Readings

  • Acts 5
  • Matthew 5:10-12
  • 1 Peter 3:13-17

Prayer

Pray… for boldness. Again! This prayer time isn’t something to idle away 30 seconds of your day. Spend time in prayer for boldness when sharing God’s word.

Day 324 – Peter – Rearrested, tried, & beaten for preaching

Peter & John’s bold message

 

  • The main subject of today’s readings, clearly, is that of boldness in proclaiming the gospel and – more radically! – the honour of suffering for the gospel too. We’ve thought about that a little over the last day or so already, but there is some interesting stuff to read today to build us up for this job.
  • Before that, look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This story may well have shocked you, or provoked some sort of similar reaction. If it didn’t, read again and think about what’s happening.
  • What had all the members of the early church been doing (at the end of Acts 4)? What did Ananias and his wife do instead? Why do you think they weren’t as generous?
  • What happened to them both? Why would the people around have been so afraid?
  • Why do you think God exacted such swift punishment on these two, but hasn’t for other sinners, such as ourselves? Do you think it was fair? What was God saying through His actions? You’ll be encouraged to know that such swift punishment is very rare, even in the Scriptures.
  • The apostles were arrested in Acts 5. What happened to them? Could the officials stop them preaching the good news about Jesus?
  • Look at the conversation amongst the religious leaders. What did they say? What wise words were added by Gamaliel, especially in verses 38-39?
  • Do you find anything amazing in Acts 5:41? How does this link in with Jesus’ teachings in the sermon on the mount, in Matthew 5?
  • We’ve read the words in 1 Peter before, especially verse 15, which has been my hope for you since we began this reading plan. Suffering for the gospel will bring many blessings – be comforted about that in the hard moments. In the end, the words of verse 16 will come true. If you stand for good, the people who revile you will ultimately be put to shame, just like the Pharisees in Acts. Stand firm in the tough waters of life, and God will bring you safely through.

 

Yesterday in my closing notes I challenged you to consider whether you are being brave for Jesus in your life. It might have been hard to read words which ask whether you truly are prepared to put Jesus number One in places where you know that you really don’t want to.

 

Let’s turn that on its head for a second. In what ways have you already stood up for Jesus? What can you look back on your life and be pleased with the decisions you made? I bet there are lots: the times you talked about Jesus with a friend, or stood up for him in RE class, or told a friend why you went to a church event instead of something else. These are all great things, and show bravery! Well done!

Readings

  • Acts 3
  • Acts 4
  • Ephesians 6:18-20

Prayer

Pray… for boldness!

Day 323 – Peter – The lame man healed & Apostles arrested

Peter & John’s bold message

 

  • Acts 3 and Acts 4 give us a another indication of the momentum and boldness of the early church in Jerusalem and, increasingly, the surrounding areas. It must have been a very exciting time!
  • What happened to the beggar man outside the gates of the temple? Importantly, in whose name did Peter perform this miracle?
  • What was the reaction of the crowds and the religious officials? Why do you think the leaders were slower to follow Jesus than the ordinary crowds?
  • The man would have been whooping and jumping all over the place. Nobody would have been able to miss the miraculous healing that had occurred. Do you think it was this that made the men bold to speak in front of the people and the teachers? Or would it have been what they knew about Jesus already?
  • Based on that thought, do we need our own “dancing man” in order to proclaim the gospel with boldness?
  • Focus on what Peter said to the onlookers and in the temple. Look at how he used the healing to bring glory to Jesus alone, not himself. Acts 4:12 is a great verse of truth, for example.
  • Look at Acts 4:20. Peter and John “can’t help speaking” about what they had seen and heard. That’s my prayer for you. I want you to be excited by the gospel message and wanting to share it!
  • The disciples spent time in prayer together. Do you find it encouraging when you pray together as a group with friends, if you do? How does it bring people together, as well as closer to God?
  • Paul asked for prayer in some of his closing remarks in his letter to the Ephesians. His situation was different to that of Peter and John: he was in (literal) chains. And yet he longed to “fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel”. Amen to that!

 

Flick back to Luke 22:54-62, which recounts the events of the hours just after Jesus’ arrest. We read there about Peter, and it doesn’t make for particularly impressive reading, for it shows Peter denying his allegiance with Jesus three times. But here we read that Peter – yes, the same man – was proclaiming Jesus’ name to the highest leaders in the land. What a difference!

