Daily Devotion for February 20, 2011
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
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal the sheep who are wounded; touch the sheep who are in pain; clean the sheep who are soiled; warm the lambs who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it,
but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
John 6:30-40 (NIV)
The Bread of Life (2)
So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Notes on the Scripture
When feeding the multitude of 5,000, Jesus hinted at a parallel to the feeding of the Hebrews in the desert by gathering 12 baskets of scraps. Here he makes the parallel explicit. Also, as he made the comparison between the water from a well and the "living water" for the Samaritan woman at the well, here he makes the same sort of comparison with bread.
When the Hebrews wandered in the desert for 40 years after escaping Egypt, God fed them with manna. This was bread, in the broadest sense of the food we must have every day to sustain life (e.g. "give us this day our daily bread").
But now, with the coming of Christ, God has sent a second kind of bread from heaven; that bread is the body of Christ and the grace that is thereby available to us. Our souls need the "bread" of Christ's bread to live just as our bodies need food to live. Only the bread that is Christ's grace is endless and brings eternal life.
This passage contains one of the most comforting messages in the Bible. Jesus tells us that those who the Father has given to Him will come to Him, and whoever comes to Him "I will never drive away". That's a very powerful message. Most all of us have lost something we had thought was permanent; a relationship, a job, a school, etc. If we have not, we have all felt and suffered insecurity.
But here is God Himself, in person, telling us that once we come to Him, He will never drive us away. He is our permanent refuge that will never fail us, will never change his mind. We have a home that will always be there, a God of incredible power who will be with us as long as we want.
Yes, our bodies will get old; we will get sick, our bodies will dies. The forces of evil will do their best to destroy us on earth and may bring many terrible things down upon us, even the very best of us. But we are completely secure, because we know that perfect peace and forgiveness awaits us at the end of the ordeal.
God know how hard this can be. He suffered as terribly as a person can suffer, hanging on a cross in the cruel sun for three days of torture, hated and abandoned by the rulers of Israel; He know exactly what we go through in times of pain. And He did it for one and only one reason: because He loves us so much, he wanted to assure us that eternal life is a reality and awaits us at the end of our lives.