“My sheep hear my voice, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand”


 Tuesday (May 1) Scripture: 

22 It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Meditation: How secure is your faith and trust in God? Scripture describes God’s word as a “lamp for our feet and a light for our steps”(Psalm 119:105). The Jewish Feast of the Dedication is also called the Festival of Lights orHanakkuh. This feast was held in late December, near the time when Christians celebrate the feast of Christmas. This is the time of year when the day is shortest and the night longest. Jesus used this occasion to declare that he is the true light of the world (John 8:12). In his light we can see who God truly is and we can find the true path to heaven.

Jesus speaks of the tremendous trust he has in God his Father and the tremendous trust we ought to have in him because he is our good shepherd (John 10:11). Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless against prey, such as wolves, and often get lost and bewildered without a guide. That is why shepherds literally live with their sheep out in the open field and mountain sides. The shepherd guards his sheep from the dangers of storms, floods, and beasts of prey. The shepherd leads his sheep to the best places for feeding and the best streams for drinking. He finds the best place for their rest and safety at night. The sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd and heed his call when he leads them to safe pasture and rest. We are like sheep – we become easy prey to forces which can destroy us – sin, Satan, and a world opposed to God and his people. Jesus not only frees us from Satan’s snares and the grip of sin, he leads us to the best of places where we can feed on the “word of life” and drink from the “living waters” of his Holy Spirit. The sheep who heed the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd, have no fear. He will lead them to the best of places – everlasting peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.

In this present life we will encounter trials and difficulties. We can face them alone or we can follow Jesus, the true shepherd, who will bring us safely through every difficulty to the place of peace and security with God. Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and heed his commands?

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for us. In you I place all my hope and trust. Open my ears to hear your voice and follow your commands.”

Psalm 87:1-7

1 On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. [Selah]
4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia —  “This one was born there,” they say.
5 And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”;  for the Most High himself will establish her.
6 The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” [Selah]
7 Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

“I am the Son of God”


 Friday: (March 30): Gospel Reading:  

31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, `I said, you are Gods’? 35 If he called them Gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,’ because I said, `I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in  the Father.” 39 Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. 40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him; and they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13

10 For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”  say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our revenge on him.” 11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me.  They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed.  Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. 12 O LORD of hosts, who triest the righteous, who seest the heart and the mind, let me see thy vengeance upon them, for to thee have I committed my cause. 13 Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD!  For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.

Meditation: Is your life consecrated to God? The scriptural understanding of consecration is to make holy for God – to be given over as a free-will offering and sacrifice for God. Jesus made himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of his Father consecrating him for this mission of salvation. Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? They charged him with blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus made two claims in his response: He was consecrated by the Father to a special task and he was sent into the world to carry out his Father’s mission. Jesus challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument. Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power to those who believe. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world. Are you a doer of God’s word, or a forgetful hearer only?

“Write upon my heart, O Lord, the lessons of your holy word, and grant that I may be a doer of your word, and not a forgetful hearer only.”

Psalm 18:2-6

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me, the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help.  From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

“I am the Good Shepherd”


Sunday (April 29): Scripture:  

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf  snatches them and scatters them.  13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one  shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.  18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

Meditation: Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

Jesus made three promises to his followers. He promised them everlasting life. If they accept him and follow him, they will have the life of God in them. Jesus also promised them a life that would know no end. Death would not be the end but the beginning; they would know the glory of indestructible life. Jesus promised a life that was secure. Jesus said that nothing would snatch them out of his hand, not even sorrow and death, since he is everlasting life itself. Our lives are safe in his hands.

The words which Jesus spoke upset many of the Jewish leaders. How could he speak with the same authority which God spoke and claim to be equal with God? He must either be insane or divine. Unfortunately some thought he was mad even though he cured a man who was blind from birth. We are faced with the same choice. Either Jesus is who he claims to be – the Son of God and Savior of the world – or the world’s greatest deluder! We cannot be indifferent to his claim.  For those who accept him as Lord and Savior he offers the peace and security of unending life and joy with God. Do you know the peace and security of a life fully submitted to Christ?

