Today’s reflection comes from Dr. Paul Witt, professor in the Department of Communication Studies. For over 20 years, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in theory, character, and intercultural communication. He and his wife are active participants in the Christian community in Fort Worth and serve as marriage mentors at Gateway Church. They have one adult son. When I saw his words about the importance of character in TCU Magazine, I knew he would be a great addition to our devotional collection. I appreciate how practical and accessible his words are, and I hope they give you some examples of concrete practices to try as Easter approaches.
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” Luke 22:28
Jesus spoke these words to his closest friends during his last week on earth. He was referring to the previous months when they had accompanied him throughout the countryside, into the city of Jerusalem, and right into the Temple itself. They had watched as Jesus endured rejection and ridicule from casual listeners and religious authorities alike. When he spoke these words in the Upper Room, the disciples had only an inkling of the trials that lay ahead in the next few hours and days.
Every year as Passion Week approaches, I travel alongside Jesus by reading the gospel accounts of how he spent each of his last ten days on earth. I try to “stand by him in his trials” as I read contemplatively, projecting myself into those significant events. Maybe you would like to do the same this year, beginning this Friday, April 12.
FRIDAY, a day of celebration (John 12:1-11). Jesus attended a dinner party in the home of friends.
SATURDAY, a Sabbath day. Not mentioned in the gospels, but we assume Jesus enjoyed a day of rest and worship “…as was His custom” Luke 4:16.
SUNDAY, an emotional day (Mark 11:1-11). Unrestrained joy, not unlike a true coronation of King Jesus.
MONDAY, a physical day (Matthew 21:12-17). Setting things right that had gone wrong, in the temple and in broken bodies.
TUESDAY, a day of instruction (Matthew 21:18 to 26:13). An unprecedented outpouring of principles, parables, prophecies, and vital facts about life in the Kingdom of God.
WEDNESDAY, a day of silence. Not mentioned in the gospels. Did Jesus withdraw alone to prepare for what was to come? Compare with Revelation 8:1, just before the end of all things.
THURSDAY, an intimate day (John chapters 13-16). Last words for those who knew Him best, as He showed them “the full extent of His love” John 13:1.
GOOD FRIDAY, a crucial day in human history (John chapters 17 to 19). Betrayal, arrest, desertion, false trials, condemnation, beatings, and crucifixion.
SATURDAY, a day of despair (Luke 23:55-56). Imagine the crushing grief of the disciples, who felt themselves to be “…without hope and without God in the world” Ephesians 2:12.
SUNDAY, Resurrection day (Matthew 28:1-20). We have celebrated this, THE LORD’S DAY, every Sunday for nearly 2000 years. He is risen indeed!
Lord, help me to faithfully observe the events of the Lenten season not only by attending church but also by reserving time each day for quiet contemplation. Don’t allow the frenzied pace of my 21st-century life to rob me of the honor of standing with you today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.