Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-29-22

Intro: Between November 27th and December 24th, we celebrated Advent—a season of anticipation leading up to Christmas when we celebrated the Birth of Christ. We have remembered and celebrated the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love of God; all righteous blessings the first Advent provided for the salvation of our souls as God’s children.

We live in the last days—Jesus’ activity until the end of time—so now we live in anticipation and hunger for his second Advent. Dietrich Bonhoeffer [a German pastor and theologian] once said, ”The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” As believers, we crave transformational experiences with God; in Christ we are invited to encounter greater things to come.

In our passage today from the gospel of Luke, Jesus weeps because Israel is not looking for the very salvation and peace they asked the Father for and what Messiah came to provide. Jesus makes peace with God for us, but he is looking for us to follow him into righteousness and away from sin. We have been given choices and we must decide what we are willing to leave behind in order to follow Jesus.

The New Testament reminds us that every disciple must give up his or her life in order to enjoy divine encounters in the righteous life of Christ [Mat 16:24-25]. Matthew left behind illegal financial actions [Mat 9:9-13]; Martha left behind worry [Lu 10:38]; Brothers James and John left behind worldly ambition [Mark 10:35-45]; and Nicodemus left behind unbelief [Jo 3:1-21]. The religious leaders rejected their coming King; they did not want to leave behind their previous ideas about God in order to experience the peace of God that would bring them new and powerful encounters in Christ’s righteous life. Therefore, Jesus said their nation would suffer and it did in 70AD when the Romans destroyed their Temple and killed many of their people.

As believers, we now live and move and exist in Christ! He is the King of Peace and the King of Righteousness. May we willingly bow our knee to our King and live according to his standard of righteousness.

Luke 19:41-44 Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem
41 But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.

Prayer: Father, may the world accept the salvation you offer in Christ before it is too late. Help your children to follow you into righteous living. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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