Devotionals

  • March 18, 2017: Betrayal

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 9-12, Psalm 65, Matthew 26:57-75, Romans 11:25-38 Matthew 26:57-75: In an illegal court, the high priest gathers to bring false accusations against Jesus to be able to take him to the Roman governors to ensure he is crucified. Peter follows at a distance (26:58). Many false witnesses come to accuse Jesus, but nothing wrong can be found (26:59-60). Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, is himself sinless and pure. The high priest, in desperation, asks him directly, and with religious force, to tell them whether he is the Christ, the Son of God (26:63). Jesus puts the words back on his lips: “You have said so” (26:64). In the high priest’s accusation there is truth. He is pointing out that their driving towards charges against him in the end rests on their opposition to his central claim to be their, and the…

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    March 17, 2017: Gethsemane

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 6-8, Psalm 64, Matthew 26:36-56, Romans 11:1-24 Matthew 26:36-56: What a prayer is this—take this cup from me, but not my will, but your will be done (26:39). Jesus is expressing his desire, if it be possible, that the cup of suffering would not be his. At the same time, through this torturous moment, he is both modeling obedience to God as our example, and also by his obedience to God winning for us a crown of righteousness. The disciples cannot stay awake (26:40). In his hour of need, they are unable to watch with him. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (26:41). So often we find that to be the case; in our true self, we desire to do what is right, but there is another part of us—the finite, the fallen, the sinful and the weak—that is unable to follow where Christ leads. How…

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    March 16, 2017: Love to the Loveless Shown

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 4-5, Psalm 63, Matthew 26:17-35, Romans 10 Matthew 26:17-35: Was ever love like this? Jesus prepares to eat the feast of Passover, and as he sits down at the meal, he tells them that one of them will betray him. He knows full well who it is—“You have said so” (26:25). And yet, out of love, Jesus goes like a lamb to the slaughter, to give himself for us. Love to the loveless shown. At this very meal, the communion of the Christian meal is instituted. The bread and the cup. “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (26:28). Was e’er such love as this? Not even his friends will stay by him. “You will all fall away because of me this night” (26:31). Peter is confident he will not, but his denial after the rooster crows, is…

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    March 15, 2017: Anointing Jesus

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 1-3, Psalm 62, Matthew 26:1-16, Romans 9:19-33 Matthew 26:1-16: The movement towards Jesus’ death, betrayal, execution (and then resurrection) now appears inexorable. Once again, Jesus predicts his death (26:1-2). And, indeed, in the background, in the smoke-filled rooms of the religious leaders of the time, there is a plot being hatched to kill Jesus (26:3-4). There is only one hitch: they cannot do it now. They are too afraid of the “people” and their response (26:5). A deed that cannot be done in the light is seldom a good deed. Evil deeds like darkness, hiding. The popular vote is not always a token of moral uplift, and a mass of people can be deceived to go in the wrong direction; but those who fear God will not ultimately fear the occasional reversals that come in the court of popular opinion. We have a different Master, whose love is secure,…

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    March 14, 2017: Sheep and Goats

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 33-36, Psalm 61, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 9:1-18 Matthew 25:31-46: This is no doubt one of the scariest passages in the whole Bible, and from the lips of Jesus. It does though first need to be correctly understood before its full weight can be appropriately felt and applied. The critical text to notice is the repeated, first positively and then negatively, statement of Jesus’. “As you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (25:40). “As you did not do to one of the least of these my brothers, you did not do it to me” (25:45). Behind this is the theology of the church, so well understood by the apostle Paul, that the church is Jesus’ body, and that when we persecute the church we are persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:4—“why are you persecuting me,” when Saul was persecuting the church). In other…

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    March 13, 2017: Talents

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 31-32, Psalm 60, Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 8:18-30 Matthew 25:14-30: Carrying on with Jesus’ teaching about how to get ready for his return, now is the famous parable of the talents. A “talent” was a monetary unit worth around twenty years' work for a laborer. In very rough contemporary terms, then, if we say a reasonable but not expansive working wage was about $50,000, each unit equates to about $1 million. This is not a small amount of money. They are being given a considerable responsibility. The story unfolds along familiar lines—they are each given responsibility according to their abilities. One receives five talents, another two, and another one. The ones with five and two talents find ways to multiply what they have been given. But the one with one talent instead buries the talent to keep it safe. Why does he bury the talent? Because he is afraid (25:25).…

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    March 12, 2017: Be Ready

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 28-30, Psalm 59, Matthew 25:1-13, Romans 8:1-17 Matthew 25:1-13: The Master storyteller takes another story from contemporary life, familiar to his original hearers, and uses it to bring into sharp focus the lesson he has been teaching them. Imagine a wedding. Imagine two sets of bridesmaids. As sometimes happens, the bridegroom is much delayed—so much so, in this instance, that the bridesmaids become drowsy and fall asleep. Suddenly the bridegroom arrives! They all hurry to get ready for the wedding. But only one set of “virgins,” the young ladies attending the wedding, had prepared for the circumstance of the bridegroom being delayed—they had extra oil for their lamp. The other set of bridesmaids had not prepared. When they asked for extra oil from those who had some, they were refused because then there would not be enough to go around. So they have to hurry out and buy some…

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    March 11, 2017: Be Found Faithful

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 26-27, Psalm 58, Matthew 24:34-51, Romans 7:13-25 Matthew 24:34-51: As Jesus looks ahead to his return, he makes the amazingly strong statement in verse 36, that should forever have prevented anyone from predicting when he was going to return. What does Jesus mean when he says that even the Son does not know the day and hour? Apart from underlining the futility of human prediction—which it surely does—how can it be possible that God the Son has any area of knowledge that is lacking (for part of the definition of God is that he is omniscient)? I will leave the imponderables to the commentaries, but suffice it to say at this point that God the Son as fully God knew all, but here he showed his submission to the Father’s will as an example to us of humility. However you understand the divinity and humanity of the Son, though,…

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    March 10, 2017: Fig Tree

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 23-25, Psalm 57, Matthew 24:15-35, Romans 7:1-12 Matthew 24:15-35: These verses have caused considerable head scratching among faithful Bible believers, and it is important that we hold to the teaching here with consistency to avoid shrillness and clear mistakes without love and acceptance of legitimate differences of opinion. The first part of this section most clearly refers to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. The Jewish historian Josephus describes these days—a four-year long siege—with particular harshness and devastating impact. The “abomination that causes desolation” (24:15) is a quotation from the Book of Daniel, which may have first been interpreted as referring to the sacrilege of the altar that took place in 168 BC under the Maccabees but (“let the reader understand”) was intended to finally find its fulfillment in the yet more devastating desolation of AD 70. The temple was torn down, starvation, cannibalism, horrors unimaginable. The church…

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    March 9, 2017: Endure and Proclaim

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 21-22, Psalm 56, Matthew 24:1-14, Romans 6:15-23 Matthew 24:1-14: Having denounced fake religion, Jesus’ disciples point out to him how impressive the temple buildings were. Perhaps they thought that this at least was a sign of something genuine and honoring to God. Jesus, however, prophesies that—which has come true—that even the temple will be destroyed. He is now our temple, and through him we have access to God, we worship in Spirit and in truth. In the next section, Jesus casts his eye towards the end. The key interpretive grid for these verses (which run all the way to verse 51, and that end with a parable that explains his teaching) is that Jesus again and again insists that no one knows the day or the hour when the end shall come (24:36). We are to watch out then for those who come prophesying say, “Here he is,” or…

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