Welcome!

Welcome to the Path of Life Daily Devotional–continuing for 2020–The Jesus Story!

The Pathsrp-experiment of Life daily devotions are designed to be an aid to daily prayer.  This year I am posting daily narratives from the Life of Christ, beginning with the Gospel of Mark.  Matthew’s Gospel was the source of devotions from March-May.  Dr. Luke’s account gives us June-August.  Next, we are wind up the Story with the Gospel of John from September-November.  December will feature the Christmas Story. As in all my devotions, I will use a single word title followed by a few selected verses on the subject, and concluding with  a prayer and a song.

Join me for a detailed walk through the Life of our Lord in this devotional form.  If you haven’t already “followed” these devotions, please select that button and register to receive email notification of each posting, including those at StevePhifer.com.  Let’s draw closer to the Savior in 2020!

The Path of Life Daily Devotions work for morning or evening.
Start your day or end your day with an encouraging word.

Each devotion, in fact each article I write, ends with the same signature:
Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

Semper Reformanda!
Semper Reformanda! is my ministry motto. It means “Always Reforming.” The church must never stop progressing toward the Coming of the Lord. We must never cease to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. We must never stop seeking God’s Face. We must never restrain from testing all things to see if they are from the Lord. This ongoing process requires a growing knowledge of what God has said and a listening ear to what God is saying. If we are not constantly vigilant in these things, our lives will be tossed about by the unrelenting winds of culture. If we are constantly available to the Spirit for instruction in righteousness, we will build our lives on the Rock! To me, Semper Reformanda! is each day’s work as we walk the Path of Life.

 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)

To begin reading the devotions for this year go to the end of this article.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

Interested in Christian Worship and Spirituality?–That is my subject!  For an extensive of articles on Worship  and Worship Renewal Go To StevePhifer.com.

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

September 29 “Brothers”

Brothers

Jesus sought respite in Galilee.
It is true that He was a healer and miracle worker and teacher of the Word of God, but He was also a young man who had grown up in a town. He loved Nazareth and by extension Galilee, that northern part of Israel was separated from the politics of Jerusalem in the south by Samaria. Trouble awaited Jesus in Judea and the Feast of Tabernacles called for all true worshipers to attend.

Jesus and His Family
While some hold that Mary and Joseph had no children of their own, this is clearly not the case. By the time of Jesus’ ministry Mary was a widow with a rather large family for whom Jesus was a problem. To all customary expectations, Jesus as eldest son of Mary, should have taken over the family business in Nazareth but this did not happen. He abandoned His family to go off preaching some strange new doctrines.

Luke records an incident in the synagogue at Nazareth where Jesus, fresh from a preaching and healing campaign, was asked to read Scripture. This was a great honor. What did He do? He claimed to be Messiah. These people had known Him all His life. They had done business with Him for years. They had chosen to ignore the rumors of Mary and Joseph having Jesus a little too soon, to accept them into the community. Then He made such a public and ridiculous claim. A riot ensued and they took Him to the brow of a hill to throw Him off. He stared them down and passed through the mob untouched. What were His brothers and sisters supposed to do about such behavior?

The Feast of Tabernacles
Of the three feasts of Old Covenant worship, the Feast of Tabernacles was the largest and served as the finale on the worship calendar. Jesus’ brothers encouraged Him to attend when He preferred to stay in the friendlier region of Galilee.

“…go into Judea… For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

Jesus saw through their motives; they wanted to be rid of Him because they did not believe in Him. Imagine how this family division must have hurt Mary. Just as Simeon had predicted all those years before, a “sword” was constantly piercing her heart.

His time had not yet come.
The cynical advice of His brothers cut like a knife into the heart of Jesus. He thought of the prophecies, “We esteemed Him not.” His heart breaking for the family He loved, He tried to explain His dilemma.

“My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.”

Jesus wanted His brothers to go to the feast and be faithful in their worship, even if they had no faith in Him. When the time was right He would attend but the time was not yet right for this. At that moment, Jesus needed rest in a place where He was loved not hated. He needed time with Mary, unhindered by the doubts of the rest of the family. She believed in Him. He stayed for the moment in Galilee.

