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Daily Devotion for March 17, 2013

Saint Patrick’s Day

The altar of an ancient
The altar of an ancient "Russian wooden" church (Bardejovske Kupele, Slovakia).



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.


Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week takes us to Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) for a famous Easter hymn, played with lots of trumpets and fanfare. Click the "Lyrics" link to sing along!

Prayer for True Thought

Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and so guide me, that the clever words of men will never replace the truth which you have put into my heart. Through Christ I pray,


For the Human Family

O  God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.

That, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.


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.

da Vinci, Last Supper (detail of Christ)
The Last Supper (detail), Leonardo da Vinci ca. 1498.

Psalm 33:9-11 (ESV)

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands for ever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.

Blue Latin Cross

John 6:52-59 (NCV)

Bread of Life (4)

Then the evil people began to argue among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, you must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. Otherwise, you won't have real life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them. The living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. So whoever eats me will live because of me. I am not like the bread your ancestors ate. They ate that bread and still died. I am the bread that came down from heaven, and whoever eats this bread will live forever."

Jesus said all these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Notes on the Scripture

John 6 begins with Jesus feeding the 5,000. He withdraws when they want to make him a king; the disciples cross the stormy Sea of Galilee to escape the crowd, and are getting nervous about the boat sinking when they see Jesus walking on the water. The crowd follows them the next day and catches up with them in Capernaum, on the eastern side. This is where Christ gives the long teaching about his body and blood.

holy communion

The ties of Jesus to Moses are never more apparent than here, and Jesus actually makes specific reference to Exodus.

Consider that the crowd of Jews have followed Jesus across a great and dangerous body of water in search of salvation. Jesus did not part the waters, and there was no army in pursuit, but the parallel is obvious and intentional. He is not leading them to a new physical life in a geographical Promised Land, as did Moses, but to a new spiritual land. Crossing the physical sea is purely symbolic. He actually leads the Jews out of the old Promised Land — for they leave Canaan — just as He is leading them out of the Old Covenant, into a promised land that exists outside of geography.

And in pursuit, we have not Pharaoh, but Satan himself. The unwitting emissaries of evil are the Pharisees, holy Jews, who represent the inevitable futility of salvation by works. But Christ will not drown them in the sea; instead, He will be the one to die, to show that He has not overcome merely the physical power of the world's pharaohs, but death itself.

So Christ preaches Himself as the fulfillment of the exodus. As God fed the Jews with manna to sustain their physical life, He now feeds them with His own body, to sustain their eternal spiritual life.

We also get another "new testament commandment". There are not many and they all deal with faith, rather than works, but the language sounds mandatory: "You must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood."

Jesus does not answer the rather shocked question that begins the passage. In fact, He rubs it in; He elaborates and insists that they are going to have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. But the importance of His refusal to calm their fears — that some sort of cannibalism is about to occur — comes clear in the next verses.

endless knot

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Romans 1:18: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

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