Bible Readings and Devotion for April 8, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 8, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Here in the midst of Holy Week (Palm Sunday through the Resurrection of our Lord/Easter) we are remembering various things that happened that week. Later this week we will focus on the Three Holy Days, the Holy Triduum, of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter/Paschal Vigil.
Today we read from Matthew 26 about the small reaffirmation of Jesus’ Passion Prediction, and we also hear the account of the Anointing at Bethany. Each of these events points to the central action of Jesus for the world, for us. These point to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin.
First, verse 2, Jesus notes, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” This statement is a small version of the three major statements our Lord makes earlier in the book. These statements, known as “Passion Predictions” are in these three passages:
The term “passion” in this context means, “to suffer.” The term comes to modern English from Latin (“pati,” meaning “to suffer”), into late Latin, into Old French, and into Middle English. So, the “pati” becomes for us, “passion”. These are predictions of his suffering for us. It is important to note that in each of these three main Passion Predictions, Jesus notes his suffering, death, and very importantly, his rising from the dead. His followers didn’t like this idea that he would die. They missed that he would also be raised from the dead.
The other scene we have from Matthew 26 is the Anointing at Bethany. The woman uses a costly ointment to show her loving respect for Jesus. Jesus notes the following about what she is doing, “By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial.” The action points to what is about to happen to Jesus. He is going to die for us on the cross. Just as with the Passion Predictions, Jesus knows what his future holds for him. Our Lord is all about fulfilling his purpose for walking the earth. Everything he has done is leading up to this.
The scriptures all lead up to Jesus. The ministry of Jesus leads up to the cross of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is even more significant because it follows Jesus’ death on the cross. As we remember Jesus in the Holy Communion we look back to the death of Jesus on the cross. Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” In our lives and in the church we point to Jesus’ death on the cross as we use the symbol of the Cross for our Christian faith. Our lives are founded in the cross, and our lives have meaning because of the crucifixion of Jesus.
A note of interest: This passage also includes one of my favorite statements in scripture. Jesus so appreciates this caring action by this woman that he tells his listeners to remember this incident. He says, “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” They did remember this, and it has been told to the world for the past 2000 years. This same thing will be told for the foreseeable future. It was a bit like a lecture when the teacher notes, “Write this down,” and then gives the listeners what to write.
Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: our life begins and ends in you. Help us to see the central placed which the death of Jesus holds in our lives. Guide us to live to the praise of your glory which is shown in the crucifixion. We pray this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.