Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Daily Devotional Tuesday 3rd April

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Matthew 20: 17-19
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"They took Jesus, and led him away."
John 19:16

He had been all night in agony, he had spent the early morning at the hall of Caiaphas, he had been hurried from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate; he had, therefore, but little strength left, and yet neither refreshment nor rest were permitted him. They were eager for his blood, and therefore led him out to die, loaded with the cross. O dolorous procession! Well may Salem's daughters weep. My soul, do thou weep also.

What learn we here as we see our blessed Lord led forth? Do we not perceive that truth which was set forth in shadow by the scapegoat? Did not the high-priest bring the scapegoat, and put both his hands upon its head, confessing the sins of the people, that thus those sins might be laid upon the goat, and cease from the people? Then the goat was led away by a fit man into the wilderness, and it carried away the sins of the people, so that if they were sought for they could not be found. Now we see Jesus brought before the priests and rulers, who pronounce him guilty; God himself imputes our sins to him, "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;" "He was made sin for us;" and, as the substitute for our guilt, bearing our sin upon his shoulders, represented by the cross; we see the great Scapegoat led away by the appointed officers of justice. Beloved, can you feel assured that he carried your sin? As you look at the cross upon his shoulders, does it represent your sin? There is one way by which you can tell whether he carried your sin or not. Have you laid your hand upon his head, confessed your sin, and trusted in him? Then your sin lies not on you; it has all been transferred by blessed imputation to Christ, and he bears it on his shoulder as a load heavier than the cross.

Let not the picture vanish till you have rejoiced in your own deliverance, and adored the loving Redeemer upon whom your iniquities were laid.

Evening

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:6

Here a confession of sin common to all the elect people of God. They have all fallen, and therefore, in common chorus, they all say, from the first who entered heaven to the last who shall enter there, "All we like sheep have gone astray." The confession, while thus unanimous, is also special and particular: "We have turned every one to his own way." There is a peculiar sinfulness about every one of the individuals; all are sinful, but each one with some special aggravation not found in his fellow. It is the mark of genuine repentance that while it naturally associates itself with other penitents, it also takes up a position of loneliness. "We have turned every one to his own way," is a confession that each man had sinned against light peculiar to himself, or sinned with an aggravation which he could not perceive in others. This confession is unreserved; there is not a word to detract from its force, nor a syllable by way of excuse. The confession is a giving up of all pleas of self-righteousness. It is the declaration of men who are consciously guilty--guilty with aggravations, guilty without excuse: they stand with their weapons of rebellion broken in pieces, and cry, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." Yet we hear no dolorous wailings attending this confession of sin; for the next sentence makes it almost a song. "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." It is the most grievous sentence of the three, but it overflows with comfort. Strange is it that where misery was concentrated mercy reigned; where sorrow reached her climax weary souls find rest. The Saviour bruised is the healing of bruised hearts. See how the lowliest penitence gives place to assured confidence through simply gazing at Christ on the cross!

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Today's reading: Judges 16-18, Luke 7:1-30 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Samson and Delilah

1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

3 But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

7 Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

8 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them.9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”

11 He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

13 Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”

He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14 and tightened it with the pin.

Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.

17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”

He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.

21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson

23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,

“Our god has delivered our enemy
into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
and multiplied our slain.”

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.

When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.

Judges 17

Micah’s Idols

1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”

Then his mother said, “The LORD bless you, my son!”

3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.”

4 So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.

5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. 6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

7 A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, 8 left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.

9 Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”

“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”

10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” 11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. 13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”

Judges 18

The Danites Settle in Laish

1 In those days Israel had no king.

And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 2So the Danites sent five of their leading men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.”

So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah, where they spent the night. 3 When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?”

4 He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.”

5 Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.”

6 The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the LORD’s approval.”

7 So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.

8 When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?”

9 They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. 10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.”

11 Then six hundred men of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan to this day. 13 From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.

14 Then the five men who had spied out the land of Laish said to their fellow Danites, “Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod, some household gods and an image overlaid with silver? Now you know what to do.” 15 So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him. 16 The six hundred Danites, armed for battle, stood at the entrance of the gate. 17 The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods while the priest and the six hundred armed men stood at the entrance of the gate.

