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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Master messengers

Matthew 13:51-52…

Jesus asked the disciples if they had understood what He had been teaching them, and they replied, “Yes”. Jesus said that anyone who understands what He is teaching is someone who is being trained in the kingdom of heaven, that is, to be able to see what God is doing, know His ways, and teach other people how to live.

A true “spiritual scribe” is one who can see what is coming and can process what is happening in light of God’s truth. They know God. They know His ways. They trust and treasure Him. They don’t just have knowledge, but wisdom, and they don’t just know doctrine, they have real devotion and from them we see demonstration. They have lived this thing out, and so they are the most mature and discerning among us (Hebrews 5:11-14). They live and learn and love in the power of God. Their life is full of His life and so they bring that life to any and every situation. People are better off spiritually for having been around them. They can use past experience but also move about with God in a fresh fruitfulness. Oh how we need such people today!

Do you want to meet people like this? Do you want to BE a person like this? It all starts with understanding, and being trained. That is a reward of recognizing and realizing (making it real, cashing in on) this relationship. Keep following the Master, find out what He means, and do what He says, and He will make you a master messenger. Being able to have old gold and fresh fruit, it is the best way to live a treasured life.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jesus the fisherman

Matthew 13:47-50…

Here the Master speaks of the gospel as a sort of drag-net that sweeps along and pulls everything toward it. The gospel goes out and is heard all over the world and from this net will be taken “fish” of every sort (Revelation 7:9-10). Yet only some fish will be staying for supper (Revelation 19:6-9). The net captures many kinds of fish, but at the end of the day, the fisherman judiciously separates the bad from the good, and keeps the edible fish but throws away those that are no good to him.

The gospel is for all people, and all people groups, and Jesus is the only Savior, the only way we can have eternal life (John 14:6 / Acts 4:12 / 1 Timothy 2:5). The call of salvation wasn’t localized to a particular place or people and is not limited to a particular time period (Romans 10:18 / Colossians 1:6, 23 / 1 Timothy 4:10 / Titus 2:11 / 1 John 2:2). From every nation God will get Himself a people, but not all people will come to Him in faith and be saved, of this we are sure (Matthew 7:21).

There are people who hear the gospel but deny it (2 Thessalonians 1:8), devalue it (Romans 10:16), distort it (Galatians 1:6-9), dismiss it (Hebrews 6:4-8), or who are otherwise deceived about it (2 Corinthians 11:4) and dead to it (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). This includes many people in the visible church. They appear to be “good fish”, and they are visibly in the net, but nevertheless they are not the children of God.

The call of the gospel is like a net, it is indeed universal, but only those who will receive it are saved (John 1:12, 17:3 / Romans 10:9-13). The question is whether or not you are following along in faithful trust or just getting taken along for the ride.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jesus the jeweler

Matthew 13:45-46…

The merchant in the parable is Jesus. He left the glories of heaven (Philippians 2:5-11) to bring many others to glory (Hebrews 2:10 / 1 Peter 3:18).

The merchandise is the Church. The pearl in this parable is not a Savior whom the sinner has to “buy.” It is the sinners who are bought by the Savior (1 Peter 1:18-19). The Church is the pearl bought with a price (Acts 20:28), which includes all believers (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The means of payment is the life of Christ given up to save others (John 3:16 / 1 Timothy 1:15, 3:16 / 1 John 2:2, 4:9-10). Consider how an oyster makes a pearl. The formation of a pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into and irritates the oyster. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of a substance called nacre, the same substance that is used to create its own shell. This eventually forms a pearl. So a pearl is the product of suffering, where a foreign substance is covered with the essence of the oyster, also called mother-of-pearl. The church is the fruit of the suffering of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21 / 1 Peter 2:24).

The iniquity of man had caused the injury to Jesus, but now it has been covered by Him and shares His beautiful nature (Colossians 1:27 / 2 Peter 1:3-4). The Church is clothed with a beauty not its own but with the beauty of the One it had been against. Because of the power of Jesus the jeweler, the germ has now become the gem (Zechariah 9:16 / Malachi 3:17-18).