Daily Archives: April 26, 2021
Psalm 102:12-22 (ESV)
12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
13 You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
15 Nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 For the Lord builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
17 he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer.
18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
21 that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
John 8:21-30 (ESV)
21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
When the Pharisees heard Jesus saying these words, they were aghast that this man, who had no position in the Sanhedrin would make such a statement about himself. You can also imagine the whispering and angry comments that circulated as Jesus said: “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above” (John 8:23).
As abrupt and unexpected as these words are, they convey a beautiful promise: Jesus wants us to live “above” with him, not only in the eternity of heaven but even here, on earth.
This is a lofty, even comforting, sentiment. But what does it mean in our everyday lives? How can we place ourselves in a position where we can be lifted up with Jesus? One way is to pay attention to the way we react when someone or something tempts us to anger. Do we stop and say a quick prayer for patience and understanding before we speak? Or do we lose our temper and lash out? The more we practice patience and ask the Lord for help, the more we will find the Holy Spirit lifting us up and giving us his own grace and strength.
Every day let’s ask the Lord to help us recognize all the patterns of our fallen nature: not just anger but selfishness, greed, resentment, and pride. Let’s place our hope in the promise that, together with the Holy Spirit, we can overcome these sins and become more like Jesus, the One who lived “above” all the time.
Yes, it takes time and a great deal of our own will to do it. Yes, we will also falter and fail at times. But if we persist in asking the Lord for his help, and if we persist in trying our best to turn away from sin, we will find ourselves more humble, more loving, more compassionate, more stable and purposeful in our actions and intentions. In other words, we will find ourselves experiencing heavenly life with Jesus, even as we go about our everyday lives here on earth.