March 1, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 27:32-66

Today’s JumpStart is a passage that’s hard for me to read. I know I should glory in the cross and I do – but the suffering of my Lord is not something I enjoy thinking about. The cross was brutal – the suffering was overwhelming.

I encourage you to read it slowly and carefully today. Take time to think about it. Try and discover a new detail you missed before.

Let me lead you in a Bible Study…

  • What was “bitter gall” and why did Jesus refuse to drink it?
  • Was there any significance in gambling for Jesus clothes? (Psalm 22)
  • What happened when Jesus died? (v.52-53)
  • Why was it important that Jesus was buried?
  • What about the guard at the tomb? Why was that important?

Let us glory in the cross. . .

Posted by: Tim Parsons

February 29, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 27:1-31

Fickle devotion…

Here we go.  Jesus, and many others, now know that His fate is inevitable.  There will not be a “change of heart” for the people.  Pilot technically holds the decision and the outcome of Jesus’ future in his hands.  But in all reality, the people dictate the decision.

Pilot questions Jesus, and Jesus responds with brief truth.  He in no way backs down from proclaiming that He is, indeed, the Messiah.

Jesus knows that there is nothing more to be said.  If they were to believe Him, they would have already.  There is nothing left to say…Jesus knows what He has to do.

He willingly lays down His authority.

He willingly lays down the fact that He could have performed a miracle in their minds to make them believe.

He willingly lays down the fact that there were legions of angels ready to come to His aid, as if He even needed it.

And He willingly lays down His life, for the people who are about to kill Him.

This is summed up greatly in Romans 5:

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He was about to lay down His righteous life for the sinners who were about to crucify Him.

Let that sink in.

Then Pilot gives the option of releasing the notorious murderer or the innocent Jesus…that’s where I want to land.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Think of the fickleness of the hearts of the people.  First of all, they were shouting to release a murderer over Jesus.  This was a murderer who people probably hated at one time, and probably still hate now.  And yet they’re shouting to release him!  My, how things change.

Secondly, the same Jews who were rejoicing in His riding-in are now the ones putting Him to death.  The ESV study Bible renders this well when it says; “a few days earlier the people of Jerusalem had shouted ‘Hosanna!’ at Jesus’ entry.  Now they cry, ‘let Him be crucified!’ “

I think this fickleness is evident in our own lives.  The same people (us) who are praising Him for what He provided financially are the same ones who refuse to follow Him when the world presents something better.  The same ones (us) who rejoice the moment they come to Christ, and gain heaven, are the same ones deciding that Jesus is not worth giving up the rights to controlling their lives.

So you must decide.

Are you going to stick with Him?

Are you committed to Him?

Or are you going to associate yourself with a member of the crowd, who at one point shouted “Hosanna!” but now shouts “Crucify Him?”

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

February 28, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 26:69-75

What a sad story we have here today. Peter is so bold and so fearless in his faith in Jesus. This is the disciple who stepped out of the boat and walked on water with Jesus. This is the disciple who answered correctly when Jesus asked them “Who do you think that I am?” Peter is a little cocky but he has been so courageous in following Jesus, until now. Peter is faced with the real danger of losing his life and he falters in his faith in Christ. He even knew it was coming and still he denied Jesus (verse 75). First Peter denies Jesus by just saying he doesn’t know Him but it escalates each time. He makes an oath that he does not know Jesus. He then finally calls a curse down on himself if he is lying. When he realizes what he has done he runs off weeping.

What would cause someone to totally deny faith in Jesus? I can’t really speak to Peter’s state of mind in this passage but I can certainly think of a few things that I believe could cause him and us to struggle with that decision.

1. Worldly desires

2. Fear

3. Rejection

4. Laziness

5. Ongoing secret sin

6. Torture and imprisonment

These are just a few ideas I have.

What about you?

What could cause you to deny Jesus to others around you?

Here is the big question:

What are you doing right now that shows those around you a denial of Jesus?

Or to rephrase it, if I were to ask the non-Christians around you (family, friends, co-workers) if they knew you were a Christ follower what would they say? Would they say “yes, I know for sure” or would they say “maybe” or would they say “I don’t think so”? You see we may deny Jesus every day and not really even know it. We may come to church and talk a big game but then go out into the world and deny Him by our life, just like Peter. Peter talked a big game but when the time came to put up or shut up — he dropped the ball.

So here’s a challenge for you today. This may be awkward but just try it. Ask one of your co-workers, friends or family members if they know you are a Christian. This could be a great way to share the gospel but it will also give you a real sense of whether or not your life is showing Christ or denying Him.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

February 27, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 26:36-68

In today’s reading, we’re getting close to the end of Jesus time on earth. Today we read about the garden of Gethsemane and the end begins.

What did Jesus do?

Jesus, who was all knowing, understood what was coming in the next few days. He knew how He would be betrayed, denied, abused physically beyond measure, and experience the worst torture of all – separation from His Father. So with all of that looming in His immediate future – what did He do?

Before you answer that question, let me ask what would you do? Maybe asked a better way, what DO you do when struggles are happening – when rough things are coming in YOUR future?

Jesus prayed. He took His disciples to the garden – and He prayed. He definitely felt the weight of the moment. Verse 37 says, “…and he became anguished and distressed” – in verse 38 He tells His disciples, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Jesus prayed.

What does this teach us?

What did Jesus pray?

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Jesus teaches us something valuable here. It’s OK to ask God to take away the painful things in your life, but you must be willing to endure them and learn from them if He decides it’s best. He always has your best interest in mind.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

Nothing can come into the life of a believer without God’s approval. Everything goes “across His desk” first. This brings us peace because He loves us and only allows the things that will make us better.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

What did the disciples do?

Jesus told them to keep watch and pray with Him. What did they do? They fell asleep – not once but three times! Their eyes were heavy – they couldn’t keep them open. They missed an opportunity to watch and pray with the Savior in His darkest hour.

I wonder what we sleep through?

Then Jesus is betrayed with a kiss from one of the men He spent the most time with for the last three and half years – Judas. Peter (remember impulsive – I’ll act without thinking – Peter) cuts off the high priest’s servant’s ear. Jesus tells him to put away his sword and puts the ear back on, healing the servant.

…at that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled. (v. 56)

Then Jesus begins His six trials – all illegal – all biased and slanted. Peter follows at a distance, about to betray Jesus not once but three times. They priests looked desperately for witnesses to lie about Jesus so they could put Him to death (v. 59). They find Him guilty of the false charge of blasphemy – guilty by their own determination – and they begin to beat Him with their fists and spit in His face.

The road to Calvary has begun… Jesus would soon do what He came to do – die for the sins of the world.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


Posted by: Tim Parsons