Daily Devotion for February 26, 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
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.
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.
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Jesus at the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) (ESV)
"If anyoneís will is to do Godís will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?"
The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?"
Jesus answered them, "I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a manís whole body well?
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."
Notes on the Scripture
Once again, we have Jesus talking at cross-purposes with the crowd. This often makes for difficulty in following the events of John. In this case, Jesus is actually addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees, as well as less clearly demarked special-interest groups like the "Herodians" (whose alliance was to Herod rather than a particular religious sect).
Thence the confusion in the passage. There are three levels to Jesus' argument. At the most basic level, he is addressing a crowd of people who simply can't understand what he's talking about. So when he asks "why are you seeking to kill me" the response is, in modern terminology, "are you nuts? Nobody's trying to kill you."
But of course, there are people who are trying to kill him; but they are not in the crowd. If they were, they would have him arrested, and he has already said that the time for that has not arrived. So he gives the absent religious/political establishment arguments showing that their plot against him is evil and unlawful. (The reference to healing on the Sabbath refers back to an event in John 5, an event some of the crowd may not even know about.)
At the highest level, however, Christ knows that the argument will not sway his enemies. It is an argument intended primarily to be remembered after his death, when the first church is formed among the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem.
But there is also an eternal teaching for all of us: those whose aim is to do God's will are going to accept Jesus. Once we understand this, the sometimes vicious attacks on Christianity and the angry repudiation of God's word are more understandable. To grasp Christ, one must be "poor in Spirit". One must first seek to do God's will, to learn what God wants for us, and to try to find it. Only then does Jesus make sense. One must look up at the sky. As difficult as it is to take your eyes off the addictive chaotic flood of earthly life, one must look away from it for a moment. Meditation and prayer, with an attitude of humility and knowledge of our ignorance, is the first step to knowing Christ.