18 When the five men went into Micah’s house and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19 They answered him, “Be quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” 20 The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people. 21 Putting their little children, their livestock and their possessions in front of them, they turned away and left.

22 When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites. 23 As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?”

24 He replied, “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’”

25 The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.” 26 So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.

27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 28There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob.

The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. 29 They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish. 30 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. 31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.


Luke 7

The Faith of the Centurion

1 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Jesus and John the Baptist

18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

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Mary, Mother of John Mark

Among the Marys mentioned in the New Testament, Mary, the mother of Mark who wrote the second gospel, is spoken of but once (Acts 12:12—read 12:1-19), yet this brief description of her is suggestive of her life and labors. She was probably the aunt or sister of Barnabas, the one-time companion of Paul (Colossians 4:10 ), and such a relationship accounts for Barnabas' choice of Mark as his companion—a selection over which Paul and Barnabas parted. Further, being related to Mary would account for the leadership among the saints gathering in her spacious home. Evidently the family belonged to Cyprus, hence the choice of such by Barnabas as the first station in his journeyings (Acts 4:36; 13:4). Sir William Ramsay holds that the narrative of Mary in the Acts was by Mark, which would account for the details of his mother’s large house becoming a well-known center of Christian life and worship. There is a legend to the effect that this same house was the scene of a still more sacred gathering when, in its upper room, Jesus observed the Lord’s Supper on the night of His betrayal.

It was to Mary’s home that Peter found his way after his miraculous escape, for he knew that a company of believers had gathered there to pray for his release. Peter had a peculiar affection for the godly home. He called Mark, “his son” (1 Peter 5:13 ) &--;a spiritual son, having led him to yield his life to the Saviour. The way in which the saints met in Mary’s home bespeaks her tried steadfastness and the bond of intimacy that existed between them. That Rhoda was one of the maids indicates that the household was considerably large, implying that Mary was a widow with means to maintain such a commodious home. As Barnabas her relative gave up his land for Christ, Mary gave up her Jerusalem home to be used as an infant church.

Mary was a woman of sterling qualities and was loyal to her Christian ideals. At that time Christians were a persecuted sect, yet she faced the consequences of yielding up her home as a center of spiritual power and influence, and was self-sacrificing in time, effort and money to serve the Lord. It has been suggested that young Rhoda who went to open the door for Peter was hesitant thinking perhaps it was the soldiers of Herod who had come to arrest some of the homeless Christian friends whose benefactress and patron Mary had become.

As for Mark the evangelist, her son, he was deeply attached to his mother which was probably one reason why he returned to Jerusalem from Perga ( Acts 13:13). He wanted to be nearer the one who had meant so much in his life. Doubtless he derived something of Mary’s straightforward and decided character so prominent in the gospel he wrote portraying Jesus as the lowly servant of God.

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Samuel [Săm'uel]—heard, asked of god, offering of god or appointed by god.

The Man Who Had God’s Ear

Samuel was the earliest of the Hebrew prophets after Moses and the last of the Judges. He was the son of Elkanah of Ephraim (1 Sam. 1:1), and of Hannah, Elkanah’s other wife. Samuel was her first-born and possibly saw the light of day at Ramah ( 1 Sam. 2:11; 7:17). Hannah bore Elkanah five other children (1 Sam. 2:21). There are many points of resemblance between Hannah and Mary, the mother of our Lord ( 1 Sam. 2:1-11 with Luke 1:46-56).

Samuel was a Nazarite (1 Sam. 1:11), the character of the vow being:

Abstinence from intoxicating drinks; self-denial and separation from sensual indulgence.

Free growth of hair, indicating the complete dedication of all the power of the head to God.

Avoidance of contact with a dead body as a token of absolute purity of life (Num. 6).

Samuel’s call to service came when weaned and dedicated to God by his mother (1 Sam. 1:24-28; 3:1-18). When Samuel was around twelve years of age he received his first revelation of the Lord, which was a clear message of doom against Eli’s guilty house (1 Sam. 3:11-14).

Samuel’s ministry was of a fourfold nature. We see him:

I. As a prophet. As a prophet of the Lord ( 1 Sam. 2:27-35;3:19-21; 8:22 ), his faithfulness was a rebuke to the unfaithfulness of Eli. To the end of his days Samuel exercised the office of prophet and his ministry was not in vain. Under the impact of his courageous pronouncements Israel renounced her idolatry and shook off the yoke of the Philistines.

