Monday John 12:1-11

Prayer: In this week of observing your sacrifice, O God, teach me through your Word as I look forward to your resurrection, in Christ. Amen.

Reckless abundance

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet…

The perfume that Mary used cost a year’s wages. In today’s economy would that be $35,000? More?  One pound of costly perfume that smelled up the house they were in.  Judas reminds us that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  (Strange how he sounds like a politician, Judas really wanted the money for himself.)

Mary was anointing Jesus in preparation for His death, it was extravagant, but has Jesus’ style:

Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Our devotion writer writes; “Reckless abundance was Jesus’ style.  In Cana he transformed water into 180 gallons of wine, much more than could be drunk at one wedding.  Twelve baskets of leftovers were collected after he fed 5,000 hungry people.  And when the risen Christ told Peter to throws his net back in the water, Peter haled in 153 fish.”

All this are examples of God’s abundance in giving away a lot.  More than is needed.  “My cup overflows.” (Psalm 23).  Our devotion writer continues; “Abundant life, abundant love, abundant grace.  Overflowing with God’s bounty, we need never be empty again.”

So what are we worried about?  There is much to go around. Much for us to share. God gives us more than we need so we can share it with others.

Prayer: “Generous Creator, thank you for giving us so much more than we deserve. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

John 12:1-11

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Mary Anoints Jesus

12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The Plot to Kill Lazarus

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

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Sunday Mark 14:1–15:47

Prayer: O God, I pray for strength that I can stand up for Jesus when asked, show me what to say through your Word. In Christ. Amen.

The Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday

36 He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

Today we see the entire Passion story of Christ in Mark’s words.  Well almost anyway, One thing remains and that is the Resurrection.  We see in today’s text, the human Jesus.  The Jesus who is anxious and afraid—wanting a way to avoid the terrible death He is about to experience.  He reaches out to His disciples who can’t keep awake, but they are no comfort.  But He submits to God’s will; “Yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

This week we walk with Jesus to the Cross.  Will we stand by Him? Or will we stay sleeping like His disciples?  Do we have the strength to follow Jesus to the Cross if we are asked?  Can we give up our own plans and desires and surrender to God’s will?  Or do we insist we can do what is best for us and we can make things happen.

Our devotion writer proclaims. “In the end, Jesus surrendered his life to God.  For us it’s an ongoing struggle, relieved through prayer and grace.  Only God can give us the courage to submit.”

Prayer: “God, you know what’s best for me.  Help me to trust you with my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Mark 14-15:47

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

14 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

The Anointing at Bethany

While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples

12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

17 When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Peter’s Denial Foretold

26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd,     and the sheep will be scattered.’

28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” 30 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37 He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38 Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41 He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

43 Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47 But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 All of them deserted him and fled.

51 A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.

Jesus before the Council

53 They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54 Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said, “I am; and

‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”

63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65 Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.

Peter Denies Jesus

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Jesus before Pilate

15 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18 And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

The Death of Jesus

33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

The Burial of Jesus

42 When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

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Saturday Philippians 2:5-11

Prayer: Help open my heart and mind to your Word, O Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A communal mind

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

We are not alone, nor does God mean for us to be alone or live separated from others.  Today’s text calls for the communion of saints, the elect of the church, those of us marked as His by Baptism, are joined together with the other Christ Followers in our church, and community.

Paul causes us to remember that we need to follow Jesus’ example and that means to think in terms of the needs of others.  It is so easy today to get focused on our own agendas and not look around us.  Our devotion writer goes even farther and says that Paul means that “we” as a community should have common mind like Jesus.  That our focus as a congregation, or a Christian community to focus together with Jesus’ examples of obedience, humility, and service; “Letting the ‘mind of Jesus’ be among them means being attuned to the needs of others.”

Jesus promised that He would be with us always, even to the end of the age.  This means individually and as a community connected to each other through our baptism.  We are the Body of Christ and as such we are here for each other.

Prayer: “Thank you, God, for the gift of community, for bringing us together as friends in Christ. Amen.”

Philippians 2:5-11

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,     did not regard equality with God     as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,     taking the form of a slave,     being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,     he humbled himself     and became obedient to the point of death—     even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him     and gave him the name     that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus     every knee should bend,     in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess     that Jesus Christ is Lord,     to the glory of God the Father.

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Friday Psalm 31:9-16

Prayer: Your Word comforts me, O Lord, I listen for your message, in Christ. Amen.

Strong hands

15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Our devotion writer reminds us that Jesus knew the Psalms.  We should read all of Psalm 31.  See verse 5:  Into your hand I commit my spirit; (v. 5). These are close to the last words Jesus spoke on the Cross.

At Gethsemane he said “I am deeply grieved, event to death” (Mark 14:34).  (see Psalm 31:10) Certainly Jesus used the Psalms in His prayer life and in His teaching.  Yet today’s Psalm, according to our writer, is an “expression of distress; it tells of deep trust in God.  The psalmist tells us that God’s hand is stronger than the hands of our enemies, which may be forces inside or outside of us. Our times are in God’s hand, just like the days of the psalmist, just like the destiny of Jesus.”

