Understanding Easter

Day 1 - The Leader's Evil Plot and God's Eternal Plan
15th March 2021
Matthew 26:1-5

The Plot to Kill Jesus

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

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


In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the White Witch thought she had won a great victory by putting Aslan to death. But she didn’t realise there was a greater power at work. He was, in fact, the saviour and not the victim.


It was the same with Jesus’ death. The religious leaders thought it was their plan, their victory. As they got together and plotted to capture Jesus, they thought that they were in charge of the situation. They hoped to get rid of the Messiah they didn’t want, claiming their own victory.


But even as they met in secret, Jesus was explaining to His disciples exactly what was going to happen. He would be seized and crucified. The reality was, His death had been planned long before - in eternity. His crucifixion was actually God’s eternal plan to bring salvation. Jesus therefore knew exactly what was coming.


Even the timing of Jesus’ death was significant. The Israelites remembered their salvation through the shedding of a lamb’s blood, but the blood of a greater Lamb, Jesus Himself, was about to be shed for our salvation.


Let’s remember that when it seems like evil is winning in our world, that it isn’t. When everything seems to be against God’s people, He is still in charge. Even the most terrible attacks on God’s people will in the end achieve God’s good purposes. And let’s rejoice in the most wonderful example of this, the cross of Christ.


Alex and Frances W

Day 2 - The anointing of Jesus
16th March 2021
Matthew 26:6-13

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

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


The woman in this passage was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. 

It was seen as great respect to have ointment poured on your head. We can see this in the Old Testament with David: ‘You anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over’. (Psalm 23:5)

This is an act of kindness, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and an act of love and respect. Mary was recognising Jesus as her king, and was demonstrating her final act of devotion to Him before He died. 

However, the disciples took offence at what they saw as waste. But Jesus said ‘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’. 

Some think that women better understood Christ’s frequent predictions of His death and sufferings than the apostles did; for the women were recompensed with the honour of being the first witnesses of His resurrection. 

The memory and faith of this woman have been preserved, and over 2000 years later we are still reading and hearing this story being told. It is a reminder to us to ‘not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.’ (Hebrews 6:12). 

During these challenging times, we must not give up but continue to have faith in our God who is still in complete control of everything. The King whose head was washed with ointment all those years ago is the same King who is here with us today and every day, giving us all that we need for each day. 


Andrew and Karen S

Day 3 - Which do we choose? Sacrificial Worship or Selfish Betrayal?
17th March 2021
Matthew 26:14-15

Judas to Betray Jesus

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

I wonder what Judas’ motive was for betraying Jesus?

In the verses before the passage above, we learn of a woman who used a whole jar of perfume (worth a years salary!) to express her love to Jesus. 

Then, in contrast, a few verses later, we learn of Judas initiating a trade-off with the leading priests for thirty pieces of silver (the same amount as a slave). Judas was one of the twelve, one of the ‘inner circle’, who had the privilege of doing life with Jesus: seeing His miracles, watching how He loved people and hearing the Word of God.

Yet, it seemed that greed and selfishness got the better part of him and enslaved him. Perhaps Judas had begun to realise what God’s kingdom was really about - not a new government, worldly power or position, but living a sacrificial, selfless life of love. Perhaps he felt inadequate, or a love of money took root as he pre-meditated the betrayal.

These sobering verses remind me of the daily choice we all have: to be a wholehearted disciple or to mistrust Jesus and His ways.

As we approach Easter this year, let’s be honest about our own responses to Jesus and pray about this. May we become more wholehearted and free like the woman with the perfume, rather than suspicious and hard hearted like Judas.


David and Emma Craig

Day 4 - Something worth talking about!
18th March 2021
Matthew 26:26-29

Institution of the Lord's Supper

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for 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 again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

This passage takes place at the ‘Last Supper’, the final meal Jesus shared with His disciples before He died.

Jesus talking about the bread being His body and the wine being His blood is strange: this is not how we normally talk about food!

