An Overview of Galatians

By Joe Guagliardo

Galatians 1:1-10


Over the years, things haven’t changed much. When we meet someone on the street, we greet them. Another words, we say something like, “Hello, how are you,” “Yo, what’s up” and a variety of other sayings that I won’t use here.

We also greet each other when writing an email, on Tick Toc, Instagram, and many other sites we visit.

Perhaps the words have changed, but 2000 years ago, people greeted each other in much the same way.

The Gospel of Mark begins,

“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Mark 1:1.

This is a relatively straightforward greeting, but it is a greeting.

 In the Gospel of Luke, Luke writes to an acquaintance, Theophilus.

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

Luke 1:1-4

Luke succinctly addresses an acquaintance and tells him what is to come is quite important.

Finally, in Galatian, which we will look at in the coming days, Paul addresses a community.

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and with me,

To the churches in Galatia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Galatians 1:1-4

Without exception, Paul’s greeting to the Galatians becomes a stern plea to not distort the words and life of Christ.

No Other Gospel

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1-10

Paul has learned that many of the Galatians who had converted to Christianity (The Way) while he was in Galatia have fallen away from his teachings. He is astonished that this has happened so soon after he has moved on to other cities preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One has to love Paul’s line,

“Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 1:7b

As you may have noticed, Paul doesn’t name names, and you will find that he seldom, if ever, names the names of those who are “perverting the gospel.” But he leaves no doubt in this letter that he is talking about Judaizers.

Judaizers convinced many of the Galatians who believed in Christ that they must follow the Mosaic Law (The law of Moses). (Circumcision, to name just one)

Paul’s point is that Mosaic law was superseded with the coming of Christ. In other words, Christ’s coming made that law obsolete.

When Paul says, “Let them be under God’s curse,” he uses a much stronger word than our interpretation. Paul says, “Anathema,” which means.

Let him be doomed to hell!

Paul comes right out and says that he is a servant of Christ. What does that make the Judaizers? The exact opposite. They are serving only themselves.

As we continue our reading and discussion, we will see how disturbing this falling away is to Paul. We’ll also be discussing, The Jerusalem Council, which Paul was a part of. Here we’ll better understand why Paul is so adamant in his teaching.

Go and Make Disciples

A Devotion by Joe G.

Jesus’ Final Words to His Disciples

Matthew 28:18-20; Jeremiah 29:13

The word Disciple is one of my favorite words. I first came across it in the book of Matthew. I prefer the Christian definition of the word Disciple over the general one Webster’s dictionary uses.

Webster says a Disciple is:

“a pupil or follower of any teacher or school.”

Webster’s definition isn’t false by any means. For me, it’s just a little general.

I use the Christian definition of the word disciple in my writing and verbal usage.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

These are Jesus’ final instructions to His Disciples, Apostles, and all followers. When He uses the word, Disciples, Jesus uses it in place of the word learner.

During my life, I have strived to be a Disciple of Jesus. Yet, I mess up all the time. I read the Bible, write devotions, and pray, but I still make mistakes. But, they are mistakes God forgives me of because of what His Son Jesus did on the cross for us.

It’s essential that we know, read and understand the Bible. Jesus leaves us with very explicit and succinct words in His final instructions.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Jesus tells us to make learners (disciples)of others. And yet, we are always learning, reading, teaching. We, too, will always be Disciples. Jesus tells us to seek out others, teach them all that He has taught us, and to bring them to the waters of Baptism.

My favorite part of this passage is the final fourteen words.

“And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That’s quite a promise, isn’t it?

“I am with you always.”

I/We can’t see Him or touch Him. But we can rest assured that Jesus is always with us. Who knows what great things He has in store for us? I don’t have any idea. But I’m anxious to find out.

Another Day That Changed Me

A Devotion by Joe G.

