Come to the Table - First United Methodist Church

Come to the Table
2015 Lenten Devotional
Jesus invites us all to the table that He sets before us.
Come on this journey through the book of Luke
to learn more about being invited to His table
By Rev. Sheryl Seitz All Scripture references are from the Common English Bible (2010)
William Barclay: “Luke was a Gentile; and he has the unique distinction of being the only New
Testament writer who was not a Jew. He was a medical man, a doctor by profession (Colossians
4:14), and may that very fact gave him the wide sympathy he
possessed. It has been said that a minister sees men and women at
their best; a lawyer at their worst; and a doctor sees them as they are.
Luke saw men and women and loved them all.”i
There are similarities in the Gospels and there are differences, all
based on the writer and their observations. Take time to read through
the Scriptures as provided, plus, take the time to look up the
Scriptures in other translations, learning the similarities and
When each of us considers the table, we have different ideas. I invite you to join me on this
adventure through the book of Luke. Enjoy the journey to the Table. Come, the Table is set and all
are welcome.
~ Blessings – Pastor Sheryl
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Feb 18, 2015 - Luke 5:27-29
Afterward, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at a kiosk for collecting
taxes. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up, left everything behind, and followed him.
Then Levi threw a great banquet for Jesus in his home. A large number of tax collectors and
others sat down to eat with them.
It seems too simple – that Jesus would say “follow me” and Levi would leave all he owned and
loved behind to follow Jesus. What was/is it about Jesus that we long to be with Him each moment
of the day? Perhaps we make life too complicated with our own agenda, when all Jesus desires is
that we walk away from all that we know, to join Him at the table. What a wonderful image – to be
seated at a banquet with Jesus.
Holy God; help us to understand how to follow you. We know that we have been called to be
followers, but don’t know how to leave the world behind. Help us to understand how to meet Jesus
at the table and to invite others to the table that you set for us. Amen.
Feb 19, 2015 - Luke 5:33-35
Some people said to Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and pray frequently. The disciples of
the Pharisees do the same, but your disciples are always eating and drinking.” Jesus replied,
“You can’t make the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them, can you? The days will
come when the groom will be taken from them, and then they will fast.
When we prepare food for a party, we make sure to fix food for all of our guests, not just some. It
wouldn’t be fair for some to be able to eat and drink while others had to stand and watch. That
would just not be hospitable. Jesus was always looking out for each of His disciples. Jesus knew
that there was a day coming when his disciples would mourn and grieve over His death. Jesus was
reminding them now was the time of celebration.
Lord, help us to remember all those who are invited to our table, as well as all those whom you
have invited to your table. Help us to remember with grace, the other’s of our world and seek ways
to be sensitive to them and their needs. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Feb 20, 2015 - Luke 5:36-38
Then he told them a parable. “No one tears a patch from a new garment to patch an old garment.
Otherwise, the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t match the old
garment. Nobody pours new wine into old wineskins. If they did, the new wine would burst the
wineskins, the wine would spill, and the wineskins would be ruined. Instead, new wine must be
put into new wineskins.
Since we use jars, bottles and cans, this image of wineskins can be difficult to comprehend. As part
of the aging process, wine ferments and during this process the wine expands. As new wine is
made, it is put in new wineskins with room for expansion. When we become followers of Jesus, we
put away our old ways. We leave the world and all of its “stuff” behind, in order to be filled with
our new life in Christ. In this way, we are like the new wineskins, being filled with the Holy Spirit
and allowing room for growth and expansion.
Creator God, thank you for the images and stories you have provided for us in your Holy Word.
Help us to study and feast on your Word in order for us to grow in you. Amen.
Feb 21, 2015 - Luke 6:1-5
One Sabbath, as Jesus was going through the wheat fields, his disciples were picking the heads of
wheat, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you
breaking the Sabbath law?” Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read what David and his companions
did when they were hungry? He broke the Law by going into God’s house and eating the bread of
the presence, which only the priests can eat. He also gave some of the bread to his companions.”
Then he said to them, “The Human One (Son of Man) is Lord of the Sabbath.”
At one time, the bread that was offered as a sacrifice in the temple could only be eaten by the
priests. Jesus came as our High Priest, our Redeemer and our Savior. Jesus invites all to His table
those who welcome Him into their hearts and lives. Jesus IS the bread of life.
God, we thank you for inviting each of us to your table. Help us to understand that sometimes the
laws of humans are only important to humans but that your love overrules all of our laws. Thank
you for loving us. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Feb 22, 2015 - Luke 9:1-9
Jesus called the Twelve together and he gave them power and authority over all demons and to
heal sicknesses. He sent them out to proclaim God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. He told them,
“Take nothing for the journey—no walking stick, no bag, no bread, no money, not even an extra
shirt. Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. Wherever they don’t
welcome you, as you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” They
departed and went through the villages proclaiming the good news and healing people
Herod the ruler heard about everything that was happening. He was confused because some
people were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared,
and still others that one of the ancient prophets had come back to life. Herod said, “I beheaded
John, so now who am I hearing about?” Herod wanted to see him.
Jesus trusted the Twelve disciples and gave them all power and authority over demons and illness.
With this trust, came responsibility to heal the sick and to speak out about God’s kingdom and
promises. What they were doing was rather confusing to Herod. Herod didn’t understand who
Jesus really was – he thought that Jesus was John. Herod wanted to see Jesus so that he could
understand him better. How often do we seek Jesus to better understand him?
Lord, help us in our daily walk with you to seek you, to search for you and to eagerly anticipate
finding you. Help us to speak to others about your love and redeeming grace. Amen.
