Day 1 - A Greater Passover
30th March 2022
Matthew 26:1-5
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, He said to His disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away - and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”


Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 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.”


As Jesus faces His imminent death, He has been taking time to lovingly instruct His followers on near as well as distant future events (Mt.24-25). Whether we’ve been walking with Jesus only briefly or already for a long time, may we see how Jesus longs to instruct us too.


However, before the events hinted at in the previous chapters can take place, the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified (26:1). The gift of His life is necessary to enable us to enter into the greatest wedding feast of the most loving bridegroom (25:10) and face the final judgment when the Son of Man returns in glory (25:31).


And so, a great feast becomes a greater Passover. The Lamb replaces the lambs. What Caiaphas and the elders of the people meant for evil (26:3-4) God meant for the greatest good. That all who trust in the crucified Son of Man will live.


The Hofstra family

Day 2 - Is Jesus worthy?
1st April 2022
Matthew 26: 6-13
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper,  a woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on His head as He was reclining at the table.


When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”


Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me.  When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”


What moved this woman to perform such an act? Had she been forgiven, healed, delivered from demons? Was it a mere outpouring of her adoration that, through God’s providence, prophetically marked Christ’s forthcoming burial, or was she fully aware? Either way, she generously anoints Him with her expensive perfumed oil (v.7), seeming unconcerned for the cost. For her, Jesus was worthy of such adoration and expense.   


It is astounding that she should express such extravagant adoration toward her Lord, and yet, privileged members of His inner twelve apostles - led by Judas, it seems - would be so incensed at the apparent financial waste (v. 8; Jn 12:4-5).  Rather than anoint the Christ, the Son of the living God, Judas responds: surely profit from the sale of this perfume would be better spent helping the endless droves of the poor (v. 9)? John’s account reveals Judas cared nothing for them but rather coveted the potential revenue for himself (Jn 12:6).  


The indignance of Judas seems to have triggered his betrayal of Christ (see v.14-16). The Lord, however, declares this woman’s act will be recorded as a memorial for future generations (v.13).  


Consider this: what will history say of your response to Jesus? Will the books show you felt Him worthy of such adoration, such giving of yourself…or will they demonstrate you felt those were better spent on lesser things…your self-gratification? Compare history’s record of this woman compared to Judas. Oh, friend, let it be said of you that you felt Him worthy, for He IS worthy. 


Hymn:Oh, my soul, arise and bless your Maker” 




Ryan and Clare McKernan


Day 3 - Kingdom Investment
1st April 2022

Matthew 26:14-15


Then one of the Twelve - the one called Judas Iscariot - went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.



In the lengthy 26th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, verses 14 and 15 stand out in contrast to the previous recorded incident in the days that lead up to Jesus’ betrayal and arrest.  In Bethany, Jesus had been visiting the home of Simon the Leper – significant in itself! – and while there a woman anointed Jesus with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment.  This was a costly demonstration of her love for Jesus.  She gave.


In contrast, as we come to verses 14 and 15, we have Judas.  He received.  He received 30 pieces of silver (the value of a slave - Ex 21:32) for handing over Jesus to the Chief Priests.  He was an insider – ‘one of the Twelve’, yet he was motivated by riches.  He saw an opportunity for financial gain from his privileged position of being close to Jesus.


Who do we think was better off from these two actions?  The woman or Judas?  Undoubtedly it was the woman.  Our blessings do not come from financial riches but from the riches of Christ.  Matthew 27:3 tells us what happened to these 30 pieces of silver and goes on to describe ultimately what happened to Judas.


Let us not simply be motivated by what we receive from our relationship with Jesus, great though that is.  But let us consider what we can give.  As we are reminded from Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”



Alan and Julie Paterson

Day 4 - Amazing Love
3rd April 2022

Matthew 26: 17-25


On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”  So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.


When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.  And while they were eating, He said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me” They were very sad and began to say to Him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”


Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”


Then Judas, the one who would betray Him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”


The scene of the Last Supper.


Jesus, in a borrowed room, sharing the Passover meal with his friends.  The room had been booked, the celebrations are ready and the Passover meal prepared.


Everyone in that room would have experienced the Passover meal every year.  When they were children, enjoying the story with their families. Later, as they grew up, sharing the time with their friends.  This was a celebratory meal, full of customs and tradition, shared with friends, together reading the story of the Exodus, drinking wine, eating specific foods, and praying together.


