1. Holy Saturday

    March 30, 2024 by Kevin Hay

    Holy Saturday

    It’s Saturday, and as we look behind us, on this journey through Holy Week, we are reflecting upon the crucifixion of our Savior, Jesus Christ; and the wrath, which he satisfied on our behalf.

    Looking ahead, with the benefit of retrospection, we know that tomorrow our Savior will conquer the grave.

    But today is a forgotten day; one that often falls through the proverbial cracks of consideration.

    So on this Holy Saturday, as we follow the footsteps of Christ, they lead us to his lifeless body lying in the tomb.

    Like the Lord on the 7th Day of creation, it is the Jewish Sabbath, and Christ rests from the work he has completed on our behalf.

    Without a doubt, though, there is more here than meets the eye.

    Like Peter’s declaration of Jesus preaching to the spiritual prisoners.

    But with that mystery unsolved, we turn our attention to the grave and to Christ’s disciples.

    Beginning with the tomb, in opposition and apprehension, soldiers are sent to seal and secure it. The body of Jesus would not be kidnapped under their watch.

    As for the disciples, it was an altogether different story.

    With their Messiah lying lifeless in a tomb, all of their prophetic hopes and dreams had been crushed.

    Filled with confusion, uncertainty, and fear, there’s no doubt that the gloom and darkness of Friday continued for them to become the most sorrowful Sabbath of their lives.

    But it’s within the weightiness of that tension, against that pitch-black backdrop that the light of Sunday morning shines so brightly

    Sunday is coming!

    Dear Lord Jesus, in so many ways, we find ourselves in the tension of Saturday. We’re looking back upon your crucifixion, with confidence in your resurrection, but we’re also longing for your return.

    We’re often confused, fearful, and uncertain. But on this Holy Saturday, we can find our rest in You. We know that You are faithful, and it’s upon Your trustworthiness that our souls are anchored.

    So, Lord, as we reflect upon this day, may we be reminded of the hope we have in You. May we look with great anticipation to the certain expectation of Your coming.

    As we consider the love you’ve demonstrated for us on the cross, may our faith be multiplied. Prepare our hearts to praise You and to celebrate Your great victory over death, hell, and the grave. In Your powerful and triumphant name we pray, Amen.

  2. Good Friday

    March 29, 2024 by Kevin Hay

    Good Friday

    As we continue our journey through Holy Week, we discover that Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are connected by a kiss.

    Resolving to redeem his rebellious Bride, Jesus signified his amen to the divine mission by accepting the kiss of a faithless friend.

    Although he could have summoned one hundred thousand angels in an instant, our Lord allowed himself to be apprehended, agonized, and abused.

    From the early hours of the dark morning through sunrise, and thereafter, Jesus would be tossed through the ranks of the kangaroo courts.

    Without realizing that every beat of their hearts and breath in their lungs was sustained by the Sovereign One before them, the guards mocked him.

    They spit upon the One who created their salivary glands.

    In scorn, they placed a crown of thorns upon the One who designed every plant.

    With a purple robe, they mockingly draped it upon the One who fashioned the eye to see color.

    The political and religious leaders viewed themselves as having authority, when the King of kings and Lord of the entire universe was standing before them.

    Condemned by sinful men, the Lord of glory carried our guilt, shame, and rebellion up a hill characterized by death. And there he would die.

    Physically suspended in the air by nails piercing his flesh, our Savior willingly stayed to receive our wrath and satisfy God’s justice.

    And there, as he purchased our redemption, he used his dying breath to declare that the divine rescue mission was accomplished.

    It. Is. Finished.

    Oh Lord, we call this day good, because through it we have good news; both to receive and to share. But as those who recognize the depth of our sin, this day is bittersweet.

    The bitterness comes as we mourn over our sin. We think upon the rebellion of our hearts and the price that was needed to redeem us.

    But the sweetness overwhelms us, as we rejoice in Your sacrificial death, paying our penalty so that we can be free.

    So, Lord, rightly understood, this day is good. But I pray that You will help us to understand the cost and magnitude of that goodness.

    For each of those who are walking this journey with us, I pray that you will help us to be more resolved than ever before. Grant us an eternal perspective that sees your passion with clarity and our purpose with confidence. May Your love for us, demonstrated through the cross, propel us to live for Your glory. In Your gracious and glorious name we pray, Amen.