We know what happened after but the disciples were in the moment and they didn’t know. It must have been very hard for them to understand.

Jesus says that He gives His body for us and that His blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins: this happened when Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks to God, breaks the bread and then gives it to His disciples. Just as, on the cross, Jesus would take His life and give it for all of us.

But at the cross Jesus did more: He took our sin and gave us eternal life.

Jesus gave His disciples this meal to remember Him and what He did at the cross. Wine and bread are everyday food, eaten around tables every day, to help us remember what Jesus did for us.

Today as we gather around tables and eat meals, may we remember all that Jesus did for us at the cross. He has taken away all our sin, has brought us back to God and has given us eternal life. That’s something worth talking about!


Adrian, Karen, Alasdair and Kate 

Day 5 - Love conquers all
19th March 2021
Matthew 26:30-35

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

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


J C Ryle writes: “Men fall in private, long before they fall in public.  The tree falls with a great crash, but the secret decay which accounts for it, is often not discovered till it is down on the ground.”  

So, what was really wrong with Peter that only GOD knew?  I imagine him as a big friendly chap, a natural leader who was not overly cowardly but did have fear of man. He tended to be a bit over confident and spoke without thinking.  What Peter did when he denied Jesus three times was bad, especially calling down oaths and curses.  Peter did not love Jesus with all that was within him.

Peter’s night of bitter tears proved that he was a true disciple but how he must have searched his heart and wished that he could turn the clock back.  The long night was followed by the pain of the Crucifixion, then the hope of the Resurrection, and at last the joy of Restoration.

In John 21 we read that for each of Peter’s three denials he had to tell Jesus that he loved Him and Jesus commissioned him to feed His sheep.  I like to think that Jesus finished by giving Peter a hug.  Peter would later write how precious Jesus was.

Because Peter was forgiven much, he loved much.

“Beloved, if GOD so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  1 John 4: 11

‘The glory is not in the task, but in the doing it for Him’  (Jean Ingelow 1820 – 1897)


Mima W

Day 6 - Obedient to the Father's will
20th March 2021
Matthew 26:36-46

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

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


Reading this passage, I am struck by the sorrow and grief that Jesus is experiencing.  His loneliness too as His disciples struggle to stay awake.

‘He began to be sorrowful and troubled’ (verse 37)

‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow’ (verse 38)

In Luke’s account he reports Jesus as ‘being in anguish’ and ‘His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’.

But into this deeply sorrowful, emotional experience Jesus prays – ‘yet not as I will’ and ‘may Your will be done’.  Our Saviour hands over His anguish and grief.  God’s salvation plan will be accomplished, as the God made man bows to His Father’s will.  We can celebrate Easter because Jesus ‘humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross’   (Philippians 2:8)

This Easter am I willing to follow Jesus’ example of total surrender to God’s will?


Take my will and make it Thine

It shall be no longer mine. 

Take my heart it is Thine own 

It shall be Thy royal throne.      

(Frances R Havergal)


Margaret K

Day 7 - Jesus' gracious response to being arrested
21st March 2021
Matthew 26:47-56

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

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


This passage demonstrates Jesus' commitment to His earlier prayer, in verse 42, that His Father's will be done. He shows self-control, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, throughout His arrest. When Judas comes and betrays Him with a kiss, a gesture of close friendship, Jesus does not blame him or retaliate in what must have been a hurtful moment. Jesus accepts what must happen and responds to Judas' greeting by calling him "Friend".

When one of His followers strikes the servant of the High Priest, Jesus rebukes him for it and explains that He could have legions of angels at His disposal if He needed. I wonder if any part of Him was tempted to call on them? Yet He submits to what must happen.

Jesus is not silent - He points out to the crowd sent to arrest Him, that the night time mob is unnecessary. After all, He has been openly teaching right there in the temple courts - but He does not resist the arrest, knowing these events have been foretold by the prophets and are part of God's salvation plan. 

