Mourning into Joy | Spy Wednesday: The Temptation of Worldly Logic | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 5 of 10

Two events mark this day. One, Mary breaks an expensive alabaster jar at Jesus’ feet. And two, Judas conspires to betray Jesus. The later one is apparently where the term spy Wednesday finds its name. But that’s not our concern here. What’s interesting is that, both these events underline one problem – superimposing our logic on God.

There are certainly, many instances in our lives when we think a church could better use her resources. Say, why waste money on rituals when we can use it to do far more charitable work?! Judas, apparently thought the same. In fact, if we refer the biblical past, all men whom God has treated unfavorably has always thought logically. Cain, I believe, was a man of science. He grew great vegetation with great precision. Saul was logical. He thought logistically and strategically, that it was better he offered the sacrifices himself, to keep the morale of his army intact. All these men had their reasons, and in accordance to our earthly understandings, they were all logical. Judas’ objection over Mary wasting an alabaster jar was also (actually) logically sound. Instead of wasting it on Jesus’ feet, which were bound to get dirty again – he opined, it could feed a starving family. But this worldly mindedness is exactly what Christ objected; that is not what God wants.

Because, we were/are called to live our lives depending on God’s grace and not on worldly wisdom. (1 Cor 1:12) Because worldliness harbors passions that is ungodly, it is selfish, troublesome, and filled with animosity. And most importantly, it leads to sin and death. (James 4:1-12) Hence, in the light of the scripture, Judas’ objection was ultimately wrong. Later we find that his concerns were never even for the poor. He had always had a conceited heart when it comes to money. And being tempted by of his own desires, his life ended tragically. The same, unfortunately, is true for you and me. The Apostle James wrote:

“But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires, he is lured away and enticed.” (James 1:14, BSB)

Dear readers, it is important as Christians to understand that the heart is deceitful above all things. (Jer 17:9) And worldly-mindedness equates death. (Rom 8:6) We are never in the position of making a sound judgement on our own – over what is, and what life could be. But God is our creator and He knows best. And it is His desire that we live according to His will – according to the ways of His Kingdom. It is in His will that we desire heaven over earth; like Mary’s mind was set on Christ, while Judas on worldly matters. Let us therefore, continue to persevere in His grace, trusting and obeying Him for our good. For as the Apostle Paul wrote, God’s grace is enough to train us into renouncing worldliness and into embracing holiness. (Titus 2:11-12) To God be the Glory.  


Series Index: (1) Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week (2) Palm Sunday: Sovereign Mercy (3) Holy Monday: Tough Love (4) Holy Tuesday: Who do we say this Jesus is

Mourning into Joy | Holy Monday: Tough Love | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 3 of 10

Love is not always meek. My mother loves me a lot. I know this, not only because she is good to me. But because she scolds me, and corrects me when I need correcting. Christ demonstrated this bolder side of love, post His meek entrance into Jerusalem. He cursed a healthy-looking fig tree. And raged through the various vendors at the temple. Because the Israelites had lost the plot. They were more concern with being religious superficially, than knowing God authentically. Obedience is better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22) If the Israelites really cared, they would have known what their patriarch David himself wrote: “you do not desire a sacrifice (oh! LORD), or I would offer one”. (Ps 51:16) But the whole pretext of littering the temple with various vendors was to facilitate the ease of offering sacrifices; as Israelites came from various different places – travelling long distances. From that perspective, what a reasonably noble thing those vendors were doing. But that’s not what YHWH desires. But beyond that, the superficial religiosity was keeping foreigners away from God. Jonathan Parnell wrote:

The great sadness of this scene wasn’t so much the rows of product and price-gouging, but that all this left no room for the Gentiles and outcasts to come to God.” (Pg. 27)

This scene was sad, because according to Isaiah’s vision foreigners and outcasts were to gather with His people. (Isa 56:4-8) Do you understand now, why Christ did, what He did? He cleansed the temple – because He loved us. He corrected the Israelites because He loved them; and most importantly, He loved us – foreigners and outcast, who without Christ’s intervention would have remained outside of His covenant.

So – dear reader, do you understand, Christ’s bold move wasn’t a reaction against an unexpected sight – seeing corrupt money lenders in the temple. No. He is sovereign, and omniscient. He knew it already.

This was a lesson He wanted His disciples to learn, and for us to know. It is not a bloated religiosity that He wants. A fig tree no matter how healthy, without good fruits, is only destined for condemnation. What Christ wants – what YHWH wants is our hearts. And no one, absolutely no one can bear good fruits, until He is planted in the one who says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5, ESV)

So dear readers, this is why Christ cleansed the temple. So that we could be gathered into Him; so that we could abide in Him, and bear good fruits. Let us take comfort in knowing that this same Christ, is willing to clean our hearts and make us a temple that glorifies His name. Because nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love, that is manifested through Christ for us. (Rom 8:38-39) To God be the Glory.   


Series Index: (1) Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week (2) Palm Sunday: Sovereign Mercy

Mourning into Joy | Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 1 of 10

Observing the Holy Week has always been a polarizing ritual for me. Because, I’ve always felt it to be a virtue-signing act. Perhaps that is my own inner crookedness, that I cannot accept that anyone could even observe this ritual genuinely. Secondly, and this used to be my go-to excuse – (that) the scriptures never made it mandatory. But as I grow older, and as I learn to spend more time meditating in the scriptures – I find that it is not I but Christ that leads me into discipline and obedience towards holiness. (Matt 19:26) In other words, it is not by our strength, but by the virtue of God’s grace that we can genuinely observe the Holy Week to its full effect.

Though it is also true that the scripture does not make it an obligation to observe the Holy Week, but it sure does – undeniably builds us up towards it. The Old Testaments swells up to this point. This is the week, when the promise of salvation was about to be materialized. The Devil was to use all its might, the saints were to see the last of the trying times as sinners-unrepentant, and Christ – God, Christ was to lead us through this darkness – like YHWH led the Israelites through the parted Red Sea. The Holy Week, this ordinary week, may not mean much to the world, but for the believer it is nothing less than historic. Apparently, that’s why, all the four Apostles dedicated a major part of the Gospel to this week (alone). Because it was during the course of this week – that Christ changed our fate. He suffered everything we were meant to suffer. And showed us what obedience and perseverance meant. He took the wrath of God for us, and showed us – it is He – who was to come – and paid the full payment of our sins. And most importantly, it was during this week – He demonstrated the Father’s love for us – and bought us the prerequisite holiness to be united with God.

But beyond these reasons – that are grounded in the Biblical past, there is one that I find absolutely convincing. The reason why we should observe the Holy Week is because this is a wonderful opportunity for us to walk with Ekklesia – the body of Christ. David Mathis explains this better. He writes,

“Marking Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with the church, throughout time and through the world, as she walks with her Bridegroom through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the most important and timeless realities.” (Pg. 1)

How wonderful that is. I hope dear reader, that you’ll join me in relishing this wonderful opportunity – in walking with Christ and His Church, this Holy Week. Blessed Greetings.


NOTE: Daily Devotions will start from Palm Sunday i.e. 5th April ’20, 9 AM (IST). And end on Easter Sunday i.e. 12th April ’20. You can also subscribe the blog via email to receive the devotionals directly in your inbox.