Feb 23, 2015 - Luke 9:10-17
When the apostles returned, they described for Jesus what they had done. Taking them with him,
Jesus withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds figured it out, they
followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about God’s kingdom, and healed those who
were sick. When the day was almost over, the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd
away so that they can go to the nearby villages and countryside and find lodging and food,
because we are in a deserted place.”
He replied, “You give them something to eat.” But they said, “We have no more than five loaves of
bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” (They said this because
about five thousand men were present.)
Jesus said to his disciples, “Seat them in groups of about fifty.” They did so, and everyone was
seated. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, and broke
them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Everyone ate until they were full,
and the disciples filled twelve baskets with the leftovers.
How many of us have been willing to trust God to provide – even when we cannot see HOW the
provision will occur? The disciples could imagine how Jesus would feed all these people. But God
worked a miracle at the picnic – dividing the food until all were satisfied. It is difficult to trust God
with the things we cannot see. We have to have faith, that our needs will be met and exceeded – if
we trust.
Holy God, help us to trust in you, to believe that you will take care of all our needs. Grant us the
faith that we need to believe that you will provide beyond our wildest expectations. Thank you,
Lord. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Feb 24, 2015 – Luke 9:18-27
Once when Jesus was praying by himself, the disciples joined him, and he asked them, “Who do
the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others that
one of the ancient prophets has come back to life.”
He asked them, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ
sent from God.”
Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell this to anyone. He said, “The Human One (Son of Man)
must suffer many things and be rejected—by the elders, chief priests, and the legal experts—and
be killed and be raised on the third day.”
Jesus said to everyone, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their
cross daily, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their
lives because of me will save them. What advantage do people have if they gain the whole world
for themselves yet perish or lose their lives? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the
Human One (Son of Man) will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the
glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I assure you that some standing here won’t die before
they see God’s kingdom.”
How often do we say that we will follow Jesus, but find ourselves on a different path? How often
do we not speak against oppression and injustice, thereby not speaking up for the love of God?
How often do we turn to God and ask for forgiveness for our failures and ask for strength to do
better tomorrow?
Holy Lord, we thank you that you are the God of all our tomorrows and that you do forgive us. You
have created us and you love us, especially when we are not particularly loveable. Thank you for
your love. Amen.
Feb 25, 2015 – Luke 9:37-43
The next day, when Jesus, Peter, John, and James had come down from the mountain, a large
crowd met Jesus. A man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to take a look at my son,
my only child. Look, a spirit seizes him and, without any warning, he screams. It shakes him and
causes him to foam at the mouth. It tortures him and rarely leaves him alone. I begged your
disciples to throw it out, but they couldn’t.”
Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you and put up
with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon threw him down and shook
him violently. Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his
father. Everyone was overwhelmed by God’s greatness.
Jesus and his disciples had just come down from the Transfiguration – a mountain-top experience
that allowed the disciples to witness Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah. In order to do the work
that he was sent to do, Jesus had to come down from the mountain to the valley of service. The
child was saved because Jesus came to work that day. Would that we do the same – go to work IN
the name of Jesus.
Lord of all creation, we thank you for our jobs. Sometimes we don’t want to go to work, but let us
remember that even while we are at work, we are still working for Jesus and the heavenly banquet
that is set for us. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Feb 26, 2015 – Luke 9:46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Aware of their
deepest thoughts, Jesus took a little child and had the child stand beside him. Jesus said to his
disciples, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me. Whoever welcomes me,
welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever is least among you all is the greatest.”
John replied, “Master, we saw someone throwing demons out in your name, and we tried to stop
him because he isn’t in our group of followers.”
But Jesus replied, “Don’t stop him because whoever isn’t against you is for you.”
We live in a competitive society and we are often challenged to do more or to be first. Some will
stop at nothing to be the best, the fastest or the brightest. May all that we do be to bring glory to
God – even in our competitions.
Jehovah God, thank you for creating each of us just the way you did. Help us to go about ALL of
our activities in a way that brings honor and glory to you. Let our words and actions be pleasing to
you. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Feb 27, 2015 – Luke 9:57-62
As Jesus and his disciples traveled along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you
wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the
Human One (Son of Man) has no place to lay his head.”
Then Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my
father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of
God’s kingdom.”
Someone else said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my
house.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s
Saying goodbye to people is difficult. But we, who are Christians, have the confidence that we will
see that loved one again. Jesus is preparing a heavenly banquet for us and all are invited to feast at
that table. Will you be there? Have you invited others to attend?
Holy Lord, help us to understand your words for us. Help us to understand that we have to leave
the things of this world behind in order to follow you. Show us ways to help others attend this
heavenly banquet you are preparing for us! Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Feb 28, 2015 – Luke 10:38-42
While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named
Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and
listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for
their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to
prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”
The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One
thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.”
Are you a “Mary” or a “Martha”? I must confess I am probably
more Martha than Mary and should be more Mary than Martha.
Or perhaps, some of both… The table needs to be set and the food
needs to be prepared, but listening to God is more important.
Lord, help me to listen to you more. Help me manage my time so
that I am able to be productive in my work, but to make time for
you as well. Thank you for my many blessings. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 1, 2015 – Luke 11:37-54
While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to share a meal with him, so Jesus went and
took his place at the table. When the Pharisee saw that Jesus didn’t ritually purify his hands by
washing before the meal, he was astonished.
The Lord said to him, “Now, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and platter, but your
insides are stuffed with greed and wickedness. Foolish people! Didn’t the one who made the
outside also make the inside? Therefore, give to those in need from the core of who you are and
you will be clean all over.
