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Daily Devotion for May 18, 2015

<i>The Last Supper</i>, carved marble altarpiece, chapel of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, Newburgh, NY.
The Last Supper, carved marble altarpiece, chapel of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, Newburgh, NY.



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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.


Ancient Prayer - For Support of the Holy Spirit

O  Educator, be gracious to thy children, O Educator, Father, Guide of Israel, Son and Father, both one, Lord. Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh. Do thou thyself bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and supported by the Holy Spirit, the unutterable Wisdom, by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher with the Holy Spirit.


Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely

Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.


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,



[How might I have been deceived by the clever words of men without realizing it?]


Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.


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.

The Last Supper by Carl Heinrich Bloch, ca. 1880. The theme of Judas sneaking away is particularly well done in Bloch's treatment of the Last Supper. (See Full-size.)


“Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.”

~ A.W. Tozer (from Pursuit of God)

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 10:1-4 (ESV)

The Twelve Apostles

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; a Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Notes on the Scripture


he first Gospel is odd, in that it contains five discrete discourses. The most famous of these is the Sermon on the Mount, Chapters 5-7. Since we are coming up on Pentecost, it seemed like a good idea to read the second and less-famous discourse, which consists of Jesus’ words to His apostles before He sends them out for the first time by themselves, to preach the Good News. Luke contains an account of Jesus sending out 70 disciples, which is very similar; it may or may not recount the same events as Matthew 10.

If we ask why Matthew chose to relate the words to the twelve apostles, we might also wonder why Christ chose twelve apostles in the first place. Most people naturally associate the number with the tribes of Israel — and this would jibe well with Matthew, for his emphasis was to write a Gospel for Jews. There were twelve patriarchs or subordinate heads of the Old Covenant, so there would be twelve of the New Covenant. But the number is of little practical importance to us, today. It is the men and their work that fascinate us.

They were, first off, mostly “blue collar” workers, men who labored with their hands — like Jesus himself. They were ordinary men called to extraordinary deeds. Most could not read or write. Christ promised that the meek would inherit the earth; appropriately, he called the meek to spread the message.

There are three oddballs in the mix. First, Matthew himself. He was different from the others in a number of ways. He carried political baggage, being not only an employee of Herod (as a client king of Rome) but, even worse, a tax collector. He was white collar. He was educated, at least sufficiently to read and write Aramaic and Hebrew and to do accounting.

Second was Simon the Zealot. There were innumerable political factions among the Jews, but five predominated: Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, and what might be called Herodians (who overlapped the first two). Keep in mind, politics and religion were inseparable for the Jews. The Zealots were most likely not a well-organized party at the time of Christ, but simply a description of numerous semi-criminal elements who hated Rome. (They would later become a small, secretive sect of violent anti-Herodian revolutionaries.) They were dedicated to ridding Israel of Roman colonization. One might compare them in organization to the Maumau in Kenya or the Thuggee (Thugs) of India, although the religious aspect was a bit different.

Consider this: if Simon had met up with Matthew in a dark alley (before their call), he might have stuck a knife in Matthew's belly.

Third, Judas Iscariot clearly occupies an odd spot. Nobody is sure why he was called “Iscariot”; there are at least six competing explanations, including one (probably incorrect) that would make him a member of a revolutionary assassins called the “iscarii”, similar to the Zealots. Most likely, he got the name simply because his father, Simon Iscariot, came from Kerioth, the name of several towns and also a region to the north.

But the critical inquiry is not who they were, but what they did; for lacking their call as apostles, they would be utterly lost to history. To a man, they accomplished extraordinary things, making long journeys, becoming great speakers, leaders, and healers and, with the exception of John, dying violent deaths: Judas by his own hand, and eleven others (including Judas' replacement, Matthias) slain as martyrs.

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Memory Verse

Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

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