March 22 - So near and yet so far
20th March 2023

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal 

 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
- John 13: 18 - 30

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve. He had a front row seat to observe the life and teaching of Jesus. More, he was part of the core team and he’d presumably just had his feet washed by Jesus. He had every reason to follow Jesus. Did he not remember the miracles? Did he not remember the fabulous teaching? Was he not impressed by Jesus’ outsmarting of the establishment?

But no, he had chosen to betray Jesus.

Recorded in the first 17 verses, Jesus teaches and models the life of faith and service which was to characterise the Christian and promises blessing for His disciples as they live out such a life.

Then suddenly this twist in the text ‘I am not referring to all of you’, i.e. one of you will not be blessed. And Jesus moves on to declare that one of the disciples will betray Him.

These are Jesus’ companions, those who take bread together with Him and yet one will betray Him. He will take the bread from Jesus’ hand, he will eat it and yet go straight on to his act of betrayal.

What of us? Do we have an amazing head knowledge of Jesus? Are we apparently right at the centre of all things church? And yet, do we betray Him in our day to day lives in thought or in deed?

Let’s be those who receive the promised blessing.
- Andrew Fairfield

Andrew Fairfield
March 21st - Betrayal
21st March 2023

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
- John 13: 1 - 17

Betrayal must first be trust, unbroken
Silent, yet waiting in the wings.
A plan, already hatched, ruminated, acted, sealed.
Though grace may move amoung you and those around are healed.
Now filigree fragments of invisible rope start to bear strain.
Slowly to uncurl, unravel and uncouple.
Hope deserts and the soaked, cloaked truth rushes in where once was love now pain.
A kingly back turned for a second too long,
bowed washing, attending, kind
turns softly and stills.
Divine countenance lifts, where eye encounters eye and rests there for a while, beholding betrayal clothed in human form and sweet transparent smile.
- Clare Cockburn

Clare Cockburn
March 23rd - Authentic Disciples
23rd March 2023

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him,God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
- John 13:31 - 38


We start these verses in John 13:31-38 after the well-known interaction of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and demonstrating servant-leadership.

Next, in v34, we learn how Jesus gives the disciples a new commandment. There is a command to love others already given in Leviticus 19:18 - to ‘love your neighbour’ but it is in the context of not seeking revenge or bearing a grudge.

However, in this new commandment, Jesus elaborates and spells out what loving others really looks like. He challenges the disciples (and us!) to use the sacrificial way that God loves us as our example to follow. Jesus then adds a further challenge by saying that the way that Christians interact with each other should be different and distinct, and a witness in itself to the rest of the world.

It is a love for one another that will naturally bind them (and us) closely to one another. This sounds wonderful and heart-warming in theory, but we all know how hard the reality of this can be with in practice. Humanly speaking, it is almost an impossible task to love others well, which is why we need the Holy Spirit to help us each day in each of our relationships.

This Eastertime, I am challenged to reflect on whom God is calling me to love more authentically, less selfishly and more sacrificially, and am reminded to ask for God’s help to follow the example He set.
- Emma Craig

Emma Craig
March 24th - Firm assurance for troubled hearts
24th March 2023

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
- John 14: 1 - 4


Are there any words of the Lord that we need to hear each day more than these, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’ (v1)? His disciples are distressed. They do not know but it is the night of Christ’s betrayal. The cross is before Him. Yet Christ’s heart is for His disciples. In this wonderful opening to the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus begins with words of firm assurance for their troubled hearts.

What is the great antidote to trouble? It is, says Jesus, to ‘trust in God, trust also in me’ (v1). When we are afraid that heaven does not hold a place for us; that somehow, we will not be welcomed, Jesus assures us, ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms’ (v2). The presence of God is a spacious and generous place, and there is a home there for us. Moreover, to these disciples who would soon miss His earthly presence, Jesus tells them that His departure is for their good. He goes to, ‘prepare a place for you’ (v3a). Then the greatest of all promises, ‘I will come back and take you to be with me’ (v3b). We can sure we will reach this great destination, for, ‘you know the way to the place where I am going’ (v4).

Like the disciples, the swiftly changing circumstances of life can trouble our hearts. But Jesus speaks to us these same words of assurance. Whatever we face today, it is through trusting in God and Jesus that we find salvation. When we feel lost, when we feel alone, when we feel unsure of the direction life is going, Jesus speaks these words to us, and our hearts are becalmed. Let’s trust in Jesus today.
- Adrian Armstrong

Adrian Armstrong
March 25th - A very good question, Thomas
25th March 2023

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
- John 14:5 - 14


Given the context, Thomas’s question (v5) seems entirely reasonable. In the preceding chapters and those that follow today’s passage, Jesus’s conversations were concerned with preparing the disciples for the time when He would no longer be with them in person. Thomas and the other disciples were unclear where Jesus was going, possibly anxious that He was leaving them. They were thus keen to understand how they could know the way to follow Jesus not least as Jesus had assured them that He was going ahead to prepare a place for them. Thomas had the courage to ask the question.