Cyril of Alexander, a 5th century church father comments on Jesus as our Good Shepherd:

“He shows in what manner a shepherd may be proved good; and He teaches that he must be prepared to give up his life fighting in defense of his sheep, which was fulfilled in Christ.  For man has departed from the love of God, and fallen into sin, and because of this was, I say, excluded from the divine abode of paradise, and when he was weakened by that disaster, he yielded to the devil tempting him to sin, and death following that sin he became the prey of fierce and ravenous wolves.  But after Christ was announced as the True Shepherd of all men, He laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16), fighting for us against that pack of inhuman beasts.  He bore the Cross for us, that by His own death he might destroy death.  He was condemned for us, that He might deliver all of us from the sentence of punishment: the tyranny of sin being overthrown by our faith: fastening to the Cross the decree that stood against us, as it is written (Colossians 2:14). Therefore as the father of sin had as it were shut up the sheep in hell, giving them to death to feed on, as it is written in the psalms (Ps. Xlviii.16), He died for us as truly Good, and truly our Shepherd, so that the dark shadow of death driven away He might join us to the company of the blessed in heaven; and in exchange for abodes that lie far in the depths of the pit, and in the hidden places of the sea, grant us mansions in His Father’s House above.  Because of this he says to us in another place: Fear not, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you a kingdom (Luke 12:32).”

Do you listen attentively to the voice of the Good Shepherd and obey his word?

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who keeps watch over our lives. May I be ever attentive to your voice and submit fully to your wise rule for my life.  Draw me near to you that I may always find peace and joy in your presence.”

Psalm 118:1,8-9,21-23,26-29

1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
26 Blessed be he who enters in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God, and he has given us light.  Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;yhou are my God, I will extol you.
29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever!

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life”


 Saturday (April 28): Scripture: 

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Meditation: Why do some find it easy and others find it hard to accept the claims which Jesus made? Many were attracted to Jesus because he offered them something irresitible – a visible sign of God’s mercy and favor which Jesus demonstrated in his wonderful works of healing, deliverance, and the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Many stumbled, however, when Jesus made claims which only God can make. Jesus’ discourse on “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” (see John 6:51-59) which pointed to the Last Supper, caused offence to many of his followers. Jesus claimed to be the bread of heaven, the very life of God given to us as spiritual food to sustain us on our journey to the promised land of heaven. Jesus did not leave any middle ground for his hearers. They must either accept his word as divine or reject it as the claim of an imposter. Even the apostles admitted that this was a “hard saying”. This expression meant that it was not just hard to understand, but hard to accept. Jesus pressed the issue with his beloved disciples because he wanted to test their faith and loyalty. Jesus promised his disciples nothing less than the full blessing of eternal life and union with God. Jesus assures his disciples that it is his heavenly Father who invites and who gives the grace to follow even in the “hard sayings”. Jesus knew that some would not only reject him and his word, but would do so with hatred and violence, even betraying him to his enemies.

Real faith is not blind nor ignorant. It seeks understanding. That is why God gives us the help of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our mind to understand his truth and wisdom (Ephesians 1:17-18). Jesus offers his life-giving word and Spirit to those who believe in him and who obey his word. Peter’s profession of faith and loyalty was based on a personal relationship with Jesus. His belief was not simply based on what he knew about Jesus. He believed in Jesus because he knew that when Jesus spoke God spoke – when Jesus acted God acted. Through the gift of faith Peter came to understand that Jesus was the true Messiah, the Holy One of God. He believed in the words which Jesus spoke, because he accepted Jesus as the Son of God and savior of the world. Faith is a personal response to God’s revelation of himself to us. Faith is the key to understanding and experiencing God’s action and work in our personal lives. Do you believe, as Peter did, that Jesus can change your life because he has the words of everlasting life? Ask the Lord to increase your faith that you may grow in your relationship with him and in the knowledge of his love for you.

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Help me to cast aside doubt and fear and to embrace your word with trust and joy. I surrender my life to you.  Be the Lord and master of my heart, my will, my thoughts and all my actions. May there be nothing which keeps me from you and your love.”

Psalm 116:12-17

12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid.  You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

 

“He who eats this bread will live forever”


Friday (April 27): Scripture: 

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

Meditation: Why did Jesus offer himself as “food and drink”? The Jews were scandalized and the disciples were divided when Jesus said “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.” What a hard saying, unless you understand who Jesus is and why he calls himself the bread of life. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (John 6:3-13), when Jesus said the blessing, broke and distributed the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, is a sign that prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper. The Gospel of John has no account of the Last Supper meal (just the foot washing ceremony and Jesus’ farewell discourse). Instead, John quotes extensively from Jesus’ teaching on the bread of life.