Romans 8:38-39

Another day that changed me

Romans 8:38-39

I’ve been wanting to write this story/devotion for over a week now. But unfortunately, I have been unable to because of the circumstances I’ve described below. But, even though my body is not totally cooperating with me, my mind is telling me it’s time to write the following thoughts down.

**************************The Story******************************

Last Saturday, I had something happen to me that I never expected. I had a stroke. For a few hours, my brain sent out mixed messages. My vision was beyond double, my blood pressure was extremely high, and I finally called the paramedics, who took me to the hospital.

The end result doctor said I had a minor stroke. If this is what a small stroke does to you, I pray that neither I nor you ever have a big one. I’ve made over 25-30 errors in my writing so far. I’m fatigued, and my speech is slightly slurred. My memory isn’t bad, but I’m having difficulty getting what’s in my mind to come out of my mouth all the time. The doctors told me that the majority of the symptoms will pass in a few weeks or so.

It has been scary. But not as frightening as things used to be when they occurred. You see, I concur with what the writer of Romans said”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

Nothing will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So, you see, it doesn’t matter if I had a stroke or if you had a bad day. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

John 16:33 says this:

 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us that we will have trouble. That means we’re going to get sick, break an arm or leg, get cancer, have a hernia, or have complications from surgery.

Yes, we will have trouble. Jesus never hid that from us. We may lose our job, have an accident, or even have a stroke. But he has overcome the world. He (Jesus) has died for our sins. He has given us a way to escape this confusing world.

We will have eternal life because of His Father’s (God’s) Grace and through our faith in Jesus Christ (what he did for us). We can look forward to a day when all of this pain, hardships, illness, and hatred is behind us. Some day we will be in our Father’s arms.

And as He holds us close and all the pain is behind us, you’ll hear Him whisper in your ear.

Well donemy good servant!”

Jesus reinstates Peter

Easter Season Devotion

April 20, 2023

Jesus reinstates Peter

John 21:1-14; 15-17

“Do You Love Me?”

The verses below are from John 21. However, I thought it best to give you the passage in (mostly) its entirety. In this way, you can better relate to Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter.

Remember, after Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Him three times. After His resurrection, in front of some of the other disciples, Jesus reinstates Peter. He (Jesus) not only restores Peter as the leader of the disciples but also as the head of the church.

**************************The Point************************

This passage is sometimes called “The second miraculous catch.”

“Afterward (This being, after Jesus appeared to Thomas), Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So, they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

So, Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many, the net was not torn. 

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”

None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Reinstates Peter

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.

Again, Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

John 21:1-17

Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times. Peter is well aware that Jesus’ three questions of him parallel his three denials of Him.

The first time Jesus questions Peter, He says, 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“The phrase, “more than these” can have at least three meanings as follows:         1. Do you love me more than these other disciples love me?”

2. “Do you love me more than you love these other men?”

3. Do you love me more than you love these other things (that is, fishing and all that goes with it)?”

(The People’s Bible Commentary, John, Gary P. Baumler, Pp. 270-271)

When Jesus asked Peter the first question, He used the Greek word for love: Agape. Agape love is a sacrificial and purposeful love of mankind.

Earlier in the book of John, we see Peter as an assertive and boastful man. But now, speaking to Jesus face to face after he had denied Him, Peter is humble. He simply says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.”

Jesus replied to John, saying, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus may have meant children, as they are often referred to as lambs in the Bible. Or, He may have meant, “All of my disciples.”

Then, a second time Jesus speaks to Peter,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

You’ll notice Jesus asked Peter the same question again, but He omitted the words “more than these.”

Once again, Peter’s answer is not boastful but humble. “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.”

Jesus replies, “Take care of my sheep.”

Now, not only has Jesus charged Peter with feeding Jesus’ followers (The Word), but He (Jesus) also wants Peter to take care of them. This includes things like guidance, protection, and comfort.

Finally, Jesus asks Peter again, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

In this final question, Jesus uses a different meaning for the word love. He doesn’t ask for agape love; instead, Jesus asks Peter if he believes Him to be a beloved friend.

