Thursday, May 1 st , 2025
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Preparing Our Hearts This Holy Week

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Matthew 20:17-19 NIV


As we walk and worship throughout Holy Week our hearts and minds are rightly and righteously focused on Jesus. Jesus attempted to prepare His disciples for what was about to take place in Jerusalem, but they could not comprehend what He was about to do for them and all of us. Jesus acted intentionally as the cross drew closer, and now we get to look back at the cross with hearts filled with joy and thanksgiving. We must make time not just to celebrate on Resurrection Sunday but also to prepare in prayer; clearing our minds to focus on all that Jesus has done, is doing, and has promised to do.

We must ask the Spirit to calm, cleanse, and renew our hearts as the weight of responsibility, the sadness of many crises across our communities and country, and everything on our calendar battles for our time and attention as we take time to pause and give Jesus thanks and praise. Satan would like you to think you have better things to do, or way too much to do, to stop and ponder Jesus in prayer – but it is essential that we remain humble and grateful, never taking a moment of our salvation for granted.  There is nothing more important to celebrate than the sacrifice our Savior made to take away our sin and His resurrection that defeated the sting of death. We have been given the gift of abundant life now and eternally in heaven. Even as I am writing to you, I was compelled to pause in prayer to say, “Thank You!”

We encourage you over these four days, from Maundy Thursday when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and shared “the Last Supper” to Resurrection Day, to join us in reading through the events and lessons of this week as recorded in each of the four Gospels. Read one each day and note what Jesus did during this last week, who He spent time with, what He did, the lessons He taught, and how He prayed. Pause to pray as you read and reflect on each lesson He taught, each life He touched, the sacrifice He made, and what it means to you to be “saved.”

 Please note that the Scriptures and events are not all written in chronological order but are contained in these chapters:

Matthew, chapters 20-28

Mark, chapters 14-16

Luke, chapters 19 – 24

John, chapters 12-20

Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to dwell with us, to teach and model how we should live, and lay down Your life so The Father would forgive us. Our sin debt was paid with Your blood. Help us to read Your Word with fresh eyes, a focused mind, and a grateful heart as we desire to know and love You more each day. Draw us to sit with You, to be still and listen, to cast our cares to You. We want to hear Your heart, Your priorities, and remember Your authority as the One who created us, redeemed us, and sustains us. You love us more than we know but You showed us in Your life, sacrifice, and resurrection. May our thoughts, words, priorities, and deeds worship You this week and carry on every week. In Your Holy name we pray and give You praise, Amen!

Serving Him with Gladness,
Kathy Branzell