II. As an intercessor. Samuel was born in answer to prayer and his name constantly reminded him of the power of prayer and of the necessity of maintaining holy intimacy with God. Samuel deemed it a sin not to pray for others ( 1 Sam. 7:5-8; 8:6;12:17, 19, 23; 15:11).

III. As a priest. Although Samuel was only a Levite and not a priest by descent, the words, “I will raise up,” imply an extraordinary office (1 Sam. 2:35; 7:9, 10; 13:8-10; Judg. 2:16). The exercises of priestly functions are proved by the following:

By intercession (1 Sam. 7:9).

By offering sacrifices ( 1 Sam. 7:9, 10).

By benediction (1 Sam. 10:17, 25).

By anointing kings (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13).

IV. As a judge. Of Samuel it is said that he “judged Israel all the days of his life.” Even after the government of Israel had changed from that of a theocracy to a monarchy, Samuel still acted as a circuit judge, going from place to place giving divine judgment upon moral and spiritual questions, and maintaining in the hearts and lives of the people the law and authority of Jehovah (1 Sam. 7:15-17). The appointment of his own sons as Judges to succeed him (1 Sam. 8:1 ) was a parental mistake, for their wickedness gave the people reason for demanding a king (1 Sam. 8:5).

The universal reverence and love the nation had for Samuel is proven by the grief manifested at his death. “All Israel lamented him” (1 Sam. 25:1; 28:3). His passing as one of the great heroes of Hebrew history makes impressive reading. Faith was the animating principle of his honored life and labors (Heb. 11:32).

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Jesus Stills the Storm

Matthew 8:23-27 "The men marveled, saying, 'What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?'" (v. 27).

Having explained the cost of discipleship to two would-be followers, Jesus and His disciples set out to cross the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:23). Little do the disciples know that this journey will give their teacher an opportunity to show forth His identity in a way they have not yet seen.

Because of its geographical location, violent squalls frequently occur on the open water of the Sea of Galilee, especially in the period between May and October. Seasoned fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James, and John ( 4:18-22) are certainly familiar with such storms, and so their fear, evident in Matthew 8:24-27, shows that the turbulence in which they find themselves is unusually fierce. However, despite the storm's ferocity, Jesus is able to sleep peacefully as the boat traverses the waves. This indicates His great trust in God and comfort in His faithful obedience because the Old Testament understands sound sleep to be a gift from God to His holy people ( Lev. 26:6). Christ's ability to sleep in the storm is more remarkable when we consider that the boat in which His company is traveling is the customary fishing boat of His day, just big enough to accommodate the small group of men and a large catch of fish. The sailors are completely exposed to the elements. Jesus is not worried like the others even though He feels the storm's effects no less than they do.

Yet Jesus' command of the storm tells us about much more than His great faith. In the biblical worldview, the sea and the storm are associated with chaos and destruction ( Ps. 69:1-2). Only God can control the sea, and in fact, He sets its boundary and stills its fury (Job 38:8-11). That Jesus is able to silence the storm and still the waves indicates that He possesses an authority equal to the Creator's (Matt. 8:26-27 ). The disciples marvel at this miracle because it is evidence that their beloved rabbi is more than just a teacher; He is in fact God Almighty. John Chrysostom writes that "[Jesus'] sleeping showed he was a man. His calming of the seas declared him God" (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 28.1).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

We put our lives in Jesus' hands based on the evidence of His power. Today's passage shows us that we can trust Him because He has authority over all nature and is worthy of our faith since He is the incarnate God over all creation. We follow the Creator of all things, not merely a good man. Take time today to review biblical teaching on the divinity of Christ (for example, John 1:1-18) so that you may be confident that your trust in Him will never be in vain.

For further study:

Proverbs 8:22-31

The Bible in a year:

Ruth 3-4

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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T. Suzanne Eller

April 2, 2012

Strong One
T. Suzanne Eller

"That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)

The wind blew through my fingers as I held my hand outside the window. The bright sunshine seemed foreign after several days in the small hospital room.

