Easter Reader 2019

17th March 2019

We are looking forward to celebrating Easter together.   What better way to prepare to do that than to bless one another with reflections on scripture that remind us of the very reason we come together, to worship and honour and serve a risen Saviour!

We are delighted again to have fresh contributions from new and familiar people.  We are hugely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to be a part of this project, and hope and pray that these reflections will provide a source of rich blessing to us all as we read them together.  

We will take time together over a period of 40 days to reflect on Our Lord’s Passion in all its fullness, and to journey with Him beyond the cross and beyond the tomb to witness His victorious post-resurrection appearances.  As we read these reflections together may we know the joy and peace that His disciples knew, as they were reconciled with their risen Messiah, and may we respond to His Great Commission!

Day 1 - One Question...
18th March 2019
Luke 9: 18-22
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus Foretells His Death

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

In this reader we are going to study the events around the death and resurrection of Jesus. Before we delve into this story we need to answer one important question. It is the same question Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?


If you think Jesus is just a great teacher, a guru or a political reformer you will only learn about a man who is betrayed by his friends, who is innocently convicted and who is killed in the most gruesome way mankind has ever found. Then Easter is just one of the many tragic stories about injustice and nothing more.

If you however confess that Jesus is the Anointed One of God, who came to sacrifice Himself for all our wrongdoing, you will learn about the great mercy and love God has for you. You will learn that the events of Easter were not meaningless, but it was the great length that God was willing to go in order to reconcile you with Him. You will learn that the story does not end at the cross, but through His death Jesus defeated death itself and hence you will never have to taste eternal death.


So to conclude, who is Jesus according to you?


Andries S

Day 2 - No ordinary king
19th March 2019
Matthew 16: 21-23
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord![a]This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[b] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Just a few verses before this passage, Jesus is revealed as “the Christ” (which is Greek for Messiah).  Immediately thereafter, Jesus teaches His disciples of His imperishable kingdom, against which even “the gates of hell shall not prevail.”  Then, within 50 words, Jesus tells His disciples of His coming suffering and death.  

Peter’s response to all of this indicates that he was probably thinking like most of us would: “Surely this kind of death cannot be the fate of our Messiah.  It will be a hindrance to His kingdom!” 

But Jesus quickly demonstrates exactly the opposite.  Jesus says, “You (Peter) are a hindrance to me.”

Here, Jesus clearly indicates that while any other king would be defined by his earthly kingdom, and the kingly comforts that he enjoys, these same measures are nothing but a stumbling block to Him.  Why is this the case?

As Easter reminds us, Jesus is no ordinary king.  Suffering and death may not be fitting for Jesus, but they also cannot hinder His heavenly kingdom, or purpose.  

We, who are called citizens of that kingdom through Jesus’ sacrifice (Philippians 3:20), are called to keep the same frame of mind that Jesus models in Matthew 16:21-23: 

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:2-4)



Alex and Nicola B

Day 3 - Why our faith can overcome our fears
20th March 2019
Mark 10: 32-34
Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

Often it is easy for us to become worried, afraid, and anxious about our circumstances and what lies ahead.  Everyone has felt this way. Even Jesus’ disciples were fearful and afraid. In verse 32 Jesus is leading His disciples to Jerusalem. Mark tells us that the disciples are afraid and unsure of what lies ahead. In verse 33 Jesus speaks very plainly about the suffering that awaits Him once they reach Jerusalem. In this verse, Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man, addressing His humanity, and acknowledging the punishment and eventual death that awaits Him. However, in verse 34 Jesus affirms His divine nature by telling His disciples of His resurrection and His victory over death. 

In these two verses, Jesus reminds His disciples, and us, of His human mortality and divine authority. It is so important for us, as followers of Christ, to remember that while Jesus was a man who shared much of our pain and affliction, He was also fully God.  It is because of His divinity that we can put our faith in Him and the salvation offered through His death and resurrection.  When we find ourselves afraid of what may lie ahead of us, we must remember that Jesus has overcome sin and death and has made a way for us to reside with Him.  


Chris K and Rebecca W

Day 4 - Christ's communication...our response
21st March 2019
John 16: 25-33
I Have Overcome the World

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.[a28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Communication is a skill.... possibly an art! It is required to give advice, direction or just inspire with the intention that the information shared would be acted upon.  I am sure we can all relate to having to repeat ourselves, even paraphrase our point, to be understood and evoke a response. 

Jesus wanted so dearly for His disciples to hear, learn and act in response to God’s love and will for them.  His final message was made clear. It was supported by His actions and the promise of God’s sincere love, peace and eternity in His kingdom, which is greater than all the earth. He also gives assurance that the Holy Spirit will be with them to continue teaching.  Surely, they were compelled to keep His commands, remain in His love and know their joy would be complete? 

With the knowledge of what was to occur on the cross and the events afterwards we too can know and share God’s love because He loved us first. 

Can you recall a passage or a verse that encouraged you to become a follower of Christ? 


Lesley Macher

Day 5 - The Light Shines in the darkness, and darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5)
22nd March 2019
Matthew 26: 1-5
The Plot to Kill Jesus

26 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Jesus has just finished teaching His disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven, the resurrection, the Second Coming and the final judgement. Jesus then says “As you know, the Passover is two days away - and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified”.

At the same time the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill Him.  “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”  

Isn’t it interesting how we can delude ourselves into thinking that we are in control?

Jesus’ road to the cross was part of God’s salvation plan for the world since the Fall in the Garden of Eden.  Jesus’ death was not man’s decision.  The timing of Jesus’ arrest and execution was not because the chief priests wanted to delay until after the Passover but because it was God’s will and through that Jesus’ followers would also have the instructions from the Last Supper and the ordinance of communion that we can share until Jesus returns.

The world wants to put Jesus to death not just that day but every day. The kingdom of darkness still seeks to extinguish the Light. This Easter we can celebrate the Light of the World who has completely overcome the darkness. Our God reigns!


John M

Day 6 - Jesus anointed
23rd March 2019
Matthew 26: 6-13
Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[aa woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

This is a lovely passage which took place at Bethany in Simon the leper’s home, where a woman came to Him with an alabaster jar filled with very expensive perfume and poured it over the precious head of the Lord Jesus. The one thing this woman had was devotion for Jesus and she had come simply to anoint Him.