 

Peter had always been a little bit of a “go-getter” – he jumped out of a boat in a storm to meet Jesus in Matthew 14 and cut off a guard’s ear during Jesus’ arrest in John 18. But Peter’s change of stance – from fearful to fearless – wasn’t just because he was the sort of man to wear his heart on his sleeve. It was as a result of a deep conviction in who Jesus was. He was brave because he knew that Jesus was worth standing up for, regardless of what the world was saying. He was rocked the night of Jesus’ death – he didn’t understand it, perhaps – but after the resurrection… well, there was no stopping him!

 

What’s stopping you from being brave for Jesus? It may be due to genuine doubts that remain. Or it may be that you’re just enjoying a nice middle ground Christianity where you can rest in the salvation the Bible promises, quietly sidestepping the call of Scripture to speak up. Maybe pray about that today.

Readings

  • Acts 2
  • Joel 2:28-32
  • 1 Corinthians 14:18-25

Prayer

Pray… for clarity on the importance issues, and to show grace on lesser issues.

Day 322 – Peter – Pentecost

The miracle of tongues & the purpose of tongues

 

  • Lots of interesting things to talk about today. Acts 2 describes an event called Pentecost. I expect that’s one of those “Christian words” you’ve possibly heard of, but probably couldn’t explain! Well… can you now?
  • Pentecost was originally a festival, celebrated yearly at harvest time, but we now use the word to refer to this specific event. What supernatural event occurred?
  • You will have heard about “speaking in tongues” before. It’s often misunderstood. Look at Acts 2:6. In this specific instance, the phenomemon allowed people to hear all the other languages in their own language. It must have been astonishing! Look at the list of countries who could understand what was being said.
  • The people were described as being “filled with the Holy Spirit”. We believe as Christians we can, too, be filled with the Spirit. The Bible talks about us receiving the Holy Spirit when we come to Jesus, so what do you think the difference  (if there is one) of being “filled” in this way?
  • 1 Corinthians 12-14 talks a lot about speaking in tongues. What’s the main message that Paul is sharing with his readers in the verses we read today?
  • Did Paul say that speaking in tongues is good? What does he say could be better? In what situations could speaking in tongues be a harmful thing?
  • The obvious question you may be wondering about is whether speaking in tongues is something that still happens nowadays. Well – that’s a subject of much debate. The teaching at some churches might say no, and point to 1 Corinthians 13:8, or verses like that. They would say it was a gift only for the early church. Other churches and individuals, including people I know well, would say this “gift” is still used, although perhaps more rarely. That’s a debate for another day. What’s important to remember now is that it isn’t one of the most critical points of doctrine, and that speaking in tongues doesn’t make someone a better Christian, or “more filled” with the Spirit.
  • The rest of Acts 2 gives us Peter’s brave speech to the people at Pentecost. We’ve touched on these words before in this study. He referenced the passage in Joel regarding speaking in tongues, talked about Jesus being the Promised Messiah, and ended with a call to “repent and be baptised”. Could you share the gospel confidently with your friends like Peter does here?
  • How many become followers of Jesus on that day? What was their response in the way they lived for God and with each other?

 

I once visited to a church which wasn’t my regular one. I was about 12 years old. Things were very different to what I was used to! People got up and danced around, and there was lots more congregation participation. There were times during the service where we prayed about very specific physical needs and people saw healing at that time. On a second visit I experienced people speaking in tongues.

 

Now’s not the moment to debate the rights and wrongs of anything that happened at that church, or the way they conducted their services. Perhaps some of it was “better” than how my church does it, perhaps “worse”, if indeed you can even use such words. We can only base what a church chooses to do on whether it is biblical though, not on personal preference. I found the speaking in tongues and healing to be exciting but confusing. It was different to what I knew, which made it a bit scary. It helped me consider what a non-Christian might feel when first walking into a church. It did teach me, however, to be open to how people understand biblical teaching. Different didn’t always mean wrong!

 

As long as the the Bible is preached, and the Word in it is preached faithfully and without an agenda, then that’s a good starting point. If, through that teaching, a church comes to a particular conclusion on topics such as spiritual gifts, or speaking in tongues, or the way the Holy Spirit operates, then fine. If that church is making decisions based on other things, such as personal feelings or the culture of the world, then that’s not always helpful.

Readings

  • Acts 1
  • Luke 21:25-28
  • Psalm 109

Prayer

Pray… For encouragement as we read about the early church in the book of Acts.