There are areas in my life which I try to surrender to God, but this requires self-control in my thoughts, words and actions. Jesus is the perfect example of submission to God's will and God's plan. May I follow His lead.


Fiona R

Day 8 - Silence as He stood accused
22nd March 2021
Matthew 26:57-68

Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council

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


The scenes leading up to Jesus’ incarceration have all the hallmarks of an unjust trial. A corrupt judge, a stacked jury, and desperate attempts to fabricate evidence that could be used as the grounds for the most serious punishment possible: an execution. To make matters worse the verdict has been decided before the evidence is heard, and the sentencing lies outside the powers of the Jewish court. Not satisfied by even the overreach of the High Priest’s powers, the mob who had seized Jesus, assaulted their high-profile prisoner and revelled in their cruelty. In normal times a prisoner facing such accusations would quickly offer a rebuttal of the libellous falsehoods and appeal to a greater sense of justice. Jesus, however, remains silent when faced with such slander. He was oppressed, and afflicted, yet he opened not His mouth. Jesus is in control of the situation. He knows what lies ahead.

This passage reminds us of the Hymn “Man of Sorrows”

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten, mocked, and scorned
Bowing to the Father's will
He took a crown of thorns

As we approach this Easter time may we identify and stand with Christ. Maybe Christ is asking us to share in His sufferings. Maybe He is asking us to make a stand for Jesus in our homes or workplaces. May we do so with grace and humility as Christ himself “Bowed to the Father’s will”.


Cameron and Rachel F

Day 9 - Peter denies Jesus
23rd March 2021
Matthew 26:69-75

Peter Denies Jesus

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

What would we have done in Peter's situation?


These verses tell us of the occasion when Jesus had been arrested and Peter denied knowing Him – not just once, but three times! Repeatedly, Peter says ‘I don’t know the man’ referring to Jesus in a remote and distant manner. And yet, just a short while before this when Jesus had predicted Peter’s denial he had told Jesus that he would never disown Him.

Peter was a disciple of Jesus and had been told about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Yet despite this closeness Peter still denied Him. I find myself asking what would I have done in such circumstances; what would you have done? How faithful are we in identifying with Jesus and being consistent in acknowledging all that Jesus has done for us in His death for our sins? If we’re honest I expect many of us are a bit like Peter where our love for, and acknowledgement of, Jesus, is not always what it should be.

We’re told that eventually Peter remembered what Jesus had said about his denial and that Peter wept bitterly when he realised what he had done. But that’s not the end! We know from the Bible that Peter continued to be a disciple and served faithfully in sharing the good news of Jesus as our Saviour. How reassuring to know that unlike us Jesus is perfect, He knows our weaknesses but still loves us. As it says in Hebrews 13: 8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Let’s be challenged to stay close to Jesus, be consistent in loving and following Him, and give thanks for all that He has done for us.


Fiona M


Day 10 - Jesus before Pilate
24th March 2021
John 18:33-40

My Kingdom Is Not of This World

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

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


What is truth?

“All that matters is stories feel true, they resonate...the point is not to determine the truth by a process of rational evaluation, assessment and conclusion. You choose your own reality, as if from a buffet.” (Matthew d'Ancona - Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back).

The debate about truth is nothing new…

‘Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.’ Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor 161-180)

Pilate and Jesus. Two different perspectives on truth. Pilate seems to recognise the Pharisees’ claims are false. He listens to Jesus but then retorts ‘what is truth?’ Pilate doesn’t wait for an answer, it is of no interest to him.

People today apparently have little interest in the same question. In a culture of ‘alternative facts’ or ‘fake news’, truth could be defined as a personal preference or interpretation, relative to our circumstances.

Can we really know what truth is? Your truth or my truth? Christians can be certain God is truth.

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Jesus said…

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 32-33).

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)

Are you willing to seek out truth in your life and follow Jesus or, like Pilate, walk away with no interest?