We too have opportunities to do something for Jesus. There are many things we can do, including worshipping Him, praying to Him, witnessing for Him, giving to His work; but what He really appreciates is our devotion.

The disciples complained speaking about the waste, that the perfume could have been sold and given to the poor. Is this not true when followers of Jesus do something for Him? There is always criticism by those who do not truly believe in the preciousness of our Saviour. However, anything done for Jesus, which is motivated by desire from the heart is truly valued by Him.

As the Lord Jesus said: “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” The woman simply had one thing in mind, she wanted to do something for the Lord Jesus, as He said, preparing Him for burial.

What comfort this woman gave to the Lord Jesus as He was on His way to die on the cross for her and all of us. As Jesus said about her: “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” 


Saviour Thy dying love                                                                All that I am and have

Thou gavest me,                                                                         Thy gifts so free,

Nor should I aught withhold,                                                       In joy, in grief, through life,

My Lord from Thee;                                                                    O Lord for Thee.

In love my soul would bow,                                                         And when Thy face I see,

My heart fulfil its vow,                                                                 My ransomed soul shall be,

Some offering bring Thee now,                                                  Through all eternity,

Something for Thee.                                                                  Something for Thee.


(Sylvanus Dryden Phelps (1816-95)


Arthur & Violet W

Day 7 - Profit and Loss
24th March 2019
Matthew 26: 14-16
Judas to Betray Jesus

14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

This reading follows directly on from the anointing of Jesus by Mary, and we get a further insight into Judas from the parallel account in John’s gospel (John 12:4-6). It seems that Judas’ primary love is not for Jesus at all, but that he is more concerned with lining his own pockets.

The event at Bethany is the final trigger for Judas’ act of betrayal. Although we can never be certain what was in Judas’ heart – it is apparent that his motivation was entirely self-seeking. 

The sum agreed upon was exceptionally small. Thirty pieces of silver being of the order of £20. The chief priests would doubtless have been willing to pay more but this was all that was required for Judas to betray the Lord.

We may be shocked at Judas’ behaviour but as Spurgeon would remind us: “Yet many have sold Jesus for a less price than Judas received; a smile or a sneer has been sufficient to induce them to betray their Lord.”


Ken K

Day 8 - Don't be a hypocrite
25th March 2019
Matthew 26: 17-25
The Passover with the Disciples

17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.[a21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Jewish Law states there should be 3 main annual celebrations called Feasts or Festivals.

  1. The Passover with the accompanying Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  2. Feast of Weeks (Harvest and First Fruits).
  3. Feast of Tabernacles (In Gathering).

This was the 14th Day of the month of Nissan, the Thursday afternoon. The meal would be eaten on the 15th Day in the evening.  The lamb would have been bought on the 10th Day and preparations made the afternoon of the 14th: lamb roasted, wine, herbs and unleavened cakes.

The thought Of this celebration is protection.

"Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem, He will shield it and deliver it, He will Passover it and rescue it".  (Isaiah 31:5)

Paul says "Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed."  (1 Corinthians 5:7)

When they were reclining at the table Jesus said "One of you will betray me".  This was prophesied centuries before it happened (Psalm 41:9).  Judas gets the opportunity to retreat and repent. All the disciples doubted themselves.  Jesus’ death was by the determinate counsel of God, but the betrayer was also responsible, being the agent of Satan (John 13:2).  The Devil prompted him and Satan entered him (John 13: 27). Divine arrangements do not minimise human responsibility. For this horrifying choice Judas received an especially harsh judgement (Acts 1:25).

The word “antinomy” I have appreciated (two truths which we cannot reconcile). We believe by faith.


John and Ann S

Day 9 - The first communion was tense
26th March 2019
Matthew 26: 26-29
Institution of the Lord's Supper

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

Celebrating the Passover was the high point in the Jewish liturgical calendar.

Two thousand years ago the city of Jerusalem was a cauldron of tension, speculation and intrigue. The Chief Priests were seeking to arrest Jesus and kill Him. There were rumours of betrayal.

The Disciples were scared, worried, and afraid. Into this turmoil Jesus brings calm and assurance.

That first Communion service was very simple. It had only two elements – bread and wine.

The simplicity emphasises the power of Jesus’ words: “This is my body – take and eat.”

By partaking of the bread, the believer identifies with Jesus and recognises that by His body, His sacrifice on the cross, we are forgiven.

“This is my blood – for the forgiveness of sins.”

By drinking the wine, we remember Christ’s blood shed for us taking away our sin. For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

Two thousand years later there are still only two elements – bread and wine.

Simple and easy to remember but infinitely complex in trying to understand. And yet by partaking, we, like the disciples, can come to understand the depth and profundity of Jesus’ words and actions. The whole of the Old Testament and the Law given to Moses at Sinai are completed by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. His resurrection proclaims His victory over sin and death.

As believers, we remember our Lord’s sacrifice for us whenever we take Communion, and the very name reminds us that we are part of His Church, to celebrate the Last Supper until he returns.


Peter McIntyre



Day 10 - Breaking of Bread
27th March 2019
1 Corinthians 11: 23-24
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

This was no ordinary night for the Lord and indeed, for the worldwide Christian church.  The night when He took bread and broke it…. and invited those around that table to ‘take and eat’, was a simple act in itself but one with monumental significance.  It was an act that was intended to be sustained by the church until the Lord’s return.

These verses affirm that our communion celebration was initiated by ‘the Lord Himself’.  The ‘Communion’ or ‘Breaking of Bread’ is one of the core aspects of our church life here at Bellevue, and rightly so.  It was what the Lord commanded us to do when we meet together.  Why?  In order that we might remember Him, focus on Him and continually be amazed at His love for each of us, manifested in the sacrifice of which the ‘feast’ speaks.  It has been a consistent part of the life of the Bellevue fellowship during the 100 years we rejoice in celebrating this year.

So, when we share Communion we can be sure that this is exactly what the Lord desired; a simple yet powerful practice, the significance of which should never be under-estimated.