Day 321 – Peter – Ascension & New Apostle

Promises about Jesus’ return & prophecies about Judas

 

  • Acts, also known as “The Acts of the Apostles”, is exactly that. It’s a record of the acts of the disciples and other apostles as they started the work of the Great Commission, which was to spread the good news about Jesus throughout the world. It’s a book of great encouragement and exciting insight into the challenges of the early church. We’ll be reading almost the entire book together.
  • What event occurred at the start of the book? As Jesus left the disciples, how do you think they must have felt?
  • Who spoke to them in Acts 1:10-11? What – or who – were they?
  • As the disciples met up, they discussed the person who was to replace Judas. Judas, of course, had betrayed Jesus. Did you know what he chose to do, as he bitterly regretted his betrayal of Jesus? Acts 1:18-19 give the rather gruesome details. Don’t mix up the Judas who died and the other Judas in the group (there were two of them).
  • What do you think the mood of the group would have been? Consider the fact that Jesus had left them, Judas was dead and the Romans and the church leaders had a grudge against them. On the other hand, they knew the Truth and were determined to share it! What must it have been like for them?
  • We read today how Jesus left this earth, and the passage in Luke talks of what it will be like when He returns. Do we know when or where this will be? Does Luke say that it will be quiet, like His first birth in a stable, or glorious and loud? How can we be prepared for it? We’ve thought about this already in this reading plan, haven’t we?
  • Do you ever feel like the psalmist who wrote today’s psalm? Instead of feeling anger and bitterness towards people who falsely accuse you, how can we show grace and kindness to them? Why should we?

 

You might have found Psalm 109 uncomfortable to read. In it, David, the author, called for the destruction of his enemies. Verses 9 and 10 even call for the sinner’s family to suffer. It’s not a PG rated psalm, is it? It might bring up memories of other moments in the bible where prayers for the punishment of sinners are mentioned.

 

Why is this something we’ve read today, then? Well, I think it may be linked with the judgement and the death of Judas, and Peter quoted it in verse 20 of Acts 1.

 

A good way of thinking about Psalm 109 is to consider the things of this earth that should outrage us to the extent that David seemed to be, as he penned the angry words of the psalm. Turn on the news any day and you’ll see pain, suffering, injustice and evil. We should be horrified at these. The more we desire justice for these situations, the more we consider how right God would be to deal severely with the people involved, and the more astonishing it is that God can show grace to even these evildoers if they turn to Christ. It shows the human limit of our grace, and the limitless nature of God’s.

Readings

  • John 21
  • Acts 1:1-4
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-19

Prayer

Pray… that you will be encouraged by the words today which speak to the historical truth of the resurrection, and what it means.

Day 320 – Jesus’ Resurrection #3

Jesus proves His resurrection over 40 days

 

  • It’s our final study on the resurrection today, and our final day focusing in on the gospel accounts. You’ll have known about the death and resurrection that’s we’ve been studying over the past week, but has your knowledge deepened about the events and – more importantly – has your understanding of the reasons Christ died for you grown?
  • Do you remember the focus of John’s gospel, as distinct from the other three? John 20, which we recently read, is a good example of the way how John’s gospel is different. In today’s reading, his account ends with an interesting little tale of Jesus eating fish with the disciples. What does the story about the catching of the fish remind you of?
  • I think I’d rather enjoy chilling on a beach in the early morning eating barbecued fish with Jesus! What would you talk about with Jesus if you had been there? Do you ever talk to him like that in prayer, just talking to Him?
  • Jesus asked Peter a question three times. By the third time, Peter seemed to be a little exasperated! Why do you think Jesus made a point of asking him three times? What in Peter’s life does it remind you of?
  • Jesus commanded Peter to “feed my lambs”. This is probably a reference to teaching and discipling as many people as he could. We’ve already read a little example of how Peter did this in Acts 2 – do you remember what he said in that passage?
  • Acts 1:3 tells us that Jesus spent forty days on earth after His resurrection, “presenting himself alive to people by many proofs” and “speaking about the kingdom of God”. 1 Corinthians says He appeared to more than 500 people, many of whom were still alive when Paul wrote that particular letter. Why is it good to hear this? Do you think those words would have been written and believed if they were untrue? Why?
  • What does 1 Corinthians 15:3 say is of “most importance”?
  • Jesus appeared to Paul. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and many other letters. For that reason we call him an apostle. We’ll spend a good amount of time over the next few weeks thinking about the role of Paul in the church.
  • Paul’s words in verse 1 Corinthians 15:14 are true. The Christian message hangs on truth of the resurrection. That’s why this is so important. 2,000 years of debate has not shaken the validity of these remarkable events, and we will be able to stand firm in them for many years to come. Read these words carefully, and take heart in them.