But all of a sudden, the atmosphere changes.  Jesus, breaks from the routine and announces that one of them is to betray Him.  That’s stopped the conversation.  Where did that come from?  Unsurprisingly, the disciples are worried.  They ask, ‘Is it me Lord?’, ‘Surely, it’s not me, Lord?’ Jesus knows who will betray him.  So does Judas.


Jesus has always known.  In the same way, He knows that Peter will betray Him.  He knows us too.  He knows that we will betray Him.  We stay silent when we should speak.  We ignore Him when we should listen to Him.  Even though we love Him, we sin against Him, but the amazing thing is that He knows all of this about you and me and, still, He loves us.


‘Freely You gave it all for us, surrendered Your life upon that cross
Great is Your love poured out for us, This is our God
And I will fall at your feet and I will worship You here’

(This is our God, Hillsong)



Neil Main

Day 5 - The Messianic Passover: readiness and renewing
3rd April 2022

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”


Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”


In this verse we are nearing the climax of God’s word to His people. Hearing this good news, first century followers would have been keenly aware of God’s purpose for humans (Gen 1:28), God’s promise at the Fall (Gen 3:15) and God’s covenants with Abraham (Gen 15:5) and Moses (Deu 4:13). This moment is pivotal because the disciples are about to be told how “all nations of earth will be blessed” (Gen 22:18). We have waited 42 generations since this promise.

Reclining at table, Jesus uses the Passover celebration to reframe a lasting ordinance.

What was to mark Israel’s delivery from a physical slavery, now marks delivery from spiritual slavery. Jesus gives new meaning to the symbols used in Passover. In my interpretation, the bread is no longer about Israel’s readiness to leave, it is now about Jesus’ readiness to have His body broken on the cross; the blood is no longer about God’s wrath passing over homes, it is now about God’s wrath passing over those who know Jesus, whose blood was spilled. This means that we now celebrate a new exodus from slavery to sin and a new covenant blessing of a promised eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15). In response to that we can sing “let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm118:24).


Simon Fraval

Day 6 - Never say never again
4th April 2022

Matthew 26: 30-35


Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:


‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’


But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”


Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”


“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”


But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.


Have you ever found yourself considering the transgressions of someone else proudly thinking to yourself “I would never do that”? Be thankful that the Lord knows all the things you have ever done and ever will do – even the things you don’t think you are capable of – and He chose the cross anyway.


Are the biggest claims of loyalty to the Lord easier to make than the smaller everyday ones? Is it easy to imagine yourself being faithful even to martyrdom, but when asked what you did over the weekend, worshipping God doesn’t get a mention? Be thankful, that the Lord choose the cross knowing this too.


When, not if, we fail – in the catastrophic errors and the everyday ones – the Lord died on a cross and was raised again ensuring that we as well as Peter might be restored. Peter was so focused on defending himself from the idea that he might betray the Lord, that he seemed to entirely miss Jesus’ prediction of resurrection! Let’s quickly acknowledge our sins to Him and look for the miraculous transformation God can work in our lives.



Ken and Anne Knowles

Day 7 - Jesus' Agony
5th April 2022

Matthew 26: 36-46


Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”


Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”


Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” He asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”


When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.


Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”



This is a deeply moving episode. We see a glimpse of the agony of Jesus the God-man. And in the midst of that agony, His willing submission to the Father’s will is beautiful. We wonder as we see the eternal God humbling Himself to take on the judgment we deserve realising that He knows the cost and the pain that will be required. And yet, He takes the cup willingly.  This is striking given the contrast between Jesus’ willing obedience to do what the Father asks of Him, and the disciples’ complete inability to do what Jesus asks of them. It would be laughable, if it weren’t for the fact that I am no better than these disciples. Jesus is not merely an example to us here of obedience. He is taking our place; that cup ought to be our cup of suffering. Jesus willingly, lovingly, servant-heartedly, submits Himself to the Father’s judgment on our behalf. To see the God-man wrestle with the suffering He is about to face should humble us and move us, knowing that it is for our sake. 




Frances Warren

Day 8 - Jesus' arrested to set us free
6th April 2022

Matthew 26: 47-56


While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.


Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”


Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested Him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.