Jesus said ‘This is my body, which is for you’.  Partaking in the sharing of the Bread (and Wine) is a deeply spiritual practice, one we should approach with reverence and sincerity.   Ponder upon this.

Perhaps take time this Easter and especially when we Break Bread together to contemplate (again) the extent of the Lord’s love for us and His amazing sacrifice.     


Iain and Dorothy L

Day 11 - Even saints need grace
28th March 2019
Matthew 26: 30-35
Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

I would like to think that I am a pretty good Christian, wouldn’t you?  After all, I go to church, I read my Bible, I say my prayers, I tithe my money, I share my faith and I even lead my flock.  The only problem is, I also know my heart!  Oh, for sure, my intentions are good – but unfortunately, I often find that my heart is not.  Jeremiah says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  (Jeremiah 17:9) 

I would imagine from the looks of our passage, that Peter also quite fancied himself a pretty good Christian – don’t you think?  Even in the face of the unfailing word of God that Jesus quotes from Zechariah 13:7, Peter proclaims what he perceives to be the unswerving nature of his devotion and loyalty to Christ.  And then, as if oblivious to the very prophetic words of Christ Himself (v34) – Peter again maintains his innocence and steadfast commitment to Christ when he says, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.”  That’s a pretty good Christian, isn’t it?  The only problem is – Peter was a bit more in touch with his bravado than he was with his heart.  A bit like me, I’m afraid.  Isn’t it good that God gives us the end of the story? (see John 21:15-17).  What’s the moral?  Well, it seems that contrary to what we might think of ourselves, the truth is - even saints need grace.  This Easter, let’s thank God afresh for His unbounded and outrageous grace - that Paul says He loves to lavish upon us! (Ephesians 1:7-8)


Wayne Sutton

Pastor – Carrubers Christian Centre

Day 12 - Have we trials and temptations
29th March 2019
Matthew 26: 36-46
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

As we read this passage, we can be left in no doubt of the depth of emotional suffering experienced by Jesus.  A reminder that Jesus was fully human and capable of feeling everything that we do.

There will be times in our lives when we too wrestle with a challenging depth of emotion.  Perhaps doubt, fear, worry, sorrow or anger.  We may be taken to our lowest point and be unable to see a way out. 

Ultimately, we see in the Garden of Gethsemane the cost of our salvation, but we can also follow Jesus’ example as we take steps to move forward in these struggles.

Firstly, we are reminded of the importance of having people in our lives who we can confide in and rely on in these times of challenge.  Notice that only Peter, James and John are with Jesus as He wrestles with what lies before Him, the other disciples are some distance away.  Have we taken the time to invest in deep relationships with a few others who we know we can turn to when troubles come? (Hopefully they will not fall asleep when we need them!) Equally, are we prepared to take time when others need our support in times of trouble, or do our friends find us ‘asleep’ to their needs?

Secondly, and most importantly, Jesus shows us clearly that we must take everything to God in prayer. 

Lastly, we must fully trust God’s plan and be prepared to accept what He has for us, even if it is going to be difficult.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Jospeh Scriven (1819-86)


Anne K

Day 13 - Not by might
30th March 2019
Matthew 26: 47-56
Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant[b] of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Having already failed Jesus, and being rebuked by Him twice for not staying awake, now Peter reacts and springs into action ready to defend Jesus. Slashing at the head of the person nearest him, he cut off Malchus' ear. 

By his own strength, ability, thinking, passion and resources, Peter tried to find a way to deal with his current circumstances. Does that sound familiar? And I can imagine the rest of the disciples urging him on, agreeing with Peter's actions. Again, this may be familiar.

But what did Jesus do? In the midst of all the commotion, adrenaline and fear, Jesus heals the severed ear, and rebukes Peter.  Jesus knew the resources of Heaven were available to Him and He let Peter, and the mob around Him, know this. In light of over 72,000 angels available to save Jesus, Peter's actions in trying to save the situation must have seemed so insignificant, so trivial.

While knowing all the resources of Heaven were at His disposal, Jesus also knew His purpose, and all that was about to happen to Him so that scripture would be fulfilled. He didn’t call the angels. Instead, Jesus submitted to the Father's will.

When we face difficulties, we can rely on our own strength and ability, like Peter tried to do. Or we can remind ourselves that, as children and heirs of God, Heaven's resources are available to us to be used in accordance with the Father's will.


Pete and Sandra Cuthbertson

Day 14 - A stunning confession
31st March 2019
Matthew 26: 57-68
Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council

57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

One confession enables the Jewish authorities to condemn Jesus.  “Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God”, they say.  Jesus replies, “You have said so” (verses 63-64).  What the dodgy witnesses couldn’t achieve, Jesus provides willingly.  His confession is classed as blasphemy and worthy of death.

Jesus continues: “From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 

Jesus rarely called Himself Son of God – those who did included Peter (Matthew 16:16), demons (Matthew 8:29) and God the Father (Matthew 3:17) – but Son of Man was His favourite self-description.  It emphasised His humanity and humility, giving the authorities no justification to arrest Him and the crowds no incentive to crown Him king.  He only identified explicitly with the all-conquering Son of Man of Daniel 7:13-14 in conversations with His disciples.  Until now.

Just when it appears prudent to play down claims about Himself, Jesus reveals authority dwarfing the power of the Jewish leaders and the Roman Empire.  He confirms the Son of Man is also the Son of God, effectively signing His own death warrant.

Jesus sees beyond His horrific sufferings to the glory that will follow.  How will we respond when faith and courage are put to the test?  The keys are to keep our eyes on Jesus and to remember that our sufferings are incomparable with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). 


Ian Naismith

Bruntsfield Evangelical Church

Day 15 - Peter's shoes
1st April 2019
Matthew 26: 69-75
Peter Denies Jesus

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.”71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

How many times has this happened to you? Somebody accuses you of being a follower of Jesus only for you to turn around and vehemently deny it. Maybe it hasn’t happened. Maybe the freedom of religion afforded to you in 21st century Scotland makes it easy for you to profess your faith without fear of repercussions. But what if things were different? What if you were in Peter’s shoes?