Andrew & Christine F



Day 11 - Jesus before Herod
25th March 2021
Luke 23:6-16

Jesus Before Herod

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

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”


Twice innocent

We see calls to justice throughout our world: think of the Black Lives Matter movement, or the work of IJM. Many believe the need for justice is built into human nature. Think of how easily we can be riled to anger when we see the mistreatment of others, or when someone cuts in front of us in a queue!

With that in mind, consider what Jesus went through in this passage. Just as He was acquitted by Pilate, Herod cannot find any fault in Jesus. Despite receiving an innocent verdict twice, He is treated with contempt, mocked and paraded in splendid clothing - a joke at His expense. We hear Pilate’s verdict in verses 14-16:

“I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against Him… I will therefore punish and release Him.” 

How would we react today if a defendant was brought to court dressed in this way? Or if the judge pronounced that, though innocent, a punishment was still to be administered? 

Yet all this was needed to satisfy the prophecy in Isaiah 53:7

“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.”

Jesus suffered these injustices on our behalf. He deserved none of it, yet He bore it all. Such is the price of our sin and the grace of our Lord.


Ross and Sarah J


Day 12 - The crowd chooses Barabbas
26th March 2021
Matthew 27:15-23

The Crowd Chooses Barabbas

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

The angry crowd


In her book 'Life in the Big Story' Heidi Johnston describes a play that she attended recounting Jesus’ trial and Crucifixion. The play was staged in a warehouse with the scenes staged in different areas of the building.

As they came to the Crucifixion scene there were actors dotted among the audience who began to shout “Crucify Him”. Soon the crowd took up the chant, and before she knew it, she was carried along and without uttering a word she was part of the crowd.

In her book, she explains “At that moment I knew how easily I could have joined the angry mob who followed Jesus to the Cross. The realisation moved me to tears.”

Reading this passage, we can feel detached from the crowd and their actions but their rejection of Jesus is as relevant then as it is today.

In Romans 12 v 2 we are encouraged by Paul not to copy the behaviour and customs of this world, or to put it in the context of this passage – to follow the crowd. We are reminded that Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross for our shortfalls, and He now calls us to bring God’s light into the world by living for Him.

Jesus came into this world to repair our broken relationship with God by dying on the cross. If we want this relationship to grow and flourish, we need to be careful that the world’s narrative through the media, doesn’t drown out God’s voice in our lives.



Siobhan J

Day 13 - Jesus is mocked
27th March 2021
Matthew 27:27-31

Jesus Is Mocked

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

The soldiers mock Jesus


The Praetorium was probably Pilate’s headquarters; the soldiers, his personal bodyguard; made up of the best of the occupying forces in Jerusalem.  It is hard to imagine anything other than that some of these troops had already helped to flog Jesus.

To further compound His suffering, the whole company set upon Him.  Perhaps 80 troops in all; mocking Him, taunting Him, torturing Him.

You can hear the raucous laughter, see them encourage each other, urging new and higher levels of humiliation.  This was a gang getting more and more excited, and out of control.

You can hear the laughter as a soldier’s cloak is put roughly onto Jesus shoulders; getting louder as the thorn branches are twisted into a crown and a staff thrust into His hands. 

Then the real jeering starts; ‘Hail King of the Jews’.  This is not just torture, this is humiliation.

How incredible then, to watch Jesus.  Not a word.  No reaction.  You can sense His exhaustion, recognise His pain.  You can understand His desolation as He suffers this treatment in the midst of this.

And yet…

And yet, this is not God’s final plan.  It is the route that He had to take for you and for me.  He had to suffer instead of us.  To be utterly cut off from God, His Father, our Father.

And yet…

And yet, we watch and we wait, for this is not the end.


Neil M

Day 14 - The cost of our salvation
28th March 2021
Matthew 27:32-44

The Crucifixion

As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.


The cost of our salvation


It is very difficult to read passages like this that tell of the immense suffering of the Lord Jesus.