“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.  Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”


In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.



The armed mob that came to arrest Jesus had no idea what they were up against. Little did they know that Jesus could call on an army of angels so great that the whole military might of the Roman Empire could not hope to defeat them. Peter didn’t understand this either as he drew a sword to defend his master. And yet, on that dark night, no angels were called down and Jesus was led away as a prisoner. On that dark night He was abandoned by his friends. On that night He was taken away for trial and condemnation. Jesus was not taken against His will, but gave Himself up, so that all that the scriptures said about Him might be fulfilled. He gave Himself up so that the Father’s will might be done, so that the promised plan of salvation might be carried out.


Praise God that Christ was arrested to bring us freedom. Praise God that He was forsaken, first by His friends, but ultimately by His Father, so that we might be eternally reconciled to God. Praise God that the angels were not called upon to win a great victory that night, so that Jesus might go on to win a great victory for us. Victory over sin, over the devil and over death.


Alex Warren

Day 9 - Jesus, Lord of all
7th April 2022

Matthew 26: 57-68


Those who had arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.


The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put Him to death.  But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.


Finally, two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”


Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.


The high priest said to Him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”


“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: 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.”


Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”


“He is worthy of death,” they answered.


 Then they spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. Others slapped Him and said,

“Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”




The darkness is closing in on Jesus – verse 56 ends with “Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled”. Jesus is standing before the Jewish leaders who trump up bogus charges in an attempt to have Him condemned to death.


Phrases that strike me in this passage are….


 …Peter followed Him at a distance…v.58


In contrast to the other disciples Peter followed into a dangerous place. As we know, on this occasion he failed the test that followed, but at least he was following!


…But they did not find any (false evidence) …v.60


In this mock trial it was not possible for Jesus’ enemies to find any fault in Him. The same is true today. In a world full of confusion, lies and death, look to Jesus – the one who is the Way the Truth and the Life.


...Jesus remained silent…

Jesus had chosen to take this path. The Jewish leaders may have thought they were calling the shots, but Jesus calmly allows events to take their course.


And then Jesus speaks echoing words from Daniel 7.


 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: 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.” v.64


His words remind us just who is in control and warn readers not to align themselves against His purposes.  


The leaders refused to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah – one day they would see that He was indeed. They were sitting on judgement over Jesus – one day they would be judged by Him. They were sending Him to His death – one day they would see Him as the risen conquering King!


As the darkness closes in, we know the end of the story is full of light and that, like Peter, we can say every day “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” John 21:16

Day 10 - Confessing our failures
8th April 2022

Matthew 26: 69-75


Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.


But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”


He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”


 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”


Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.




I wonder when the last time was you made a mistake.  Chances are only you would know, as if the circumstances don’t require a confession, we’d likely to keep it ourselves, or worse still cover it up with a lie.


Think about what we know about Peter’s denial. He wasn’t confronted by two big burly soldiers. He was initially asked by two servant girls.  He didn’t cave under horrific persecution of his enemies.  In fact he warmed himself by their fire.  He didn’t quietly mutter his denial once, he vehemently denied any knowledge of or fellowship with Jesus, swearing down curses on himself if he was lying.  Thankfully Jesus would bear that curse Himself on the cross.


I’ll be honest, I would struggle not to carry judgement in my heart if I saw this kind of hypocrisy in a Christian today.  If I saw a Christian deny Christ in some way, I’d struggle to perceive any truthfulness or integrity in that person.  Of course, I know that person isn’t accountable to me, and I’m not the one who can see their heart, and it’s not my forgiveness that should mean anything to them, and without a doubt I’d have a fairly sizeable plank in my own eye to consider.   But I know that I would henceforth struggle to receive their teaching or instruction.


And then I think of Peter…the man on whose faith and courage Jesus was to build His church…making this completely monumental mistake.  And how do we know this?  We know because Peter admitted his failure to the Gospel writer.  We get these details from Peter himself, because his recovery of his integrity and sincerity in the eyes of others depended on his confession, on his willingness to admit his mistakes, and testify to God’s grace in His life. 


Let us too be ready and willing to confess our failures, so that as we live for Jesus today, we do so with integrity and humility. 



Annemarie Douglas

Day 11 - What is truth?
9th April 2022

John 18: 33-40


Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”


“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”


“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”


Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”


 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.


Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”


 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”


They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”




When I read this passage, my attention was drawn to verse 38:  Pilate said to Him “What is truth?”.  However, once he asks this question he doesn't wait for an answer, but goes back outside to the Jews.


What would have happened if he had waited for an answer? Would Jesus have repeated John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life."? And if Pilate had heard this, would he have come to realise that the truth could set him free?


How many people today search for the truth in all the wrong places, and don't wait to hear Jesus' answer or dismiss Him as 'fake news'?  


And what about us? Do we listen to His voice as verse 37 says we should? As John 8:31 says, we need to abide in His word so that we know the truth.


What is truth? A question with just short three words, but the answer has life-changing consequences. Let's make sure that, unlike Pilate, we stop to listen.


Vicky I’Anson

Day 12 - "He hoped to see Him perform a sign of some sort."
10th April 2022

Luke 23: 6-16


On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.


When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see Him. From what he had heard about Him, he hoped to see Him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing Him.  Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him. Dressing Him in an elegant robe, they sent Him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends - before this they had been enemies.


Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined Him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against Him. Neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; as you can see, He has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish Him and then release Him.”


It might have surprised you a little to read that Herod was glad to see Jesus.  Herod did show an interest in Jesus, but in entirely the wrong way.  Herod wasn’t troubled by his conscience concerning sin, he wasn’t seeking forgiveness, he certainly didn’t seek to worship Jesus as King.  No, Herod had been glad to meet Jesus because he thought that he could make Jesus conform to his wishes.


Perhaps you have something of an interest in Jesus but you also want Jesus to fit into the mould that you have prepared for him. You have your own expectations of Jesus.  You too want to see a miracle; a loved one healed or a change in your own circumstances. If you don’t quite get what you are looking for will your interest wane as fast as Herod’s?


Herod ultimately rejects Jesus, sending Him back to Pilate mockingly dressed in splendid clothing fit for a King. Are you prepared to put aside your own desires, your own mould for Jesus, and give Him His rightful place as the true King?


Crown Him with many crowns
The Lamb upon His throne
Hark how the heavenly anthems drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul and sing
Of Him who died for thee
and hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity

(Matthew Bridges)



Ken Douglas

Day 13 - Crowding out God's voice
11th April 2022

Matthew 27: 15-23


Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.


While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”


But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.


 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.


“Barabbas,” they answered.


 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.


They all answered, “Crucify him!”


 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.


But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”



It’s all too easy to be swept up in a crowd. Whether it’s a literal crowd, or a virtual crowd on social media, there’s momentum and emotion that feels good to be part of, and a discomfort at going against the flow. The passage tells us that the crowd were cheering Jesus one day shouting ‘Hosanna’, and a few days later jeering Him, and demanding His death.


We can almost feel the tension that Pilate depicts: on one hand, he wants to do the right thing and release Jesus, his wife even confirms what he should do, but the roar of the crowd drowns out his conscience, and he washes his hands of responsibilities.


It’s interesting in this passage God uses different ways to speak: through Pilate’s gut feeling and through a supernatural dream, yet the crowd’s voice is more forceful.


The message is sobering and challenging: can I stand up against the ‘crowds’ in my life and do the right thing?


Lord, during this Easter period, help me to learn to discern Your still, small voice of truth and reason, rather than following the emotions of the fickle crowd.


David and Emma Craig

Day 14 - The diary of a Roman soldier
12th April 2022

Matthew 27: 27-31


Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand. Then they knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again. After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.


Had some fun with a Jew called Jesus, said he was a King, that upset the bosses. “Have a bit of fun with him” the Governor said; “this man’s finished, dies tomorrow.” Can 600 men have fun with one prisoner?


Everyone came. We brought him out front, made him wear one of our purple robes, a nice one, he said he’s a King, well purple is the King’s colour.  I came up with the idea of a crown. Kings should have a crown. We got some branches with thorns from a bush. They’re sharp by the way, cut my fingers, mind you they made a right mess of this Jesus, especially because we forced it on his head, my how he bled.  Gave him a stick to hold, a sceptre what a laugh, everyone all 600 of us knelt to this King of the Jews.  Mind you that took a bit of coordination. “Right everyone” I shouted, “after three, we all shout ‘Hail King of the Jews’. Took a few attempts to get it right.