Scriptures:
John 7:1-9

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.
Isaiah 53:1-3
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, for every soul who responded to Your call in faith, it seems many, many more rejected You, including Your own family. Holy Spirit, impress upon my heart today, the pain of that rejection—not strangers in the countryside, not fellow villagers of Nazareth–but Your own brothers and sisters. The Bible says I am called to know You in the fellowship of Your sufferings but this pain is too much for me to imagine. Now I can see why my prayers and acts of worship are so precious to You—Help me be a brother who believes in You! Amen.

Song:
I Believe in Jesus

Words and Music: Marc Nelson

1. I believe in Jesus.
I believe He is the Son of God.
I believe He died and rose again.
I believe He paid for us all.

Refrain:
I believe He’s here now,
Standing in our midst,
Here with the power to heal now,
And the grace to forgive.

2. I believe in You, Lord.
I believe You are the Son of God.
I believe You died and rose again.
I believe You paid for us all.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 28 “Offended”

Offended

Most of the people in the multitude could not move their minds from the literal to the metaphorical.
When Jesus attempted to explain how believers would appropriate the truths of the Kingdom of God with a common illustration—eating and drinking—they forgot his stated context—believing in Him. They called it a “hard saying.” Even His own disciples failed to see this and complained among themselves—a useless thing to do! Jesus knew their thoughts!

More than Twelve
There were concentric circles around Jesus. The Twelve whom Jesus called were the closest and even within them there was the inner circle. Rotating in their own orbit at a greater distance were “disciples” who had called themselves to follow Jesus. This circle was filled with all manner of hearts and motivations. Their number seemed to grow and shrink as circumstances changed around Jesus. Surrounding this nebulous group, the rest of the multitude flooded the remaining space in a random flow of faith and folly, boredom and belligerence. Yet on this they all seemed to agree: eating His flesh and drinking his blood was a “hard saying.”

Offended Disciples
We can identify with the humanity of Jesus: He tried something and it seemed not to work—right away. Of course, John recorded His words for the ages and now we can understand how functional faith in Christ really is. Believing in Jesus really is like eating and drinking His substance and life. At that moment, trouble was brewing in the concentric circles. Jesus turned to the twelve,

“Does this offend you?

These were the basics. What if Jesus told them about the Throne Room of God, that glorious center of worship seen by Moses in the mountain and reflected in the Tabernacle and Temple? Would they believe that?

His Words were Spirit.
They needed to discipline their literal minds and peer into the broader, more beautiful world of the Spirit. They had more than just a brain; they each possessed a spirit made in the image of God. It was here they could understand the unfathomable and see the invisible.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

In the silence that followed, feet shuffled, heads lowered to study the shuffling feet, itching scalps were scratched, and sideways glances were exchanged. They needed a helper they did not have. From the fringes on the side and the ranks in the rear, the crowd began to shrink.

Shrinking Circles
Seeing the slow, systematic departures, Jesus understood it immediately.

“Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

When the circles were mostly gone, Jesus turned to the Twelve,

“Do you also want to go away?”

It is amazing how silent a wilderness can be. Of course, they would not, could not, leave Him. Finally, Peter said what they were all thinking,

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The silence deepened. There was more that must be said. Finally Peter confessed,

“Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus smiled to Himself and looked into the faces of each of His men. His examination ended with the face of Judas.

“Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

Just what they needed at that moment, another hard saying.

Scriptures:
John 6:60-71

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank for the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete—the Helper, who quickens our mortal minds, opening the things of the Spirit to our spirit. It is by this grace that we feed on You, believing Your substance and receiving Your life. Thank You for the Cross, for by it You removed our sins far from us and qualified us to receive the abiding ministry of the Holy Spirit. Give me patience with the “hard sayings” in the Bible. Help me believe them before I understand them, trusting to the eventual enlightenment of the Spirit. One day I will know even as I am known! Until then, I will believe. Amen.

Song:
Faith Is the Victory

Words: John Henry Yates; Music: Ira D. Sankey

1. Encamped along the hills of light, Ye Christian soldiers, rise
And press the battle ere the night  Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know, That overcomes the world.

Refrain:
Faith is the victory!
Faith is the victory!
Oh, glorious victory
That overcomes the world.

