Implied

Today’s reading is Luke 13.

Many today suggest finding authorization through the implication of Scripture is cheating. It isn’t really authority, they say. I get it, implication is not as easy as finding an actual statement or example. With implication it takes more work to make sure we are truly being biblical because we are claiming something is authorized that isn’t specifically told or shown. But notice how Jesus knows He is allowed to heal the disabled woman on the Sabbath. He doesn’t know it because the Law ever explicitly says, “Thou shalt heal on the Sabbath.” Rather, untying a donkey or an ox on the Sabbath so it can get to the water is lawful. If it is lawful to loose animals, it is lawful to loose humans who are more valuable to God than animals. To restrict loosing the woman on the Sabbath is hypocrisy. That is, to restrict what is implied is hypocrisy. No, this doesn’t mean everything I like is authorized, but it does mean when we are teaching and acting in ways God implies in Scripture, we are teaching and acting in His name, not our own. In fact, it is the very principle Jesus Himself used. Keep studying. Keep learning. Keep following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 13.

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Authority

Today’s reading is Luke 7.

The soldier understood. He had heard about Jesus. Perhaps he had heard about His teaching. No doubt, he had heard about the miracles. But he got it. The centurion was a man who had been placed under authority. Not in authority, but under it. He recognized how the chain of command worked. Because he was in a chain of command that led up to the emperor of Rome, he knew he could tell a soldier what to do and he would do it. He saw that same chain of command in Jesus. Jesus was under authority, but under what authority? Under what chain of command? The chain of command that could demand whatever powers, spirits, ministering beings existed to remove illness from a man even though he was miles away. This is chain of command that only exists when one is under the authority of the Most High, when one is in the chain of command that reaches its height in God. The centurion got it; he understood. The Jews believed he was worthy to have a miracle performed because he loved them and built their synagogue. Jesus performed the miracle because of the man’s faith. Jesus is under the authority of God. He is authorized by God. All authority is in Him. He is Lord. Let us believe like the centurion. Let us do what He says when He says it. After all, as we learned in the last chapter, when we do, our house will stand in the storm.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 7.

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Babylon

Today’s reading is Revelation 17.

A great contrast starts in this chapter. We finally meet the immoral woman. The seductress who competes with the Bride to steal the love of the Hero, or at least keep the proper marriage from happening. Think Ursula in the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid.” Or the step-sisters in the stories of Cinderella. She has been mentioned earlier in the book (think Jezebel in the letter to Thyatira). John sees her as a woman on a seven-headed dragon. She is named Babylon and is described as a city. Doesn’t that also fit the hero stories we’ve read in the past. This is the enemy city that needs to be defeated for the Hero to win the day. The one key I hope we notice in all this is a statement that is often overlooked. The ten horns are ten kings. We often get so distracted by trying to figure out who the ten kings are that we actually miss the important part. These ten kings will receive authority. They will make war on the Lamb. However, that authority is only for one hour. Doesn’t that highlight what we’ve noticed about everything in this book. Yes, at times it looks like the enemy is winning. Babylon is drunk with the blood of the saints. Her supporting kings have authority with the beast who in earlier chapters made war on the saints and even conquered them (Revelation 12:7). But this authority last for only one hour. That’s it. Just one hour. Then the Lamb conquers them. Obviously, this is not a literal amount of time. It is, however, demonstrating that the time is small, so hang on. Yes, the immoral city arises and conspires with the kings of the earth in great immorality and attack on Christ and His Bride. But their victory is short lived. So hang on. Jesus always wins! Judgment is coming on the seductress, the immoral woman, the sinful city. Don’t join her, avoid her. Which, by the way, was the heart of the warning to Thyatira.

Monday’s reading is Revelation 18.

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God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters

Today’s reading is John 7.

Why does the issue of authority matter? Is it because we have to prove we are better at keeping rules? Is it because if we don’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is we’ll go to hell? Is it because we have to earn our way into heaven by following the pattern? No. None of these things is the reason. The reason authority matters is because God’s glory matters. When I act on my own authority, I’m seeking my own glory. When I’m seeking God’s glory, I act on His authority. It’s just that simple. Whose glory are you seeking? How can you tell?

Tomorrow’s reading is John 8

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Nothing on My Own

Today’s reading is John 5.

Wasn’t Jesus God in the flesh? Wasn’t He the one who created the universe and everything in it? Absolutely. Remember John 1? But He says, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge.” He says, even He didn’t do anything by His own authority. He came in the Father’s name. That is, He did what He did, He taught what He taught based on the authority of the Father. If Jesus Himself, God the Son, God Incarnate only acted from the authority of the Father, shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t we? Doing something because I searched deep within myself is not seeking the Father’s authority. That is just seeking my own authority. God is the authority. I need to listen to Him through His Word and simply do what He has authorized. That is how Jesus lived. That is how we need to live today.

Monday’s reading is John 6.

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Living in a Modern Crete

Today’s reading is Titus 3.

According to historical study, the Cretan populace was, in general, sinful and immoral in the extreme. And not just by the standards of the likes of Paul. The rest of the Roman world looked down on Crete and Cretans as vile, beastly, immoral liars. That means they were pretty bad. So we can imagine when Paul wrote to Titus about what to teach the Christians, he had a lot to say about how the Christians should wage the culture war among the sexually immoral, morally destitute, sinfully wicked Cretans. No doubt, he encouraged them to have public demonstrations, to take every opportunity to shout down the immorality, to argue constantly with everyone who disagreed with the revelation coming from the apostles, to belittle and shame the sinners. Or wait. Maybe he gave different instructions. Look again at today’s reading. 

  • Be submissive to rulers and authorities 
  • Be obedient
  • Be ready for every good work
  • Speak evil of no one
  • Avoid quarreling
  • Be gentle
  • Show perfect courtesy toward all people

Wow! Why? Because we are surrounded by people who need a Savior just as we do. The only difference between us and those who still pursue sin with reckless abandon is through Jesus Christ we have the empowering strength of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we are to neglect teaching truth and correcting opponents (see Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7-8). However, let us think about Paul’s instructions to the Cretan Christians before we act, before we interact, before we react.

Monday’s reading is John 1

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Only An Hour

Today’s reading is Revelation 17.

It’s frightening. But the wicked city, the immoral woman, the enemy gain authority. Not only that but give authority to 10 wicked kings. They get drunk on the blood of saints. And yet still they have authority. However, it is only for an hour. Not a literal hour, of course, but only an hour (remember this, it will come in handy in a few days). You can handle anything by the grace of God for an hour, right? Don’t lose faith in the conquering Hero. He is on His way. He will win. Pray that you may not enter temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Hang on! Jesus always wins!

Monday’s reading is Revelation 18.

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