We got bored with all that, there was no fight in him, he didn’t ask for mercy, he never said anything. In fact you might think I’m mad, but it seemed as if he knew what would happen, like he was the one in control not us.  Anyway, we decided to go back to playing cards, handed him over for crucifixion.  Maybe tomorrow will be a more interesting day.



David and Margaret Knowles


Day 15 - The new within the old concealed.
13th April 2022

Isaiah 53:7-12


He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.


In the Old Testament the prophet, Isaiah, was called to give this message to the people, a message which he was warned by God, would not be well received.                                                                                                                    


In fact he was told “Go and tell this people:


Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.”


This seems to be what happened in the case of the passage we are considering today.                


Verses which we as Christians see referring to Christ, appear to have been lost on the people of God as they awaited the arrival of their promised Messiah. Their expectation of a victorious king was at odds with the idea of a “suffering servant” who would be “oppressed and afflicted”, “led like a lamb to the slaughter” and die bearing “their iniquities”.


Even His closest disciples struggled with the concept of a Servant King who would suffer and die. During His ministry and after His resurrection He stressed how He was fulfilling prophecy and at last it seems the light dawned and in their own preaching in subsequent days this was an important theme of the Gospel to the Jews. We read in Acts that even “a large number of priests became obedient to the faith”. These were teachers of the Scriptures but had failed to grasp the significance of these verses.


Our own New Testament has difficult passages which we cannot ignore. Let’s be sure we keep our hearts and minds open and seek the help of the Holy Spirit who in Jesus’ words “will teach you all things”.


Agnes Guthrie

Day 16 - He is worth giving everything for
14th April 2022

Matthew 27: 32-44

 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it.  When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. Above His head they placed the written charge against Him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.


Two rebels were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left. Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads  and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.


After a long sleepless night being abused and scourged by Roman soldiers, Jesus would have been exhausted. Roman scourgings were so bad, some criminals didn’t make their final place of execution. After being beaten to an inch of His life, Jesus needs aid to carry His cross. Simon, coming to Jerusalem to sacrifice his Passover Lamb, carried the cross of the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed for him.


As He hung on the cross, fighting for every breath, the mocking continued. Jewish leaders reminded Him of His promise to rebuild the temple (Matt 26:61). Telling Him to prove He’s the Son of God by coming down from the cross. Ridiculing His claims to be Saviour, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.” Little did they know He did not come to save His own life, but to give it as a ransom for many.


We might pitch up on a Sunday with shiny Christian faces, fancy clothes, looking squeaky clean. However, this is only camouflage for the wretchedness of our hearts. We are no better than the mockers or the scourgers. The fact of the matter is it should have been us who took the mocking. It should have been us that endured the scourging. It should have been us nailed to that cross. We deserve every ounce of the suffering Jesus endured. Why? Because it was our sin that put Him there. Yet how often do we take His sacrifice lightly or sometimes even forget?


Every fibre of our being should be in awe, wonder and worship toward the sinless Son who took our place. After what He’s done for us, He is worth giving everything for.


Paul McLoughlan


Day 17 - The death of Jesus: absolute surrender
15th April 2022

Matthew 27: 45-56


From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”).


When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”


 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”


And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit.


At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.


When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”


Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for His needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.



What a scene confronts us as we read this passage: Jesus’ broken body on the cross; an oppressive darkness covering the whole land; confused bystanders mishearing Jesus’ cry.  These people had no comprehension of the transaction that was underway. This was no ordinary Roman execution. We observe, awestruck and horrified, Jesus’ abandonment by the Father as He became sin.  Then, with another loud cry, Jesus gave up His spirit.  He didn’t succumb to death – He consciously laid down His life (John 10:18).  Immediately the temple curtain tore in two from top to bottom, there was an earthquake and many people walked free from their tombs! The barrier between a holy, righteous God and sinful man was broken down – sin has been defeated!


The full extent of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is beyond our imagining.  We can only look on in awe and wonder at the amazing price that was paid for us, and the eternal victory that was won.


Jesus’ chosen surrender to His Father’s will and to death on the cross was a part of God’s plan from the beginning of creation.  Jesus calls His followers to come and die - to self and to the world. This is a call to absolute surrender. Not surrender in defeat but through victory.  What does absolute surrender look like to us this Easter?