Once again, Peter replies humbly. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”

Jesus is telling Peter to continue to feed His sheep.

Jesus had forgiven Peter for denying know Him. If He did this for someone who denied Him three times, then we should feel secure in knowing He forgives us for our sins too.

Everything Jesus did during His earthly ministry was done for a specific reason. Every word He spoke, every action He took or didn’t take, fulfilled His reason for being here. He was here as a living sacrifice. And His disciples, we are to continue carrying His message of repentance, grace, and faith to the next generation.

That, too, is our job. To answer the call and bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to the world, so all might be saved.

On the Road to Emmaus

An Easter Celebration Devotion

April 18, 2023

“On the Road to Emmaus”

Jesus appears to two of His disciples

Luke 24:13-35

Over the last several years, I’ve talked about Street Eats in several of my devotions. Without being overly repetitious, Street Eats was a program I developed with my student at my last church before I retired. First, the youth and I would bag bottled water, canned food, and snacks for needy people. Then congregation members would hand out the bags to needy people they saw and met on street corners.

The way I would describe why we did this program was like this,

“Street Eats is a way we can reach out to needy people we meet on the highway of life.
On every road, Street, and highway Jesus traveled, He helped people in need.

In the story of Jesus appearing to and walking with two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, Jesus helps them to understand the events that had occurred over the last few days.

*****************************The Point*************************

Let’s take a few minutes and read the passages for Luke that tell us what occurred on The Road to Emmaus.

“Now, that same day, two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

 “What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So, he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.”

Luke 24:13-35

Looking back at the scripture reading, we see two of Christ’s disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, which means they were walking away from Jerusalem. These men were walking away from the place where Christ died at Golgotha. (Perhaps they were disillusioned, or they had given up hope. They said as much to Jesus as He walked with them. They said, “We had hoped He would be the redeemer of Israel.”)

While the two disciples are walking along the road, a third person joins them. Living on this side of history, we know it to be Jesus because the Bible tells us it was Him. (For some reason, Jesus kept them from recognizing Him. Perhaps, He wanted time to talk with them and explain the scripture to them.

I find it interesting that in the short time, Jesus walked with these two disciples, He opened their eyes to so many things. The Bible passage above from Luke says,

“He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

The distance between Jerusalem and Emmaus is about 20 miles. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t state how far along the road the disciples were when they encountered Jesus. However, we do know they were just outside Emmaus when they stopped. So, somewhere between 1 and 19 miles, the disciples met Jesus. In that short distance, He explained to them the scriptures concerning Him, beginning with Moses. (Perhaps they stopped and sat for periods of time along the way).

Looking back at the scripture reading, what opened their eyes? What suddenly caused them to recognize Jesus? (They said it was the breaking of the bread, not necessarily as in communion, but as a shared meal.)

They also said that their hearts burned as He (Jesus) explained and revealed the scripture to them.

God’s word will always explain what we don’t understand. But we must read, digest, and apply it in our daily lives.

 The disciples said, “We had hoped He would be the redeemer of Israel.” (Once the scriptures were explained to them, they realized Jesus was the redeemer they hoped for.)

No sooner did Jesus disappear while seated with the two disciples, and the men decided to return to Jerusalem. (They wanted to report to the Apostles and Christ’s other followers that they had seen Him, Jesus, and, He was alive.)

Reflections for Easter Monday

Easter Devotion

From the Book of Isaiah

Reflections for Easter Monday

April 10, 2023

Isaiah 53:1-11

Sometimes we forget, don’t we? While Jesus was on earth over 2000 years ago, He fulfilled Old Testament prophesy.

Let’s take a look at Isaiah 53:1-11. As you read it, see if you can pick up on what the prophet Isaiah is telling us.

“Who has believed our message

, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He (Jesus) grew up before him like a tender shoot

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely, he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds, we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so, he did not open his mouth.