That night must have been a time of great fear and confusion for the disciples. Their leader, the Son of God, had just been arrested and the situation seemed dire. Despite all that Jesus had told them, they still did not understand that this was part of God’s plan. In an effort to save himself, Peter began to deny having anything to do with Jesus.

Hours earlier, Peter had assured Jesus that this was something he would never do, and he probably believed it. But Jesus knew Peter better than he knew himself, even if Peter didn’t want to admit it. And so we come back to the question: what if you were in Peter’s shoes? Maybe you think you know, maybe you haven’t a clue. It’s easy to say that our faith will remain steadfast no matter what; we may even believe it. But God knows our hearts, He knows our innermost thoughts and desires, He knows our struggles and our shortcomings.  We’re not perfect but He loves us regardless. We just have to trust Him.


Edward G

Day 16 - Putting Jesus first
2nd April 2019
Matthew 27: 1-10
Jesus Delivered to Pilate

27 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.

Judas Hangs Himself

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter's field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed me.”

This is one of the saddest passages in the Bible. Judas, a member of Jesus’ inner circle allows a love of money to take control of his heart and drive him to the most infamous act of betrayal in history. Whatever the initial motivation was, the desire for money blinded Judas to who Jesus is and what He is all about. There is a warning in this - what may be getting in the way of us putting Jesus first in our lives?

When the magnitude of his sin hits him, Judas makes another wrong decision. He opts to try to repay his debt by giving back the blood money and then, coming to the conclusion that all is lost, takes his own life. A truly tragic end for someone who had spent so much time with Jesus.

Other disciples deserted Jesus that night. Other disciples still betray and disown Jesus and it is sobering to reflect on what betraying Jesus looks like in 2019. When we come under conviction of sin we must fall on our knees in repentance. We can’t fix our sin by ourselves, but let’s not be deceived that there is no hope when we let Jesus down. Judas could have found forgiveness, salvation and new life had he repented and walked towards Jesus rather than taking the way of the potter’s field.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9


Ewen M

Day 17 - Who is the true King
3rd April 2019
John 18:33-40
My Kingdom Is Not of This World

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

In today's reading we meet Pilate, remembered mainly for being the one to hand over Jesus to be crucified. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Pilate insulted the Jews by, amongst other things, hanging up images to worship the Roman emperor. He ended up in Rome to stand trial and the charges included his having ordered executions without proper trials having taken place. Here we appear to have an example of such a trial.  

Pilate presents no evidence but the accusations of the Jews, as he questions Jesus about who He is and what He has done. He says himself that he finds no charge against Jesus, but does not release Him, leaving that decision up to the crowd. The irony is that Pilate seems to see what the Jewish leaders have not – that Jesus is King, v37. Jesus declares who He is, that this is true, and those who know the truth will listen to Him. Sadly, Pilate exposes himself as one who is not on the side of truth, saying in v38, “What is Truth?” Surely the question should have been, “Who is Truth?” 

Maybe he could not see a king in the man in front of him, with bound hands, and a marked face having been struck earlier (v22). We need to see that Jesus, a man broken and crucified for us, is also our King. He is worthy of our worship and adoration.


Fiona Reid

Day 18 - A different path
4th April 2019
Matthew 27: 15-26
The Crowd Chooses Barabbas

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Today’s reading focuses on the process that Pilate, the Roman Governor, went through in his decision to agree to Jesus’ crucifixion.  The leading Jewish priests had brought Jesus to Pilate, and they had done some work in the background to whip up the crowd in their favour (v20).

Pilate attempts to bargain with the crowd but it doesn’t go as he expects it to.  He tries to avoid Jesus’ death, but ultimately fears the reaction of the crowd more than he cares about the injustice of Jesus’ death.  He also ignores a stark warning from his wife that Jesus is a righteous man.

The crowd is unabating. One Bible commentary had this thought on the passage:

The alternative to the crowd is not to know how to think for oneself, but rather to be a follower of Jesus.  Indeed there are few more conformist messages than the suggestion that we should escape from the crowd by learning to be autonomous.  Jesus’ call to discipleship is an alternative to the crowd and to our attempt to escape from the crowd on our own.[1]

I am so grateful this Easter that Jesus’s death and resurrection gives everyone an alternative to the ‘crowd’.  He provides a new path, one that does not depend on our own best efforts, but on His perfect sacrifice for our sins.   

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)


Pamela Campbell

[1] Matthew, by Stanley Hauerwas, Brazos Press 2006

Day 19 - Who would have thought that God's saving power would look like this?
5th April 2019
Isaiah 53: 1-6

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

This title is taken from The Message translation of verse 1 of our passage. (Why not re-read these verses or the whole chapter in it or another translation you’re unfamiliar with?)

Who would have thought that The Lord’s Servant would come from such dry ground (v1) as Nazareth (John 1:46) in rural Galilee, ruled over by the disreputable Herodian dynasty under cruel Rome? Who would have thought in Isaiah’s time, or any other time, that He would be so ordinary and unattractive (v2) and experience such pain and rejection throughout His life (v3)? After all, being popular and happy mattered long before our celebrity obsessed culture.

Who would have thought that this One would take up our pain and suffering (v4) and the punishment we deserve (v5)? And who would have thought that the thrice Holy God Isaiah had seen (Isaiah 6:3) would allow His Servant to be crushed and pierced? And that the solution to the greatest problem of humanity would be provided by the great Substitute who would do what none of us could ever do (v6)?

As we journey towards another Easter let’s rejoice and give thanks that God’s saving power looks like this! Let’s also seek God’s help to try to share what Jesus did with our friends, even though that may not seem easy (1 Corinthians 1:18,25).


John Hannah

Ferniehill Evangelical Church

Day 20 - Who is the Prophet talking about?
6th April 2019
Isaiah 53: 7-9
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

When I read these verses I immediately think of Jesus. I have no idea what Isaiah’s hearers/readers thought of this prophecy but thankfully we have the full picture.

I have been told that if a sheep rolls on its back it cannot get up again. I haven’t personally seen a sheep being sheared but thanks to television and farming programmes I have seen it. The sheep is on its back, propped up by the shearer, and at the mercy of the one with the clippers, and it makes no sound. How true are the words “as a sheep before its shearers is dumb so He opened not his mouth”.

