Daily Devotional

Dec. 19, 2014 – Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Who can deny that this question concerns that which is central to Christianity?  The death, resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ is at the very heart of the Christian faith (I Cor. 15:1-40) and are the most important and significant events in history.  The Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities wanted Jesus dead because He was a social and political trouble-maker according to them.  However, that was not the problem.  I believe the prophet Isaiah expressed it ...

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Dec. 18, 2014 – Who Killed Jesus?

The apostle Peter answers an objection that probably was in the minds of his listeners because this same objection has been raised since.  If Jesus was the Messiah, why was He a victim?  Why did He not use His power to avoid the cross?  Peter said, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just ...

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Dec. 17, 2014 – The Suffering Savior

This begins the series on the Crucifixion of Jesus

The Scriptures do not inform us how young Jesus was when He became aware of His journey to the cross.  There is a painting with the title, The Shadow of the Cross, which presents a scene inside Joseph’s carpenter shop.  Jesus is portrayed as a young teenager and as He stops to rest from His work He looks out the shop window.  He stands and stretches His arms wide.  As ...

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Dec. 16, 2014 – A Grain of Wheat

Jesus had avoided the conflicts and the confrontations with the scribes and Pharisees saying frequently, “Mine hour has not yet come.”  At this time His hour had come.  Jesus would now allow events to take place that would lead Him to His cross at the exact moment God had chosen for His beloved Son.  Jesus had said, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it ...

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Dec. 15, 2014 – Death as Sleep

You will recall that Jesus was very close to Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  Lazarus became very sick and Mary and Martha had sent Jesus a message that he was seriously sick: “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (11:3).  However, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (11:4).   It can be assumed that the sisters obviously wanted Jesus to heal ...

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Dec. 12, 2014 – The Vine and the Branches

John uses different metaphors to describe the person of Jesus Christ.  He is referred to as bread from heaven, the living water and many more.  In our text Jesus is described as the true vine (Cf. John 14:6) and His disciples as the branches.  In the Old Testament Israel is described as a vine God planted (Psa. 80:8-11; Jer. 2:21), and for Isaiah Israel is the vineyard (Isa. 5:5-7).  Here the imagery differs significantly from the Old Testament.  ...

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Dec. 11, 2014 – The Door of the Sheep

Clearly Jesus is the Master Teacher and His parables demonstrate this undeniable fact.  One of the greatest benefits of His parables is that they provoked a greater appreciation for Christ and His deity.  The people said, “None ever spake as this man!”  Our text is closely connected with the previous chapter concerning the man born blind and related events.  This parable was spoken with direct reference to the blind teachers of the Jews—the scribes and Pharisees and Jesus ...

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Dec. 10, 2014 – The Parable of the Chief Seats

Jesus went to the house of a prominent or influential Pharisee (14:1) to eat and while there He noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table and told this parable.  Even though Jesus was being watched (probably maliciously) (14:1), He was watching them (14:7-8).  The dinner was the scene of a marvelous healing.  The parable tells how it is better to take the lowest place, thus avoiding the humiliation of the host asking you ...

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Dec. 9, 2014 – The Parable of the Pounds

Some believe that this parable and the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) are the same.  Indeed, they are similar and because of this some have written about them at the same time. However, this parable differs from the talents in several ways: 1) This parable was spoken while Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem at Jericho (19:1); the parable of the talents was given after their entry into Jerusalem; 2) The value of a pound ...

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Dec. 8, 2014 – Parables Regarding the Traditions of Men

Jesus made this statement after the question was asked, “Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?” (Luke 5:33).  From the reading of the text in Matthew, Mark 2:21, 22 and Luke 5:36-39 this question appears to have been asked by the Pharisees and the disciples of John together.  They wanted to know why the disciples of the Lord did not follow the ...

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