Easter Devotional – March 27

Matthew 25:14-30

Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

Again, we see a parable about what happens in Jesus’ absence. God had given Israel the means to carry out His mission. Just as the wicked tenants in Chapter 21, the ungrateful guests in chapter 22 and the wicked slave in chapter 24, those who fail in the mission they’ve been given lose out on the privileges that come with the responsibility. We often relate this to our gifts. Each of us has been gifted to carry out God’s mission in our own unique way. These gifts are not to be hidden and remain untouched. They are to be used to bring glory to God. How are you using what God has entrusted to you to advance His Kingdom, to draw people to Him?

Prayer: Lord, help me to use my gifts for You, to allow You to use me uniquely to fulfill Your mission.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Easter Devotional – March 25

Matthew 22:1-14

Parable of the Marriage Feast

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

If the President of the United States sent a messenger to invite you to a wedding feast, would you decline and then go back to work, or even worse, would you kill his messenger? That is insanity. Yet that is the story Jesus tells. An invitation is sent out, it gets violently refused by those on the first guest list (Israel)…to which God reacts quite violently (burning a city would imply violence). Jesus sends a second invitation to the whole world knowing that He’ll get all kinds of guests from all walks of life. When His invitation is accepted, our old garments and way of life are removed and replaced with new garments and life that reflect Jesus. In short, our lives are transformed! I pray that no one tries to answer the invitation while neglecting the life change Jesus brings…that story doesn’t end well.

Have you accepted the invitation to join God’s Kingdom? Do you sometimes forget whose invitation you’ve accepted and carry on business as usual rather than clothing yourself in your new way of life in Jesus?

Prayer: Almighty God, help me to joyously accept Your invitation and give me the wisdom, strength and courage to put off my old clothes and put on Your righteousness.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Easter Devotional – March 24

Matthew 21:33-45

Parable of the Landowner

33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. 35 The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. 37 But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” 41 They *said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”

42 Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,

The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.

No matter how you look at it, this is simply not a very nice story. Tenants kill the owner’s messengers…and finally his son in order to take over the land. This is a real estate edition of the story of God’s Kingdom, but I doubt it will show up on HGTV. God sets up this great place for everyone to live and lets the people use whatever they want. It doesn’t take long for them to decide they want to take over, and keep Him out. They beat and kill the messengers that God sends… and when He sends His Son… you know what happens. When we get caught up in sustaining our own kingdom it becomes all too easy to stop living for God’s Kingdom.

Are we a part of the group that doesn’t want the Owner, the Creator of the universe, to take control of His own vineyard? Would we rather keep it for ourselves and live isolated from the presence of the King?

Prayer: God, Creator and Owner of everything, give me the grace to produce the good fruits of Your Kingdom. Help me to celebrate Your Son.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)