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Although today’s passage is deeply revered by Christians, its meaning is far from clear. Despite the problems with interpretation—we don’t even know for sure who the servant is—this passage has had a profound effect on believers. In these verses, the early Christians heard the story of the crucifixion. We also...
Loving God, as we gather today to pray and reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross, we are filled with gratitude that your mercy is wide enough to include every one of us who accepts your gift. Indeed, your suffering has redeemed us, and we rejoice. Amen.
Although we anticipate the celebration of Easter, this week’s readings remind us to slow down and walk through the suffering of Jesus. If we fail to understand why he has to die, then we fail to grasp fully the power of his resurrection. Monday’s passage in Isaiah anticipates the Messiah, the Anointed One, coming to bring justice to the nations. Tuesday’s Psalm laments that sometimes the righteous are met with scorn. The Hebrews passage for Wednesday declares that Christ knows of the suffering that awaits him, yet he endures it because of the joy to come. On Thursday, the reading in John shows us that even when facing death, Jesus continues to model selfless love. Friday brings pain and rejection, but Sunday is the greatest day in human history. He is risen indeed!
Read John 13:1-7, 31b-35. Consider someone who has disappointed, hurt, or betrayed you whom God might be calling you to love. How could a posture of service help you act in a loving way even if you cannot feel affection for this person?
Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. How does this description of a suffering servant help you more fully understand Jesus’ suffering on the cross?
Read Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24. When has grief felt like mercy? When has noticing you are alive felt like a miracle?
Read Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24. Recall a time you forgot how to sing God’s praises despite the joy around you. How did God provide the song?
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Seeing young people, both men and women, participate in and write their testimonies at The Upper Room daily devotional writers’ workshop in Yangon, 2019, has been a highlight for me. The event and testimonies led to the publication of the first Lenten devotional in the Myanmar language. I truly believe that through The Upper Room ministry, the Lord will continue to equip people in Myanmar to grow and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
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