BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ZECHARIAH 9:9-10 FIRST READING
(“…he shall proclaim peace to the nations.”)
- Who is to rejoice heartily and shout for joy? Zechariah 9:9
- Who is to come to you, and what is he? Zechariah 9:9
- How is he to come, and on what is he riding? Zechariah 9:9
- Whom did Jesus send, with what instructions, and what was this to fulfill? Matthew 21:1-5
- What shall he banish from Ephraim and Jerusalem? Zechariah 9:10
- What will happen to the warrior’s bow? Zechariah 9:10
- How does the Lord, their God, not save Judah? Hosea 1:7
- What does he proclaim to the nations? Zechariah 9:10
- Where shall be his dominion? Zechariah 9:10
- In whom do we find peace? John 16:31-33
Personal – What message do you proclaim to your family, friends, or work acquaintances, and how do you proclaim it? How can you develop a peaceful atmosphere in your home?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:9, 11-13 SECOND READING
(“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”)
- In what are we not, in what are we, and who dwells in us? Romans 8:9
- What have those who belong to Christ done? Gal 5:24
- Toward what is the tendency of the flesh, but toward what is that of the Spirit? Romans 8:6
- What must we put to death? Colossians 3:5
- What are the fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23
- Who belongs to Christ? Romans 8:9
- What will happen to our mortal bodies if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, and how will he do it? Romans 8:11
- To what are we not debtors, so that we should live according to it? Romans 8:12
- What are all called who are led by the Spirit of God? Romans 8:14
Personal – In what way are you living your new life in Christ on a daily basis? How do you know personally whether you are being led by the Spirit of God or by your own flesh?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 11:25-30 GOSPEL
(“Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me.”)
- To whom was Jesus speaking, and what does he offer him? Matthew 11:25
- Fill in the following blanks: … for what you have hidden from the ________________ and the _________________, you have revealed to the merest ________________. Matthew 11:25
- Whom did the Lord choose, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
- To whom is Jesus talking, and what has been given over to Jesus by the Father? Matthew 11:26-27
- Who knows the Son and who knows the Father? Matthew 11:27
- Whom does the Father love and what has he given him? John 3:35
- To whom does Jesus say to come when we are weary and find life burdensome, and what will he do? Matthew 11:28
- What will flow from him who comes to Jesus? John 7:37-39
- What are we to cast upon Jesus, what will he do, and who will he not permit to be disturbed? Psalm 55:23
- What are we to take upon our shoulders, and what are we to do? Matthew 11:29
- What two things does he say he is, and what will our soul find? Matthew 11:29
- How does Jesus describe his yoke and his burden? Matthew 11:30
Personal – What do you do and where do you go when the problems of everyday life are too much for you? How are you being weighted down by the burdens of life? How can you take your load off your back and put Jesus’ yoke there? What is Jesus’ yoke and burden to you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
(“The Lord is faithful in all his words.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
Zechariah was a prophet to the remnant of the Jews who returned from Babylon after 70 years of captivity. The Jews, once a powerful nation as God had planned them to be, were now a pitiful and insignificant group of left overs, dwelling in their promised land only because of the courtesy of a foreign ruler. Zechariah tried to tell the people that it would not always be so. He told them that one day the Messiah would come and God’s chosen people would once again be a light to all nations.
Zechariah foretells the character of Jesus more than any other prophet except Isaiah. He shows us how Christ entered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. This triumphant entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem is predicted here 500 years before it happened (Matt. 21:1-11). He has described this king as a servant king rather than a warrior king. He goes on to describe a peace that will come over the land and nations shall live together in harmony. Zechariah talks now about a king who will rule sea to sea and from the rivers to the ends of the earth. This sounds like the second coming of Christ when all the nations of the earth will be subjected to Jesus Christ.
We are told in Scripture that every knee will bow to Christ and every tongue confess him as Lord (Phil. 2:9,10). We need to reflect on this prophecy that was fulfilled in this reading and be expectant that the prophecy of the Lord’s second coming will also be realized. We are all to be ready for his return; for, remember, he IS coming.
ROMANS 8:9, 11-13
Paul defines very clearly in this passage what being a Christian is. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were arrested and charged with being a Christian? Would the authorities have enough evidence to convict you? Have you been challenged to witness to your faith? Paul tells us that a Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him. Many people think that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, a magical wondrous feeling takes place. We can know that the Holy Spirit resides in us simply because Jesus promised he would (John 14:16).
We are a Christian if we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and we give him permission to be in control of our lives. A Christian who receives the Holy Spirit is a temple of the Living God (1 Cor. 3:16). When the Holy Spirit is active within us, we will experience that his power is greater than any power in this world (1 John 4:4). We will receive power (Acts 1:8) and through it we will resist the devil and he will be forced to flee (James 4:7). The Holy Spirit helps us to act as Jesus directs us to act (Rom. 8:5). Here we are told that those who follow the Holy Spirit find themselves doing things that please the Lord.
Jesus has broken the power that Satan has had on our life. We do not have to be in bondage anymore, and we do not have to blame our parents or our background as a child for the hurt that we are experiencing now. There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1), and that means that what we were or did yesterday does not have to be what we are or do today.
Today, right now, wherever you are, take a few minutes and ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins. Tell him that you are tired of living a life of pain and emptiness. Then ask him to heal the hurts that have come from specific people in your life. You will be empowered to serve God and do his will (Acts 1:8) and you will become part of God’s plan to build up his church (Eph. 4:12-13), which is made up of people like you and me.
“Come to me and I will give you rest.” You might ask, “rest from what?” We all are working beneath a yoke as we go through life. Some people are unevenly yoked in marriage and the result is bitterness and resentment, followed many times by divorce. Jesus calls us to wear his yoke and not to worry because he will make sure it fits perfectly. A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits onto one or more oxen. When an ox wears a yoke, it means that the animal is going to have a long day of hard work.
Jesus mentions a “heavy yoke” and that could mean the burden of sin, the burden of the law, or the excessive demands of the Pharisaic leaders. It could mean government oppression, like the pressure being put upon those who protest abortion. It could also be just weariness in the search for God.
Jesus frees people from all these heavy burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is peace with God, not the end of the effort of living out our life. Jesus mentions two kinds of people in his prayer. He mentions the wise, who are smug and secure in the safety behind following all of the laws and being in the right places and with the right people. He also calls those who are humble, trusting and open to change, to be “children” or child-like in their faith. We are called to be open, trusting and honest, like a child, when we are praying to God. He wants us to be happy and well.
Remember – His plan for us is clearly stated in scripture, “My purpose is to give you life in all of its fullness” (John 10:10). His yoke fits us perfectly. Let us put it on and joyfully join him in the vineyard of life.
The first reading tells us that the gift of prophecy was used for the coming of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The second reading tells us what a Christian is and how to live a Christian life. The Gospel shows us how to lighten the burdens of life by inviting Jesus to carry our burdens and how we can let go of them.
This week, show your Christianity by helping to lighten someone else’s burden. Take time to be available and present to your family. Respond gently and with love to a need of someone in your life. It can be very simple, such as, taking to church a family member, friend or someone you know that is alone. Maybe you can visit or write to someone in prison. Jesus often lightens someone else’s burdens through one of us. He has your yoke and it will fit you perfectly. His love for others can be seen through your love.