Daily Archives: October 10, 2017

Today’s Scripture – October 10, 2017

Luke 9:27 (NIV) I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus had come to make the kingdom of God a living reality in the world, and to get the people ready to enter it. John the Baptist prepared the people for Jesus; Jesus prepared the people for the kingdom.

Jesus was Himself the embodiment of the kingdom of God on earth. As long as He was in the world, people could experience the reality of the kingdom at second-hand by watching how He lived, and experiencing all of the wonderful things that He could do. However, the kingdom was still only a second-hand reality to His followers, even His closest disciples.

But very soon, Jesus would turn His steps south to Jerusalem one last time. During this trip, Jesus would take the steps needed to make the kingdom a living reality for everyone. He would die on the cross, taking on Himself all of the suffering, torment, and separation from God that the people deserved for their sins, paying the penalty in full. Then, on the third day, He would rise again as the first fruits of those redeemed through faith in Him, defeating death, and opening the way for all into an eternity in heaven.

Finally, forty days later, He would ascend into heaven to the right hand of God the Father. From there, He would pour out the Holy Spirit on His followers on the day of Pentecost. On that day, the kingdom of God would arrive on earth in power, becoming a reality in the lives of His followers. No longer would the kingdom be embodied in Jesus. From that time forward, it would be embodied in the heart of every believer and, through their lives, manifested throughout the world.

Of course, only eleven of Jesus’ twelve closest disciples would live to see that day. Judas Iscariot would betray Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders, and then hang himself out of guilt and despair. He would not experience the kingdom becoming a reality. But the other eleven disciples would experience for themselves what it was like to live in the kingdom of God, and the complete fulfillment of this prophecy of Jesus.

Father, thank You for the reality of Your kingdom down to today. Your kingdom isn’t something that we look back upon as a great, but temporary, event. Nor is it something we have to anticipate in the far-off future. It is still a living reality for all who follow Jesus. Lord, help me to live in the reality of Your kingdom today. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – October 9, 2017

Luke 9:24-26 (NIV) “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

The instinct for self-preservation in humans is very strong, as strong as it is in any creature that God created And it is there for a purpose. It enables people to survive during times of peril and times of trial. It causes them to fight back strongly against things that would destroy them, and not just give up or give in.

But people also have powerful ability to override their instinct for survival, that is more powerful than any other creature. That ability enables the selfless acts that we so admire in people. It enables the mother or father to run back into a fire or dive into the water to save a child. It enables people to share with those in need, even when they have precious little to begin with.

In a Christian, the ability to override the instinct for survival enables us to face trials and persecutions, and never turn our backs on God or Jesus in the process. The survival instinct will try to get us to give up, to give in, or to deny Jesus in order to save our own lives. But, as Jesus points out, to give in to that temptation will ultimately cost a person their soul. He or she could gain the whole world by denying Jesus (and the enemy will make it look that that is actually a possibility, if only we will capitulate). But in the end, anything that we gain will prove to be worth nothing in comparison to the depth of the loss of soul that we experience.

All of Jesus’ promises of deliverance are only for those who stand firm in the face of suffering, persecution, and even death. Even those promises made in the letters to the seven Churches in the Revelation are made to those who overcome, those who stand firm, those who ignore their survival instinct as they stand firm in their faith, their hope, their commitment to Jesus, even to the point of death.

Father, we are so good at rationalizing our capitulations, large and small.” Surely God will understand. Surely He knows how weak I am. Surely He will forgive me when all of this is over so that I can get back into His good graces.” You are loving and forgiving, but Jesus calls us to intentionally take up our own crosses, and to remain faithful regardless of the suffering we must undergo for Your sake and for the sake of the kingdom, just as the early disciples did. Help me to stand firm, bold in the faith, no matter what happens, so that at the end of all things, I can receive the great blessings You have promised. Amen.

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