What Jesus Reveals About Himself – March 5, 2019

As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Luke 9:29

What Jesus Reveals About Himself


Daily Devotion – March 5, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:29

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Several years back a man in Asia sued his ex-wife because she had given birth to what he described as a very ugly baby. He thought she must have had an affair, because he couldn’t imagine how a good-looking guy like himself could be the father of such an ugly child.

Then the truth came out. Before the man and woman met, she’d had about $100,000 worth of cosmetic surgery, which dramatically altered her appearance. She had never told him about the surgery. The man won the lawsuit.

We may not all hide $100,000 worth of plastic surgery from our spouse, but we all hide some things. Rarely are we willing to fully reveal ourselves to others.

Jesus, interestingly enough, was willing to reveal himself to his disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. What a gift! They finally saw him for who he really is—the eternal, all-powerful God of the universe. This revelation would no doubt be a great comfort to them later when they witnessed his suffering and death and, even later, when they experienced their own suffering and death.

We can be thankful that, in the words of the Bible, Jesus has also revealed himself to us as the one true God. What a comfort this is when we experience our own suffering—knowing that this same, all-powerful God is with us. What comfort this will one-day be when we face our own death—knowing that this same, all-powerful God has conquered death and will give us eternal life.

Prayer:
Remind me, O Savior, of what you revealed on the holy mountain. Comfort me today with the knowledge of who you really are. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Heavenly Mountaintop – March 4, 2019

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Luke 9:28-29

A Heavenly Mountaintop


Daily Devotion – March 4, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:28-29

See series: Devotions

Each of the accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration begins with a statement that this happened about a week later than what had just been written about. So, God wants those events connected. And just what had happened about a week earlier?

It started out great! Jesus asked Peter, James, and John who people thought he was, and eventually Peter confessed oh-so-clearly that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God! But when Jesus began talking about his suffering and death, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him. In response, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23).

So, now it’s a week later, and you’re Peter, on this mountain, and Jesus’ face suddenly changes so that it is shining like the sun and his clothing become as bright as a flash of lightning. If you’re Peter, what are you thinking? Are you thinking, “Oh no! A few days ago, I was rebuking him! Look at him now!!! What was I thinking?”

How easily we question God in an improper way, even “rebuke” God. True? Yes, it’s true. We have the audacity to tell God that he is not handling things correctly in our lives or in our world. How dare we!

What is amazing is that Jesus didn’t cut Peter off and eliminate him from the disciples. Jesus continued to love Peter. He even invites Peter to come to the mountaintop, to view his glory.

And amazingly, Jesus continues to love you and me too. Despite our failures, Jesus continues to love us. And someday he will invite us to the heavenly mountaintop where we will experience his glory forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for not rejecting me! I long to see your glory! Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Glimpse of Glory – March 3, 2019

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mark 9:2-9

A Glimpse of Glory


Daily Devotion – March 3, 2019

Devotion based on Mark 9:2-9

See series: Devotions

Can you really blame Peter for wanting to stay on that high mountain? After years of following Jesus, now he was finally allowed to see his true glory as the Son of God. Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes were gleaming white. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, Moses and Elijah, two heroes of the Old Testament show up and by their very presence put God’s stamp of approval on the Savior’s life and mission. There was no more worrying, no more wondering, no more doubting. Just Jesus revealing himself as God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.

Who would want to leave such a place? This is religion just how we want it—power, glory, peace. Peter wanted it all right then and there. But isn’t this what we want too? No more uncertainty. No more rejection. No more broken hearts, pain, failure, disappointment, loneliness, or death. Just glory. Just basking in Jesus’ glory and experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding.

But Jesus had to leave that mountain. He had to leave because his mission was not finished. He needed to carry out God’s plan of salvation and die for sinners, so that this glimpse of glory that Peter and the others experienced on the mountain could last for an eternity in heaven. So driven by love, Jesus descended that Mount of Glory and walked willingly to that Mount of Shame where he suffered and died for our sins.

