Daily Devotion for September 27, 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.
This rendition of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” (Glory be to God on High), from Bach’s Mass in B Minor, is performed here by the Bachfest 2000 orchestra and Boys Choir, in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, Germany. Glorious indeed!
Prayer for Purity of Worship
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sunday Prayer to Do God’s Will
Almighty 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,
For Those Praying with Me
Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don't know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 121:5-8 (KJV)
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper:
the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth,
and even for evermore.
John 5:9-15 (ESV)
Take Up Your Bed and Walk
And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."
He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"
Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Notes on the Scripture
Mosaic Law (that is, the set of laws governing Jewish conduct that began with Moses) gives a wide range of laws that interpret the Ten Commandments. The fourth (or in many churches, third) commandment, "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy", is amplified into a long list of specific things that may or may not be done between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath), with specific exceptions for specific circumstances.
Obviously, carrying a bed is work that is forbidden on the Sabbath. But Christ superseded the Laws of Moses, and he frequently ran afoul of Jewish religious leaders on that account. Remember, though, that he 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 a Jew from eating a meal with a non-believer runs afoul of a specific Christian teaching. (1 Corinthians 10:27)
It is still God's will that we respect the general meaning of the Ten Commandments, for example, but Christianity often reinterprets the letter of them. The most common case is respecting the Sabbath. Very few Christians observe the Sabbath (and many do not even realize that the "Sabbath" falls on Saturday, not Sunday). On the other hand, the meaning of the commandment is reinterpreted, and it is followed in spirit by special devotion on Sunday and, often, putting aside work.
Most of us would be better off to pay more attention to keeping the Sabbath or Sundays holy. We absorb the atheism of the culture around us; very few nominal "Christians", being freed from literal compliance with the fourth commandment, make much effort to keep the day truly holy.
But the greater lesson in today's Word is our introduction to just how much authority Christ 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, this is the point at which he asserts the authority of God himself.