Home arrow News arrow GUIDE TO PRAYER & STUDY / Week of March 19-25, 2017
GUIDE TO PRAYER & STUDY / Week of March 19-25, 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by CGUMC   
Saturday, 18 March 2017

MARCH 19: “THIEVES CRUCIFIED BESIDE JESUS”
Exodus 17:1-7; Luke 23:32-43

Things I want to remember from today’s worship service:
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Monday, March 20:  Read Mark 15:27-32.
Pilate, the Roman procurator, had said he’d free either Jesus or Barabbas, who was a violent rebel. Mark uses similar words (meaning “rebel” or “bandit”) to describe both Barabbas and the men crucified with Jesus. Some scholars believe they were Barabbas’ allies, since it appears Pilate originally planned to crucify him, not Jesus. In an armed revolt against the Romans, Barabbas killed one or more people. Many no doubt saw him as a heroic fighter. The Romans saw him as a terrorist. Who gets your vote: Barabbas, the violent insurrectionist, or Jesus, who teaches us to love one another? Pray: Lord Jesus, so often I’m worried about being “respectable.” Help me remember, after reading about you on a cross between two rebels, that often there are higher values than respectability. Amen.    

Tuesday, March 21:  Read Luke 23:32-43.
Luke’s gospel shows Jesus’ love for all who are outcast and looked down upon. Jesus’ pledge to the man being crucified who asked for a place in his kingdom shows clearly that there is grace for absolutely anyone who desires it. What an extraordinary request for that crucified man to make to Jesus! Have you ever felt (or known someone who felt) that “I’ve done too much—waited too long—I can’t turn to God now?” What does the man’s request and Jesus’ response say to that attitude? In contrast, the other man said, “Aren’t you the Messiah?” That did not express faith, as the scornful “Save yourself and us” shows. Pray: Lord Jesus, when I read about your saving love reaching a criminal on a cross next to yours, I thank you that you love people who miss the mark. That means you can love me! Remember me when you come into your kingdom, Lord. Amen.
 
Wednesday, March 22:  Read Revelation 22:1-5.
Jesus said to the repentant thief crucified beside him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” “Paradise” was a Persian word that referred to the king’s royal garden. Commentator William Barclay writes, “When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a special honor … he was chosen to walk in the garden with the king.” Picture yourself taking a walk with Jesus in a royal garden. What do you say? What does he say to you? Pray: Lord God, what an awesome promise—I can live in your eternal garden, your holy city! Help me live with hope, in the light of that lovely place. Amen.

Thursday, March 23:  Read John 3:14-21.
Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). The man crucified with Jesus couldn’t say that, but Jesus pledges eternal life to “whoever believes” (in his conversation with Nicodemus in today’s reading). Jesus accepted the man’s faith as all the “credential” he needed, so the crucified rebel, too, had a crown of righteousness waiting for him. “Whoever” included even a crucified criminal — do you trust that “Whoever” includes you, too? Are you open to accepting newcomers to God’s Kingdom, as Jesus did? Pray: To the man dying on the cross next to yours, you said, “You will be with me.” Keep me grateful for your grace, and eager to share the good news. Amen.

Friday, March 24:  Read 1 John 5:9-13.
Jesus’ promise to the man on the cross—“you will be with me in paradise”—is for all of us, not just for that man. Methodism founder John Wesley, after a service on Aldersgate Street in London wrote, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for my salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” You don’t have to wish or hope for salvation, or try hard to deserve it. It’s God’s gift, and you, like the thief on the cross, like John Wesley, like millions through the ages, can know you have it. In today’s reading, John never uses the future tense. He doesn’t say that whoever believes in the Son “will have” eternal life or can hope to “someday have” eternal life, but that that person “has” eternal life. In what ways do you want to more fully tap into the eternal life you already have as God’s gift through Christ? Pray: Lord Jesus, I accept your gift. I commit my life—my heart, my abilities and my energy—to you now and for all eternity. I look forward to being with you forever. Amen.

Saturday, March 25:
Reflect on your week’s readings, and join us for Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and Worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. In worship, God speaks to us, renews us and reminds us of who we are and Whose we are.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 March 2017 )
 
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