They said to Him, “Rabbi…where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” —John 1:38-39
Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They…remained with Him that day….” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.
“You are Simon….You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles. And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.
Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one. You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “…We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R
The Disciples’ Testimony Concerning Jesus (John 1:38-51)
It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes.Exodus 12:27
I love a good game of Scrabble. After one particular game, my friends named a move after me—calling it a “Katara.” I’d been trailing the entire game, but at the end of it—with no tiles left in the bag—I made a seven-letter word. This meant the game was over, and I received fifty bonus points as well as all the points from all of my opponents’ leftover tiles, moving me from last place to first. Now whenever we play and someone is trailing, they remember what happened and hold out hope for a “Katara.”
Remembering what has happened in the past has the power to lift our spirits and give us hope. And that’s exactly what the Israelites did when they celebrated Passover. The Passover commemorates what God did for the Israelites when they were in Egypt, oppressed by Pharaoh and his crew (Exodus 1:6–14). After they cried out to God, He delivered the people in a mighty way. He told them to put blood on their doorposts so the death angel would “pass over” their firstborn people and animals (12:12–13). Then they would be kept safe from death.
Centuries later, believers in Jesus regularly take communion as we remember His sacrifice on the cross—providing what we needed to be delivered from sin and death (1 Corinthians 11:23–26). Remembering God’s loving acts in the past gives us hope for today.
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.
After reading about Jesus’ response to ill, paralyzed, and demon-possessed people (Matthew 8:1-34), do you ever wonder why He doesn’t answer your prayers with miraculous healing too? It might seem God has changed His approach since the first century, but even back then, Jesus didn’t physically heal every hurting person. However, that doesn’t mean divine restoration is reserved for a lucky few.
Instead, the Lord heals in His time and His way, and how He responds to our prayers isn’t for us to dictate. It’s important to realize not all renewal is physical; God may know we need a different type of wholeness—spiritual, emotional, relational, or something else. Despite appearances, the Father’s promise of healing is for us all. So let’s bring God our concerns and trust Him with an open heart and mind. Then, because of His Son’s death and resurrection, we can confidently claim, “He Himself brought our sins in His body up on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds [we] were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Think about it
• What in your life needs healing today? How many different ways can you think of that God might answer that need?
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)
It is obvious that Paul’s command to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is to be understood metaphorically (after all, we do have to sleep and work, as well as pray), but it is also to be taken seriously.
Even during waking hours, of course, the attitude of unceasing general prayer is not meant to supersede special periods of concentrated prayer. Jesus spoke thus of the importance of intense private prayer: “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). Christ Himself has set an example: “In the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).
There is also an important role for group prayer meetings. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16). “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).
The words of our text, however, conclude the great passage on the armor of the Christian as he or she engages in daily combat with the wicked one. They imply not a continual verbalized prayer but a continual attitude of prayer and watchfulness whereby it becomes easy and natural to breathe a short (but sincere) prayer “in the Spirit” whenever a need appears (e.g., a special need for strength or guidance in a situation, or intercession for someone else). Thus, whether at work or at rest, we can—as Paul exhorts—“continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). HMM
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. —1 Peter 1:8
The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! People should be coming to us constantly and asking the source of our joy and delight—redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, our yesterdays behind us, our sin under the blood forever and a day, to be remembered against us no more forever. God is our Father, Christ is our Brother, the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Comforter. Our Brother has gone to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us, leaving with us the promise that He will come again!
Don’t send Moses, Lord, don’t send Moses! He broke the tablets of stone. Don’t send Elijah for me, Lord! I am afraid of Elijah—he called down fire from heaven.
Don’t send Paul, Lord! He is so learned that I feel like a little boy when I read his epistles.
Oh, Lord Jesus, come Yourself! I am not afraid of You. You took the little children as lambs to Your fold. You forgave the woman taken in adultery. You healed the timid woman who reached out in the crowd to touch You. We are not afraid of You!
The Holy Spirit … will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.—John 14:26
Another lesson given by Jesus to His disciples when preparing them to receive the Holy Spirit was that the Holy Spirit would teach them and remind them of all that Jesus had said. A famous agnostic once said that the irreconcilable conflict between science and religion is that science is never fixed—it is open and progressive: religion, on the other hand, is fixed on absolutes and dogmas.
Well, it is true that Christianity is fixed, but it also provides for a continuing revelation: “The Holy Spirit … will teach you all things.” Jesus is God’s final and complete revelation, but because of the limitations in us, this revelation must be gradually unfolding. Notice, however, that the teaching of the Spirit is according to a fixed pattern: “[He] will … remind you of everything I have told you” (v. 26). He will teach us more than Jesus taught but not other than Jesus taught. Someone said of this approach that it is both conservative and radical because it conserves all that Jesus taught and because it applies to new areas of life the universal aspect of Jesus.
“[He] will … remind you of everything I have told you.” Note that word “everything.” When we are not under the Holy Spirit’s tutelage, we tend to focus on just one thing Jesus said and neglect the “everything.” Then what happens? We produce a lopsided type of Christianity, with an overemphasis on one thing and an underemphasis on another. Christian communities who concentrate on one truth can easily miss the whole truth. Christians under the Spirit’s control give heed to the “everything.”
O Father, I don’t want to live on a truth, or even a cluster of truths—I want to live on the Truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.”—Matthew 16:19
The keys of the kingdom represent the access you have to the Father through your relationship to Jesus Christ. With this relationship you have access to everything that is accessible to Christ. However, this access is not given indiscriminately; Jesus gave the keys to His disciples only after they recognized that He was the Christ. Once the disciples were convinced that Jesus was the Savior, they entered into a unique and personal relationship with Him. Their relationship to Jesus gave them direct access to their heavenly Father. Likewise, your relationship with Christ opens the door of heaven for you and gives you direct access to the Father.
Peter discovered that once he had keys to the kingdom, he could go to the Father in every situation. When he stood to preach before thousands on the day of Pentecost, this simple fisherman opened the door to the kingdom for three thousand people in one day (Acts 2:41). When he encountered a lame man, he used his access to God and His healing power, and the man was healed (Acts 3:6). When he was imprisoned, Peter discovered that the keys of the kingdom could open even the most secure prison door (Acts 12:6–10).
If you are a Christian you, too, have keys to the kingdom of heaven. You do not need an intermediary, for you have an unobstructed access to God. With that access come all the resources you need to face any circumstance. When you are afraid, you have access to God’s peace that surpasses comprehension (Phil. 4:6). When you have a broken relationship, you have access to the God of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18–21). When you meet someone in need, you have access to God’s provision for that person. What an incredible privilege to be entrusted with keys to the kingdom of heaven!