Matthew describes the scene so vividly, making it all too easy to imagine. The crowds, the noise, the shouting, the contempt in their voices. Are we angry at these people or do we see ourselves there and an innocent man paying the penalty for our sins? As one hymn puts it:

“Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers”

Even chief priests, teachers of the law and the elders joined in the mockery.

“He saved others but He couldn’t save himself.” 

Had they not understood what they must have read in their scriptures?

“He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him; by His wounds we are healed.”

(Isaiah 53:5)

Surely they must have read Psalm 22? Could they not see that here was the fulfilment of these scriptures?

Pilate must have thought that he was being very clever insulting the Jews, making sure his sign could be understood by all the nationalities coming into Jerusalem.   However, one day Jesus will not be seen as a bleeding, beaten, dying man but a King in His glory, and all who mocked in unbelief will HAVE to “bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).



Arthur and Violet W

Day 15 - The death of Jesus
29th March 2021
Matthew 27:45-56

The Death of Jesus

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

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

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


The death of Jesus

It is about 3 in the afternoon. Some bystanders have been busy mocking Jesus. Others are distracted by dividing Jesus’ garments, while many of His own have fled. Meanwhile in the city preparations are underway for Passover. If we had lived then, I wonder, where would we have been?

After six hours on the cross Jesus dies. Death neither came sudden or gradual. Jesus’ cry uttered with a loud voice was not one of bewilderment. Instead, completely in control, Jesus obediently submits Himself to God’s abandonment, bearing the sins of His people and enduring God’s rightful wrath in our place.

It is an uncomfortable scene, but we must take time to linger like the women did. We would then see the signs of what Jesus’ death accomplished. The temple curtain torn in two means through Jesus we now have free (though costly) access to God. Those who had fallen asleep raised from their tombs reveal that in Jesus death is defeated. One day, on that final day, all believers will be raised imperishable (1Cor.15:52).

Jesus’ death means life for us, both now and at our future resurrection. Come let us place all our faith on what the centurion exclaimed in utter awe: ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’

Who has felt the nails upon His hands?
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal, humbled to the grave
Jesus, Saviour, risen now to reign.

Behold our King, nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him


Christiaan Hofstra


Day 16 - That you also may believe
30th March 2021
John 19:31-37

Jesus' Side Is Pierced

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”


That you also may believe


The Roman soldier, first conclusively confirming the death of Jesus on the cross, goes on to fulfil Old Testament prophecy concerning the manner of Jesus’ death. As a soldier he would have been quite familiar with death, and particularly this horrifying method of execution. There is clearly no doubt in his mind that Jesus was indeed dead. This puts paid to any suggestion that Jesus somehow survived His ordeal and was not in fact resurrected.

Moreover, the prophetic words of Psalm 34:20 turn the seemingly random act of the soldier - to disobey an order by not breaking Jesus’ legs - into further confirmation that this Jesus was indeed the Messiah foretold through the scriptures.

The spilling of blood and water, elements of the Old Covenant sacrificial system, reminds us of the purpose of His death as an atoning sacrifice. A propitiation for our sins greater than any animal sacrifice could ever have achieved.

As John states, the purpose of this testimony is that we may believe that Jesus was the Messiah. That He did indeed die on that cross, that the resurrection was real, and that His death was the sacrifice necessary to cleanse us from our sin. 


Ken K


Day 17 - Easy Listening?
31st March 2021
Isaiah 53:1-6



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

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


Easy Listening?

This passage makes me think of a piece of music by John Tavener, which is based on the William Blake poem – The Lamb (you’ll find it on YouTube). It is a tune that takes a bit of getting used to as it sounds like the notes are all wrong and clash over each other, but then something shifts and it seems to make sense – a bit like this passage.

The question in verse 1 asks who has believed “the message”, which is the good news of salvation.  However, just as the title of the music The Lamb makes you think of a cute white ball of wool bouncing around a field, once the music starts you soon lose that image.  This is similar to the description of the Messiah that Isaiah writes about, where He is described as being despised, rejected, familiar with suffering, from whom men hid their faces and a man of sorrows, not the type of Messiah that was expected by the Jews.  