Be honest – if you or I were accused of something we had not done, would we not instinctively be quick to plead ‘not guilty’, or attempt to prove our innocence?

But not Jesus. Arrested, falsely accused, and brutally treated He remained silent. Why? He took all the punishment we deserved that we might go free.

Let’s take time at this season to stop and give thanks for our salvation and think afresh what it cost Jesus.

Two songs, or parts of songs, spring to mind:

“Led like a lamb to the slaughter” – Graham Kendrick (Led like a lamb…)

“Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood…

HALLELUJAH WHAT A SAVIOUR” – Philip Bliss (Bearing Shame…)


Cathie Q

Day 21 - Jesus is mocked
7th April 2019
Matthew 27: 27-31
Jesus Is Mocked

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Wasn’t it awful how they treated Jesus?! I don't know if it's the spitting, the hitting on the head, or the menace of a threatening crowd against one innocent individual that is the most difficult to take. What had Jesus ever done to these soldiers to be treated in that way?

And what of the mockery? Sneering sarcasm. Biting falseness. Cruel laughter. Words can cause hurt far deeper than fists. 

Astonishingly this wasn't what Jesus had agonized over as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. The worst was still to come. Our sins would be laid on Jesus and He would be cut off from God the Father. The innocent Son of God would satisfy God's righteous anger for us.  Jesus went through all this suffering like a lamb led to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth (Is.53:7). 

This is the shockingly good news of Easter. For how does the world today treat Jesus?  How have we ourselves treated Him?

"Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held Him there" on the cross.  (Stuart Townend)

How deep then is the Father's love for us. Jesus’ death and resurrection provides forgiveness even for these soldiers who so awfully mistreated Jesus, even for us!


Christiaan Hofstra

Day 22 - Salvation Fulfilled
8th April 2019
Matthew 27: 32-37
The Crucifixion

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

Imagine standing there witnessing it all unfold.

You follow Jesus until this point full of optimism. He’s the Messiah, He’s the King of the Jews, yet this seems to be the fate that awaits Him. Your hope fades with every breath that Jesus struggles to breathe. It looks like the promise of salvation has come to a crushing end.

But Matthew picks his details very carefully here. There can be no doubt that his gospel is based on eye witness testimony. He notes the man who carries Jesus’ cross (v32), he notes the place where Jesus was crucified (v33) but Matthew wants us to notice something else.

After mocking Him with the wine and gall (v34), they divide His clothes (v35). Why would Matthew mention that? Our Biblical radars are supposed to pick up Matthew’s reference to Psalm 22. The next few verses, much like the rest of Matthew’s gospel, are dripping with Old Testament references. As Jesus goes to the cross to bear our sins, Matthew wants us to see that Jesus is fulfilling God’s plan for our salvation. It’s what He had planned and promised all along. This isn’t defeat. This is victory.

The way of our Saviour is the way for God’s people today. We deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. When His plan looks defeated and His church looks weak, we are reminded that God’s plan to make a people for Himself has lasted thousands of years; even when things look so weak. He is strong and will reconcile His sheep to His love and care.


Scott Hamilton


Day 23 - Dying alone
9th April 2019
Matthew 27: 38-44
38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

In this section, all the focus is on the “babble from the rabble”.

Alone and silent on the centre cross, Jesus is surrounded by hostile voices; insults, taunts and mockery from the people and from their leaders.

Behold the Man upon the cross.

My sin upon His shoulder.

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers.

A scene of seeming total defeat for Jesus and His mission. There was no “political come-back” from here.  How tempting it must have been for Jesus to exercise the power He had, even at this moment, to free Himself from the pain and suffering, to vindicate Himself and crush and humiliate His opposition.  The strength of God’s love for us held the nails in place.

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished.

His dying breath has brought me life.

I know that it is finished.

Then, as now, a response is demanded of us as we look upon the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Where do you stand?

I will not boast in anything:

No gifts, no power, no wisdom,

But I will boast in Jesus Christ,

His death and resurrection.


Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer,

But this I know with all my heart:

His wounds have paid my ransom.


Stuart Townend


Andrew and Christine F

Day 24 - Bear their iniquties
10th April 2019
Isaiah 53: 10-12
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Reading again these familiar, perhaps too familiar verses the phrase at the end of verse 11 caught my attention.  The theology behind these verses was well known to me, but perhaps I had been guilty of rather too quickly assuming an understanding and as a result missed out on their significance.

The suffering servant carrying my sin was what it meant I concluded, but on closer examination, I found that the Hebrew language uses a word for iniquity that is different from the word for sin.  The Hebrew word for sin has the idea of crookedness or being twisted, we might say bent out of shape.   Whereas the word ‘chattah’ translated as sin means to miss the mark, in a moral sense a failure to achieve a certain standard of living and obedience.

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopaedia describes iniquity as the character of an individual which has a twist or perversion or bend towards sin.  This is more than sin, this is the character that lies behind our sinfulness.

So Isaiah tells me that this servant suffered not just the bearing of my individual sins but the very back bending, sweat inducing, crushing, pain in bearing a cross (John 19:17), so that I can be accounted righteous  - straightened out.


David Knowles

Day 25 - I'm forgiven, because You were forsaken
11th April 2019
Psalm 22
Why Have You Forsaken Me?

22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of mygroaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.

12 Many bulls encompass me;
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dog!
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted[d] shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yetunborn,
    that he has done it.

Psalm 22 is one of the longer psalms, and the 31 verses cover much detail as we learn of David’s despair and ultimately his joy. The psalm opens with David’s cry ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’, as he finds himself in the middle of difficulties and rejection. David however knows that he has something to hold on to, as he recalls that God helped previous generations when ‘they cried to You and were saved’ (verse 5), and asks God to ‘come quickly to help me’ (verse 19).  God does rescue David, and the latter part of the psalm is full of joy as David praises God, and ends with the powerful words ‘He has done it’.

