Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Today is Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of the Lenten season. Growing up in the Lutheran church, we took this sober season pretty seriously. We would always go to church to receive our ashes and choose something to “fast” until Easter.
As I got older, I learned to really appreciate this time of reflection and discipline. Some churches offer Lenten devotionals to follow as an individual, family or small group and I’ve always found these guides to be helpful.
We think we have found a church up here in Portland but we’re not sure just yet so we aren’t plugged into any kind of devotional or series for Lent. I’ve decided to follow a scripture reading guide on YouVersion and plan to blog some thoughts each day.
If you’d like to follow along, I am doing the 40 Days of Lent plan. You can download the YouVersion app on your mobile device or tablet, or you access the site from a computer. If you have trouble finding the plan, shoot me an email at email@example.com and I will help direct you.
Today’s scripture is Matthew 21:1-11. This reading describes how Jesus enters Jerusalem as a king amidst celebration and fanfare – a stark contrast to the next procession he makes, bearing the cross as a beaten and bloodied man condemned to crucifixion.
I’m always struck by this passage, traditionally read at Palm Sunday. Have you ever attended a church where they have actual palms for people to wave? (Of course our Cambridge church had fair-trade palms haha :))
I love to imagine Jesus coming into my town and lining the streets cheering His arrival. Can’t you see it? The most epic celebration.
But what’s so sobering about this passage is that the crowds cheering His arrival soon became swept up in His condemnation. Very few stood their ground and continued to honor Jesus.
How often do we act like those crowds? Praising Jesus at church or in small group and then turning our words, bodies or, worst of all, our hearts away from Him.
I have days where I think at the end if it, what would I have to say for myself if I had to face God? How ashamed I would feel. Embarrassed. Unworthy.
It hits me deep inside, at my very core, to imagine what Jesus endured for ME. Imperfect, selfish, sinful ME. And He knew going into it that I would fail Him and He did it anyways.
So I pray tonight that I would feel convicted to praise the KING, who entered Jerusalem on a little donkey and accepted His brutal death so that WE may have eternal life.