Daily Devotion for March 22, 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
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
Prayer to Live Christ's Word
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.
Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me. This I pray in Jesusí name.
A Prayer for Lent
Father in Heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of Your light. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
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.
For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.
John 12:1-11 (ESV)
The Poor Will Always Be with You
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pint of expensive ointment made from pure nard [a precious oil made from flowers], and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii [note: a year's wages] and given to the poor?" He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
Notes on the Scripture
John really lets Judas have it. He tells us that Judas was not a true apostle who would betray Jesus in a moment of weakness; instead, Judas was a thoroughly evil man, a thief and a lover of money, so debased that he stole from charitable funds. His betrayal was thus an act entirely in character for him.
The second great lesson of the passage is that Jesus, who had led a life of simplicity and poverty, allows Mary of Bethany to anoint his feet with an horrendously expensive perfume, the sort of luxury only a Roman aristocrat would normally indulge in. Jesus' teaching is in transition at this point. He has led his followers gently; rather than appearing and proclaiming himself an incarnation of God, he has simply hinted at it, telling people that they will find God through him and his teachings. But he allows the use of the nard in anticipation of his death and resurrection, when people will finally know his true nature. As God come to earth, he will allow himself to be worshipped to the degree that people can spend money doing so, if they want to.
This unfortunately would later become a bone of contention and strife among churches. Being human, the leaders of various churches could not simply worship Jesus as they wanted to; instead, they thought that everyone should be forced to worship as they themselves thought proper. And so great wars were fought between men who wanted to dedicate great sums to worship and those who wanted to worship in simplicity.
The last paragraph shows the utter moral bankruptcy of the Jewish leaders. Whatever might be said of Jesus, Lazarus' only offense was to have been raised from the dead! But the Sanhedrin wanted to kill him as well as Jesus, just because he was evidence of Jesus' divinity.