The scripture for today, September 30, is Luke 9:30fas found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”
Hebrews 5:7 says something very startling to most people. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions WITH LOUD CRIES AND TEARS to the one who could save him from death.”
Jesus did not look forward to going to the cross, even though many thousands of others had died that way. Why was it different for him? Because he had to take on all our sins as though he had committed them himself ~ every lie we’ve told, every gain from cheating, every insult, every slander campaign against another, every adultery, every murder ~ everything ~ all our sins! How could he bear it?
Not only that, but he had to experience both physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death means being separated from, being forsaken by God. What a terror to experience!
And so, a few weeks before his crucifixion, as he prayed on the mountain, Moses and Elijah appeared to him and they spoke about his death. They surely gave him courage to do what had to be done to save you and me who deserve hell.
The crowning glory of this conversation is that God reassured him by announcing, “THIS IS MY SON! WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN! LISTEN TO HIM!”
Jesus was to nail the Old Law of Moses to the cross (Colossians 2:14). He had promised people, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets: I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).
Indeed, by the time Jesus returned to heaven, he had lived the Old Law introduced by Moses perfectly ~ something no man had ever been able to do. And by the time he returned to heaven, he had fulfilled every prophecy about his birth, life, and death, the first such prophet being represented by Elijah.
Oh the things Jesus went through for us. We fall at his feet and worship him.
The scripture for today, September 29, is Matthew 9:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you.’ “
Sometimes when we pray for healing during sickness, a well-meaning friend will say, “Well, you haven’t been healed because you didn’thave enough faith.” But Jesus did not heal everyone according to their faith.
The boy in Nain he brought back to life (Luke 7:14-15) did not have any faith at all. The girl in Capernaum he brought back to life (Luke 8:51-56) did not have any faith at all. When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-9) the hosts did not have
any faith at all.
This is encouraging, because often we pray for the healing of non-religious friends. It would be futile to ask God to bring them back to health if it depended on their faith all the time. But he is not a God of futility. He is a God of hope.
The scripture for today, September 28, is Hebrews 9:28 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Waiting is hard to do. We wait for relatives to arrive at our house for a visit. We wait for our next promotion. We wait for babies to be born. We wait for enough money to buy new clothes.
But what about waiting for something that we have never seen? Waiting for something we believe in by faith? Waiting an entire lifetime?
All the more reason to keep our eyes on the Word, our activities in good works, and our hearts on our Creator and Savior. It’s a long spiritual walk. But just keep walking, and keep walking, and keep walking until some day in the distant future you walk right through the gates of heaven.
Then, when you look back from eternity, you will say, “The wait wasn’t so long after all.”
The late scripture for today, September 26, is Hebrews 9:26fas found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face the judgment.”
According to the Old Law of Moses, sacrifices of perfect animals had to be made to temporarily pay the price of death for people’s sins. (Remember, the wages of sin is death ~ Romans 6:23.) But it had to be done on a regular basis. Then Jesus became the perfect Lamb of God. In a sense he laid down on the altar of the world, and paid the price of death for our sins. Once was enough, for in his death he nailed the Old Law of Moses to the cross (Colossians 2:14). He had fulfilled the Law of Moses by living it perfectly and never sinning (Hebrews 4:15).
And so, just as Jesus died once, we too die once. Then our judgment. No second chances. No reincarnations. No going back and trying to be perfect again and failing again. Jesus released us from all of our failures at being perfect. Thank God, he was perfect for us.
The scripture for today, September 25, is 1st Corinthians 9:25fas found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly….”
Every few years there are world-wide Olympic Games with many races. The racers must eat properly, rest sufficiently, and exercise daily.
The Bible has been called the Bread of Life. As Christians we need to eat our spiritual meal every day to stay fit. We cannot keep up our strength without it. Our time of rest is prayer. We enter a room alone and talk to God every day. We need our rest. We cannot keep up our strength without it.
I Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” We exercise our godliness by being out in the world and being a good example in the face of temptation. We exercise our spiritual muscles daily.
The race is our Christian life. We run every day. How is your race going?
The scripture for today, September 24, is Luke 9:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
Romans 6 explains this phenomenon best. We are to put our old self to death ~ to crucify that part of us that sins and doesn’t care, that part of us that puts ourselves first (verse 7) ~ in imitation of Jesus dying. Once we decide to put that part of ourselves to death, we are buried, just like Jesus was buried (verse 3 & 4a).
And then, “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (verse 4b). Why? “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (verse 5). Having been “brought from death to life” (verse 13) through baptism, we have been born again!
This is a spiritual death, of course. There is another spiritual death called the second death in Revelation 21:8. If we go through the first spiritual death at baptism, we will not have to go through the second spiritual death. We will have lost our life of sin and in the process saved our souls.
The scripture for today, September 23, is Luke 9:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ ”
There is another verse similar to this: II Timothy 3:12 ~ “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Have you been playing it safe? Have you been associating only with other Christians and thereby sheltering yourself from persecution? Have you been withholding the gospel from people who might be persecuted if they believe, even if they will be saved by following it?
Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). To do that, we must seek out the lost and try to save them, even when they do not think they are lost. It will end in persecution sometimes ~ you, them, or both. That’s a fact.
Let us not play it safe all the time. Jesus didn’t.
The scripture for today, September 22 is Luke 9:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“And he [Jesus] said, ‘The Son of Man[kind] must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Jesus did not look forward to his death. Hebrews 5:7 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death….” Loud cries!
Yet, in today’s scripture, shortly after he announced to his apostles that he would be killed in Jerusalem, over in verse 51 it says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”
Jesus had to use every bit of self-determination he could muster up to face that terrible death he had to suffer for us. What kept him to his goal? He knew he would be saving us from our sins by taking our punishment for us. Then his work would be done ~ all would be fulfilled ~ and he could return to heaven and his Father.
Is it difficult for you to get up on Sunday morning to go to church? Is it difficult for you to read the Bible every day? Is it difficult for you to invite a friend to church with you? Do you love Jesus as resolutely as he loves you?
I am going to be selling my books in person at the Harding University Lectureship in Searcy, Arkansas, next week on September 27-30. Then I’ll sell them at the Oklahoma Christian University lectureship in Edmond, Oklahoma, the following week on October 4-6.
I have numerous books on church history, various books of the Bible, Bible topics, and Bible puzzles. Also I have the 8-volume life of Christ in both adult and child’s versions, and “The Samaritan’s Quest” in historical novel format.