It's almost Easter! It's the season for colorful tulips, painted eggs, and most importantly—Jesus! All the family traditions and decorations are certainly fun and bring vibrancy to the month, but of course we can't forget the true reason we celebrate Easter. In the midst of busy schedules, we're setting aside some time to dial in on Scripture and remember all that Jesus has done for us. His work on the cross is not to be forgotten—it should remain at the forefront of our minds.
Whatever April brings for you, whether it's an exciting month filled with fun and family, or it's a stressful time that you're just wanting to fast-forward through, we're sharing two Easter devotionals to give you some peace and remind you of Jesus' sacrifice for us.
A Living Hope
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." ~ 1 Peter 1:3
We put our hope in lots of things, don't we?
We may not realize it, but we put our hope and faith in the weatherman, our smart phones, our elected officials, or even our friends. The world is filled with chaos, and sometimes the easiest way for us to cope is to cling to whatever earthly comfort we can to get us through hard times. It can seem harmless to do so, but over time we can turn to these figures again and again and again, and soon we begin to think we don't need Jesus. Not really, anyways.
If we aren't rooted in Scripture, we will be tossed by the waves of bad news and our gut reaction will be to put our hope and assurance in something other than God.
At some point or another, disappointment will come. Our beloved officials or celebrities will let us down. After all, they are only human. Our smart phones, with all of their high-tech capabilities and social media platforms, won't offer us the comfort we so desperately crave. As we recover from this letdown, we have no choice but to look to what is unseen, to what Peter promises us in the New Testament.
"In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade."
This is the startling reminder we need. Through His work on the cross, Jesus has provided something that cannot be broken or taken away from us, a promise that cannot let us down.
Jesus' death on the cross has made us right with God. Through His sacrifice, we have the assurance that we can live with God for eternity, even though we are sinful beings that don't deserve this gift. We can carry this promise every day and let this reminder fill us with hope.
"This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." ~ 1 Peter 1:4-6
From Revered to Reviled
"The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest heaven!" When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee." ~ Matthew 21:8-11
Since Palm Sunday is this week, we thought it would we'd focus on some Scripture showcasing Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This sacred holiday marks the beginning of Holy Week, so its seems fitting that we should give it the attention it deserves.
The infamous picture of Jesus riding a donkey while crowds of people shout His praise and wave palm branches is often fresh in our minds. We can hear the cries of wonder and awe, feel the hot sun beating down on this parade, and the electric energy of the crowds as they appreciate Jesus for who He is—the Messiah.
The people of the Old Testament had been waiting for this moment, since it was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
It was a glorious moment but also haunting, considering what was to follow in the days after. The people who were once shouting their praises went on to condemn Him.
Jesus went from revered to reviled in a matter of days.
Think of the emotions Jesus must have been feeling, as He knew the tables would turn so quickly after this moment. We look to Luke 19:41-42, "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes."
Let us sit in this moment and consider Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and His journey to get there. He was surrounded by followers, but once one person decided to betray Jesus, the rest followed suit. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy and died on the cross that we may be saved. He recognized how desperately we, the people who persecuted Him, needed a Savior. This was the ultimate sacrifice.
We hope this month brings you peace and that you may recognize everything Christ has done for you. Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the Easter story to put things into perspective. We can look back at our 1 Peter devotional and consider how the news of our salvation is informing our daily life. Who are we really placing our trust and hope in? When we look to our Palm Sunday devotional, we can examine ourselves and ask what kind of followers are we? Do we show our allegiance to Christ when it's the norm and popular, only to curse his name when we no longer have the support? Something to think about, friends.
A Reminder of the Cross
This is the perfect time to remind yourself (and others!) of Jesus' work on the cross and His love for us. Be sure to check out our selection of Christian t-shirts that provide an excellent icebreaker in any conversation. Plus, it allows you to wear your faith on your sleeve!