John 12: 32: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” This was the second time Jesus had made this statement, the first being to Nicodemus in the early days of His ministry (John 3: 14) Now, just before His Passion, He says it again, adding the fact that this lifting up will redeem all men. Christ being lifted up on the cross (a detail included here by John) is both His exaltation and man’s salvation. That’s why it is central to the Christian faith.
Friday, September 18: “A Different View”
Esther 1: 12, 16b: “But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him … Memucan said, ‘Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the princes, and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.’” Times have changed! Before, the actions of King Ahasuerus were taken as normal and justified, while those of Vashti were vilified. Now, many consider this as the most sexist story in the Bible. But the real purpose of this chapter is not to foster gender warfare, but to set the stage for the story of Esther that follows. Right or wrong, without these events Esther would not have become queen, and the Jewish nation would have perished under Haman’s wicked scheme.
Saturday, September 19: “Provoked in Spirit”
Acts 17: 16: “While Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was beholding the city full of idols.” We today are in a situation much like St. Paul, living in a society full of idols: money, greed, and most of all, self. The question is, does our spirit get provoked by these things, or do we get so used to them that we don’t give them a second thought? There is a higher way, a better life, available for those bound by these things; but we, like Paul, have to care enough to tell them about it.