“Then when He was come into Galilee the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did at Jerusalem at the feast.” It was at Cana of Galilee that He healed the son of a certain nobleman who was sick at Capernaum. In the picture we see the fountain which is, according to the tradition, the one from which the water pots were filled when Christ made the wine at the marriage feast in Cana. The water here is abundant and pure, and as there is no other fountain in the immediate vicinity, the natives of the village regard its claims as beyond dispute. The large sculptured stone near the fountain, to the left of the picture, is a Roman sarcophagus, now used as a trough for watering cattle. A woman of the village appears in the picture. We find them sometimes in groups, sometimes alone. They often bear jars upon their heads. Beyond the fountain we see a fence of cactus and beyond it are olive and fig trees. The writer and the artist were at this place at about half-past eight on the morning of May 8th, 1894. In the picture we are looking toward the north. To many the miracles of Christ are a source of perplexity and doubt. One has well said that they were the “ordinary and inevitable works of One whose very existence was the highest miracle of all.” A German poet said: “One would have thought that the miracle of miracles was to have created the world such as it is, yet it is a far greater miracle to have lived a perfectly pure life therein.”
The 69-cm-high relief from the period of the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704–681 BCE) shows a vessel (galley) powered by banks of oarsmen used as a warship. Its bow was designed to ram and sink enemy vessels. The shields of the warriors hang on the ship’s side in order to protect the vessel.
Num 24:24; Judg 5:17; Job 9:26; Ps 104:26; Prov 30:19; Dan 11:30; 1 Macc 1:17; 11:1; 15:4
April 8: Compelled to Worship
Deuteronomy 12:29–14:29; 2 Corinthians 4:1–6; Psalm 36
When we experience God’s mercy, it shows. Our instincts change and our priorities shift from gratifying our own ego to making much of God. We stop fearing what others think of us and find our identity grounded in Christ. It’s a transformation that shows God is working in our lives. Paul recognized the transformative power of the gospel, and it drove his ministry. This is evidenced in his second letter to the Corinthian church:
“Just as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced shameful hidden things, not behaving with craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but with the open proclamation of the truth commending ourselves to every person’s conscience before God” (2 Cor 4:1–2).
Paul wasn’t manipulating or distorting the good news for his own gain, as some were doing in the community. He preached the good news to all people with openness and sincerity. He allowed the gospel to convict people as it should, refusing to distort it to make people comfortable. He proclaimed “Christ Jesus as Lord” and he and his disciples as “slaves for the sake of Jesus” to those in Corinth (2 Cor 4:5). Bound to Christ, they lived as free slaves for His cause. They were solely dedicated to Jesus because they wanted to be, and because of the salvation He had brought them.
Psalm 36 provides an illustration of Paul’s approach, highlighting the qualities of those who don’t fear God. This person is characterized by “rebellion in the midst of his heart” (Psa 36:1). He is self-absorbed and rejects his need: “he flatters himself in his eyes, hating to detect his iniquity” (Psa 36:2). He is deceitful (Psa 36:3).
The psalmist doesn’t contrast this picture with one of the righteous man. Instead, he honors Yahweh—His loyal love, faithfulness, righteousness, and judgments (Psa 36:5–6). The psalmist says, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psa 36:9). Paul echoes “For God … is the one who has shined in our hearts for the enlightenment of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).
God’s grace puts everything in perspective. Both passages help us assess with wisdom the message and posture of those who teach. They also challenge us to take a look at our own standing before God.
Take an honest look at what motivates you. Are you transformed by the good news? Is it apparent to others around you?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.
Each one resembled the children of a king
If the King is indeed near of kin to us, the royal likeness will be recognizable.
Frances Ridley Havergal
Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.
His resurrection destiny
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? Luke 24:26.
Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life: His Resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me. When I am born again from above, I receive from the risen Lord His very life.
Our Lord’s Resurrection destiny is to bring “many sons unto glory.” The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We are never in the relationship to God that the Son of God is in; but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When Our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life, to a life He did not live before He was incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before; and His resurrection means for us that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we shall have a body like unto His glorious body, but we can know now the efficacy of His resurrection and walk in newness of life. “I would know Him in the power of His resurrection.”
“As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” “Holy Spirit” is the experimental name for Eternal Life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the Deity in proceeding power Who applies the Atonement to our experience. Thank God it is gloriously and majestically true that the Holy Ghost can work in us the very nature of Jesus if we will obey Him.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.
Morning, January 8 Go To Evening Reading
“The iniquity of the holy things.”
— Exodus 28:38
What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbors may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!
Go To Morning Reading Evening, January 8
“Thy love is better than wine.”
— Song of Solomon 1:2
Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.