Let the Redeemed Say So

1 Chronicles 1634 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 107:1–3 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Once again, we read a psalm with a call to give thanks to the Lord. This psalm focuses our attention on the steadfast love of God. This refers to his covenant faithfulness. God promised his people that he would always be with them and never fail to fulfill his promises. In the context of Psalm 107, God demonstrates his steadfast love by rescuing his people from trouble. Over and over throughout this psalm, the people call out to the Lord and he responds by delivering them.

The redeemed of the Lord have much to be thankful for. We have been delivered! We called out to God to save us from our sins and he did that. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could go free. May we remember God’s steadfast love for us this Thanksgiving season and pause to give him thanks!

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Love that Is Evident

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Reading the Word

Matthew 26:6–13 (ESV)

6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Parallel Texts: Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8

Understanding and Applying the Word

We are not told who the woman was who anointed Jesus in Matthew’s account of this event, but John tells us it was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Her act of worship was met with ridicule by the disciples. John tells us that the ridicule was led by Judas, who was not so concerned with the poor as he claimed, but liked to steal from the money that belonged to the group.

When Jesus heard the discussion among the disciples, he praised Mary for her actions and corrected the disciples. Mary had taken the opportunity to show her love and devotion to Jesus while she still could. Soon, this would no longer be possible because Jesus was going to be crucified and buried. There would be time to help the poor in the future. This was the time to honor Christ.

Our devotion to the Lord often takes a back seat in our lives. We make so many things more important. Mary’s love for Christ was evident to all around. This should be true of us as well. This does not mean that we neglect to help and show love for others, but it does mean that in all that we do, it should be Jesus that is front and center in our lives. Our love for Jesus should be evident. May we show our love and devotion for the Lord in all that we do and with all that we have.

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Amazing Love

1 John 410 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 26:1–5 (ESV)

1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Parallel Texts: Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2

Understanding and Applying the Word

As Passover approached, Jesus again told his disciples that he would soon be crucified. As Jesus told this to his disciples, the chief priests and elders were gathered at the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, to discuss how they could rid themselves of Jesus. They planned how they could arrest him and kill him, but they knew they had to plan carefully because Jesus was very popular and the crowds gathered to celebrate Passover would be large.

Jesus knew what was coming yet he offered himself voluntarily. The crucifixion was no surprise to Jesus. It was all a part of the plan that God had put in place for the deliverance of sinful mankind. Jesus was only two days from his arrest and going to the cross, but he was not deterred from his mission. We must not miss this. Jesus’ commitment to our salvation is a wonderful demonstration of God’s love for each and every one of us. Christ did everything he could for our salvation. He gave his very life so that we could have eternal life. It reminds me of the old hymn, And Can It Be?:

Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

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Trouble Ahead

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Reading the Word

John 11:54–57 (ESV)

54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus knew of the plot to kill him, so he he withdrew to Ephraim along with his disciples. Shortly after raising Lazarus, it was time for Passover. This Passover would be the one that all other Passovers had pointed to. The Lamb of God would be sacrificed to deliver the people of God from their sins. During this time, many Jews would travel to Jerusalem for the holiday and the population would go from around 70,000 to nearly 250,000.

As the people spent the week leading up to Passover in Jerusalem, many were wondering what Jesus would do. Would he dare show up? Would he stay away to avoid trouble? The religious leaders had put out word that if anyone saw Jesus, they should let the leaders know. They wanted to seize him when the opportunity presented itself.

This Passover would be the most important one in history. It would be the one that all of the others had looked forward to in anticipation of fulfillment. The true Lamb of God was about to be sacrificed for the sins of the people, which would bring eternal deliverance and life in a new world. Jesus would soon enter Jerusalem for the final time on his way to the cross where he would lay down his life for all who will believe. Have you ever stopped to consider why he would do this? It was all because of his love for you and me. That is an amazing thing!

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Love God. Love Your Neighbor.

1 John 419 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Mark 12:28–34 (ESV)

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 22:34-40; Luke 12:25-28

Understanding and Applying the Word

A scribe, an expert in the Old Testament Law went to Jesus and asked him what the most important commandment was. It is certainly an interesting question; perhaps one you have wondered about as well. Jesus’ response is actually a two part response. The people of God are to love the Lord with all of their heart and love their neighbor as they love themselves. Why did Jesus not give one command, but two? It is because these two commandments are tied together. It is impossible to love the Lord without loving our neighbor (cf. 1 John 4:19).

How we feel and act towards others tells us a great deal about our relationship with God. The more like Christ we become, the greater our love for others will become. After all, Jesus came into the world to save sinners from destruction. He did so by giving his life as a sacrifice. Now he calls on each and every one of his disciples to do the same. We are called to serve others and to take the life-giving gospel of reconciliation to the world. We will not do this if we are not motivated by love for God and for others. Do you love the Lord? Do you love your neighbors? Then let us proclaim the message of salvation and life to all!

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