March 11, 2011

Saturday, Lent Day Four



            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 28, Genesis 22:1-14, 19, 1 Corinthians 2
Evening - Psalm 34, Jeremiah 3:11-18, John 8:45-59

John 8:45-59

 45And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
 46Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
 47He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
 48Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
 49Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
 50And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
 51Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
 52Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
 53Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
 54Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
 55Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
 57Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
 58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
 59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.


            Commentary

In John 8 Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.  During this time He faces direct opposition from the priests and Pharisees, even an attempt to murder Him (Jn. 8:59).  He will leave Jerusalem soon, to return again in chapter 12.  The irony of this passage is that the people who claimed to know God most completely could not recognise Him when He stood before them.  When He told them who He was (verse 58), they refused Him.  They were going in the wrong spiritual direction, and were determined to continue in it.

            Devotional Thoughts

We turn now to the second part of true repentance, which is also a major emphasis of Lent; turning to God.  Our goal is single-minded devotion to God. If we are going in the wrong direction, it is not enough to simply change to another course.  If we are in a boat heading due north, but need to go due south to reach our harbour, it is not good enough to turn to a south easterly heading.  We must get on the correct course to reach our port.  Likewise, it will not do to turn away from one sin only to embrace another, or to turn from a life of open wickedness to one of outward piety with no redirection of the heart and affections.  To do so is to simply change our clothes while God requires us to change our hearts. If we imagine our lives as castles, and our hearts as thrones, we may legitimately ask, who rules the castle?  Who sits on the throne of our lives?  In sin we rule.  We make the decisions.  We choose the life orientation.  In true repentance, we dethrone ourselves and enthrone God.  He becomes our King, our Sovereign, our ruler.  Lent is a special time spent intentionally enthroning God.

3 comments:

  1. g. campbellMarch 12, 2011

    Jehovah-Jireh. Isaac knew very well what that meant and I am sure he carried that name of God in his heart all of his days. How could he ever be the same after coming so close to being sacrificed by his father to God.

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  2. So true, G. Some have suggested that this event caused a rift in the relationship of Abraham and Isaac. I disagree. I think somehow Isaac understood that the ram was slain in his place, as Christ was slain in ours. Issac and Abarham would both remember this event for the rest of their days, seeing in it a picture of the day when God would give His own Son in our places. Surely this is part of Christ's meaning in Jn. 8:56, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."

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  3. g. campbellMarch 12, 2011

    Yes, seeing Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice would have done Abraham's heart so much good. He would have a bond with God that others could not understand.
    As for a rift between Abraham and Isaac, would Isaac not have held it against God as well? When looking at his life he shows himself to be very close to his God.

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