Lent Devotion for March 24
"They Took Counsel to Put Him to Death."
Reader: “My enemies conspire against me…”
Response: “…plotting to take my life.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 31:13-14
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,saying, “You are my God!”
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.
14 But I am trusting you, O Lord,
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 27:1-2
27 Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. 2 Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
SCRIPTURE: John 11:53-54
53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. 54 As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
It will be well worth your time to read the entire Psalm 31 to gain greater insight. David is bearing his heart to the Lord as he is under attack. It would appear that all his friends have turned against him. As he says in verse thirteen, “I have heard rumors about me, and I am surrounded by terror.” There is plotting against David. He continues to trust finding his strength in the Lord and in the Lord’s rescue. Contrast that with Jesus’ life as recorded in Matthew and John. In the latter case, the religious leaders were those plotting against Jesus and the plans were specific; kill Jesus. The plot was several weeks in the making. But in this case, unlike David’s experience of eventual deliverance, Jesus was not rescued by His Father. The evil plot went through and Jesus was crucified. There are times when, like David, we are delivered from vengeful situations and evil people with jealous, destructive motives. Jealousy obsesses, consumes itself in an insatiable appetite for revenge. It never knows the satisfaction and is looking for another way to inflict harm. So simply rigging things in a crooked trial and getting the crucifixion sentence wasn’t enough. They had to harass Jesus as He dragged His cross to Golgotha and ridiculed Him as He hung on the cross. Think about it. Sanity had departed. Think about our world today, the world that has rejected Jesus Christ, as did the Jewish religious leaders. We have the same irrational responses to God’s truth. The world has rejected Christ as the divine Son of God. His authoritative word in the Holy Scriptures is rejected. In a very different way but with exactly the same intent, our culture is in the midst of carrying out its plan to kill Jesus. Let us say with King David and his earthly relative, Jesus, “I am trusting you, O Lord, You are my God.”
MUSIC: “Were You There?” by Jubilant Sykes (A glorious setting! Stay tuned afterward for “Blessed Assurance”!)
God, forgive our doubting, questioning hearts. Like the scribes who witnessed Jesus’ miracles of healing and heard His proclamation, yet spurned belief, we too have seen wonders yet have hardened our hearts. We confess the many times that our pessimism has caused others to doubt themselves and your Spirit, the times that our criticism has wounded others, the times that our dejection has dampened the enthusiasm of those inspired by your Word and work. O God, forgive us and in your mercy renew us, that with open hearts we may believe and never pose an obstacle to the faith of others. Amen.
–The Worship Source Book, p.567 #24