Editor’s note: Easter will be here sooner than you think! Ash Wednesday falls on March 5 this year, and Easter comes six short weeks later, on April 20. How will you help everyone in your church prepare their hearts to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection victory? A few years ago, CTA revised our popular prayer journal for Easter preparation, Journey to the Cross. The adult version is still available, as is the youth edition. We still get comments from users like you about how helpful they are. Here’s one excerpt, adapted slightly from the adult version.
Opening thought: Jesus? Angry? Yes! It angered him that greedy religious leaders profited from the faithful who had come to receive God’s forgiveness and love. Jesus overturned all the tables and scattered every coin—and in doing so, he welcomed the poor in spirit to his Father’s house.
Read Matthew 21:12–17.
Focus: What should worshipers experience when we come to confess our sins and offer our praises: The Father’s welcome. The peace of forgiveness. A growing understanding of God’s Word and will. By cleansing the Temple, Jesus made that possible for the people who had come to celebrate the Passover. A few days later, on the cross, he would make it possible for all God’s people—forever!
If you are using this devotion on your own, try writing out your answers to the questions in “Reflect” below. If you are in a group, spend some time writing individually, then share a few thoughts with a partner.
Reflect: What makes your worship experience less than your heavenly Father wants it to be? How might Jesus want to help you change that?
Pray: Lord, because of what you did for me, I’m always welcome in the Father’s house. Teach me to welcome others who come to worship in my church. Guide my spiritual leaders so that . . .
Note: All Journey to the Cross materials come with six weeks of free sermon outlines and group discussion questions. (And you won’t believe the value pricing on the journals!) Don’t wait! Check it out!