 

This was a major moment in the history of the church. All of the Old Testament has pointed to Christ, and Christ has now come, and He has done his work. Tomorrow we’ll read about the moment Jesus ascended into Heaven. But what would happen from this point onwards?

 

Well, that’s what we’re about to find out. How will Peter and the other disciples get on with sharing the good news? How did Paul get involved, and why was he so important? How did the church that we know today start? All these questions will soon be answered!

 

Finish today’s readings, however, with a focus on Jesus (as, of course, it always should be). Jesus’ death and resurrection are part of history. But is that it? Was Jesus just a guy? A wise teacher? Was He even a fraud? How should you respond to these words? How are you responding?

 

How you answer that question is of life-changing importance. It might be that you trusted in Him before this year’s reading plan. It might be that you have come closer to faith through the words we’ve read. I hope that’s the case. If you’re still not sure, then keep reading. We’ll soon see how the gospel message transformed the entire world with its saving message, and I hope you’ll gain much encouragement from it, as we find out more about this exciting time.

 Readings

  • None… unless you need to catch up!

Prayer

Pray… for something that is on your mind today.

Day 319 – Day Off

 

 

We’ve just one more day in the gospels! Tomorrow we’ll finish off looking at the impact of Jesus’ resurrection. On Tuesday we’re full steam ahead into the book of Acts, where we’ll stay for a whole month.

 

We’re going to read pretty much every word of the book, so you would be well advised to check out the video below to prepare you.

 

If you haven’t watched any of the videos I’ve posted so far, do check this one out. Go on!

 

Readings

  • Matthew 28
  • Luke 24:13-53
  • John 20:19-31

Prayer

Pray… for help trusting when you struggle with doubt.

Day 318 – Jesus’ Resurrection #2

Jesus appears repeatedly to His unbelieving disciples

 

  • The focal point today is that of the doubting reaction of the disciples, and one who doubted more than the others! Consider what Jesus had said and done amongst the disciples in the weeks leading up to His death. Are you surprised that none of them expected Jesus to return to them, or indeed that they refused to believe until they had seen Him?
  • Thomas, like Judas and Peter, has a reputation stuck to his name. Some people call him “Doubting Thomas”, which is a phrase that is still used from time to time. Why? What did Thomas need to see? Do you think you might have felt the same as Thomas?
  • In John 20:29, we see Jesus’ compassionate, but encouraging, response to Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. Do you think that includes us, reading now? Or do we have a better picture of the mission of Jesus than Thomas could ever see?
  • What sort of things did Jesus do to prove that it was Him, and that He wasn’t a ghost?
  • Matthew 28:11-15 adds an interesting nugget of information to help us with the historical story, regarding the concerns of the soldiers who were posted outside Jesus’ tomb. What were the concerns of the officials? How did the religious leaders try to pretend that Jesus had not risen? If this was true, do you think the Christian movement would have grown in the way that it did?
  • What do you think it would have been like for the two men who walked with the risen Jesus, without realising who He was, and then having tea with Him? What do you think they felt as they went from sadness, to intrigue, to amazement, as they understood more and more about what had happened to Jesus?
  • Luke 24:53 records the ascension of Jesus. We’ll look at this in more detail in a few days when we read Acts 1 which, incidentally, was also written by Luke.
  • Matthew’s gospel ends with something called the Great Commission. Have you heard of this before? Focus in on Matthew 28:18-20, and look at the structure. Jesus showed them His authority, and told the disciples go into all nations, to baptise them, and to teach them, before reminding them that He would be with them forever, and wherever they go. Does the church still do this?
  • Sharing the good news of Jesus is something Jesus commands us to do. When was the last time you did? What hinders you from this commission? We’ll read in Acts how the disciples, full of confidence, went and boldly made disciples of many, many nations.

 

Finish by re-reading the words of John 20:30-31. We’ve spent a long time in the gospels, haven’t we! These words sum up beautifully the reason we’ve focussed so heavily on them. The words of Scripture don’t tell us everything about the world, or even everything about Jesus’ life. They do, however, tell us what we need to know. Through them we may believe that Jesus is the Christ – God’s chosen King – and His precious Son, and that by believing in Him, we may have life eternal. Never have more awesome words been penned.