“How terrible for you Pharisees! You give a tenth of your mint, rue, and garden herbs of all
kinds, while neglecting justice and love for God. These you ought to have done without neglecting
the others. “How terrible for you Pharisees! You love the most prominent seats in the
synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. “How terrible for you! You are like
unmarked graves and people walk on them without recognizing it.”
One of the legal experts responded, “Teacher, when you say these things, you are insulting us
too.” Jesus said, “How terrible for you legal experts too! You load people down with impossible
burdens and you refuse to lift a single finger to help them. “How terrible for you! You built
memorials to the prophets, whom your ancestors killed. In this way, you testify that you approve
of your ancestors’ deeds. They killed the prophets, and you build memorials! Therefore, God’s
wisdom has said, ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them and they will harass and kill some of
them.’ As a result, this generation will be charged with the murder of all the prophets since the
beginning of time. This includes the murder of every prophet—from Abel to Zechariah—who was
killed between the altar and the holy place. Yes, I’m telling you, this generation will be charged
with it.
“How terrible for you legal experts! You snatched away the key of knowledge. You didn’t enter
yourselves and you stood in the way of those who were entering.” As he left there, the legal
experts and Pharisees began to resent him deeply and to ask him pointed questions about many
things. They plotted against him, trying to trap him in his words.
At first read, it seems that Jesus is snapping at the Pharisees. However, when you go back and read
it again, there is pity in our Lord’s words. He has pity for those who do not understand why he
came to us and will die for us. Jesus came for each of us – saints and sinners. Praise God for our
wonderful gift of Jesus.
God, we thank you for your wonderful gift of Jesus. We often fail to remember that Jesus came for
each of us and sometimes think that we are the only ones that deserve salvation. Help us to
remember the eternal gift that has been offered to each of us – no matter who we are or what we
have done. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 2, 2015 – Luke 12:8-12
“I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before humans, the Human One (Son of Man) will
acknowledge before God’s angels. But the one who rejects me before others will be rejected before
God’s angels. Anyone who speaks a word against the Human One (Son of Man) will be forgiven,
but whoever insults the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven. When they bring you before the
synagogues, rulers, and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what you
should say. The Holy Spirit will tell you at that very moment what you must say.”
How many times a day, are we given the opportunity to speak of the wonderful things that God has
done for us? Do we let opportunities slip by? During WWII, Corrie ten Boom was held in a
concentration camp. She often spoke of how many times she would tell of the love of Jesus to
others, even at the risk of torture by the guards. What a testimony of Jesus she shared – even to her
Lord, I am not a martyr and I am not very brave. Give me the strength and courage to speak to
others about the wonderful things you have done for me. Help me to speak to others about your
love for me and for them. Amen.
Mar 3, 2015 – Luke 12:22-28
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you
will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. There is more to life than food and more to the
body than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither plant nor harvest, they have no silo or
barn, yet God feeds them. You are worth so much more than birds! Who among you by worrying
can add a single moment to your life? If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the
rest? Notice how the lilies grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin
cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If
God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s
thrown into the furnace, how much more will God do for you, you people of weak faith!
I like new clothes, I like food, but I admit I like to serve God even more. It is a difficult thing to not
like food and clothing – our commercials keep telling us that we need more! But, what does God
say on the subject? Do we really need the new “things”? Will these “things” bring us closer to God?
What about our brothers and sisters in need? Are we called to care for those who are unable to care
for themselves?
Lord, help me to be frugal in my spending; remembering that what I have does not belong to me,
but to you. Help me to find others to help care for while I am able. When it is my time to be cared
for, give me grace to accept the care of others. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 4, 2015 – Luke 12:35-40
“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps lit. Be like people waiting for their master to come
home from a wedding celebration, who can immediately open the door for him when he arrives
and knocks on the door. Happy are those servants whom the master finds waiting up when he
arrives. I assure you that, when he arrives, he will dress himself to serve, seat them at the table as
honored guests, and wait on them. Happy are those whom he finds alert, even if he comes at
midnight or just before dawn. But know this, if the homeowner had known what time the thief
was coming, he wouldn’t have allowed his home to be broken into. You also must be ready,
because the Human One (Son of Man) is coming at a time when you don’t expect him.”
Often when we get ready for a special event like a wedding, we purchase or make special clothes
and prepare in advance for the event. We ‘anticipate’ the special day, preparing in many ways.
Meal plans are made, flowers are ordered and other activities happen ahead of time so that the day
will flow smoothly. This is the image we think of with this passage – to be prepared for the return
of Jesus.
Lord, help me to be ready for your return. I look forward to the heavenly banquet that you have
prepared for me. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Amen.
Mar 5, 2015 – Luke 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. A woman was there who had been
disabled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and couldn’t stand up straight. When
he saw her, Jesus called her to him and said, “Woman, you are set free from your sickness.” He
placed his hands on her and she straightened up at once and praised God.
The synagogue leader, incensed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded, “There are six
days during which work is permitted. Come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath
The Lord replied, “Hypocrites! Don’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from its
stall and lead it out to get a drink? Then isn’t it necessary that this woman, a daughter of
Abraham, bound by Satan for eighteen long years, be set free from her bondage on the Sabbath
day?” When he said these things, all his opponents were put to shame, but all those in the crowd
rejoiced at all the extraordinary things he was doing.
Don’t you hear the frustration in the voice of Jesus – the people were just not ‘getting it’. I think we
still don’t ‘get it’ even today. How often do we get hung up on the rules and forget the people in the
process? Being a Christian is about being in relationships with others. How can we claim to love
God but not love the people of God?