My husband had insisted that I go home. "Take a long bath, babe. Take a nap in a real bed. I've got this."

After four weeks, my world had shrunk to my son's bedside, X-ray rooms, the therapy wing, and a dimly lit cafeteria in the basement. I had no idea how long my son would be in the hospital, or what awaited us when he was released. The doctors used phrases like, "It's uncertain at this time."

Before the drunk driver hit my son, I was strong. It wasn't that my faith hadn't been tested; it had. But this was my child, broken and battered at the hands of another, and I couldn't fix it.

As I drove home, I heard these words deep in my spirit:

When you are weak, you are strong.

That didn't make sense to me. I felt anything but strong.

When I arrived home I took my bath and a nap. Afterwards, I pulled out my Bible and flipped to the verse. And there it was. Paul's words:

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."

The apostle suffered with a "thorn in the flesh." Scripture doesn't tell us what that was exactly, but we do know that it was something he couldn't fix on his own. When he prayed, God reminded Paul that His power comes through when we are at our limits.

There was no mistaking it. Like Paul, I was at my weakest point. As a mom, I wanted nothing more than for my son to be okay and the wreck to be behind us. I wanted my son at home. I was exhausted by long nights on a too-small, too-thin cot, and days of caring for my child as he battled extreme pain.

Yet God was trying to tell me something. Something I hadn't realized until that moment.

I didn't have to be the strong one all the time. While I was caring for my son, God was caring for me.

It took a year of therapy and prayer to make my son well; there were many more weak moments ahead for this momma.

But in each, I paused and I whispered these words:

"When I am weak, then I am strong."

My strength was not found in my own abilities or even my staying power. Instead, I was strong because God sustained me and filled me with His grace in the midst of the battle.

Sometimes, when that period of my life is brought up, friends remark, "Suzie, your faith was so real during that time."

I can't help but remind them that I was far from having it all together. What they were seeing was God's grace and love poured over my weak places.

Are you struggling today? Do you feel weak? Whisper it with me:

"When I am weak, then I am strong."

Dear Lord, thank You that Your grace is all I need. Thank You for Your power in the midst of my weak places. I offer up my need to be the "strong one" and replace it with the knowledge that Your strength is sufficient. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do your weaknesses ever make you doubt you can fulfill God's calling or purpose for your life? A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope, is a great resource to help you stop doubting yourself and start living in the power of God's promises. In it you'll learn how to rely on God's strength and truth in every area of your life.

For today only A Confident Heart Ebook on Kindle is FREE! Be sure to tell your friends and download your copy {This amazing FREE Ebook download ends at midnight!}

Visit Suzie's blog where she's giving away 5 {paperback} copies of A Confident Heart and sharing four things you can hold onto when you need strength the be the strong one - for yourself and others.

Join Suzie in her "Live Free" Facebook community to find daily encouragement on how to live free.

To bring the message of this devotion to the women of your church, click here to find out more about Suzie as your next women's event speaker.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Reflect and Respond:
Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up. ~Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (November 4, Morning).

Today, exchange feelings of defeat for praise. Thank Him for doing what you cannot.

Write down one way that only God can lift you higher than the weak places.

Power Verses:
Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (NIV)

Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (NIV)

© 2012 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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The barley field on fire

‘Absalom sent for Joab … but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire … Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?’ 2 Samuel 14:29–31

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 5:1–5

Under your cross you have many special comforts. There are cordials which God gives to sick saints which he never puts to the lips of those who are in health. Dark caverns keep not back the miners, if they know that diamonds are to be found there: you need not fear suffering when you remember what riches it yields to your soul. There is no hearing the nightingale without night, and there are some promises which only sing to us in trouble. It is in the cellar of affliction that the good old wine of the kingdom is stored. You shall never see Christ’s face so well as when all others turn their backs upon you. When you have come into such confusion that human wisdom is at a nonplus, then shall you see God’s wisdom manifest and clear. Oh! the love-visits which Christ pays to his people when they are in the prison of their trouble! Then he lays bare his very heart to them, and comforts them as a mother does her child. They sleep daintily who have Jesus to make their beds. Suffering saints are generally the most flourishing saints, and well they may be, for they are Jesus’ special care. If you would find a man whose lips drop with pearls, look for one who has been in the deep waters. We seldom learn much except as it is beaten into us by the rod in Christ’s school-house under Madam Trouble. God’s vines owe more to the pruning knife than to any other tool in the garden; superfluous shoots are sad spoilers of the vines. But even while we carry it, the cross brings present comfort; it is a dear, dear cross, all hung with roses and dripping with sweet smelling myrrh.

