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Daily Devotion for March 24, 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 the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Gracious God, Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life. Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church. Open my heart to the people who are different from me. In Jesus' name, I pray.
Penitential Prayer of St. Augustine (for Lent)
O Lord, The house of my soul is narrow; enlarge it that you may enter in. It is ruinous, O repair it! It displeases Your sight. I confess it, I know. But who shall cleanse it, to whom shall I cry but to you? Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord, and spare Your servant from strange sins.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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.
Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV)
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
John 12:20-26 (ESV)
Jesus Teaches Gentiles
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him."
Notes on the Scripture
For reasons not stated, either there are Gentiles headed to the Feast of Passover; or else there are Jews who speak Greek but still worship the God of Abraham. Also for reasons unstated, they go to Philip as their liaison to the exploding Christ movement. It seems reasonable to conclude that Philip spoke excellent Greek. After Christ's death, he was known for his mission to Greece and was martyred in Hierapolis, "the city of temples" in Greece of the day. (Although Hierapolis was located in what is now Turkey, much of Turkey was Greek at that time. By Greek legend, the city was founded by Apollo.)
The primary reason for the inclusion of this story in John is to demonstrate that, even in the midst of a very Hebrew celebration of the Messiah, Jesus' mission is to all humanity, not simply the Jews. The last line, "if anyone serves me, the Father will honor him", emphasizes "anyone". The grace of Christ is available to anyone who believes in Him.
This is a concept which was next to unthinkable at the time, and which still seems to confound people today. The grace of God, given to us by Christ, is not owned by those who receive it. The grace given to us increases when it is shared. The human temptation to form into tribes, to delude one another by thinking that we are special or have special knowledge not available to others, simply does not meet the standards set for us by Jesus himself.