Daily Devotion for September 25, 2009
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew 9:1-8
Jesus Returns to Capernum and Heals the Palsied Man
Jesus boarded a boat, and crossed over [the Sea of Galilee], and returned to his own city [Capernum].
They brought a man sick with palsy, lying on a bed, to him; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the sick man, "Son, take heart; your sins are forgiven."
Some of the scribes said to each other, "This man is blaspheming."
And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven', or to say, 'Arise, and walk'? So that you know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . ."
Christ then said to the man sick with palsy, "Stand up, and pick up your bed, and go to your house." And the man got to his feet, and went to his house.
When the crowd saw this, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
'Palsy' and 'Scribes'
The term 'palsy' is used in modern English (for example in 'cerebral palsy'), but it was formerly used more widely, to describe any debilitating disease of the arms or legs: trembling or tremors, paralysis, and/or the atrophy (wasting) of muscle. The man here could have had any of hundreds of diseases recognized by modern medicine.
Another term in this passage is "scribe", which is a bit hard to understand in modern times. The ability to read and write was generally rare until the 17th Century, and has gradually become more and more common until today, when many countries have a literacy rate approaching 100%. The King James Bible was, actually, an early sign of increasing literacy, as people in Christian nations, other than priests and monks, began to get a basic education. (In fact, Rome in the period 1-450 A.D. was more widely literate than anywhere in Europe would be for the next 1000 years, at the least until the Renaissance.)
Scribes, then, were people who made their living from their ability to read and write. Many of them were employed in official positions, as deveoping governments needed literate workers to keep records, read and interpret laws, read and write messages, etc. The general terms "scribes" refers to an intellectual gentry that included many religious leaders and civil servants.