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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, October 31, 2014

Entering into destiny


Matthew 26:30 / Mark 14:26 / Luke 22:39 / John 18:1…

They had eaten the Passover. Jesus had finished His priestly prayer to the Father. They sang a song. Now it was time to go to the place of betrayal, and abandonment. This was the next necessary step on the way of destiny set for Jesus by the Father. It was not to be avoided, but to be embraced, even though it was the most difficult step Jesus had yet taken in His earthly life.  

There is a certain pressure that will come upon a person as they begin to draw closer to Christ. This is what the Apostle Paul was speaking of in his yearning for an increasingly intimate, experiential knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:10). To enter into resurrection power means walking into the fellowship of His sufferings. The life that Jesus wants for us is on the other side of our most difficult steps (1 Peter 4:13-14). This is the path we must pursue if we are to know His passion in our personal experience.

Walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17, 25) means that we will be led to places of pain that prove the overcoming power of the Spirit within us (Romans 8:14-17). We are tempted to step back, as we discover that we are going to the garden, where we will be left alone, to face trials to suffer and temptations to struggle. Yet we must go to the garden, in order to get to the cross, if we are ever going to practically live in resurrection power (1 Peter 4:1-2).

To walk away is to turn back from our destiny.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The cross and the crown


Luke 22:35-38…

To understand these words of Jesus we need to look at the passage Jesus cited as the basis for His words (Isaiah 53:12). The hope of the disciples was based upon their understanding of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, whom they knew Jesus was. But they didn’t as yet understand all the prophecies that pointed to Messiah, like Isaiah 53. This text was not recognized as messianic until later, because the people didn’t expect the Messiah as a suffering servant, only as a triumphant king. Men would reject Jesus because He would not conform to their expectations about the Messiah.

What the disciples did not understand was that the glorious kingdom of righteousness was to be brought about by a “king” who was rejected as a sinner, a criminal. The cross was God’s means of gaining the crown. All of this was revealed through this prophecy of Isaiah. Yet the disciples failed to grasp it, because they were looking at matters through the eyes of their own ambition.

If Jesus was to be rejected, this also meant that His disciples would be. Jesus wanted to focus the disciples’ attention on the change which was occurring in the minds of the people toward the Messiah. When the disciples first went out witnessing, they were popular, but now they would be despised. The people would not like what they see, even as Isaiah predicted. Jesus was not advocating violence. He was simply saying that instead of expecting popularity, they would experience persecution. They must prepare for rejection.

So must we. Our labor is not in vain, but it is always the cross before the crown. 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jesus and the next disciples


John 17:20-26…
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word…The disciples had been prayed for, and they would fulfill their mission, to spread the Word through their witness, and to write the Word in the New Testament.

Jesus also prayed for all of us down through the ages that would believe and be involved in spreading the Word to the glory of God. The unity, glory, witness and love that is in the Trinity, and had enveloped the disciples, is also part of our destiny (1 Corinthians 6:17).  Our spiritual position is settled (Ephesians 2:4-7), even while our earthly condition may be unsettling.

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. Just like the first disciples, we have been given the glory of servanthood and of sacrificial service. It may not seem glorious at times, but one day we will know just how privileged we were. There is a glory, a deeper fellowship to be had through our suffering (1 Peter 1:3-9, 4:1-4, 12-19). One day we will see Jesus in all His glory. 

So that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. This power is meant to be a powerful witness to unbelievers. This prayer has been answered, whether we realize it or not. Christians are one (Romans 12:4-5 / Ephesians 4:1-6).

I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. There are three dynamics of God’s love we are brought into; the love of God toward us, the love for God from us (and to others), and the love of God within Himself (to each person of the Godhead). The depths of this can only be discovered in eternity. 

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