To read the Holy Scriptures of God in a devotional way by using the S.O.A.P. method, or with any method for that matter, is to read with the intention of being transformed. I love reading fictional thrillers. There is something about the chase, the back and forth, the getaway, and the gadgets that are so exciting! Pages turn as I excitedly race to find out what happens next. But I don’t read these books for transformation. They are a fantastic way to pass time, but they will in no way change me into the type of person that I would like to become (otherwise I would be 6’2”, have a swimmer’s build, and wear suits all the time). But the Bible is different.
Last week, New Hope and the rest of the Christian community celebrated Easter. Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus—God can and does renew all things! But Easter is so amazing because it was preceded by Good Friday. On Good Friday we pondered the suffering and death of Jesus. He was betrayed, beaten, and tortured. It’s painful to read, to think about, and to process, but the resurrection would not have been possible without the cross.
In today’s reading, Peter invites us to the foot of the cross. I would encourage you to read slowly. As you do, imagine what it would be like to actually be at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion. The man you have followed for three years and to whom you have dedicated your entire life, the Son of God, is hanging above you, voluntarily, for the sake of the world. For you.
This same Jesus who invites us to accept hardship and suffering in a way that transforms it into life for ourselves and others, does so himself by example.
28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:28 (NLT)
As Apprentices of Jesus, we are called to become like our Master. How is God calling you to identify with the Suffering Servant of God today?
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.1 Peter 2:21–25 (NLT)
22 He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.
We are praying for you!