Today’s text teaches us that as followers of Jesus, we are overcomers. This is pretty amazing since in this world there is so much difficulty to overcome. We face daily a bombardment of news of catastrophic events around the world and in our communities. We are faced with the constant demands and pressures of work, society, and family. Depression, anxiety, temptation, addictions, illness, and fatigue only complicate matters, often making it seem impossible to overcome much of anything. Still, today’s reading reassures us that as followers of Christ, we are overcomers.
I suppose ultimately we are overcomers because Jesus, the one whom we follow, was an overcomer. Jesus chose to take on human flesh and live within the confines of our fallen world. In doing so, he faced the harsh realities of life. Jesus experienced hunger and thirst. He felt loneliness, rejection, and betrayal. As the author of Hebrews so aptly puts it, Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15, NIV). Jesus was an overcomer. He overcame even the horrors of death! Make no mistake, Jesus was dead on a Friday. Yet on Sunday morning, Jesus appeared before his followers, alive and well!
Jesus once told his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). Jesus shares the same encouragement with us. Through faith in Jesus, we too will overcome whatever this life and this world may throw at us. We overcome it all because Jesus overcame it all for us. What great news we have to share!
Jesus, thank you for being an overcomer. By your power and example, may I overcome the difficulties of life. Amen.
The Acts passage continues to tell the story of the advance of the gospel. The Holy Spirit falls on a group of Gentiles. They believe and are baptized, thus showing God’s inclusion of all peoples in the plan of salvation. Psalm 98 is a simple declaration of praise. All creation will sing to and rejoice in the Lord. The two passages from John are linked by their emphasis on the relationship between love and obedience. We do not follow God’s commandments in order to make God love us. On the contrary, because God has first loved us and we love God in return, we follow God’s teachings. Jesus provides the model for us, being obedient to his Father out of love.
Read Acts 10:44-48. When has the Spirit of God brought you to a new understanding?
Read Psalm 98. Where have you encountered “a joyful noise” in creation? How do you make a joyful noise in praise of God?
Read 1 John 5:1-6. When have you considered God’s commands as burdensome? When have you found them freeing?
Read John 15:9-17. Are you accustomed to thinking of your relationship with Jesus as a mutual friendship? If so, what does it mean to you to be Jesus’ friend?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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