March 10, 2011

Friday, Day Three



            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 95, Psalm 40:1-16, Genesis 21:9-21, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 
Evening - Psalm 31, Jeremiah 2:1-9, 13, John 8:12-36

John 8:11-36
12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
 13The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
 14Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
 15Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
 16And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
 17It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
 19Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
 20These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
 21Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
 22Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
 23And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
 24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
 25Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
 26I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
 27They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
 28Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
 29And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
 30As he spake these words, many believed on him.
 31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
 33They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
 34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.


            Commentary

The reading from John 8 shows the intent of Christ to go to Jerusalem.  He knew He was "the way the truth and the life," who had come into the world to liberate His people from our bondage to sin (verse 34).  "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."  He also knew the only way He could free us was by giving Himself to bear our sins and die for them on the cross.  This is the reason He came to this earth, to be lifted up on the cross (Jn. 8:28).  In Lent we follow Jesus on His journey to Jerusalem to be lifted up for our sins. But we do not simply follow as spectators.  We follow as His disciples.  He has purchased our freedom with His own blood, now live in His freedom.  Like the ancient Hebrews, liberated from their bondage at Passover, we intentionally leave the land of our bondage.  We intentionally stop serving sin and start serving Christ.  This is called, "repentance."

            Devotional Thoughts

There are two aspects of repentance.  The first is turning away from sin. Perhaps “turning away” is not a strong enough word.  Renouncing may describe it more accurately.  In contemporary lingo we might say, “Trash it.”  Throw it into the garbage can.  The word really means to turn around.  It means to change the direction of life.  If we think of this in terms of a journey, we can imagine being side tracked, getting off course, getting lost.  When that happens, a change of direction is necessary to get us to our destination.  Likewise in the Christian life, we often get off course.  We follow the devices and desires of our own hearts, which often lead us away from God, and we need to change our direction, and turn back to God.  Lent is a time to change direction.

3 comments:

  1. +Bishop Campbell, I love the phrase you used “We change our direction”. To truly repent means to have a change of mind or direction. Before the Lord reveals Himself to us we are quite happy traveling the path we have been following. We feel safe and content eating the fruit of the world along the way. But no matter how much we eat we find that we are never truly satisfied. We become famished as we continue traveling and always need to eat more just to be able to keep walking.

    Then our Lord reveals Himself to us and we find a different hunger that the world cannot fill. We find we now have a “change of mind” We now see a new path spring up, one that we never saw before. And at the opening of this new path is a light that shines brighter than a thousand suns. There the Lord Jesus stands with His hand outstretched toward us. We look back, and for the first time we notice that the old path we were happy following is full of ditches, briars, thorns, and the fruit we ate, hanging from dead trees, is rotten and full of worms.

    Now we take the Lord’s hand and He leads us on our new path. We have “changed our direction” We now eat of the Bread of Life and hunger no more. We will never change direction again, for we are now truly safe and secure in our Lord Jesus.

    Oh Lord Jesus how I love thee. Thank you for feeding me with your life. Amen

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  2. Another Godly exposition of today's Gospel reading By the Most Reverend Jerry L. Ogles, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church.


    The Light of the World - Indeed, Christ is the Light which burns when all others fail. The purpose of light is to scatter the darkness. It is a real force which science cannot define but only describe the nature thereof. Darkness has no power whatsoever in the presence of light. It must flee it. According to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, the speed of light is the only absolute constant in the natural universe. It travels in a straight line and cannot be seen. Christ, too, is the only absolute constant in the spiritual world. “He changeth not.” He deals in absolute righteousness. The unseen power of God can be felt, described, and known; yet, we cannot define God in His immensity. Christ tells us in Matt 5:14 that ‘we’ are the light of the world. Is this a contradiction? Certainly not, for we bear the reflected Light of Christ as surely as the moon bears that of the Sun. If we allow the world to come between us and God, we, like the moon, shall suffer an eclipse of darkness. The properties of both light and Christ are so analogous I could write a book on them.



    The Father is revealed in the Son – We cannot know God the Father if we have not known God the Son, for the Son reveals the Will of the Father and bears record of Him. “All roads lead to Rome” is a popular saying. It is certainly not true, but even if all physical roads did lead to Rome, there is only One Way that leads to the Kingdom of God. That road is not the crowded road with the downward spiral that bears so many lost souls; but the straight and narrow highway that leads ever upward to the narrow gate whereon are few souls.



    If ye continue in my word – Easy believism never brought a single soul to Heaven’s Gate. We must know Christ intimately, love Him, and we must endeavor to follow Him by taking up our cross daily to follow. Moreover, Christ, not a standing Army, is the Author and Finisher of our Liberty. “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25) The popular saying that Christ died for our souls and the American soldier for our Liberty is not completely true: Christ died for BOTH!



    We be Abraham's seed – The Jews believed in a religion based on race – Christ offers the blessing to those who are the spiritual seed of Abraham in Him.(see Romans 4:13-16). They could not have conceived the 8th verse of Romans 9: “….They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Just as Isaac came by the miracle of Promise, so is everyone who owns Christ as Lord – no exceptions!



    Whosoever committeth sin – Sin is a cruel master. Its subjects are most often unaware of their servitude to it. It eats away at the soul, and decays the pillars of conscience. It takes all, and leaves nothing. If we would be free, we must, as the woman taken in adultery, know Christ as our Lord. The freedom and liberty He will give surpasses all understanding because “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”



    Jerry L. Ogles

    Bishop

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  3. Absolutely correct, Reverend Davis. The offerings of the world are hogswill compared to the joys of our Father's house. We, like the Prodigal Son, know this by experience.

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