And what has He done?  This takes us to the New Testament where we read the same words ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46).  Jesus, God’s only Son, uttered these words as He was about to die on the cross, and give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. At Easter, as we remember Jesus’ death in obedience to His Father’s will, we can also rejoice that after burial He rose again.  How wonderful is God’s plan to rescue us and forgive us from our sin! 

Our lives may not be like David’s, but like him, we will sometimes find ourselves wondering where God is as we experience difficult or unexpected situations and circumstances.  Our challenge is to believe, and to give thanks and rejoice at all times, not just Easter, that God has not forsaken us, and that ‘He has done it’. 

I’m forgiven, because You were forsaken.

I’m accepted, You were condemned.

And I’m alive and well,

Your Spirit is within me,

Because You died and rose again.


Amazing love, how can it be

That You, my King would die for me?

Amazing love, I know it’s true,

Now it’s my joy to honour You,

In all I do I honour You.


(Billy James Foote)


Fiona M

Day 26 - The wisdom of God's salvation
12th April 2019
1 Corinthians 1: 18 - 2:5
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

In these verses, Paul contrasts the wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God. Why would God send His Son to die on a cross? By the standards of human wisdom, it makes no sense! But human wisdom, persuasive and eloquent as it might seem on the surface, has no saving power.

No matter how intelligent they might be, people who depend on human wisdom alone are perishing. They are like people whose ship has gone down in the middle of a great ocean. Even if they have Olympic swimming skills, those people would have no hope of reaching shore on their own. They need a lifeboat to save them. The ultimate foolishness for such people would be to refuse help from a rescue vessel.

Paul proclaimed Christ crucified. This was considered a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles — and that’s no wonder. Crucifixion was not only a cruel way to die, but it was also shameful and reserved for the worst offenders. Yet it was and is God’s plan for salvation – it defies human wisdom and understanding. Yet, “it pleased God … to save those who believe”. God chose to rescue from destruction those humble enough to rest their lives (past, present and future) on Jesus Christ and Him crucified. God saves those who believe, not those who are wise or clever.

Thus, the cross is not foolishness at all, but is instead the power and wisdom of God. It is powerful, because it has the power to save. It is wise, because Christ’s death on the cross says more clearly than anything else that God’s love for us has no bounds.


Rowan P

Day 27 - The right type of question
13th April 2019
Acts 2: 36-39
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

I suspect that we confess only a fraction of our sin to God.  Not because we are deluded as to His awareness, but because we are completely ignorant of the extent to which we sin against God and others by our thoughts and actions.  But for the grace of God we would all suffer the consequences of our own actions far more often that we do, and because of the extent of that grace the One who truly suffered all consequences for all sin was Christ.

Peter told the crowd, in no uncertain terms, that by their actions they had crucified their Messiah, the Lord.  We are told that when they heard this they were ‘cut to the heart’ and asked ‘what shall we do?’.  That response was more than just a fear of consequences.  It was an acknowledgement of truth and a conviction of sin, and it was a working of the Holy Spirit to move them to repentance.

I read recently that there are two types of questions a person may ask about God and the Christian faith, only one of which would indicate a movement of the Holy Spirit to repentance and faith.  One kind asks “What will He do for me?  Do I like what I’m hearing?  Am I comfortable with it?”  But the second kind is this: “Am I a sinner before God?  Is there any way in which a holy God could begin to accept me?  What must I do to be saved?”  This was the response of Peter’s hearers, and to those questions the answer is a hope and a promise that does not waver.  Why?  Because the Messiah that was crucified, is risen!  Praise God.


Annemarie Douglas

Day 28 - Good Friday begins
14th April 2019
Luke 22:66 - 23:5
Jesus Before the Council

66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”

Jesus Before Pilate

23 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

At the end of this very long chapter in Luke’s gospel, the sun rises on what will become known as ‘Good Friday’.  Some commentators suggest that the Jewish Council could not vote on capital offences at night, and so at the first legal opportunity the next morning, we see the characters reconvene.  The chief priests, the teachers of the law (22v66), the whole assembly (23v1), the crowd (23v4).  An early rise for a reason – they wanted Jesus crucified.

And so the process of the mock trial continued.  They tried to get Jesus to make claims that his life had already demonstrated to be true.  Are you the Christ?  Are you the Son of God?  Are you the King of the Jews?  Of course he was. 

As we look back, in some ways it is so sad that his accusers did not stop to appreciate the fact that if their accusations were true, then before them was the one to which all their Old Testament prophecies had pointed.  They were too religious to realise that the Messiah was before them.  Even though Pilate found no basis for a charge, that was not the end of the accusers’ fight.  Onward they would go to Herod for a better judgement.

But through all of this pursuit of injustice, we must appreciate that there is a plan for justice.  God’s plan for Jesus to take the punishment for our sins.  The plan wasn’t falling apart early on this first Good Friday.   Remarkably the plan was being fulfilled!


Alan P

Day 29 - The trial and the sentence before the king
15th April 2019
Luke 23:1-12
Jesus Before Pilate

23 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

Jesus Before Herod

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Pilate, the Roman governor was on duty early, and despite the charges of the crowd, three times he concluded ‘I find no basis for a charge of this man.’ He was sent to Herod and King met King.

Herod regarded Jesus as a sight to be gazed at. To Herod he was simply a spectacle, but Jesus was not a sight to be stared at; He was a King to be submitted to. If prophecy was to be fulfilled, Herod would not sentence Jesus to death, as crucifixion was a Roman not a Jewish punishment. Herod had concluded that Jesus had done nothing to deserve death, so inevitably it was back to Pilate who succumbed to the wishes of the crowd.

This is an overwhelming picture of evil pressure from people determined to kill Jesus. I often ask myself why God did not step in? God did and we can thank Pilate and Herod for helping anyone who needed proof that Jesus was indeed sinless and this was God’s plan for our salvation.



Mary S

Day 30 - The trial of Jesus Christ by Pilate
16th April 2019
Luke 23: 13-25
13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him.15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.”

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

During the night of Christ’s betrayal by Judas, and His arrest, a number of trials were held by the religious authorities.  The last one came by their ruling body.  This would be held just as dawn was breaking.  Their decision was that Christ be condemned to death.  However, they did not have the authority to execute this.  It required ratification by the Roman government.