Thomas perhaps expected details of a route. However in response to the question ‘how can we know the way?’ Jesus gives a short and yet amazing answer, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (v6). A short but supremely significant answer. The answer emphasises the way is not a particular journey nor a process of works but belief and trust in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus says ‘I am the way’, the way founded upon truth, the way that leads to the everlasting and abundant life Jesus had spoken of earlier (chapter 10).

These verses invite us to reflect on the person of Jesus, on His amazing grace and sacrificial love through which we can both see and know our loving Heavenly Father.

Some words of an old chorus might encourage us:

I am the way, the truth and the life
That’s what Jesus said
Without the way there is no going
Without the truth there is no knowing
Without the life there is no living

It was good that Thomas asked that question – it encourages us to keep our
eyes on Jesus.
- Dorothy and Iain Liddell

Dorothy & Iain Liddell
March 26th - Peace, but not as the world gives
26th March 2023

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
- John 14: 15 - 31


‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives,’ says Jesus in v27 as He prepares His disciples for His crucifixion.

What an amazing promise ahead of that first Easter – a promise which is still relevant for us almost 2000 Easters later.

Peace has become a rather vague, even glib term for many: a good thing, but often defined in terms of absence – absence of conflict or noise or stress, for example. In some cultures it has become a formulaic greeting: shalom means peace be with you, but has largely lost its original intent.

Jesus promised something completely different: a state of deep wholeness and completeness, of harmony with our Creator. His peace was not dependent on health and wealth or on temporary feelings: it was rooted
in eternity. It’s not easy to define, but it is profound. As St Paul said later in Philippians 4:7, ‘the peace of God, which is beyond understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’

Jesus was looking ahead to an agonising death in circumstances far from any conventional view of peace; yet He set the perfect example of peace right up to Good Friday because He knew resurrection would follow. We will all face difficulties at different times, but Jesus’ precious gift of peace is always available: it’s up to each of us to accept it.
- Ian Walford

Ian Walford
March 27th - Responding to Opposition
27th March 2023

The World Hates the Disciples

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you.
- John 15: 18 - 16:4

How should we respond to opposition and hatred from the world around us because we are Christians? This is something all Christians will experience, although in different ways. We are thankfully unlikely to suffer violence and death as Jesus’ first disciples did. However, some of us will experience the kind of attacks that Kate Forbes has received for being faithful to Jesus, and many of us will know more subtle forms of opposition from colleagues or friends or family. In this passage, Jesus teaches His disciples some important lessons in how to keep going in the face of opposition.

Firstly, we must remember that we have been chosen by Jesus out of the world (v19). It is a wonderful truth that we no longer belong to this sinful world but to the Saviour of the World. However, this also means that some people will hate us just as they hated Jesus before us (v20-22). Secondly, it is helpful to recognise that the hatred we experience is primarily hatred against God himself. God Himself will judge those who persist in this hatred (v22-23).

Finally, we are called to stay faithful as witnesses to the truth about Jesus (v26-27). We are privileged to have the Scriptures which contain the unique witness of the Holy Spirit about Jesus. We are called to keep on sharing the biblical message with others because only the true biblical witness can bring those who hate Jesus now to true faith in Him.
- Alex Warren

Alex Warren
March 28 - John 16: 5 - 16
28th March 2023

But now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The Disciples' Grief Will Turn To Joy

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
- John 16: 5 - 16

Jesus insists that His going away is to allow room for the Holy Spirit and that this is better for the disciples and for us today than Jesus remaining on earth. How can this be true? What does the Holy Spirit bring that outweighs the unimaginable joy of having Jesus physically with us? Just one thing for now:

The Holy Spirit initiates a new era of reconciled intimacy with God for all believers.
Romans 5:5, ‘because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’

In 1 Corinthians 3:16 Paul says that the Holy Spirit dwells in us as His temple; God lives in everyone who knows Jesus by His Spirit! The curtain that separated humans from God was ripped apart by Jesus and the Holy Spirit invites us to invite Him into our hearts so He can pour in His love. Take a moment to chew on that. God lives in you.

Peter said in Acts 2:38-39, this promise is for all who accept Jesus. God was with Peter when Jesus was on earth. But God was in Peter by the Spirit after He came.