Amazing love, O what sacrifice
The Son of God giv’n for me
My debt He pays and my death He dies
That I might live, that I might live

(Graham Kendrick, 1989)



John and Alison Mair

Day 18 - His purpose will always prevail
16th April 2022

Matthew 27: 62-66


The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”


“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.


The chief priests and Pharisees did everything in their power to keep Jesus in the tomb. They placed a Roman seal on the door to the tomb that meant death for anyone who broke it. They posted Roman soldiers - the most disciplined, well-trained warriors of that time - to guard it. And yet we know that all those human measures fell away in an instant when Jesus’ time came.


If only they had remembered Proverbs 19v21:

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.


I praise God that despite the best efforts of the enemy, the world around us, and even ourselves sometimes, His purpose will always prevail. Nothing can stand against our God.



Sarah Jamison

Day 19 (Easter Sunday) - He is risen
17th April 2022

Matthew 28:1-10


After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.


There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.


The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.  Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.”


So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshipped Him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


Picture the scene. It’s just after dawn, three days after the crucifixion. Two women creep quietly towards Jesus’ tomb. They must have felt utterly devastated, maybe they couldn’t quite believe what had happened, but something drew them back on that Sunday morning. Perhaps they felt close to Jesus by being there.


It’s a feeling we are sure most of you will be familiar with in one way or another, missing someone who has died, and wanting to spend time with them.


The sudden appearance of the angel must have been so frightening, but the news he brought was the best ever.


“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen.”


What joy to hear those words, and then, actually seeing their risen Lord must have been so overwhelming. I bet they struggled to contain their emotions.


This Easter Day, we hope that you too feel the joy of knowing our Saviour Jesus is truly alive.





Steven and Kit Law

Day 20 - The burning heart
18th April 2022

Luke 24: 13-35


Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising Him.


 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”


They stood still; their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”


“What things?” He asked.


“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.  The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find His body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive.  Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”


He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.


As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.


 When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”


They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when He broke the bread.



“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” (Lk. 24:32)


These were two ordinary individuals walking to Emmaus, discussing all that had happened. One was called Cleopas but was never mentioned again in Scripture, and we do not even know the name of the other.  They probably spoke about the thrill of the Messiah coming, the huge disappointment at His death, and now the word from some that Jesus was actually alive! It was all so much to take in.


Jesus met them on the road and walked with them. At the same time, God veiled their eyes in such a way that they did not know that it was Him. God sometimes will do that to you and me - not letting us see His plan in "real time" but instead only when we look back and see how He worked in our lives.


In the first part of the story (v.13-27) these two individuals did not appreciate Jesus’ identity when He interpreted “Moses and all the prophets” explaining what was said concerning Himself. However, they were aware of recent events in Jerusalem. They recited to Jesus a brief summary of His earthly career (“a prophet, powerful in word and deed”), His passion, death, and the empty tomb.


However, it is in the second part of the story (v.28-35) that the identity and significance of the stranger becomes known. They were gathered at the table, and their guest “took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them”. The words are almost identical to those in Luke 22:19 at the Last Supper. It is in that event that the two disciples understood who the stranger was. They now knew it was Jesus, who then disappeared from their sight.


At this point, the two recall that their hearts burned within them while He had been teaching them concerning the Messiah on the road to Emmaus, and immediately they ran the seven miles back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples.


These two ordinary individuals went from depression and defeat, to joy and victory. They knew their Saviour was alive, that God had raised Him from the tomb, that their sins were paid for, the payment accepted and they were forgiven. They could sing, not just from the head, but from hearts set on fire:


We serve a risen Saviour,

He’s in the world today,

We know that He is living,

Whatever men may say!



Rowan and Janet Parks

Day 21 - Expect the unexpected
19th April 2022

Luke 24: 36-49


While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”


They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”


When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence.


He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”


Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”


The resurrection had just taken place and Jesus had appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  These disciples were telling the others of what had happened to them.  You can imagine the scene, all listening tentatively hanging on every word to hear this amazing news about their friend and Saviour.  They were so focused on the story that they did not notice Jesus until He said ‘Peace to you’ even at that they were not convinced He was real.  He shows them He is real and then asks for some food, such an everyday act, He brings the supernatural into the natural. 


