The Receptive Life

"We are beggars; this is true." (Martin Luther)

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 23

The Incarnate Christ Scripture Reading: John 1:1-18  Meditation  Every story starts somewhere. Either it opens with a fanciful, “Once upon a time …” Or it launches out with an adventurous, “A long time ago …” Or it looks back, reminisces, and recollects past events with a nostalgic, “I remember when […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Response

Sabbath Day of Response  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8) Grace is God taking the initiative. He acts. He moves. He invites. He works. He changes lives. He […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 22

The Attentive Christ Scripture Reading: Luke 18:35–19:10  Meditation As Jesus approaches Jericho, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus sits by the roadside. He’s at his usual spot, at his usual time. He’s always known the darkness and he’s adapted. His routine and the regular comings and goings of his town have […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 21

The Tender Christ Scripture Reading: Luke 18:1-17  Meditation A widow. A tax collector. Crying babies. They’re different and yet they’re the same. Though they’re from different social classes, at different stages and ages of life, with different circumstances and needs—they’re all the same. They’re vulnerable. She’s defenseless. He’s broken. And […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 20

The Rejoicing Christ Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-32 Meditation The Pharisees and experts in the law are so close to the kingdom of God and yet they’re so far away. They have the prophets. They have the Messianic promises. And now, in Jesus, they have the fulfillment of both, right in […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 19

The Inviting Christ  Scripture Reading: Luke 14:1-24 Meditation Jesus knew the Sabbath invitation wasn’t sincere, but he went anyway. As he entered the Pharisee’s house, there in front of him—like live bait squirming in a concealed trap—was a man suffering from dropsy. The Pharisee had purposefully placed the man there. […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 18

The Longing Christ  Scripture Reading: Luke 13:22-35 Meditation The city of Jerusalem is the summit of Jesus’ ministry. It’s the culmination of his redemptive climb. It’s his destination. His goal. On the peak of that city, he will stake a cross in the ground, climb it, extend his hands in […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 17

The Comforting Christ Scripture Reading: Luke 12:1-34   Meditation Thousands of people surrounded Jesus. But there was only room for a few up front. Near. Close to him. Directly before him, seated at his feet, are the Twelve. But in-between the feet of Jesus and the back of the crowd are […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Repentance

Sabbath Day of Repentance “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?’ Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 16

The Forgiving Christ  Scripture Reading: Luke 7:29-50   Meditation The Pharisees had just accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard. Yet one of them, Simon, invites him to his house for dinner. Jesus accepts. He goes to the Pharisee’s house and reclines at his table. “Now one of the […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 15

The Willing Christ  Scripture Reading: Luke 5:12-26   Meditation Two men, a leper and a paralytic, desperately desire to get close to Jesus. The first shouldn’t, the second can’t. One is unclean and the other is unable. Whether unclean or unable, both are unwilling to stop until they are at the […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 14

The Rejected Christ Scripture Reading: Luke 4:14-30  Meditation There’s nothing better than coming home. Unless, of course, those who are at home don’t welcome you back! After his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus had left his hometown of Nazareth and had gone to live in Capernaum on the north end […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 13

The Prophetic Christ  Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-37 Meditation As the disciples left the temple mount, they looked up, stood in awe, and exclaimed how magnificent the house of God was. But the Prophetic Christ looked past the temple’s past: past the building that Solomon had first built; past its destruction […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 12

The Determined Christ Scripture Reading: Mark 8:27–9:1  Meditation  Peter got it half right. He understood who Jesus was but he didn’t understand what Jesus came to do. When Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?”  … some said that he was John the Baptist, others said Elijah, still […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 11

The Compassionate Christ Scripture Reading: Mark 6:30-44  Meditation The apostles have just returned from an extended preaching tour. Jesus had sent them out two by two. He had given them authority over evil spirits, instructed them to preach, cast out demons, and heal the sick. Mission accomplished. As they return, […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Remembrance

Sabbath Day of Remembrance “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:15 NIV) As we make our […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 10

The Miraculous Christ Scripture Reading: Mark 4:35–5:43  Meditation Miracles. They display divinity. They manifest power. They demonstrate compassion. Over the course of a few days, Jesus stuns his world. He tames the natural realm. With three words, “Quiet! Be still!” … the winds cease, the waves flatten, and the sea […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 9

The Calming Christ Scripture Reading: Mark 4:35-41  Meditation It was Jesus’ idea. “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 8

The Solitary Christ Scripture Reading: Mark 1:21-39  Meditation Jesus is a man who fits forty-eight hours worth of work in twenty-four hour days. He teaches. He casts out demons. He heals the sick. He’s busy doing his Father’s business. But Jesus knows that, when you work with people, there’s always […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 7

The Transfigured Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:13–17:13  Meditation The ups and downs of Peter’s emotions follow the contour of the mountain that he’s now descending. Seven days ago, Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was. They deflected the question by referencing the opinions of the masses. “Some say […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 6

The Teaching Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:1-58 Meditation The crowds have forced Jesus off the shore and into a boat. As he sits down in the boat, he begins to teach them many things about the kingdom of heaven. He speaks to the crowd in parables—gritty, illustrative, simple stories that […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 5

The Sending Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35–10:42  Meditation Before any great commission is given, there must be great compassion. First the heart has to be moved, and then the feet. The Sending Christ does both. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Rest

Sabbath of Rest “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 4

The Blessing Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-12 Meditation As Jesus heals every disease and sickness among the people, news spreads. Large crowds follow. Not far from Capernaum, at the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee, there’s a gently sloping hillside. Jesus climbs the hill, comes to a plateau, and […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 3

The Healing Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:23-25 Meditation Regular, ordinary, everyday news doesn’t make it to the front page. That space is reserved for the tragedies and the triumphs of life. The only news that spreads fast is good news or bad news. As Jesus begins his ministry, he’s big […]