Daily Devotion for November 14, 2013
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.
Kim Walker performs her Christian rock hit I Need You More live. It goes on about twice too long and I stop listening at about 3:30 or 4:00, but it’s a great worship song.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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 you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for 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.
Joy of friendships be yours
Wealth of memories be yours
Fruit of endevor be yours
Hope of heaven be yours
Peace of God be yours.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 96:11-13 (NIV)
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
They will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.
Matthew 12:38-41 (ESV)
The Sign of Jonah
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
Notes on the Scripture
The analogy of Jonah hardly needs explanation. Christ knows his future, and he compares the three days of his death to Jonah’s sojourn in the whale’s belly. Christ will spend it in hellWhat Christ did in the days between his death and resurrection is actually not crystal clear in the Bible. There is nothing in the Gospels about it other than the remarks here, and most of the dogma on the subject (such as the Apostles Creed) is fabricated (not the inspired Word of God) based on a single statement in a letter from Peter (1 Peter 3:18-20).
, to bring the word to those who have died previously, while Jonah was confined in a dark, windowless prison. Both had been thought dead and gone, and both returned to bring light to mankind. (Nineveh was the city to which God told Jonah to go and prophesy; you might want to skim Jonah, as it is a short and easy read.)
Matthew introduces us here to a very important concept in understanding Christ's ministry: the way in which Christ used miracles. He did not perform miracles to amaze the faithless and convert them to become followers. Many phony holy men, then and throughout the ages, would use magic tricks or “miracles” to make people believe they had supernatural powers. They would thus draw a crowd of disciples to use as a basis of power and wealth.
But Christ's miracles were always performed for those who already had faith in him. E.g., “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:22) Often, they were in fulfillment of a prophesy, a sign to those who believed in him that he was, indeed, the Messiah ordained in the writings that would become the Old Testament. E.g., “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.’” (Matthew 8:17)
Nonbelieving bystanders would sometimes see what happened, but this is the critical distinction: Jesus did not perform them for the public or those who did not believe in him. In fact, he tried to keep tales of miracles among the public to a minimum. E.g., “And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone.’” (Matthew 8:4)
But neither did he shrink from healing someone just because there was a crowd, even one including scribes and Pharisees — who not only did not believe, but also actively opposed him. He fully intended to confront the hypocrites, those whose “hearts were hardened” against the true living God. E.g. Matthew 9:1-6. But he wanted to control the timing of his eventual arrest and execution; he was not to die until the time ordained, two years in the future. So he controlled the degree to which word of his miracles spread among the public; most scholars believe that he did so, because he did not want to become too famous too fast.
Thus, when those who had no faith or even had already begun to seek his arrest demanded a sign, he refused. The only sign he would give them would be his resurrection, when they eventually crucified him; for his resurrection was a miracle God intended to be broadcast to the entire world.
There is a great theological truth found in this concept: Those who demand miracles and those who demand logic — the superstitious and the scientific — will never know God. Paul spells this out for us wonderfully in 1 Corinthians 1:20-31