen.

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Thursday 2 April
Read: Matthew 27:11-31

Jesus had His trial before the Jewish religious authorities – they knew they wanted to silence Jesus, no matter how. But there was still another trial before a puzzled Roman who ended up part of this Easter puzzle without really understanding what was going on. Pilate was manipulated by the Jewish leaders. He sentenced to death an innocent man. The injustice of Jesus’ trials often goes unnoticed – He was set up and yet did not protest – He did not kick and scream. It was unfair, yet God was still in control. Isaiah 53.7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Even as the soldier whipped and mocked Him Jesus did not protest. The religious leaders thought they had won, they thought they were in control, but they did not understand what was happening. They did not understand their piece in bringing about salvation. Just as Joseph said of His brothers: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50.20)

Tomorrow is Good Friday when we remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – will you invite someone to our services so they can catch a glimpse of the abundant love that Jesus has for them?

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Wednesday 1 April
Read: Matthew 26:36-56

Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him – the pain and suffering yet He knew what the big picture was, reconciliation between man and God. So in the Garden of Gethsemane He weighed up the puzzle pieces, He wrestled with His human nature that said do all you can to avoid pain and He wrestled with His love for us that said do all you can to save them. So in that garden He reaffirmed His love for us and His commitment to undo the damage done in that first garden. The big picture- God’s plan and will won over that next puzzle piece that would be laid down.

It is so hard to imagine how Jesus put one foot in front of the other to walk towards a horrendous death – but He was compelled to do so by His love for you and His obedience to God’s plan.

Will you let the love of God compel you today – to reach out and share God’s love someone in your life who needs to know the breadth and depth of Christ’s love for them?

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Tuesday 31 March
Read: Matthew 26:17-35

The men who were closest to Jesus did not fully understand what that first Easter was all about. At a last meal together, a celebration of the Passover, Jesus tried to spell it out to them. Using the bread and the wine as object lessons He explained how He had to die. We see from the disciples’ reactions at Jesus’s arrest that they did not grasp this. It is hard sometimes to understand why Jesus had to die for us – but His death was the only perfect sacrifice for our sins. Without His dying there is no reconciliation with the Holy and Just God. There was no other way, Jesus death was planned, it was not a mistake or a plan B. Isaiah 53:4-10 shows how Easter was always part of the big picture: Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

Take some time today to make a gratitude list – what are you thankful to God for about Easter?

 

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Monday 30 March
Read: Matthew 26:1-16

As soon as Jesus entered Jerusalem the religious authorities got itchy – He was speaking in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. He shone the light on their sins and shortcomings, He did not fit with their plan so they plotted to silence Him forever. Little did they realise that their distaste for Jesus was known to God and that they actually were part of God’s big picture too. Jesus was rejected by the very people who had been looking for Him to save them. John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
The religious authorities thought they knew best, what God’s plan was and how it should work. Yet they missed out because of their preconceived notions.

Looking at our own lives it is sometimes hard to see God’s big plan – ask Him to help you submit to His will for your life.

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Sunday 29th March Palm Sunday
Read: Matthew 21:1-17

Right from the creation of the world and from that moment when Adam and Eve chose to go against God’s instructions this triumphal entry into Jerusalem was planned by God. Jesus, God’s own Son, was riding into Jerusalem proclaimed as King. Yet He was not what people thought the Messiah, the Saviour, would be. Many had hoped He would be a political figure who would stamp out the Roman rule over Israel. Yet He came as a peaceful King. People wanted a mighty warrior, and He is, but not in the way they thought, they didn’t know who the real enemy was. It was not the occupying forces that Jesus came to defeat, but the oppression, death and separation from God caused by sin.

Jesus said this in His first public sermon in Luke 4.14-21 but the people missed what He was saying – He seemed like a puzzle piece that just did not fit with their plan.

As we start our journey towards Easter ask God to show you His big plan so that you can worship Him fully this Easter time.

(a special thank you to Tracey Soko for the daily readings)

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