Holy Week Devotional - Wednesday

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During Holy Week we will be emailing daily devotionals that reflect on what happened each day during Holy Week. We hope and pray the Lord uses these devotionals, and additional resources, to encourage you and grow you in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

These devotionals will be archived on our website, and can accessed here.

Please feel free to share any and all of these devotionals!


What Happened on Wednesday?

Suggested Readings

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the temple complex*
Luke 21:37-38

The Sanhedrin plots to kill Jesus*
Matthew 26:3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2

*We don’t really know for sure that these events occurred on Wednesday. This is just one possible option.

Devotional

Happy is the one who fears the Lord

In the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) we see that around the middle of Holy Week the chief priests and scribes met to discuss a way to 'arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him'. How did it come to this? Men who claimed to be God's people, who claimed to know God's Word, were conspiring to murder someone. And not just someone, but the promised One, the long awaited Messiah, God in flesh. They were seeking to kill God! The absurdity! Hadn't they seen the miracles? Hadn't they, experts in the Law, been astounded by Christ's authority and knowledge of the Word? How could they have been so blind to the fact He was the One they had read about and been waiting for?

The answer seems to be found at the end of these 3 texts; they feared the people. They were scared of an uproar amongst the people. Some background info is helpful here. Countless pilgrims would make the journey to Jerusalem each year to celebrate Passover, and, as noted in the ESV Study Bible, during these feasts "nationalistic fervor ran high as they recalled the liberation of their ancestors from bondage in Egypt", and it was quite common for messianic pretenders to capitalize on that fervor, which could lead to uprisings and drawing the attention of Rome. See, the Jewish leaders feared man; specifically Rome. And that's the reason they hated Jesus and were plotting to kill Him. Yes, they despised Christ because of His harsh rebukes towards them. Yes, it angered them that He was a friend to sinners. Yes, it infuriated them how He shook up the status quo. But what they really hated was that Christ was attracting a crowd and therefore would attract the attention of Rome.

They were fearful that if they "let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48). And as Caiaphas the high priest would go on to say, and unknowingly prophecy in verse 50 of John 11, "it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” And so from that moment on, we're told in John 11:53, they began making plans to kill Jesus. See, the religious leaders feared man more than they feared God. They feared Caesar more than the One who held Caesar's heart like a stream of water in His hand and turned it wherever He wills (Proverbs 21:1). They feared the political power of the Roman Empire rather than fearing God, who "removes kings and sets up kings" (Daniel 2:21). John Chrysostom, 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople, once said the Pharisees "never were afraid of the judgment of God but only the judgment of people.” The fear of anything other than the Lord will always blind you from the Truth, and lead you away towards death. Christian, cling to these 3 truths this day:

  1. "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:8)
  2. "Blessed (happy) is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity." (Proverbs 28:14)
  3. "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him." (Psalm 103:13)

Family Discipleship

The plot against Jesus
Luke 21:37-38, Matthew 26:3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2

  1. How was Jesus spending his time each day?
  2. Who was not pleased with the response to Jesus?
  3. While Jesus was teaching, what were the Jewish leaders doing?
  4. What were they afraid of?

Worship Through Song

In the Night (My Hope Lives On)

I am weary with the pain of Jacob's wrestling
In the darkness with the fear
In the darkness with the fear
But he met the morning wounded with a blessing
So in the night my hope lives on

When Elisha woke surrounded by the forces
Of the enemies of God the enemies of God
He saw the hills aflame with angels on their horses
So in the night my hope lives on

I see the slave that toils
Beneath the yoke unyielding
And I can hear the captive groan
Hear the captive groan
For some hand to stay the whip his foe is wielding
Still in the night my hope lives on

I see the armies of the enemy approaching
And the people driven trembling to the shore
But a doorway through the waters now is opening
So in the night my hope lives on

Like the son who thought
He'd gone beyond forgiveness
Too ashamed to lift his head
But if he could lift his head
He would see his father running from a distance
In the night my hope lives on

I can see the crowd of men retreating
As he stands between the woman and their stones
And if mercy in his holy heart is beating
Then in the night my hope lives on

I remember how they scorned the son of Mary
He was gentle as a lamb gentle as a lamb
He was beaten He was crucified and buried
And in the night my hope was gone

But the rulers of earth could not control Him
They did not take his life He laid it down
All the chains of death could never hope to hold Him
So in the night my hope lives on

I can see the Son of Man descending
And the sword He swings is brighter than the dawn
And the gates of Hell will never stand against Him
So in the night my hope lives on


Additional Resources

Video: Holy Week - Tuesday

Filmed in conjunction with the book The Final Days of Jesus, this video features short explanations from and interviews with historian of ancient history Paul Maier (of Western Michigan University) and New Testament professor Grant Osborne (of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), focusing on the behind-the-scenes motivations and actions of the Sanhedrin as they plot to put an end to Jesus once and for all.

Holy Week Spotify Playlist

We created a Spotify playlist with music focused on Holy Week. We hope these songs will help you reflect on this momentous week, and help prepare your heart as we reflect on and celebrate these events.

Pinterest

Check out our Easter Pinterest Board for activity and craft ideas for the whole family! You can find the board here.

Books

The following two books were used to help prepare these daily Holy Week devotionals.

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The Final Days of Jesus

A chronological arrangement, with commentary, to help one understand what happened and why it matters today.
More information here.

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ESV Family Devotional Bible

Designed to help families read the Bible and apply God's Word together.

More information here.

Study Guide

The Final Days of Jesus has a companion study guide available as a free PDF. You can download it here.