  3. Maundy Thursday

    March 28, 2024 by Kevin Hay

    Maundy Thursday

    As we reach Thursday of Holy Week, it doesn’t take long to realize that Wednesday was the calm before the storm.

    We don’t know much about what Jesus did for most of that day, because like a spiritual magnifying glass, the gospel accounts all focus solely on that evening.

    Symbolic of the darkness that would soon sweep over Jerusalem, sundown was quickly approaching, and it would officially signal the start of Passover.

    Little did the disciples know, as they prepared for the Passover meal, that they would be sharing it one final time with the true and ultimate Passover Lamb (Luke 22:19–20).

    In a profound demonstration of humility and service, while gathered together with his disciples, our Lord knelt down and washed their feet (John 13:3–17).

    He then gave his followers the commandment to love one another, as he has loved us, which is why this day is traditionally known as “Maundy Thursday” (John 13:34–35).

    Emblematic of the sacrificial death he would die the following day, Jesus instituted a continuous visual reminder of his body and blood through the bread and wine of the Passover meal (Mark 14:22–25).

    As they sat together, Jesus revealed that a traitor was in their midst. We can only imagine the speculation and soul-searching that must have taken place in that moment (John 13:18–27).

    But once the true betrayer, Judas, departed with his heart set on deception and greed, the true disciples remained, and together, they sang a hymn of mystery, before exiting for the Mount of Olives (Matt 26:30).

    Upon arriving, Jesus would ask his disciples to pray, while he entered the Garden of Gethsemane to get alone with the Father. And while falling to his knees in extreme sorrow and agony, our Lord would prayerfully contemplate the great and terrible cost he would pay to redeem his Bride (Matt 26:36–56).

    Dear Lord, our minds on this Thursday of Holy Week are permeated with thoughts of you as the perfect and ultimate Passover Lamb; the One who has come to take away our sins.

    In so many intimate and extraordinary ways, you have demonstrated humility and grace. And yet, your steadfast determination and resolve to redeem us as your bride is seen so clearly on this day.

    So Lord, as we consider the immensity of your wondrous love for us, give us greater faith to believe it and to know how deep, wide, long, and high it is.

    And help us to love one another well with this same extravagant and amazing affection. Lord Jesus, as we struggle with patience and contentment, please help us to find our greatest joy and satisfaction in you.

    Please grant us the wisdom we need to walk in a way that honors and pleases you.

    In your wise, good, and faithful name we pray, amen.

  4. Holy Wednesday

    March 27, 2024 by Kevin Hay

    Holy Wednesday

    As we continue to follow the footsteps of our Savior, we’re now just two days away from his sacrificial death.

    Although one would expect the heightened emotions and confrontations of the week to intensify, Wednesday of Holy Week would be cryptically quiet.

    Shrouded in the silence, the Jewish leaders deliberate their dark and sinister plan to murder the Messiah.

    It would seem that their fear of the people would prevent them from acting too quickly.

    But there’s a reason this day has traditionally been known as “Spy Wednesday.”

    A disciple of deception, driven by greed, would be just the pawn needed to capture our King (Matt 26:14–16).

    But there would be no checkmate. Judas Iscariot would fulfill ancient prophecies, as a man who betrays his friend for a mere 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12–13).

    In the meantime, endlessly etched in history is the blessed memory of Martha’s sister, Mary.

    As the antonym to Judas’ brutal act of betrayal, she anoints our Lord with a sweet-smelling ointment (Matt 26:6–13).

    Perhaps unbeknownst to her, this anointing was providentially preparing for Christ’s soon-coming death and subsequent burial.

    Either way, for those who love the Lord, Wednesday is about worship.

    Sovereign Lord, we’ve now reached Wednesday of Holy Week, and as we follow your footsteps, we can begin to feel the growing tension of what we know is coming. We can only imagine what was going through your mind on that final Wednesday. But we praise you for your steadfast commitment and compassion.

    As recipients of Your divine rescue mission, we are humbled and exceedingly grateful.

    Our prayer today is that you would search our hearts. Expose any areas of darkness or deceit that we might confess them and grow in Your likeness.

    As we face the temptation to be anxious and apprehensive, please increase our confidence in your awesome power, protection, and benevolent providence. Help us to grow in faith to see the great love with which you’ve loved us, which was so profoundly demonstrated through your life, death, and resurrection.

