The Means of Salvation

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Day 121

Judges 13:1‐14:20; John 1:29‐51; Psalm 102:1‐28; Proverbs 14:15‐16

The Means of Salvation

In the Gospel reading, we find significant pictures of salvation. First there is the proclamation by John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Offerings of lambs sacrificed in the temple were common in the Jewish religious system for atonement. However, they were limited in their effectiveness. The sacrifice was but a covering for sin and did not deal with the ultimate problem, a flawed humanity. We were created in God’s image but have been marred by sin and disobedience. There is no way we can fix ourselves.

Jesus does something different as The Lamb of God. He takes sin away. This is a radical concept. By His obedience, His blessed passion and precious death, His mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, Jesus deals with sin once and for all. We can truly be saved because in Christ and by His atoning work on the cross, humanity is redeemed and made whole.

There is a call to follow Christ. It comes to us all. Just as Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathaniel, and others followed, so are we to give ourselves, our souls and bodies, in service of Jesus and His Kingdom. There was awe, wonder, amazement, mystery, and revelation in these early moments of the Gospel narrative. When I think back to my hearing the call as a thirteen year old, those days were similar. I was in awe and wonder of a newfound faith, a new way to live, a call to follow Jesus as my Lord. Jesus changed the very fiber of my being; I became a new creation, and it has never gotten old or routine. It has been a life that started in wonder, and with each day I see new and wonderful things, greater things.

Lord Jesus, may we never grow complacent in this earthly pilgrimage, and may we always be looking to you, fixing our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith.

The Rev. Jon Davis
Director of Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center
Oviedo, FL

Jesus Gives Healing and Life

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Day 89

Deuteronomy 13:1-15:23; Luke 8:40-9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; Proverbs 12:5-7

Jesus Gives Healing and Life

In our Luke passage today, we read of two major events in the ministry of Jesus: the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years and the raising from the dead of a twelve-year-old girl. Through each of these events, we learn something of the character and mission of Jesus.

The woman who came to Jesus in the crowd was outcast, made unclean under the law by her illness. She had no right to be there, much less to touch Jesus, but she believed enough in His power to heal her that she took the risk, desperately hoping not to be seen. But Jesus did not let her go unnoticed. He not only restored her to physical health, but He commended her faith and gave her a blessing of peace. By publicly pronouncing her healing and faith, Jesus, in His compassion, restored her to a whole and active life in her community.

In restoring Jairus’ daughter to life, Jesus displayed His power over death. He returned the little girl to her parents’ care, telling them to give her food. The Man who could return a spirit to a body cared about the needs of that body, the needs of the whole person. Jesus has promised to restore all believers to life, and He cares about all aspects of that life: physical and spiritual, emotional and social, on this earth and with Him in Eternity.

Jesus told His “daughter” that her faith had healed her. He urged Jairus not to be afraid, but to believe. He invites all of us to come to Him without fear, and with faith and trust for healing and for restored, authentic, abundant life.

Laura Madison
The Summit Church
Lake Mary, FL

About Offerings

Day 65

Numbers 6:1-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 10:27-28

About Offerings

As we read through chapter 7 in Numbers, it soon becomes obvious that each tribe presented the exact same lavish offering for the dedication of the altar after Moses had finished setting up and anointing the tabernacle. This was according to the command of the Lord in verse 11: “The Lord said to Moses: They shall present their offerings, one leader each day, for the dedication of the altar.”

Those offerings were important. The Levites who served at the tabernacle altar had no resources except the offerings of the people. The spread of Christ’s Kingdom on the earth today is dependent on the offerings of His followers as well.  But, in His discourse with His disciples as He observes people putting coins into the temple treasury in Jerusalem (Mark 12:41-44), Jesus gives us a window into God’s way of measuring the true value of an offering.

As He extols the poor widow’s truly sacrificial gift, Jesus reminds us that we must, first and foremost, offer ourselves – all that we are and have -  to God. The widow understood that God was the ultimate source of all that she needed to sustain her life. That same understanding will give us the power to bring our tithes and offerings joyfully with gratitude to God for His gifts of life and salvation, and His presence with us.

Janice Miller
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL

A Call for Full Contact Worship

Day 64

Numbers 4:1-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26

A Call for Full Contact Worship

If worship were a sport, it would be “full contact.” It involves all the senses, which is why Numbers talks about fragrant incense and holy oil and holy water. It’s also why Numbers insists you can’t claim to love God with your mind, but another person’s spouse with your body.

Because worship is “full contact,” it means affirming Jesus, loving all of God with all of what you are – and loving your neighbor as yourself. Because worship is “full contact,” the Psalmist could point to God’s beautiful city and say, “Walk about Zion … count her towers” (48:12). The earthly city of Jerusalem embodied a promise that one day there will be a new heavens and a new earth, and its jewel will be a New Jerusalem.

Worship is “full contact” because God has made full contact with us by sending His Son in our very flesh – a promise that by His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return, He will make “all things new.”

In the meantime, the charge for us is to heed today’s proverb: we’ve been sent to live and tell the story of God’s resolve to reclaim the whole of His creation. This is not a day for drawing back, but for trusting that the One who sends us will go before us.

Dr. Reggie Kidd
Reformed Theological Seminary
Orlando, FL