Thursday of the Week of Lent III
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 10:11-24; Romans 5:12-21; John 8:21-32
“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free’” (John 8:31-32).
Why is it that some pastors, preachers and teachers want to make it all so complex and difficult?! I wish I knew. Yes, some passages in the Bible are harder to digest than others. Some texts take work. But the basic message is simple and clear. Sermons and teaching should be simple and clear as well so that people can hear and understand.
In our reading for today, you might find Jesus’ “sparring” with the Jews a bit convoluted. Jesus is speaking about His coming death, about “going where you cannot come.” He also speaks of their death because of sin, unless they believe in Him. He tells them He is not of this world, while standing right in front of them. And then, He talks of His relationship with the Father, by whose authority Jesus speaks. Many believed in Him. Some didn’t. But to those who did believe, Jesus states clearly: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”
If you were standing in an elevator for a couple of minutes and someone asks, “What is this Christianity all about?”—it shouldn’t be that hard to answer. You could say many things, but this is as good a summary as any—continue in Jesus’ word and teaching, be His disciple, know the truth—be free in Him! That ought to generate such interest that out of the elevator, the inquirer might just want to know more!
If the Gospel is like a bottle of sweet-smelling perfume, when an inquirer shows interest—better not to dump the whole bottle out on them at once—but give them just a whiff—so that picking up the pleasant scent, they immediately want more!
Prayer: Lord God, help me to abide in Jesus’ word, to be His disciple, to cling to the truth—so that I will be free—from sin, guilt, death and the devil. Amen.
Lenten Response: See how many times you can speak Jesus’ words above —out loud—to someone else today!
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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