Devotionals

  • September 24, 2017: Joy and Marveling

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 62-64, Proverbs 30, Luke 24:36-44, Hebrews 13:1-8 Luke 24:28-35: Again, Jesus, though as we shall see, fully physical, yet apparently suddenly appears among them. Naturally enough they are frightened by what must have seemed to be an apparition, perhaps of a ghostly kind, and Jesus immediately assures them: “Peace to you!” The presence of Jesus is the companion of true peace with God and therefore inner peace in our soul. Let us seek him and know him that we might find peace forever. To show that he is not a “ghost” or a “spirit,” he asks them to see his hands and feet and to touch him. He is indeed physical. They are “disbelieving” for “joy and marveling”; their overwhelmed joy at the appearance of Jesus is running ahead of their cognition, and while part of them is now rejoicing, they are still rationalizing the appearance and intellectualizing that…

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    September 23, 2017: Burning Hearts

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 59-61, Proverbs 29:15-27, Luke 24:28-35, Hebrews 12:14-39 Luke 24:28-35: It looks as if Jesus is planning to go on further on his journey, but the two disciples persuade him to stay because it is late. They sit down together for the evening meal, and Jesus—as was his habit—took the bread, blessed it, and gave it to them. It seems as if Jesus typically had acted this way when he was eating with the disciples. He had taken the role of master of ceremonies, had led them in devotional thanksgiving for the food, and had broken bread and passed it to them. At that moment, the recognition of this habit of Jesus’, combined with the teaching that they had already received, meant their eyes were opened—they at last realized who Jesus was. Jesus’ physical resurrection body is therefore recognizably the same as his pre-resurrection body, but given that the last time…

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    September 22, 2017: All the Prophets Have Spoken

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 56-58, Proverbs 29:1-14, Luke 24:13-27, Hebrews 12:1-13 Luke 24:13-27: What a conversation this must have been! On that famous road to Emmaus, two of the disciples are wondering and worrying about what all the events surrounding Jesus’ death could possibly mean. They had had such high hopes concerning him, and yet they had only thought he was a prophet mighty in deed and word. Now his death threatened that perspective. And now it was three days since he had died, and some women of their company had told them that they had found the tomb empty, that they had met angels who had told them that Jesus was alive. They could not make head nor tail of it all. Jesus, whose identity had been hidden from their eyes, now intervened and interpreted for them all the Scriptures the things that concerned Jesus—that the Christ must suffer these things and…

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    September 21, 2017: Resurrection

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 54-55, Proverbs 28:15-28, Luke 24:1-12, Hebrews 11:32-40 Luke 24:1-12: The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the capstone and cornerstone of the Christian faith, and the very central point of the salvation history of the world. Luke tells this story, though, not with breathless poetry, but with a key, medical doctor, eye for detail and facts. Luke the historian is concerned to make sure that we realize that what he has recorded is no pious myth or wish fulfillment, but the bare record of objective eyewitness accounts. This—astonishingly—happened. To begin with, he makes sure we know that the women who witnessed the empty tomb were not expecting Jesus to have risen. In fact, they were going there with spices to take care of the dead body (24:1). They were in an attitude of mourning, and certainly not expectation of any miracle. This is a critically important detail because…

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    September 20, 2017: A Good and Righteous Man

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 51-53, Proverbs 28:1-14, Luke 23:50-56, Hebrews 11:17-31 Luke 23:50-56: Joseph of Arimathea, many fables have been told about him, but here is the truth. He was a member of the council that had condemned Jesus, but he himself had not consented to the condemnation. He was a “good and righteous man,” and he was “looking for the kingdom of God.” By this we learn that by faith and faithfulness, he had established a reputation for upright living towards God and people—and also that he had heard the preaching and teaching of the Bible to cause him to look for God’s coming kingdom. Whether or not he at this point believed that Jesus was the King of that Kingdom is not clear; it is clear that he was a good and righteous man. He had not consented to their decision to kill Jesus, and so while he had failed to…

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    Early Martyrs’ Witness to Christ’s Worth