By oppression (53:8 Or From arrest) and judgment, he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people, he was punished. (53:8 that he was punished for the transgression of my people?)

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

After he has suffered,

he will see the light of and be satisfied;

by his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.”

“Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many

and made intercession for the transgressors.”

If you look hard enough at the reading above, you can see many references to Christ’s death and resurrection. I encourage you to read through the Isaiah passage several times. Then, look up the passage in a Bible Concordance or Commentary to enlighten you on the passage references to Jesus that escape you.

It’s interesting to note that Isaiah’s ministry was 400 years before the time of Jesus. Yet, his prophecy is spot on. Here are a few observations from the passage to get you started.


“But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds, we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Jesus was nailed to the cross. His hands and feet were pierced with nails. He suffered for our immoral behavior. Jesus received the punishment of death on the cross for our sins. Because He suffered this humiliation, our sins are forgiven.

“He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so, he did not open his mouth.”

Isaiah 53:7

Jesus suffered through the abuse of power by the Pharisees and the Romans (Soldiers and Pilate). This was not just mental abuse and mocking but through torture and crucifixion.

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him, who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1Peter 2:23-25

Every time we attend church services, every time we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and every day of our life, it should be a reminder of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.

He died for you and me out of His great love for us.

What a great friend Jesus is. What an awesome God He is! What a perfect Savior!

“Jesus has risen, He has risen indeed!”

Easter Sunday Devotion

Matthew 28:1-10

April 9, 2023

“He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!”

There are four different Gospels in the Bible. Each one has a different writer. Their names were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each of them aimed their Gospel message at varying groups of people.

Each Gospel is decidedly different in content and tone. For example, the Gospel of Luke has 18 parables not contained in the other three. But, there is one thing that is consistent throughout all four Gospels. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, lived amongst us for about 33 years. He taught, healed, and admonished people.

The most incredible consistency in the four Gospels is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And three days later, on what has become known as Easter Sunday, He overcame death.

It’s true; the whole story is true. He is Risen. He is Risen, indeed.

Let’s take a few minutes to look once again at Matthew’s version of Jesus’ Resurrection.

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary

(Mark 16 names three Marys. Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salome)

went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So, the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 

Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said.

They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshiped him. 

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there, they will see me.” Matthew 28:1-10

Two women, Mary Magdalene and another Mary, go to the tomb on Sunday morning to anoint Jesus’ body. But, of course, they hadn’t figured out how they would get into the tomb. But, when they arrived, that was no longer an issue. The stone in front of the tomb had been moved.

They encounter a man dressed in clothes that are white as snow. The man (angel) tells the women that Jesus is not there. Instead, he states that Jesus has risen from the grave. Then he says:

“Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

One can only imagine the thoughts and feelings going through their heads as they left the tomb. The words fear, joy, and amazement come to mind.

But their morning of shocking encounters isn’t quite over yet. Just a few moments later, they see the Risen Lord.

“Suddenly, Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there, they will see me.”

There’s even more to the story. Why not take some time today and read the Resurrection account from all four Gospels. It will only take about 20 minutes; I assure you, you will not be disappointed. Actually, I believe you’ll be amazed.

We no longer need to fear death because Jesus overcame it through His death on the cross and His Resurrection from the grave. And it’s also true, as Jesus said in His final words of Matthew’s Gospel,

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“He is Risen Indeed.”

Jesus’ tomb is sealed and guarded

Lenten Devotions

Holy Saturday

Matthew 27:62-66

April 8, 2023

Jesus’ tomb is sealed and guarded

There’s not much written about Holy Saturday. It’s the day after Jesus died on the cross and the day before His resurrection.

Let’s look at what the Book of Matthew says about the day before Jesus’ Resurrection.

