Please enjoy Pastor Derek's devotionals from our 2019 Holy Week booklet. We pray that these messages will bless you this week as you contemplate Jesus Christ's ultimate sacrifice for us. Check back here each day, through Thursday, for another devotional.
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“Foot Washing and Last Supper”
Scripture: Matthew 26:14-39; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-39; John 13:1-20
By Pastor Derek Buikema
On Thursday, Jesus did and taught a great deal. We will focus on two things. First, before the supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This was a scandalous act, for the washing of feet was an act of humiliation so severe that Jewish servants weren’t allowed to perform it. It was also an act of love. John 13:1 says, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
He also gives his followers a practice that the church still does regularly – he gave his disciples the practice of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus takes bread and breaks it and says that it is his body and tells his disciples, “do this in remembrance of me.” And he takes the cup and he says that it is the new covenant in his blood, commanding, “do this in remembrance of me.” He is giving his disciples a way to remember what is about to happen. Jesus is about to go to the cross and shed his blood and give his body to completely forgive the sins of everyone who trusts in him.
Taking the Lord’s Supper is a regular, moving reminder of how amazing the love of Jesus is for you and me. What a savior Jesus is to humble himself to the place of a foot washer! And what a savior he is to humble himself further to death on a cross! For you! Won’t you trust in him as we look to his death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Sunday?
Prayer: Jesus, I praise you for your love displayed in the washing of feet. I praise you for leaving us a way to proclaim your death and how you forgive sins. Let me trust in you and love others with a humble love.
“The Plot to Kill Jesus”
Scripture: Matthew 26-3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-12
By Pastor Derek Buikema
Wednesday is the quietest day of the last week of Christ’s life. Luke 21:37-38 tells us that Jesus taught every day in the temple, so this day certainly contained some teaching, but there is not the controversy of Monday when Jesus cleansed the temple, nor the controversy of Tuesday when Jesus debated the religious leaders.
We do get to see the depravity of the religiously and politically powerful in Jerusalem on display, however. Matthew and Mark and Luke all record that on this day the “chief priests and the elders of the people” gathered in the home of the high priest and plotted specifically how they were going to kill Jesus. They wanted to do it after the feast of unleavened bread, because they knew that Jesus had become very popular among the people and they did not want to cause an uproar. They’re willing to bide their time, but their mind is made – they will put Jesus to death.
Wednesday reveals how true Christ’s words are in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Many who seek after the ways of the world – its power or fame or authority – dislike Jesus and his ways and his word, and sometimes even his followers. It is because we can easily be threatened by Jesus and his legitimate claim to be the Lord f our life and the Lord of the universe. This is why those who seek to follow Jesus must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow after him.
Prayer: Jesus, I pray that you would enable me to deny myself, that you would make me willing to suffer pain or loss for you, and that you would cause me to follow after you.
“The Fig Tree and the Temple, Part 2”
Scripture: Mark 11:20-26; 13:1-27; Luke 20:1-21:36
By Pastor Derek Buikema
On the Tuesday of the week that Jesus died, he and his disciples walk by the tree he had cursed the day before. He uses the object lesson of the tree to teach his disciples to have faith in God.
Jesus then returns to the temple he had cleansed the day before and answers a series of questions posed to him by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the law. His answers show that Jesus has an insight into the scriptures greater than that of any of the religious leaders (this shouldn’t surprise us, since Jesus is God, and God wrote the scriptures). After showing his superior insight into the Bible, Jesus calls the Pharisees “hypocrites” and “blind guides, “ letting the people know of the true nature of their religious instructors. He doesn’t accept their authority. Instead, he is showing that the has come to challenge their authority and to replace their authority with his own.
At the end of the day on Tuesday, Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple – an act which prefigures the judgment which will come upon the world when Jesus returns again. Tuesday’s actions show that Jesus has authority Hi authority is demonstrated by his wisdom which is superior to any other religious teacher, and his authority will be on full display when he comes to judge the living and the dead. We should want to put ourselves under his authority, by believing in his name.
Prayer: Jesus, I praise you that you alone are the final authority, and I thank you that everyone will see and know that when you come again. Please give me true faith in your name.
“The Fig Tree and the Temple”
Scripture: Mark 11:12-19
By Pastor Derek Buikema
On the Monday of the week of Christ’s death, Jesus does a very curious thing. Mark chapter 11:12-13 tells us about it. He curses a fig tree! What in the world was Jesus doing? The Old Testament helps us figure this out. In the Old Testament prophets (Jer. 8:13; Hos. 9:10, 16: Joel 1:7), Israel was characterized as a fig tree. So Jesus is symbolizing the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel because they have not been fruitful.
Jesus then goes and cleanses the temple-driving out the people changing money and those selling goods to pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover. He announces that the temple was supposed to be a house of prayer for all nations, but the Jewish religious leaders had determined to turn it into a profit center at the expense of the religious faithful-they had turned it into a den of thieves. By doing this he denounces the religious leaders for allowing the exploitation of many who had come to offer sacrifice.
Because Jesus had so challenged the religious leaders, they decide that Jesus must die. Monday’s actions move Jesus irrevocably toward the cross, and his death will be for all the nations. The death of Jesus is for you, regardless of what national or cultural background you are, if you believe in Jesus alone.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that your death is for believers in all nations. Let me have a growing understanding of how your church is a church of all nations.
We are beginning the time where we remember the last week of the life of Jesus. This week is sometimes called “Holy Week” because by the death of Jesus on Good Friday we are made holy. Sometimes it is called “Passion Week” because it is the week of Christ’s suffering (passion’s archaic meaning is “suffering”). Maybe my favorite way of referring to it is the way one Bible teacher put it: “The most important week of the most important person who ever lived.” (This is the way the book The Final Days of Jesus puts it – a book that helped me write the devotionals for this week).
This special week in the life of the church begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter. We want to be intentional as a church to pay attention to this week of the life of Jesus, and so Orland Park CRC has put together a booklet specifically for this week. In the booklet are our Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday services. And for Monday-Thursday of this week, we have a brief devotional where I have the chance to explain what Jesus did on each one of the days of this week leading up to his crucifixion and death.
My prayer is that we’ll take time this week to remember what our Savior and Lord has accomplished for us, and be filled with thanksgiving for his death for us, and for his defeat of death.
-Pastor Derek Buikema