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Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 288 of 366

Scripture

The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”  The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”  Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?  If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?  If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”  Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.
–  John 10:31-39

Meditation

You’ve read enough of the New Testament at this point to be unsurprised that some of Jesus’ fellow Jews wanted to stone Him.  He was – and is – a polarizing figure.  People love Him or hate Him.  Oh, most people who hate Him won’t admit it…even to themselves.  They just avoid Him.

This passage demonstrates the irrationality of those who considered Jesus a false prophet.  The Old Testament passage Jesus quotes (as indicated by the all caps) is from this psalm (and I’m showing a larger section to give the quotation some context):

I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High.
Nevertheless you will die like men
And fall like any one of the princes.”
–  Psalm 82:6-7

This passage actually prophesies the resurrection of the human race – that we are all going to heaven.  Recall that “sons of God” is a synonym for angels.  Jesus’ point is that if God says the whole human race is going to be “sons of God” – that is, residents of heaven, why should it be blasphemy for Him to be one of them since He’s a human being?

His opponents, however, were so blind by this time, they couldn’t even recognize the miracles as proof that God was active in Jesus’ life.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Father, heal me of all spiritual blindness…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 287 of 366

Scripture

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
–  John 10:11-18  (Jesus speaking)

Meditation

When the Jews heard Jesus say the words you read above, their minds could not help thinking about words from their Scriptures they had heard many times before:

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
–  Psalm 23:1-6

Jesus was making claim to be the one and only shepherd of Israel.  And He was also claiming this role for the Gentiles as well (“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold”).  No wonder people either loved Him or wanted to get rid of Him.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord Jesus, I will forsake my headstrong ways that You might shepherd me…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 286 of 366

Scripture

“He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.  What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.  He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.  For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.  The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.  He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
–  John 3:31-36

Meditation

This passage picks up where we left off yesterday and continues recording what John the Baptist had to say to his followers who were leaving Him to follow Jesus.

John the Baptist is testifying to his disciples that Jesus has come from heaven.  In fact, Jesus is the one about whom John previously had spoken (and as we have read):

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
–  John 1:29

John the Baptist could – and did – tell people to turn from their sins…but he knew he could not take away those sins.  Only the One sent from heaven could do that!

John the Baptist is actually pleased that his followers are transitioning to Jesus.  When he says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand,” he is confirming a claim made by Jesus Himself in a passage we read a week or two ago:

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father…”
–  Matthew 11:27

This Son is the One who would be heir of all things owned by God – which is everything!

So important was the Son, that everything turned on a person’s attitude toward Him.  Trust Him and you’ll have light by which to navigate this dark world in which we find ourselves; ignore Him and you’ll be stumbling your way through it.

John knew that Jesus was so much more important than he was, that it was cause for rejoicing whenever any of John’s disciples found Jesus.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, I hope that You, not I, will receive greater respect today…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 285 of 366

Scripture

After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.  John [i.e. John the Baptist] also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized–for John had not yet been thrown into prison.  Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.  And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”  John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.  You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.
–  John 3:22-30

Meditation

John the Baptist was a very interesting man.  His father was a priest of the temple in Jerusalem.  This was a prestigious position in those days, and John would have been entitled to inherit that position.  However, the priesthood had become corrupt and so John followed the call of God by going out into the wilderness and baptizing people in rivers and such. Because of this, the corrupt priests considered John something of a wild man, but the people of Israel generally heeded his message of repentance from sin (baptism being a ceremonial washing intended to signify a cleansing from one’s sins).

Generally speaking, the people who responded to John’s call for repentance recognized Jesus as having been sent by God while the priests, Pharisees, and others who thought John had gone off the deep end saw Jesus as a false prophet.  What this demonstrates is the wisdom of God in sending John as a forerunner of Jesus.

