Are You Without Sin?

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Day 134

1 Samuel 15:1‐16:23; John 7:53‐8:20; Psalm 110:1‐7; Proverbs 15:8‐10

Are You Without Sin?

Of all the offenses in the Jewish law, or Hallakhah, adultery was a one of the most heinous, and was punishable by death. While the Pharisees and Scribes were right to point out that under the law the adulterous woman should be put to death, where was the man with whom she committed such an act, who was just as guilty? The law required that the man with whom she committed adultery also be killed. Roman law, however, forbade a Jew from sentencing someone to death. Still, the Scribes and Pharisees taunted Jesus by demanding that He condemn her. Jesus knew the Law better than they. Having used only one finger, He had carved the Law itself into stone; the Ten Commandments. While onlookers gathered around Him to witness His response again, using only His one finger, Jesus bent down to write.

No one knows what Jesus wrote but perhaps to remind them, He wrote down the ninth Commandment:

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

He then stood up and said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” And He bent down a second time to write. Maybe He wrote the names of all the sinners gathered, for He knew them to be so, or even perhaps their sins. Whatever it was, His action turned condemnation into shame, and the self-righteous accusers turned away.

During our own spiritual journeys, let us be reminded when we fall into sin that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn anyone to death. Jesus came to give life. As the light of the world, God is well-pleased with who we are but, even more importantly, with whom we are becoming. Instead of looking into a mirror and seeing only our sinful natures, let us instead begin to see ourselves as God sees us… the beloved child who turns away from sin and rushes into His loving arms to receive, not condemnation, but abundant grace and love.

The Rev. Danielle DuBois Morris
St. Michael’s
College Park, FL

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