Praying the Message of Jesus

Daily devotions and thoughts from Eugene Peterson

October 1

Familiar with His Voice

 

"When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it." Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. JOHN 10:4-6

 

Just as sheep are familiar with the voice of their shepherd, so Christians are familiar with the voice of their Lord. Long association in a covenant of love substantiates faithfulness.

 

Read Psalm 23 for background.

 

In gratitude I listen to and obey your voice, Lord Jesus. Call me into paths of compassion and service, into ways of praise and joy, into places of hope and adoration. Amen. 

October 2

I Am the Gate

 

So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good- sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for-will freely go in and out, and find pasture." JOHN 10:7-9

 

Jesus is a passageway. Going one way he leads us into the external world of creation, the visible realities of all things made in love and with purpose. Going the other way he leads us into the internal world of redemption, the invisible realities of grace and mercy which hold all things together.

 

What are some other functions of a door?

 

Through you, Lord Jesus Christ, I find my way out into a grand creation where everything is evidence of the Father's majesty, and I find my way into the Word where all is sustained and alive by the Spirit. Thank you for clear and easy access both ways. Amen. 

October 3

More and Better

 

"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and betfer life than they ever dreamed of." JOHN 10:10

 

Jesus does not need us to complete inadequacies in himsel£ He has no need to plunder our already depleted resources. He is already whole-and more. He overflows with life in himself and therefore is able to give to us, not take from us; to complete us, not exploit us.

 

What more do you want from God?

 

Fearlessly and hopefully I receive you, O Christ. Show me what I must do to live in health; lead me to the places where I live with meaning; provide me with the strength in which I can live exuberantly. Amen. 

October 4

Good Shepherd

 

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary." JOHN 10:11

 

A persistent and influential image for God in Scripture is "shepherd." By it we understand God in Christ as strong and tender, courageous and inti­mate, provident and personal.

 

Read Ezekiel 34:7-16.

 

"The King of love my Shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever. In deaths dark vale I fear no ill with Thee, dear Lord, beside me; Thy rod and staff my comfort still, Thy cross before to guide me." Amen. 

October 5

Hired Man

 

"A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him." JOHN 10:12-13

 

There is nothing worse than people who use the spiritual needs of others to serve their own pride, who pretend to care for souls but only care for themselves. Jesus, in contrast, is unique and noble: completely without self-interest, wholly attendant on our eternal well-being.

 

What is a "hired man"?

 

Father, how I thank you for sending Jesus to be my shepherd: a Lord whom I can trust completery without the fear of being misled, a Savior upon whom I can rery absolutery, without the anxiety of being abandoned. Amen. 

October 6

One Flock, One Shepherd


"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They'll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd." John 10:14-16


A good shepherd does not play favorites, concentrating his attention on a few and ignoring the many. The shepherd's concern and affection far exceed what a single fold of sheep, or a particular sheep, can experience or even be aware of.


Who are some of the "other sheep"?


Shepherd Christ, I hear your voice; how many others hear it too? As you lead me into green pastures and beside still waters, guide me into a fellowship of love with others who fallow you. Amen. 

October 7

I Lay Down My Life

 

"This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. 1 lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father." JOHN 10:17-18

 

Jesus picked up an earlier statement (see verse 11) and expanded it: His shepherding is voluntary and it is sacrificial. He is not a puppet pulled by the strings of fate: He chooses. And he is not a victim overwhelmed by malign forces: His sacrifice will conclude in a resurrection.

 

How did Jesus lay down his life?

 

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for going all the way for me, to the cross and to death, making there a "full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world" and for my sins. Amen.

October 8

Tell Us Straight Out

 

A lot of them were saying, "He's crazy, a maniac - out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?" But others weren't so sure: "These aren't the words of a crazy man. Can a 'maniac' open blind eyes?" They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across from Solomon's Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, "How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you're the Messiah, tell us straight out." Jesus answered, "I told you, but you don't believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don't believe because you're not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand." JOHN 10:20-28

 

Those who insist on playing the leading part on center stage, using God only as background scenery and permitting him only a few off-stage whis­pers, will also complain that he does not speak clearly or act plainly. Of course not. But the fault is in their pride, not in his revelation.

 

What do you know about Hanukkah?

 

Lord, when others suggest detours through cloud-shadowed lanes of skepticism, direct me into the sunlit clarity of faith so that I may walk in your ways and not stumble, advance in your will and not wander, and come, finally, to your presence, where I will know even as I am known. Amen. 

October 9

Under My Care

 

"The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind." JOHN 10:29-30

 

Through Jesus we discover, by faith, absolute trust: That which we turn over to God is secure. He is not careless or absentminded with the precious treasure of our lives. God takes care of that which we give him.

 

What have you entrusted into the Father's care?

