Daily Devotion for June 22, 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.
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever,
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, who makes us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ; Give me this day such blessings through my worship of you, that the days to come may be spent in your service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Let me become obedient in all ways.]
Sunday Prayer to Do God’s Will
Almight God, today I celebrate the resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, the supreme victory over death that belongs to you alone. I pray that I may, today and in the coming week, act in appreciation of the ultimate gift you have given to me and to all who confess the name of Christ.
As you have commanded us, let me be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work; let me speak evil of no one and avoid quarreling. Give me the strength to be gentle, to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Fill me with love and humility.
For I was once foolish, disobedient, led astray, a slave to all sorts of passions and pleasures, passing my days in malice and envy, sometimes hating others. But when the goodness and loving kindness of Christ called me to you, He saved me, not because of works done by my in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on me in rich abundance. And now, through Jesus Christ my Savior, being justified by his grace, I have become heir to the hope of eternal life.
Make my heart clean within me, I pray, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that my every thought and deed will reflect the graciousness of the salvation given to me, not by my merit but by your love; and that I may continue to learn your word, and accept even what I do not want to hear, and always act in accordance with your will. In the name of Christ I pray,
Prayer of Penitence
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in my contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all my sins, and cleansing me from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. And turn my heart to your will at every moment, I pray.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 123 (NKJV)
Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!
For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
Our soul is exceedingly filled
With the scorn of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.
John 5:3-15 (ESV)
Take Up Your Bed and Walk
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’”
They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
Notes on the Scripture
Mosaic Law (that is, the set of laws governing Jewish conduct that began with Moses) had, in Jesus' time, two components. The first was the law itself, revealed by God and set down in Scripture (Exodus through Numbers in our Old Testament). The second was an extensive set of oral interpretations of these laws, created by the Pharisees and their forerunners; these were later collected into books (called, collectively, the Midrash and the Mishnah), and it is these that cause much of the friction between Jesus and the Pharisees.
Specifically, the fourth (or in many churches, third) commandment, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”, was amplified into a long list of specific things that the Pharisees said could or could not be done between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath), with specific exceptions for specific circumstances.
Obviously (from today's reading), carrying a bed is a task that the Pharisees' oral interpretation, but not the Scripture, forbade on the Sabbath. Remember that Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) Christians can certainly follow Mosaic Law almost entirely. A good Christian can practically live as an Orthodox Jew (from the person's perspective — the Jews would not appreciate him spouting off about Christ, as they believe the Messiah has not yet come). But not quite. For example, the law that forbids eating a meal with a non-believer could easily run afoul of a Christian teaching.
It is still God's will that we respect the general meaning of the Ten Commandments and other parts of the Law of Moses, especially the so-called moral laws, but Christianity (with the authority of Christ's teaching) often reinterprets the letter of them. The most common case is respecting the Sabbath. Very few Christians observe the Sabbath or even know when it occurs. On the other hand, the meaning of the commandment is reinterpreted and followed by devotion on Sunday and, often by refusing to work, shop, etc. The Puritans followed an especially strict set of rules for Sunday conduct.
Most of us would be better off to pay more attention to keeping the Sabbath or Sundays holy. It really is God's will that we have a day when we do not work and do not cause others to work. But more to the point of the lesson today is the first glimpse we get, in John, of just how much authority Christ has asserted; he can act and teach that the very word of God concerning how men conduct their lives, the law given by God himself to Moses, has been changed because of his arrival. In short, he asserts the authority of God.