The Receptive Life

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

The Forty Day Journey: Full List of Daily Meditations

Here’s a full list of posts from the Forty Day Journey. I thought it might be helpful to have them all indexed in one place. As you read through the devotionals, use them as guides to help you focus on … the Person and Work of Jesus all of the gifts that only Jesus can give Christ FOR us, IN us, THROUGH us, WITH us The Forty Day Journey (the headings below are linked to the original posts) Prologue Day One:  The Tempted Christ Day Two:  The Calling Christ Day Three:  The Healing Christ Day Four:  The Blessing Christ Sabbath Day of Rest […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Resurrection

Sabbath Day of Resurrection “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5) He’s alive! Yet, all too many times, we insist on looking for the Resurrected Christ among the dead. We go to the tomb. We look at the burial cloth. We weep in the darkness. On this Sabbath day, the angels invite us to look beyond death, past the grave, through the tears, and into his resurrected and glorious face. They trumpet the good news, “He is not here; he has risen!” Reflection At what tomb are you sitting, […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 40

The Resurrected Christ Scripture Reading: John 19:38–20:18  Meditation  When Jesus dies, secret love goes public. Joseph of Arimethea, a wealthy yet discreet disciple, provided the tomb. Nicodemus, one of the Sanhedrin members who had earlier visited Jesus by night, brought the spices. Fear of the Jews had kept these two high profile men from revealing their hearts earlier. After all, they had much to lose—prestige, position, power. But they also knew that, in Jesus, they had much to gain. While Jesus was alive, they never took a stand. They never got involved. They kept their faith quiet. But now that […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 39

The Dying Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:45-56 Meditation It’s the sixth hour and the heavenly Father has just dropped his One and Only Son on the Devil’s doorstep. He has given him up, abandoned him, and forsaken him. The Son of God has become an orphan. And when the bell rings at the ninth hour, death will answer the door. “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’—which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ” […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 38

The Crucified Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:27-44 Meditation Rome reserved the cross for only the worst of criminals. It was a slow, painful, and degrading way to die. When Jesus reached Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, the Governor’s soldiers stripped him of his clothes. They threw him to the ground, spread his arms, and nailed each hand to the crossbeam that Simon of Cyrene had carried. Then they hoisted him into the air, lined his body up with an upright, stationary beam, and—when the two beams were fastened in place—they nailed his feet. His body hangs contorted, twisted, and […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 37

The Sentenced Christ Scripture Reading: John 18:28–19:16  Meditation The Sanhedrin is the highest Jewish court in Jerusalem. It’s composed of the three groups of people that Jesus had said would deliver him unto death: the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law. “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” During the early morning hours that followed Jesus’ betrayal […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 36

The Betrayed Christ  Scripture Reading: John 18:1-27 Meditation For Jesus, the Garden of Gethsemane is a familiar place. He and his disciples have gathered there many times. It’s quiet, still, and intimate. It’s also his favorite place: a place of peace and prayer, love and laughter, comfort and companionship. The Garden is one of those intimate places to which only the closest of friends are invited. But on this night, a familiar face leads an invasion of strangers into the secret place of Jesus’ Gethsemane. “Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 35

The Pleading Christ Scripture Reading: Mark 14:12-42  Meditation  It’s a night of sacrifice and, for Jesus, silence from the Father. As the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins, the Passover lambs are chosen, led out, and killed. In an upper room, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, gathers with his disciples. In the bread and the wine, he breaks his body and pours out his blood—a new covenant of forgiveness for many. On this night, Jesus isn’t filled with sorrow. He’s flooded with it. Distress has deluged his soul. Fear has engulfed his future. And a torrent of trouble has swept away his […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Reception

Sabbath Day of Reception “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) We live most of our lives with our hands closed. They wrap, grip, grasp, hold, clasp, clutch. Even in prayer, they fold. Fingers interlock and two hands become one closed fist. On this Sabbath, God wants to open our hands to receive whatever he might want to give.  Reflection What do your hands […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 34

The Interceding Christ Scripture Reading: John 17:1-26  Meditation Prayer lifts hands and head toward heaven. And because the eyes are looking up, they can’t look around at the many worries that the world brings. They can’t look down in depression. They don’t close in despair. When one prays up, the head lifts, the heart opens and the eyes only see the open arms of the Father. In this moment, Jesus needs to see the Father. It’s the final hours of his life. As his eyes look ahead, he sees betrayal and denial. He spies mock trials, but real condemnation. He […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 33

The Serving Christ Scripture Reading: John 13:1-38   Meditation Century after century, year after year, and month after month, the pages of the redemptive calendar have been turning. But now the long awaited day is almost here. The clock of Jesus’ crucifixion is about to strike fulfillment. The bell of his death is about to toll. And the trumpet of his resurrection is about to blow. His time has come. The Father’s eternal plans have an earthly timetable — Friday! On that day, the one who had jumped into time will be nailed to a cross. He’ll die. But on the […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 32

