Words of Hope: An Easter Devotional (Introduction and Day 1)

Introduction

All of the Scriptures—Old Testament and New Testament—testify of Jesus the Christ. Responding to religious leaders who treated the Bible as a manual for eternal life through ethical righteousness, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).[1] It is possible to be a serious Bible student and miss the whole point. Jesus is the point. Every Old and New Testament text of the Bible must be brought to kneel before the Messiah, Scripture’s center, power, and goal.

There is no disputing that the resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of the gospel as proclaimed by the apostles and the New Testament writers. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4, summarizes the gospel as the death and resurrection of Christ. All of this happened, Paul writes, “in accordance with the Scriptures.” No one should think of Jesus’s coming as something new, standing in isolation from what had come before. Rather, Christ comes in incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection, as the capstone, the culmination, the glorious goal, the climax of all of God’s prior revelation in Scripture.

Paul writes, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). The Old Testament, Paul says, was written, ultimately, so that “we might have hope.” The whole Bible is a message of hope that rests on the resurrection of Jesus. Paul explains, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:17-20).

In this Easter devotional guide, we point you to Words of Hope from the Scripture in Matthew 26-28. We also point you to some Old Testament texts that pointed forward to what is being fulfilled in Jesus. The unity and cohesion of the Scripture is further witness to the sovereign God of the Scripture. The fourteen readings are short, but I believe they will be transformative as we read and pray, preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Christ together on April 1st. May we declare with renewed joy and purpose the cry that will ring out for all eternity: He is Risen!

Pastor David

Easter 2018

DAY 1

 Matthew 26:17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”

Exodus 12:4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. 7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

Consider:

Every year, the people of Israel would prepare to eat the Passover. This annual tradition was to serve as a reminder of two things: 1) human sin and need and 2) God’s provision of atonement and deliverance. Again and again, the people were to reenact the awesome events whereby God delivered his people from Egyptian slavery. The Passover celebration served a vital role in the imaginations of God’s people who were prone, like us, to forget God’s deliverance. That God timed Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to coincide with Passover is certainly no coincidence. The Passover pointed ahead to a greater deliverance. God’s people would be delivered from the worst form of bondage: bondage to sin and death. Today, we celebrate Easter to keep God’s deliverance at the forefront of our minds. We must never forget what God has done to redeem us in Christ.

Point to Ponder and for Prayer: Many Christians see the cross as the entry point of the Christian life but fail to live daily in light of it. What does it mean to allow the cross to shape our whole lives? Pray for God’s direction in making your life cross-centered.

Casey McCall

[1] All Scripture references in this devotional are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, 2007, Wheaton: Crossway Bibles.

By | 2018-03-18T20:25:50+00:00 March 18th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Devotional|Comments Off on Words of Hope: An Easter Devotional (Introduction and Day 1)