“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive, that deceiver said, ‘After three days, I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.” Matthew 27:62-65

I find it interesting that on the day after the day of preparation, on Saturday, which is the Jewish Sabbath, we see the Pharisees hard at work. The day after Christ’s crucifixion, the Pharisees go to Pilate and ask Him to post guards at the tomb because they are worried that Jesus’ disciples might come and steal the body.

They never once mention that Jesus may rise from the dead. For the Pharisees, that was the talk of a fool who was now dead. No, instead, they’re worried about Jesus’s disciples. For, if they were to steal the body of Jesus, they could keep the ruse of Jesus being the Son of God going.

At this moment in time, the thought of the disciples doing anything is somewhat laughable. Judas had killed himself, Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times, and all the rest of the disciples, except for John, had scattered and hid out of fear.

In hindsight, we know that the Pharisees were worried about the wrong outcome. But they had hard hearts and no faith in Jesus. So you might say, “Boy are they in for a big surprise!”

Pilates reaction to the Pharisee’s request for a guard at Jesus’ tomb is interpreted in two different ways. One is in the reading above, from the NIV version of the Bible. The Pharisees are given a guard to go and secure the tomb.

In the King James Version (Greek Translation), the interpretation of Pilate’s reaction to the Pharisees is quite different. He says:

“Ye have a watch.”

In other words, you have your own men who can do this. Tell some of your temple guards to go and make the tomb as secure as they know how.

(Peoples Bible Commentary, Matthew, G.J. Albrecht and M.J. Albrecht, Pp. 434)

For all the effort put forth by the Pharisees, in the end, they would look despicable and be humiliated. This only forced them to continue to lie and put forth a totally fabricated story. This included paying off the tomb guard and telling a story about how Jesus’ body was stolen. (But this part of the story is for another day)

The high point of our story is tomorrow, the Resurrection of Jesus. But even then, Christ’s story will be far from over.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

Lenten Devotions

A Walk Through the Book of Luke

Luke 23:26-49

April 7, 2023

“The Crucifixion of Jesus.”

For the last six weeks, I have shared devotions about the life of Jesus. My emphasis for these devotions was His parables. But we also read about Jesus’ birth, baptism, miracles, and ministry, which only lasted about three years.

Today we come to the darkest day in the history of the world. Today is the day that we, as Christians, recognize as the day Jesus was crucified.

“The Jewish historian Josephus spoke of crucifixion as “the most pitiable of deaths.” The Roman politician and author Cicero described it as “the worst extreme of torture inflicted on slaves.” Jesus endured the pain of having nails driven through His hands and feet and then being hoisted into the air to die.”

“The People’s Bible Commentary, Luke, Victor H. Prange, Pp. 250.)

Here is Luke’s description of this horrible event that changed the history of the world.

“As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 

Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’

 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: 

This Is Jesus, King of the Jews.

One of the criminals who hung their hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, 

“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”  When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”                

Luke 23:26-49.

There’s not a lot left to say, is there?

Let me briefly share a few points.

They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

These were the words of the rulers and people watching this horrific event.

They did not understand what was happening. Jesus’ death on the cross was necessary. For as you and I know, He died for our sins.

I recall telling my students, whenever I shared this story this:

Close your eyes and imagine this horrible scene that is happening. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and beaten. The pain He was enduring is unimaginable.

Then, at the moment, while He is on the cross and near death, Jesus takes upon Himself all of the sins of the world. These are the sins from the past, present, and future. If you were to take a Sharpie pen and put one small dot on Jesus for every sin of the past, present, and future, you wouldn’t be able to see Him anymore. Now, look to the heavens, and there is God. He sees all of this sin that Jesus had taken upon Himself. Watch closely as God folds His arms and slowly turns away from His Son. God is Holy and pure. At the sight of all that sin, He is disgusted and turns away. At that moment, Jesus is truly alone in the world.

But wait! There’s more!

As broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, “And now the rest of the story.”

You see, I have more to share tomorrow and Sunday because the story doesn’t end here.

