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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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Strengthen your brothers


Luke 22:31-34 / John  13:36-38…

Satan demanded to have you. This refers to all the disciples. They are all going to be in the midst of great temptation as the events surrounding the Crucifixion are now upon them. “Sift someone like wheat” is similar to “pick someone apart”.

But I have prayed for you. Now Jesus lets Peter know that Satan has targeted him individually.  When the Devil wants to attack the company of saints he will often focus his attack on a particular individual. He picks on one to try and pick the fellowship apart.

That your faith may not fail. Peter’s denials are not pictured as an absence of faith. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not be “eclipsed”. He knows what we are going through and that we will fall down sometimes, yet He still loves us and prays for us (Hebrews 7:25 / Romans 8:34). As the devil accuses (Revelation 12:10), Christ acts as our advocate (Hebrews 9:24 / 1 John 2:1). 

And when you have turned again. Jesus quite graciously restores Peter “in advance,” even with the knowledge of his approaching denials. Jesus knew the darkness was coming but He also knew that although Peter would fall down, he would not fail to get back up.

Strengthen your brothers. Jesus commissions Peter, and we are to do the same (2 Corinthians 1:4). This doesn’t excuse what we may have done; it proclaims the mercy and grace of Christ who is with us through the trials. Although we sat in darkness the light shined through.

Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death. Our pride, or whatever else God has to expose, keeps us from God’s best and then God allows the enemy to attack. God uses this to teach you to rely on Him more, and when we lean on Him this brokenness leads to greatness. It is not the sin that broke us that makes us great, but the turning again, the realization that no matter how far we have gone in the kingdom of God we still need the King. God will break us to remake us; God uses the broken to reach the broken.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This is how they’ll know


John 13:31-35…

When he had gone out, Jesus said. Now that Judas had left, and the atmosphere had been changed, Jesus would get down to some details.

He speaks of His crucifixionNow is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

He speaks of His resurrection. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.

He speaks of His ascension. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.

He speaks of His instruction. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

He speaks of His intention. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Jesus wants people to know that we are Christians. So many people have dynamite words but firecracker works. Yet while it is more than words, it is also more than deeds, it is words matched with deeds bathed in truth (1 John 3:18).

Jesus did not say that we become disciples by loving one another. We become disciples by personal faith in Him who offered the atoning sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. Loving others is not the root of our discipleship, it is the fruit. They will know we are Christians by our love. 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

The pattern and position of greatness


Luke 22:24-30…

Once again, Jesus is contrasting the way of the world with the way of the Word. According to our natural way of thinking, the person who is served is greater than the one who does the serving. This is how it normally plays out in secular society. But Jesus often wants us to do the opposite of what seems natural. The greatest person should be the greatest servant.

The issue here is not whether some saints should be greater than others, but rather how they use their greatness. Jesus said the great Christian is marked by the fact that they don’t use their position to push people around. While they may be the greatest, they are not to act like it, or to demand they be treated like it. They are characterized by servanthood.

Jesus never commands us to give up life, money, family, and power for nothing. He calls us to give up the temporary and imperfect things of this life in order to lay them up for the next. We are to give up wielding our platform, position, and power for ourselves. We are to serve Christ by serving His people, in order to be given a place of honor in His kingdom. In His kingdom, the disciples are promised that they will sit at His table, and that they will be given thrones on which they will be seated, and from which they will rule.

We are to pattern our lives after our Master. In fact, we do. Whatever pattern we are following is indicative of whom our master is.

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