Our relationship with God is infinitely deepened by the Holy Spirit’s presence today; a foretaste of all Jesus bought for us at Easter.
- Josh Luke

Josh Luke
March 29th - Grief will turn to joy
29th March 2023

At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- John 16: 17 - 33

These verses are part of Jesus’ last major teaching and remind us of reasons for joy as we live as followers of Christ.

In v17-22 Jesus reassures the disciples of His personal presence with them, despite His forthcoming death. Their experience of pain, grief and loss following His death is going to be unlike anything they have previously experienced – He promises that after ‘a little while’ they will see him again (v17). There will be rejoicing when they see Him again and He promises that no one will take away the joy they experience.

Jesus describes the great provision of prayer in v23-28. He tells how after his ‘going away’ their relationship with their Father will be changed - the
disciples will confidently be able to pray to the Father, through the name of Jesus. They will ‘ask and receive and their joy will be complete’ (v24).
Answered prayer provides assurance of the Father’s love.

Jesus outlines His victory in v33. Through His obedience to death, He overcomes the world. He defeats sin, powers of darkness and death itself. Jesus reminds them that troubles are an inevitable part of life. However, as they experience troubles, they are to remember that He has ‘overcome the

Whatever we face in life, be it in our family, work or ministry, may we know joy and peace through the knowledge that:

Jesus is personally present with us 
Through Jesus we have direct access to the Father in prayer
Jesus has defeated sin and there is nothing that He cannot overcome.
- Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong
March 30th - Glorifying and giving
30th March 2023

Jesus Prays to Be Glorified

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
- John 17: 1 - 19

In Jesus’ prayer in John 17, we see His concern to glorify God, as He looks ahead to the cross. The words glory and give stand out. Jesus asks to be
glorified in order to give glory to God. He has already glorified God through His service, and He asks to be brought back into the shared glory of being with the Father (v5). The disciples have brought Jesus glory, and they are God’s gift to Jesus (v6). Jesus gives eternal life to all who have been given to Him (v2). The disciples are both a gift and the recipients of a gift! Jesus has also given them the words given to Him (v8), words that will guide them once Jesus is no longer with them.

Surely these words would have encouraged the disciples as Jesus turns to what they might expect as His followers. Just hours later they would begin to experience being hated for being Jesus’s disciples. They are not given gifts of popularity or security in this world, but Jesus prays they will know joy, and protection from the evil one.

Like the disciples, we do not belong to this world but to God’s heavenly kingdom. So we are not to be surprised if we are hated, but we can trust that God is answering Jesus’s prayer and sanctifying us through the gift of His Word.
- Fiona Reid

Fiona Reid
March 31st - Eternally as one
31st March 2023

Jesus Prays for All Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
- John 17: 20 - 26

Wherever people dwell, problems will be evident. Each C-square of the globe is a hive of problematic people disagreeing about one thing or another. Pride, stubbornness and a desire to be right cause friction in every relationship. Christ’s church is no different.

Unity does not come easily. Tensions and fallouts are the norm as saints’, bicker and devour. It is easy to point the finger, yet the potential to destroy a fellowship is ever prevalent as discord seeps from every regenerate heart.

On the night before His most barbaric execution, Christ prayed for unity among His people (v20-23). He knew the depravity of His own. As the anguish of the cross loomed, His heart was fixed on the unison of His bride. Interceding before the Father, pleading for harmonious relations comparable to that of the Trinitarian community (v21-22).

Besides a plea for oneness, an appeal for His chosen to dwell alongside Him (v24). Eternal glory, the epitome of togetherness as every saint past, present and future will commune together in perfection. Friction, tensions, bickering, and discord disintegrated. Peaceful, glorious rest the eternal pattern.

The brutality of Friday is coming, yet the sun will creep up on Sunday, shining light on an empty grave. The risen Saviour leading the way for saints to follow to their harmonious eternal dwelling. 

As we scan our church bodies, the fractures are indisputable. Relational scars and wounds shape every soul. Nonetheless, we labour on, bruised though not beaten, as the great day approaches when we will be within touching distance of the risen Lamb who interceded for our unity. The majestic King Jesus will illuminate our eternal abode and we His people will reign eternally as one.
- Paul McLoughlan

Paul McLoughlan
April 1st - The great 'I AM'
1st April 2023

Jesus Arrested

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
- John 18: 1 - 11

‘Who is it you want?’, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ they replied, ‘I am’. Most Bibles translate His answer as ‘I am He’ - however the original language shows that when Jesus identifies Himself, He uses the same word as God gave to Moses to identify God to Pharaoh – Yahweh – I am.

