The Jesus Tree–Forty-Two

Today’s readings focused on Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. We read the accounts in three Gospels: Matthew 26:30-56; Mark 14:32-52; and John 18:1-12. This was one of the few occasions where we actually could have read the story in all four Gospels, because Luke 22:39-46 also recorded this event. In retrospect, I really wish I had also read the Luke passage out loud, as well, because it has a detail that none of the other Gospels include–that an angel comes to minister to Jesus in His agony in the garden. The children and I really like comparing the differences that are recorded in the Gospels, and this would have been a great one to discuss!

The Jesus Tree–Day Forty-One

I can’t believe we only have one week of readings and symbols left! When we started this project, it seemed like it would take forever to get to Easter, but here we are in Holy Week already…time goes by too fast!

Today’s readings focused on Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper. Again we read from three Gospels: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; and Luke 22:14-20. The words in these readings were very familiar, as we hear them in church every Sunday that the Sacrament is celebrated. The Luke reading  was probably the most different of the three, even mentioning a second cup in the Passover meal, but the Words of Institution were still familiar!

The Jesus Tree–Day Forty

Today’s reading was found in only one Gospel–John 13:1-20. This is one part of the events that occurred on the day we now know as Maundy Thursday, the day the Feast of the Passover was celebrated, and when Jesus observed the Last Supper with His disciples. This reading focused specifically on when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Interestingly, even though this is a well-known story, this is the only other reading for which there was no corresponding story in any of our children’s Bibles. Maybe that’s because this is just one part of a larger story, or maybe because it’s only found in one Gospel. Still, I found it a little strange that we couldn’t read this one in any of the many children’s Bibles we have!

This is another story that I particularly like because, once again, Peter’s brashness and impulsivity is demonstrated. I can really relate to him, and never more than when he’s making a total and complete fool of himself!

The Jesus Tree–Day Thirty-Nine

Today’s reading was about Judas taking thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, and Luke 22:1-6. You really have to look hard to the symbol to get what it is…looking inside a money bag at the silver coins, (and there really are 30 tiny felt circles!). Personally, I think there must have been a better way to design this one, but I didn’t have the energy to create something better myself.

It’s interesting to note that this story doesn’t include the actual betrayal of Jesus in the garden, or the events beforehand at the Last Supper…it’s only about Judas cutting a deal with the Chief Priests, and coming up with a plan to hand Jesus over to them. It’s also interesting that Matthew is the only Gospel that really focuses on Judas doing so in order to get something in return…the other two Gospels focus more on the fact that because he came up with a plan, the Chief Priests were so happy that they wanted to give him something. It does make you wonder…did he do it for the money, or was the money just a nice bonus? Then again, we know from John 12:4-8 that Judas was a thief, and obsessed with money, (not to mention the “treasurer” for the disciples), so it’s certainly not hard to believe that money was the motivating factor in his betrayal!

The Jesus Tree–Day Thirty-Eight

We got an early start on Holy Week today, with readings about Jesus’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Since there are so many events to cover in the span of Holy Week, (at least three for Maundy Thursday alone!), it makes sense that we would have to start reading about them before the Holy Week actually starts, to fit everything in. The children were a little disappointed that the palm branch symbol was placed today instead of Sunday!

The readings came from three Gospels: Matthew 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-11; and Luke 19:29-44. The Matthew reading also included the second account of Jesus clearing the Temple, and the Luke reading also told of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Only the Mark reading focused only on Jesus entering Jerusalem.

The Jesus Tree–Day Thirty-Seven

Today’s reading was from Matthew 20:20-28 and Mark 10:35-45–the mother of James and John asking that they be seated at the right and left hand of Jesus in His kingdom. Actually, the request was only made by their mother in the Matthew passage–in the Mark passage, the brothers asked Jesus themselves. Either way, the answer Jesus gave them was the same–while they may be required to suffer in a similar fashion to Him, it isn’t up to Him who receives those positions. I’ve always found it interesting that this story wasn’t recorded by John himself in his Gospel!

The symbol for today, in case it isn’t clear, is a throne, like James and John might have envisioned sitting on either side of. This one was a little hard to put together, because it’s so dimensional, but it does look pretty cool!

The Jesus Tree–Day Thirty-Six

Today’s reading was about the rich young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to go to heaven. This passage is found in three Gospels: Matthew 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-27; and Luke 18:18-27. I think that this story is particularly interesting because the rich young man claims to have kept all of the commandments, and yet is unable to walk away from his possessions. I wonder if the man was answering in the “letter of the law” way, saying he hadn’t actually murdered, so he kept that commandment, for example, or if he really believed himself to be capable of keeping the commandments on his own. If the latter is true, he had more problems than not being able to leave his things behind!

The symbol, for those who might be wondering, is the “gate to heaven.” I don’t think this one is really obvious on its own…it looks very regal, but I’m not sure my first guess would have been heaven!