Daily Devotion for January 18, 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 call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Unknown Needs
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ 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 who I may meet.
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.
He covers the sky with clouds. He provides rain for the ground. He makes grass grow on the mountains.
He is the one who gives food to animals and to young ravens when they call out.
He finds no joy in strong horses, nor is he pleased by brave soldiers.
The Lord is pleased with those who fear him, with those who wait with hope for his mercy.
The Testimony of John the Baptist (2)
(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
John answered them, "I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Notes on the Scripture
Just as before, John does not state outright that he has been sent by God, or that he will baptize the Messiah. In fact (rather like presidential candidates so often do) the answer he gives does not really respond to the question asked. He simply uses the question -- basically, "by what authority are you baptizing people?" -- to make the statement he wants to make.
Even so, he does not come right out and say "The Messiah is coming". He simply makes the famous statement that one is coming after him, the strap of whose sandal John is not worthy to untie.
Still, the implication is perfectly clear. Even though John is baptizing people -- an act that presupposes a considerable degree of holiness -- there is another coming after him who is so holy, that John will not even compare himself to him.
Once again, the Gospel of John creates a richness of meaning by use of language. We remember the text just above, "He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him." When John the Baptist tells the Pharisees "among you stands one you do not know", he identifies them as being the people who would not recognize God when He came to earth and lived among them.
It is practically an accusation of sin; but again, the situation is filled with dramatic irony. The Pharisees do not begin to grasp the implication of what John is saying, while the reader can hardly miss it.