    In Your gracious name we pray, Amen.

  5. Holy Tuesday

    March 26, 2024 by Kevin Hay

    Holy Tuesday

    Throughout Israel’s history, there were amazing accounts of the glory of God filling the temple (2 Chron 7:1–3).

    The sound of his coming like the sound of many waters (Ezek 43:1–3).

    The manifestation of his glory in a cloud so overwhelming no man could bear it (Ex 40:34).

    But on Tuesday of Holy Week, after cleansing the Temple the day before, Jesus, who is the glorious God in human form, enters the Temple once more (Matt 21:23).

    And yet, he does not come with the sound of a rushing wind.

    The demonstration of his glory doesn’t appear like an outwardly overwhelming vapor.

    But rather, he enters quietly, with the sound of human footsteps, in the midst of the escalating tension.

    And as he opened his mouth that Tuesday, the incarnate Word would pour forth knowledge, and his glory would be put on display in the form of grace and truth (John 1:14).

    This final Tuesday would be all about teaching.

    Teaching with supreme authority as God in the flesh, declaring judgment upon the corrupt leaders of Israel (Matt 21:41; 23:1–36).

    Teaching that the kingdom would be stripped from their grasp and gifted to a fruit-bearing people (Matt 21:43).

    And teaching that he is the ultimate Son of David, the heir to the Davidic throne; the rightful King who is inaugurating a Kingdom that will crush the enemies of God and bring salvation to a multitude (Matt 22:41–46).

    Oh, how painful that Tuesday must have been for our Lord. In the midst of exhorting and cautioning his disciples of the chaos that would ensue before his return, the compassion of Christ would be put on full display. “Oh Jerusalem, Oh Jerusalem” would be His cry (Matt 23:37–39).

    Even before His crucifixion in just three short days, the heart of Jesus would be pierced by Israel’s lack of faith.

    Lord, it is Tuesday of Holy Week, and we are continuing to trace your steps. We cannot begin to fully fathom the depth of your compassion. Though we are rebels, your gracious heart beats to the rhythm of redemption.

    How splendid is your majesty? How glorious is your name? We are unworthy, but you are full of grace.

    As we follow your footsteps leading to the cross, may we be overwhelmed by your passion. May we surrender to your authority. May we acknowledge and give allegiance to your Lordship. And may we turn from the idols of imagination and rejoice in your rightful rule in our hearts and over our lives.

    In the midst of chaos and confusion, may we cling all the more to the truth of your gospel. In your glorious and powerful name we pray, Amen.

  6. Holy Monday

    March 25, 2024 by Kevin Hay

    Holy Monday

    Following the triumphant entry of Palm Sunday, Monday would be different.

    Jesus would not allow, neither then nor now, for people to believe in him on their own terms. Jesus, who was praised on Sunday, would reveal the error of their expectations on Monday.

    He did not come to be a political prophet or a King of comfort to give them their best life now. But rather, he came to be the Savior of their souls.

    For that reason, this was not going to be a meek and mild Monday.

    The Father sent salvation to Israel, but they rejected his Son. And in just four short days, they would murder their Messiah.

    So Monday was about signifying that judgment begins at home.

    To demonstrate this, Jesus curses the barren fig tree, representing unrepentant Israel, who refuses to reap the fruit of repentance (Mark 11:12–14).

    He then enters the temple, where the perversion of true worship overshadows the purpose of Passover (Mark 11:15–17).

    In an act of judgment, Jesus cleanses the temple for the honor of his Father, who desires a people who worship him in spirit and truth.

    Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Monday of Holy Week, and we are tracing your steps; contemplating your divinely orchestrated path, as the events of that final week began to unfold. You knew the sovereign purpose for which you came. And you knew the fickle hearts of those who sang your praises on Palm Sunday but would cry out for your blood on Friday. Nothing was happening to you unexpectedly—you knew what was coming, and you willingly surrendered to the Father’s good pleasure.

    In a matter of days, you would pay the supreme price for all who will trust in you. At the end of the week, you would be crushed under the holy wrath of God, purchasing redemption and salvation for a people from every single nation, tribe, people, and language—a number as great as the stars in the sky and the sand on the beaches.

