I can’t believe it’s already Holy Week again. My first blog post on Shepherd My Child was “Holy Week Family Devotions” this time last year. Crazy that a year has already gone by – I’ve learned so much from all of you over the past year and thank you for your support!
This year, I wanted to highlight Holy Week Family devotions prepared by my friend, Catie Lumpkin. She’s an incredible person doing mighty things for our Lord (including caring for foster children and working with The Forgotten Initiative). You should check out her family blog – it’s incredible: This High Calling Blog. Also, Make sure you read through the “Ministry & Forgotten Initiative” tab to learn more about their story.
Catie posted these devotions on her blog last year and I want to share them. They are wonderful to use with the little ones in your family to teach them about the life Jesus led the week of His death and resurrection.
Passion Week – Palm Sunday
Jesus the King
Read Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:1-11
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” The praises echoed in Jesus’ ears as He entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
Each year the people of God went to the town of Jerusalem to remember how God protected them during the Passover in Egypt. They remembered how God led them through the desert to freedom. As Jesus entered the town of Jerusalem, the crowds and his disciples shouted His name with excitement. They laid their cloaks and palm branches on the ground to prepare the way for Him. They had seen his mighty works. Many people believed He was the Messiah. In fact, the prophet Zechariah had said hundreds of years before that Israel’s king would come for their salvation. Now, as they celebrated, these men, women and children hoped Jesus would save them from Rome’s harsh control. They wanted Jesus to be their King.
Jesus had come to save and rescue His people, just like the prophet Zechariah said. But His salvation would not be what the people thought they wanted. They wanted to be comfortable, to be free from all the mean things Rome did. Jesus wanted them to be victorious, and to be free from sin forever so they could experience true life in God’s presence.
· What would it have been like to see Jesus enter Jerusalem?
· Was Jesus the kind of Messiah many had hoped for? Why or why not?
· What do you think Jesus was thinking as he entered Jerusalem?
· Thank God for sending Jesus to be our one true King.
· Praise God by singing verse 1 of “I Will Sing of My Redeemer.”
I will sing of my Redeemer and his wondrous love to me: on the cruel cross he suffered, from the curse to set me free.
Chorus: Sing, O sing of my Redeemer! With His blood He purchased me; on the cross he sealed my pardon, paid the debt and made me free.
Philip P. Bliss, 1876
Passion Week – Holy Monday
Jesus in the Temple
Read Matthew 21: 12-17
They had celebrated and honored Him as their King. He was the Messiah, the only Son of the one true God. Now, one day later, He entered His Father’s temple. But the people inside were not worshipping the Father. Instead, they used the one true God’s special house to make money and become important. They dishonored the name of God. Rather than protecting the poor and sick people God loved, they robbed them in His own house. In holy anger, Jesus rebuked and drove out all those people who had mocked the name of God through their disobedient actions. And in the same temple where they were put down, the poor, sick and helpless came to Jesus to find healing through the true life He offered. They came to Jesus to be rescued.
· What is the difference between holy anger and sinful anger?
· How would it have made you feel to see Jesus angry?
· How can you honor God by caring for the poor and sick?
· Thank God for the opportunities He gives you to serve and obey Him.
· Praise God by singing verse 1 and the chorus of “Trust and Obey”:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
John H. Sammis 1887
Passion Week – Holy Tuesday
A Sacrifice for Jesus the King
Read Matthew 26:1-16
Jesus talked with His disciples as He had several times before. Except now, the time had almost run out. He told them He would be turned over to be crucified at Passover, in only two days. While Jesus talked with His closest friends, others, who thought He was a dangerous enemy, planned His death. Jesus knew what was coming, and He knew His Father, the one true God, loved Him more deeply than we could ever dream. So days before His death, Jesus sat and ate with those no one else wanted to be with. He dined at Simon the Leper’shouse, a man who would have been the outcast of society. He watched as Mary, a woman other men wouldn’t be in the same room with, washed His feet with expensive perfume, and wiped the dirt off with her hair. And when the disciples said she wasted precious money that could have been used for better things, Jesus said she gave Him beautiful worship.