 

I commit myself and those I live with into your safekeeping, dear Father. Permit no evil to ruin our faith, no testing to damage our obedience, no unbelief to diminish our love, no anxieties to weaken our hope. You bought us with a great price; now keep us for eternity. Amen. 

October 10

Blasphemy

 

Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, "I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?" The Jews said, "We're not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said-this blasphemy of calling yourself God." John 10:31-33 

 

Jesus' opponents were quite clear about one thing: Jesus was not merely a nice man running good-natured errands for the neighbors. He was either the very· God or a blasphemer. Their accusation, while wrong, at least showed that they understood the issue.

 

Read Leviticus 24:16 for background.

 

Eternal God, I thank you for the mystery and miracle of your presence in Christ. You reveal yourself truly and share yourself wholly. Praise be to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

October 11

The Evidence Right Before Your Eyes

 

Jesus said, "I'm only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, 'I tell you -you are gods.' If God called your ancestors 'gods' - and Scripture doesn't lie -why do you yell, 'Blasphemer! Blasphemer!' at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If 1 don't do the things my Father does, well and good; don't believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you'll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same-Father and Son. He is in me; 1 am in him." They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, "John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true." Many believed in him then and there. JOHN 10:34-42

 

Jesus didn't say one thing and do another; he did what he said and said what he did. We can begin with either form of the revelation-the verbal or the visible, the words or the works-and be led to the same conclusion: This is the Christ of God.

 

How is Jesus like God?

 

God, thank you far giving me the whole picture in Jesus. Take everything I see and everything I hear and arrange it into a coherent, convincing revelation of your will to salvation. Amen. 

October 12

Lazarus Is Sick

 

A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord's feet with arom·atic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Master, the one you love so very much is sick." When Jesus got the message, he said, "This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God's glory by glorifying God's Son." John 11:1-4

 

No misfortune, it seems, is a disaster. Nothing is able, in itself, to separate us from God's purposes in Christ. And so Jesus' response to Lazarus's ill­ness was both casual and confident. Even the things we call evil can be used by God to demonstrate his glory.

 

Why did the sisters send for Jesus?

 

You know, Lord, how faithless and nervous I am in the presence of illness and death: even though I know you are the great Physician; even though I know you are the resurrection and the life. Teach me to live in hope, responsive every moment to your glory. Amen. 

October 13

Lazarus Died

 

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, "Let's go back to Judea." They said, "Rabbi, you can't do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you're going back?" Jesus replied, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn't stumble because there's plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can't see where he's going." He said these things, and then announced, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I'm going to wake him up." The disciples said, "Master, if he's gone to sleep, he'll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine." Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap. Then Jesus became explicit: "Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn't there. You're about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let's go to him." That's when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, "Come along. We might as well die with him." JOHN 11:5-16

 

Christ's love does not operate in the grooves of our expectation. He did not rush to heal Lazarus; he did not hurry to comfort Mary and Martha. But his measured, deliberate pace leads to an action that far exceeds our expectations.

 

Why did Jesus delay his coming?

 

"Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice like mountains high soaring above, Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love." Amen. 

October 14

Resurrection and Life


When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house. Martha said, "Master, if you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you." Jesus said, "Your brother will be raised up." Martha replied," I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time." "You don't have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world." JOHN 11:17-27


In Christ our destiny is not dissolution or annihilation or transmigration -or any of the other possibilities guessed by restless and curious minds­but actual, historical resurrection.


What is resurrection?


I believe in your resurrection, Lord Jesus Christ, and praise your marvelous and mighty name; and I believe in my resurrection, and wonder at your compassion and concern. You have the last word, and the last word is life, not death. Amen. 

October 15

Jesus Wept

 

After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, "The Teacher is here and is asking for you." The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, "Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, "Where did you put him?" "Master, come and see," they said. Now Jesus wept. The Jews said, "Look how deeply he loved him." Others among them said, "Well, if he loved him so much, why didn't he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man." JOHN 11:28-37

 

The power of Jesus did not isolate him from human pain or protect him from personal anguish. He participated in the emotions of death and grief completely. It is as important to realize his humanity ("Jesus wept") as it is to believe in his divinity ("I am ... Resurrection and Life," verse 25) if we are to respond to the complete Christ.

 

Why did Jesus weep?

 

Because, Lord, nothing I experience is foreign to you and nothing I feel is strange to you, I am bold to draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and.find grace in time of need (see Hebrews 4:16). Amen. 

October 16

Lazarus, Come Out!

 

Then Jesus; the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, "Remove the stone." The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, "Master, by this time there's a stench. He's been dead four days!" Jesus looked her in the eye. "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Then, to the others, "Go ahead, take away the stone." They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, "Father, I'm grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I've spoken so that they might believe that you sent me." Then he shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him loose." JOHN 11:38-44

 

The same commanding voice that penetrated chaos and brought heaven and earth into being reached into the corruption of the grave and brought out a resurrection life.

