Devotional on John

With friends like us….

John 18: Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?

When they come to arrest Jesus Peter takes matters in his own hands, attempting to defend Jesus with a sword. However, being a fisherman and not a swordsman, Peter takes a swing at the wrong person (a mere servant) and tries to take his head off (but misses). He ends up cutting off his ear instead. Luke tells us that Jesus performs a miracle, reattaching the ear. He also tells Peter that in his Kingdom sword play isn’t allowed. Now, as Jesus is being tried Peter warms himself by the fire in the courtyard but people keep suggesting that he might be one of the disciples of Jesus. Peter denies it, but one man is quite sure. In fact, he’s a relative of poor Malchus who, just a short time earlier, was on the receiving end of Peter’s sword. Obviously, it’s in Peter’s best interest for this man to not know he’s the “ear-cutter-off-er”! I don’t know whether or not this man knows the rest of the story, what Jesus did for Malchus and what he told Peter, but I can’t help but think his opinion of Jesus and his followers isn’t all that high right now. “Oh yeah, I know about followers of Jesus, they pretend to be all spiritual and holy but I had one try to cut off my head one time.” Sad to say there are a lot of Christian sword swingers out there. They go about saying and doing mean things, hurting feelings, and acting downright hateful; all in the “Name of Jesus.” They think they’re doing something good for the Lord but all they’re doing is alienating people and slandering the Name of the One they think they’re serving.

Take Away: Sword play isn’t allowed in the Kingdom of God.

Devotional on Luke

How much I have and how much does what I have have me

Luke 8: There were also some women in their company.

The ministry of Jesus is in full swing here in the North. Jesus teaches, heals, and performs other miracles. He’s now traveling from place to place leading a large band of dedicated followers. Of course, we see the disciples in that number but also several women are in his entourage. These women, we’re told, have stories of deliverance to tell. They’re also major financial supporters of this ministry. I think it’s instructive to remember this as I read later on of Jesus telling the rich young ruler to give it all away and then follow. Apparently, these women are, at the same time, wealthy and followers of Jesus. They haven’t been instructed to give it all away. As I think about this I realize that the problem isn’t how much money the young man has, but is, rather, how much the money has the young man. These women who accompany Jesus use their resources for his work. I think it’s important to realize the balance that’s required of us who follow the Lord. Anything that comes between him and me needs to be cast off. All else is to be laid at the feet of Jesus, a part of my living my life in him.

Take Away: Having money isn’t the big deal. The big deal is when my money has me.