Lent Daily Devotion: Prelude to Holy Week -Stop for Jesus!

Rev Michael Anokye LENT – 24th MARCH 2024



Lord Jesus, this week, people worldwide will celebrate Your passion and resurrection. We wait silently for the beauty of this time and never forget your victory over sin and death. As we celebrate with our family, church congregations, and communities, we are reminded to have personal intimacy with you and to love one another as you love us. Amen.

Readings: John 11:45-56 – read it HERE

After witnessing Jesus’ miracles, many Jews believed in him. Some reported to the Pharisees, leading to a meeting of the Sanhedrin. The chief priests and Pharisees were concerned, fearing that Jesus’ growing influence would provoke Roman intervention and threaten their temple and nation. That year, Caiaphas, the high priest, said, “It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to perish.” As a high priest, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation and for the scattered children of God to unite them. So, from that day on, they plotted to take his life. After this, Jesus no longer went about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead, he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. As the Jewish Passover was approaching, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts, they asked one another, “Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?”


As Holy Week unfolds, tensions rise in the Gospels as some Jews inform the Pharisees that Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. Unimpressed, the Pharisees decide to take action against Jesus due to the disruption he has been causing with His miracles.

As a Christian, it is essential to understand that not everyone will appreciate your sacrifices in the church or community. Some people may dislike you because of your hard work and contributions to God’s work. Just as some people did not like Jesus because of His good works, there will be those who do not like you. Despite this, it is essential to love them as Jesus loves us and continue with the mandate the Lord has given to you.

The chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin because they were deeply concerned about Jesus and his growing influence. They feared losing their authority and control and worried about a potential Roman invasion. When they gathered, many spoke of their fear of Jesus. His growing popularity and increasing followers made the Sanhedrin realise they needed immediate action to maintain their power and influence.

During this discussion, Caiaphas, the high priest, expressed what many thought: Jesus must die! He posed an unacceptable danger to their power. Hence, there was no other option. Caiaphas rationalised his actions by arguing that it was better for one man to die than for the nation to be torn apart. At this point, the stage was set. The choice was made. They started planning ways to Kill Jesus.

Jesus, aware of the Pharisees’ plot, stayed in the shadows of Jerusalem and later went to Ephraim with his disciples. He remained there until it was time for the Passover.

Today’s Gospel prepares the way for Palm Sunday. We know what will happen during the following seven days. Even though we know what happens, the drama remains fascinating, compelling, and agonising. The Resurrection will occur, but the lead-up story is challenging to read!

In the days ahead, we have a choice: to walk with Jesus through this week or to go on about our lives as if all is normal. Jesus gave his life for us! Will we take the time to walk with Jesus through this holiest of weeks?

On 24th March, we will have a Sunday Morning Service to celebrate Palm Sunday, followed by an evening prayer and reflection session on Zoom.
Similar meetings will be held on 25th, 26th, and 27th.
On the 28th, we will meet in person at the Olive Tree Church, 42-46 Blenheim Crescent, LU3 1HB, from 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
There will be a church service at the same location on 29th March for the Good Friday Service.
We will be back on Zoom on Holy Saturday, 30th March,
and return to the church on Easter Sunday, 31st March.

Jesus gave His life for us. Will we take the time to walk with Jesus through this holiest of weeks by participating in some of the activities at the Olive Tree Church? Or will we spend most of our time buying Easter candy and shopping? All these activities are necessary, but find time to stop for Jesus.

I invite you to participate in this holiest of weeks. Reflect on the daily readings, the story, and Jesus’ love for us. Walk with Jesus. Bring your burdens to Him! He will carry them to the cross, bury them, and you will experience the Resurrection with Christ.

Let us pray:

Almighty Father, You sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from our sins. Please show us how to honour You and glorify Your Holy Name by following in Jesus’ footsteps. Please give us the grace and mercy to adore You truthfully and spiritually. As we try and fail, please help us to stay devoted to You. When we need help determining which path to proceed, please guide us. Give us the Spirit of unity and love so we can be like the Father, Son, and Spirit. Please help us seek You more as we walk with You through Holy Week and beyond. Amen.

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