Bible Readings and Devotion for April 9, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 9, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Life as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus, is a paradox. A paradox is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement of proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.” The calling of Jesus for our lives is both simple and difficult.
The calling of Jesus is simple, for he states it quite directly:
*Come and follow me. Matthew 16:12
*Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Matthew 22:37-38
*Love you neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
*Love one another. John 13:34-35
*Go into all the world and make disciples and baptize these disciples. Matthew 28:16-20
*Partake in the Lord’s Supper. Matthew 26:26-29
Each of these seems quite simple, but each takes God’s abundant help, plus a lifetime of daily focus, to live out this calling.
In today’s reading from John 13 we have the section which leads up to the calling to love one another. That is stated in John 13:34-35 where our Lord Jesus states: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The lead up to this statement, what we call the New Commandment, is where Jesus sets the example of how Christians are to serve one another. They are to wash one another’s feet. They are serve one another, while seeking the best for the other.
To better understand the significance of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, I invite you to watch this 15 minute video. It is of a teaching on the topic by the late Kenneth Bailey. He was a Christian Seminary professor in Middle Eastern nations for about 40 years. Here is a biographical note about him. He learned much about Middle Eastern Culture and how these patterns went back thousands of years. His learning helps us understand the context of events and teachings in the life of Jesus. Here is that video:
The act of washing feet is simple, humble and loving, yet quite difficult, especially knowing the context. As today is Maundy Thursday, we are reminded that Jesus gathered with his disciples on this night of Holy Week. At that gathering he taught them about the Holy Communion and about the call to love one another.
This call to love one another permeates our whole lives as followers of Jesus. One example is Paul’s teaching in Ephesians about marriage and family life. The centerpiece of this section for me is where Paul states the following: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21. Here we are taught to serve one another and to seek the best for one another. This is stated in other ways in passages such as:
Yes, the calling of Jesus is both simple and complicated. On this day we ponder the powerful teaching and example of Jesus to love one another through mutual service and care.
Eternal God, in the sharing of a meal your Son established a new covenant for all people, and in the washing of feet he showed us the dignity of service. Grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit these signs of our life in faith may speak again to our hearts, feed our spirits, and refresh our bodies, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.