Welcome To Jerusalem!


As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, he sent two of the students ahead with these instructions (182): “Go to the next village where you will find a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks you why you are untying it, tell him that your master needs it.”

The two went on their way and found everything just as Jesus had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying it?” “Our master needs it,” they answered, and then they were able to take the colt to Jesus. And throwing their cloaks over the animal, they helped Jesus get on.

(All this was to fulfill what had been prophesied in the inspired scriptures: “Do not be afraid, city of Zion! Here comes your king, riding on a young donkey.” His students didn’t get the connection between the prophecy & the fulfillment at that time.  But after Jesus had risen from death, then they got the connection.)


Large crowds had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.  When the word got around that Jesus was coming, too, the whole city was thrown into a mild uproar. “Who is he?” some of the people asked. “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee,” they were told.

Those who had been with Jesus when he raised Lazarus from death had been telling everyone about it.  When they heard that he had performed this miracle, many people flocked to see Jesus. They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Praise God! May God bless the man who comes in his name! May God bless the new king of Israel!”


Then some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke anxiously to Jesus: “Teacher, command these people to stop saying such dangerous things!” Jesus answered, “If the people keep quiet, then the stones themselves will start shouting about me.”   In frustration, the Pharisees then said to one another, “We’re not having any luck stopping this guy. The whole world is following him!”

In Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple & looked around at everything.  He noticed that the merchants were back — selling cattle, sheep & pigeons, which Jewish law required the worshipers to sacrifice as part of the Passover Festival.  Jesus also noted that the money changers were back — selling the worshipers special “temple money” at unfair exchange rates.


But since it was already late in the day, he went back out to Bethany with the twelve chosen witnesses.

Jesus, please help us to love welcoming You as our King, every day.

(182) Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19

When The King Comes Back


Although many people were puzzling over the incident with Zacchaeus, they still followed Jesus as he walked along, because they expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman occupation forces & re-establish Israel as the independent kingdom of God on earth.  Sensing this, Jesus continued teaching with another story (181).

Jesus began, “Once there was a nobleman who was going to a country far away to be installed as king of his homeland, after which he planned to return there to rule. Before he left, he called in ten servants, gave them each a gold coin, and told them, ‘See what you can earn with this while I am gone.’

“Many people in his homeland hated this particular nobleman, so they lobbied against his being installed as their king.  But their efforts didn’t succeed.  The nobleman was installed as king, after which he returned to his homeland.


“At once he ordered his ten servants to appear before him, in order to find out what they had accomplished for his kingdom. The first one came and said, ‘Sir, I have earned ten gold coins with the one you gave me.’  ‘Well done,’ said the newly-installed king; ‘you’re a good servant. Since you were faithful in these small matters, I am appointing you ruler of ten cities in my kingdom.’

“Then the second servant came and said, ‘Sir, I have earned five gold coins with the one you gave me.’   Again the king was pleased, so he told his servant, ‘You will be in charge of five cities in my kingdom.’


“But a third servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it hidden, because I was afraid of losing it.’ Then the king said to him angrily, ‘You should at least have put my money in the bank, so it could have earned a little interest for my kingdom!’

“Then the king ordered his officials: ‘Take the gold coin away from him and give it to the servant who has ten coins.’ Some of the officials questioned this: ‘Sir, he already has ten coins.’

“The king responded with three decrees:  ‘Every servant of mine, who works faithfully to increase my kingdom, will be given more responsibility in my kingdom.

‘And every servant of mine, who does nothing to increase my kingdom, will lose whatever responsibility he has had.

‘But all those people, who resisted my even becoming king, must now forfeit their lives & be removed from my presence forever.'”


LORD, please help us to love serving You as our only King.

(181) Luke 19:11-27

Saved From Money


In Jericho, Jesus had one final encounter (180).  Zacchaeus, a wealthy chief tax collector there, wanted to see Jesus.  But he was a short man & couldn’t get a good look at Jesus over the crowd. So Zacchaeus ran on ahead & climbed a sycamore tree, still hoping to see Jesus when he passed by.


When Jesus came by, he looked up into the tree & said, “Come on down, Zacchaeus.  I’m going to visit your home today.” Zacchaeus hurried down the tree & welcomed Jesus with great joy.

Zacchaeus 2

The people in the crowd hated tax collectors, so when they saw this they started grumbling: “How can Jesus go as a guest to the home of a sinner like Zacchaeus?”

But Zacchaeus stood up & said to Jesus, “Listen, sir, I will give half my belongings to the poor.  And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.”

needle 2

Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Salvation has come to your house today.  I have come to seek & save lost descendants of Abraham, just like you.”

Jesus, please help us to love the changes You make in our hearts.

(180) Luke 19:1-10

Blind Faith


When Jesus and his students were near Jericho, a large crowd followed them (179).