God, help me to love the “others” you have place in my world as you love me. Give me the strength
and courage to love to others and to remember that you love them as well. Thank you for loving
me. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 6, 2015 – Luke 13:22-30
Jesus traveled through cities and villages teaching and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone
said to him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” Jesus said to them, “Make every effort to enter
through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to. Once the owner
of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and knock on the door,
saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.’ Then
you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ He will
respond, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from. Go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There
will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets
in God’s kingdom, but you yourselves will be thrown out. People will come from east and west,
north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom. Look! Those who are last will be first and
those who are first will be last.”
When the final judgment comes, how will Jesus know who you are? Will you be wearing a sign that
day or will Jesus recognize you because you talk with Him each day? We recognize family and
friends because we talk with them on a regular basis. We should do the same with the One who
came to save us and who has invited us to attend the Heavenly Banquet prepared just for His
Jesus, help me to make time to talk with you each day. Help me to be faithful to you, always. Help
me with my faith in you. Amen.
Mar 7, 2015 – Luke 14:7-11
When Jesus noticed how the guests sought out the best seats at the table, he told them a parable.
“When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor.
Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. The host who
invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed,
you will take your seat in the least important place. Instead, when you receive an invitation, go
and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move
up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. All
who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”
Have you ever been seated in the coach section of a plane and had the flight attendant move you to
first class? It is a special feeling – the seats are better, the service is better and overall a better ride.
Still, those who are seated in first class will arrive at the destination at the same time as those
seated in the coach section. So why do we all want to be first? When will we be happy to be last?
Holy God, thank you for loving me and for reminding me that I need to put others first in my life,
as you have done through Jesus. Thank you for making me a “first class” child of God! Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 8, 2015 – Luke 17:7-10
“Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or
tending sheep, ‘Come! Sit down for dinner’? Wouldn’t you say instead, ‘Fix my dinner. Put on the
clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and
drink’? You won’t thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you? In the
same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve
no special praise. We have only done our duty.’”
At the end of a long day of work, we are tired. We might even be
dusty or dirty, worn out and even exhausted or drained. Jesus
considers the “others” who have had a rough day. These are the
servants who have done their duty. We who serve God should not
seek extra praise or extra pats on our backs. When we have done the
work of the Kingdom, we are doing our duty – serving the “others” of
our world.
Gracious God, thank you for inviting us to your feast. We are humbled to realize how many of us
are included on that invitation and how many more are yet to be invited. Give us the gumption to
go to work for you and hand out many invitations to your banquet. Amen.
Mar 9, 2015 – Luke 17:11-19
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he
entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him,
they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were
cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a
loud voice. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus replied,
“Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? No one returned to praise God except this
foreigner?” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
To suffer from leprosy or other skin diseases was a horrible ailment, both in the time of Jesus life
and now. These men were the “untouchables”, asking for healing. Only one returned to thank the
One who gave him the gift of new life – as one who was clean and whole and could be touched.
What happened to the others? It would seem that they forgot to thank the healer and giver of life.
Great Physician, forgive for often forgetting to give you our thanks and praise for all that happens
in our lives. Sometimes we are physically healed, other times we are spiritually mended. Thank
you for being the One who offers newness and wholeness and restoration. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 10, 2015 – Luke 18:1-8
Jesus was telling them a parable about their need to pray continuously and not to be
discouraged. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected
people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him, asking, ‘Give me justice in this
case against my adversary.’ For a while he refused but finally said to himself, I don’t fear God or
respect people, but I will give this widow justice because she keeps bothering me. Otherwise,
there will be no end to her coming here and embarrassing me.” The Lord said, “Listen to what the
unjust judge says. Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and
night? Will he be slow to help them? I tell you, he will give them justice quickly. But when the
Human One (Son of Man) comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?”
Prayer is a wonderful and beautiful thing. We are admonished to pray without ceasing and in this
parable; I picture the widow (the outcast, marginalized and forgotten “other”) of the story as
talking without ceasing to the judge (God). God alone knows our needs, however, we are to be in
conversation with God for ALL of our needs and our needs will be supplied. When we are faithful
and persistent, we are heard by God. However, we must also remember that God will answer us in
God’s time, not ours.
Thank you, God for listening to us, even when we think you do not hear our words of prayer and
praise. Help us to always be talking with you and listening to you. Give us ears to hear your voice
each day. Amen.
Mar 11, 2015 – Luke 18:9-14
Jesus told this parable to certain people who had convinced themselves that they were righteous
and who looked on everyone else with disgust. “Two people went up to the temple to pray. One
was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with
these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or
even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’ But the tax
collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he
struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’ I tell you, this person went down to
his home justified rather than the Pharisee. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and
those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”
Oh yes, the Pharisee – the one who stands on the corner and yells, “Look at me – I’m a Pharisee!!”
How often are we guilty of this – showing to the world how “righteous” we can be? In our words
and actions, we show others of the love that God has shown us. How does it look to others when we
pat ourselves on the back and fail to reach out to those in need? How true is our witness for Christ
in these words and actions?
Holy God, we often want others to see us as a “good” Christian, doing the right things at the right
time. Help us to be a humble and true Christian, doing the things for you out of our gratitude for
all you do for us. Thank you, Lord for all that you have done for us and all that you will do for us.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 12, 2015 – Luke 18:18-23
A certain ruler asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?” Jesus replied,
“Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. You know the commandments.
Don’t commit adultery. Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father
and mother.”
Then the ruler said, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.” When Jesus heard this, he
said, “There’s one more thing. Sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor. Then
you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” When he heard these words, the man
became sad because he was extremely rich.
If Jesus were to have this same conversation with you, how would the story end? Would you be
willing to give away all that you possess, or would you go away sad, because you were rich? We each
have to answer this question – what are we willing to give to be seated at the heavenly banquet?
