July 31, Sunday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 24 – 31 are provided by Pastor Yohan of Radiance Christian Church, San Francisco.  Yohan graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Cairn University, where he studied theology.  He is married to Mandie, and they have four children: Maggie, Jonathan, Abigail and Simon.

Devotional Thought for Today

John 4:46-54

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household.54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

31In my parenting career, I have tried just about every tactic to get my children to listen to me:  I have asked nicely; I have yelled; I have pleaded; I have threatened; I have bribed; I have punished; I have over-punished; I have shown grace; I have tried time-out; I have tried Korean time-out; I have spanked; I have counted 1-2-3; I have taken away privileges; I have banished them to rooms; I have banished them early to bed—the list goes on and on.  And yet I find myself constantly having to repeat myself.  It has gotten so bad that I find myself repeating even to my wife, simply because I am so used to having to say things multiple times before they are carried out: “Honey, could you get me some water?  I would really like some water, please.”  You know what I lack?  I lack authority in my household.  When I speak, no one trembles in fear of my power or instinctively obey because they know that I am correct and righteous.

Christian theologians will often describe the difference between power and authority as such: Power is the ability to influence or control people, outcomes, or events; whereas, authority is the recognition of that power by others.  Authority needs power to back it; and without power, authority can be empty.  However, without authority, a powerful person becomes a bully.  In my household, I am undoubtedly more powerful than all of my children—meaning, that I can, by brute force, make them do whatever I wish.  However, until they see that I love them and know better than they, they will never recognize my authority and willingly do what I wish.

As a person with little recognized authority, I appreciate both the power and the authority of Christ, and how He wields both.  In today’s passage, we see that Jesus had the power to heal the official’s son from distance, as He was about a day’s travel away.  Jesus speaks and sickness flees.  In other passages in the Bible, we see that nature and even demons obey His word.  Jesus is powerful, and all things in creation recognize His authority—all things, except people.  For whatever reason, God has given His people the option to recognize and submit to His authority or not to submit.  Christ is not going to be “a spiritual bully.” We have to follow Him willingly.  I don’t know how that thought makes you feel, but I hope that this day, you will choose to live under His power and authority and submit to Him.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I know that You hold all things in Your hand.  You say that heaven is Your throne and the earth is Your footstool; there is no place that can contain Your greatness.  Yet You choose to live in the hearts of Your people.  Help me to follow You, not because I am powerless against You, but because I see You are good and know all things.  Help me to fully surrender to You.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 126

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