April 11, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Wrong Way”

Mark 10:17-31

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”  Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[b]to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

In ancient China, there was a nobleman who rode in a fancy coach on a long journey. On the way, he stopped by and asked a farmer how long it would take for him to reach his destination. The farmer told the nobleman, “You’re going the wrong way! It’s in the opposite direction!”

The nobleman laughed and said, “Don’t worry, my horse is strong.” Then the farmer responded, “You may have a strong horse, but you are heading in the wrong direction!” The nobleman dismissed the farmer’s concern. “It’ll be fine; my coach can run very fast!” Finally, the farmer told him, “The stronger your horse is, and the faster your coach can go, the further it is going to take you from your destination.”

Like this nobleman in that story, the man who came to Jesus totally misunderstands the way to inherit eternal life. The young man thought that if he obeys the law, does good deeds, completes enough achievements, then his series of performances can bring him eternal life. But Jesus tells the young man two unexpected things that he must do to inherit eternal life: First, he is to sell all that he has and give these proceeds to the poor, and next, to follow Jesus. This means he need to give up all of his treasures, to surrender these things which held the young man so strongly, and totally, completely, utterly submit to Jesus. That is the very key to inherit eternal life, which seems to be an impossible standard that no man can achieve. But meanwhile, Jesus also points out that it is only through God that we can achieve eternal life.

As believers who are good at following a bunch of rules, sometimes we are like those who think that through our achievements, laws or performances, we gain the right to inherit eternal life. But, actually, the more we live our Christian faith with this way of thinking, the more we will disown our inheritance of eternal life. Jesus gives us the only right way to do this—that is, as we come to recognize what Jesus did on the cross and rely on Him 100%, then we can truly be humble before the Lord and accept the fullness of His grace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please humble our hearts and open our eyes so that we can truly understand what You have done for us. It has nothing to do with what we have done, but what You had done on the cross. As believers, we do what we do only because we want to truly know You and build a relationship with You. We want to honor You and glorify You. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Philippians 3


Lunch Break Study 

Read Colossians 1:15-23: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to Paul, in whom do we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins?
  2. In verses 15-18, how does Paul describe Jesus?
  3. How does a clear picture of our redemption and the identity of Jesus will help you to better understand the relationship between you and God?

Notes

  1. Jesus, the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins and shows us the love of God. Any attempt to have redemption and the forgiveness of sins without the work on the Cross fails.
  2. Jesus is the image of God and the firstborn; all things were created by Him and for Him, and He has the supremacy in everything.
  3. Everything is made for God and by Him, so it is our desire to bring glory to Jesus through anything we do. God is not our servant, but we are His to do His will and thereafter share in His glory.

Evening Reflection

As believers, we easily fall into relying on our own righteousness rather than the grace of God. In our daily life, we do things that give glory to ourselves rather than give glory to God. Let us take some time to think how we can truly give glory to God though our daily life. If there is anything that can make us self-righteousness, we should repent before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to help us, so we can have a better understanding of what God want us to be rather than what we want to be.

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