Best Surprise Ever 4: Surprising Forgiveness


This is Part Four in a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Here is Part OnePart Two and Part Three if you need to catch up.    

Verse to Remember: Lord, you are forgiving and good. You are full of love for all who call out to you. – Psalm 86:5 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus is loving and forgives me when I blow it.

Have you ever had a friend turn their back on you when you needed them most?  Maybe you were having a tough day at school, and they didn’t have time to talk to you, or maybe you needed help with a math problem, and they refused.  Maybe someone was picking on you, and instead of standing up for you, they joined in and made fun of you too. If that’s ever happened to you, then you know a little bit about how Jesus felt the night he was arrested.

When the soldiers came after Jesus, all of his friends ran away, even Peter, one of his best friends in the world.  Peter had promised that he would never leave Jesus. He said he would stand by his side even if everyone else deserted him.

But Peter was wrong.  He didn’t just run away. Peter lied and told people he didn’t even know Jesus.  Can you imagine that? What if you got in trouble at school and your best friend told the teacher he wasn’t your friend just to keep himself out of trouble?

Would you want to hang out with a person like that?  Probably not. But Jesus did. Jesus loved Peter no matter what, and he knew exactly what Peter was going to do.  Jesus told Peter, “I tell you, Peter, you will say three times that you don’t know me. And you will do it before the rooster crows today” (Luke 22:34NIrV).

A few verses earlier, however, Jesus told Peter he had already prayed for him and that his story wasn’t over.  Jesus said, “When you have turned back, help your brothers to be strong” (Luke 22:32 NIrV).

Jesus didn’t just predict Peter’s failure.  He also predicted Peter’s forgiveness. He told Peter that after he blew it, he would come back to God, and Jesus would give him an important job.

Think about that. It would be tough to pray for a friend and encourage them knowing they were going to turn their back on you.  It would be even tougher to forgive them. But Jesus did it anyway. He did it for Peter, and he did it for us.

Jesus loves us no matter what we do.  He loves us just as much on the days we make mistakes as he does on the days we get things right.  His forgiveness sets us free to start over again and again and again.

Jesus, you know my sin.  You know everything wrong I’ve ever done and ever will do.  Thank you for loving me anyway and dying for that sin so I can be forgiven and free.  Amen.

Talk About It 

  1. What do you think Jesus was thinking when Peter said he would never leave him?
  2. Have you ever had a friend disappoint you?  Did you forgive them or did it mess up your friendship?
  3. Have you ever disappointed a friend?  How did they treat you?
  4. How does it make feel knowing that Jesus will forgive you and help you to start over no matter what?

Don’t miss the next devotion in the Best Surprise Ever series.  Subscribe here.

Best Surprise Ever 3: Surprising Power


This is Part Three of a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Click here to subscribe to the series.  You can catch up with Part One and Part Two here.

Verse to Remember: So God lifted him up to the highest place.  God gave him the name that is above every name. – Phil 2:9 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus is all-powerful and always in control.  

What if you had a secret identity that no one else knew about?  Like maybe you were a ninja or a superhero or secret agent, but you just went to school and hung out with regular kids and nobody knew the truth.

Then imagine if a kid started picking on you or even started a fight.  Boy, would they be in for a big surprise!  They would have no idea who they were messing with until it was too late.  

The same thing happened to the group of Roman soldiers sent to arrest Jesus.  They had no idea who they were messing with.  They thought they were just going out to arrest some teacher their bosses didn’t like, but when they arrived in the garden, they found someone very different.  

Jesus knew the soldiers were coming. It was all part of God’s plan to save the world. When Jesus saw them approaching the garden, he didn’t run or hide.  He went out to meet them.  

Here’s what the Bible says happened next:

“‘Who are you looking for?’ he asked.

‘Jesus the Nazarene,’ they replied.

‘I am he,’ Jesus said . . . As Jesus said ‘I am he,’ they all drew back and fell to the

ground” (John 18:4-5, NLT).

Why did a group of big, tough soldiers fall to the ground?  Because of Jesus’ power.  Jesus spoke with such strength and authority, these battle-hardened warriors collapsed like a bunch of wet noodles.  They knew they were in the presence of someone awesome.

Yet, Jesus let them arrest him anyway.  At any moment he could break free or call down an army of angels to take these guys down, but he didn’t.  He chose to follow God’s plan to save the world.

Jesus’ friends, however, got scared and ran away.  They forgot that Jesus is all-powerful and that he is still in control even when bad things happen.

Sometimes bad things happen to you and me too.  Sometimes we may hear about scary things going on in the world.  But that’s when we need to remember that Jesus is bigger and stronger than any bad thing.  He made the universe.  He is the King over everything, and he loves us and will help us no matter we face.


Jesus, you are all-powerful.  There is no one bigger or stronger than you.  Help me to remember you are in control even when scary things happen that I don’t understand.  Amen.

Talk About It

  1. How do you think the soldiers felt when they first met Jesus?
  2. What are some thing that scare you right now?
  3. How can you remind yourself of Jesus’ power when you’re worried or afraid?


Best Surprise Ever 2: Surprising Courage

SurprisingCourage.pngVerse to Remember: No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! – John 10:18 (CEV)

Big Idea: Jesus is courageous and can help me to be courageous too.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?  Maybe you stood up to a bully or stayed in your bed even though you were scared of the dark.  It could be the time you told the truth even though you knew you would get in trouble.  Or the day you chose to do the right thing when everyone around you was doing what was wrong.

Being courageous isn’t easy.  Sometimes it means doing hard things or scary things even when we don’t want to.

Jesus had to decide once if He was going to be courageous.  His Father had sent Him to earth to save the world, but there was only one way to do it.  He would have to die in our place.  See, everyone on earth had done wrong things, and those wrong things kept us from being friends with God.

The only way to save us was for someone to take the punishment for the bad things we’ve done, someone who had never done anything bad himself.  Jesus was the only person qualified to do the job.  He was the only sinless human ever, and he is the Son of God.

Jesus knew if he went through with God’s plan, he would be beaten, nailed to a cross and, worst of all, be separated from his Father for the first time ever.

Jesus had a big decision to make.  He went to a garden to pray and talk to his Father about it.  He said, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want” (Matthew 26:39 NIrV).

That was a courageous prayer.  Jesus asked God three times if there was another way to save the world, and three times he told his Father that he would do whatever God wanted him to do.

There was no other way, so Jesus did the courageous thing.  He obeyed his Father and carried out his plan.  He died on the cross for you and me.  He took the punishment for every wrong thing we would ever do so that we can be forgiven and be friends with God forever.

Jesus’ courageous choice saved the world.

God, thank you for sending Jesus.  Thank you that he made the courageous choice to die for me.  Please help me to have the courage to do hard things too.  Amen.

Talk About It
1. How do you think Jesus felt when he was praying in the garden?
2. When has it been hard for you to do the right thing?
3. How can we follow Jesus’ example when we have a tough choice to make?


Don’t miss the next devotion in the Best Surprise Ever series.  Subscribe here.