A Lenten Devotion for March 31, 2012

I wrote this for our church Lenten Devotional for today. I hope it blesses you.

March 31 — Mark 10:32-34 (NIV)

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

As we reflect on our passage for today we see that this is the third time that Jesus has predicted his death, each time revealing a bit more to the disciples. In the first account in Mark 8:31 Jesus says that he must suffer persecutions by Jewish leaders and that he must be killed and then rise in three days. In the second prediction in Mark 9:31 Jesus provides a little more information saying that he will be “delivered into the hands” of his executioners who will kill him. But he does so with the consistent information that he will rise again after three days. Our passage today indicates who specifically the executioners will be – Gentiles – who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Yet once more, in the midst of the details Jesus, provides the constant that three days later He shall rise.

As Jesus speaks to us today we understand that Christ’s sacrifice was a ransom for our salvation – a loosing of our slavery to sin so that we may be free to live eternally through/in Him. We should remember that even in the midst of His own extreme trial and tribulation Jesus was caring for the disciples – offering them assurance over the hardships that they would face and, ultimately, assuring them of victory over sin. As we anticipate the celebration of Easter – this emphatic, victorious truth rings true in our hearts and resonates consistently in our minds. As we fervently serve our Lord and await our own resurrections, may we take restorative comfort in the fact that all along the way – Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the community of faith, is here caring for us as we encounter our daily burdens. Indeed, like the disciples, we too can rest assured that such temporary burdens will ultimately result in eternal glory!

Let Us Pray: God no matter what our hardships we know that they pale in comparison to your sacrifice for us. Yet you do not diminish our suffering instead you console it. Allow us to be steadfast in our commitment to you remembering that your resurrection is a constant reminder of the Hope that you bring and the promise that you keep. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit so that we might be blessed with conviction to serve the Father’s will and be guided forevermore into you Glory. This we pray now and forever – Amen.