What will your answer be? “Doing” for the sake of doing, is not the answer, but “doing” out of
gratitude is the answer.
Holy God, help us to be givers of what you have given. Help us to be sharers of what you have
shared. Help us to be lovers of those you love. We give you all our praise and honor and
thanksgiving. Amen.
Mar 13, 2015 – Luke 19:1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler
among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he
couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see
Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at
once, happy to welcome Jesus.
Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Zacchaeus
stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have
cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”
Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of
Abraham. The Human One (Son of Man) came to seek and save the lost.”
Salvation is offered to every person. Whether we accept or not is our own personal choice.
However, when we accept, we are then considered to be brothers and sisters of Christ, heirs to the
eternal kingdom. When we accept, we choose to give back to others out of gratitude for what we
have been given.
Lord, help me remember the poor and lonely. Help me to make right the wrongs I have committed.
Give me the strength and courage to fix my wrongs and make them right. Thank you for being a
forgiving God. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 14, 2015 – Luke 21:1-4
Looking up, Jesus saw rich people throwing their gifts into the collection box for the temple
treasury. He also saw a poor widow throw in two small copper coins worth a penny. He said, “I
assure you that this poor widow has put in more than them all. All of them are giving out of their
spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had to live on.”
Have you ever been down to your last penny, lost your job, your family and your home? This
widow had lost everything she had – beginning with her family. She had no one to care for her.
But, because she knew she was loved, she knew she had all that she needed. What are ways that we
can help and partner with those who have lost so much?
God of our family, help us to partner with those in need. Help us to lend them a hand, not a handout. Show us ways that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need. In His name we
pray. Amen.
Mar 15, 2015 – Luke 22:1-13
The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was approaching. The chief priests
and the legal experts were looking for a way to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve. He went out and discussed
with the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard how he could hand Jesus over to them.
They were delighted and arranged payment for him. He agreed and began looking for an
opportunity to hand Jesus over to them—a time when the crowds would be absent.
The Day of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter
and John with this task: “Go and prepare for us to eat the Passover meal.”
They said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?”
Jesus replied, “When you go into the city, a man carrying a water jar will meet you. Follow him
to the house he enters. Say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher says to you, “Where is the
guestroom where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?” ’ He will show you a large
upstairs room, already furnished. Make preparations there.” They went and found everything
just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
Preparing for a special meal requires special preparation. The location is chosen, the meal is
planned, and the invitations are written. God has prepared a special meal for each of us. We
remember this particular meal when we gather to celebrate Holy Communion. The location is
chosen (The Lord’s Table), the meal is planned (our Sacristan makes the bread and prepares the
juice), and the invitation is given. You are invited to join the Lord at the table that has been
prepared for you.
Holy God, we are not worthy to sit at your table, yet, each time, we hear the invitation, we accept
and join you at your table. Thank you for inviting us to join you in this Holy Mystery. Thank you
for loving us. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 16, 2015 – Luke 21:5-19
Some people were talking about the temple, how it was decorated with beautiful stones and
ornaments dedicated to God. Jesus said, “As for the things you are admiring, the time is coming
when not even one stone will be left upon another. All will be demolished.” They asked him,
“Teacher, when will these things happen? What sign will show that these things are about to
happen?” Jesus said, “Watch out that you aren’t deceived. Many will come in my name, saying,
‘I’m the one!’ and ‘It’s time!’ Don’t follow them. When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be
alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end won’t happen immediately.”
Then Jesus said to them, “Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other. There will be
great earthquakes and wide-scale food shortages and epidemics. There will also be terrifying
sights and great signs in the sky. But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and
harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you
will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will provide you with an
opportunity to testify. Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance. I’ll give you
words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to counter or contradict. You will be
betrayed by your parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and friends. They will execute some of
you. Everyone will hate you because of my name. Still, not a hair on your heads will be lost. By
holding fast, you will gain your lives.
We are curious creatures and often try to find predictions of the end times. Jesus does not even
know when the last day will occur – only God. Whether the end occurs during our lifetime or
beyond, we are not to be concerned about that day, but to live each day as if it was our last. Living
our life for Christ, serving, helping, reaching and connecting with others while telling of the great
things God has done for you, these are things we are to attend to while we wait.
Lord, help us to be faithful only to you. Help us to focus our attention on you and to seek your
direction in our lives. When the world around us focuses on the famines and wars, help us to focus
on you. Give us compassionate hearts to feel for our neighbors and care about others. Amen.
Mar 17, 2015 – Luke 21:25-28
“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, there will be dismay among nations
in their confusion over the roaring of the sea and surging waves. The planets and other heavenly
bodies will be shaken, causing people to faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon
the world. Then they will see the Human One (Son of Man) coming on a cloud with power and
great splendor. Now when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads
because your redemption is near.”
The days and hours that we spend worrying about the end times cannot be regained – that is time
spent without any return. We are to spend our time loving God’s children until Christ’s return.
While we eagerly anticipate the return of Jesus, we are still to be the hands and feet of Jesus while
we wait. What are ways that you can be a sister or brother of Jesus to another in your part of the
Creator God, you know when the world was created and you know when the world will end. Help
us to focus on relationships and people while we wait for the time when we will be seated at your
heavenly banquet. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 18, 2015 – Luke 21:29-33
Jesus told them a parable. “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you
can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these
things happening, you know that God’s kingdom is near. I assure you that this generation won’t
pass away until everything has happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will
certainly not pass away.
