Daily Devotion for June 2, 2012
St. John the Evangelist by Lorenzo Costa, c. 1505
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A wonderful old gospel slave song recreated by Shirley Caesar: Satan, We're Gonna' Tear Your Kingdom Down. The slow background beat and untrained singing style give us a sense of people doing hard physical labor.
Prayer for the Morning
May all I do today begin with you, O Lord. Plant dreams and hopes within my soul and revive my tired spirit: be with me today. Be at my side and walk with me; be my support, that your hand may be seen in every action I take, that your goodness may be in every word I speak, and that your spirit may inhabit my every thought. Make my thoughts, my work, and my very life blessings for your kingdom. In Christ's name I pray,
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace.
~ Charles Spurgeon
1 John 1:1-4
The Word of Life
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us — that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Notes on the Scripture
Today's Scripture is the same as yesterday's, because yesterday's devotional was devoted to the circumstances surrounding how the epistle was written and its overall meaning and purpose.
Although the first paragraph is puntuated as a very long sentence, it is stylistically different from the long sentences in 1 Peter. The semicolons separate functional sentences. John uses semicolons and dashes, instead of periods, to group together fairly simple sentences that are connected in a single argument or teaching.
Notice that the first words reflect the first words in John's gospel. Christ was with God, and was God, at the beginning of time. (See John 1:1.) But John hammers home the most critical point of his epistle. He had seen Jesus with his own eyes, heard Him with his own ears, touched Him with his own fingers. Jesus was real, and moreover, He was a human being. John wants his audience and all of prosperity to know that he was an eyewitness to the events in Christ's life and wants to give testimony.
Jesus was practically a non-entity to those in power when He was crucified, just another religious nut in a small backwater of the Roman Empire. The Jewish authorities took little notice of him and the secular authorities, none at all. So John wants to make sure that there is an historical verification, a certified eyewitness account, of Christ's life and deeds.
He then gives the basic authority and purpose for evangelism. Those who saw the monumental miracle occur and who, by their direct friendship with Christ, continued to live in fellowship with Him after his ascension, want to share their joy with others.
This reminds us of our ties to Christ by a direct line to Christ himself, through those who knew him. "Apostolic succession" has a specific meaning in some denominations. But it has a more general meaning applicable to all Christians. Our knowledge of Christ is traceable through an unbroken line of believers to those who knew Him, and thus to Christ himself.
And finally, John reminds us that our joy is not complete unless we share our knowledge of Christ with others. All Christians have a duty of evangelism, because we love our neighbors. And what could be more loving, than to share with them the most wonderful gift of all, the gift of righteousness before God and a life (and death) in God's grace through the remission of our sins?