The Lamb can be difficult to listen to, and I would imagine to perform. Similarly, this passage can be difficult to read.  It is hard to learn that our Saviour was ‘pierced for our transgressions’, ‘punished’ and ‘carried our sorrows’. However, I find that what makes the song difficult to listen to also makes it so moving. So perhaps this Easter as we read some of the passages that talk of the cruelty our Saviour experienced, it will make us appreciate His love for us even more when we truly understand what He suffered for us.


Diane D


Day 18 - Silence yet satisfaction
1st April 2021
Isaiah 53:7-12

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

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


Silence yet satisfaction


In this wonderful prophetic chapter, the prophet Isaiah describes, with incredible accuracy, the life and ministry of Jesus (verses 1-4), His death (verses 5-8) and burial (verse 9) and His resurrection and exaltation (verses 10-12). 

In simple terms, the chapter tells us that Jesus took the place of guilty sinners and paid the price for their salvation.  These were verses read by the Ethiopian eunuch hundreds of years later (Acts 8) which changed his life.

When we look at verses 7 to 12, we could use two headings to try to capture what is said.  We could think of Silence in verses 7 to 9 and Satisfaction in verses 10 to 12.

Silence is a dominant feature of Jesus’ final hours.  He was silent under suffering (v7), and He was silent when illegally tried and condemned to death (v8).  Although the whole process of trial was illegal, Jesus did not object or appeal, but in silence He submitted to death on a cross.  “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11).

Verse 10 starts with the word ‘Yet’.  It denotes a change.  It tells us that in spite of what has gone before, then something else is true.  In this amazing prophecy, Isaiah tells us that “it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer”.   Jesus would be God’s sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He would bring satisfaction to His Father.  Remarkably, He would also satisfy the law of God which demanded judgement for sin.  We can now be justified – God declares believing sinners righteous in Christ.  We can give thanks for all that Jesus did on our behalf.

He poured out His life unto death.

He was numbered with the transgressors.

He bore the sin of many.

He made intercession for the transgressors. (v12)


Alan and Julie P


Day 19 - Joseph of Arimathea
2nd April 2021
Matthew 27:57-61

Jesus Is Buried

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


Joseph of Arimathea

Good Friday ends with the burial of Jesus in His “borrowed” tomb. Jesus was buried outside the walls of Jerusalem, near the site of His crucifixion on Golgotha. Profoundly it is only a “borrowed” tomb for a few days, as He did not remain there.

That evening, after Jesus’ crucifixion, a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea (a city of Judea) came to Jerusalem. Joseph, who had become a disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked to have Jesus' body. Pilate gave orders for the soldiers to give Jesus' body to him. Then Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a new linen cloth. He put Jesus' body in a new tomb that he had dug in a wall of rock. Then Joseph closed the tomb by rolling a very large stone to cover the entrance.

We normally don't think of many of the followers of Jesus as rich. Joseph was a good and righteous man who managed to be both a respected member of the religious ruling council but also a secret supporter of Jesus. He had not consented to the council’s decision which is why he did not join in the actions against Jesus. Joseph puts himself at significant risk by identifying himself with Jesus, one who was condemned to death by the council and the High Priest.

Joseph was willing to follow Jesus beyond the cross. What he did for Jesus was decent, loving, tender and right. What a fitting tribute Joseph’s actions were, honouring Jesus and showing his allegiance. A true disciple, not just involved but committed to take up his own cross and follow Jesus to the very end.

Help us to be like Joseph, decent, loving and tender when it is needed most and make us strong and faithful followers now and forever.



Campbell and Alison C


Day 20 - The guard at the tomb
3rd April 2021
Matthew 27:62-66

The Guard at the Tomb

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


Those who opposed Jesus and His message tried their best to keep Him in the tomb. They rolled a stone across the entrance, put a seal on the stone and posted a guard. It was made as secure as was physically possible. Man had done his best to keep Christ in the tomb.

