DEVOTIONALS, STEWARDSHIP BIBLE – SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2019

Gratitude for Grace

Luke 7:36–50

One of the most significant ways that we receive God’s generosity is through the gift of forgiveness. Jesus demonstrated the nature and extent of that forgiveness in this story. The woman sought Jesus because she recognized who he was, the Messiah. Church father Augustine (354–430) says that

she knew that he to whom she had come was able to make her whole; she approached then, not to the head of the Lord, but to his feet; and she who had walked long in evil, sought now the steps of uprightness. First she shed tears, the heart’s blood; and washed the Lord’s feet with the duty of confession. She wiped them with her hair, she kissed, she anointed them: she spake by her silence; she uttered not a word, but she manifested her devotion.

Simon, Jesus’ host, observed Jesus’ acceptance of the woman’s ministrations and thought that this proved Jesus was not a prophet. Ironically, Jesus read his thoughts. Augustine clarifies this passage:

Let now the Pharisee understand even by this, whether he was not able to see her sins, who could hear his thoughts. So then he put forth to the man a parable concerning two men, who owed to the same creditor. For he was desirous to heal the Pharisee also, that he might not eat bread at his house for nought; he hungered after him who was feeding him, he wished to reform him, to slay, to eat him, to pass him over into his own body.

So Jesus related to Simon the short parable, and Simon was forced to acknowledge that the one who has been forgiven most loves most. Jesus pointed out to Simon how little love he had shown for Jesus. He had not washed his feet, as was appropriate for an honored guest, nor had he anointed him, and he did not realize who Jesus was; he did not even acknowledge Jesus as a prophet. Moreover, Simon did not recognize that he was in need of a savior, that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Ro 3:10). Augustine says,

O Pharisee, therefore dost thou love but little, because thou dost fondly think that but little is forgiven thee; not because little really is forgiven thee, but because thou thinkest that that which is forgiven is but little.

The woman, however, knew that she was a sinner, and she had faith that Jesus could forgive her. Even if Simon the Pharisee was a good, upstanding person with much less to forgive than the woman, this passage only serves to emphasize the fact that the Christian who begrudges God’s generosity to the outcast is in great need of forgiveness. It was the woman, not the “clean” Pharisee, who went away with Jesus’ forgiveness and Jesus’ blessing, “Go in peace” (Lk 7:50).

Think About It

  • How did the woman in the story know who Jesus was and what he could do for her?
  • If you heard Jesus was eating dinner at your neighbor’s house, how would you approach him?
  • Do you identify more with the woman in the story or the host?

Pray About It

Lord, I turn to you in repentance and faith. Forgive me, cleanse me and give me peace.

MARK AS INCOMPLETE

DEVOTIONALS/QUEST BIBLE – SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2019

Does the Bible allow remarriage after divorce?

Mark 10:11–12

Jesus refutes the teaching that a man is “required” to dispense with his wife when he suspects unfaithfulness. Jesus finds such behavior intolerable, saying Moses did not “command” men to divorce wives; he “permitted” it because of the hardness of people’s hearts (see Mk 10:5). The springboard for right action should not be hard-heartedness, but love. Jesus says that only if a woman has done something that irreparably ruptures the marriage can such a divorce be right. But it isn’t a necessary response.

This passage can be read as follows: “Whoever does the following commits adultery: divorces his wife (except for immorality) and remarries another.” Judgment is placed on the person who remarries after pursuing an illegitimate divorce. If the divorce is invalid, so is the remarriage. But the reverse is also true: If the divorce is valid, then remarriage is acceptable.

MOM’S DEVOTIONAL BIBLE – SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2019 Reading Completed | Mar 9,2019

There’s No Place Like Home Jeremiah 50:6–7 Additional Scripture Readings: Psalm 32:7; Psalm 84:1–4 The couch doesn’t match the drapes. The master bedroom is furnished with a jumble of antiques and garage-sale finds. The dishes, chipped and tired, were passed down from Grandma. Out front, a collection of trikes and bikes sprawl across a patch of grass. Below the front door lies a cheery mat reading in embellished cursive, “WELCOME.” And that’s just how we feel inside this well-worn house. It might seem strange to some passersby. But it makes sense to us. Here is peace and safety because here is home and there’s no place like it. Do you have such a haven? Jeremiah talks about God as being our resting place, our pasture. In his presence, we find the safety and peace we long for. Whether in a palatial, well-coordinated home or in a humble bungalow, we can find the home of our dreams when we find it in God. When we find rest in the presence of God, we know for certain that there’s no place like home.

MEN’S DEVOTIONAL BIBLE – SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2019

Finish Lines

John 19:28–37

Recommended Reading: 2 Samuel 22:32—23:5; Colossians 2:6–15; 2 Timothy 4:1–8; Hebrews 12:1–2

Climb inside the mind of a marathon runner. Listen to his thoughts.

You’ve run this race countless times in your mind and hundreds of times in practice. But none of those resemble the real thing. The course takes you cross-country, and the running surface changes constantly. You could stumble at any step. Every change in terrain brings new challenges. Each race offers a different combination of obstacles and difficulties. And even though there are people at the roadside water stations to refresh your body, and crowds of individuals standing by to revive your spirit with their encouragement, it’s still just you out there—you, your two legs and your two feet. No matter which race you’re running, all of them have at least two things in common: the pain and the finish line.

Ah, the finish line! It makes all the pain bearable. Sometimes you forget the idea of winning the race in your all-consuming effort just to reach the finish line. You face the challenge and embrace the pain of running for over 26 miles, and a surge of joy fills your heart as you see the tape stretched across the journey’s end. Every last ounce of strength drives you across the finish line.

Jesus understood that intense drive to finish. With one of his last breaths, he cried out, “It is finished!” In the language of the New Testament, that’s a one-word exclamation: “Done!”

Jesus had joined the human race for a very special and specific reason—to finish God’s plan to provide forgiveness, salvation and eternal life for a fallen humanity. When Jesus shouted “Finished!” he was declaring that he had endured the judgment of sin on behalf of all humankind. He’d crossed the finish line for each of us. And in order to finish, he had to seal the arrangement with his life.

The cross represented the last hours in a long race marked out for Jesus. Even though he knew exactly how the race would end—with his sacrificial death—he still ran. Even though he had his disciples around him to provide companionship and support, not one of them knew exactly what he was going through in his final hours. Jesus knew that he’d experience excruciating pain. He knew that many would never accept his sacrifice, but he also knew that many would, and for us he ran. And finished. For this we’ll spend eternity in grateful appreciation.

To Take Away

  • Do you see your life as a race? Why? How would you describe your progress so far?
  • When you think of Jesus dying on your behalf on the cross, how does it make you feel? What effect does this reality have on your daily life?
  • How can Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross motivate you to run the race God sets out before you?
MARK AS COMPLETE