Daily Devotion for May 1, 2014
Labor Day - Philippines
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.
In the morning, when I rise,
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus,
When I am alone,
When I am alone,
When I am alone, give me Jesus.
When I come to die,
When I come to die,
When I come to die, give me Jesus.
Music and Lyrics by Fernando Ortega
For Joy Among the Children of God
Heavenly Father, you take no pleasure in wickedness and evil has no place in your kingdom; the boastful will not stand in your sight. You hate all the workers of evil. You destroy those who lie and defraud; you abhor the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
Bless me that I will not be among them, for I would come into your house in the multitude of your mercy. In fear of you and in the hope of mercy, I worship you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness. Make Your way straight before my face. Let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them shout for joy, because you defend them; those who love your name, grant them mercy and joy.
And evermore let your word spread throughout the world, and make me your servant in this task. In Christ's name, I pray,
[The boastful will not stand in the sight of God.]
Prayer for Unknown Needs
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,
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.
Psalm 22:14-18 (NKJV)
I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
Matthew 27:32-44 (ESV)
As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.
Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
Notes on the Scripture
1) Simon was a man from North Africa, almost surely having spent a huge sum to attend a Passover in Jerusalem once in his life. He was probably not at all pleased to be grabbed by a Roman soldier and forced to carry a heavy crossbeam a long distance uphill. But his reward was his own crucifixion in miniature, for he almost surely found salvation in the labor. Mark mentions Simon’s sons by name (Mark 15:21), and it is hard to conceive of Mark knowing their names unless they were followers of Christ.
2) No explanation is given for Christ refusing the anesthetic drink, given by rich Jewish women to ease the agony of crucified Jews. Two theories are popular. First, that He felt obligated to suffer the full pain of the ordeal ahead, resisting all temptation to compromise. Second, he had made a pledge to his apostles at the last supper, that he would “not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)
3) The passers-by who mock him unwittingly play a part in realizing prophecy, for they paraphrase Psalm 22:8. The eerie way in which the crucifixion parallels Psalm 22, written 1,000 years earlier, destroys any doubt that God's plan is timeless and has been unfolding in a single continuous diagesisDiagesis is the overall plot or “arc” of a narrative work that holds the entirety into one cohesive entity. since He first spoke to Abram in Genesis 12. (More on Psalm 22 tomorrow.)
Everything becomes extreme in these few hours; the mocking crowd, a mix from every stratum of Jewish society from beggar to chief priests, become virtual devils with horns on their heads. Their deafness to God's voice has led them to fill the role of Satan in Matthew 4: tempters of Christ. They insist that Christ prove he is God by abandoning his purpose, thus mimicking Satan's taunt, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you.’ (Matthew 4:6)
Christ's ministry begins and ends with temptation to abuse his great power to the benefit of his worldly existence, and the temptation is indeed great in both instances; but his life ends in the same perfection as it began; he must suffer to fulfill God's great love for us.
4) The chief priests are lying. Christ will, in fact, “come down from the cross” by being resurrected, but they will not believe in him as they promise. Instead, they will compound their hypocrisy by murdering his disciples who point out to them that they murdered God.
5) The mocking becomes absurdly ironic when the robbersOr “robber”. Luke recounts that one of the crucified men refused to mock Jesus and was saved. Luke 23:39-43., themselves in the agony of death, join in. But like the crowd, they are blind to the supreme power of God, even hanging just next to them. The irony deepens when we remember that Jesus is dying with them precisely to save them, if they will only believe.