Apr 13, 2015
Apr 13, 2015
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:6–7
Dawson Trotman, a dynamic Christian leader of the mid-twentieth century and founder of The Navigators, emphasized the importance of the Bible in the life of every Christian. Trotman ended each day with a practice he called “His Word the last word.” Before going to sleep he meditated on a memorized Bible verse or passage, then prayed about its place and influence in his life. He wanted the last words he thought about each day to be God’s words.
The psalmist David wrote, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings” (Ps. 63:6–7). Whether we are in great difficulty or enjoying a time of peace, our last thought at night can ease our minds with the rest and comfort God gives. It may also set the tone for our first thought the next morning.
A friend and his wife conclude each day by reading aloud a Bible passage and daily devotional with their four children. They welcome questions and thoughts from each child and talk about what it means to follow Jesus at home and school. They call it their version of “His Word the last word” for each day.
What better way to end our day!
Thank You Father, for Your Word in our hearts and our minds—our last thought at night as we rest securely in You.
Do you have a favorite verse you have committed to memory?
The Spirit of God renews our minds when we meditate on the Word of God.
What can we learn from David’s example? Why not spend some time today reflecting on the character of God.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
On a very cold November afternoon, I sat under a green tent with my mother’s coffin in front of me. How many times had I stood in cemeteries, offering comfort and the Word of God to those who had lost a loved one? But this was my first experience being on the other side of the casket. As I sat there, a shocking thought popped into my head: Suppose there is no resurrection! This idea was quickly driven away by my faith and confidence in Christ. But it had lasted just long enough for me to feel the despair and hopelessness of such a belief.
To help us appreciate Christ’s victory over the grave, let’s consider what the outcome of life and death would be without the resurrection. First of all, Jesus would still be dead. That means our faith in Him would be worthless and our message to the world would be a lie. What’s more, Jesus Himself would be proved a liar since He claimed that He would rise from the dead.
There would be no forgiveness of our sins, no possibility of reconciliation with God, and no hope of heaven. All deceased believers throughout history would have perished. Without the resurrection, there would be nothing positive for anyone to look forward to. Everybody’s destiny after death would be hell.
Thank God, none of these scenarios are true. Our Savior lives, our sins are forgiven, death has been defeated, and believers in Christ have assurance of eternity in heaven with Him. After considering how hopeless we would be without a resurrection, let’s rejoice all the more in the greatness of our salvation.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day on the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
The main thought among Job’s friends concerning righteousness seems to be reciprocity. That is, if you are good, good things will happen to you. If you are bad, bad things will happen. However, it is very clear that this reciprocity was not the belief system that motivated Job. His friends may well have bought into the growing philosophy that “works” would suffice for salvation, but not this “perfect and upright” servant of God (Job 1:1).
Although Job continually protested he had lived a righteous life and was mystified why God had allowed the calamities to descend on him, Job still understood that he was a sinner by nature and needed the cleansing only God could provide.
The New Testament simplicity of the gospel through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ may not yet have been clear to Job. However, even God Himself said of Job, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8). Job knew the “good news” of a holy, loving, saving Creator and coming King. HMM III
Adapted from The Book of Beginnings by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.
After the giving of the law upon Sinai, Moses received instructions as to the institution of public worship and sacrifice. As all that which was then appointed was typical of spiritual things, we will read the New Testament summary of it, contained in
and a worldly or material
For there was a tabernacle made; the first or outer tabernacle
which is called the sanctuary or holy place.
Holiest of all or Holy of Holies
The greatest of the Jewish high priests had to admit that they were sinners themselves, for they had to present sin-offerings on their own account, but our Lord Jesus has no sin of his own; hence in part his ability to bear our sin.
The Holy of Holies was not open to all men, but only to Jews; and not to all Jews, but only to priests; and not to all priests, but to the high priest alone; and not even to him at all times, or indeed at any time, except upon one solitary day in the year:
They could not expiate sin, and consequently could not give the conscience peace.
The appearance of the substance and the putting away of the shadows, was a reformation, or emendation. Is it not wonderful that any should wish to undo this reformation, and go back to the beggarly elements of the law? Nay, worse, they would even revive the follies of old Rome.
Our Lord’s offering is never to be repeated. It has been presented once, and has effectually secured the eternal redemption of all for whom he bled as a substitute. O what joy to see Jesus within the veil with a perfect offering, and to know that the one sacrifice has saved us.
