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Daily Gospel Reading - May 29, 2017 PDF Print E-mail

Gospel Reading: John 16:29-33


29 His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God." 31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? 32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for  the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

 

Meditation:

How did the disciples come to believe that Jesus is truly the Son of God sent from the eternal Father in heaven? When Jesus taught his disciples he often spoke in parables - using short stories and vivid images which expressed in picture language what God's kingdom is like and how God's power can change and transform our lives to be like him. These stories were intended to make his disciples reflect and think through the inner spiritual truths he wanted them to understand and accept.

 

The Lord Jesus gives hope and strength to those who believe in him and trust in his word
Now Jesus begins to speak more plainly to the disciples about the mission and purpose for which he was sent into the world - not to condemn the world but through love to redeem it (John 3:16). The disciples professed their belief in Jesus that he truly came from God and taught as one who possessed full knowledge of God. Jesus' response showed that he fully knew and understood them very well. Jesus could read their hearts like an open book. He knew their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

 

Where do you place your trust and confidence?
In spite of their confident faith, Jesus warned his disciples that they would be put to the test and would fail. He knew they would desert him in his hour of trial when he would be arrested and condemned to death on the cross. Such knowledge of their faltering loyalty could have easily led to bitterness and rejection on his part. Jesus met the injury of betrayal and abandonment with supreme love and earnest prayer for his disciples (Luke 22:32; John 17:15). "He loved them to the very end" (John 13:1) - even when they had left him to die alone on the cross.

 

God's peace dwells with those who trust in him alone
Jesus reassures them of his peace, unfailing love, and victory over the world which is in opposition to God's reign. Jesus speaks the same reassuring words of enduring love, faithfulness, and victory to his followers today. "I will never fail you nor forsake you." While we may forget the Lord and fail him, he will never forget us nor fail to come to our aid. When you are put to the test do you seek the Lord Jesus and place your trust in his help and mercy?

 

The Holy Spirit fills us with expectant faith, persevering hope, and unfailing love
While we cannot avoid all pain and suffering which may come our way in this life, the Lord Jesus assures us that he has overcome the world and all that would seek to keep us from his saving help and healing presence. He promises to guide us safely through any trial or hardship we may have to undergo for his sake. The Lord Jesus gives us the gift of his Holy Spirit who strengthens us with faith, courage, and perseverance to stay the course which he has set for us. The Holy Spirit fills us with a living hope in the power of Christ's resurrection (1 Peter 1:3) and reassures our heart with a confident trust in God's abiding presence.

 

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and the victory he has won for us (Romans 8:35-39). The Holy Spirit gives us the strength and courage we need to overcome every adversity and to persevere with faith and hope in God. Do you believe in the power of Christ's love for you and in the victory he has won for you through his death and resurrection?

 

"Lord Jesus, help me to trust in your unwavering love and saving help, especially when I meet adversities, trials, and temptations. Give me your peace when I am troubled and let me know the joy of your victory over sin and death."

 
Daily Gospel Reading - May 28, 2017 PDF Print E-mail

Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:16-20


16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Meditation:

Why did Jesus leave his disciples forty days after his resurrection? Forty is a significant number in the Scriptures. Moses went to the mountain to seek the face of God for forty days in prayer and fasting. The people of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years in preparation for their entry into the promised land. Elijah fasted for forty days as he journeyed in the wilderness to the mountain of God. For forty days after his resurrection Jesus appeared numerous times to his disciples to assure them that he had risen indeed and to prepare them for the task of carrying on the work which he began during his earthy ministry.

 

The Risen Lord is with us always to the end of time
Jesus' departure and ascension into heaven was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus' physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus' presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time (Matthew 28:20). Now as the glorified and risen Lord and Savior, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would anoint them with power from on high on the Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry at the River Jordan (Luke 3:21-22, 4:1,18). When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they were not left in sorrow or grief. Instead, they were filled with joy and with great anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Risen Lord empowers us to carry on his work
Why did the Risen Lord ascend into heaven? The Father raised the glorified body of his Son and enthroned him in glory at his right hand in heaven. The Lord Jesus in his glorified body now reigns as Lord over the heavens and the earth - over all that he has created. The Risen Lord reigns from the throne in heaven as our Merciful Redeemer and Gracious King. He intercedes for us and he empowers us through the outpouring of his Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus gives us new life in his Spirit and he strengthens us in faith, hope and love so we can serve him and carry on his work as citizens of his kingdom here on earth.

 

You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth
Jesus' last words to his disciples point to the key mission and task he has entrusted to his followers on earth - to be his witnesses and ambassadors to the ends of the earth so that all peoples, tribes, and nations may  hear the good news that Jesus Christ has come to set us free from sin, Satan, and death and has won for us a kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness that will last forever.

 

How can we be effective witnesses for Christ? Jesus told his disciples, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you - and you shall be my witnesses... to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Jesus gives his followers the same power he received when the Holy Spirit came upon him and anointed him at the beginning of his mission (John 1:32-33). The Gospel is the power of God, the power to release people from their burden of sin, guilt, and oppression, and the power to heal, restore, and make us whole. Do you believe in the power of the Gospel to change and transform your life?

 

We are ambassadors for Jesus Christ
Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ. Just as ambassadors are appointed to represent their country and to speak on behalf of their nation's ruler, we, too are appointed by the Lord Jesus to speak on his behalf and to bring others into a close and personal encounter with the Lord and Ruler of heaven and earth. This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task - to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission world-wide. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

 

“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the Gospel and the reality of your great victory over sin and death.”

 
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