Thus, it was that Christ was brought before Pilate.  The charges were, He was subverting the nation, opposing payment of taxes, and claiming to be Christ, a King.  The first two were untrue, and the third irrelevant as His Kingdom was not of this world.  The charges were secular, as religious charges would be of no consequence to Pilate.

Pilate’s judgement was that there was no basis for these charges and He was therefore not guilty.  But on discovering that Christ was a Galilean and under Herod’s jurisdiction he sent Him home to Herod, thus avoiding taking action on his judgement.

Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Christ before returning Him to Pilate.  Pilate again examined Christ before twice stating that there were no charges against Him deserving death.  Pilate, however, gave in to the incessant clamour of the religious authorities and the people, and sent Christ, an innocent man, for execution, He who died for man’s redemption.

When we meet Christ, He offers forgiveness for our sins, and redemption, but like Pilate we have to make a decision.  We can’t be neutral.


Alex and Catherine C

Day 31 - Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
17th April 2019
Luke 23: 26-49
The Crucifixion

26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him,“This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

Whilst the central character of this reading is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ, consider for a moment the others mentioned – the submissive Simon; the mourning multitudes; the scoffing rulers; the mocking soldiers; the abusive thief; the penitent thief and the amazed centurion. Their attitudes so resemble current response to the message of the Cross – rejection, disbelief, mockery and, for some, faith. Human nature has not changed.

On four words the whole of human history turns: “there they crucified Him”. The most climactic event since the dawn of time is summed up in this phrase – a most gruesome act with the most glorious outcome for all who believe. It was also physically dramatic with a supernatural darkness for 3 hours at the brightest part of the day (reminiscent of the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt in Exodus 10: 21-23) and the tearing of the massive Temple curtain, from top to bottom, giving us direct access to a Holy God.

What other response is appropriate to such great Salvation –

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!


Philip Bliss (1838-76)


David and Rosemary V

Day 32 - Opportunity knocks
18th April 2019
Matthew 27: 57-66
Jesus Is Buried

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

"Late in the afternoon a wealthy man from Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus arrived, his name was Joseph " (Matthew 27:57)

Joseph - wealthy, member of Sanhedrin, secret disciple.

Jesus is dead, disciples’ dreams shattered and scattered.

It was a moment where the followers of Jesus seemed impotent.

The 'secret disciple ', who had been present as the Sanhedrin had wrongly condemned Jesus, responds openly to the situation. His position gives him access to Pilate, wealth means he owns a tomb - he has the means, the opportunity, BUT does he have the will?

The disciples are impotent - Joseph is (in this situation) IMPORTANT.

Up until now he has kept his allegiance hidden - during Christ's ministry, His trial, His crucifixion.

At the moment where he apparently gains nothing and risks everything - reputation, influence, position - Joseph sacrifices everything to serve His Lord.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10 "...to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do...... " will we be ready to sacrifice all that our Father has blessed us with when our moment arrives?


Matt & Rose G

Day 33 - The earth shattering Good News of Good Friday
19th April 2019
Matthew 27: 45-66
The Death of Jesus

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Jesus Is Buried

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

One thing for certain is that we will all die. Being human carries a 100% mortality rate. This passage gives the account of Jesus’ death and there is nothing ordinary about it. We read that darkness came over the earth for three whole hours. A lot of us live in the city where it never really gets dark, but if you’ve been camping and gazed out on a cloudy night at the sky, it feels very dark and you can feel very alone. Yet this was in the middle of the day when everything was normally light. People at the time must have realised that this was a day where history was being made.

Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me”.  Jesus had to take on the painful separation from His Father that we might be able to have a relationship with God. Jesus took all our sin and shame upon Himself on the cross so that we could have access to a Holy God.

Jesus’ death was earth shattering. The very ground under people’s feet was shaking that day: “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, rocks split and the tombs broke open” (v51).

Jesus’ death splits history in two and yet each Easter when we read the account it can easily become all too familiar and lose its power. This Easter we pray that you will know the power of Jesus’ death - that sinners like you and me can approach His throne, the curtain is torn in two.


Cameron and Rachel F

Day 34 - Closure?
20th April 2019
Luke 23:50-56
Jesus Is Buried

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man,51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Imagine for a moment, that you don’t know that this is not the end of the story.  Doesn’t it feel final?  Unjust, but final.  The dignity that Jesus appeared to lose in His death is recovered in His burial, as care is taken to wrap Him in a linen shroud and lay Him a in a tomb.  Closure is offered as people are given the opportunity to mourn in the appropriate way.  This is actually the most peaceful scene we have been offered since Jesus entered Jerusalem, and if we didn’t know any better, it might feel like closure.

Closure…amazing how important it is to us.  I was once incredibly frustrated by a book that offered me none in its ending.  Within 300 pages mysteries unfolded, relationships were broken, journeys were embarked upon, and as if the person couldn’t be bothered to finish the book, nothing was resolved!  I’m a slow reader, and was just infuriated and deeply unsatisfied by this.

Closure that leaves us with Christ in the tomb should equally infuriate and dissatisfy us.  Thankfully tomorrow is Easter, so no closure today! 


Annemarie Douglas

Day 35 - Jesus is Alive!
21st April 2019
John 20: 1-10
The Resurrection

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

When I first read this passage, I wondered about what Mary said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb” (v2). Who are the “they” she thinks have done this? The Government, the guards, maybe even God?

The main point of this story is that Jesus has risen from the dead. But there is a bit of mystery: the body of Jesus has disappeared. Everybody knew that Jesus had been brought to the tomb. The tomb was well guarded: it seems obvious that someone could not have stolen it.

Mary spreads the word and Peter and the other disciple come running (v3).

The tomb is open. Where have the guards gone? Jesus’ body has gone. But Peter and the other disciple find the linen cloths that were around the body. The cloth that had been around Jesus’ head has been neatly folded and left in a different place (v5-7). This suggests that care was taken with the body, and this was not done in a rush. This doesn’t look like a robbery.

The other disciple “saw and believed” (v8). What did he believe? That Jesus had risen from the dead.