For meditation: The comforts arising from our afflictions as believers are for our own benefit (Psalm 119:50,52), but they should also overflow from us for the blessing of others ( 2 Corinthians 1:4; 7:5–7).

Sermon no. 563
3 April (1864)

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April 2, 2012
Just Listen!
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
James 4:17 (NIV) "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."

Friend to Friend
I was in a hurry. It was Wednesday and I had several errands to run before heading to the church where I teach a monthly Bible study for women. My last stop was the grocery store. I wanted to pick up snacks and drinks for many of the women who came straight from work to the study. It didn't take long to fill my cart with drinks, chips, fruit and a few bags of the oh-so-necessary chocolate treats. Mission accomplished, I headed to the checkout lane.

I suddenly had the thought that I should check out the Christmas decorations. Huh? Where had that thought come from? True, it was only a few weeks until Christmas, but I didn't even know if the grocery store had Christmas decorations. It did. And they just happened to be at the end of the aisle I was on. "Well, why not?" I thought. I had a few minutes to spare.

I selected a few wooden ornaments that would work well on my Christmas tree and tossed them in the cart. And then my eye caught the display just below the rack of tree ornaments. It was a collection of gift books containing inspirational quotes and Scriptures. I spotted one that looked particularly good and, without even checking the price (which is something I always do), added it to my cart and checked out. As I loaded the snacks and drinks into my car, I wondered what had possessed me to buy that book since I already had several similar books at home. I tucked the book in my purse and headed to the church.

The Bible study went well. I was cleaning up and getting ready to head home when a tearful and obviously upset young woman came rushing in. "Did I miss it?" she asked. When I told her we had just finished, she dropped in a chair and burst into tears. "I tried so hard to get here but had a flat tire. It took them an hour to fix it and then the traffic was awful … and I needed to be here so much!" she wailed. I sat down beside her and said, "I have time. Let's talk."

For an hour, this precious young woman poured out her heart and life story of pain along with her desire to get back in church and find God. We talked and prayed. When I encouraged her to start reading the Bible, her eyes filled with tears as she said, "I don't even have a Bible. I lost mine." And then I heard His voice, "That's why I wanted you to buy the book." I hugged the young woman and said, "I want to show you how much God loves you. He knew you would come here tonight and told me to buy something He wanted you to have." When I handed her the inspirational book and explained why I had bought it, a smile of wonder and relief spread across her lovely face. "He really does love you and has a plan for your life," I explained. That young woman made a profession of faith in Christ and has been attending our church ever since that night.

I really do try to live a life of obedience to Christ. I often fail … but I wonder what would have happened if I had not listened to His voice that day in the grocery store. How many times do I miss the opportunity to serve Him by serving others because I am too busy or just don't care enough? Oh, I know God is God and certainly big enough to accomplish His perfect will in many ways. But I want to be part of His process. I want my life to matter. I have made a new commitment to be ready and available to be used by God whenever and wherever He wants to use me. I have asked God to help me listen for His voice above all others. I am praying that I will become more sensitive to hurting people around me. I want to be "God with skin on" to the people He puts in my path. How about you?

Let's Pray
Father, please forgive me when I am too busy to see the hurting people in my world. Help me slow down and look for ways to share You and Your love. Use me, Lord. Right now, I make myself available to be your instrument of love and mercy.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Think back over your day. Was there someone who looked like they could use an encouraging word? Would a smile from you have blessed that young woman in the drive through lane? Did the thought occur to you to pay for the groceries of the young couple in front of you at the grocery store? Look for ways to share Jesus with the people who cross your path today.

More from the Girlfriends
I often wonder how different our world would be if we listened for and acted on the instructions God gives us through the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Today, listen for His voice and look for ways to share His love.

Freebies! Mary has free resources including FREE MP3 downloads on her site.

Need help? Check out one of Mary's E-Bible Studies for practical steps you can take to strengthen your faith and find answers to the problems you face every day.