What are you so focused on today that has moved your focus from Jesus?  If He were to appear to you, would you believe it or would you be like the disciples?  I think I would be like the disciples.  Yet, I know that all is possible with Jesus, so why is it that I don’t always expect the impossible to happen?  Is it because we live in a society that is watering down the truth of the Gospel?  Is it because I don’t live with the expectation that the supernatural is possible?


This Easter as we remember the death and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, let’s keep our focus on Him the author and perfecter of our faith and expect the unexpected.



Ainslie and Jennie Chinembiri

Day 22 - Thomas, 'doubting' or 'honest'
20th April 2022

John 20:24-29


Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told Him, “We have seen the Lord!”


But He said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”


A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”


 Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”


Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


I wonder if we are bit hard on Thomas, after all the other disciples all struggled to believe it was the risen Jesus thinking Him a ghost.


Thomas wasn’t with the group when Jesus first appeared to them. Did he feel a bit disappointed and left out to have missed out on the experience? He had a whole week to struggle with his doubts and emotions before he would see Jesus for himself. That said, Thomas stuck around with the disciples despite his doubt which must have been hard for him when they would have been on a spiritual high.


We could view it as a positive that Thomas needed to see Jesus for himself and not just go on the word or faith of others. To truly believe he needed the eyes of his heart opened, not just his mind.


Like Thomas we need to encounter Jesus for ourselves and not rely on the experience of others.


Thomas’s encounter with Jesus was personal. Jesus addresses him directly. Our encounter with Jesus has to be personal too. We too have to declare ‘My Lord and My God’ for ourselves.


Open the eyes of my heart Lord, Open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see You, I want to see You.

(Michael W Smith)


“Because you have seen me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed”. (John 20:29)


Andrew and Christine Fairfield

Day 23 - Come and have breakfast
21st April 2022

John 21:1-19


Afterward Jesus appeared again to His disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.

 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.


Jesus Reinstates Peter

 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, “Follow me!”



For many people this account of the appearance of the risen Lord Jesus and what followed is a great favourite. Why might this be?


Firstly, we see transformation. A bad night’s fishing transformed by Jesus into an abundant morning harvest. The emotions of disappointed fishermen are changed into those of immense happiness and joy as they realise Jesus is on the shore. So thrilled to see Him that Peter immediately swims ashore!


Secondly, the invitation from Jesus to come and share breakfast and companionship as they sit around a fire on a beach. An ordinary experience made extraordinary by the presence of Jesus. How good it is to give testimony to the transforming presence of Jesus! We do well to recognise the sense of excitement and delight that is reflected here and to ponder upon our own degree of delight as we commune with the living Jesus during our quiet times and when meeting with each other.


Finally, we see another transformation, this time for Peter.  A conversation with Jesus that he may not have been looking forward to but he finds Jesus gently and lovingly deals with his shame and hurt, re-instates him and re-commissions him for a future life of great service.     


It is so encouraging to see that Peter’s failures and denials did not disqualify him from restoration and serving. And so we have Hope as we set out in response to His call to us to ‘feed my sheep’.



Dorothy and Iain Liddell

Day 24 - Power made perfect in weakness
22nd April 2022

Matthew 28: 16-20


Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”



The disciples have already encountered and believed in the risen Jesus.  Yet, after following His command to meet Him in Galilee, Matthew records that “when they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28:17).


Whether doubting is attributed to one of the eleven, others who were present, or ourselves as we read this, it’s important for us to remember that “the faith of those that are sincere, may yet be weak and wavering” (Matthew Henry). 


All of us are weak sometimes; Matthew’s account, though, shows us that Jesus does not count our weakness as grounds for exclusion.  We see the Great Commission given here, not to a select, worthy few, but to those who have seen and accepted the risen Jesus, but still find cause to doubt.  


Whether our faith is “hung in suspense as the scales of the balance” (Matthew Henry), or we find ourselves weak in other ways, Jesus says to us: “my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).


It is Jesus’ power and authority (Matthew 28:18), which enabled the eleven to execute His command to make disciples as they went on living without His physical presence.  It is the same for us.


As it was for the disciples, Jesus is with us “always, until the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).  We can reflect on this as did one woman some time ago: “that is not a promise - it is a fact!”


Alex and Nicola Barber