Like Peter, we may want the glory right now. We might want to be done with all of the pain and suffering and sadness of this world, but it’s not time yet. Right now it is God’s will that we live by faith in his Son. Through the Word we too have witnessed Jesus’ glory on the mountain, and even more than that, we have seen his glory as our risen and ascended Lord. This glimpse of glory is what sustains us through difficult days here on earth and assures us of an eternal glory that will never end with Jesus in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Lord of glory, help me to patiently bear the difficulties and sadness of this world as I keep my eyes fixed on you and await the eternal glory to come. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Persistent Patience – March 2, 2019

Then [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Luke 13:6-9

Persistent Patience


Daily Devotion – March 2, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 13:6-9

See series: Devotions

What does an orchard owner do when there are no apples to gather at harvest time? Many growers in Michigan found out in 2012. Due to early warm March temperatures combined with several April freezes, much of the tree fruit crop was damaged that year. In a state that averages 25 million bushels of apples, only 3 million bushels were harvested. Some orchards suffered total loss.

Believers are privileged to be planted in the Lord’s vineyard through the power of Holy Baptism. In that vineyard their faith grows and flourishes, bathed in the sunlight of the glorious gospel. The Lord tends to each individual tree with the greatest care. He feeds and cares for it with the continual shower of his grace.

Yet how cold and callous my sinful nature is toward the heavenly hands that care for me! Tempted by the deceptive warmth and comfort of worldly pleasures and chilled with despair while encountering life’s troubles, I fall far short of producing the fruits of faith which the Lord expects of me. Even the good works that I do in service to him are tainted by the poison of my sin. For this I deserve only to be cut down and thrown into the eternal fire of hell.

However, Jesus cares for me with greatest patience. Mercifully, he still calls me to repent of my fruitless ways. Instead of cutting me down, he himself bore shame, disgrace and death on the tree of the cross in my place. He waits, and he waits in hopeful expectation of a fruitful harvest from me. And while he waits He still lovingly digs around me and fertilizes me with the full forgiveness he freely offers. His grace ever encourages me to bear abundant fruits of faith to his glory.

Prayer:
Lord, I confess to you my fruitless, faithless ways. I trust in your forgiveness freely given through Jesus, my Savior from sin. Give me strength to live as a fruitful tree, blessed to be in your vineyard. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Rattlesnake – March 1, 2019

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13

The Rattlesnake


Daily Devotion – March 1, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

See series: Devotions

There’s an old Native American story about the power of temptations. A young brave once climbed a high mountain to prove his manhood. As he stood at the top, he looked down at his feet and saw a rattlesnake half-frozen by the cold. The rattlesnake said to the brave, “Please, I will die up here in this cold. Please put me under your shirt and carry me down the mountain.” The brave protested. “I cannot do that,” he said, “because I know what will happen. As soon as you warm up again you will bite me.” “No, I will not,” said the rattlesnake. “I will not because my relationship with you will be different. I will always remember that you are the man who saved my life.” This made sense, and so the young brave agreed. He tucked the half-frozen rattlesnake under his shirt and started back down the mountain.

As soon as the rattlesnake got warm under his shirt, however, he bit the brave, pumping venom into his body. The brave cried out, “How could you do this? I just saved your life. You said our relationship would be different.” To that the rattlesnake simply said, “You knew what I was before you ever picked me up.”

Some temptations can make perfect sense until it’s too late. That is the lethal danger of their logic. What temptations have crawled under your shirt, claiming to be something different than what they are? Is your old-fashioned work ethic actually a disguise for your greed? Is your desire to stop and smell the roses actually a disguise for your laziness? Is your righteous need to stand up for yourself every time you feel slighted actually a disguise for your sinful pride? Is your so-called “refreshing candor” with others really an excuse for you to be verbally abusive? When you talk about others out of “Christian concern”–is it really just a license to gossip? Your claim to be content to have a simple, childlike faith in what you learned about God as a kid–is that just disguising your stubborn refusal to gather with other believers and to grow in his Word?

When we fail to see these temptations for what they are, when we fail to see where these temptations come from, sooner or later the snake is going to bite.

Thank God for Jesus. Thank God for a Savior who withstood every temptation on our behalf. Thank God for a Savior who went to the cross and absorbed the venom for all our failures. When you’ve been bitten, there is forgiveness and rescue with our Savior, Jesus. And thank God for a Savior whose Spirit now empowers us to see our temptations with clearer eyes–whose Spirit now empowers us to leave the half-frozen rattlesnake on the ground.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the temptations come, strengthen me in your forgiveness. Move me to leave the temptation alone. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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