2. His banner over us is love, Our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith they, like a whirlwind’s breath, Swept on o’er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death Is still our shining shield.

Refrain

3. To him who overcomes the foe White raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know His name confessed in heav’n
Then onward from the hills of light, Our hearts with love aflame;
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night In Jesus’ conquering name.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 27 “Feeding”

Feeding

The setting shifts to the synagogue in Capernaum on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.
The news about Jesus was exciting and confusing:

  • Could He be Messiah?
  • How could a normal man do the things He did?

His home village of Nazareth was just a few miles west in the Galilean hills—many people in the crowd knew His family. Surely Messiah would not be a carpenter’s son!

Noisy Skeptics
Local rabbis joined the leaders from Jerusalem in their refusal to believe in Jesus as anything more than a curiosity, perhaps even a trickster, posing as Messiah. The rabbi at Capernaum gave Jesus the floor. He must explain what he meant by the statement,

“I am the bread which came down from heaven.”

Patiently, Jesus let them speak.
When they were done, He let the silence speak for Him for a few minutes until all eyes were on Him and all ears tuned to His voice. The first thing He wanted to establish was this: to move the discussion from doubt to faith.

“Do not murmur among yourselves.”

To speak of Messiah, one must deal in faith not doubt, in hope not despair. God has always been faithful to the Covenant. This was a time for His people to also be faithful. These are the points in His presentation:

  • The Lord was at work among them—He was leading people in their hearts to believe.
  • Those who sensed this inner leadership had to realize that it was a call to believe in Jesus.
  • To believe in Jesus was to have eternal life!
  • He was the bread of Life—living manna from heaven.
  • Their fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died.
  • To believe in Jesus was to have the Bread of Life which produces eternal life.

A Hard Saying Understood
To illustrate, Jesus employed a vivid pair of metaphors—eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Of course, He intended this as a metaphor, not actual consumption. He had already explained that the “work of God” was to believe in Him. When He spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, he was showing us through these common activities how we were to believe in Him:

  • Consume His substance—what He said, what He did, what He taught, how He thought, etc.
  • Imbibe His life—His health, His strength, He presence, His faith, His confidence and most of all His love.

Thinking in metaphorical terms, these understandable actions from everyday life, we can see the joy of being His follower. The more of Him—His substance and His life—we appropriate in faith, the more of Him will flow into and through our lives.

Synonyms Are Helpful
To understand these “hard sayings” of Jesus, it is helpful to substitute synonyms for “body and blood:” “substance” for “body” and “life” for “blood.” In the Written Word we find the substance of Jesus’ life on earth and in the Living Word, the presence of Jesus, we find the life of Jesus. As we believe in His substance and life, we find food for our souls.

Scriptures:
John 6:41-59

The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
Romans 14:16-18
Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe in the substance of Your Story as it is recorded in the Word of God. I read these pages in faith, believing every word. It is not my job to explain or even to fully comprehend Your substance; it is my work to believe it. I believe in Your life. You forsook heavenly life for an earthly life. Blood flowed from Your heart to your extremities just as in my body. Your earthly life ended and by the power of the Spirit, another life took its place. I share Your life through the power of Your blood! I believe in Your substance and Your life. Amen.

Song:
Break Thou the Bread of Life

Words: Mary A. Lathbury; Music: William F. Sherwin

1. Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.

2. Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!

3. You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.

4. O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 26 “Bread”

Bread

Unsatisfied by Jesus’ answer about the work of God, the crowd asked for a sign.
When they asked what work God desired from them, Jesus had told them the truth, “The work of God is to believe in Him.” but this was not enough.

“What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You?
What work will You do?”

To justify their request, they cited the manna in the wilderness—bread as a sign from heaven. Could Jesus match that?

True Bread
The historical record was clear: Moses did not provide the manna; God did. A greater opportunity was before them.

“My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

This was confusing to them. Bread could not be a person. If there was something in their generation better than heavenly manna in their fathers’ generation, they wanted it. Why confuse the issue with reckless personification?

“Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

Two days into this wilderness trek to find Jesus, one day after they had eaten a miraculous meal, the morning after a terrible storm, and following an impromptu trip across Galilee, these people were in no mood to be denied.

“Lord, give us this bread always.”