When we focus on what is happening rather than the people in
the events, we miss the opportunity to share the love of Christ
with the “others” of our lives. When we are in relationship with
Christ, we are to be in relationship with others as well. Perhaps
God gave us one hand to reach out to Christ and the other to reach
out to others – effectively making us a “bridge” or “link” between Christ
and the world.
Lord, help us to focus on the people you have placed in our lives. Help us to understand what you
desire for us and them. Give us courage to stand up for you and to do the things you have called us
to do. In Jesus name. Amen.
Mar 19, 2015 – Luke 21:34-36
“Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by drinking parties, drunkenness, and the anxieties of
day-to-day life. Don’t let that day fall upon you unexpectedly, like a trap. It will come upon
everyone who lives on the face of the whole earth. Stay alert at all times, praying that you are
strong enough to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Human One
(Son of Man).”
Everyone likes a party – even Jesus! However, the point is that we are not to spend our lives in an
on-going party. We have responsibilities in this world. We are to balance our work and fun with
prayer and thanksgiving. Our minds and bodies require a break on occasion, often to spend quiet
time with God. How do you relax?
Holy one, you have created us and you know how we are “wired”. Help us to remember that while
we have work to do, we also have rest to do. Help us to rest IN you and to balance our lives so that
we will look forward to standing before you on that day when the sun no longer will rise in the sky,
nor the moon at night. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 20, 2015 – Luke 22:14-23
When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. He said to
them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I tell you, I won’t eat
it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.” After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “Take this
and share it among yourselves. I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine
until God’s kingdom has come.” After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it
to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the
same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood,
which is poured out for you.
“But, look! My betrayer is with me; his hand is on this table. The Human One (Son of Man) goes
just as it has been determined. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays him.” They
began to argue among themselves about which of them it could possibly be who would do this.
We have various names for communion; The Lord’s Table, the Last Supper, and Holy Communion
etc. However, in the original form, it was a form of community – sharing the loaf of bread and the
cup of wine – together. For the disciples who were present, it was the symbolic ending to the meal.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, it has now become the symbolic beginning to new life in
Christ. May you consider the meaning of Holy Communion for your life.
Blessed Redeemer, thank you for your word that we might learn more of you. Thank you for the
gift of your Son, Jesus that we would remember what we have been taught. Thank you for your gift
of eternal life that you give each of us. Amen.
Mar 21, 2015 – Luke 22:24-30
An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the
greatest. But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in
authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ But that’s not the way it will be with you.
Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a
servant. So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the
table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
“You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. And I confer royal power on you just
as my Father granted royal power to me. Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my
kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel.
When we host a dinner party, often the host or hostess is served last. Why? Because the host or
hostess is making sure that all of the guests are cared for first. Jesus shows us that He is our host
and that he is taking care of us each step of the way. Yet, we argue over who is the greatest one of
all. Where is our witness in that action?
Gracious God, thank you for your care of each of us. We are grateful and often fail to say thank you
– so – Thank You! You are awesome and holy and we love you. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 22, 2015 – Luke 17:22-37
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “The time will come when you will long to see one of the days of
the Human One (Son of Man), and you won’t see it. People will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look
here!’ Don’t leave or go chasing after them. The Human One (Son of Man) will appear on his day
in the same way that a flash of lightning lights up the sky from one end to the other. However,
first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be during the days of the Human One (Son of Man).
People were eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage until the day Noah entered
the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise in the days of Lot, people were
eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and
sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. That’s the way it will be on the day the
Human One (Son of Man) is revealed. On that day, those on the roof, whose possessions are in
the house, shouldn’t come down to grab them. Likewise, those in the field shouldn’t turn back.
Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to preserve their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life
will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in the same bed: one will be taken and
the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together: one will be taken and the other left.”
The disciples asked, “Where, Lord?” Jesus said, “The vultures gather wherever there’s a dead
This is not a very hopeful picture that Jesus offers in this Scripture. However, if you look beyond
the words, there is great hope. There is hope that for us who believe, we will have eternal life with
Jesus. There is hope that in our obedience to God, we have a future. However, we have work to do
– to share the love of Christ with others while we are waiting for the return of our Lord. When we
consider the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, we are eager and willing to give of ourselves for others
in His name.
Lord, help us to find the people who have not yet heard of you and what you do for us. Help us to
be strong in our faith and to serve you each day with joy and thanksgiving. Thank you for loving
us. Amen.
Mar 23, 2015 – Luke 22:31-34
“Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat. However, I have
prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and
Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!”
Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times
that you know me.”
We can all relate to Peter in his declarations. Peter often blurts out words that he later regrets.
Yet, we see Jesus love Peter, in spite of or because of his faults and humanness. What a wonderful
display of unconditional love is shown and what hope we find in that same love we are offered.
Loving God, thank you for loving us, even when or especially when we are not loveable.
We are grateful that you love us no matter what we say or do and that you are willing to forgive us
when we ask for that forgiveness. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 24, 2015 – Luke 22:35-38
Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out without a wallet, bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack
anything, did you?” They said, “Nothing.”
Then he said to them, “But now, whoever has a wallet must take it, and likewise a bag. And those
who don’t own a sword must sell their clothes and buy one. I tell you that this scripture must be
fulfilled in relation to me: And he was counted among criminals. Indeed, what’s written about me
is nearing completion.”
They said to him, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
He replied, “Enough of that!”
While it may sound like Jesus has told his disciples to sell everything to go buy a sword, in fact, he
is telling them that they will need the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18). Jesus is reminding
them that in the past, all of their needs have been provided for and will be in the future, but that
they will need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in them and through them.
Lord, help me when I am weak. Give me courage to be strong in my faith and to move forward in
service to you. Thank you, Lord for all that you do. Amen.
