Daily Devotion for March 19, 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 (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.
She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
John 11:17-37 (CEB)
Jesus Comforts Martha and Mary about Lazarus' Death
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
She replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, the one who is coming into the world.”
After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. He hadn’t entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.
When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus wept. The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Notes on the Scripture
There are so many women in the Bible named "Mary" that it is easy to confuse them in one's mind. The two sisters of Bethany are important early worshippers and witnesses of Christ. It is easy to remember Mary because of her name and make her more prominent in one's mind, but Mary of Bethany is certainly not more important than her sister, Martha.
It is Martha who leaves the house to meet Jesus, a rather bold move. She then gives the greatest witness to Christ that we have seen, at least since Simon Peter's. Her faith in him is rock-solid. She announces out loud and in public her belief that Jesus is the Christ (or the Messiah). Although she grieves for her brother Lazarus, she has absolute faith that he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.
It is hard to fathom exactly how she knows such concepts as the day of judgment and Christ's second coming, which really don't arise until later in the Bible. But she knows them well and believes them utterly.
Mary is presented as a more emotional person, and she brings out Jesus' humanity as no other person in the Bible does. She does not go out to meet Jesus, but stays at home due to her grief. And Jesus responds, first, like a man; he weeps over the death of Lazarus and the pain of Lazarus' sister, Mary. He is fully human. He loves just like any of us might. His friend has died, the man's sister whom he also loves is in deep sorrow, and we are given a glimpse of Jesus, not as the son of God, but as a complete and emotional human.