Posted by Steve Vos

The shadow of the cross loomed over Jesus’ life and His entire three year ministry. Jesus was on a path of humility and suffering that would ultimately take Him to ‘The Place of the Skull,’ where He would give Himself up for us.

During this Lenten season, we’ll immerse ourselves in Matthew’s gospel: following Jesus, listening in to His conversations, reflecting on what we as 21st century Christians still need to learn about the cost of discipleship.

These days of Lent give us opportunities for spiritually rich, thoughtful reflection on the depths of Jesus’ love for lost people (including us). Let’s join these conversations. Let’s be good listeners to the Word. And let’s love Jesus with all of our hearts.

1. Sunday, February 14 – Matthew 3:13-17
A conversation on the banks of the Jordan River
John the Baptist and Jesus saw the situation quite differently: who should be baptizing whom? John was puzzled – what was Jesus doing in the Jordan River? But Jesus knew exactly what He needed to do.

2. Sunday, February 21 – Matthew 4:1-11
A conversation in the wilderness
The devil offered Jesus a shortcut to glory. His deceptions often work. But not with Jesus.

3. Sunday, February 28 – Matthew 8:5-13
A conversation in Capernaum
This Roman centurion didn’t appear to be a prime candidate for faith, but sometimes great faith is found in unexpected places. Jesus was astonished.

4. Sunday, March 6 – Matthew 12:38-45
Another conversation in Capernaum
The Pharisees and teachers of the law were eager to see Jesus perform a spectacular sign, but Jesus didn’t perform miracles simply to impress people. He told them about Jonah instead. These religious leaders who knew so much understood so little.

5. Sunday, March 13 – Matthew 15:21-28
A conversation in a foreign country
A Canaanite woman begged Jesus to help her daughter. She was even willing to settle for ‘crumbs.’ She made a great impression on Jesus.

6. Palm Sunday, March 20 (a.m.) – Matthew 21:12-17
A conversation in the temple courts
‘Children should be seen but not heard.’ You won’t find that old saying in the Bible. When children shouted ‘Hosanna,’ religious leaders were indignant; Jesus was praised.

7. Palm Sunday, March 20 (p.m.) – Matthew 26:31-35
A conversation on the way to the Mount of Olives
The disciples were far too sure of themselves. Peter would soon have to eat his words. Jesus would go to the cross alone.

8.   Good Friday, March 25 – Matthew 27:11-26
A conversation in the Governor’s Palace
When Jesus stood before Pilate, Pilate did virtually all the talking. Jesus was silent before His accusers. He didn’t argue. He didn’t defend Himself. His silence spoke volumes. Jesus would do His Father’s will. He would die to save us.