Join other women across the world in Mary's Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. How to Tame the Tongueis the current series. Check it out!

Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email. She loves hearing what God is doing in your life!

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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Mr Fearing comforted

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 51:9-16

Why did Simon Peter doubt? He doubted for two reasons. First, because he looked too much to second causes, and secondly, because he looked too little at the first cause. The answer will suit you also, my trembling brother. This is the reason why you doubt, because you are looking too much to the things that are seen, and too little to your unseen Friend who is behind your troubles, and who shall come forth for your deliverance. See poor Peter in the ship—his Master bids him come; in a moment he casts himself into the sea, and to his own surprise he finds himself walking the billows. His foot is upon a crested wave, and yet he stands erect; he treads again, and yet his footing is secure. “Oh!” thinks Peter, “this is marvellous.” He begins to wonder within his spirit what manner of man he must be who has enabled him thus to tread the treacherous deep; but just then, there comes howling across the sea a terrible blast of wind; it whistles in the ear of Peter, and he says within himself, “Ah! Here comes an enormous billow driven forward by the blast; now, surely, I must, I shall be overwhelmed.” No sooner does the thought enter his heart than down he goes; and the waves begin to enclose him. So long as he shut his eye to the billow, and to the blast, and kept it only open to the Lord who stood there before him, he did not sink; but the moment he shut his eye on Christ, and looked at the stormy wind and treacherous deep, down he went.

For meditation: The Christian is in a battle against unseen enemies. The shield of faith helps us to fight and, having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:12-16); to put it down for a moment and to rely on sight is to risk falling in battle.

Sermon no. 246
3 April (1859)

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Jesus Stills the Storm

Matthew 8:23-27

We put our lives in Jesus' hands based on the evidence of His power. Today's passage shows us that we can trust Him because He has authority over all nature and is worthy of our faith since He is the incarnate God over all creation. We follow the Creator of all things, not merely a good man. Take time today to review biblical teaching on the divinity of Christ (for example, John 1:1-18) so that you may be confident that your trust in Him will never be in vain.

For further study:

Proverbs 8:22-31

The Bible in a year:

Ruth 3-4

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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Skills: Leadership Development

READ LUKE 10:1-24

One day a beautiful girl kissed a frog. On the surface, it appeared to be just a simple kiss. As it turned out, it was not quite that simple. Regardless of what she thought, the moment she touched her soft lips to the slimy skin of the frog, a transformation occurred. The lime green frog was transformed into a handsome young prince. Actually, according to the story, the prince was liberated to be all that he could be.

What that girl did for the frog, leaders do for their followers. Leaders are in a unique position to help their followers to develop their own leadership skills and to reach their full potential. They can then become all that God created them to be.

When Jesus commissioned the seventy to go out in pairs, he knew that they would face hardship. After all, they departed without food, money or extra clothing. Yet they tasted success. Why? First, because they were well trained. They knew where to go and what to say. They even knew in advance how to deal with rejection. Second, they had a clear vision: They were impelled by Jesus' urgent declaration that "The harvest is plentiful." (v. 2).

When they returned they were filled with joy and shared stories of success (v. 17). Not only did their leader (Jesus) listen to their reports, but he praised their efforts. And, more importantly, he praised them. Jesus mastered in leadership development. He trained leaders, tested them and then rewarded them.

How do you presently develop the skills of others? Is there something Jesus did that you could incorporate into your current process? How?

Leadership Development and Who God Is

God has invested extraordinary potential in human beings, but in a fallen world there are many obstacles to the realization of these capabilities. The incarnation and earthly life of God's Son reveal a pattern for what human life before the fall was meant to be. Turn to Hebrews 5:6-10 to observe how Jesus developed himself as a servant leader.

This Week's Verse to Memorize TITUS 2:7-8

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Leadership Development and Who I Am

God has called us into being and is preparing us for a purpose. In light of this purpose, he sometimes assigns us to courses we would not have chosen as electives. The process of our preparation often seems slow and painful, but there is no painless way to create servant leaders who possess depth and character. Turn to the note on Genesis 37:1-36 to reflect on the story of Joseph's long and difficult process of preparation.