• What would it have been like to be in a room with Jesus just days before His death?
• Would you have been willing to spend time with those others didn’t want to be around? Why or Why not?
• How can you worship Jesus today as the one true King?
• Thank God that He loves you, and invites you to worship Him.
• Praise God by singing “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.”
Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad You’re in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us
You came from heaven to earth
(To show the way)
From the earth to the cross
(My debt to pay)
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift your name on high
Passion Week – Holy Wednesday
The Last Supper
Read Luke 22: 14-23
Once a year the people of God went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. It was a time to remember the ways God had provided for His people. It was a time to remember how God led them out of slavery in Egypt to freedom. This year Jesus wanted to celebrate the feast with his closet friends, his disciples. The disciples were afraid because they knew people wanted to kill Jesus.
But when the time came, Jesus and his disciples sat down at the table together. Jesus knew it was almost time for Him to die, but He also knew His Father was in control of all things, even death. Jesus told His disciples that this would be the last time He would share and eat this special meal with them until the Kingdom of God came.
First, Jesus took the bread. He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. He said, “This is my body given for you.”
Then, He took the cup of wine. He blessed it and gave it to them. He said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant of my blood.”
We still celebrate this feast today. In church we have communion. The bread and the juice remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice. Just like the people of God remembered, we remember the way God led us out of the slavery of sin to freedom in Jesus. And each time we celebrate communion, we remember that Jesus will come again to celebrate this special feast with His people.
· Do you think Jesus was afraid?
· What would it have been like to celebrate this special feast with Jesus?
· Have you found freedom in Jesus? If not, talk to your parents about it now.
· Thank God for Jesus’ sacrifice and that Jesus is returning to celebrate this feast with us again.
· Praise God by singing verses 1 and 6 of “Amazing Grace.”
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.
John Newton, 1779.
Passion Week – Maundy Thursday
Read John 18:1-11
After Jesus and His disciples finished the Passover Feast, they went to a garden to pray. Judas was one of the disciples, but he had betrayed Jesus. He told the Jewish leaders where Jesus was, in exchange for silver. But none of this surprised God. He was in control of all things.
While Jesus and His disciples were in the garden, Judas came with a group of soldiers and officers. They had torches and weapons. Jesus knew why they were there. He went to them and asked them who they were looking for. They said Jesus. Jesus answered, “I am He.” In those three words, Jesus told who He was, but he also told them that He was the only Son of God. It says that when Jesus said those words, the soldiers fell to the ground. Jesus’ words were that powerful!
Then Jesus gave himself up. But Peter, his disciple, became scared. He felt out of control. Peter pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of a servant. Jesus immediately stepped forward. In the book of Luke it says He touched the servant’s ear, and it grew back. Jesus surrendered himself because He knew the time had come. He knew that His surrender would mean we would be free to know God’s love for us.
· How do you think Jesus felt when He saw Judas and the soldiers?
· What would you have thought if you were there?
· How do you think Peter and the soldiers felt when they saw Jesus heal the servant’s ear?
· Thank God for sending us Jesus. Thank Him that Jesus gave Himself up willingly so that we could know God’s love for us.
· Praise God by singing verse 1 of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above; praise the mount!
I’m fixed upon it, mount of God’s unchanging love.
Robert Robinson, 1758
Passion Week – Good Friday
Read Matthew 27:27-50
Jesus knew what was happening. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy. He knew that our freedom from sin and death would cost His life.
After Pilate, the governor, gave Jesus over to be crucified, the soldiers took Jesus and beat Him. They made fun of Him. Only a few days earlier, the people had cheered because they wanted Jesus to be their king. Now they watched while the soldiers put a robe on Him and pushed a crown of thorns into His head. They watched Him bleed and saw His hurts. They put a sign at the top of His cross. It read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” They made fun of His power and told Him to save Himself.
