April 19, 2011

Wednesday of Holy Week, Day Thirty-seven


Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 94, Zechariah 12:9,10, 13:1,7-9, John 16:1-15
Evening - Psalm 74 Lamentations 3:1, 14-33, John 16:16


 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:  For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Commentary

Today's readings in the Gospel of John take us through the 16th chapter.  Jesus and His disciples are still in the upper room where they have eaten the Passover meal and the Last Supper.  Judas has gone (Jn. 13:30), and Christ is using the few precious hours left to teach the disciples.  Christ speaks of many things, from the way the world will treat the disciples to the coming of the Holy Spirit, called here, the "Comforter" (17:7).  The disciples understand nothing of what He is saying. His crucifixion will almost crush them emotionally and spiritually.  Their faith in Christ will die with Him on the cross because they do not understand that He came to die for their sins and to bring them into a Kingdom of the Spirit.  But their sorrow will be turned to joy (vs. 20) when they see the resurrected Christ. And they will understand when the Holy Spirit comes.

Devotional Thoughts

The Christian's goal is to grow in Christ every day.  We have looked at Christian growth during Lent, now we need to ask ourselves how we are doing.  Am I really seeking to grow in Christ?  Do I see myself making honest attempts to seek and grow in Him? What positive steps am I taking to try to grow in Him? What am I really doing to conquer sin and reform my thoughts and attitudes and habits?  These are not easy questions, but they are necessary.  Be brave, ask them.  Be heroic, answer them.

Tuesday of Holy Week, Day Thirty-six


Due to computer problems I was unable to post today's devotions until now.  I hope this has cause no inconvenience. D.C.

Lectionary

Morning - Psalms 6 & 12, Hosea 14, John 15:1-16
Evening - Psalm51, Lamentations 2:10, 13-19, John 15:17

John 15:17

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Commentary

John 15 tells us those who abide in Jesus are like branches growing from a luxuriant vine.  Those who do not abide in Him are like dead branches, and are removed and cast into the fire.  To abide in Christ means many things, one of the obvious is to draw life from Him.  Our physical existence comes from Christ.  Remove His sustaining power from us and we cease to exist.  But our spiritual existence comes from Christ also.  Just as a branch that does not draw its life from the vine gradually withers and dies, a soul that does not draw its life from Christ dies.

Devotional Thoughts

A Christian's goal is to live a quiet and holy life every moment of every day.  During Lent we have looked at what a holy life is, so as we come to the close of Lent it is natural that we ask ourselves a question; am I really serious about holiness?  This is a difficult question to answer because we have a tendency to fool ourselves, and to convince ourselves that we are really doing better than we are.  So we need to be brutally honest with ourselves, and we need to base our answers on evidence, rather than illusions.  Are you serious about holiness?  What in your life shows that you are?