Holy Monday, March 26
Scripture Reading: Matthew 21.12-27
“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!? They were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “’Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
—Matthew 21:14-16 ESV
My older brother Tito is mentally handicapped and lives at home with my parents. His favorite ministry is none other than Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and it is the backdrop of any time we spend together. He has never had an understanding of Jimmy’s indiscretions and just enjoys worshipping alongside the ministry. Tito lives in a world where his limited capacity to grasp sin brings the ability to enjoy things like worship without being burdened by a carnal optic. Over many hours together with Tito, I have moved from a place of castigation towards Jimmy Swaggart and his very public scandals, to a place of recognizing my own indiscretions and my brother’s blindness to them. I have ultimately come to enjoy the worship from my brother’s perspective while learning a lesson about what Christ has done for me.
In Matthew 21:12-17 we witness the second time Jesus purged the temple. As I read through this passage in scripture, Holy Spirit causes me to reflect afresh on the underlying theme of how the people of Jesus’ day abused the temple and perverted its resolve. Jesus wanted to restore the true purposes of the temple, and He did so in part by purging it of ungodly practices and then healing the blind and lame. I am thankful that Jesus purges my temple when I need it. I grew up never truly able to overlook offenses. Fast-forward 30 years and I find myself faced with a lesson on reconciliation and a reflection on my own life. As Jesus highlights my inability to forgive and purges me of it, He is then able to demonstrate His true intention for my life, which is to follow Him without encumbrance.
In Matthew 21:18-22 we find a hungry Jesus in front of a hypocritical tree that represents something that it’s not—a fruit bearing tree. He later uses this opportunity to talk to the disciples about authority and forgiveness. As we read from the vantage point of Mark 11, we learn a lesson on forgiving others so that we may be forgiven. My own hypocrisy in focusing on someone's sin and not my own has been a stumbling block in my walk with Christ. Like the tree that bore no fruit, He sees through any facade I try and present. Jesus desires that I reflect on what I represent to Him while focusing on my own walk and the price He paid to be close to me.
In my life-long walk with Christ, reconciliation has been about understanding God’s mission to bridge the divide of sin. Reconciliation is what Jesus accomplished at Golgotha. There on the cross He bridged the divide of sin through His sacrifice. Removing my carnal lenses and experiencing worship through my brother’s eyes taught me a lesson, one that I try to carry to other parts of my life and to pass on to my children. I find it easier to forgive others because of what Christ did for me through reconciliation. Our walk is long, and there will be many challenges along the way. Walking with Jesus and seeing the world through His eyes makes the journey easier and more fruitful.
For all other devotionals, you can read them all at www.ournewsong.org/passionweek
special thanks to susan thompson, our editor,
And our contributing authors:
Palm Sunday - Marcus Harris
Holy Monday - Joel Fernandez
Holy Tuesday - Gina Green
Holy Wednesday - Ps. Jason Peaks
Maundy Thursday - Susan Thompson
Good Friday - Betsy Herman
Holy Saturday - Ps. Jordan Shimon
Resurrection Sunday - Cathy Harris