    It is for this very purpose you came from eternity and entered into time and space, the infinite becoming finite. It is for this very purpose that you emptied yourself by taking the form of a servant. It is for this very purpose that you humbled yourself and were obedient—even to the point of willingly dying on the cross.

    And so Lord, as the events of our celebration of Holy Week now unfold, please grant us grace to survey the wonders of your cross, with greater awe, adoration, worship, and gratitude than ever before. May the anxiety and fears of our hearts be quieted and calmed. May we rest in the good and gracious hand of your providence.

    In a time when many in our culture are rejecting and refusing, celebrating depravity and dismissing your cross, may our boasting in your gospel grow exponentially so. We pray this in the beauty and power of your most glorious name. Amen

  7. The Glory Of God And The Gospel

    September 26, 2023 by Kevin Hay

    I am often reminded of the purpose behind God’s sovereign will and actions. As he works in each of our lives individually, and corporately, God is always accomplishing the counsel of his will (Eph 1:5). And all that he does, he does for the purpose of his glory.

    Glory Seekers

    Among the many passages that point us to this reality, Genesis 11:1–4 stands out uniquely:

    Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’

    Reading further, we find that God became angry with these tower builders, scattered the people, and confused their language. But what I want us to take particular note of is what we find in verse 4. These men were seeking to make a name for themselves. Rather than making God’s name great among the nations, these builders were seeking self-glory.

    Thankfully, according to the mercy and wisdom of God, the Lord purposed to do something amazing, which we find unfolding in the very next chapter, Genesis, 12:1–2:

    Now the LORD said to Abram, Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing;

    It doesn’t take much to notice the distinction between what God says and what the builders of the tower were saying. The builders were saying: “Let’s make a name for ourselves.” But God says to the man we now know as Abraham, “I will make your name great.”

    Man was created to depend upon God and give him glory. Instead, man chose and continues to choose to rely upon self and seek his own glory. We find the Lord’s perspective on this in Isaiah 42:8:

    I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.

    So God’s glory is something he takes very seriously. And it certainly isn’t some isolated theme that is somehow foreign to the rest of Scripture. In fact, God, working out his sovereign purposes for his own glory, is the theme woven throughout all of Scripture. God alone is the only one worthy to seek and receive eternal glory.

    The Glory of His Grace

    As our thoughts return to Abraham, God began to make his name great by forming a nation from his descendants. That nation was Israel, and God’s interactions with them fill the pages of the Old Testament. However, God’s ultimate purpose doesn’t stop there. His divine plan was also to use the nation of Israel to bring about salvation for a people throughout the entire world. As Paul says in Galatians 3:8,

    And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

    In addition, it would be through the lineage of Abraham that Jesus Christ would be born, bringing salvation and spiritual blessings to all of those who trust in him for salvation (Gal 3:14). Expounding upon the incarnation of Christ, the Apostle John says:

    And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    And where do we most visibly see the glorious grace of God in Christ? It is found most prevalently in and through his cross. For on the cross, God treated Jesus as if he had committed all our sins though he had committed none of them, so that he could treat us as if we have lived the perfect life of Jesus, although we have not (2 Cor 5:1). And yet, the glory of God’s grace doesn’t stop there. Not only have we been saved from something, but we have also been saved for something.

    Reflecting His Glorious Grace

    Perhaps you’re familiar with the missionary named David Brainard. The eighteenth-century pastor and theologian, Jonathon Edwards, wrote a biography about Brainard’s life and used portions of his diary to do it. Although he died before reaching the age of thirty, consider the words he wrote in his diary. On his deathbed, Brainard wrote:

    My heaven is to please God and glorify him, and give all to him, and to be wholly devoted to his glory. I do not go to heaven to be advanced, but to give glory to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or low seat there, but to live and please and glorify God.

    This is the attitude that should be exemplified by all believers. The eternal purpose of salvation is that we might reflect God’s grace and bring him the glory he so richly deserves through Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Peter wrote:

    So that in all things God may be glorified through Christ, and it is to God that all glory and all dominion belongs forever and ever (1 Pet 4:11).

    Instead of living our lives for temporary pleasures or seeking the glory of this world, may we live for something far greater. The glory that is found in God’s grace to us through the gospel is of infinite value. Like the moon reflects the sun, may we seek to reflect the glory of God both now and forever.