1 Peter 1:18-20 (NLT) – For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.
This is how secure and powerful this salvation plan of God is! God’s plans were never in any doubt, danger, or peril—for Jesus dying on the cross and resurrecting from the dead has always been God’s plan for us. Each of us have been saved from the empty, powerless, directionless, and hopeless life that once governed us. We have been rescued and ransomed not by mere gold or silver, but by the precious blood of Christ—the sinless and spotless Lamb of God! The idea of ransom is to redeem or to make an exchange. Hence, Jesus took our shame and exchanged it with His glory, and our sin-heavy burdens with His embrace and forgiveness. Even our faithlessness and tendency to go astray, has been replaced with the yearning to following Him in faith. Today, this is who we are—our worth and hope comes from the precious blood of Christ!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the immeasurably great power for us who believe. Not a worldly or human power, but the same mighty power that raised you from the dead and seated you in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Today and this week, we pray for your resurrection power to be at work in us. May you bring greater glory to your name through us, your church. Amen.
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT) – All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
The passage says that we have all strayed away. It is easy to follow when it sounds easy, pleasant, and it works for our benefit—in other words when following doesn’t require much faith. However, the faith that the Lord was teaching the Israelites in the desert (and us), is to trust in His power, promise, and rescue when everything around us tells us that it is going to be difficult, it might lead to death, and there is a good chance that it might not work out. We witness this with the Israelites in the desert, when things got a little difficult (such as feeling a little rumbling of hunger in the tummies). Fear led them to panic and for their survival instincts to kick in, resulting in grumbling and to the eventual forming of the golden calf.
However, when Christ took the burden of sin upon Himself, He also took that inability to trust, follow, and to obey from us. Our doubts, our fears, our instinct to run away is now ransomed with His faith, courage, and the yearning to draw near the Lord. Today may we have the faith that the Lamb of God has made possible for us.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank you for choosing me and changing me, even as you chose and changed your servant Paul; continue your transforming work in me this day and this week as I seek to stay close to you, my source of love and joy. Amen.” [Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year. Page 214]
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrow that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
What the Lamb of God has come to do is this: to take upon himself all of our weakness, sorrow, and sin that weighs so heavy—and put it all on himself! We all know what this burden feels like—the burden of our weakness, when we just don’t know what to do, and the burden of death as life becomes so hopeless. That is why Jesus, the Lamb of God, was known as a man of sorrows, as he bore the depth of our rebellion, sin, and punishment upon Himself.
Today are you full of burden? Is your heart heavy? Instead of carrying it yourself or try to deal with it alone, stop and look (pay attention), for this Jesus, the LAMB of God has taken our burdens upon HIMSELF!
Prayer: “Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” [Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year. Page 211]
Continue in prayer as you listen to this song “Forgiven” by Bethel Music.
John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
“Look”—this word is more than simply saying: Hey, look at that interesting thing—or check this out! When John says “look”, he is saying “open your eyes people! Wake up if you have been sleeping, and come to full attention! Stop looking or paying attention, or being distracted by anything or anyone else! For this is what you were looking for and need to see—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Today, what are you and I distracted by? What are we thinking about, concerned about, distraught about? Let’s stop and LOOK! Let’s open our eyes, and come to full attention because this Jesus that we have come to worship—is the Lamb of God. All the needs that we have, all of the questions that we have, all the burden that we carry, they are fully found in Christ. In Christ what we find is not a temporary nor a partial solution, but the full and the only solution and the resolution to our lives.
Prayer: “O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” [Book of Common Prayer]
Today, worship with the song, “Yours” by Elevation Worship.
Luke 24:5-6 (NLT) – Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!
Alleluia, Christ is risen! “He is risen indeed!” This bold announcement and jubilant response should reverberate each day. We exult as in a great victory. We shout as at hearing good news. We sing as if brimming with joy and hope. The narrative from [Luke’s] gospel tells the Easter story, along with the anticipations found in the OT and the glorious implications spelled out in the NT. Live inside the resurrection story this week and let its power and joy inhabit you. This is a week for wonder and worship: the one who was dead is now alive forever and ever! Find ways to focus your attention on the resurrection each day this week. It is like a display of spiritual fireworks dazzling us with each burst: Life! Power! Love! Triumph! Transformation! Hope! Joy! [B. Gross, Living the Christian Year, Page 202.]