Readings

  • Luke 24:1-12
  • John 20:1-18
  • Hebrews 9:16-28

Prayer

Pray… in joy that the Christian faith is rooted in the historical resurrection of Jesus.

Day 317 – Jesus’ Resurrection

The empty tomb, appearing to Mary, & ascending to heaven

Hallelujah! He is risen! Today’s third passage is just as important to focus on as the first, so read it carefully.

 

  • John and Luke both described, from different angles, the extraordinary events that we’ll be looking at over the next three days, the cornerstone of the Christian faith: the resurrection of our Saviour and Lord – Jesus Christ.
  • The accounts start in the quietness of early morning. Who went to the tomb, and what was she planning to do?
  • Imagine you were Mary. What would you have thought about as you walked to the tomb, and later as you saw that it was empty? Do the Scriptures suggest she understood quickly what was going on?
  • Who were the two men dressed in dazzling clothes?
  • What do you think the disciples might have been doing whilst Mary was making her way to the tomb? What did most of them think when Mary ran to tell them the news?
  • Who ran back to the tomb? When they “saw and believed” (John 20:8), what did they do? Who stayed behind?
  • Who did Jesus first appear to?
  • You’ll need to read the Hebrews passage carefully to understand it, but take your time over it because it’s wonderful theology. What’s the author talking about when he refers to the “will”? At what moment does a will take effect?
  • The answer, of course, is at a death. The author goes on to talk about the death that was required in the Old Testament when sacrifices were made then to atone for sins. How is Jesus, and His sacrifice, shown to be like (and far greater than) the old high priests and their blood sacrifices? Consider the way it was done in the Old Testament (verses 19-21) and the way Jesus is greater (24-26).
  • What is the wonderful promise of Hebrews 9:27-28?

 

As you grow in your understanding of your faith, you’ll see deeper and deeper connections with the events of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how it beautifully superseded the old covenants of blood sacrifice. Hebrews 9:23 goes even further, talking of Christ’s sacrifice cleansing Heaven itself! If considering these events at that depth excites you, great!

 

But if this is all getting a little confusing – don’t worry. There will be time for a deeper understanding in due course. For now, be thankful for what is clear: the resurrection is Christ’s proof of His claims to be God and the completion of His work to reunite us with the Father.

 

The Christian faith, its promises and its claims, all rest on the truth of the resurrection. If the resurrection did not happen, then everything falls. In the resurrection, we see power to defeat death and power to reunited lost people to God. If there wasn’t a resurrection, that is all gone. If the resurrection didn’t happen, you can be sure that the message of the gospel would not have spread like it did in the years after Jesus (we’ll read all about that very soon). 2,000 years later we can still have confidence in the historical truth of the resurrection and, therefore, the powerful work that happened through it.

 

Readings

  • Matthew 27:45-66
  • Luke 23:44-56
  • Hebrews 2:9-18

Prayer

Pray… and thank Jesus that he died for your.

Day 316 – Jesus’ Death & Burial

Jesus’ death on the cross & burial by Joseph of Arimathea

 

  • Over the last 315 days we have seen the outworking of God’s salvation plan for mankind, culminating in today’s events, as Jesus died on the cross for us. Spend a moment considering how your understanding of this event has changed since January 1st.
  • As Jesus died, darkness descended over the land, despite it being the middle of the day. What do you think that represented?
  • The ripping of the temple curtain from top to bottom should not be overlooked. It’s a massive event. The temple curtain marked off the area to the Most Holy Place, which you’ll remember from the time of the Tabernacle in Moses’ day. Do you remember that only one person, the High Priest, could go here, and only once a year? With Jesus’ death, there was no need for a special place to come to God, nor was there now any suggestion that God could live in a temple made by human hands. Jesus had opened the way to God because He death with our sins on the cross: the perfect sacrifice. Jesus is our Great High Priest!
  • Matthew stated that the curtain was ripped from “top to bottom”. Why do you think the direction of the rip might be interesting?
  • Jesus’ death was confirmed as He was stabbed in his side, causing “blood and water” to come out. He was most definitely dead – the spear likely pierced His lungs and heart. Where was He taken, and who by? What security measures were put in place to secure Jesus’ body in the tomb?
  • Why do you think the Romans and religious leaders were so keen to protect the body? How do the words of Matthew 27:53-66 encourage you about the conspiracy theories you may have heard about Jesus’ body?
  • The words in Hebrews give deep theological understanding to Jesus’ death on the cross. What does it mean in Hebrews 2:10 where it says He “brought many sons to glory”?
  • Verses 14-18 (especially the last two) of Hebrews 2 discusses why Jesus had to die like a man. What does it say?
  • Imagine how the different people who knew Jesus must have been feeling in the hours after the death. Think of His mother, of the disciples, of the guards, the Romans and the religious leaders. What about when the darkness descended, or the curtain tore in two?

