Daily Devotion for March 26, 2018
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.
A serene and beautiful setting of the traditional Abide with Me.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of love, my prayer is simple: Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me. I know only that I cannot have real strength unless I rely on you. I cannot feel protected from my many weaknesses until I turn to you for forgiveness and your unalterable love. Help me to share this strength, protection and love with others.
For Those in Need of Strength
I pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,
And finally, may the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father’s boundless love, with the Holy Spirit’s favor, rest upon me, and all of us, from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse assures us that, if we confess our sins, God will forgive them?
Psalm 41:7-9 (KJV)
All that hate me whisper together against me:
against me do they devise my hurt.
An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him:
and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted,
which did eat of my bread,
hath lifted up his heel against me.
Matthew 26:17-25 (ESV)
The Passover with the Disciples
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”
He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Notes on the Scripture
he three Synoptic Gospels are very close in their telling the Last Supper story, with minor differences in details. Most Christian denominations agree that the apostles prepared the Passover meal on Thursday. The Last Supper is Thursday night and Jesus will be crucified and die during the day on Friday. The Jewish days began and ended at sunset, rather than midnight, so although Christ was crucified on Friday by our reckoning, it was on the same day as the Last Supper by Biblical reckoning.
The Passover lamb was actually killed during daylight on Thursday (thus, to a Jew, on the day before the Last Supper), but the more important events in the Passover occur between sunset on Thursday and sunset on Friday: The recollection of the Jews in Egypt painting lambs' blood on their doorposts, so that the angel of death would “pass over” their house, and the eating of the sacrifice.
Jesus identifies Judas during the Passover meal. He uses the ancient idiom, “you have said so,” which is an oblique way of saying “yes” without actually saying it, by acting as if a question is a statement. We will want to remember this, for Jesus will repeat the idiom several times: when Caiaphas asks him if he is the Son of God, and when Pilate asks him if he is the King of the Jews.
We get a mixed message about Judas' free will. Jesus' death is preordained, for his destiny is to fulfill the prophets: “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him.” But he seems to contrast the inevitability of his own death with Judas' betrayal, for the warning he gives to Judas might imply that Judas could change his mind.
In John 6:70, Jesus says that one of the apostles he has chosen is “a devil”. Also notice that Judas calls Jesus “Rabbi”, meaning “Teacher”, rather than “Lord” as do the others. So there seems to be very little chance that Judas would actually change his mind. But Christ, even knowing that it is futile, must nevertheless attempt to warn Judas away from his betrayal, for it is his character and his purpose to forgive sinners. He does not mind that Judas will cause his death; but he does not want to see Judas condemned to hell.
God sent Christ into the world that “whosoever” believes in him would be saved (John 3:16). He is so completely dedicated to our salvation that he will do all in his power to save even the most terrible of sinners, and even if he realizes it is hopeless. If he is this eager to save Judas, how eager he must be to come into our own lives and give us the gift of eternity!