The Bread of Life
As He often did, Jesus paused before answering them. He knew they would not like the answer. Still, there was no other answer to give. He had to somehow move their minds from the literal to the metaphorical. The Word of God so often comes in metaphor, requiring the use of the imagination God has given each of us. When they were all intently listening He answered them.

“I am the bread of life.

This simply would not do. They knew what bread was and it wasn’t a man! A murmur of impatience shuddered through the multitude like a cold wind. Jesus went on.

“He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

The cold wind of rejection grew from murmur to a vocal complaint. Jesus raised His hand, the same hand that held the bread and fish when He blessed it, to quiet the crowd.

“I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.”

With this they agreed—they did not believe. A hungry multitude on a two-day hike needed more than words. Their protests peaked only to subside as Jesus continued to explain.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,
and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

He went on, raising His voice over the storm of their protests, to explain His mission and the iron-clad promises connected to it.

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Words do not make a sign.
They had asked for a sign and all He gave them was more words. There was bread from Heaven but it was not to their liking.

Scriptures:
John 6:30-40

Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are the Bread of Life. Your Word feeds my mind. Your presence feeds my spirit. Your health feeds my body. Every day is a feast of Living Bread come down from Heaven. This is better food than the manna in the Wilderness. It is always fresh and warm and nourishing. Help me today to do the work of the Kingdom—to believe in You! I will do Your will and tell Your story. Lord Jesus, You are the Bread of Life. Amen.

Song:
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer

Words: William Williams; Music: John Hughes

1. Guide me, O Thou great *Jehovah, [*Redeemer]
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

2. Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

3. Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer
Sin and Satan and the grave,
Sin and Satan and the grave.

4. When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s Destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 25 “Believe”

Believe

In the confusion of a stormy night on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the raucous crowd lost touch with Jesus.
In spite of the storm, in fact by walking on the face of the turbulent waters of the storm, Jesus had rescued His disciples from shipwreck. He transported them to the other side of the waters. Not to be put off, the people found boats themselves and sailed/rowed across Galilee to reconnect with Jesus.

“And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him,
“Rabbi, when did You come here?”

Signs
Jesus read their minds like a well-crafted scroll. He knew that while some sought Him for legitimate reasons—healings yet to be delivered, teaching for their starving souls—many more had less lofty or pressing needs. His answer to their question, brought hidden things to light.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs,
but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Realizing the mix of good motives with bad, Jesus resigned Himself to seize the moment as a teaching opportunity.

“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Motives were important in the Kingdom of God. They may have thought that under the Old Covenant, behavior, not motivation, was the important thing. It was never so, but the behavior of people is observable and enforceable while motives are hidden and beyond measurement. Matters of the heart have always been of supreme importance to God.

Motivations and Rewards
In the Kingdom of God, motives and rewards are connected. God always rewards those whose hearts are right regardless of the wins or losses visible to human eyes. Today we may look at large, “successful” ministries and think the heavenly accounting mirrors that of human assessments. Not so. Faithfulness and true-heartedness are coins of the realm in the Kingdom of God. The pastor of the small church, unheralded by any other than those who know him/her, is just as successful in the eyes of God as the famous minister with a large following. Prominent or private, each servant of God has the same work to do: to labor for “the food which endures to everlasting life.”

What is the Work of God?
The heart of the crowd was turning toward the true issues of life and away from the peripheral or self-serving. They asked the question that lies at the heart of the issue.

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

This is such an important question. The answer will be relevant to the discussion to come about what it means to consume the substance and life of Jesus.

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

The “work of God” is to believe in Jesus. No record of good deeds stands on its own merits. Belief in Jesus rescues Christianity from the ranks of philosophy. A relationship with Jesus defines every moment of effective Christian life and witness. At the Lord’s table when we eat the bread and drink the cup, it is not the eating and drinking that makes the difference; it is the faith we hold in our hearts—our belief in Jesus, the Lord of the Table.

Scriptures:
John 6:22-29

On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone — however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks — when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe! When I drink the cup at the Table, I believe in the power of Your blood. When I eat the bread at the Table, I believe in the power of Your Life. When I praise You it is because I believe in You. When I fulfill my calling to serve You, it is because I know You have called me to serve You. When I fellowship with Your family, I believe I have a place in it no one else can fill. I will labor for the eternal reward I believe You have for me. Lord Jesus, I believe! Amen.

