Daily Devotion for September 28, 2010
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.
Come to Our Aid
In the morning Abraham called upon you on the mountain top and you answered him, O lover of men; and in the morning I call upon you, come to my aid and the aid of all your servants, O God, full of mercy, hallelujah, and have mercy upon us.
Glory to God
Glory to You, Lord God, bringing from the depth of the earth an endless variety of colors, tastes and scents;
Glory to You for the warmth and tenderness of the world of nature;
Glory to You for the numberless creatures around us;
Glory to You for the depths of Your wisdom, the whole world a living sign of it;
Glory to You: on my knees, I kiss the traces of Your unseen hand;
Glory to You, enlightening us with the clearness of eternal life;
Glory to You for the hope of the unutterable, imperishable beauty of immortality;
Glory to You, O God, from age to age.
[Am I discontented with my lot, envious of others’s success?]
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
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.
As seen here, Christian iconography associates John with an eagle; Matthew, a man or angel; Luke, an ox; and Mark, a lion.
Psalm 37:1-4 (NKJV)
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
John 11:1-16 (ESV)
The Death of Lazarus
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”
Notes on the Scripture
ary and Martha are the most familiar set of sisters in the Bible. (Some earlier interpreters blended the person of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman of Luke 7:36-50; but most scholars today believe she was a different person.) Both Luke and John describe them as friends of Jesus. Luke’s story, though only four verses long, has been a complex source of inspiration, interpretation, and debate for centuries. John’s story, which says the sisters had a brother named Lazarus, spans seventy verses.
When John 11 starts, Jesus is in the wilderness where John had been baptizing, avoiding the Jewish authorities who are, by this point, determined to arrest him and bring him to trial (or simply to stone him on the spot). Martha and Mary, whom he loves, send word to him that their brother Lazarus is ill, and so Christ decides to return to the danger zone: Bethany is a village just outside the walls of Jerusalem. His disciples are afraid for him to return there.
Martha and Mary
To answer them, Jesus continues to use the metaphor of day/light and night/darkness. Because he walks in the light of God — the “daytime” — he will not stumble. That is, he can see clearly what he is to do, just as a man can see clearly in daylight, and he will not stumble like a man walking in the dark of night. He will not make a mistake.
Paul often uses the word “sleep” to describe what we call “death.” He means to emphasize that what we perceive as death, the destruction of our physical bodies, is only a period of rest, because we will be resurrected for eternity. But there doesn’t seem to be a consistent usage of the two terms die and sleep in the New Testament, and it is hard to tell what Jesus means by saying, “This illness does not lead to death.”
We might take it more literally, to mean that Lazarus will only fall into a coma. Or we might take it as a broad metaphor, i.e., Christ telling us that illness of the body does not lead to true death, and what we perceive as death will become no more final than sleep; and that he will raise Lazarus from death, as a foretaste of his own glorification, his victory over death.