Daily Devotion for February 27, 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.
The beautiful "Ave Maria" from the opera "Otello", by Verdi
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.
Psalm 100 (ESV)
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
John 7:25-31 (NKJV)
Could This Be the Christ?
Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”
Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus has caused quite a hubbub in Jerusalem. The rumor has spread that there is a man named Jesus who may be the Christ, or who claims to be the Christ but whom the authorities seek to kill for heresy. A few people from Jerusalem therefore talk about him and their conversation is recorded here.
These poor people don't know what to think. First, they recognize Jesus as the man that is causing all the stir and the person that the authorities want to kill. But they are impressed, knowing that he is a virtual outlaw, that he would stand up and speak boldly in public. And so they reason that the authorities must think he is the Christ, because otherwise they would have arrested him.
But, on the other hand, they have been taught that the Messiah would come in a blaze of glory (as the Old Testament indicates in places) and they think this means that he will appear magically -- nobody will know where he is from. But Jesus is just a simple man from Nazareth. He doesn't look like the Messiah.
But Jesus straightens them out. They do know where he is from, and it isn't really Nazareth; he comes from God. And he proclaims in public, once again, the words that have gotten him in so much trouble with the civil and religious leaders of Jerusalem, that is, he has been sent by God and that, unlike them (and the religious leaders), he knows God.
This is like Jesse James standing in the middle of the street in Dodge City saying "You know who I am; I rob banks". He seems to be taunting the authorities to arrest him. He knows that they will not, because he knows that God has ordained the hour of his arrest and it is not yet time.
Finally, we return to one of the central themes of the Gospel of John, that Christ made himself known by signs or miracles. It is these signs that finally turn many people to belief.