FOREVER TRIUMPHANT, Day 19—Lenten Devotional
39 They (the Jews) answered him (Jesus), “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. 41 You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:39-44
Jesus did not have difficulties with the Jewish religious authorities because they were Jewish, but because they were religious. They could just as easily have been (and indeed the same kind of spiritual conflict between the Spirit of Jesus and religious leaders and people has been) Catholics, Protestants, Born-Again Christians, Non-Denominationals, Charismatics, Mormons, or Jehova’s Witnesses. Remember, that our old human self-centeredness (the flesh) will turn even our goodness into evil. No surprise that Satan offers us a religious goodness that has no real communion with God.
FJ HUEGEL: The Jews were most religious, but the Savior did not mince matters. He told them that they were of their father, the Devil. It is altogether possible to be exceedingly religious and yet under the control of the unseen prince of the world. Where there is pride and lust for vain glory, unholy ambition for office even though it be religious; where there are doctrines contrary to the truth as it is in the Son of God; in a word, where there is uncrucified flesh according to Paul’s use of the term in Galatians 5, the evil one is sure to be more or less in the saddle.
PRAYER: Dear God,
I am a religious person. I believe in you and want to seek you. But I am unable to keep myself from the kind of religion that will separate me from you and end up making my religion a tool of the devil. Please invade my religion, tear it up, crucify it, and humble it before you. That way my faith can serve you and others according to the Spirit of Jesus and not according to a the spirit of a religious system. This I pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.