Join us for the next 8 weeks as we follow the path from Ash Wednesday to Easter with the help of Skit Guys Studio.  Each week, we will post a new video that dramatically retells the course of Christ’s ministry leading up to his crucifixion, reflecting on, and bringing new insight into the scriptures.  So join us each Monday for a unique and compelling devotional for Lent.

Week 8 - Easter

Easter! This is indeed the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. On this day above all days it is easy for followers of Jesus the world over to fulfill the command found in this verse from Psalm 118. Nobody but Jesus rose from the dead after dying on a cross: and on this day we rejoice and are glad in it!

Nobody but Jesus would cause the angels to meet his followers at the tomb that first Easter morning telling them “He is not here. He is risen!” And on this day we rejoice and are glad in it! Nobody but Jesus could have laid down his life as a sinless sacrifice and made a way for his people to experience salvation: and on this day we rejoice and are glad in it! We are glad in HIM!

Week 7 - Good Friday

The text accompanying this video, John 18:1-19:42,  is heavy; it feels and is long when compared to other texts in this series. Over 2000 words must be read if one is to capture the full effect of what the gospel writer, John, was attempting to convey to his audience. Peter felt every ounce of the emotionally draining events articulated in these two chapters and then some. If it feels long to read, just imagine how it felt to live these chapters as Peter did. For one who had walked with Jesus for three years to this point, along with the other disciples, what he experienced on and around Good Friday felt like a total disaster.

It felt like the bottom dropping out of dreams filled with hope. It felt like chaos overtaking their lives. It felt like things were out of control. If words somehow could sum up what the disciples, especially Peter, were experiencing in that moment of the story: “It feels like we lost.”

 

Week 6 - Palm Sunday

We don’t know which of the disciples Jesus told to go and retrieve the colt. We just know that they did what Jesus told them to do and at the end of the day those disciples and all who were a part of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on that day were feeling excited about what they had just experienced. It felt like Jesus showed up with the expectations of a long awaited Messiah by a people who were ready for something to change.

What Jesus did when he rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey during Passover week made an unforgettable statement about who he was and what he was claiming to be: the Messiah! Up to this point Jesus consistently wanted his identity to remain quiet. He would tell both disciples and demons not to utter a word about who he was because his time had not yet come. But on this day, Jesus the Messiah made his grand entrance for all to see. The magnitude of his announcement would become clearer in hindsight. But he was declaring who he was as Messiah with some profoundly symbolic actions on this day.

 

Week 5 - God's Voice in the Thunder

The time is during the week of Passover and Jesus has been watching the throngs of people from all over the countryside and beyond make their way into Jerusalem and thus the Temple to celebrate. There was a special sense of electricity and anticipation in the air because the whole crowd who was in town had been buzzing about Jesus’ actions in recent days. This one from Galilee had cleansed the Temple and made the Court of the Gentiles free from the chaos that had taken up residence on the inside of what was intended to be designated as the entrance to holy ground. He drove out the animals and those scamming the people coming to worship and pay their Temple tax. Yes, Jesus had caused quite an uproar as we see in John 2.

Then a few chapters later the Son of God really gave them good gossip to spread among the Jerusalem countryside. He had just raised his friend Lazarus from the dead in John 11 and such news had spread like wildfire among the people. His popularity had risen among the Jews and Gentiles alike. What was Jesus about to do next if he had no fear of the religious leaders in the Temple and if death was not an issue for him to overcome with a word to his deceased friend now alive and well again? What would it be like
to sit down face to face with him and have a conversation? Unless they asked for some time with the Lord, these Greeks who had come into town to worship and celebrate the Passover  might not know. It never hurts to ask. So they did.

What would start as an invitation to Jesus from some Greeks would quickly turn into a response about death and what was about to happen in the coming days for Jesus



Week 4 - Nicodemus

Nicodemus was a Jewish Pharisee who was intrigued and fascinated by Jesus, his teaching, his actions, and his life. Pharisees were Jewish men who were part of an ancient Jewish sect in biblical days. They were known for living their lives according to the strictest observance of both the traditional and written
laws of the Jewish people. The Pharisees were the rule keepers and law abiders. The commonly agreed upon total number of rules that had to be lived out if a person really was going to be living right was a whopping 613 laws. Of those 613 laws for life, 243 were things that a good Jewish person was supposed
to do; 365 were negative rules and made sure that there was enough things not to do that would cover every day of the year.