Leadership Development and How It Works

Where do we begin? Leaders are compelled to know so many things and do so much so well. David groomed Solomon for leadership, and Israel enjoyed the successive reigns of these two great kings. 1 Kings 2:1-9 reveals David's focus as he, a great leader, worked to develop Solomon into another great leader.

Leadership Development and What I Do

Nothing we can do to develop leaders is more important than mentoring. Paul practiced this crucial role, and Sheila R. Staley spells out what it means to be a mentor. Turn to 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6.


jesusexperimentpaddedhandbookleadership150Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God
by Kenneth Boa
Buy the Handbook!
The Handbook to Leadership includes: 52-Week Leadership Guide, Topical Leadership Guide, Leadership Character Studies, and Books of the Bible Leadership Guide.
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NIV Devotions for Moms

Toward Perfection

Matthew 5:43-48

Additional Scripture Readings: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Hebrews 12:1

Perfectionism, a disposition to regard anything less than perfect as unacceptable, has been growing over the past decade. In our SuperMom, self-sufficient, competitive age, we struggle with an inadequacy that grows out of a belief that the way we are simply isn't good enough.

This disease has crept into the Christian community as well. Caught between our sinfulness and our ultimate glorification, we aren't sure where to set our sights. Some of us believe so much in grace that we give verses like Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect . . . " little attention. And then others can see nothing but the command and their personal imperfection in comparison.

God doesn't ask us to be perfect today. Today is when we're supposed to be dependent, helpless creatures in need of a Savior. But today is when we have the opportunity to grow more like Jesus. In our words. In our thoughts. In our actions. The challenge we face as moms is not to be perfect today but to walk today in the direction of perfection.

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You Gotta Laugh

Proverbs 31:10-31

Oh, the unique challenges awaiting the woman approaching middle age! Imagine waking up one morning to find your face sort of lying in a pool beside you. Your once tight abs have been replaced with something rather squishy that has to be gathered up (starting somewhere around the knees) and tucked into industrial-strength, control-top pantyhose. Imagine suddenly realizing that your thighs almost create sparks when you walk. Your biceps are so deflated that in a strong breeze you worry that they might actually make a flapping sound. Maybe you don't have to imagine it. Maybe you're living it.

God might have knit these bodies together out of a more "permanent press" kind of fabric. He could have built in a kind of stretch that wouldn't lose its elasticity around middle age. But he didn't. And through our aging and all the challenges we live through, he teaches us what's really important.

The Proverbs 31 "wife of noble character" got in on that teaching. She could "laugh at the days to come" (verse 25). Her future held flabby abs and combustible thighs too. But she could laugh. Why?

The passage describes a woman who seems just about perfect. Many Bible teachers call her the "virtuous woman," and she makes Martha Stewart look like a novice. She keeps her husband happy; she works eagerly; she gets up early and stays up late. She gives to others generously, makes her own clothes, is an eloquent teacher, and her kids love her. A woman like this "who can find," indeed! She is a formidable pattern, an intimidating example.

But look past the outward layer. Look deeper. You'll see a woman of wisdom who fully understood what was really important. She understood what it meant to work hard and to serve God with her whole heart. She understood that everything of consequence was wrapped up in him. Serving others came as a natural extension of serving him.

There's only one metamorphosis that matters-and it will keep every woman eternally beautiful. It's a metamorphosis of the heart. The Scripture says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 ). Having a heart of unselfish service that has been transformed by Christ-that's what's important. And that is what gives us the ability to laugh at the future . . . even if it involves flabby thighs.

Reflection

  1. When your attention to appearance gets out of whack and your focus is more on looks than on eternal things, how might "fearing the Lord" turn your focus back to where it needs to be?
  2. What are some of the ways the woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 served others?
  3. How many different types of people did her daily life and ministry touch? How might you underestimate the many lives you touch each day?

Proverbs 31:25, 30
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come . . . Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Related Readings

Psalm 139:1-24; Romans 12:1-13; Galatians 6:9-10; 1 Peter 3:1-6

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Day 41

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Why was Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost so effective?

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Today's Lent reading: John 13-14 (NIV)

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Today's Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9

1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope."

5 This is what God the LORD says--
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

8 "I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."

New Testament Reading: John 12:1-11

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.


View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

John 14

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.



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