The Triumphant Christ Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:1-11  Meditation No two issues are more volatile than politics and religion. On the day Jesus rides into Jerusalem, the hammer of nationalism hits the flint of messianic expectation and sparks begin to fly. Ever since the glory days of King David and the golden days of King Solomon, the people of Israel have longed for the Messianic King, the Son of David. They have outlived the Exile. They have outlasted the rule and reign of the Persians. They have outstayed the Hellenization of Alexander the Great. And they have survived the desecration of […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 31

The Anointed Christ  Scripture Reading: Mark 14:1-11 Meditation The foul odor of foul play is in the air and the stench is coming from the chief priests and teachers of the law. They’re saturated with anger. They reek of hypocrisy, deceit, and decaying spirituality. They’re salivating at the thought of Jesus’ death. All they’re waiting for is the right moment, a moment without incident or riots. After all, no one wants to start a big stink during Passover. “Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 30

The Commanding Christ  Scripture Reading: John 15:1-27 Meditation As Jesus moves closer to his death, he moves closer to his disciples. The final moments that he shares with them are sacred treasures. He wants to bury these treasures deep into their hearts, safe from thieves, secure from robbers, and protected from the approaching pirate of death. He sees their troubled hearts and promises them his presence, a place in heaven, and a peace unlike the world could ever give. Nothing is held back. He senses their grief and so he weeps with them. He lays bare his heart. Pours out […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 29

The Promising Christ Scripture Reading: John 13:31–14:31  Meditation On the eve of his betrayal, Jesus knew that everything was about to change. In a matter of hours, one disciple—Judas—would betray him. Another—Peter—would deny him. All the others would scatter, flee, and disown him. Soon, the only words he would hear would be those of accusing officials, denouncing religious leaders, scoffing crowds, mocking soldiers, and insulting robbers. His family wouldn’t speak. His disciples would hold their tongues. Even his Father would remain silent. And so on the last evening that he is with his disciples—the ones that he loved and who […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Sabbath of Reflection

Sabbath Day of Reflection  “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 63:6-7) A Sabbath day of reflection entails both a look into the mirror of our humanity and a stare into the majesty of his divinity. One shows us ourselves. The other shows us Christ The mirror reflects sin. His majesty reflects grace. The mirror shows us what we have done. Majesty shows what he is about to do. Reflection As you lay on your bed through […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 28

The Grieving Christ Scripture Reading: John 11:1-44   Meditation Two sisters, their brother, and Jesus. They aren’t just friends; they’re family. They might not be connected by genetics or related by blood but they are bound together by love. And so when the brother, Lazarus, gets sick, the sisters send word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Underneath the news, unspoken but understood, is an urgent plea, “Come quickly!” But Jesus deliberately delays. “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 27

The Accepting Christ Scripture Reading: John 4:1-42  Meditation She’s a Samaritan; he’s a Jew. Woman. Man. Her life is a mess and he is the Messiah. Culturally she’s not allowed to mix with him, socially she’s not allowed to be seen with him, and spiritually she’s not allowed to talk to him. She’s prohibited from being anywhere near him. It is he, therefore, not she, who arranges a meeting. As he leaves Judea, he leaves with a sense of divine necessity. He must go through Samaria, he must go to the town of Sychar to sit at Jacob’s well, and […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 26

The Loving Christ Scripture Reading: John 3:1-21  Meditation Nicodemus, is a bright man and yet he’s spiritually in the dark. He’s a man of the Pharisees and a member of the Jewish ruling council, Israel’s teacher and yet he’s looking for the truth. The number of his years makes him cautious but the number of Jesus’ miracles makes him curious. “He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ In reply Jesus […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 25

The Passionate Christ Scripture Reading: John 2:1-25  Meditation A wedding is a gala affair: festive, full of joy, short on worries, and long on well wishes. It’s a community event that could last up to a week. In a close-knit village like Cana, everyone is invited. It’s a time to celebrate and Jesus is right in the center of it all, dancing, laughing, and carrying on. This isn’t a time to deliver a sermon; it’s a time to dance with the bride. He discerns the moment and the moment Jesus discerns is “joy”. And so he dances. He dances into […]

Forty Day Journey to the Cross: Day 24

The Sacrificial Christ Scripture Reading: John 1:19-51  Meditation Between a promise and its fulfillment is a waiting room. John the Baptist, his disciples, and an entire generation of Jews have been sitting in that room and now the door is about to be opened. They have read the Scriptures, they understand the characteristics of the Christ, they know the marks of the Messiah, but they don’t have any candidates. Many had thought John the Baptist was the Christ but he denied the title. “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him […]