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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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The most important question in the world


Matthew 22:41-46 / Mark 12:35-37 / Luke 20:41-44…

In His back and forth with the religious leaders, Jesus had answered the big questions about our responsibility to government (Matthew 22:15-22), life after death (Matthew 22:23-33), and our most important duty (Matthew 22:34-40).

Now He would add a question to that mix, and it is the most profound of them all. The right answer to this question is the difference between heaven and hell. No matter what you are going through today, or any day, the most important issue in your life is your answer to His question. What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?

They said to him, "The son of David." It had been taught for hundreds of years that the Messiah would be the son of David, in other words, a descendent from his physical line (2 Samuel 7:13 / Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7, 11:1-4 / Jeremiah 23:5-6 / Ezekiel 34:23-24 / Amos 9:11 / Matthew 1:1, 21:9 / Luke 1:69-70 / John 7:41-42 / Acts 13:22-23). He would be the God appointed ruler who would stop the enemies of God’s people and establish justice and righteousness in the land.

Their answer was obvious, but it was only half right, and a half right answer isn’t enough for the most important question of life. They thought of Him as a human warrior rather than a divine Savior. Jesus was telling them that He would be much more than that. They thought all they needed was a king who would lead them out of captivity. They didn’t realize that the real bondage they needed delivery from was sin.

Jesus penetrates deeper into who He really is with His next question. If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son? If the Christ is who you say He is, then why does the Word of God say what it says (Psalm 110:1)? Jesus was saying that King David was calling the Messiah Lord (cf.  Acts 2:34-35 / 1 Corinthians 15:25 / Hebrews 1:13).  He is asserting the deity of the Christ.

Have you considered the ramifications of the deity of Jesus? Apart from it there is no hope of salvation. No matter what your problems are, in the end, Jesus is the answer to everything. The silence of the Pharisees didn’t hide their guilt. Everyone has to answer the most important question in the world.  

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don’t miss the point


Matthew 22:34-40 / Mark 12:28-34…

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. This man is perhaps a little less closed minded than the rest (Mark 12:28, 32-34) but he still has an agenda. The religious leaders had believed that the teachings of Jesus were against Moses. Of course, Jesus said otherwise (Matthew 5:17). They want Jesus to say that He was giving them a law that superseded Moses, so they could charge Him as a blasphemer. In fact, they were the ones who changed the law by their traditions, while Jesus pointed to the spiritual essence of the law.

Which commandment is the most important of all? Jesus quotes Moses (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), exactly what they thought He wouldn’t do. We are called to love God with our whole being. It is more than mere belief (James 2:19), and it wasn’t something new (Nehemiah 1:5). In the light of this command, the religious leaders were hypocrites (Matthew 23:13-36).

God’s desire has always been that people would love Him fully, which results in trust and obedience. Specifically, it results in loving your neighbor as yourself. If we have this vertical love, toward God, then horizontal love, toward others, will naturally flow. If we relate to God rightly then we will relate to others rightly, and conversely if there is a problem with others we have a problem with God.

God is not saying we need to elevate our love for ourselves or for others as much as He is saying that we already love ourselves enough (Ephesians 5:29) and we should love others as much  (Leviticus 19:18 / Matthew 7:12 / Galatians 5:14 / James 2:8-10 / Romans 13:8-10). This is done by loving God first. We must get the order of this right or we miss the point.

The real problem is that none of us can do this fully. However, and hallelujah, Christ has done it for us. Now, as Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can begin to fulfill this in our daily lives. The more you look to God and His love for you, the more you will live like it matters, and the more you will show it towards others.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The God of the living


Matthew 22:23-33 / Mark 12:18-27 / Luke 20:27-40…

First the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up, and now it was the Sadducees turn. They tried to outwit the Master. Their question about whose wife this seven-times-married woman would be in the resurrection stemmed from a law that God gave his Old Testament people through Moses (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).  God set down that law to protect widows and to guarantee continuance of a deceased man’s family line. 

Jesus said the truth was that they didn’t understand the truth in the first place. He knew that they didn’t believe in the resurrection, and He confronted their unbelief with the truth of the Scriptures. He took them back to the burning bush (Exodus 3:6), the time where God told Moses about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and said “I am” their God not that “I was” their God. Therefore Jesus declares that the Lord “is not the God of the dead, but of the living” This stopped the Sadducees in their tracks.

The God of the living will raise everyone from the dead. The question is, to what are you going to be raised to, eternal life or eternal damnation (Job 19:25-27 / Daniel 12:2 / John 5:28-29 / 1 Corinthians 6:14)? It all depends on what you do with Jesus (John 11:25-26 / Hebrews 9:27). A saving faith leads to a living faith (1 Peter 1:3-9), in the God of the living (Galatians 2:20).

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