Your Daily Lenten Devotional
March 13, 2012
Into the Wilderness
Living As If We Mean It-Because God Most Certainly Does
Read John 14:18-24.
”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live” (vv. 18-19).
Apart from the agenda on my daily calendar—”write column, pack for tomorrow’s flight, complete prep for teaching at retreat, run off message for Sunday morning, line up interviews for next week”—I make no predictions about what will happen over the next twenty-four hours or so. There are too many variables interfacing everything I intend to do and any number of things can and most certainly will happen to confound my plans.
But Jesus knew exactly what was coming at him. He knew it as he talked with his friends around the table in the upper room, and I believe it contributed to the urgency of his words. The immediate future was alarmingly clear, and Jesus revealed tremendous strength and honest bravery as he understood the inevitability of betrayal, torture, and death.
In complete humanity, both at odds with and beautifully complementary to his uncompromised deity, Jesus moved toward all the horror that the ensuing day and a half had in store.
In today’s scripture selection from John’s account of the Last Supper, Jesus speaks plainly and eloquently about the mystery that defines God’s grace, as he draws logical conclusions regarding our relationship to God based on his relationship with us.
I remember the way I was received into my wife’s family. Rebekah’s mother loved me instantly and without reserve both because she loved Rebekah and Rebekah loves me and also because I make Rebekah happy. It’s a lot like that with God. We love Jesus; Jesus loved us enough to die for us; God loves the Son; and we are all adopted into this family by virtue of Jesus’ great love for us. God the Father accepts and cherishes me—Derek Maul—not on my merit, but because Jesus died for me, loves me, and presents me just as I am at God’s Communion Table, as his very own brother. (See Rom. 5:8.)
Not only that, but Jesus points out how I will come to receive this fullness of life. It’s the same principle that applies to each one-of us. “It’s the life that I experience,” Jesus explained in many ways over the course of the evening, and that life will be ours in equal measure. Then, conclusively, “Because I live, you also will live” (v. 19).
Our status as the brothers and the sisters of Jesus means that we share in that same life: the Christ-vitality, the deep and larger-than-life aliveness. The world around us, broken and cynical, may not see Jesus. The world may believe that Christ is defeated and defunct; but we know that the Christ-life is alive and vibrant and real.
Then, and here’s the kicker, the world—this ambient culture where we hang out in the everyday grind—gets the opportunity to see firsthand the compelling evidence of the resurrection in us. Because we, the church, are advertised throughout the New Testament as “the body of Christ.” What changes can you make in your life that will make that clear to others?
Prayer: Please live in us and through us, Jesus. Let us live more completely in the truth of your message. Amen.
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent
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Reaching Toward Easter by Derek Maul offers a daily devotional pilgrimage through Lent, using the framework of the Gospel of John as a guide. Features include a suggested scripture reading for each day, prayers for personal devotions, and a leader’s guide for weekly group meetings.
Used with the kind permission of our friends at Upper Room Books.