Prayer: “Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” [Book of Common Prayer]
Today worship listening to the song, “Anthem” by Planetshakers.
John 14:23 (NIV) – Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
Our lives are now God’s tabernacle. Just as all the details for the physical tabernacle were important to the Lord, so all the details of our lives are important. It matters how we live. It’s about what the Lord wants to do and build, both in our individual lives and as a church.
“Disciple (mathētēs) says we are people who spend our lives apprenticed to our master, Jesus Christ. We are in a growing-learning relationship, always. A disciple is a learner, but not in the academic setting of a schoolroom, rather at the work site of a craftsman. We do not acquire information about God but skills in faith. Pilgrim (parepidēmos) tells us we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way, Jesus Christ.” [Peterson, E. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]
Let’s pray for our campuses/missional groups/church: that we would grow as disciples who listen and learn from him, and as pilgrims who move forward with his plans. Let’s worship to the song, “Fall Afresh” by The Belonging Co. and pray that God’s dwelling may be experienced among all those with us.
Matthew 17:1-5 (NIV) – After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
What’s obvious here is that we no longer have to build a physical tabernacle like the Israelites did to experience God’s incredible presence. We have a greater revelation of God in Jesus Christ! Yet, what’s not so obvious is how well we listen to Christ. Sometimes we can have selective hearing, assume we know what we’re doing, or aren’t open to certain changes. Peter might have had good intentions with building these shelters/tabernacles, but they weren’t needed. Likewise, it is good to listen to Christ. Today, ask the Lord for a heart that is attentive and open. Pray about a particular area/concern and listen to his voice, and follow through on his leading.
Exodus 40:34-38 (NIV) – Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.
“Exodus ends on a very positive note by reporting the erection of the portable sanctuary and YHWH’s [Lord’s] coming to dwell within it, but the contents of ch. 40 signal that this is not the end of the story… with the erection of the tent of meeting a highly significant development occurs, building on the newly established covenant relationship between YHWH and the Israelites. As they journey onward, YHWH will go with the people, dwelling among them.” [Alexander, T.D. Exodus, p.673].
Faithfully following and simply doing what the Lord commands leads to something totally greater and beyond ourselves, which means it’s also not the end of our story. Let’s pray for God’s presence to lead our lives onward (individually/corporately). Today, worship the Lord in his glory – his majesty, love, truth, justice, beauty, righteousness… God’s glory fills us with hope.
Exodus 39:42 (NIV) – The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“Doing everything that one is commanded to do, not skipping anything and not taking shortcuts, can be a long and tiresome job. But it is the right thing to do – especially when the commands come from God… The methodical account of the building of the tent complex contrasts with the rapid construction of the golden calf and its altar and with the subsequent chaos of pagan worship… Their [Israelites] obedience was characterized by diligence and generosity, but it was also an exact counterpart to the enthusiasm they displayed in their sin.” [Garrett, D. Exodus, p.701]
Our obedience matters when it comes to worship of God. True and proper worship takes everything and often stands in contrast to how our culture lives, but God is worthy. In view of God’s mercy, pray for this heart of obedience and for God to be at the center of our lives. Let’s worship to the song, “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman.
Exodus 35:29, 36:2 (ESV) – All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD… And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV) – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
“To make a holy dwelling for God, the Israelites had to have the right materials. Exodus 35 tells how they gathered what they needed for this huge building project. They all had a contribution to make, and from their example we learn what it means to have a heart for giving – offering what we have and what we do for the glorious work of God.” [Ryken, Philip. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory, p.1026]
The Israelites were given a chance to build the tabernacle for God’s dwelling, something unprecedented at the time. What an incredible blessing that God is willing to involve us in his kingdom and work. Let’s worship to the song, “Build My Life” by Housefires. With hearts stirred by God, pray/sow generously and cheerfully for God’s kingdom to come where you are.