Friday after Epiphany

2019 Devotions Daily Devotions January

1Jn 5:5-13; Ps 147:12-15,19,20; Lk 5:12-16

With the best of wheat he fills us.  We are so well fed all along the journey to the heavenly Jerusalem with the Bread of Heaven.  We glorify the LORD, we who are the New Jerusalem, his bride, his beloved.  He has strengthened the bars of our gates and blessed the children among us.  There is peace within our borders, a peace that passes understanding, a peace that no one can take from us.  The LORD has sent forth his command to the earth, his word to the utmost bounds of the world, his Son swiftly runs to bring good news and healing to all the afflicted of the earth.  To us his precious people and holy nation the LORD has revealed his statutes and his ordinances.  He has not done this for any other nation; he has not made known to them his ordinances. This he has done so that he might reveal his faithfulness to Jacob.  Indeed, it is through his covenant love to our ancestors in the faith that he has revealed his intentions for all nations and for every people.  Saint John makes clear the divine will when he writes, “Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.”  This universal salvific will of God reaches out to touch even the untouchables among us. The tender mercy from on high has become incarnate in the Lord Jesus who desires what his Father desires that even the lepers among us are made clean and come to Zion singing and shouting for joy and gladness.

What does it mean to be victor over the world?  It means that we are free to be who we are; we are free to be children of God.  We are free to delight in God’s love for us and to share that love without hesitation.  Such a lifestyle is impossible unless without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Son of God.  Jesus is the “only” son in the sense that he is uniquely the Son of God. Indeed, his sonship is by nature, and our sonship is by adoption.  Jesus Christ is divine by sharing in the very substance of the Father, and we are like his only Son because of grace.  This is the testimony of the water.  By the waters of baptism we share in the unique and eternal relationship between the Father and the Son.  This eternal love is revealed as the Holy Spirit.  In the Holy Spirit the love of God has been poured out into our hearts so we can cry out “Abba” and proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!”  Such is the testimony of the Spirit.  “Precious is the death of the Faithful One.”  Precious, too costly, is the blood of the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.  Yet, the Lord Jesus does not hesitate to hand himself over like a lamb led to the slaughter. The Father too, does not hesitate to give his Only Son over to the hands of sinful men.  Such is the testimony of the Blood.  This threefold witness runs swiftly forth so that all the lost and beloved children of the Father might become victors over the world.  Indeed, the LORD wants us to be free, to be who we really are, “made in his image and likeness.”

From the earliest days of his ministry the Lord Jesus revealed the startling brightness of the Father’s glory among his children.  The Father reached out to embrace the world he had made with the two “eternal arms” of the Son and the Spirit.  So when a man full of leprosy saw the Lord Jesus he dared to fall on his face and cry out, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”  His reputation preceded him.  The people of the Land heard of this compassionate healer in their midst.  People who had no hope, those condemned to die in exile to protect the people from disease, even the untouchables now had hope.  This diseased and dangerous man boldly yet humbly approached the Lord Jesus. Again and again this God of ours holds not back, the Lord Jesus did not hesitate to heal.  The Lord Jesus did not ask, “have you suffered enough; have you repented your sins?”  He did not examine the man’s motives, “are you just trying to make a scene; why not come to me privately when no one would notice me touching a leper?”  Just like the command from the Father that went forth swiftly, so too, did the word of healing issue forth swiftly: “I do will it. Be made clean.”  Even as that word of power was spoken the evil was driven out; the man’s flesh was fresh and new.  This man’s gratitude knew no bounds.  How could he not spread the good news that the Son of God has come and touched this son of God.  I was lost, now I am found!  I was blind with my face to the ground, now I am lifted high and see the very face of mercy, the human face of the Living God!  I was rotting with disease; now touch me!  Just such testimony drove the Lord Jesus into prayer so that he would be free to heal and preach even when people accused him of speaking blasphemy and working for the evil one.  We too need this kind of prayerful intimacy so that the freedom of the Son of God will be ours by the gift of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of the Father.