April 8, 2023 • AK Kuruvilla • Luke 23:46

"Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!' And having said this he breathed his last." Luke 23:46 The final words of a dying person are very significant. What did Jesus say before He breathed His last? He quoted the first half of Psalm 31:5, “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” Think about this - the final words of the Word-of-God (Jesus) was the Word-of-God (scripture).  Luke 23:46 says Jesus cried out with a loud voice. Those standing around that cross at Calvary would have heard what Jesus said as He quoted Psalm 31:5. This was a prayer the Jews would pray before they went to sleep, so those who heard it would have been familiar with the words of this psalm, which expresses an absolute trust in God. They saw Jesus dying on the cross, dying a brutal death, and suffering for no crime He committed. Yet, Jesus entrusted Himself to God in death.   Those standing around the cross may even have been able to recite the rest of Psalm 31, which speaks of the goodness of God, the lovingkindness of God, the faithfulness of God, and the grace of God in times of distress and ends with a call to “be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.”   In all circumstances of your life, are you fully committed to God and His ways? May our hope be in the Lord and in Him alone. Prayer Father in heaven, help me be like Jesus, entrusting my life to you even when times are hard. Amen.


April 7, 2023 • Cole Ellerbrock • John 19:30

"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" John 19:30 While Jesus was on the cross, those witnessing had a variety of perspectives on the Son of God. Some viewed Him as innocent, some as a blasphemer or a criminal, and some as Messiah. Yet, no matter what others perceived, Jesus knew exactly who He was and what He was accomplishing on this Good Friday. Today is a day of both sorrow and hope. Lamentation that the Innocent One has been killed. Yet, there is great hope in His willing sacrifice. With Jesus’ final breaths, He triumphantly cries, “Tetelestai!” The same word that, in the ancient world, creditors would write on certificates of debt when it was fully paid off. “Debt paid in full!” was now being yelled by the Savior on your behalf. The will of the Father was now fulfilled, redemption accomplished, and the sacrifice completed.  As you reflect on the cross, you can know you are fully forgiven and free, no matter how long your receipt of debt may be. Nothing you have done or will do can ever take the stamp of “Tetelestai” away. The hymn writer said it beautifully, “Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free; For God, the Just, is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.”  Prayer:  Jesus, thank you that once and for all, I have been reconciled to You. Nothing else is needed. Help me to rejoice and rest in Your finished work. Amen.


April 6, 2023 • Mackenzie David • John 19:28

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), 'I thirst." John 19:28  From birth to death, Jesus displayed His humanity and divinity. His life as a human was miraculously normal, but He didn’t keep His distance from experiencing every aspect of what it means to be human. He experienced every joy and hardship we felt, yet He still had the full power of God not to sin. Even in His last moments on the cross, He said, “I thirst,” showing that even the Son of God experienced something so normal and simple as needing something to drink.  His humanity creates a deep sense of empathy that is unexpected for a god, but that is the central piece of our theology. It’s Jesus’ empathy that the writer of Hebrews says allows us to come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Today, we celebrate Maundy Thursday, when Jesus shared the Passover dinner with His disciples. We remember Jesus’ words, “Do this in remembrance of me,” inviting us to remember that as Jesus’ thirst was met with sour wine and sacrifice, our thirst and need for salvation and grace are satisfied.  Prayer Jesus, thank you that because of your empathy, we get to come confidently to you. Amen. 


April 5, 2023 • Shelby McQueen • Matthew 27:46

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' Matthew 27:46 The feeling of perceived abandonment at our darkest hour is not a foreign concept to us. When the weight of the world seems to be upon our shoulders and hopelessness consumes us, we can feel as if the Lord can’t possibly be there with us. Even though our rational brain understands God never leaves us, the pain overtakes the truth (Deuteronomy 31:6).  I can’t imagine the burden upon Christ’s shoulders as He bore the weight of all sin. Jesus, who had never known life apart from His Father, was exiled - for our sake. “He became sin who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  There is value in sitting in the gravity of what Jesus took on for us that day, not taking lightly the fact that God sent His only Son to bear the cross for our sins. But, Jesus’ exile results in the most triumphant return. His exile will mean salvation for the world. Through His resurrection, He brought us home from exile and never will we know a day apart from God’s holy presence because of it. Amen. Prayer:  Father, thank you for your constant presence in my life and salvation through Christ on the cross. Amen. 


April 4, 2023 • Jonny Marks • John 19:26–27

"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' John 19:26-27 Mary is about to lose her son. John is about to lose a dear friend. Jesus will lose His life to pay for the sin of the world. He has already endured torture and pain at the hands of evil men. He is going to be separated from His Father in heaven as He is crushed under the weight of God’s wrath.  As Jesus hangs on the cross, ready to give up His spirit, He sees the loss of His mother and friend, compassionately addressing the loss to come and offer restoration for them both. Even as He hurts, Jesus brings healing. As He suffers, Jesus serves the needs at hand. In this moment, His deep love shines in the darkest hour. During this week of contemplation and prayer, consider the love of God shown through Jesus, who sees your need, your loss, and your pain, and, in spite of what He endured for you on the cross, offers healing and restoration and hope. Prayer:  Lord, I set the pain and hurt I have suffered at your feet and accept the healing and grace that comes from Your forgiveness and sacrifice. I pray for those who have lost loved ones and are wounded with sorrow. Amen.


April 3, 2023 • Joel Davis • Luke 23:42

"And he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42 Were we to walk by at this moment, we would scarcely have been able to distinguish the two men, flogged beyond recognition and nearing their deaths. And yet, the thief knew there was something very different about the man hanging next to him. Was He Messiah? When would He establish His kingdom? Jesus answers emphatically. Not only will He establish that kingdom eventually, but the thief will experience its effects that very day. The Greek word for “paradise” is most commonly used to refer to a garden. And in the Bible, it’s not just any garden. Jesus is referring to the Garden of Eden. You may have read that word today, and without thinking about it, inserted the word “heaven.” But there is a perfectly good word for heaven in Greek and it is not used here. In the Garden of Eden, man walked with and experienced the purest presence of God any human being has ever known. Perhaps you have lost touch with Jesus in recent months. Like the thief, each one of us may inhabit that Garden with Jesus today. We do it by recognizing our sin and Jesus as King. May you see Him for who He is today. Prayer Jesus, you are King. Help me to walk with You and experience Your nearness today. Amen.


April 2, 2023 • Kevin Barra • Luke 23:34

"And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' And they cast lots to divide his garments" Luke 23:34 Two words describe God as Father, “pater” and “abba.” Used together God is described with authority and intimacy, power and proximity. Jesus pleads with His daddy, “Abba,” (Mark 14.36) to provide another way than the cross. Jesus pleads with His Father, “pater,” (Luke 23.34) to forgive. Why ask this? Did they know what they were doing? The Roman Soldiers knew exactly what they were doing as professional executioners. Criminals facing Roman capital punishment followed the same process. Soldiers would divide the criminal’s clothing and sell it for personal profit.    What did they not know? They were killing God. They were ignorant, like we are today. They drove the nails, but we all provide the reason they were driven. My sin makes me blind. Sin closes my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I do things that destroy the beauty God made and ignore the consequences of my actions.  Into that abyss of blindness, Jesus asks forgiveness. We stare amazed when those who are wronged deeply forgive fully. Corrie Ten Boom forgave the guard who killed her sister. Immaculee Ilibagiza forgave the man who killed her family. What fueled forgiveness? Received forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Prayer Jesus, please help me understand the depth of your forgiveness towards me. Please empower me to forgive those who have hurt me deeply. Amen.