Holy Week Devotional Day 1

Over the next week, as we anticipate Easter, we will be walking through a  time of Bible reading, prayer, and spiritual practices together. 

Each day’s devotional will contain four parts: Scripture, Reflection, Prayer, and Practice. We invite you to read the selected passages and to take a few moments to read through the provided reflection and/or reflect on your own.  Next, take some time to pray through the prayer points listed. They will each contain an emphasis on our own spiritual development and on Salvation for those around us during this Easter season. Lastly, read through the suggested practices that you can implement into your daily routine in order to do as the scriptures tell us in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

We invite you to join us over the next week as we seek to draw near to the heart of Jesus and pray for those in our lives who do not yet know him. 

Day 1

Luke 19:28-44 
1 Peter 2:9

Our world, our decisions, the things that fill our minds revolve around praise. We buy books because friends recommend them, we wear clothes that people compliment us on, we sit through movies that reviewers throw stars at, we even see posts on social media that receive the most likes and comments thanks to algorithms that are in place. Algorithms that are based on and born of the idea that humans respond to the praises of people around them. 

Things weren’t so different 2,000 years ago. Here we find people flocking to see Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey so they can join the crowds and shower him with praise. They wave palm branches and throw their garments on the ground. They shout and clap and proclaim that he is everything they had been hoping for. 
It’s a breathtaking display full of joy and triumph. I’m sure that those who were present couldn’t help but be swept up in the fervor of it all. It was enough to draw the attention of the Pharisees, those that didn’t agree with or understand the praises of the people around them. 

“Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that,” they told Jesus. Tell them to be quiet. There’s no place here for this display. They didn’t like the proclamations, the praise, the glorifying of the one who had come to set his people free, but Jesus knew that praise was a necessity. 
“If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers,” Jesus replied. 
Why? Why would the stones cry out? Why would the rocks cheer in praise if the people didn’t? 
Perhaps it’s because people needed to notice. Because ears perk up when they hear praise. Because praise compels people to action, to sacrifice, to following after whatever is being praised. 

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, his very presence demanded worship. It demanded that everyone should stop and notice. That they should lay down the very cloaks on their backs and forget their pride in their fervor. 
If they hadn’t done it, the rocks would have. 

Things are no different for us. We are people who have watched Jesus ride in triumph and peace and freedom into our lives. We have seen him keep every promise and break every chain that once held us. We have experienced his friendship and joy and love and life so we know that we must praise him. 

We know that because of who he is and how he loves us, we have to lay down our pride and possessions and power. We have to proclaim in joy and adoration “the praises of him who called us out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” 

And when we do, people will take notice. Our praise will compel those who know nothing of our Savior towards curiosity and wonder. They will see and sense our adoration and through it, they might know how good and perfect the love that we are talking about is. 

The world needs our praises so that they might notice Jesus.

Let it never be said that there was a dearth of praise in our generation. Let us never know the sound of rocks crying out in silence. 

Take some time today to praise Jesus, or perhaps put more simply, speak well of him, in front of others today. It can be as simple as mentioning something he has done for you or is doing in your life. Talk about an attribute of him that you love or a way that he is proving his goodness to you. This doesn’t have to be showy or awkward, simply a topic of casual conversation that could change someone’s life. We praise everything else that’s good in our lives in front of our friends. We can do the same for Jesus. 

Pray a prayer of praise. Tell Jesus how holy and good and amazing he is. Don’t rush through this. It’s good for us to lead our own hearts towards adoration.

 Pray that God would give you opportunities to praise him in front of those around you today. Pray also that your praises would cause people to take notice of Jesus and would lead them towards following him.