 

What does this passage mean to you?

 

'I have a grave of sin .... Where Lazarus had been four days, I have been for fifty years. Why dost Thou not call me, as Thou didst him? I need Thy thun­der, O my God! Thy music will not serve me." Amen. 

October 17

The Fragrance Filled the House

 

Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus' feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, "Why wasn't this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces." He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them. Jesus said, "Let her alone. She's anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don't always have me." JOHN 12:1-8 
 

The generous gift of Mary and the stingy complaint ofJudas are placed in contrast. Mary used what she had to adore Jesus; Judas used Jesus to enrich himself. Mary was led into a life of devotion that was beautiful; Judas was posted as a warning against letting money get between us and God.

 

What are some other contrasts between Mary and Judas?

 

Lord, I place what I have in offering to you. And not just my money, but my life-my energies, my abilities, and my goals. Let everything be fragrant in devotion to you. Amen. 

October 18

A Grain of Wheat

 

The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God's name! Yes! The King of Israel!" ... There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip ... : "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?" Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, "Time's up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me." JOHN 12:12-13, 20-26

 

Jesus demonstrated, in word and act, how our lives are seed to be planted, not fruit to be preserved. When we realize the centrality of God in our lives, we are able to understand ourselves as gifts that we are free to share rather than as possessions that we must anxiously protect.

 

How did Jesus demonstrate this saying?

 

Where do I plant myself today, Lord? In what acts of love? In what routines of service? In what words of witness? I wait for your direction, ready to follow your lead. Amen. 

October 19

A Voice

 

"Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? 'Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place. I'll say, 'Father, put your glory on display."' A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again." The listening crowd said, "Thunder!" Others said, "An angel spoke to him!" Jesus said, "The voice didn't come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me." He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death. Voices from the crowd answered, "We heard from God's Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it. that the Son of Man 'be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?" Jesus said, "For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn't destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don't know where you're going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You'll be children of light." JOHN 12:27-36

 

It is all important that we realize the essential relation between Father and Son, between the heavenly voice and the earthly ministry, between the glorious will and purpose of God and the act of glory that is the death and resurrection ofJesus.

 

Compare this with Daniel 7:13-14.

 

Your acts are light, Lord Jesus, and your words are light-candescent marks that show the path of pilgrimage to God. Keep my eyes open to what you reveal and my heart obedient to what you will. Amen. 

October 20

To Save the World 

 

All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn't get it, still wouldn't trust him .... Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, "Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won't have to stay any longer in the dark. If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn't take it seriously, I don't reject him. I didn't come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I'm saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I'm not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That's all I have to say. Whc;tt the Father told me, I tell you." JOHN 12:37, 44-50

 

Jesus made a last, vigorous attempt to persuade the crowds-to break through the indifference of some and the fear of others. He is passionate and single-minded in his ministry of revealing God's will, drawing people to salvation and commanding eternal life.

 

How does judgment get set in motion?

 

Save me, Lord Jesus Christ. Expose my sin and lead me to the place of forgive­ness; heal my faithlessness and make me healthy with love; convert my rebel­lion and train me in persevering discipleship. Amen. 

October 21

You Wash My Feet?


Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal. Jesus knew the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?" Jesus answered "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear
enough to you later." JOHN 13:1-7 

 

For some people, accepting an act of ministry is more difficult than offer­ing it, for when another assists us our dependence, weakness, and need are admitted. When Peter abandoned his pose as the all-sufficient self-made man and received Jesus' ministry, he acted by faith.

 

ls it difficult for you to accept help?

 

I know, Lord, that it is pride that wants to assert absolute independence and be free from all obligations. I would like never to have to ask anybody for anything, not even you. Forgive my self righteousness and clothe me in your righteousness. Amen. 

October 22

Entirely Clean

 

Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet-ever!" Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing." "Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!" John 13:8-9

 

The acts of ministry that impinge upon us in Christ are not tokens, exter­nal trivialities that may or may not remind us of something important; they are sacramental signs: evidence of a deep and thoroughgoing inward transformation.

 

Compare this with 1 John 1:9.

 

Cleanse me, Christ. Wash the stain of sin from my soul, blow the dust of doubt from my mind, wipe the dirt of evil from my spirit: I Long to be perfectly whole. Amen. 

October 23

Not Every One of You

 

Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.") JOHN 13:10-11

 

Judas submitted his feet to Jesus' washing, but withheld his heart. The water never got beneath his skin. Christ's cleansing requires inner acceptance.

 

Why did Judas betray Jesus?

