Daily Devotion for April 13, 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.
Thanks for God’s Mercy
O Lord, you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. You have not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your lovingkindness toward those who fear You. As far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed our transgressions from us.
All glory, all thanks be to You, wonderful God, who has by Your Son put away our sin, and cleansed us, that we might dwell with You forever.
To Love Our Enemies
Lord Christ, you commanded us not to resist an evil person; you have ordered us, instead, to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. I’m having problems with this one, Lord! Every fiber in my body wants to hate my enemies. When somebody is ugly to me, I am frantic to punish them for it. And not just terrible crimes: I react with hostility to the smallest insult. A disagreement over politics will leave me turning over arguments as I lie awake in bed. A theological quibble can leave me red in the face.
You have promised us that you will send us a Spirit strong enough to overcome any temptation, if we pray for it. Please, holy God, send me your Holy Spirit in power to help me follow this difficult teaching. No matter whether it is a terrible evil or simply a bit of hurt pride, let me accept, sincerely and completely, your commandment to love and pray for those who persecute me.
In the name of Christ, I pray,
[How do I react when my pride is hurt?]
Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
Psalm 42 (KJV)
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
John 1:45-51 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Nathanael
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Notes on the Scripture
he fourth apostle called is Nathanael, who is a friend of Philip’s. Nathanael is skeptical. When he hears Jesus is from Nazareth, he acts like a New Yorker who finds out the Messiah is a man from Newark. Although there are many hints, nobody knows exactly whey Nathanael felt so negative towards Nazarenes. Perhaps because it was a backwater and rather a crude place, and there was certainly some worship of false gods there.
He nevertheless goes to check it out, and his mind changes quickly. Jesus characterizes Nathanael as a genuine and honest Israelite, and tells him that he saw him sitting under the fig tree, where he had been sitting. Today, we might suspect some sort of parlor trick, but apparently it was honest knowledge. Nathanael is convinced. But Jesus minimizes the fig tree; he tell Nathanael that he will see true religious miracles.
Notice that Jesus saw Nathanael under “the” fig tree. We must assume that the reader of John will have read an earlier gospel, and in both Mark and Matthew, Jesus cursed a fig tree, representing Israel, because it was not bearing fruit; and the tree withered and died. (Matthew 21:18-22) So, we might read Jesus’ remark to emphasize that Nathanael lives under the Law of Moses in an Israel that is soon to cease existence.
Nathanael is mentioned only in the Gospel of John; in the Synoptic Gospels, Philip's friend is named “Bartholomew.” Similarly, John never speaks of anyone named Bartholomew, which has led scholars to conclude that they are the same person.