Mar 25, 2015 – Luke 22:39-45
Jesus left and made his way to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom, and the disciples followed
him. When he arrived, he said to them, “Pray that you won’t give in to temptation.” He withdrew
from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed. He said, “Father, if it’s your will, take
this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done.” Then a
heavenly angel appeared to him and strengthened him. He was in anguish and prayed even
more earnestly. His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he got up from
praying, he went to the disciples. He found them asleep, overcome by grief.
Have you ever hurt so bad, you could do nothing but sleep? The disciples were already grieving the
loss of Jesus and he had not yet been captured. How much time to we take grieving over things
that have not happened? When we should be rejoicing in the things that are happening right now?
Holy God, help us through our pain when we grieve. Help us understand how to embrace today
and all that is in it, yet to continue our service to you. Show us how to help others in their pain and
suffering. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 26, 2015 – Luke 18:31-34
Jesus took the Twelve aside and said, “Look, we’re going up to Jerusalem, and everything written
about the Human One (Son of Man) by the prophets will be accomplished. He will be handed
over to the Gentiles. He will be ridiculed, mistreated, and spit on. After torturing him, they will
kill him. On the third day, he will rise up.” But the Twelve understood none of these words. The
meaning of this message was hidden from them and they didn’t grasp what he was saying.
Have you ever read the page of a book, reread it and then read it again and still did not understand
what was written? Jesus had spent three years preaching and teaching and sharing his ministry
with these twelve men. However, even at this point, they still didn’t understand what was
happening or what would happen. Sometimes we need a billboard to show us the message that is
meant for us, and all we see is a post-it note!
Gracious God, help us to understand your message for each of us. Help us to see and hear what
you would have us learn. Show us what you would have us do for your glory. In the name of Jesus
I pray. Amen.
Mar 27, 2015 – Luke 18:35-43
As Jesus came to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the road begging. When the man
heard the crowd passing by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus the Nazarene
is passing by.”
The blind man shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy.” Those leading the procession
scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy.”
Jesus stopped and called for the man to be brought to him. When he was present Jesus asked,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He said, “Lord, I want to see.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.”
At once, he was able to see and he began to follow Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it,
they praised God too.
For centuries, theologians have asked, was the man physically blind or spiritually blind? For each
of us, how often have we not clearly articulated what we need to God? God hears our every word
and thought. Why not try telling God exactly what you need?!
Lord, help me to find the words to tell you how I feel and what I need. Help me to see clearly the
path you have laid before me and then the strength and courage to follow that path, even if I don’t
see the end of the journey. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 28, 2015 – Luke 19:11-28
As they listened to this, Jesus told them another parable because he was near Jerusalem and they
thought God’s kingdom would appear right away. He said, “A certain man who was born into
royalty went to a distant land to receive his kingdom and then return. He called together ten
servants and gave each of them money worth four months’ wages. He said, ‘Do business with this
until I return.’ His citizens hated him, so they sent a representative after him who said, ‘We don’t
want this man to be our king.’ After receiving his kingdom, he returned and called the servants to
whom he had given the money to find out how much they had earned. The first servant came
forward and said, ‘Your money has earned a return of one thousand percent.’ The king replied,
‘Excellent! You are a good servant. Because you have been faithful in a small matter, you will
have authority over ten cities.’
“The second servant came and said, ‘Master, your money has made a return of five hundred
percent.’ To this one, the king said, ‘You will have authority over five cities.’
“Another servant came and said, ‘Master, here is your money. I wrapped it up in a scarf for
safekeeping. I was afraid of you because you are a stern man. You withdraw what you haven’t
deposited and you harvest what you haven’t planted.’ The king replied, ‘I will judge you by the
words of your own mouth, you worthless servant! You knew, did you, that I’m a stern man,
withdrawing what I didn’t deposit, and harvesting what I didn’t plant? Why then didn’t you put
my money in the bank? Then when I arrived, at least I could have gotten it back with interest.’
“He said to his attendants, ‘Take his money and give it to the one who has ten times as much.’
‘But Master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten times as much!’ He replied, ‘I say to you that everyone
who has will be given more, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken
away. As for my enemies who don’t want me as their king, bring them here and slaughter them
before me.’”
After Jesus said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Using the resources that God has provided us can prove to be a challenge.
We only need so much to take care of our needs, but we always want more.
What are ways that we can take the resources provided by God, multiply
them and use them for God’s glory? Part of our responsibilities including
caring for others – could you increase the amount of money and resources
you give for others?
Lord, sometimes it is difficult to determine the differences between wants
and needs. Help us to discern the difference and to find ways to humbly
remember the differences between the two. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 29, 2015 – Luke 19:29-40
As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. He
said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no
one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just
say, ‘Its master needs it.’” Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.
As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They
replied, “Its master needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted
Jesus onto it. As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.
As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his
disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things
they had seen. They said, “Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in
heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”
Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to
He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”
Have you ever been so excited about something that you could not stop talking about it? When we
enter our relationship with Jesus, we are excited to learn of all the good things He has done and
want to tell others. When did our excitement stop? Why do we no longer shout about Jesus?
Holy God, help us find new passion in our relationship with you. Help us to share your Good News
with others, even when we don’t feel like shouting. Amen.
Mar 30, 2015 – Luke 23:1-12
The whole assembly got up and led Jesus to Pilate and began to accuse him. They said, “We have
found this man misleading our people, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and claiming
that he is the Christ, a king.”
Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.”
Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no legal basis for action against this
man.” But they objected strenuously, saying, “He agitates the people with his teaching
throughout Judea—starting from Galilee all the way here.”
Hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was from
Herod’s district, Pilate sent him to Herod who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was
very glad to see Jesus, for he had heard about Jesus and had wanted to see him for quite some
time. He was hoping to see Jesus perform some sign.
Herod questioned Jesus at length, but Jesus didn’t respond to him. The chief priests and the legal
experts were there, fiercely accusing Jesus. Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt.
Herod mocked him by dressing Jesus in elegant clothes and sent him back to Pilate. Pilate and
Herod became friends with each other that day. Before this, they had been enemies.
Hmmm, Pilate and Herod became friends because of their relationship with Jesus. How often has
a similar relationship happened for you – not those particular people, but the other people in your
life that you have met because of your relationship with Jesus? Who is still waiting to meet you
through Jesus?
Lord, thank you for bringing the people into my life that you have. Thank you for the situations
that I have been a part of and for those people and circumstances yet to occur. I know that your
hand is on my life and I thank you for loving me. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Mar 31, 2015 – Luke 23:13-25
Then Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers of the people. He said to them, “You
brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your
presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you
have brought against him. Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done
nothing that deserves death. Therefore, I’ll have him whipped, then let him go.”
But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” (Barabbas had
been thrown into prison because of a riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.) Pilate
addressed them again because he wanted to release Jesus.
They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
For the third time, Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I’ve found no legal basis
for the death penalty in his case. Therefore, I will have him whipped, then let him go.” But they
were adamant, shouting their demand that Jesus be crucified. Their voices won out. Pilate issued
his decision to grant their request. He released the one they asked for, who had been thrown into
prison because of a riot and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.
I have often wondered about those people who were present that day, did they ever regret what
they said? Their words condemned Jesus to death. How often do we say things that we later
regret? How often do we consider the weight and meaning of our words?
Lord, forgive me for the things that I say that do not bring glory and honor to you. Help me to shut
my mouth – place one hand on my shoulder and the other over my mouth to help me know when
to speak and when to be silent. Thank you God for all that you do. Amen.
Apr 1, 2015 – Luke 23:26-31
As they led Jesus away, they grabbed Simon, a man from Cyrene, who was coming in from the
countryside. They put the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus. A huge crowd of
people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. Jesus turned
to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and
your children. The time will come when they will say, ‘Happy are those who are unable to
become pregnant, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed a child.’
Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ If they do these things
when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
What would it have felt like to be Simon, a man from Cyrene? Perhaps he had come to the city on
business and just happened to be in the immediate are when he is pressed into service. He carried
the cross of Jesus the rest of the way to the site of the crucifixion. We never hear of him again, but
he played an important role that day – he helped carry Christ’s burden. How often have we helped
Christ by being in service to Christ? Or do we expect others to carry our burden?
Holy Lord, help us to find others to help along their journey. Place before us, people that we may
share their burdens; share their joys and their sorrows. Help us to love each other as we are loved
by you. Amen.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Apr 2, 2015 – Luke 23:32-43
They also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. When they arrived at the place called
The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a
way of dividing up his clothing.
The people were standing around watching, but the leaders sneered at him, saying, “He saved
others. Let him save himself if he really is the Christ sent from God, the chosen one.”
The soldiers also mocked him. They came up to him offering him sour wine and saying, “If you
really are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Above his head was a notice of the formal charge
against him. It read “This is the king of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself
and us!”
Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also
been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence
for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”
In our own lives, we have people who steal from us, sneer at us and make fun of us. When we think
our life is horrible, do we remember what Jesus went through on our behalf? Jesus could have
saved himself and the outcome would have been very different. However, Jesus was obedient to
God, even to death itself. Praise God that each of us have the opportunity to be in paradise with
Jesus upon our earthly death.
Gracious God, help us love others when others mistreat us. Help us to remember what Jesus
experienced on our behalf, even death itself. Thank you for the gift of your Son. Amen.
Apr 3, 2015 – Luke 23:44-49
It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the
sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a
loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed
for the last time.
When the centurion saw what happened, he praised God, saying, “It’s really true: this man was
righteous.” All the crowds who had come together to see this event returned to their homes
beating their chests after seeing what had happened. And everyone who knew him, including the
women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance observing these things.
What about the centurion – when he got home that night, what did he say to his family? How was
his life changed because of this man on the cross? I would imagine that he had been present at
many executions, but this one was different. The centurion went home, a changed man. Would
you be changed?
Holy Lord, maker of heaven and earth, we give you our praise and thanksgiving. We too are
changed by our encounter with Jesus. Thank you for this wonderful gift we have been given.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015
Apr 4, 2015 – Luke 23:50-55
Now there was a man named Joseph who was a member of the council. He was a good and
righteous man. He hadn’t agreed with the plan and actions of the council. He was from the
Jewish city of Arimathea and eagerly anticipated God’s kingdom. This man went to Pilate and
asked for Jesus’ body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid it in a tomb carved
out of the rock, in which no one had ever been buried. It was the Preparation Day for the
Sabbath, and the Sabbath was quickly approaching. The women who had come with Jesus from
Galilee followed Joseph.
Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant
that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the
name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Apr 5, 2015 – Luke 24:1-12
Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the
fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when
they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this.
Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were
frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look
for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you
while he was still in Galilee, that the Human One (Son of Man) must be handed over to sinners,
be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words. When they
returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. It was
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told
these things to the apostles. Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe
the women. But Peter ran to the tomb. When he bent over to look inside, he saw only the linen
cloth. Then he returned home, wondering what had happened.
How often do we see Jesus, but do not recognize Him? And then, how often do we not believe
others who claim to see Him? Praise God that Jesus HAS risen from the grave and death no longer
has a hold on us!
Alleluia, He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001, I.
Bellaire First United Methodist Church – Lent 2015