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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 43: Holy Week

This entry is part 42 of 46 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 43: Holy Week

Weekly memory verse:

John 11:25 – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.’”

Weekly hymn:

“My Song Is Love Unknown” (free download)

Weekly catechism:

What is the duty of those who are rightly baptized?
It is the duty of those who are rightly baptized to join themselves to some visible and orderly church of Jesus Christ.

Day 211: Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Reading: Luke 16:19-31; John 11:1–53

Notes

Luke 16, Verse 20. Lazarus. This is not the same Lazarus who later dies and is raised by Jesus (John 11). However, this is the only person named in Jesus’s parables, and therefore this is likely a true story rather than one made up to teach a lesson.

Verse 22. Abraham’s bosom. A figurative expression that refers to heaven.

Verse 23. Hades. This refers to the place of the wicked prior to their final judgment. Some assume this parable indicates that the realm of the dead is one place with two parts, one for the righteous and the other the unrighteous, which was a common rabbinic teaching of the time. However, Scripture teaches that the righteous immediately enter the presence of God upon their death (see 23:43, 2 Cor 5:8, Phil 1:23).

Verse 29. Moses and the Prophets. The Old Testament Scriptures.

John 11, Verse 49. Caiaphas. Caiaphas was appointed High Priest by the Roman prefect, Valerius Gratus, in ad 18.

Summary

The highpoint of Jesus’s earthly ministry was the very public raising of Lazarus from the dead. Through this miracle, Jesus confirmed his deity and emphasized his power over death. What Jesus did in this case of physical death is what he does to the spiritually dead who believe in his sacrificial atonement on their behalf.

READ
Did God Choose Some unto Damnation?

Discussion Questions

  1. How does the raising of Lazarus confirm what Abraham said to the rich man in Jesus’s parable about the fact that if people don’t believe the Scriptures, then they will not believe even if someone rises from the dead?
  2. Why did Jesus wait before traveling to Bethany?
  3. Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?

Day 212: Zacchaeus and Blind Bartimaeus

Reading: Matthew 20:20–28, Mark 10:46–52, Luke 19:1–10

Notes

Matthew 20, Verse 23. You will drink my cup. James was later beheaded (Acts 12:2), and John was imprisoned on Patmos (Rev 1:9).

Mark 10, Verse 46. Jericho. Jericho was located 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem.

Luke 19, Verse 2. Tax collector. Tax collectors were Jews hired by Romans to collect taxes, and they were often corrupt, taking more money for personal profit.

Summary

Christ clearly taught and exemplified that the greatest in his Kingdom would be those who served others. He demonstrated this through his healings, and Zacchaeus manifested this by the fruit of his repentance.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did James and John desire great honor in the Kingdom?
  2. According to Jesus, what is required for those who wish to follow him?
  3. How do we know that Zacchaeus was truly repentant?

Day 213: The Triumphal Entry

Reading: John 12:1–11, Matthew 21:1–11, Luke 19:39–40

Notes

John 12, Verse 5. Three hundred denarii. A full year’s wages.

Matthew 21, Verse 8. Spread their cloaks. This was a traditional display of homage for royalty.

Verse 9. Hosanna. This is a transliteration of the Hebrew expression from Psalm 118:25 that means “Save us now.” The date of Jesus’s triumphal entry was Nisan 9, ad 30, exactly 483 years after the prophecy of Artaxerxes that there would be seventy weeks between the rebuilding of Jerusalem (445 bc) and the first advent of the Messiah (Dan 9:24–26).

Summary

Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem marked his official and very public claim as the promised Messiah. He had taught this and demonstrated this by miracles during his public ministry, but this final act left no question and lead to the final plots for Jesus’s death.

READ
Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 31: The Fall of Israel

Discussion Questions

  1. How did Mary’s act unintentionally predict Christ’s coming death?
  2. What did the people’s acts reveal about what they thought of Jesus?
  3. What did the Pharisees’ rebuke reveal about what they thought of Jesus?

Day 214: Jesus Cleanses the Temple a Second Time

Reading: Mark 11:12–12:12

Notes

Mark 11, Verse 14. May no one. Fig trees were often types of the Jewish Nation (Hos 9:10, Nah 3:12, Zech 3:10), and therefore Jesus’s curse of this fig tree was a lesson concerning Israel’s fruitlessness and rejection of him.

Verse 15. Temple. This is the second time Jesus cleansed the temple (see John 2:14–16), revealing his deep desire for pure worship.

Verse 23. This mountain. Jesus did not mean this literally; rather, this was a reference to a common metaphor used to describe great rabbis who could solve difficult problems.

Summary

Knowing his death for sins was coming quickly, Jesus even more publicly displayed his displeasure with the Jews and their rejection of him as well as their corrupt worship. He rebuked the religious leaders and continued to prepare his disciples by strengthening their faith. He knew that he would soon be rejected, but that in that rejection, he would become the cornerstone.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Jesus drive out the money changers from the temple?
  2. What did Jesus teach about the power of prayer in faith?
  3. How would the rejection of the Jews actually accomplish God’s plan of salvation?

Day 215: The Last Supper

Reading: Matthew 26:17–29, 1 Corinthians 11:17–34

Notes

Matthew 26, Verse 17. Passover. Passover was celebrated on Nisan 14, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread began the next day. Sometimes the entire time was called wither “Passover” (Luke 22:1) or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Further, because of a difference in how Galileans and Judeans reckoned a day, Galileans from sunrise to sunrise and Judeans from sunset to sunset. Thus, for Galileans, Nisan 14 fell on Thursday, while for Judeans it fell on Friday. This is how Jesus and his disciples (Galileans) could celebrate Passover on Thursday night, while Jesus was crucified on Friday during Passover by Judean reckoning.

READ
An important upcoming book on the Lord's Supper

Verse 26. This is my body. Jesus clearly meant that the bread represented his body, not that it was literally his body.

1 Corinthians 11:23. I received from the Lord. This is the official proclamation in the New Testament that a recreation of the Last Supper should be regularly observed by churches in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Most scholars believe that 1 Corinthians was written before the gospels, so this was the first biblical account given of the Lord’s Supper.

Summary

The Last Supper instituted an important ordinance of the church in remembrance of the broken body and shed blood of Christ on behalf of his people. In the ancient world, to sit at a table with someone signified free and open communion. Consequently, the Lord’s Supper is a picturesque way to signify that we have full communion with God through Christ’s death for us, and that we also share communion with others of Christ’s followers.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Paul give careful instructions about the Lord’s Supper?
  2. What do the bread and cup represent in the Supper?
  3. What does the whole meal represent?
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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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