So like Jesus, we can turn to the Psalms for our help in time of trouble.  It gives us words that speak to God and to us describing our distress and words that can heal our pain.  So like the Psalmist we can sing, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say ‘you are my God’” (v.14)  Like God led Jesus through His suffering and death, He can also lead us.

Prayer: “Lord God, help me to remember that my times are in your hand, through Christ, my savior. Amen.”

Psalm 31:9-16

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;     my eye wastes away from grief,     my soul and body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow,     and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery,     and my bones waste away.

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,     a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances;     those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;     I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many—     terror all around!— as they scheme together against me,     as they plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O Lord;     I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand;     deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant;     save me in your steadfast love.

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Thursday Isaiah 50:4-9a

Prayer: O God, teach us through your Word, in Christ. Amen.

A word for the weary

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

If you have been a teacher, you know part of the job referenced in today’s text.  Today’s text is titled “The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication.” This servant has the tongue of a teacher and also listens.  Our devotion writer explains that in order to teach we first have to listen to learn how to teach.  And while we teach we also learn.

In these words from Isaiah we can visualize Christ enduring insults and spitting and beatings.  We also know that Jesus was a teacher and a suffering servant. Even more, can we hear Jesus words from the Bible and learn.  Of course He now sends us out to teach.  Our devotion writer explains; “The servant had the dignity and strength of a teacher who brings knowledge and comfort to his or her pupils. Jesus, our strong and dignified teacher, sends us into the world to teach what we have been taught—the story of God’s abundant life emerging from Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.  This is the word the weary world longs to hear.”

Prayer: “Open my ears to listen, O Christ, and teach me to share what I have learned. In Jesus’ name. Amen..”

Isaiah 50:4-9

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication

The Lord God has given me     the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain     the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens—     wakens my ear     to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear,     and I was not rebellious,     I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me,     and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face     from insult and spitting.

The Lord God helps me;     therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint,     and I know that I shall not be put to shame;     he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?     Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries?     Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me;     who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment;     the moth will eat them up.

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Wednesday Luke 1:26-38

Prayer: Praise to you, O Jesus, teach us through your Word. Amen.

Annunciation of Our Lord

28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

I guess I would be a little concerned if someone came to me and said those words.  Guess I am a little cynical.  Mary however, according to our devotion writer, was not someone who would be considered a ‘favored one’.  She was poor, small-town teenager, and female.  She was at the opposite end of those considered important.

Our devotion writer asks (as you might)? What made her special enough to be the mother of God’s Son?”

We already know that God favors those who are lowly and disregarded by society.  He uses people who those in power may not suspect.  Even we may not think to look at the ones God has chosen.  God even chooses us to do things for which we may seem unsuited in our judgment.  Yet God surprises us. Remember the wisdom of man is folly.  Our devotion writer suggests; “You and I are chosen in surprising ways to life out God’s purpose, even though we may seem to be the least suited ones for the job.”

God surprised Mary, but she responded, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be according to your word” (v. 28).  How would we respond?  I think we hope we would respond like Mary, but have we become too self-important?

Prayer: “Dear God, you have chosen me to serve you, unsuited as I am.  Show me the way. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Luke 1:26-38

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

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Tuesday Isaiah 44:1-8

Prayer: O God, thank you for your many blessings let me use them for your glory and teach me how through your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rock of ages

Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one. (v. 8)

Sometimes it is hard to see God, difficult to imagine how he looks since we have no visual reference.  The Bible show us many different options for us to visualize with our imaginations; “bread of life, bridegroom, shepherd, father, mother, king, light, morning star, and many others.”  In today’s text we see God as a rock.  He is steady, hard and solid.  He cannot be defeated.  When we stand on rock we have solid ground.

 Our devotion writer explains; “Recall this familiar hymn text: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me; let me hide myself in thee’ (ELW 623). The rock that was cleft for us, broken for us when Jesus died, is still the rock in whom we take refuge.  The Rock still protects, heals, and strengthens us.”  Our rock lives!

What does God look like to you?  When you visualize God is he big? Light? Tall in dressed in white light or robes? Does he have a beard? Is he a cloud? Fire? Thunder?

Our devotion writer points out; “People in Jesus’ day had various ideas about who he was. He said to his disciples, ‘but who do you day that I am?’ (Mark 8:29). As we navigate life’s challenges, we long to know God.  These vivid images help us to know God in our lives.  How do you know God today?”

Prayer: “Solid Rock, thank you for keeping me safe on my life’s journey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Isaiah 44:1-8

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

God’s Blessing on Israel

44 But now hear, O Jacob my servant,     Israel whom I have chosen! Thus says the Lord who made you,     who formed you in the womb and will help you: Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,     Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land,     and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,     and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,     like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,”     another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,”     and adopt the name of Israel.

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,     and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last;     besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,     let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come?     Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid;     have I not told you from of old and declared it?     You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me?     There is no other rock; I know not one.

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