Jesus washes His disciple’s feet

Lenten Devotions

A Walk Through the Book of Luke

John 13:1-17

April 6, 2023

“Jesus washes His disciples’ feet.”

The four Gospels are rich with parables, real stories, hurting people, and words of enlightenment. You would be hard-pressed to find a chapter that wouldn’t make a great group discussion.

Here we are once again; it’s Maundy Thursday. So much happens on this one day of Holy Week.

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit

Jesus initiates the rite of Holy Communion

Jesus washes His disciples’ feet

Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus is arrested

The Disciples abandon Jesus

Jesus is questioned

Even more, happens on this one day than I have mentioned. Each of the aforementioned occurrences has been presented as a devotion, bible study, or sermon. Yet, I have always found myself slightly more drawn to one of these moments in history than the others.

In the story I’m speaking of, we are shown by Jesus himself how we should serve others.

****************************The Point************************

In the Gospel of John, chapter 13, beginning with verse one, Jesus and His disciples have come together for what we refer to as the Last Supper. Jesus and His followers are reclining at the Passover meal table when He stands up and does a most peculiar thing, at least in the eyes of His disciples.


“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not everyone was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. 

“Do you understand what I have done for you? “he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly, I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:1-17


“Jesus washed their feet. Twelve disciples, twenty-four feet, and He cleaned them. On his knees, Jesus got down on what was probably a filthy floor in the upper room. Jesus wrapped a towel around His waist, which comes in handy when washing twenty-four feet. Then, He started working.

This was servant work, not something He should do! He was their leader, He was their teacher, and He was the guest of honor that night at the Passover meal.

 This scene happened over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. There weren’t many paved roads back then, so the streets were dusty and muddy when it rained. So, it was customary for the homeowner or host to provide a slave at the house’s door to wash the dinner guests’ feet as they arrived. If the home couldn’t afford a slave, the responsibility generally fell to one of the early arriving guests. Interestingly enough, none of the disciples volunteered for this common task. So, we find the upper room filled with proud hearts and dirty feet!

So, He, God, who once took a lump of clay and formed a man, washed their feet. The same God who was born in a dirty stable and laid in an animal’s feed trough. The same God who, in just a few minutes, would be offering His body and blood to His disciples during the Passover meal. He was the same God who would be tried, beaten, humiliated, whipped, crucified, and buried in just a few short hours.

Jesus washed those feet, not just for those twelve disciples or twenty-four feet, but for all of us. He washed their feet as a servant. He loved them because He loves us.

On that first Maundy Thursday, Jesus taught His disciples a valuable lesson through experiential learning. By getting down on His knees and taking a basin and a towel, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as a servant. Jesus lived amongst us as one who served. He modeled the lifestyle He wants us to live every day of our lives. When we selflessly and lovingly help others, we live as Christ wants us to.

Jesus used the basin of water and the towel to teach us the essence of service. His Holy Spirit lives within us and calls us to live our faith out loud through serving others.” (From my September 2019 Blog)

Now, it’s our turn. You and I have been commissioned by Jesus to wash the feet of others. No, we are not asked to literally wash the feet of others unless it is necessary.

We have been charged by Jesus to serve others. You and I are to put the needs of others before our own. Jesus washing the feet of His disciples was an example of service. But what does service to others look like today?

There’s the homeless person on the corner looking for a handout. Don’t judge; give.

Do you have a food kitchen in your area? They could probably use your help.

Churches and other organizations do mission work all over the world. Have you ever volunteered? And, if you can’t physically help, have you donated to the cause of helping others?

You’re offering at church doesn’t just pay the bills and the staff. The money goes to help organizations and people in your community. Are you giving your fair share?

Finally, what’s your talent? Perhaps you can give of your time. Are you a carpenter? Then build and help others with your skill. Use your God-given gifts to help others. This is what the foot washing is all about.

It’s not all about you. It’s all about Jesus and what He taught and did for us on the cross. So follow in Jesus’s footsteps and serve others.