Daily Devotion for January 20, 2014
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.
Have I Done Any Good? An inspiring message from Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert, as they perform an updated version of an old hymn.
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Text and music: Will L. Thompson, 1887.
Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today
Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, made out of your love for us, that all who follow you might find salvation and eternal life.
Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,
Prayer for the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 9:7-8 (ESV)
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Matthew 16:13-17 (ESV)
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Notes on the Scripture
Christ once again withdraws from the crowds to be alone with his disciples, knowing that, after the visit from the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jerusalem, the die had been cast that would put his arrest and execution into motion. Caesarea Philippi was a town at the extreme north edge of Galilee; the map shows it to be in “Gaulanitis” but it had, in fact, been annexed into the Herodian kingdom (although its tetrarch at this time was yet another, different, Herod — “Herod Philip II”). The ruins today lie in the Golan Heights; so they had withdrawn up into the mountains.
Peter (by Giotto)
Jesus asks them who the “Son of Man” is. This expression seems to give a lot of people a lot more trouble than it warrants. It was an idiom in both Hebrew and Aramaic, used as a synonym for “man” when the speaker meant to emphasize a person's humanity. When Jesus uses it, He is fixing firmly in mind that He is a human being and shares with us, fully, what we might call “the human condition”.
Christians sometimes become so enthusiastic about the divinity of Christ, that they lose part of the message. Jesus corrects this by calling himself the Son of Man, again and again, to fix in our minds that He was fully human. In fact, He uses it so often, and so pointedly, that it is treated (in the context of Christianity) as a proper noun, a name of Christ. And actually, the same applies to the term “Son of God”, for the expression is used in the Old Testament in a variety of circumstances — most broadly, perhaps, in Exodus 4:22-23, “Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my first-born son, and I say to you, 'Let my son go that he may serve me'” — and, when Gabriel tells Mary that her son will be the Son of God, there is no reason for her to think He would necessarily be divine.
It was only in retrospect that the term became a proper noun, a name of Christ, and even so we can differentiate it from the common usage only by context. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ himself says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) It is the translators, not Matthew, who capitalize the “S”: the original Greek for today's passage reads “son of man” and “son of God”.
But Peter clearly intends the term to indicate the divinity of Jesus. He is saying that Jesus is, in fact, God's only begotten Son; for yet again, God the Father is our Father as well as Christ's; but He is Christ's Father in a second sense specific to Christ, as well as in the sense that He is the Father of all men, both us and Christ. We say that God the Father created all people, but begat Jesus, to differentiate.
Thus Christ, in the last sentence, speaks of “my Father”, which He does whenever He wants to emphasize the special relationship between himself and God the Father, the relationship of God to God.