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.