Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Guide for Prayer and Fasting to Prepare for Easter

Below is a simple plan of reading and meditation to prepare you for the Celebration of the Resurrection in the morning.

Morning: Read Exodus 12:1-13
This is the institution of the Passover meal that commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. The Jewish people observe this meal in the form of the Seder meal once a year according to the instructions in Scripture. As you read this passage notice the purpose of the lamb, its shed blood, and the importance of the unleavened bread.

Noon: Read Matthew 26:17-30
Jesus gathered his twelve closest disciples to observe the Passover meal which was part of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:17-20) Jesus identified the unleavened bread, which represented the absence of sin, with his body. He also identified himself with a cup of blessing as the blood sacrifice of the Passover lamb. As you read the Bible, find your place in the story as you recline with the disciples at the table.

Afternoon: Read Matthew 27:11-66
Read the story of Jesus death and burial. Enter the story by prayerfully listening to the sounds, feeling the pain of Jesus’ suffering, and seeing the grief of those followers of Jesus who stood at the foot of the cross. Recall God’s instructions for the Passover lamb and Jesus’ picture of himself in the Passover meal the night before his death.

Evening: Read Hebrews 9:11-28
The writer to the Hebrews, or, Jewish people, explained how Jesus’ death on the cross was the “once for all” sacrifice God required to forgive sins. The blood of the lamb in the first Passover rescued them from the Angel of Death. The blood of the animals in the Old Covenant sacrifices provided forgiveness of sins each time they were offered. The blood of Jesus on the cross did “away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (v. 26) 

As you end your day of prayer and fasting, reflect on the Story of God’s forgiveness and deliverance through Jesus, the Christ. Thank God for his endless provision through Jesus’ death and burial to ransom you from his judgment. Anticipate the joy of Easter in the morning as Jesus rose from the grave to defeat death and certify his life and death brought forgiveness and freedom to all who trust him.

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