Song:
Because We Believe

Words and Music: Nancy Gordon and Jamie Harvell

1. We believe in God the Father
We believe in Christ the Son
We believe in the Holy Spirit
We are the Church and we stand as one

Refrain:
Holy, holy holy is our God
Worthy, worthy, worthy is our King
All glory and honor are His to receive
To Jesus we sing because we believe

2. We believe in the Holy Bible
We believe in the virgin birth
We believe in the resurrection
That Christ one day will return to earth

Refrain

3. We believe in the blood of Jesus
We believe in eternal life
We believe in the blood that frees us
To become the bride of Christ

Refrain
Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 24 “Storm”

Storm

Dissatisfied with full bellies, the multitude in the wilderness wanted more.
How quickly an adoring crowd can morph into a demanding mob. Still picking fish and bread from their teeth, the crowd turned selfish. They wanted Jesus, but they wanted Him for their own plans. Failing to hear His teaching about the approaching Kingdom of God, they wanted to take Him by force and make Him their King. Motives in the hearts of these people were as mixed as a roadside stew.

  • Some wanted Him to overthrow the Romans.
  • Others wanted Him to roust out the entrenched politicians in the priesthood.
  • Many were still sick or maimed and wanted His healing touch.
  • Still others were bored and wanted to see a show.
  • They all wanted another meal.

Jesus wanted to meet their needs but had no interest in feeding their selfish, hasty, expectations of Him. He was still a man on a three-fold mission.

To the Top of the Mountain and Across the Sea
While they argued and divided into warring camps, Jesus simply walked away from the crowd, leaving His men to deal with them. He ascended higher up the mountain to be alone, alone with the Heavenly Father in the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Soon the disciples also sought escape by boarding a fishing boat and striking out across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum on the other side. With a storm threatening, the crowd dispersed seeking shelter where they could find it. The day was finally over, lightning announced the storm and randomly split the night with blinding flashes of light.

A Surprise in the Storm
Remembering they had left Jesus on the other side of the Sea on the mountaintop, the Twelve realized that they needed to return to Him. The experienced fishermen in the group had no fear of storms on Galilee so the men started across the lake in the face of the storm. It seems they underestimated the strength of the tempest.

In just a few miles, the winds became unmanageable and no matter how hard they rowed, they made little progress against the storm. With waves breaking over the bow into the craft, some of the men rowed while others bailed. Even the experienced fishermen were afraid, but they tried not to show it.

The Scene from the Mountain
The approaching storm disturbed the peace of Jesus’ prayer time with the Father. Looking down the mountain, Jesus saw the panicking crowd scattering like vermin in the dying light, stabbed with lightning and rumbling with thunder as winds scattered their belongings. Jesus knew His men had taken to the boat and now were in peril on the sea. He knew exactly what to do.

As the Twelve struggled to make progress and keep the boat from sinking, the lone lookout in the bow, saw a ghostly figure approaching them. Each time the lightning flashed the figure was closer. The lookout shouted to the others and they stopped rowing and bailing to investigate the strange apparition. What? Who?

It was Jesus!
He was walking on the surface of the sea, never once sinking beneath the waves The raging water stilled itself under His every step. Over the sound of wind and waves, thunder and stressing timbers, they heard a familiar voice.

“It is I; do not be afraid.”

When they took Jesus into the boat, the storm was suddenly over and immediately they landed safe on the other side.

Scriptures:
John 6:15-21

Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I will not fear the storm! Not any storm. Not storms of the atmosphere, nor storms of human conduct, nor tempests of clashing ideas, not one these storms is a match for You, Lord Jesus. You walk on them all. Your voice commands all storms and until You speak peace to the storm, I will keep rowing or bailing or looking out, whatever my job on the boat may be. When a storm is brewing or when it is raging, I will hear Your words, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Amen and Amen.

