Near the Cross. Devotions By Nan Allen

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1 Near the Cross Devotions By Nan Allen

2 Lift Up Your Heads Read Psalm 24:7-10 to find out where the words lift up your heads come from. Does this remind you of the spectacle of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem? Scholars aren t sure who first gave the ancient city its name. It could have its roots with the Jews, since the name ends with a variation of the Hebrew word shalom, which means peace. The Arab word for peace is salaam, which may indicate that the name s origin is Arabic. Either way, it implies the definition of the name as the city of peace. For Christians, the central events that are the foundations of our faith occurred in Jerusalem. Jesus was crucified there and then arose from the dead there. He ascended back into heaven there. And at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon many believers there. The city is also a place that prophecies name as the site of Jesus Second Coming. (From The Words We Sing by Nan Corbitt Allen 2010 by Nan Corbitt Allen and Beacon Hill Press) But at that moment, Jerusalem was anything but a city of peace. Behind closed doors and in synagogues, there were already whispers of how to get rid of the King of glory who was riding into their city. Read Matthew 21:1-10. Try to imagine what it was like in the streets of the city. Now read Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9. Notice that the gospel writer and disciple, Matthew, is showing how Jesus was fulfilling prophecy right before his eyes. Now read Psalm 118: The people in the crowd were shouting this prophetic Psalm in the streets, but apparently they did not see Jesus as the Savior for whom they had been looking. Would you have known Jesus that day in Jerusalem as the King of kings and Lord of lords? Lift up your heads and see Jesus for all that He was and is and is to come!

3 Hosanna We use the word hosanna in Easter pageants especially in the Triumphal Entry scenes. And the word has been used as an expression of praise in almost every song that includes this word. However, the original use of the term was a desperate cry for help. Psalm 118 is tagged as a song of thanksgiving, but toward the end the psalmist suddenly cries out in verses 25-26: LORD, save us! [or Hosanna!] Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. It s from this Psalm that the citizens of Jerusalem got their cry the Sunday that Jesus rode through their palm-branch-covered streets: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! (John 12:13). Going from a desperate cry for help to an expression of praise may mean that when Jesus rode through the Jerusalem streets, He was finally recognized as the Savior they had waited for. In less than a week He would offer himself up as a sacrifice so that we could be saved from our own sins. (From The Words We Sing by Nan Corbitt Allen 2010 by Nan Corbitt Allen and Beacon Hill Press) Read John 12: This is John s account of the triumphal entry. Now Read John 12:16. What does it say about the disciples understanding of this event? Pray that God will give you understanding in your daily walk with Him.

4 There Is a Redeemer I grew up in the days of S & H Green Stamps. At the checkout line at the store, depending on the amount of the purchase, we were given a perforated sheet of green stamps, each one worth a certain amount of buying power. After we had collected a good number of stamps, my sister and I would lick them on the sticky side and press them into a book. We had a catalog with pictures of all kinds of wonderful items we could buy with our stamps: toys, household items, and so forth, each with a picture of the item and the number of books of stamps required to purchase it. As soon as we had enough stamp books, we went to a redemption center and traded them in for the items we had dreamed about. The idea of trading in something for something else is the basic definition of the word redeem. The act of redemption is closely related to the definition for ransom, which means the price paid out for something. (From The Words We Sing by Nan Corbitt Allen 2010 by Nan Corbitt Allen and Beacon Hill Press) Read Galatians 3:13. What does the Scripture say we are redeemed from? What curse does this Scripture say that we are under? Thank God for His redemption and name Jesus as your Redeemer.

5 Remember the Cross Calvary it s a place, the site on which Jesus was crucified. The Greek name Calvary and the Aramaic word Golgotha mean the same thing: the place of the skull. The gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and John call it by its Aramaic name and even define it. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of the skull ) (Matthew 27:33). 1 Luke, the only non-jew among the gospel writers, calls it Calvary, and even then the word is found only in the King James Version. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him (Luke 23:33). No one is positive of the origin of the name. Some think it was called the place of the skull because the bald, rocky knob of a hill outside the gates of Jerusalem looked like a human cranium from a distance. Others believe it was called this because, as a site of execution, it deserved a macabre name. Either way, this place holds huge significance to our faith. The place itself has no power to save us at all. But because of Christ s death there, we now enjoy access to our Heavenly Father with peace and comfort in knowing that we will join Him one day in heaven. What does the cross at Calvary mean to you? Read 1 Corinthians 1:18. What does the apostle Paul say about the cross? During this Easter season, think often about the cross and what it means to your everyday life and your eternal life. 1 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. The NIV and New International Version trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Biblica.

6 The Cross (Medley) Leonardo da Vinci obviously took artistic license in his famous painting The Last Supper. Histories and books about the customs of that day tell us that the event probably did not look exactly like the classic work of art. Most likely, the attendees did not sit upright behind a common table. The seating arrangements might have been different. Maybe there were even more present at the meal than reported or portrayed. We really do not know. We do have a pretty good sense, from the synoptic gospels, of what the main centerpiece (the bread and the cup dispensing) meant and generally what was said during that part of the presentation. John, however, an eyewitness and attendee of the event, writes that Jesus said much more than Take, eat (or drink). Do this in remembrance of Me. John recorded Jesus entire treatise to His disciples at the end of the meal. It can be found in John So many great Truths from the lips of Jesus are found here. Read John 14:5-6. During this Q & A, Jesus answers a question from which disciple? What was his question? What is Jesus answer? This clearly states who Jesus is and how we can come to the Father. What does this statement reveal to you? Pray for God s revelation to you in this passage.

7 Power of the Cross What does the cross mean today? This song says that the cross still means as much as it did 2,000 years ago. Look at the lyrics. What differences can the power of the cross make in a person s life? Name them. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18, Ephesians 2:16, Colossians 1:20, and Colossians 2:14. Paul writes his ideas on the power of the cross. What do you find there? Now, what does the cross mean to you?

8 Celebrate, Christ Is Risen includes Alleluia! Alleluia! and Happy Day The word [Alleluia] came out of another Hebrew word, hallel, which literally means a song of praise. The Levites (the priestly tribe of ancient Israel) were given the special assignment of singing these praise songs. The Hallel is now a Jewish prayer that s a verbatim recitation of Psalms (From The Words We Sing by Nan Corbitt Allen 2010 by Nan Corbitt Allen and Beacon Hill Press) Read 1 Corinthians 15: Paul is telling the Corinthians how important Christ s resurrection is to the total picture of our faith. After each statement in this passage, express your song of praise your Alleluia to Jesus.

9 Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross Read John 19: What must it have been like to be that near the cross to actually stand at the foot of the cross while Jesus was becoming sin on our behalf? Though we cannot relive this scene, we can keep it in mind and embrace its significance. When temptation, fear, and discouragement try to steal your joy, ask God to take you back to the cross and realize that your sins have been forgiven and your hope has been provided.

10 Draw Me Close Read Hebrews 10: According to this Scripture, what does the blood of Jesus allow us to do? What did Jesus become through the shedding of His blood? What do these thoughts mean to you? Read verse 23 aloud as a prayer.

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