United Methodist Church of Livonia, NY


Lenten Devotions - Week 1

They were on their way to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished*, while those who followed him were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him, and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Mark 10:32-35 (*The disciples were astonished at what Jesus had just told them. See Mark 10:29-31.)

This is the third time that Jesus has told his followers that he will suffer and die once they reach Jerusalem. This is the most explicit of the three because the Disciples did not understand Jesus’ earlier explanations of the terrible events awaiting him. Now, however, the Disciples seem to understand what awaits Jesus, but they are amazed that he keeps going toward the holy city. They are afraid for him and for what might happen to themselves, yet they keep following him as if everything will turn out right in the end.

Often overlooked in the opening sentence of v. 32 is the fact that “Jesus is leading the way.” This statement tells us a great deal about Jesus. It tells us of his loneliness. He is ahead of the disciples, alone. Jesus knew that there were things that were going to happen that he had to face alone. In our lives there are things that we must face alone. We must walk certain roads alone no matter how difficult it is. And yet, even in these difficult times, we are really not alone, for God never is nearer to us.

Jesus faced a walk ‘through the valley of the shadow of death.”  He knew that horrible things would happen to him before he emerged from the shadows onto the sunlit highlands of Easter. He also knew that his heavenly Father would comfort him.

As we follow Jesus to the cross during this Lenten season let us join with each other in loving him so much that this love and his love for us will sustain us, as it has in the past, and as it will in all the days yet to come.

Creating God, your Living Word, Jesus Christ, came to a sinful world and brought humanity the gift of reconciliation to God by his suffering and death. Teach us, Lord, the people who bear his name, to follow the commands that he brought to us. May our faith sustain us through all the trials we may face. We ask these things through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Recommended Scripture readings for Week 1:
  • Mark 8:31
  • Mark 9:31
  • Matthew 20:17-19
  • Luke 18:31-35
  • Psalm 23.
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