Daily Devotion for February 23, 2015
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.
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.
Music and Lyrics by George Bennard, 1910
Prayer of Praise and Thanks
Oh God, you know every blade of grass that grows, every sparrow that dies, every act and thought of the seven billion people here on earth. The hundred billion stars are yours and you made them, and you watch them, and the vastness of space and the countless galaxies, you know. You know my coming in and my going out, my thoughts and dreams and schemes, my countless little sins and lies, my kindnesses and my cruelties, my prayers and my curses.
Your knowledge is utterly beyond my comprehension, Lord. And yet, despite all of this, you have promised to know me, to be with me, to listen to me and help me and, if I only ask for it in the name of your Son, to forgive me when I offend you.
I praise you above all else, Mighty God; for the wonderment of your existence and the unfathomable size and complexity of your creation. And above all, my love and obedience are yours; I give them to you now and forever, in gratitude for your greatest gift, the sacrifice of your blessed Son, Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
[The dividing wall of enmity.]
Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Foundation of Virtue
Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
~ (Saint) Augustine of Hippo
Galatians 2:6-10 (DP Bible)
6-10 The upshot of our conference was that my Gospel was well-received, exactly as I presented it. They realized that, in the same way Peter had been entrusted with the Gospel for the Jews, I had been entrusted with the Gospel for the Gentiles. Or in other words, that the same force moved us to our respective missions. Despite their prominence, they really had nothing more to teach me. Their only counsel was to remember the poor – welcome advice, as I am eager to help those in need.
6 But from the being-recognized to be someone what sort presumably they were not at all to me differs face god of man not shows to me because the being-recognized not added anything gThe ambiguity is also present in the Greek: 1) The reputation of these men did not add anything to Paul’s consideration of them, or 2) The recognized men did not contribute anything to Paul’s work. (Later copiests, who added much of the punctuation to the Greek, missed a good opportunity here.) ,
7 But the opposite hIdiom, on the other hand, or to the contrary. seeing that I had been entrusted-with the gospel of iLit. of the foreskin! uncircumcision just as Peter of circumcision jCircumcision came to be used idiomatically to stand for the class of people who had been circumcised, and BDAG gives the circumcised as a definition, a linguistic phenomenon called “abstract for concrete”. Having imparted this tidbit to the reader, I will hereafter use the extended meaning. ,
8 for the energizing kOr moving, motivating, etc. I used “energize” because it is transliterative; the Greek stem is energe- (although its fundamental meaning is not “energize” but “work” or “act”). Peter to apostleship of the circumcised energized also mine to the Gentiles,
9 and knowing the grace being-given to me, James and Cephas and John, who being-recognized pillars to be, right hands lLit. rights – “hands” is implied. gave to me and Barnabas of fellowship, that we to the Gentiles, and themselves to the circumcised
10 only of the poor mPoss. of poverty. that we should remember, which also being eager same thing to do.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians #13)
We have been following Paul's account of his history, focused on the source of the gospel he preached. Many people in the churches of Galatia (central Turkey) had begun to follow false teachers, who preached some manner of erroneous pseudo-gospel. As his first line of argument in correcting them, Paul showed them that his teachings were from God, while the false ones were created by men. Paul's gospel was a revelation from Christ directly to Paul; it, therefore, cannot be false, and teachings that contradict it are accursed.
The first part of his argument shows that he could not have learned his gospel from men, because he did not spend much time with any of the original apostles — surely not enough to learn their gospel — until 14 years after his conversion, long after he had begun to teach. Now he describes his eventual trip there, to show that the gospel he had learned from Christ was acceptable to those who had followed Christ in His lifetime, particularly those who were members of the 12 apostles — Peter and John — but also James, Christ's (half) brother.
ow could Paul have possibly gotten a gospel, fully in harmony with that of Peter, John, and James, without ever speaking to them? There was no New Testament, no written Gospel; and Paul was in the deserts of Arabia for three years, before he went to Damascus and Antioch to begin his ministry. Like Moses, like Elijah, and like John the Baptist, Paul went out into the wilderness so that he could be taught by God.
Paul treads on the edge of a contradiction in these verses. He first states that the prominence or respect accorded to the Jerusalem apostles was irrelevant to him, because “God does not show the face of man to me”. This comes through better in the Verbatim Bible (v.6) although it is difficult to read. Paul is saying that these leaders were not superior to him in their knowledge of Christ and did not add anything to his knowledge. Nevertheless, he is not above using their fame, when they accept his gospel and give him their hands, to buff up his own credentials as a true apostle of Christ.
Paul does assert that he was essentially Peter's equal (and that Peter agreed); the great difference between them was that Paul was charged by the Holy Spirit with bringing Christ to the Gentiles, but Peter to the Jews. Of course, they overlapped; Peter had long before converted his first Gentile, Cornelius, even though it was against his will: but God intervened to instruct Peter that he must abandon his prejudice and accept Gentile converts, and Peter complied. (Acts 10, 11:1-18) But it actually seems to be Philip who first fully accepted Gentile conversion, baptizing Gentiles from Samaria and then Ethiopia without comment on their ethnicity. (Acts 8)
So this passage treats Paul's status in relation to those of Jerusalem in an odd, double way. Giving the right hand was typically the recognition given by a ruler to a subject, by a leader to a follower, etc. But Paul depicts this, credibly, more as a welcome into a fellowship of equals; he was to be the equivalent of the three pillars of the church of Jerusalem, but concentrating in a different geographical area to a different class of people.
As an interesting note on language, there is no Greek word for “Gentile”. The word most often translated “Gentiles” in the Bible actually means “nations”. (Non-Jews are also designated by the word “foreskinned”, but this is usually translated “uncircumcised” rather than “Gentile”.) Knowing this helps us tie together messianic prophecy and post-ascencion Christianity: We see in Paul's work the practical fulfillment of many promises made by the prophets, particularly Isaiah, over 500 years earlier: “I will also make You a light of the nations, So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Is. 49:6)