The disciples didn’t yet understand this was what the Bible said (v9). But they believed because of the evidence they saw.

Today, on Easter Sunday, we can believe in the resurrection of Jesus because we can read the accounts of Mary, Peter and the other disciple. They are witnesses to what they saw and came to believe. The Bible is not fake news! It’s all true!


Alasdair A

Day 36 - Living Saviour...Living Hope
22nd April 2019
1 Peter 1: 3-5
Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Peter experienced despair personally and powerfully when Jesus was arrested, condemned, crucified and buried.  All hope was lost.  This hopelessness was amplified by his own threefold denial of Jesus.  Yet amazingly, hope was restored for Peter and he could say to his audience of scattered and harassed believers that they had reason to praise God.  What explains this call to praise?  The only explanation is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  Peter connects regeneration (new birth) to hope through resurrection.  He gives us this living hope for the present.  It is a hope which is rooted in a past event and points us forward to all that Jesus has in store for us as His people.  For me, this is the meaning of Easter.  As I wish you a Happy Easter, I pray that we all can share in this hope based on what Jesus has done, what He continues to do and what He will one day complete.


Bob Akroyd

Edinburgh Theological Seminary

Day 37 - Celebration that Jesus rose from the dead
23rd April 2019
John 20: 11-18
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

In the earlier verses in this chapter, we see that Mary was at the tomb of Jesus before sunrise.  She was the first to discover that Jesus’ body had been removed but at that stage she did not realise He had risen.  So she ran to tell Peter and John, who came to investigate and then they went back to where they were staying.  But Mary stayed on in the garden.  I’m sure she was glad she did!

At the start of these verses, Mary must have been very sad because Jesus had died.  She had tears in her eyes.  But her day was about to suddenly change when she met Jesus, risen from the dead.

When she arrived at the tomb, Mary saw that the stone had been rolled away, and when she went in, she saw that the tomb was empty except for two angels. The angels asked, “Why are you crying? and Mary said because they have taken my Lord.  Mary must have been confused – how was the tomb empty?  Who moved the stone?  Where was Jesus?  Why would someone have moved Jesus’ body?

But soon her questions were answered, and her confusion was cleared.

Mary turned around and saw a man standing there. He asked the same question as the angels, “Why are you crying?” and she said “they have taken my Lord away”, thinking this man was the gardener through her tears.  Then the man said “Mary” and immediately she knew it was Jesus.  Afterwards Mary went and told the disciples.  Her stay in the garden had paid off – she had met the risen Jesus.

Mary was the first one to see Jesus alive again after He rose from the dead.  Jesus transformed her day, but more than that, He transformed her life.  The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is a fact that can transform all our lives!

The story started with tears, but it ends with Mary rejoicing and worshipping Jesus.  A story with a happy ending!


Cameron P

Day 38 - Peace be with you...now go!
24th April 2019
John 20: 19-23
Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

On the evening of that resurrection Sunday we find the disciples hiding behind a locked door for fear that those who crucified Jesus may come for them also.  It is in these most fearful of circumstances that the risen Lord appears to the disciples and greets them with these words, “peace be with you”. 

Jesus brings peace to His followers by His presence (we read that they were glad when they saw the Lord) but He also brings an even more profound peace, a peace that was achieved by all He had done. 

The Lord shows them His hands and side, the marks that testify of His death on the cross and He repeats again “peace be with you”.  This brings to mind that great passage in Isaiah: He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

It is only through the Lord taking upon Himself the punishment that belonged to us, that we can know this perfect peace.

Jesus is not just bringing a message of peace to the disciples, He brings a message of purpose, a mission:  “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”.  If we know this peace we too are sent out by Jesus and, like the disciples, have been given the Holy Spirit to help us.

May we know the Peace of the Lord this season and may we live out His mission by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Kenneth D

Day 39 - Living in light of the resurrection
25th April 2019
John 21: 1-14
Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

21 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Since His resurrection, Jesus has appeared to His disciples twice; firstly, when they were gathered in fear, and secondly, to graciously meet Thomas in his doubting.

When we see a group of the disciples in this passage, they have turned back to what they know well: fishing.   Perhaps as a means of distraction, perhaps to find comfort in what was familiar to them, perhaps so they could be together without having to voice the questions and confusion weighing down on their hearts. 

We read that Jesus meets them where they are, both physically and spiritually, in a miraculous way.  After fishing through the night, the disciples have caught nothing, yet when they follow what Jesus says (although unknowingly at first), they are unable to pull in their net due to the weight of the fish they have caught. 

The way that Jesus approaches His disciples here is comforting and full of grace.  He calls them His ‘friends’, and He is seeking to help them, and to be with them.   Even though they have been experiencing doubt and fear within their hearts.

Jesus often similarly approaches us in this same way today; in His grace He meets us where we are, He is seeking to help us, and He is seeking to spend time with us.  Like the disciples, we often do not realise it is Jesus at first.  But when we do, we have the choice to respond as the disciples did; to recognise that He is the Lord, and to approach Him with love and humility.  

What a privilege that in the light of His resurrection, we can approach God’s throne of grace with love and humility, through the blood of Jesus. 


Carolyn B

Day 40 - Jesus asks...do you love me?
26th April 2019
John 21: 15-19
Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Reflecting on this passage I find myself wondering about the questions Jesus asked Peter.  I wonder if I would have reacted and answered in the same way.

Peter is feeling hurt because Jesus has asked the same question three times.  Peter’s answer would have probably been out of frustration and lack of understanding, an answer which I think I would have given too: "Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You."

Jesus’ persistent question made me wonder: do I see the goodness in me that Jesus sees? Do we ever wonder if we really love the Lord? Did Peter? Rather than seeing Peter’s failures, Jesus focuses on his capacity to love, He does see into Peter’s heart, and He also knows our efforts to love. We are called to pass the good news to people in many ways, not because we are perfect, but because we do our best to share the best of our lives with others.  Peter may not have seen that he has been given a great responsibility to care for the early Christian community. When we wonder, do we love God, we should just offer the love of our hearts, imperfect as they are, and then we can say, ‘Lord, You know I love You’.

Leave the answer to Him!


Stephen M S