Daily Devotion for March 7, 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
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Peace
We thank You, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. We appeal to You to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war. Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of You and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For You are our peace and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
We pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. We pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
Lord our God, remember and have mercy on our brothers and sisters who are involved in every civil conflict. Remove from their midst all hostility, confusion and hatred. Lead everyone along the path of reconciliation and peace, we pray You, hear us and have mercy on us.
Let all believers turn aside from violence and do what makes for peace. By the strength of your mighty arm save your people and your Holy Church from all evil oppression; hear the supplications of all who call to You in sorrow and affliction, day and night. Merciful God, let their lives not be lost, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Do not say to your neighbor, “ Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.
John 8:41-47 (NIV)
Children of Abraham 
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you?
Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.
The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Notes on the Scripture
The group of Jews with whom Christ has carried on this conversation changes their story. Before, they claimed Abraham as their father, and here, they claim that God is their father. But now, Jesus becomes very direct and simple. If God is their father, they will listen to Christ, because he was sent by God. But the devil is their father; thus, they do not listen to Christ or believe him.
The conversation between Christ and the group of Jews in John 8 is very Greek in its tone, unlike most of the Gospels. He emphasizes syllogisms, logic and argument, which are the Greek method of convincing people of truth; the Jewish method of argument is noticeably different, involving prophecy, personal testimony, parables, lessons, and direct appeals to the spirit. Often, the reasoning is very convoluted. Although the scene is depicted as one between Christ and a group of Jews, it is intended primarily to be read by Gentiles.
Most Gentiles were "Greeks" in the sense that Greek culture had spread throughout much of the Mediterranean, including the most important empire in world history: Rome. The educated people in the Middle East tended to speak Greek rather than Latin. It was the language of culture and the language of trade. Rome's art was often imitation, or even outright copies, of Greek originals.
Christ will eventually spread his salvation to the entire world. Really, the churches will break down into Hebrew and Greek. This part of John would have appealed to a Greek reader and one might believe it was intended to assist in the conversion of Gentiles.
As a side note, one of the most astonishing anecdotes in the New Testament is the end of Acts 17 when Paul travels to Athens. A group of men from the two primary schools of Greek philosophy -- Stoicism and Epicureanism -- approach him and begin to debate with him! But Paul held his own with them and even won some converts from among the Stoics, whose philosophy was not terribly different from the ethical tenets of Christianity.