Devotional 60: His Command is Everlasting Life

John 12:42-50

Walk in the Light

42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe,[a] I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

The Son of G-d came as the representative of the Father’s will, to seek and save the unrighteous, unrepentant, unbelieving, and unforgiving by telling us the Gospel of His death and resurrection, and that eternal life would be bestowed upon those who believed in His words, promises, and prophecies, and did as He commanded.

We are not pure vessels of service, we are not inherently good, and we are prone to leave this all behind when we feel that the whole pursuit of heavenly things is in vain and ultimately foolish.

We read with no understanding, we pray while distracted, we mutter our praises, and our silences are not filled with meditation on that which pleases Him.

Our backs are turned, our hearts hardened, and our ears stopped.

And here comes G-d’s emissary to say, “Assuredly, I say to you…”

We know the voice of our Shepherd, but do we return to the fold?

It’s a difficult thing to leave, and a difficult thing to return.

Jesus was grieved when Philip asked Him: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Jesus embodied the very will of the Father toward us: fellowship, praise, glory, reward, blessings, peace on every side, prosperity with no trouble, pure hearts, songs of rejoicing and psalms of ascent, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and our Father above all.

We have all been in gatherings where we felt this, knew it, and submitted to it, and there was no greater feeling in the world.  And then the world comes crashing in: traffic on the way home, a snide remark, a dirty look. Sometimes right after the gathering, from the people who were there with you.

It is where the rubber of our faith meets the road of reality.

But faith is every bit as real. Jesus is every bit as real. The power of G-d is every bit as real, for He is the Creator of ALL.

Today, on this Father’s Day, let us remember the Names of our G-d,  the plea of His emissary and only Son, who expresses that Father’s will to us in this year of the Lord’s favor.

Let us remember that the Great Commission is ultimately to fulfill what the Messiah tells us is the Father’s command: eternal life.

Therefore I pray:

Lord Jesus,

No, we don’t understand it all. We can’t. But we have Your example to follow, and even though You sacrificed Yourself for us, there are those who reject Your gift. You say their words will judge them; help us to know our words will judge us also. To proclaim You and not preach the Gospel, to proclaim You and seek our own glory, to follow You as a means to our own ends.

We are admonished to study and show ourselves approved, yet our Bibles grow dusty, and remain unmarked.

I’ve been guilty of this, and yet Your presence is there when I return to my senses.

“Father, give me my inheritance,” becomes, “Father, make me a servant in your house.”

But over and over, you restore me to my proper station as one worthy of sharing the gift of life with, of revealing the Truth of the Father’s Word, which He holds higher than His Name. You bring me back under the holy blood covenant of atoning grace as I repent and seek forgiveness.

And you say ‘Yes.’

This is the Father’s love for us: that He sent You, Lord Jesus, to tell us what He would have us know. It is sad that few will find the way, that their own words will condemn them to a life of needless pain and separation.

Happy Father’s Day, my Lord G-d, and thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, that I might return to You with gifts of my own, blessing Your Name in the assembly of the saints that dwell in Your house, forever.

Amen.

Devotional 5: Neither do I condemn you…

From the Gospel of John, Chapter 8:

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up[e] and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience,[f] went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,[g] “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?[h] Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and[i] sin no more.

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This is the familiar story of the adulteress caught in the act by the religious leaders, and brought before Jesus in order to trap Him. It’s used as a supplement to the verse “Judge not, lest you be judged, and with whatever measure you do it, it will be done to you.”

It’s also used as an example of Jesus’ covenant of grace toward us, but no one ever really talks about the conclusion of the passage.

The fact is, (if God’s Word is inerrant, and John’s witness is true) she was an adulteress, loving on the husband of another woman, and as Jesus convicted the Pharisees with his scorching reply, he did not hold the woman guiltless of her sin, and told her to leave from there and NOT do it again.

She had to go back to this man she had feelings for, and tell him they could no longer be, tell him to return and rejoice in the wife of his youth, in order to purify her own soul before the Lord.

We are not told whether or not she did, for that was not the point of the story. The point of the story, as far as I’m concerned, is that everyone left there with some work to do on themselves in terms of forgiveness, purity, and repentance.

We are under grace, but we will not be held guiltless for sinning under its covenant. Vigilance, keeping watch over our own souls, our words, our thoughts, our actions, is inconsistent at best, and non-existent at worse, taking grace for granted.

In Hebrews 10: 26- 29 it states:

The Just Live by Faith (bold letters added for emphasis)

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

and again in 10:31: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Therefore, I pray:

Lord Jesus, Your sacrifice tore the veil, that I may approach the Father’s Presence under the covering of Your blood, that His mercy may be extended toward me in my final hour, and that I escape the fires of hell by accepting your sacrifice as the only thing that redeems me in the Father’s sight.

Grant that I may approach the throne boldly, but reverently, with fear and trembling, rejoicing and giving thanks in faith that I have received what I will ask, and over and above what I’ve petitioned my King to do for me.

Let me be ever mindful of grieving the Spirit of grace, Who reveals all Truth in Your Word to me.

Thank You for the sacrifice of the covenant of grace, proclaiming the Year of the Lord’s favor, and grafting me in, who was not called ‘His people.’

Lord Jesus, I repent, and return to You; receive Your prodigal once again, and wrap his unworthy soul in the folds of Your mercy..

Let me be ever mindful that the pain you felt was real, that the revulsion You felt toward my sins crept into Your very being, and grieved Your human heart, yet did not deplete Your divine love.

Daily, I contribute nails and thorns, but they no longer touch You, for the Work is finished. Burn them, Lord Jesus, and purify me in their fire, that I may stand on the last day, and enter into my Father’s kingdom, to praise Him forevermore, and rejoice in holy fellowship with You and all the saints.

In Your Name, and by the Power of Your Blood, I ask, in faith believing, that I have already received.

Amen.