Devotion for February 15, 2024

“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forever more, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17a,18)

Something happens when mortal man encounters the Living Man.

Knowing Christ is not simply a matter of becoming a nice person. Nor just believing by rote that God sent Jesus as a “substitute” to die for my sins. We are not nice people made nicer by going to church. We may be walking, talking, cappuccino-drinking, rotary- and church-attending people, and still be dead. People are not just “stunned” or “resting” as the dead parrot in Monty Python’s comedy “Flying Circus.”

The Bible says that when sin came, we died. It says we were dead in our trespasses and sins. In our love of ourselves and self-esteem, in our love of money and dependence on things other than God, we became as dead a hundred-dollar note. As dead as the face on a glossy magazine. As dead as a new four-wheel drive, a boat cruise, or the sound system or scones at church. We are as dead as our idols; we have eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear, and lungs that cannot breathe (Psalm 135:15–18).

On the cross, Jesus battled us and our deadness. He battled our deafness to His word. And in slaying us, He brought us to life. (This means that our physical death, when it comes, will have no power over us because we are unchangeably alive.)

Even John, a Spirit-filled prophet, fell like he was dead at Jesus’ feet when he saw Him in all His pure and holy glory. He was in good company — the same happened to Joshua (Joshua 5:14,15), Abram (Genesis 17:3), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28,3:23), Daniel, Peter, James, John and Saul (Paul). Perhaps none of us have had a vision of God as a consuming fire. Fire in the Old Testament is often a symbol of judgement. A vision of God’s judgement — when we see it — is a terrifying thing. God knows this, so He speaks a word of reassurance. This word is that He has judged us in the cross, killed our deadness and brought us to Himself. We are raised to a new hearing in that word of motherly comfort (Isaiah 66:13) and fatherly love (Psalm 103:13).

Prayer

Lord, I thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son to wipe clean my sin. I believe in the promises You have made, and I want to live my life according to your Word. Help me in my unbelief when I fail. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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