Category Archives: grace
Here’s another devotional written by my wonderful friend, Patricia Knight. I know you’ll appreciate this one as much as I do!
By Patricia Knight
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” —2 Corinthians 12:9, NAS
At the end of his life and his remarkable career, the apostle Paul turned his responsibilities over to Timothy, his friend and co-worker for Christ. Paul expressed self-satisfaction with serving God and promoting His Gospel; he had totally depended on his Lord’s leadership and power. He carried God’s love throughout most parts of the known world, on four missionary journeys. Paul’s ministry work for His Lord was impeccable.
After being stripped and beaten, then thrown in a dark, dank jail where his feet were secured in stocks as an added measure of security, Paul gave thanks and sang hymns. From inside another jail he wrote letters to encourage fellow Christians, the same Gospel letters that minister to us today in God’s Word.
Paul asked God repeatedly to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” a particularly burdensome physical problem. Instead of curing Paul, God answered that He would convert Paul’s weakness to His sovereign strength. We do not know to what extent Paul’s physical problem interfered with his endurance, but we are aware that Paul remained steadfast in his faith and service to His Lord, daily buoyed and empowered by God’s strength. Paul was determined to boast about his own weaknesses so that Christ’s power could be glorified in his life. Today, God is faithful to convert our weakness into His strength, just as He did for Paul centuries ago.
Humble obedience is God’s intent for us. Whatever our plight in this life, we are commanded to enthusiastically accomplish God’s work. Using our unique abilities, God delights in custom designing a personal service plan for everyone who loves Him.
“Few Christians finish well” is a haunting prediction. Let us not allow that warning to come to fruition in our lives. By maintaining tenacity of faith and service to God throughout our lives, in the end, like Paul, we can claim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Though Paul readily identified God as his Source of strength, he also persevered during hardship, allowing God’s power to burst through his circumstances.
Our gift of eternal life is secured by grace, not by works. As a result, our good deeds for God and our fellow men spill over as a natural outpouring of our faith. “Faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). Paul knew that truth and so do we. Why not practice with discipline that which we know to be true, and finish our life well, with a remarkable career for Christ?
Thank you again, Pat! What a blessing you are in my life!
~This is the fifth part of the series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Last Thursday Donna left us with several thought-provoking questions:
Am I teaching others God’s Word?
Am I modeling His Word as He did to His disciples?
Can my children and grandchildren look at my life and see the reflection of His Word at work in my life?
Or am I hiding in a corner shrinking back in fear or disappointment at how my life has unraveled?
Jesus knew Judas was betraying Him. He didn’t cast aspersions on Judas nor rail against him. Scripture says that Jesus washed his feet too. It would seem He gave Judas every chance to repent.
Am I doing that when others disappoint me? Or am I willing to forgive and “wash their feet” as Jesus did Judas’ feet?
When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.
There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.
It is my understanding that at a Jewish Passover a morsel was given to an honored guest, but to be certain I looked for verification. Below is an excerpt from a study I found on the internet written by Keith Krell:
In [John] 13:26, we have one of the most beautiful verses in the New Testament. John writes, “Jesus then answered, ‘That [the one who will betray Me] is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.’ So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.”
In the culture of Jesus’ time, to take a morsel from the table, dip it in the common dish, and offer it to someone else was a gesture of special friendship.Interestingly, Judas must have sat near enough to Jesus for Jesus to do this conveniently (cf. Matt 26:25). Possibly, Judas reclined to Jesus’ immediate left. If he did, this would have put him in the place of the honored guest immediately to the host’s left.
Regardless, the morsel Jesus prepares for Judas was a piece of the Passover lamb wrapped in flour and rolled together. It would be dipped in sauce made of bitter herbs and eaten. Why did Jesus prepare a morsel and offer it to Judas?
In the greatest act of grace ever recorded, Jesus offers Judas one more chance. Jesus offers Judas a piece of the sacrificial lamb. Jesus, the Lamb of God to be sacrificed to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29), is offering Judas Himself. He is saying, “Judas, here I am. Do you want Me?”
Wow! Doesn’t it just stab at your heart? Don’t you know how it must have grieved Jesus?
This was the point of no return for Judas. In my opinion, until he took the piece of the Passover lamb from the hand of Jesus—the Lamb of God—he could have been saved. He chose not to be.
In the next sentence, verse 27, we see Jesus accept the evil of the heart of man and tell Judas “what you do, do quickly”.