Hebrews 9:13, 14
Who can answer this question, “How much more?” It amounts to a solemn affirmation. Jesus can most assuredly remove our sins. Beloved, has he removed yours? Answer as before the living God!
Jesus, in Thee our eyes behold
A thousand glories more
Than the rich gems, and polish’d gold,
The sons of Aaron wore.
They first their own burnt-offerings brought
To purge themselves from sin:
Thy life was pure, without a spot;
And all Thy nature clean.
Once in the circuit of a year,
With blood, but not his own,
Aaron within the veil appears,
Before the golden throne.
But Christ by His own powerful blood
Ascends above the skies,
And in the presence of our God
Shows His own sacrifice.
Jesus has the greatest power in the whole universe! When He walked the earth, He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, walked on water, changed water into wine, and multiplied loaves and fishes. In fact, Jesus performed so many miracles that the apostle John said, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written…” (John 21:25).
Satan was terrified of Jesus. That’s why the enemy inspired Herod the Great to try to kill the infant Messiah by slaughtering all the babies in Bethlehem and the surrounding region (Matthew 2:16). When that failed, the devil tried to wipe out Jesus by attempting to seduce Him with temptations in the wilderness. And when that failed, the devil tried to kill Jesus on numerous occasions using angry religious people!
Do you recall the many times religious leaders tried and failed to catch Jesus? The Gospels are filled with examples when He supernaturally slipped out of the hands of His aggressors. (See Luke 4:30, John 7:30, John 8:59, and John 10:39.)
Now it was time for Satan’s next attempt using Judas Iscariot—and it seems that the devil was worried he wouldn’t succeed again! Thus, the enemy inspired Judas to lead a massive group of Roman soldiers and temple police to arrest Jesus. There were far too many soldiers in this group to capture just one individual—unless that individual was the Son of God!
The religious leaders the devil was using were also filled with hate toward Jesus. Considering how many times Jesus had previously slipped out of their hands, they must have worried that He might slip away this time too.
After serving Communion to His disciples, Jesus retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. John 18:2 tells us that it was Jesus’ custom to go there to pray with His disciples. Therefore, Judas knew precisely where to find Jesus that night when it was time to lead the soldiers and temple police to arrest Him.
John 18:3 says, “Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.” This verse says Judas received “… a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees….” I want you to understand exactly who this “band of men” and these “officers from the chief priests” were so you can see the full picture of what happened that night on the Mount of Olives. I believe you will be flabbergasted when you realize the gigantic numbers of armed men who came looking for Jesus that night!
The soldiers Judas brought with him to the Garden of Gethsemane were soldiers who served at the Tower of Antonia—a tower that had been built by the Hasmonean rulers. Later it was renamed the “Tower of Antonia” by King Herod in honor of one of his greatest patrons, Marc Antony (yes, the same Marc Antony who fell in love with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra!).
The Tower of Antonia was a massive edifice that was built on a rock and rose seventy-five feet into the air. Its sides had been completely smoothed flat to make it difficult for enemies to scale its walls. Although it had many towers, the highest one was located on the southeast corner, giving the watchman an uninhibited view of the temple area as well as much of Jerusalem.
Inside this massive complex was a large inner courtyard for exercising the Roman cohort—comprised of 300 to 600 specially trained soldiers—that was stationed there. These troops were poised to act defensively in the event of an insurgency or riot. In fact, a staircase led from the tower into the temple, enabling the troops to enter the temple in a matter of minutes should a disturbance develop there. One writer has noted that there was even a secret passageway from the tower to the inner court of the priests, making it possible for troops to reach even that holy, off-limits location.
John 18:3 records that there was “a band of men” in the Garden that night. The Greek word for “a band of men” is spira. This is the word that describes a military cohort—the group of 300 to 600 soldiers mentioned above. These extremely well-trained soldiers were equipped with the finest weaponry of the day.
John 18:3 also tells us that on the night Jesus was arrested, this band of soldiers was accompanied by “… officers from the chief priests and Pharisees….” The word “officers” is from the Greek word huperetas. The word huperetas has several meanings in New Testament times, but in this case, it described the “police officers” who worked on the temple grounds. Once a judgment was given from the religious court of law, it was the responsibility of the temple police to execute these judgments. This fearsome armed force worked daily with the cohort stationed at the Tower of Antonia and reported to the chief priests, the Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin. These were the “officers” who accompanied the Roman soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane.
