this week between Palm Sunday and Easter, we remember Jesus’ suffering
for us, from the time he entered Jerusalem, through his crucifixion and
burial. As we walk through this week, we’ll look at prophetic verses
from Isaiah, written nearly 700 years before the crucifixion, as well as
some of Jesus’ words recorded in the gospels. Let’s ponder these
passages deeply, thinking about how they speak to us and our faith or
lack of faith, and allow them to fill us with gratitude for all that
Jesus has done for us.

As [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and
said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you
peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

What in my life robs me of the peace Jesus offers and causes him to weep over me? Ask God to reveal what is hidden from your eyes that is keeping you from experiencing his peace.

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
   Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? Isaiah 53:1
Do you believe the gospel message? It’s different than anything the world has to offer, and that is good news!
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Isaiah 53:3
Jesus was despised, rejected, and humiliated, even by those whom he loved and for whom he suffered. Come to him with your own hurts, shames, and ways you’ve been rejected, knowing he has suffered in these ways for you.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love
has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John

Imagine a friend who loves you so much that he or she would choose to die in your place so you could live. Jesus did that! Ponder his amazing love today, and pray that you would grow in your ability and willingness to sacrificially love others.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6
Jesus took all the punishment for our sins– pierced, crushed, punished– for each of us, even though he had no sin. Sit in silence a while, meditating on what great love it took to do that for us, for you. How will you respond to such love?

And [Jesus] said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be
rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he
must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Luke 9:22

Jesus told his disciples that he would be killed and then would be raised to life on the third day. He did indeed rise, and tomorrow we celebrate that resurrection. Today let’s ponder all that led up to his resurrection, so that tomorrow we can celebrate with true joy.