It’s fascinating to see John rejoice that he’s losing disciples to Jesus.  Rather than being jealous, he’s happy!  And that last line of the passage is a perfect one for all of us to live by.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord Jesus, increase in my priorities today that I might decrease in them.  Thy will be done…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 284 of 366

Scripture

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
–  John 3:16-18  (Jesus speaking)

Meditation

I’m guessing that you recognize the first part of this passage.  It’s the “John 3:16” that has shown up on so many stadium banners over the years.

The reference to “begotten,” as I said a few days ago, comes from the second psalm, upon which one of these daily devotionals focused.  The portion of this psalm relevant to our passage today is:

“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
–  Psalm 2:7  (emphasis added)

In ancient Jewish thought, “sons of God” was a synonym for angels.  What made this son of God unique from other angels, therefore, was that he was “begotten.”

As we’ve seen before, this reference to “begotten” in the second psalm was a veiled reference to the resurrection of Messiah:

“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.'”  (Paul preaching to a synagogue; all caps quotes Psalm 2:7)
–  Acts 13:32-33

Paul is explaining that when Psalm 2:7 said “today I have begotten,” it was prophesying of the day God would raise Messiah from the dead.

This Messiah came to save the world…and save the world He did!  Because of Him, a human being dying today is born again – that is, born to a new life which is after this one, will exist in heaven, and will last forever.

Between now and the time of our death, we are living in the earth which is subject to the judgments of God.  Christ puts us on the path of the righteous which leads away from judgment and toward blessing.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, show me how to take steps on the path of the righteous today…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 283 of 366

Scripture

One of the two who heard John [i.e. John the Baptist] speak and followed Him [i.e.Jesus], was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).  The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”  Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”  And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
–  John 1:40-51  (emphasis added)

Meditation

The individuals mentioned in this passage were part of the twelve.  The passage reveals a lot about how the Bible deals with names and identities, which explains the five parts I’ve emphasized.

  1. Confirms something you already know: that “Messiah” and “Christ” mean the same thing.
  2. Shows you that “Peter” was a nickname given him by Jesus.  It means “rock.”
  3. Indicates how, even early on, the disciples’ conception of Jesus was shaped by the Old Testament.
  4. This is just a standard first-century Jewish way of saying, “You’re the Messiah” – though their understanding of what that would ultimately mean was quite limited.
  5. Demonstrates that we should always interpret Bible prophecy seriously and meaningfully, but not always literally.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, all Your names have good reasons behind them…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 282 of 366

Scripture

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
–  John 1:17-18

Meditation

I’ve spoken in the course of these daily devotions about the types and shadows in the Old Testament that point to Christ (Messiah).  And I’ve spoken specifically about one of the more notable cases – namely, Moses as pre-figuring Christ.

There are many parallels between Moses and Jesus.  Both were preserved in infancy from a king bent on destroying infants he deemed threatening to his throne.  Both rose in prominence until the jealousy of others caused a fall.  Both were God’s deliverers of the people of God.  Both were lawgivers to the people.  Both performed miracles by the hand of God.  And so on.

While there were many parallels, there were also differences.  There always are differences between a shadow and the reality.  In fact, the shadow is always just a faint outline of the reality.  The reality is greater.  And with God, it is much greater.

Moses took a collection of slaves and shaped them into a nation.  That’s pretty impressive.  Jesus, however, was crucified and rose from the dead all the way to heaven!

Through Moses, the Jews received their Torah (“the Law”).  Through Jesus Christ, the world received deliverance from death!

Moses told the Israelites what God wanted from them and what God would do for them.  Jesus Christ explained God!

Here’s some of Paul’s preaching which we’ve read before:

And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.'”
–  Acts 13:32-33  (all caps are a quotation of Psalm 2:7)

When John says in his gospel “the only begotten God,” he is alluding to Psalm 2:7 – just as Paul was quoting it directly.  Psalm 2 was a prophecy of how the Son of God would be exalted.

The ancient Jews knew that God’s Messiah was going to be great, but they had no idea of how great!  God Himself was going to be birthed from the dead.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, thank You that we can see things the ancients dared not even hope for…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)

Index to Scriptures Used So Far in These Daily Posts