 

"Generous in love-God, give grace! Huge in mercy-wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry" (Psalm 51:1- 2). Amen. 

October 24

A Pattern

 

After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his piace at the table. Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious." John 13:12-15

 

Jesus' life is not only a unique and indispensable ministry-the one we need to reveal God to us and to reconcile us to God-but our common example, the model from which we learn to live truly and rightly. What act of service will you do today? Lord Jesus, you couldn't have made it any more clear; you couldn't have said it more plainly.

 

Why do I have so much difficulty following your example?

 

Pride gets in the way. Overcome my selfishness and train me in devout service. Amen. 

October 25

A Blessed Life

 

"A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it-and live a blessed life." JOHN 13:16-17

 

Knowing is not enough. Understanding must be completed by obedience. What the head knows and the heart feels must be coordinated with what the hands do and where the feet go.

 

How do you express your faith in action?

 

Servant Christ, you show me how to serve; you command me to serve; you bless me as I serve. I praise you for the servant way, its joy and its glory. Amen. 

October 26

You Will Believe

 

"I'm not including all of you in this. I know precisely whom I've selected, so as not to interfere with the fulfillment of this Scripture: 'The one who ate bread at my table turned on his heel against me.' I'm telling you all this ahead of time so that when it happens you will believe that I am who I say I am." JOHN 13:18-19

 

The way Jesus turned Judas's betrayal, the Jewish trial, and the Roman crucifixion into acts of atonement and redemption is as powerful an incen­tive to believe as the positive acts of revelation in which he shows his glory.

 

What Scripture does Jesus quote?

 

Even more impressive, Lord, than the signs that show your life and your love is the way you use the malice of evil men to do the work of salvation: '1nstead of smoldering rage-God-praise!" (Psalm 76:10). Amen. 

October 27

Receiving

 

"Make sure you get this right: Receiving someone I send is the same as receiving me, just as receiving me is the same as receiving the One who sent me." JOHN 13:20

 

We take what God gives through the servant whom he sends. The act of ministry is for our salvation whether or not the minister is to our taste. We cannot be snobbish; we must not be fussy. Receive.

 

Whom has God sent to you?

 

Father, you send messengers and provide ministries, and I receive. Help me to be hospitable and open to all who come, gateful and accepting of each who speaks in your name, for "some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!" (Hebrews 13:2). Amen. 

October 28

Who?

 

After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. "One of you is going to betray me." The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about. So, being the closest. he said, "Master, who?" Jesus said, "The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I've dipped it." Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. As soon as the bread was in his hand, Satan entered him. "What you must do," said Jesus, "do. Do it and get it over with." No one around the supper table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor. Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night. JOHN 13:21-30

 

How a person who had been at Jesus' side for so long, who had experienced his virtue and enjoyed his blessing, could deliberately plot his betrayal escapes logic. All, though, who are not self-deceived know their own capac­ity for the entire range of sin.

 

Which disciple was called "the one Jesus loved dearly"?

 

"O break, O break hard heart of mine! Thy weak self love and guilty pride His Pilate and His Judas were: Jesus our Lord, is crucifled" Amen. 

October 29

Glorified


When he had left, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God's glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified-glory all around!" JOHN 13:31-32


Glory - an important word in John's Gospel-refers to the open display of God's good will, his loving salvation, his redeeming purpose. As Judas was swallowed up in the night, Jesus emphasized this theme to focus atten­tion on what God was doing, not on what Judas did.


How many times is "glory" (in any form of the word) mentioned here?


You know, God, my fondness for eavesdropping on the gossip of the wicked and entertaining in my heart tales of sin when I should be absorbed in the dramatic story of salvation in Jesus. Help me to pay attention to what is really impor-tant-your works and your words. Amen. 

October 30

A New Command

 

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another." JOHN 13:34

 

Love is defined ("in the same way I loved you") and commanded. It has nothing to do with soupy feelings, and it is not an optional feature for attachment to basic religion if we happen to be inclined in that direction. It is what Christ did and what we must do.

 

What is new about love?

 

Jesus Christ, your words have been flattened by so many repetitions and dulled by so many hypocrisies that I hear them as neither new nor commanding. By your Spirit restore fresh, explosive force to the words so that I may hear with zest and obey with zeal. Amen.

October 31

This is How...


"This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples -when they see the love you have for each other." John 13:35


A most surprising identification card! Not "if we hold the right doctrine"; not "if we have membership in the right church"; not "if we work hard for justice"; not "if we are knowledgeable in Scripture"; not "if we diligently and successfully use our talents." The only Christ-authorized mark of disci­pleship is love for one another.


Is this the way others recognize you?


Dear Jesus, you have showed me how to love you; you have commanded me to love; you are in and with me to love. Develop in me a deep, consistent, and mature love for others. Amen.