A Devotional from Central Presbyterian Church. Find another day here.
Monday June 22, 2020
1 John 5:9-12
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
If God gave you the opportunity to ask Him for anything in the world, how would you respond? The Bible tells us in 1 Kings 3 that King Solomon, son of David, when given such an opportunity in a dream, asked the Lord for “an understanding mind” to “discern between good and evil.” Because Solomon answered prudently, the Lord blessed him abundantly saying, “I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” To demonstrate this divinely given gift, the proceeding passage of the same chapter portrays two prostitutes who approach Solomon’s throne in a dispute over a newborn baby boy. The first woman claims the child is hers, that the other woman rolled over in the middle of the night, accidentally smothering her own son to death, then quickly exchanged the dead child with the living one of her friend. The second woman argued the opposite. At an impasse, Solomon called for a sword and commanded the living child be cut in half to be split between the two women. While the real mother of the living child pleaded for the child’s life to be spared and he be given to the other woman, the mother of the dead child quickly agreed to Solomon’s ruling, no longer interested in the life of the boy and insisting that he be cut in two. Solomon discerned the truth at once and the baby was reunited with his true mother.
Although Solomon may have been the wisest man who ever lived, he was far from perfect. Like many men of wealth and power, his weakness for beautiful women led him into destruction. While his father David—who also suffered from the same malady—was known as a man after God’s own heart, Solomon, on the other hand, allowed his forbidden foreign wives to bring their false foreign gods and public pagan worship into the heart of Jerusalem, and into his own heart. The king and his people fell headlong into idolatry, securing for themselves the wrath and judgement of the one and only Living God. Arrayed with extravagant wealth, marvelous buildings, a ferocious army, and the respect of all the nations of the earth, Solomon brought Israel to the peak of her power and influence, only to see his kingdom crumble at the hands of adversaries from without and within.
John reminds us in our passage today that our most valuable possession is not visible to the naked eye: it does not show up on financial statements; it can not be measured by letter grades, college degrees, or the number of people on our payroll; and is not found in the mirror, the scale, or on the scoreboard. The most important thing about us is what we believe about the testimony of God concerning Jesus. If we believe that Jesus is who He said He is, the Son of God come to the earth to live and die on our behalf, then we will have life in His name. Whoever believes in the Son has the Son, and whoever has the Son has life. This life through Jesus begins in abundance here and now and continues throughout all eternity. There is no greater gift that we can be given, no greater identity that we can possess, no greater inheritance that we can obtain, and it is freely given by the Father through the Son to all who believe His testimony. Scripture testifies that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, all who humbly confess their sin, all who trust in His name, will be saved. This is God’s promise to us, secured by the blood of His beloved Son.
At the same time, whoever does not have the Son of God does not, and can not, have this life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Because all who do not call on the name of the Lord will not be saved, the great duty of every Christian is to live in such a way as to continually bear witness to the testimony of God’s gracious gift. At times Christians may be tempted to look around them and feel a sense of pride or smugness or even satisfaction at the thought of the wicked world and its inhabitants getting their just desserts, like the suffering mother who wants nothing more than to have company in misery, but those are not the thoughts of God. Even on the cross, Jesus interceded on behalf of those who were mocking and reviling Him, crying out, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Every one of us remains in such a state of ignorance, irrevocably blinded by our sin until God opens our eyes to the reality of our situation and our desperate need for the gifts of grace and mercy that only He can give. Like Solomon, God has given each of us the opportunity to ask of Him the greatest gift we could ever hope to receive: not the gift of beauty or wealth or power or even wisdom. It is the gift that has been given not just for us, but for all the world: Jesus.
Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, we thank You for all that You have done. Not only did You suffer and die to forgive the sins of all who call on Your name, but You have raised up faithful witnesses to carry this message of hope to the world. We thank you for the men and women that You have placed into our lives, who have testified to Your truth and shared what You have done for them. We pray that you would embolden and empower us to join in their testimony, that You would open the eyes of the blind and raise the dead to life in You. We ask this in Your living name. Amen.