Day 143 – May 23

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 9-10
John 8:1-27
Psalm 137

Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:6-7

What happened to the woman is each of our own worst nightmare, to be caught in our lowest moment and have it put on public display. There are stories of those who have died and come back to life who tell of their experience at being judged, how all of their sins committed are revealed while the hosts of heaven witness it against them. With the intense shame they experienced, they would be able to identify with what the woman was going through.

In Jesus we see the just judge, not even desiring to embarrass the woman further by looking at her in her lowest moment. He stoops down to the ground to write, hiding his face from her shame, as well as from the hatred and cruelty of her accusers. The Just Judge takes no delight in bringing sentence upon His creation; it is a burden that makes him stoop down to avert his eyes from bearing witness to it. It is a Merciful Judge.

With head bowed, stooped to the ground, Jesus writes. The greek word used here for write is katagraphein, which can be defined as ‘to write down a record against someone’. Was Jesus writing a record of the sins of the woman’s accusers? John doesn’t tell us. Perhaps the Just Judge wanted to give those accusing the woman a gentle reminder of their own sinfulness? To let them see their own guilt and choose willingly to walk away from condemning another?

Our Judge – Jesus Christ – is Just. Let us learn from the Just One how to be careful in our capacity to judge one another. Let us gaze upon Him and learn to be gentle with the state of others’ souls. We may be bringing condemnation on ourselves in that very moment. May we choose to walk gently like Jesus with others, knowing that all of us will one day stand before Jesus and give account for our sins and our capacity to be merciful.

May God bless you.

cb365

Day 142 – May 22

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 7-8
John 7:28-53
Psalm 136

“Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” John 7:41-42

We see the completion of the Temple built by King Solomon. He prays that God will keep a descendent on the throne of his father, David. The Gospel points us to the question, of Jesus’ origins. He was born in Bethlehem during the census ordered by King Herod, because Joseph was of the family of David.

Solomon’s prays, asking God to always keep a descendent on his father’s throne, “…that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.’ (1 Kings 7:25)

As we read through the books of the Kings, we will encounter the kings who were not faithful to God, and ultimately the destruction of the kingdom. Jesus is a sign that God not only fulfills his promises, but is faithful even when we are not. This is a message of hope for us; to not give up hope that God will extend his hand of mercy even to us.

May God bless you.

cb365

Day 141 – May 21

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 5-6
John 7:1-27
Psalm 135

“Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. John 7:8-9

Jesus seems a little fickle in today’s reading. At first he tells the disciples he will not go, and then, mid-feast, he shows up at the festival. To understand what is going on, we have to look at two passages:

  • My hour (hora) has not yet come… (John 2:4 – at the wedding feast of Cana)
  • My time (kairos) has not yet fully come… (John 7:8)

At the wedding feast of Cana, Jesus speaks about his hour not yet coming to pass. Hora gives the sense of a destined hour, one which is not moveable and can not be avoided.

In John 7:8, the word kairos is used. Kairos is a word used to speak of the best opportunity. In other words, if Jesus went up with His disciples, he would not be choosing the best opportunity for which to be most effective with the people.

It takes a discerning heart to recognize the difference between hora and kairos; to seek to know if the situation before us is an appointed time that we must face now or never (hora), or if our action is done at the best opportune moment (kairos).

Jesus teaches us that there is a time for everything under the sun. As a culture, we worry a lot about time, and find ourselves frustrated when we are delayed because of obstacles that get in our way of accomplishing our tasks. Let us ask Jesus to give us hearts willing to see everything with its own time, and that perhaps our delays are God’s working our desires to unfold at His appointed time.

May God bless you.

cb365

Day 140 – May 20

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 3-4
John 6:45-71
Psalm 134

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:53-54

The images portrayed by Jesus would not have been new to the people of his day, as they lived in a culture where animal sacrifice was common. It was custom that the whole animal was offered, with a portion burned up, and another portion given to the one who brought the sacrifice, to be eaten in the temple area as a feast with his friends.

What would have been distasteful to the ears of his listeners was to be told they must drink blood. No true Jew would ever consider drinking the blood – which stands for the life of the animal and belongs to God. When an animal is killed, it’s blood is spilled out onto the ground as a way of giving it back to God.

By taking his body and blood, and eating of it, we are taking his life within us. Lord Jesus, as we approach the Table of your Body and Blood, let us desire to take your very life within us, into the very center of our being, and let you reside always within our hearts. Amen.

May God bless you.

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Day 139 – May 19

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 1-2
John 6:22-44
Psalm 133

An Introduction to 1-2 Kings

1st and 2nd Kings were originally just one book, but when it was translated from Hebrew – which has no vowels and was thus quite compact – to Greek and Latin, it did not fit on one scroll. Thus the division.

The Books of the Kings were probably written around the time of Josiah’s reform (641-609BC), after the kingdom of Israel had been destroyed. Today we will begin reading of the rise of King Solomon’s rule. After his rule, we will watch the kingdom unravel and become divided, with ten tribes of Israel in the North (they will call themselves Israelites), and Judah (the tribes Judah and Benjamin) in the South (and they will call themselves Jews), in Jerusalem.

How good and how pleasant it is,
when brothers dwell together as one!
Like dew of Hermon coming down
upon the mountains of Zion.
There the Lord has decreed a blessing,
life for evermore!
Psalm 133:1,3

The psalm today speaks of peace and unity, but we begin the transition of power from David to Solomon with bloodshed among brothers. We stand on the sidelines and will watch the tragedy unfold of the Kingdom of Israel split in two, and will come to a point where both kingdoms will eventually be destroyed.

God promises one to sit on the thrown of David forever, yet it seems that all will be lost. As we continue to read the narrative of the kings, let us ponder how God’s ways are not our own. He will fulfill His promise in Jesus, the Bread of Life. We will look at that tomorrow.

May God bless you.

cb365