But, as documented in the following chapter, and as readers of the gospel both then and now know, no human effort could halt God’s intention to raise Christ from the dead and in doing so, defeat death once and for all.

The efforts of the Pharisees in this story are futile. Likewise, the efforts of those today who try to dispel the truth and amazing wonder of Christ’s resurrection, are futile.

‘One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,

One day the stone rolled away from the door,

Then He arose, over death He had conquered

Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him

From rising again’


Rowan and Janet P

Day 21 (Easter Sunday) - Fear and Joy
4th April 2021
Matthew 28:1-10

The Resurrection

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”


Fear and Joy


This wonderful passage is one that we know well and we study particularly around Easter.  As I re-read these words again, there is one part that stands out to me particularly this year: 

“With fear and great joy” (v8).  

Fear: Within this short passage, the reference to fear is used twice, in verse 8 and with the angel stating “do not be afraid” (v5).  The past year has been a very challenging one for us all, for many feeling fear, worry, anxiety and uncertainty.  We have all known fears at different times for different reasons.  Fear is mentioned many times within the Bible and frequently offering reassurances.  As Christians we use these passages to give us strength. 

“Do not fear, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)  

What wonderful, uplifting words.

Joy:  Joy is another word used many times within scripture, (155 times in the NIV)!  As a Christian, this word is so much more than a feeling; it’s something that lives deep within.   Two opposite states of being, fear and joy. Fearful anticipation with joy to come.  Right now, as we continue daily life with many restrictions, experiencing Joy may be something that is particularly challenging.  As we consider this passage, let us remember with patience and faithfulness God’s promise.  Resurrection, salvation, eternal life.  As we approach Easter and for this upcoming year, let us be like Mary.  Acknowledge our fears but may we be filled with the Joy of God’s love and strength as He guides us through these uncertain times. 


Suzanne C

Day 22 - Burning Passion
5th April 2021
Luke 24:13-35

On the Road to Emmaus

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


Burning Passion

News had spread all over Jerusalem that the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, who had been condemned to death and crucified, was now empty on Sunday morning. Witnesses of the empty grave saw angels who claimed He was alive. As the day unfolded, two apostles were travelling the seven-mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they travelled, they talked about the events that had taken place. On the way another traveller joined them. Unknown to them, the other traveller was Jesus. For seven miles, Jesus unpacked the Scriptures to them. Starting from Moses through the prophets, Jesus interpreted all the Scriptures that pointed to Himself.

As they drew near to the village, the apostles pleaded with Him to come and stay with them. As they sat down to eat, Jesus broke bread and the apostles’ eyes were opened, and they recognised it was the risen King Jesus. ‘They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?”’ Blown away by encounter, they make the seven-mile journey back to Jerusalem to tell that Jesus was alive.

This is arguably the greatest 14-mile journey ever recorded. I’d have loved to have been there. However, we do have the full canon of scripture where we can read of these events. But how often do our hearts burn within us as we read these same Scriptures Jesus unpacked? How often are our hearts on fire as the Saviour leaps off every page in the Bible? How much of a burning passion do we have for the risen King Jesus? Is it only on Easter Sunday? Or is it also on the other 364 days of the year?


Paul M


Day 23 - Joy banishing the desolation
6th April 2021
Luke 24:36-49

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for[b] the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”


Joy banishing the desolation

Desolation – common just now for so many and causing much mental anguish.  Life as it was is no more, liberty has been largely removed and the whole world seems to be desolate.  New strategies are devised to combat Covid, and just as each looks as though it might work, another twist makes it look improbable. 

This was no doubt the state of mind of the disciples when they were congregated together after the death of Jesus. They must have been desolate that so much promise had been extinguished and they did not understand why.  And then Jesus came among them, and showed them His flesh and bones, and asked for food to nourish Him, and He asked them why they were troubled (v38).  Then He opened their minds (v45) and after some more instruction He left them.

