Closing the Gap 11.28.18

By November 28, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 47 Day 3

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1 Cor. 11:17-26 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Reflect:

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and gave thanks. A man who Jesus had treated as a dear friend traded the relationship for a bag of coins.  In addition to this betrayal, his other friends would sleep through his most difficult night, misunderstand his life mission, and deny they even knew him. Then, what also was coming for the Lord (and he knew it) was that his Father would turn his face away from him.  He would be forsaken by God. Now, with all this in mind, hear this story again…

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and gave thanks. He gave thanks as he broke the bread that symbolized his own body that would be broken for the sins of others.  He drank a cup that symbolized the blood that would flow for your sins and mine. Jesus was not a man who had died to all passions and desires. He was not a stoic who had trained himself to not care or feel.  He was a man who gave full vent to his passion and desires. He felt and cared like no human ever has. He fully embraced his passions and desires because they were righteous and good and blessed. He always did what he ultimately wanted to do because his heart was such that he always wanted what was good.  Yes, he asked his Father for another way than the cross, but he added, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). This doesn’t mean that Jesus had a different will than his Father’s; he did not. This simply shows that Jesus was facing the full implications of what was coming. He was showing that he was no “iron man” who felt nothing.  He was bearing the full emotional weight of what he was going to experience. His statement, “Not my will, but yours be done” was the Lord communicating the reality of what it looks like to be a surrendered human. Does this mean Jesus had a divided heart? No, it means we can identify with him. His heart was fully surrendered to the Father’s will.  But his own humanity, understandably, wanted to know if there were other options. There were not. So the Lord settled into what the writer of Hebrews called the “joy set before him” (Heb. 12:2). For Jesus, the ultimate good was always his preference. God incarnate did not come to serve self, but to give his life as a ransom. Serving self is a universally failed method of personal happiness.  Why would the one who designed life try something like that? Of course he would not, and he did not. So on the night he was betrayed, with all that was coming to him fully in his mind, he gave thanks. But it was not just a cross that was coming, joy was set before him. You, too, can give thanks. If you have given your life to Christ, there is joy coming your way. It may be on the other side of a cross, in fact, it most certainly will be.  But joy is there, set before you. Do you see it? There is part of us that would, at times, prefer a different way than the way set before us by God. But for those with a thankful and surrendered heart, in the end we willingly choose the way God has chosen for us. You are not there yet? Don’t be dismayed; close the gap a little more today. Close the gap by giving thanks right now, and again and again as you move through this day.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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