In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator as the giver and sustainer of life. Melchizedek, who was both a priest and king (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1-4), offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. His offering prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king (Hebrews 7:26; 9:11; 10:12). The remembrance of the manna in the wilderness recalled to the people of Israel that they live – not by earthly bread alone – but by the bread of the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3). At the last supper when Jesus blessed the cup of wine, he gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Jesus was pointing to the sacrifice he was about to make on the cross, when he would shed his blood for us – thus pouring himself out and giving himself to us – as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world. His death on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice of the paschal (passover) lamb whose blood spared the Israelites from death in Egypt. Paul the Apostle tells us that “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians5:7). Paul echoes the words of John the Baptist who called Jesus the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift that was truly pleasing to the Father. He “offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14) and “gave himself as a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).

Jesus chose the time of the Jewish Feast of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum – giving his disciples his body and his blood as the true bread of heaven. Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and resurrection – the new passover – is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the church in the glory of God’s kingdom. When the Lord Jesus commands his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the very center of our being. That life which he offers is the very life of God himself. Do you hunger for the bread of life?

“Lord Jesus, you nourish and sustain us with your very own presence and life-giving word. You are the bread of life – the heavenly food that sustains us now and that produces everlasting life within us. May I always hunger for you and be satisfied in you alone.”

Psalm 117:1-2

1 Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!
2 For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever.  Praise the LORD!

“If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever”


Thursday (April 26): Scripture: 

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Meditation: God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. What is the bread of life which Jesus offers? It is first of all the life of God himself – life which sustains us not only now in this age but also in the age to come. The Rabbis said that the generation in the wilderness have no part in the life to come. In the Book of Numbers it is recorded that the people who refused to brave the dangers of the promised land were condemned to wander in the wilderness until they died. The Rabbis believed that the father who missed the promised land also missed the life to come. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness with manna from heaven. This bread foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.

Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna from heaven prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper which Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity. When we receive from the Lord’s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the “one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward.

Jesus offers us the abundant supernatural life of heaven itself – but we can miss it or even refuse it. To refuse Jesus is to refuse eternal life, unending life with the Heavenly Father. To accept Jesus as the bread of heaven is not only life and spiritual nourishment for this world but glory in the world to come. When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for your soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the “bread of life”?

“Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.”

Psalm 66:8-20
8 Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net; you laid affliction on our loins;
12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water;  yet you have brought us forth to a spacious place.
13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows,
14 that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;  I will make an offering of bulls and goats. [Selah]
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation”


Wednesday (April 25): Scripture:   [alternate reading: John 6:35-40]

15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will  recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

Meditation:  In many churches in the East and West, Mark the Evangelist is honored today. Each of the four gospel accounts gives us a portrait of Jesus, his life, mission, and teaching. Each is different in style, length, and emphasis. But they all have a common thread and purpose – the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Among the four gospels, Mark’s account is unique in many ways. It is the shortest account and seems to be the earliest. Mark the Evangelist was an associate of Peter and likely wrote his gospel in Rome where Peter was based. Mark wrote it in Greek. It was likely written for Gentile readers in general, and for the Christians at Rome in particular. It is significant that Mark, as well as Luke, was chosen by the Holy Spirit to write the gospel account even though he wasn’t one of the twelve apostles. Augustine of Hippo, explains:  “The Holy Spirit willed to choose for the writing of the Gospel two [Mark and Luke] who were not even from those who made up the Twelve, so that it might not be thought that the grace of evangelization had come only to the apostles and that in them the fountain of grace had dried up” (Sermon 239.1).

Mark ends his gospel account with Jesus’ last appearance to the apostles before his ascension into heaven. Jesus’ departure and ascension was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus’ physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus’ presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time. Now as the glorified and risen Lord and Savior, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would anoint them with power on the Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry at the River Jordan. When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they were not left in sorrow or grief.  Instead, they were filled with joy and with great anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ last words to his apostles point to his saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of his saving death and his glorious resurrection and to proclaim the good news of salvation to all the world. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations. God’s love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a nation, but it is for the whole world – for all who will accept it. The gospel is the power of God, the power to forgive sins, to heal, to deliver from evil and oppression, and to restore life. Do you believe in the power of the gospel?

This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task – to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission world-wide. Do you witness to others the joy of the gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the gospel and the reality of your resurrection.”

Psalm 115:1-6

1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.