We are told later (v52) that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. The joy, banishing the desolation, came from believing that all that they had been taught by Jesus had been, and was being, fulfilled.  It is thrilling to think that despite all the gloom around us this Easter, the teaching and prophecy from Jesus, and the whole of the Bible, is with us, and through faith joy can banish the desolation.  Is it not our duty as Christians to kindle that light of joy around us, that others may see not desolation but joy, and want some of it?


Angus R


Day 24 - If only God would...
7th April 2021
John 20:24-29

Jesus and Thomas

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


If only God would...


“Why doesn’t God just reveal Himself clearly to me?  If He made it obvious, I would definitely believe!”

Have you ever set God criteria for how and when you will believe? “If only He would speak to me clearly, if only He would reveal Himself in a way that would leave me without any doubt – that would make all this so much easier!”

Thomas was doing just that in our passage today.  The disciples had told him that they had seen the Lord, but Thomas did not believe them. 

“Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails and place my fingers into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe”.

It’s interesting that the passage does not state that Thomas actually placed his hand on the nail marks.  The Lord graciously offers this opportunity to Thomas, but despite his previous protestation that only the physical touch would convince him he immediately believes.  “My Lord and My God”.  

We can set all the criteria we want, but ultimately, and thankfully, it is the Lord in His grace that reveals Himself to us.  

“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.


Unlike Thomas, we don’t have the benefit of seeing the Lord in person, but He can and does reveal Himself to us.  When He does, may we too respond like Thomas and surrender our stubborn criteria (whatever that may be for each one of us) and declare “My Lord and my God!”.


Kenneth D


Day 25 - Getting back to normal?
8th April 2021
John 21:1-19

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

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

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

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

Jesus and Peter

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


Getting back to normal? 


Sometimes in life when we can’t see a way forward, we try to find a way back.

Three incredible years by Jesus’ side were over.  Possibly the most heart wrenching days of Peter’s life had passed, after his denial, and the utterly tragic death of Jesus.  Grief stricken, ashamed, and completely drained, Peter makes a futile attempt to return to some kind of normality.

Back to Galilee, back to fishing, back to business – perhaps if he can catch some fish in the night, he can sell them fresh in the morning.  The words of Jesus from the shore – “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” – are a distant and painful memory, as Peter throws his net overboard. 

The sight of Jesus at the break of a new day, the sound of His voice, must have seemed an illusion.  Eventually the deafening silence over breakfast is broken, as hope and grace break through.  Peter realises there is no ‘back to normal’, and that his failure will be dismissed far sooner than his call to follow Jesus.  Jesus’ call from the shore still stands ‘Feed my sheep…tend my lambs…follow me’.

If you are struggling with your battle for ‘back to normal’, consider that Jesus doesn’t want us to find our way back, in His grace He wants us to find our way forward, following Him.


Annemarie D

Day 26 - The Great Commission
9th April 2021
Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


What a bewildering time for the disciples. Their Master had been crucified leaving them bereft and confused. Then He had been raised and met with them. Miracle of miracles!

Those 40 days that He spent with them after His resurrection must have felt unreal.  There was so much that they still didn’t understand.

What had seemed like the end was now a new beginning. Jesus was alive and in His own words had received “all authority in heaven and on earth”.  His mission to the whole world was to begin. His earthly ministry had been directed at God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Now He gives His disciples the task of taking His message to the world.

In obedience to the Father He had gone to the cross, where He took upon Himself the just punishment for the sins of the world, opening up reconciliation between God and man. Now the world had to know about it. His instructions were clear.

“Go and make disciples of all nations”

Their commission was not just evangelism. That was step one but they were to “make disciples”.

Those who responded to the gospel message were to begin a life of discipleship through baptism and obedience to Jesus’ teaching in order to be transformed into the image of Jesus, only possible through a personal relationship with Himself.

No small task so He tells them that He will be with them always.

We are disciples because of their obedience and it is as much our task as it was theirs to take the Gospel to the world.


Agnes G