Song:
Till the Storm Passes Over

Words and Music: Mosie Lister

1. In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Refrain:
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

2. Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 23 “Baskets”

Baskets

The Twelve disciples carried a collective worry as they saw the tremendous crowd following Jesus into the Galilean wilderness.
Attracting such a gathering implied certain responsibilities. Who would care for them? Who would dismiss them? How far would they follow Jesus away from their villages, homes, and lives? Jesus seemed totally unconcerned about these things. The Twelve did not know what He was planning as He selected an impressive mountainside as their stopping place. Turning to look behind Him, Jesus saw the vast multitude following Him. The feast of Passover was near so the multitude should have gathered at the Temple but there they were at the foot of a mountain in Galilee. What would Jesus do? Surely they were His responsibility.

A Test in the Wilderness
Knowing the thoughts of His men, Jesus decided to test them. He asked the one named Philip,

“Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?”

Philip did the math in his head and gave a reasonable answer.

“Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them,
that every one of them may have a little.”

Philip glanced at Judas who carried the meager funds Jesus and the men relied upon. Judas clutched the money bag to his heart and shook his head. The prognosis of Andrew hung in the air like a foul odor. Foreseeing the crisis, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother had surveyed the closest members of the multitude. He reported his findings.

“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish,
but what are they among so many?”

It was a reasonable question. In normal circumstances, Andrew had a point, but following Jesus led to anything but normal circumstances.

A Miraculous Meal in the Wilderness
Jesus began His miracle, employing His men in the process.

“Make the people sit down.”

The grassy knoll was well chosen. The disciples organized the people instructing the men to sit down. Their wives and families followed; they counted 5000 men plus the women and children.

Jesus took the bread and fish, looked to heaven and gave thanks. Next, He distributed the blessed food to the Twelve. Uncertain looks passed between the men as each received his portion from the hands of Jesus. To their utter amazement, the food multiplied in Jesus’ hands until each man had his own equal supply. The bread and fish were strangely warm, as if the power of the Lord had heated it in the multiplication process.

Twelve Baskets Full
The strange, warm multiplication continued as each disciple supplied row after row of hungry people. In a little while, everyone had eaten his/her fill and there was still food left over, an almost invisible steam rising from each portion. Jesus told His men to gather the leftovers in baskets. Each of the disciples had a basket brimming with warm bread and fish.

The laughter of full bellies rippled through the crowd like a stone tossed into pool. Soon though, the laughter was overcome by a whispered confession, gathering force as it moved through the multitude:

“This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

The Twelve looked at their teeming, steaming baskets, the satisfied faces of the people, and the smile of Jesus. This was a meal they would never forget.

Scriptures:
John 6:1-14

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Who Provides. To this day there is a multiplying warmth to Your touch. Time and time again, You have taken what we have to give and multiplied it to meet the need. I will trust You today to take my meager supply and heat it up, making it sufficient for the challenges facing me. May I never doubt the power and thoroughness of You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Song:
Jehovah Jireh

Words and Music: Merla Watson

Jehovah Jireh My provider His grace is sufficient
For me, for me, for me
Jehovah Jireh My provider His grace is sufficient For me

My God shall supply all my needs
According to His riches in glory
He will give His angels Charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me, for me, for me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 22 “Witnesses”

Witnesses

It was almost like a courtroom drama: Jesus vs. the Religious Leaders.
Jesus called His witnesses, each one adding another layer of validity to His claim to be Messiah. In some circles, those who do not read the record carefully will make the statement that Jesus never claimed to be Messiah or the Son of God. These were titles forced on Him by those who followed Him. Nonsense. Here we have the inspired record of Jesus pleading His own case with four witnesses to back His claim.

Witness Number One: John the Baptist

The Prophet Isaiah had predicted that Messiah would be preceded by a Forerunner. John came in the power of the Spirit to the Judean wilderness quoting the very words of Isaiah, calling people to prepare the way of the Lord. He even proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. Jesus called him a “burning and shining lamp.” He was a witness known by all.

Witness Number Two: Miraculous Works and Messianic Deeds
The stories were many and each one based in truth:

  • Jesus turned water into wine at Cana.
  • In Capernaum, He cured a nobleman’s fevered son with just a word.
  • In Jerusalem at the pool of Bethesda, a man lame for 38 years was made to walk again at Jesus’ command.
  • Doubtless there were other stories of other miracles John did not record.
  • Jesus boldly drove wicked merchants from the Temple, reforming the worship of Jehovah.
  • And, truly amazing, Jesus violated the racial norms of the day to teach the Samaritans the truths of God for two whole days.

