Tom Donoghue, Loughton Methodist Church
Jesus is out for dinner with some of the religious people of his day. One of them makes a presumptuous comment about what it will be like at God’s future party– heaven. In response Jesus gives a shocking story that explains why many people will make woeful excuses not to come to this party of a lifetime and will miss out (v24). There is always a temptation to ignore God’s eternal invite because we think we have more important things going on (v18-19). Instead let’s treasure the fact that we’re invited to the most incredible party ever and that God wants people like us (v21-23) to be there and all we have to do is say ‘yes’.
While Jesus is travelling He goes on to tell us that as one of His followers it won’t always be sunshine and roses. As a true Christian we must be ready to give up everything for Jesus’ sake (v26). This isn’t a contradiction of the fifth commandment we have not found a reason to behave badly to our family! Jesus is telling us that to truly follow Him we must love Him with a deeper love, than we love our family and friends. In those days to say “unless he hates …” meant I have a greater love for one person rather than another. For us today it is about us saying I love Jesus more than anybody else. So that at times when those close to us say something that collides with the words of Jesus we are prepared to stand on His side. Are we prepared to displease those close to us in this world rather than displease Jesus who died to save us?
In Deuteronomy God continues to reveal Himself to Israel telling them how to live. We learn in Ch.17 that He is a God of justice and He expects Israel to be just, fair and impartial. God teaches that only on the clear testimony of two or more witnesses a man shall be put to death (v.6-7) which throws into doubt the legality of the trial of Jesus.
In Psalm 44 Israel are experiencing hard times (v.13) but that they have done nothing wrong (v.17). When we face tough times and it feels that God doesn’t care it’s good to remember that we shouldn’t be surprised by these trials, God isn’t asleep, he hasn’t forgotten us, we should still turn to him in prayer as in (v23-26).
Today’s picture was taken by…
Ben Jacobs. Thanks Ben!
If you’d like to take your own picture to potentially be featured on the blog, then get your Soul Survivor Bible in One Year, and take a picture of yourself – and your Bible – at some interesting or colourful location. Then email it to us at email@example.com.
The pictures will need to be a pretty good resolution (we use 640px by 360 px so at least as big as that), landscape photos work best and if you include the day of the reading in the picture then make sure you send it to us a good few days before that reading, so we have time to include it in that day’s post! We’ll credit all photographers!