    By Josh Moody

    [caption id="attachment_7646" align="aligncenter" width="367"] Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer[/caption]   In early years of Christianity, many withstood the tests of torturous persecution and martyrdom to the glory of the One whose Name they bore: “Yet, if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter. 4:16). As I have been learning of the history surrounding these men and women who loved Christ more than life on this earth and reflect upon their voices that echo through the centuries, I am led to honor Christ for His suffering, power, and worth. Martyrdom as Reality In classical Christian times (roughly 100 to 600 A.D.), persecution varied according to who was in power of the Roman empire at the time—each emperor having the power to create his own policies and climate for Christians. In summary of what I have been…

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    September 19, 2017: The Curtain Was Torn in Two

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 49-50, Proverbs 27:15-27, Luke 23:44-49, Hebrews 11:1-16 Luke 23:44-49: It is as if the whole universe, all of creation, all of reality in existence, is in mourning—for it is. There is darkness, perhaps an eclipse, over the whole land for three hours. This somber portent of the event taking place is recorded for us to give a sense of the true spiritual and cosmic scope of Jesus’ death. The sun hides its eyes from the death of the Son. The curtain was torn in two. This curtain separated the Holy of Holies from all entering except on very special occasions, symbolically indicated the holiness of the presence of God and the impossibility of sinful people being in God’s presence. But now that curtain is ripped apart, by the hand of God. The way into the Holy of Holies is now opened. Jesus’ last words, “Father, into your hands I commit…

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    September 18, 2017: Paradise

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 46-48, Proverbs 27:1-14, Luke 23:38-43, Hebrews 10:19-39 Luke 23:38-43: The picture of Jesus hanging between two thieves is so shocking that on occasion we miss the meaning. Here is represented two possible responses to Jesus. The one thief mocks Jesus. “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” This thief lacks faith, and can only sneer—if it is a desperate sneer—as he faces his own painful mortality in this extremity of human suffering. He “railed” at Jesus, shouting at him, badgering him, sneering, and with disdain. The other thief, however, understands the situation with far more clarity. He rebukes the thief who is railing against Jesus. Does that thief not fear God? They are under just condemnation, but Jesus has done nothing wrong. This thief, then, accepts that he is in the wrong, accepts that he is justly (if cruelly) condemned. What is more, he turns to Jesus with…

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    September 17, 2017: They Crucified Him

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 44-45, Proverbs 26:17-28, Luke 23:32-37, Hebrews 10:1-18 Luke 23:32-37: The two other criminals who were crucified with him will play a famed role of significance in this drama, as we will find out tomorrow from verse 38 and onwards. This section, verses 32-37, is particularly filled with deliberate irony. But first, there are the most astonishing words uttered by a crucified man ever: Forgive them (23:34). They do not know that they are crucifying the Son of God. They do not know the extent of their crime. Christ’s thoughts, even at this hour of crucifixion, are not for himself, but for those others around him. And his thoughts are thoughts of love, peace, and in particular forgiveness. Note: we who follow in the Master’s footsteps are not to harbor grudges against one another, or labor to avenge perceived wrongs, but instead to forgive as we have been forgiven—even when…

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    September 16, 2017: Dry Wood

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 42-43, Proverbs 26:1-16, Luke 23:26-31, Hebrews 9:11-28 Luke 23:26-31: As we approach the crucifixion itself, we come across two sets of characters that interact with Jesus as he goes to The Skull (23:33). The first is Simon of Cyrene. Unwittingly, he is employed as a cross bearer for Jesus, to carry the cross behind Jesus. He is the first in a crowd that is gathering, and indicates that this deed done to Jesus is in reality and illustratively the expression of the wrath of God against the world. At the cross, love and justice mingle, truth and mercy meet, though my sins condemn me, Jesus died instead; there is full forgiveness in the blood he shed. But in the first section, verses 26-31, the text emphasizes the wrath. Simon, dragged to carry the cross, follows on behind Jesus. Then a great multitude gather to mourn and lament. They are…

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