These deeds bore powerful, undeniable witness to the claims of Jesus.

Witness Number Three: The Father Himself
The Word of God was never restricted to dusty scrolls, filed away in the Temple or in local synagogues. The Father’s Word took root in the hearts of those who heard it just as if God Himself were speaking. Actually this awareness of the witness of the Father in the believer’s heart was the dividing line between those who heard both John and Jesus and those who didn’t. Jesus made this clear:

“You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.”

This was a faithful witness the other side refused to hear.

Witness Number Four: The Written Word
Finally, Jesus called upon the witness of the written Word of God, He referred to it simply as, “Moses.”

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The whole record was about Him. There were prophesies to be memorized and believed, especially when the Messiah walked among them.

Witnesses for the Ages
Four witnesses called and four testimonies given. Jesus made His case and today it still stands. Those who close the Old Testament cut themselves off from the whole truth of God. The whole book is about Jesus! The plan of God was not some emergency scheme devised when unforeseen events presented themselves. This was the plan for the ages, the metanarrative that sets us free to live this life and the one to come.

Scriptures:
John 5:31-47

“If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish — the very works that I do — bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. “I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Isaiah 40:3-5
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe Your story. I receive Your witnesses. I love the ministry of John the Baptist. I believe the amazing accounts of Your miracles. I hear the voice of the Father in my heart. I read and believe the witness of the Word. Your story is the one which defines my life and fuels my hope. Lord Jesus, I believe Your story. Amen.

Song:
I Love to Tell the Story

Words: Kate Hankey; Music: William G. Fischer;

1. I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

Refrain:
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

2. I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.

Refrain

3. I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting to hear it, like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song,
’twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 21 “Life”

Life

Life is more than merely breathing. There has to be more than animal existence.
Each of us has a deep sense of purpose though we may not have a clue as to what that purpose may be. Hunting dogs do not question their instincts. They put their noses to the ground and chase their prey. Birds do not search their hearts for the meaning of the worlds gliding by beneath them. They form a V and fly away. Dolphins frolic in the sea untroubled by questions of purpose or destiny.

But we don’t. We question life. We seek sources of understanding: books, legends, traditions, science, technology, family histories, or even a god of some sort. We need a story that explains life to us with answers to the great questions:

  • How did the world come to be?
  • How was I formed in the original version of me?
  • What is the meaning of my life? Does it even have a meaning?
  • What happens when I die?

This story is called the metanarrative. Here is a definition:

“A metanarrative (also called grand narrative) is an overarching story or storyline that gives context, meaning, and purpose to all of life. A metanarrative is the “big picture” or all-encompassing theme that unites all smaller themes and individual stories.”(gotquesitons.org)

Evidence of God
The fact that of all life on earth, humans are the only creatures to demand an explanation of life is an evidence for the existence of God.  God put this desire there.  The one thing everybody agrees on about life is the reality of death. Jesus taught about life and even—eternal life!

“Hear my Word!”
The elders who opposed Jesus were not villains. Most of them were good men trying to do good things. Oh, there were power hungry men among them who had no moral restraints on their efforts to hold on to power. Jesus would deal with them. With the miracles to validate His amazing claims, Jesus attempted to lead people to faith in Him.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

Not just life—eternal life! This was His message, the gift He was offering them. To follow Him was to live beyond death. Eternal life was His gift. The grave, yawning before every man, woman, and child would not have the final word for those who followed Him. He brought life beyond death, life forever.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus
No other messenger bears this message. No other prophet has come into life, passed through death, and emerged victorious on other side. This is the story we believe, the one we revisit in prayer every day and dream of through the darkest night. Here are our answers:

  • The world around me is His handiwork.
  • I was made by His hand.
  • My life has meaning and significance by His declaration.
  • When I die, it will be but a passage to life eternal.

Life is more than merely breathing. There is so much more than animal existence.

Scriptures:
John 5:24-30

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are the Master of Life and the conqueror of death! Your victory is not legend or myth; it is fact! Your story tells me what I need to know about life, death, and the life to come. I organize my life around Your call on my life. I prioritize my time according to Your priorities. You are my purpose, my power, and my reward. Your story is my story—I have my own chapter in it! Thank You, Lord.

