March 1, 2017

By Mike Donnalley

Every year we observe Lent in preparation of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter. Lent is a season of approximately 40 days, not including Sundays, extending between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The 40 days is symbolic of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-12, Luke 4:1-13) and is, therefore, a season where we ought to empty ourselves of lesser things in order to be filled with more of God. Ultimately, Lent is about turning our full attention toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus while turning ourselves away from our sins and everything else that distracts us from Him.

Ultimately, Lent is about turning our full attention toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus while turning ourselves away from our sins and everything else that distracts us from Him.

These devotionals walk you through seven key moments in the life and ministry of Jesus. Each one includes Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew, a couple of paragraphs on how these verses apply to our lives, and a paragraph directing you to a few ways you can pray. We encourage you to continually read, pray, and discuss these Scriptures throughout the entire week. Lastly, remember that Lent is all about focusing on Jesus. Ask Him and rely on Him to lead you in this and He will be faithful to do so.

Jesus the Beloved Son

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16,17)

In these words we find the very heart of God. We find God’s greatest pleasure and delight - his only Son, Jesus. One could write endless volumes on the endless reasons why God delights in Jesus but I would like to point out just this one - that God delights in Jesus simply because Jesus is his Son. This sounds so simple but yet it is for that very reason that we forget to stop and dwell on this magnificently beautiful relationship. And it is because of this relationship that we can find so much joy and comfort in verses like Romans 8:32 which reads, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Because God is so well pleased with his Son, we rejoice, knowing that it is by Jesus’ perfect obedience and perfect sinlessness in his death on the cross that we too become God’s children, with whom he is well pleased.

God delights in Jesus simply because Jesus is his Son.

Pray this week that you experience and know that you are God’s child, cleansed by the work of Jesus, and now pleasing to God. Pray that the people in your life who do not know this will soon experience and know the same. Pray that you love and desire Jesus above all else in this life.