Daily Devotion for March 16, 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 call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
John 10:22-32 (CEV)
Jesus at the Temple Festival
That winter, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Temple Festival. One day he was walking in that part of the temple known as Solomon's Porch, and the people gathered all around him. They said, "How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly!"
Jesus answered: "I have told you, and you refused to believe me.
The things I do by my Father's authority show who I am. But since you are not my sheep, you don't believe me. My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, and I am one with the Father."
Once again the Jewish leaders picked up stones in order to kill Jesus. But he said, "I have shown you many good things that my Father sent me to do. Which one are you going to stone me for?"
Notes on the Scripture
God intended that Christ be condemned by the free will of human beings, to show them that they could commit even the gravest sin possible against Him. He will neither help nor hinder them. Here the people of Jerusalem try to tempt Christ into saying He is the Jewish Messiah but he will not make the statement. He never gave a reason for his repeated refusal to do it directly, although he would always say it indirectly. In fact, he almost always refused to answer question about himself directly. He refused to let people put words in his mouth.
Why wouldn't he plainly say "Yes, I am the Messiah promised by Isaiah"? He never really explained this. One can speculate that he was different from the Messiah expected by the Jews, or that his mission was to the world rather than simply to the Jews, or that it was not his will to hasten his death. But in truth, we can only say that he knew what he was doing.
He could have said it and used his power to prevent his death, but that was not his will. He knew that the sinfulness of mankind would result in his execution. Only in this way could he fulfill the law; he would demonstrate the intransigence of human sin, by letting them, of their own volition, kill the God they claimed to worship.
In the last sentence, he makes this clear. He asks which of his good works warrant his death by stoning. He has done nothing but good; he has healed and taught godly behavior. His passion cannot include any justification for his execution; every person in the world must be brought to the realization that sin, the same sin that lives within themselves, brought about his death.