September 4, Sunday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals for this week are provided by Pastor Jason Sato.  He and his family are currently serving in Cincinnati, OH.

Devotional Thought for Today

John 11:45-53 (ESV)

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, [46] but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. [47] So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. [48] If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” [49] But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. [50] Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” [51] He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, [52] and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. [53] So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

4When I was a teenager, I would drive very fast, but when I was pulled over once for speeding, I immediately regretted breaking the law.  But why did I regret it?  I regretted getting caught.  I regretted the possibility of a fine and traffic school.  I regretted that I would be yelled at by my parents.  But to be honest, I didn’t really regret endangering other people.  I didn’t regret my “offense.”

The Pharisees were amazingly disciplined in their religion.  They fasted and prayed, they studied the Scriptures, and they established meticulous rules in order to obey the Law of Moses.   The Pharisees did this because they deeply regretted that Israel had been conquered by empire after empire.  They profoundly felt the shame of exile and the loss of the Promised Land.

But did they regret offending God?  Did they regret that their sin had separated them from their God?

In our passage, we find that the Pharisees love their status.  Jesus is threatening because He is drawing away many people to Himself.  The Pharisees also love the honor of men.  This is why they do not want to offend the people by openly rejecting John the Baptist or arresting Jesus in broad daylight.  The Pharisees also love their power.  They do not want to offend the Romans because they could take away their authority, their status, and their nation.

The Pharisees love many things other than God.  They do many religious things for reasons other than the love of God.  For clearly if they loved God, they would not violently reject His Son and shed innocent blood by killing their own Messiah.

According to verse 53, the Pharisees plan to put Jesus to death.  But their plan does not precede the plan of the Father.  We, like the Pharisees, rarely regret offending God.  We regret consequences of our sin, like guilt, shame, and judgment.  We, too, love many things more than God.  We are willing to sin as a means to an end.  Yet, the Father sends His Son to die for sinners like us, that His people from every tribe and nation would not perish.

May our regrets and our hopes no longer center on our punishments or rewards, but may we regret all that separates us from God and hope in Him who restores us to the Father.  The Son of God has paid the price that we might become children of God and live now and forever with and for Him.

Prayer: Father, I’m sorry that I can fear hell more than I long for heaven.  May all of my service and sacrifice be free from such unworthy motivation.  Give me your Holy Spirit that I might love You and worship You only.

Bible Reading for Today: Luke 15

 

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