Two blind beggars were sitting by the road & heard that Jesus was passing by; one of them was named Bartimaeus.  The two blind men began to shout, “Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!”

blind 2

People in the crowd scolded them & told them to shut up. But they shouted even more loudly, “Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!”

Jesus stopped and called for them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them when they were brought to him. “Sir,” they answered, “we want you to restore our sight.”

Jesus had compassion for them; he touched their eyes & at once they were able to see!

blind 1

He said to them, “Your faith in God has made you well.”

Then they, too, began following Jesus.  And when they saw all this, many more people began praising God.

God, please help us to love having faith in You to make us well.

(179) Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-43

How To Lead People To God


Jesus was going up to Jerusalem (178).  Along the way, he took his twelve chosen witnesses away from the crowds & spoke to them privately.

“When we go up to Jerusalem, I’ll be arrested by the chief priests & the teachers of the law, who will arrange for me to be condemned to death.  After the Roman soldiers have mocked & tortured me, I’ll be executed by crucifixion.  But three days later I will rise from the grave & live again.”

The chosen witnesses didn’t really understand what Jesus meant, and they were a little afraid to understand, so they didn’t ask him to explain.

But then the wife of Zebedee came to Jesus with her two sons, James & John.  She bowed before Jesus & asked him for a favor: “Promise me that my sons will sit on your right & on your left when you are king.”  “You don’t really understand what you’re asking,” Jesus said to her.


Then he asked James & John, “Do you believe that you can drink the cup of suffering that I am about to drink?” “Yes, we can,” they answered. “And so you will,” Jesus told them.

“But I don’t have the right to choose who will sit by my side. God has already prepared those who will sit on my right & on my left.”

Hearing all this, the other ten chosen witnesses became angry with James & John.  So Jesus called all twelve together and said, “You know that worldly leaders exercise power & authority over the people under them.  But this is not the way I intend for you to lead people to God.

“If you want to lead people to God you must be their servant, like me.  I didn’t come to be served.  I came to serve — even to sacrifice my life — in order to rescue many people from themselves.”


Jesus, please help us to love serving people, just like You.

(178) Matthew 20:17-28, Mark 10:32-45, Luke 18:31-34

Equal Pay For Unequal Work


Then Jesus told his students this story — to help them guard against becoming proud of being the first to receive the good news of God’s kingdom, and to encourage them to keep on sharing the good news of God’s kingdom with other people (177).

“Once there was a man who owned a vineyard.  Early one morning, about 6:00 AM, he hired some day laborers to work in his vineyard for the normal wage of a silver coin per day, and he set them to work.

early morning

“About 9:00 AM, he saw some other men in the marketplace doing nothing, so he hired them, too, & promised them a fair wage; so they also were set to work.

“Then at 12:00 noon & again at 3:00 PM he hired two other groups of workers in the same way.

“About 5:00 PM, he saw yet another group of men standing idle in the marketplace, so he asked them: ‘Why are you standing here doing nothing?’ ‘No one hired us today,’ they answered. ‘Well, then, you also go & work in my vineyard,’ he told them.

evening 2

“When evening came, the vineyard owner told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with those who were hired last and ending with those who were hired first.’

“The men who had begun to work at 5:00 PM were paid a silver coin each. So when the men who were the first to be hired came to be paid, they assumed they would be paid more; but they were also paid one silver coin each.

“As they took their pay, they complained to the vineyard owner: ‘These men worked only one hour, but we did a full day’s work in the hot sun.  Why did you pay them the same as you paid us?’


“The owner answered, ‘Listen, friends, I haven’t cheated you. You agreed to do a day’s work for one silver coin, and that’s what you’ve been paid.  If I want to pay the men who were hired last the same as I paid you, don’t I have that right?  Or are you jealous because I am generous?'”

When Jesus concluded, “Those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last,” his students began to see that this idea could be applied in different ways . . .

LORD, please help us to love Your decisions about the people You choose.

(177) Matthew 20:1-16

Before And After The Needle


Jesus’ students were flabbergasted (176).  They began asking who could possibly be assured of salvation from hell, if not the rich.

Jesus looked directly at each of them and answered, “It’s impossible for any man to save himself, but it’s not impossible for God.  Everything is possible for God!”

Then Peter spoke up, “Look, Master, we have left all our worldly wealth & followed you. What will we receive in heaven?”

Jesus said in response, “When I sit on my glorious throne in heaven, then you twelve witnesses will also sit on thrones, and the examples of your lives will become the standard for the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Everyone who has left worldly wealth or family, for my sake & for the sake of the good news about God’s kingdom, will receive a hundred times more in this age – of homes & families & possessions.  But in this life he will receive persecutions as well.


“In the age to come, however, he will receive life which continues forever, even beyond physical death.


“So you, who many thought would be last in line to enter heaven, will actually be first.  And those people, who should have been first in line to enter heaven, will end up being last.”

LORD, please help us to love living for Your glory.

(176) Matthew 19:25-30, Mark 10:24-31, Luke 18:26-30