The only places in the Bible we see and hear from a Pharisee named Nicodemus are found in the Gospel of John. We see him having a conversation with Jesus under the cover of darkness in chapter 3:1-21. He passively lobbies for Jesus to have a hearing before any arrest in John 7:50-51. The final time we see
Nicodemus in the Bible is after Jesus had been crucified and is being prepared for his burial in John 19:39-42.

Although it does not state how much Nicodemus witnessed the words and actions of Jesus first hand, the inference in his conversation with Jesus in John 3 leads us to believe that he had been observing Jesus from the sidelines. Nicodemus likely was in the Temple in the previous chapter when Jesus cleansed the
Temple and turned everything upside down. Such actions likely caused Nicodemus’ wheels to begin spinning inside his mind. Nicodemus possibly began to wonder if Jesus’ demonstrations coupled mighty miracles and mesmerizing teaching of the masses, were coming together to identify him as the long
awaited Messiah. It would take some time for Nicodemus to reach such conclusions, but what he heard from Jesus on that evening conversation captured in John 3 just seemed too good to be true.

Week 3 - Widow in the Temple

For this widowed, single mom, that day in the Temple felt like she was being rescued. The reason she and most likely a couple of million other people were in Jerusalem and on their way to the Temple was to celebrate the greatest rescue in the history of the Hebrew people to that point. They were in town to celebrate the Passover holiday that remembered how God had rescued his people from slavery in Egypt so many centuries ago.

The scene the widowed woman referred to is known as the “Cleansing of the Temple.” While all four of the gospels retell this story, the version she is referring to that identifies Jesus not only turning over the money tables and pouring the coins on the ground, but also using a whip to drive out the animals and corruption, is found in John 2:13-22. This episode made quite an impression on all who were in town for the Passover that year.

Week 2 - Simon Peter

The two chapters of John 18-19 are heavy. Over 2000 words must be read if one is to capture the full effect of what the gospel writer, John, was attempting to convey to his audience. Peter felt every ounce of the emotionally draining events articulated in these two chapters and then some. If it feels long to read, just imagine how it felt to live these chapters as Peter did. For one who had walked with Jesus for three years to this point, along with the other disciples, what he experienced on and around Good Friday felt like a total disaster.

It felt like the bottom dropping out of dreams filled with hope. It felt like chaos overtaking their lives. It felt like things were out of control. If words somehow could sum up what the disciples, especially Peter, were experiencing in that moment of the story: “It feels like we lost.”



Week 1 - John the Baptist

John the Baptist helps us to begin a walk toward Easter on this first weekend of Lent even though he finds himself stuck in a jail cell. Maybe that’s a description of how you feel in your life today: stuck. Even if you are not stuck in a jail cell, you may feel like your life is walled in and not really going anywhere. Perhaps you feel stuck in your job, stuck in your marriage, stuck in school, stuck in your financial situation or even stuck in your relationship with God.

No matter where you are or how you are feeling, God wants you to know that he is with you, for you, and wants you to experience his love and grace fresh and new today. Our God is on the move. He is anything but stuck. He invites us to know him and live our lives unstuck and in step with him through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the truth of his word found in the Bible.

In the video, John the Baptist not only was stuck in jail, but also something else was happening. While the video helps us begin Lent, at this time in John’s life his public ministry was coming to an end. Even though his ministry had ended by being stuck in prison, Jesus’ public ministry was just getting started. John played a big part in this new beginning with Jesus.

That is a message worth telling. That is a message worth sharing. That is a weight lifting word that must be experienced and enjoyed. The beginning of Lent is an opportunity that feels like starting over. This is a hope that needs to swarm every person who needs to move from being stuck to being free. This is the beginning of Lent that leads to the cross and ends in victory.