This is the name of God which Jews would not speak or write in full as recognition of the power of the holy name of God. Here we see immediately the power of the great I am - the soldiers and temple police falling to the ground! John’s gospel is full of Jesus pronouncing Himself as I am – the bread, the light, the good shepherd. John is recording Jesus pronouncing that this act of Judas betrayal is not a surprise to Him. He knows He is being taken to the cross but He is saying ‘I am willingly surrendering myself to my Father’s will’. In using this name, He is also demonstrating His power to his disciples, though Peter still doesn’t understand Christ’s mission!

This Jesus will hang on a cross, an innocent between two common criminals! The I am who led His people out of Egypt and guided them through the wilderness to the promised land, lived as one of us and healed many - this Jesus - the I am is still in complete control of these events. The Creator and Redeemer of our lives is reminding us that ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ Romans 5:8.
- Matthew Gibson

Matthew Gibson
April 2nd - A question and an answer
2nd April 2023

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Peter's First Denial

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a firethey had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
- John 18: 12 - 18

‘You are not one of his disciples, are you?’ the girl at the door asked Peter.

Here in John’s Gospel, Peter’s friendship and association with Jesus is put to him as a question. In the other Gospels it is framed as an accusation and
a fact.
‘This man was with him’ - Luke 22:56
‘You also were with that Nazarene Jesus’ - Mark 14:67
‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee’ - Matthew 26:69

It’s a simple question but how threatening it seems as Peter is surrounded by those who are hostile to Jesus. Peter’s reply ‘I am not’ reminds me of the times I too have denied Christ His rightful place in my life as I have sensed being in company that is hostile to my faith. It may not always have been an outright denial but instead in action or silence, I too, like Peter, have failed to stand for Jesus.

If this denial was the end of the story for Peter’s relationship with Jesus how tragic it would be. But praise God that even as Peter is denying Him, Christ
is on that road to Calvary, the place where every sin and failure is atoned for!!

May we all come with thankful hearts this Easter season in the full knowledge that Christ has paid the price for all our sins and failures.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16
- Margaret Knowles

Margaret Knowles
April 3rd - An onlooker or a follower?
3rd April 2023

The High Priest Questions Jesus

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

“If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.


Jesus tells the high priest that He has spoken openly to the world, nothing was in secret. Yet three times Simon Peter denied that he knew his Lord. How often in our everyday lives do we miss opportunities to share our faith with people and then regret our actions? Think about what Jesus suffered for us on the cross at Calvary on that first Easter to take the punishment for our sins. What have we got to lose by sharing the gospel with others? Compare this to what Jesus went through for us.

Can we sing:

I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend His cause;
Maintain the honour of His word,
The glory of His cross.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith, I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day.

(Isaac Watts)
- Philip and Alison Bell

Philip and Alison Bell
April 4th - Jesus - The King
3rd April 2023

Jesus Before Pilate

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

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!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.
- John 18:28 - 40


Is Jesus your King? Pilate, Jesus and the Jewish crowd are all asking and answering questions in this passage. The questions are challenging and the answers are not what some of the people want to hear.

From his position of authority Pilate is struggling as he finds no reason to charge Jesus with anything that would merit death. He asks Jesus more than once about being a King. But is Pilate really listening to what Jesus is
saying in reply? What is going on in Pilate’s heart?

Pilate is in a position of hearing directly from Jesus who reveals that His kingdom is not of this world. However, Pilate appears to have no real interest in finding out who Jesus really is. He lets the crowd decide what will happen and Jesus’ crucifixion takes place a short while later.

It’s good to ask questions. But are we really listening to the answers? In faith have we grasped the wonder of who Jesus is and what He has done for us? Let us not be like Pilate but instead in faith believe in our hearts that Jesus is our King, the King, Saviour of the world!

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness?
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger?
The King of glory, the King above all kings...
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave...

(This is Amazing Grace, Phil Wickham)
- Fiona McPhail

Fiona McPhail
April 5th - What will I do with Jesus?
5th April 2023

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
- John 19:1 - 16a


In many ways this is a hard read. We hear how Jesus is unjustly whipped, beaten, has thorns pressed into His head and is humiliated at the orders of Pilate who hopes this will be enough to satisfy the crowd. He knows Jesus is innocent yet he succumbs to the pressure of the high priests and the fear of being charged with treason.

We can feel ourselves shouting at the pages as we read ‘No! Stop!’ but Pilate, when faced with the question, ‘what will I do with Jesus?’, hands Him over to be crucified.

We all face that same question, whether we are reading this story for the first time or have already accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord of our lives.