We can therefore conclude that when the Roman soldiers and temple police arrived to arrest Jesus, the hillside where the Garden was located was literally covered with Roman soldiers and highly trained militia from the Temple Mount. I want you to really see what a huge crowd of armed men came that night, so let’s look at what the other Gospels tell us about this same incident.
Matthew 26:47 says it was “a great multitude” of soldiers, using the Greek words ochlos polus to indicate that it was a huge multitude of armed men. Mark 14:43 calls it “a great multitude,” using the Greek word ochlos, indicating that it was a massive crowd. Luke 22:47 also uses the word ochlos to indicate the band of soldiers that came that night was enormous.
It makes one wonder what Judas had told the chief priests about Jesus that made them think they needed a small army to arrest Him! Did Judas forewarn them that Jesus and His disciples might put up a fight? Or is it possible that the chief priests were nervous that Jesus might use His supernatural power to resist them?
Certainly Jesus was known for His power! After all, He had ministered for three years—healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, raising the dead, walking on water, changing water into wine, and multiplying loaves and fishes. The stories of Jesus’ power must have already been legendary even during His lifetime here on earth!
Even Herod heard of Jesus’ powers and longed to be an eyewitness himself of the miracles He performed (see Luke 23:8). We saw what the apostle John said about this in John 21:25: The world itself couldn’t contain all the books it would take to record every one of Jesus’ miracles. So it’s not too hard to imagine that the majority of people in Jesus’ day had heard stories of the extraordinary power that flowed through Him.
It thrills my heart to think of the power of Jesus Christ! Even more thrilling is the knowledge that the same power that flowed through Him when He walked on this earth now flows through you and me. The same Holy Spirit who anointed Jesus to fulfill His ministry has been sent to empower you and me to do the same works He did! In fact, Jesus prophesied that we would do even greater works (John 14:12). This is the kind of power that operates in you and me!
Anytime the devil tries to insinuate that you’re not a serious threat to be feared, you need to rise up and remind him of Who lives inside you! Tell the devil (and remind yourself at the same time) that the Greater One lives inside you (1 John 4:4) and that you are a world overcomer (1 John 5:4). Remind yourself every day that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives inside you and is at your disposal 24 hours a day. And the next time you’re faced with a situation that requires power, open your heart and let it flow—because the anointing that was on Jesus now rests on you!
Lord, I am so thankful You possess the greatest power in the whole universe! I’m not serving a dead god; I’m serving a living Lord who is interceding for me at the right hand of the Father at this very moment. Jesus, I come to You as my great High Priest, and I ask You today to fill me with Your power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I don’t want to just intellectually know about You; I want to truly know You. I want to experience Your power and walk in Your ways!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I declare by faith that the Greater One lives inside me. I am a world overcomer! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives inside me and is at my disposal 24 hours a day. When I’m faced with a situation that requires power, I open my heart and release the immense power of Jesus Christ that is stored up deep inside me. This power is continuously resident in my heart and is more than enough to face and overcome any obstacle the devil ever tries to throw in my way!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Easier said than done when you are:
So, how is it possible to abide in His love? Let’s take it a step at a time: Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)
“JUST AS THE FATHER HAS LOVED ME… ”
The love of the Father for the Son is unconditional, all-encompassing, unchanging and eternal. Christ has always lived in the Father’s love.
“I HAVE ALSO LOVED YOU… ”
In like manner, Christ’s love for us is of the same quality as the Father’s love for His Son. Whether we “perform” or not, His love is there! Whether we “feel” close to Him or not His love is there! Whether we have spent time with Him or not His love is there: Encircling us, unconditional… unceasing.
“ABIDE IN MY LOVE”
Jesus extends Himself to us by saying in effect, “My love for you is available now. You don‘t have to work or beg for it. Just accept it and rest in it. Because I have already paid the price for your sin, I offer My love to you freely. Simply live in it. Freely drink of it.”
To abide in His love, we need to understand two truths: First, Christ’s love for us is unconditional. Second, experiencing His love is predicated upon obedience to His Word:
“If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father‘s commands and remain in His love.” (John 15:10 )
As Jesus experienced the Father’s love through obedience to His will, so we experience Jesus’ love through uncompromising obedience to His Word.
“Abide in My love“. This is Jesus’ gracious invitation to you today. Take Him at His Word and enjoy what He died to give you: His loving friendship.