[April 2, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


True Grace

By Molly Fisher

Peter is writing this letter to other believers and leaders, and he knows what he’s talking about. When Peter talks about suffering, it’s because he has first-hand knowledge of what that is like, and he witnessed the suffering of Jesus. This letter isn’t just a pep talk; he is NOT sugarcoating any of it. He knows life will be so hard that those reading the letter may die for what they believe and teach. But Peter also knows the grace of God and the glory promised in the next life. This life is not all there is, but Peter does not suggest they wait for heaven. He tells them to lead and make an impact because they know the truth.

We are all leaders in different capacities, situations, and aspects of our lives. Leaders don’t just have good ideas and then tell others what to do – those are dictators, and though they may get compliance, it’s not the same as leading. The best leaders I’ve ever known led by example – they are humble enough to work with others, listen to others, and do what they ask others to do. Good leaders show up, engage with others, are curious, ask questions, and bring others along with them. Good leaders put together good teams, model what they expect, and are collaborative. Jesus was this kind of leader. Peter became this kind of leader.

Peter was always a leader: the first out of the boat, the one to say I’ll never deny you, the one that pulled a sword out to defend Jesus. But Peter became an excellent leader when he experienced grace, forgiveness, and redemption. He became a humbler leader and, at the same time, a more formidable, unwavering leader. He became empathetic and forgiving and embodied every word he wrote or spoke. Peter’s whole story is one that we can learn from. Both the man he was before he understood grace and forgiveness to the rock on which Jesus built his church.

Peter’s letter was to a particular set of people living in a specific time and place. But Peter speaks to us all when he says things will be hard, you will suffer, and you may die sooner than you hope, but, by the grace of God (and the death of Jesus), your life can matter, you can make a difference, you can be a positive influence, and Jesus promises that it will be worth it!

Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, then says, “feed my sheep.” Peter writes to elders and leaders of the church to serve humbly and willingly to be shepherds of God’s flock. For those learning, let go of pride and be learners. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Peter also makes sure to say know your enemy. He is real and looking for someone to devour. Stay alert, stand firm, cast your anxieties on God (don’t carry them around), and encourage one another; the God of grace will restore you. Reflect on areas of your life where you lead, or need to become more of an intentional leader. What might that look like to lead well?


Join in these daily reflections on Holy Week – the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday – on Jesus and his path to the cross.


[Monday, April 3]

Read Mark 11:15-19

The week leading to Easter started with the multitudes laying down coats and palm branches and praising Jesus as he enters the city. In just five days, the fervor will look quite different. One of the first things Jesus does upon arrival in Jerusalem is throw out those buying, selling, and changing money in the temple courts, both amazing the crowds and angering the chief priests. Jesus refers to our bodies as temples of his spirit. In this context, what would Jesus throw out of me? What has become so routine that I don’t see the harm in it? Jesus called the temple a house of prayer. How can we treat our physical bodies as houses of prayer?


[Tuesday, April 4]

Read Mark 11:12-14, 20-25

Jesus curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit; they pass it again the next day, and it is completely withered. I think this is one of the harder-to-understand passages in the Bible, along with the end of this passage (paraphrased) "whatever you ask for in prayer, believe it, and you will receive it." Both of these are ideas to wrestle with in reflecting on what Jesus did on the way to the cross. What power does prayer hold in your life? How much do you believe prayer makes a difference, or is it often a case of “it can’t hurt?” Is there “fruit” in your life? Are you making the most of your relational impact?


[Wednesday, April 5]

Read Mark 14:3-9

A woman breaks a jar of costly perfume (a year’s wages) to pour over Jesus’ head, causing indignation in others for their perception of waste and what other things the money could have gone to. Jesus says she chose the better thing (much like his interaction with Mary and Martha). This woman broke the jar; she did not just sprinkle a few drops of perfume on the head of Jesus – she was ALL-IN – reckless, extravagant worship. I’m not sure I can ever recall being extravagant in my worship. I’m much more likely to be like the others, counting the cost. Which are you most like? Do worries get in the way of Jesus being worth it all?
How could you increase the depth of how you worship Jesus in your daily life?


[Thursday, April 6]

Read Mark 14:66-72

These verses bring us back to Peter: Jesus has been arrested, answering for who he is but not addressing any other charges. By declaring to be the son of God, he is condemned to death, and the crowds have turned against him. Peter denies knowing Jesus, just as Jesus said he would. Knowing how things turned out changes things for Peter (in the letter we’ve been reading) and for us. How easy is it to follow the crowd when they love Jesus or deny him? Does who you are with change your outward posture on Jesus? Or, are you becoming like Peter, confident in who Jesus is and willing to represent him in word and action?


[Friday, April 7]

Read Mark 15:33-41

Jesus has been mocked, beaten, and nailed to a cross. The end of this story is glorious, and the reason for it is so filled with grace, but this time and this event are dark, ruthless, painful, and should give us pause because it’s what we deserve, not Jesus. At the 9th hour, he cried out in agony to God, “Why have you forsaken me?” and breathed his last. Take time to reflect on what it must have been like to be there at the first “Good Friday” to witness this all firsthand. Would you have been brave enough to stay close, to see it all and to see where they took Jesus when they took him away?


[Saturday, April 8]

Read Mark 15:47-16:3

Two women, who knew where Jesus had been taken, brought spices to anoint the body just after sunrise. On the way, they wondered, “Who would roll away the stone?” These women were on their way to do what they thought was right but had not thought out all the details, like a large stone in the way and Roman guards to move past. On Easter, we celebrate the answer to their question, but today put yourself in the tension of the unknown (where we reside most of the time.) Like them, we don’t know what most tomorrows bring, but we can now prayerfully move forward to do the next right thing, into the unknown.



{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!


© 2023 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

Unsubscribe from The Journey.

to receive our future emails.


Comments are closed.