If you don’t know Him, keep reading this amazing love story and what God, through his only son Jesus has done for you and then ask, ‘what will I do with Jesus?’

If you have already accepted Jesus, I pray like me you will be challenged to ask that same question as you commit each day to serve Him.
- Janet Parks

Janet Parks
Easter Reader - Reactions to the King
6th April 2023

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
- John 19:16b - 27


There is much to be said about this poignant passage. It is interesting to consider the different reactions to Jesus from the various people in the
passage: Pilate, a Roman, who may have used Jesus’ death to embarrass the Jewish leaders; the chief priests, who effectively disowned Him as their king; the soldiers who were indifferent as they argued over His clothes; and the love between Jesus, His mother, and John the disciple. The passage also highlights the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies in v24, and Jesus
being crucified with criminals fulfils what is said in Isaiah 53:12, ‘He was numbered with the transgressors.’

What is your reaction to this passage and to Jesus Himself? He is my King, and it is because of Him that I can literally say I am eternally grateful for what He has done for me. Take time to reflect on what Jesus has gone through on your behalf and bring your response to Him.

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
(Isaac Watts)

- John Hawthorne

John Hawthorne
April 7th - It Is finished!
7th April 2023

The Death of Jesus

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.  But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.
- John 19:28 - 37


Have you ever taken the time to consider what Jesus was thinking when He uttered these three simple, yet profound words? Can you imagine how He felt knowing He was about to return to His Father in heaven?

On uttering these words, Jesus’ life of suffering ended. A life of suffering He endured for us as God’s supreme sacrifice for our sins. It was a statement that fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament which spoke of the suffering of the Messiah.

Whatever He was thinking, Jesus did not offer this as a cry of despair, but one of triumph! Jesus conquered life over death and freed us from the
consequences of our sins. All accomplished freely, out of love for us.

Jesus, God’s ultimate sacrifice, sent to earth to die a criminal’s death on the cross, so that we can have the promise of eternal life.

As the Charles Wesley hymn reminds us:

‘Tis finished! all the debt is paid;
Justice divine is satisfied;
The grand and full atonement made;
God for a guilty world has died.’

- Andrea Ross

Andrea Ross
April 8th - The Burial
8th April 2023

The Burial of Jesus

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
- John 19:38 - 42


In these verses John describes the burial of Jesus’ body after He has been crucified. Two men in the midst of what would have been a very confusing and unsettling time for both the Jews and Christians lay aside their fears to do what is required to give Jesus the dignified burial He deserves.

Joseph firstly shows great courage to ask Pilate for the body. He was afraid. However, he did it anyway. Nicodemus brought a valuable offering
to fragrance the body. The symbolism of His body being wrapped in linen is reminiscent of the linen garments a priest would have worn at the time.
These men gave what they had for the body of Christ, and it makes me think what we can give to the body of Christ today, ‘[and He did this] to fully
equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]’, Ephesians 4.12. ‘For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ,’ 1 Corinthians 12:18. ‘But now [as things really are], God has placed and arranged the parts in the body, each one of them, just as He willed and saw fit [with the best balance of function],’ 1 Corinthians 12:12. ‘Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body, and individually
[you are] members of it [each with his own special purpose and function],’ 1 Corinthians 12:27.

Each one of us has a brilliant part to play and we are all essential to the body of Christ. This being our worship, as Joseph and Nicodemus illustrated in these verses.
- Sarah & John-Sebastian Schutter

Sarah & John-Sebastian Schutter
April 9th - Belief
9th April 2023

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
- John 20:1 - 8


This passage by John speaks of ‘the other disciple’ and ‘the one Jesus loved’. Since the end of the first century the beloved disciple has been
commonly identified with John himself.

In this passage we learn of Peter and John arriving at the empty tomb. In John’s own words he ‘saw and believed’. The Greek word used here for believe is eiden meaning, ‘to understand, to perceive the significance of.’ But what did he believe? Or rather what did he not believe? The sight of the grave clothes was sufficient for John to understand that the body had not been ‘taken away’. Jesus had in some miraculous way passed through the grave clothes. He had risen.

In the days to come, Jesus would explain to His disciples the full significance, but nevertheless unlike many of the disciples, John, before seeing the risen Christ with his own eyes, could say he believed.

Knowing the fact of the resurrection is an important start, but not enough. We need to understand the meaning and the importance of Jesus’ resurrection.

That task was given to the first disciples. They were the witnesses and by the power of the Holy Spirit were sent out to preach the good news that
centres on the death and resurrection of our Lord.

For our benefit it was written down that we too might understand and perceive the significance of what took place that first Easter.
- Agnes Guthrie

Agnes Guthrie