Song:
Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Words: Fanny Crosby; Music: John R. Sweney

1. Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word;
tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels, in chorus, sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Refrain:
Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word;
tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.
2. Fasting alone in the desert, tell of the days that are past;
how for our sins He was tempted, yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor, tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted, homeless, rejected and poor.

Refrain

3. Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, writhing in anguish and pain;
tell of the grave where they laid Him, tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender, clearer than ever I see:
stay, let me weep while you whisper, love paid the ransom for me.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 20 “Equal”

Equal

No one can say that Jesus was overly concerned with what the religious leaders thought about Him.
He was a man on a mission, a three-fold mission:

  1. As the Living Word of God, to reveal God the Father to the People of God,
  2. As Immanuel, God with Us, to show us how life should be lived, and,
  3. As the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, to live a sinless life and thus qualify to pay the price for our sins and conquer evil at the cross.

With such a Messianic mission, He did not have much time for critics.

The Lord of the Sabbath
Both Luke and Matthew record Jesus’ statement that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. In John’s gospel much of what Jesus said and did exemplified His lordship over the Lord’s Day. This was the behavior that confounded His enemies.

  • He walked in power the leaders did not possess.
  • He spoke with an authority the scribes could not match.
  • He brought a new understanding of worship the priests could not begin to comprehend.
  • He had real answers for the questioning hearts of the people and a healing touch for their frailties and diseases.
  • He walked in a joy that exuded strength, just as Nehemiah had promised.
  • His laughter could brighten the darkest hour and His very word could calm a storm.

How could the leaders ever hope to match Him? They didn’t try; they criticized Him for doing such wonderful things on the Sabbath.

News of The Father
Jesus presented Jehovah in a new way—He was their Heavenly Father. To do this, Jesus made it clear that He was the Son of God. It was an outrageous claim. They were all children of Abraham, children of the Covenant, but to claim to be the Son of God was novel and ridiculous. Yet, this was the justification Jesus gave for His radical attitude toward the Sabbath and for His miracles and revolutionary teaching.

Thinking of Jehovah as the Heavenly Father, placed Him in an understandable frame of reference. The “heavenly” Father must be far superior to any earthly father. He would be trustworthy and unfailing, holy and compassionate, wise and understanding. This was the Good News of the Gospel. As the Son of such a Heavenly Father, Jesus represented Him perfectly—the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, to use John’s words. Later on Jesus would sum up this part His mission by telling His disciples that when they had seen Him, they had seen the Father. They were equals.

Blasphemy
The religious leaders seized this confession as the most damaging evidence against Jesus:

“Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”

To answer their charge, Jesus explained His relationship with God the Father:

  • He did nothing on His own, only what He saw the Father doing;
  • He walked in the Love of the Father, in constant communication with Him;
  • He had life from the Father and could share it with whomever He pleased;
  • The Father would judge the world through the Son; and
  • He was worthy of the same honor as the Father.

The battle lines were drawn. There was no ambiguity, no misunderstanding. Jesus claimed to be Messiah. What could the leaders do about that?

Scriptures:
John 5:16-23

For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Mark 2:27-28
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I remember the words of Paul, that in all things You “must have supremacy.” It is only right. You are Lord of all! You are Lord of the Sabbath and every other day of the week! You are the Victor over death, hell, and the grave and the Lord of Life. I will honor Your Holy Day for it is a precious gift. It is an outflow of Your mercy and wisdom. I will worship and I will rest. Throughout the week I will remember that You, the Lord of the Sabbath, are with me always! Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Jesus Is Lord of All

Words and Music: Bill and Gloria Gaither

1. All my tomorrows, all my past, Jesus is Lord of all.
I’ve quit my struggles, contentment at last, Jesus is Lord of all.

Refrain:
King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus is Lord of all.
All my possessions and all my life, Jesus is Lord of all.

2. All of my conflicts, all my thoughts, Jesus is Lord of all.
His love wins the battles I could not have fought, Jesus is Lord of all.

Refrain

3. All of my longings, all my dreams, Jesus is Lord of all.
All of my failures His power redeems, Jesus is Lord of all.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.