Then, in the darkest hour, Jesus cried out to His Father. He had cried out to His Father many, many times before. But this time was different. He asked His Father why He had forsaken Him, why He had left Him alone. But Jesus also knew that this darkness would bring light. He knew His pain would bring freedom. He knew His death would give you life.
· Have you ever felt forsaken or alone? What was it like?
· The people made fun of Jesus. They said He couldn’t save Himself. Why didn’t Jesus save Himself?
· Jesus went through pain and loneliness so that you would never have to be alone. How does that make you feel?
· Thank Jesus for enduring the cross. Thank God that Jesus’ death gave us life.
· Praise God by singing verse 1 of “And Can It Be That I Should Gain.”
And can it be that I should gain and interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Charles Wesley, 1738
Passion Week – Saturday
The Death and Burial
Read Matthew 27:50-66
As Jesus Christ struggled to breathe in pain, darkness fell. When He was nailed to the cross, all of God’s wrath and anger that we deserved, was put completely on Jesus. There was nothing left for us. Jesus took our full punishment. As soon as Jesus’ physical body died, the Bible says the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. In God’s temple, man could not enter the Holy of Holies, which was God’s special dwelling place beyond the curtain. But now God, himself, destroyed it. God’s children were now welcomed into His presence. He longed for them. God had been planning and waiting for this moment since the first sin of Adam and Eve. He had been weaving together His plan to rescue His covenant children. And He would be victorious.
- How would you feel if you knew you could not enter the presence of God?
- How does it make you feel to know that God welcomes you into His presence?
- What are some things you can do to be open to God’s presence in your life?
- Thank God that He longs for us. Thank Him for rescuing us through His plan in Jesus.
- Praise Him by singing verses 1 and 4 of “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Reginal Heber 1826
Passion Week – Easter Sunday
Read John 20:1-18
After Jesus died, his friends took His body, wrapped it, and placed it in a tomb. Then they rolled a big stone in front of the tomb to keep His body safe.
Early on Sunday morning Mary Magdalene, Peter, and some of Jesus’ friends went back to the tomb. They went because they loved Jesus, and they were sad He was dead. But when they reached the tomb, the giant stone had been moved. Jesus was not there! Suddenly, they understood all the things Jesus had said to them. They remembered that Jesus had to die, but that He would rise again. They remembered Jesus said He would conquer death once and for all. Satan had wanted death to harm us forever. He wanted us to be afraid of it. But when God raised Jesus from the dead, death became the beautiful way His children meet Him face to face.
Mary Magdalene stood crying. When she looked in the tomb there were two angels where Jesus’ body had been. Someone called her by name. It was Jesus. Mary Magdalene fell at His feet and worshipped Him as her king. Then she ran to tell the disciples that God had made Jesus alive again! He had conquered death!
· Has someone close to you ever died? How did you feel?
· How do you think Mary felt when Jesus called her by name?
· How does it make you feel to know we no longer have to fear death because Jesus has conquered it?
· Thank God that He made Jesus alive again! Thank Him for the life we have because of Jesus.
- Praise Him by singing the “Doxology.”
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
And for the really little ones:
Additionally, if you have really young ones and the devotions above are a little too deep/too much for them to process at their young age, I have another link that a good friend of mine, Elizabeth White, passed along yesterday that works great for younger children (can be easily customized for even the littlest to enjoy “Celebrating Jesus Week”):
Hopefully, you’ve found something on this blog post that will encourage you and help you celebrate Holy Week with your young ones, no matter their ages! Hope all of you have a very blessed Holy Week, and particularly a blessed “Resurrection Sunday” (i.e. Easter Sunday next week):
“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.” – 1 Peter 2:24
AMEN! Praise Jesus for this “good news”!!!!