 

You may well know the words of the Creed. The Apostles’ Creed (or Nicene Creed), to give it its full title, is a declaration of the Christian faith, shared by many Christians of different denominations and throughout thousands of years. A modern version of the Creed says this:

 

“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.”

 

That final line in the quote above is the most contested. Many groups of people miss it out, because they are not convinced that Jesus did descend into Hell. Some passages suggest he may have been (Romans 10:7, Ephesians 4:7-10 and 1 Peter 3:18-20 for example). Others, such as the one we read two days ago in Luke 23:41 where Jesus tells the thief “today you will be with me in Paradise”, suggest otherwise.

 

This One Story plan isn’t the place to speculate about where Jesus “was” during these days. Focus, instead, on what God was doing as He laid upon His Son the sin of us all. For the first time in all eternity, Jesus was separated from His Father, taking the wrath and punishment we deserve and He – marvellously – didn’t. There has been no greater act in human history.

Readings

  • Mark 15:20-36
  • John 19:23-37
  • Psalm 22

Prayer

Pray… that today’s stories of prophecy coming true will give you encouragement and renewed trust in the words we’re reading together.

Day 315 – Jesus’ Suffering

Various prophecies of the cross (My God, I thirst, Garments divided, Pierced)”

I’d highly encourage you to read Isaiah 53 again too, as part of today’s readings. Because it’s awesome (and also because we’ll reference it!)

 

  • It’s been some time since we went to Mark to take up the narrative of the crucifixion, so we’re making that right today. Much of what we read in his account recaps that which we’ve read before, but reading it again helps to give this event the focus it deserves.
  • Crucifixion was a Roman execution method. It was so cruel that it was reserved only for slaves and the worst criminals, and was rarely administered on Roman citizens. Large nails were driven through the hands and heel. Generally death came through asphyxiation (you become so tired from keeping yourself up that you slumped down and couldn’t pull yourself up to breathe). If a man took too long to die, the legs would usually be broken to speed up death. It would have been agony.
  • Today’s focal point is the many prophecies that came true as Jesus died. The readings focus on specific events, words and actions, and we’ll look at these together, but don’t forget, of course, that this event was planned by God from the beginning. Jesus’ death was no “plan B”. There’s a good reason the bible has such clear prophecy about Jesus!
  • People who were crucified would have their “charge” written on a board above their heads. What was Jesus’ “charge”?
  • Psalm 22 was written by David, and points to Jesus in ways, such as the fact that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing. Jesus quotes the psalm himself in Mark 15:34 when he says “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). It reveals the deep feeling of abandonment by His Father as He bore the sins of mankind. Why do you think Jesus said these words?
  • What other references to Jesus can you see in Psalm 22? Good examples are verses 7-8, 12-13, 15, 16 and 24. Work through these one by one.
  • Isaiah 53 isn’t part of today’s reading plan, but it, too, prophecied the events of Jesus’  death. The entire chapter screams His name. Read it thoughtfully before you go to bed tonight, and think on it for a while.

 

In today’s subheading, we read about four prophecies – “my God”, “I thirst”, “garments divided” and “pierced”. Could you now explain all these different references, where they came from in the Old Testament and how they relate to Jesus on the cross? If the notes you have made in your journal don’t help you to understand them, make sure you spend a moment to be clear.

 

I hope that, despite the agony of what Jesus must have been feeling, you can gain much encouragement as a Christian from these verses of biblical unity. Can you think of any other instances in the Old Testament which have pointed to, or been fulfilled in, Jesus? We’ve talked about many this year!

 

As you finish your readings, don’t be ambivalent about the events you’re reading about, despite how familiar they are. Remember why Jesus suffered for you. What actions in your life have sent Jesus to the cross for you? What, in His pain on the cross (and even more in His death to come), was Jesus suffering in your place for? Those are not nice questions to ask yourself, but do think about them. It’s important to help set your relationship with Jesus to understand what He has done for you.