TODAYS BIBLE READING:
John 3:1-4:45; Luke 3:19-20
Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes
BREAD CRUMBS COMMENTARY FOR TODAYS READING
with Pastor Sylvia Lauhlin (22 minutes)
SEPT 28, 2023
DAY 271 IN THE APP
THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalms 31:24.
A FEW THOUGHTS...
In 1936, the first issue of Life magazine was published. In 1974, People magazine began. Us magazine began 3 years later in 1977. Then in 1979, Self magazine was first published. In this progression, we see a change in society from being captivated to the world around us and other people, to an insatiable focus on self. Like the frog boiling in the pot of water, it is hard to see something as it slowly changes, but society has changed drastically. In the 1940's young men were lying about their ages in order to serve their country in World War 2, thinking of others above themselves. If self is the most important thing to us, then everything is focused on preserving that which is most precious. So, the question everyone needs to ask themselves: is it still all about ourselves, our self-preservation, our jobs, our retirement plans, etc? Or is it all about Him?
If we were to list the most pivotal chapters in Scripture, John 3 would have to rank in the top 10. Though the phrase, "Born again" has been abused through the years, Jesus states that it is a necessity if one is to enter into a saving relationship with Him. Nicodemus, one of the leading religious leaders of the day, a Pharisee, and a member of the 70 person Sanhedrin (the religious ruling group in Jerusalem) initiated this interaction with Jesus, as we read in John 3:2, "This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Nicodemus does the necessary first step. He takes his eyes off of himself, off of his religiosity and seeks Jesus. Jesus then redirects the conversation not toward what he asks, but according to what Jesus knows that He needs. He uses an example from Numbers 21, which Nicodemus would be very familiar with when God's people sinned against Him and He sent fiery serpents among the people, whose bite was lethal. He had Moses construct a bronze serpent and anyone who simply looked at the bronze serpent lived. We read in John 3:14-17, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
Jesus goes on in John 3:19, "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil." God does not force us to love Him or accept His plan for salvation. He loves us too much to treat us like robots. Unfortunately, in this increasingly self-centered world, most prefer self over Him. Yet in these uncertain times it should be obvious to everyone that we are incapable of saving ourselves. Our act must simply be to surrender the reins of our lives over to Him. Our salvation has everything to do with what He did on the cross 2000 years ago and not on what we do. Religion is man's attempt of achieving God's favor through various works or deeds. What God is offering is a living, breathing relationship with our Savior. This relationship is not constrained by social isolation, social distancing, or even by life or death on this planet. Like the bronze serpent, all we have to do is look to the cross. Being born again, means being born of the Spirit, as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." God has given us this time. May we take our present circumstances and use it to get our attention off of ourselves and accept God's free offer of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. If you want to take this step, but don't know what to do, please reach out to us on this site.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
"The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us."
- Billy Graham