Daily Devotion for March 17, 2014
Saint Patrick's Day
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.
“St. Patrick's Breastplate”
I rise today with the power of God to pilot me,
God's strength to sustain me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look ahead for me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to protect me,
God's way before me,
God's shield to defend me,
God's host to deliver me,
from snares of devils,
from evil temptations,
from nature's failings,
from all who wish to harm me,
far or near,
alone and in a crowd.
[God's shield defend me from evil temptations.]
Prayer to Resist Carnal Temptation (by Jane Austen)
O ever watchful Shepherd, lead, guide, and tend me this day; without Your restraining rod I err and stray. Hedge up my path lest I wander into unwholesome pleasure, and drink its poisonous streams; direct my feet that I be not entangled in Satan's secret snares, nor fall into his hidden traps. Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself.
My adversaries are part and parcel of my own nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact. In my rising up and sitting down they cause me pain; they entice with constant baits; my enemy is within the citadel. Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day.
A Prayer for Lent
Father, through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of Your Son's death and resurrection, and teach us to reflect it in our lives. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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 110:1-4 (NKJV)
A Psalm of David
The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Matthew 22:41-45 (NASB)
The Son of David
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’?
If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
Notes on the Scripture
Remember, the Pharisees are now feeling (temporarily) less hostile to Jesus due to the verbal drubbing he gave their enemies, the Sadducees, in verses 23-33. In fact, Jesus had admirers among the religious leaders of Jerusalem. Many among them were sincere lovers of God:
The Pharisees' official attitude toward Jesus was still antagonistic, but some were generally sympathetic towards Him. At any rate, His encounter with the Sadducees temporarily quieted their institutional wrath towards Him. And they now fear His tongue, if not His divinity.
The party line for the Pharisees was a belief in the prophets, that a messiah would come to Israel. He would be like David and one of his bloodline, anointed by God, a great warrior, to rally the Hebrews under the banner of God's appointed king and, with the power of Yahweh Himself, drive out the Romans (and all other heathen Gentiles) from Palestine. He would establish the true Israel by bloody war.
“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “messiah”; both of them mean “the anointed one”. So, in the absence of Jesus, the Pharisees expectation was not unreasonable. They failed to account for much of the prophecy, however, especially about the next messiah being peaceful and ruling over the world. But David had been anointed by God, as Israel's king, so they equated the “anointed one” with a new David.
But Jesus pokes an unmendable hole in yet another of their beliefs, by quoting David's own prophecy in Psalm 110. This is a psalm of David; thus it is David himself calling the Messiah “my Lord”. David teaches that the Messiah will be his Lord; and David, the great king, called nobody “Lord” except God.
It has begun to dawn on the Pharisees, at this point, that they might be wrong about Jesus. But as a group, they will choose pride over honesty, position over holiness. They would rather hold onto their power than change their theology. They will, therefore, kill the very Messiah they await, the Son of God.
Note: The reference in Psalm 110 to Melchizedek — well, who is in the world is Melchizedek? The name sounds obscure and difficult, even weird. Maybe we can take up the Epistle to the Hebrews after Matthew, where his importance is explained. He is actually rather fun to learn about.
In a nutshell, Hebrew priests were required to be descendants of Aaron, by God's own command (Leviticus 6:12-15), with one exception: a rather mysterious man named Melchizedek. Hebrews shows that Jesus Christ is our high priest, and the “order of Melchizedek” shows how Jesus qualifies to be a priest under the law of Moses, even though he was not a Levite, i.e. a descendant of Aaron.