John 14:6

Verse of the Day: John 14:6 

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

It is important that we grasp this truth so that we can counter the belief that there are many roads that lead to God.  Jesus said He was the only way to the Father.  Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” Romans 10:9.  This counter’s the ideas of the post-Modernists who believes there is no absolute truth, but that everyone has their own truth which they must follow.

We must stand strong in the reality that Jesus is the only way to salvation and any relationship with God; not to argue in anger but to speak in love.  They may try to convince you they are on a path to God, but a different one.  However, the truth is there is no other way.  It is our job to live our lives as though we see this as absolute truth so they can see that light in us and desire it themselves. This is our role as Christians here.  To lead people to the true God via the only path available, that being through the shed blood of Christ and all that entails.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 6:23

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

Paul wrote this in order to finalize a section where he was writing about the difference of being slaves to sin and slaves of righteousness.  Before we are saved, we are slaves to sin.  This word translated slave is the Greek word doulos, meaning slave or bondservant.  We obey our sinful desires which is counter to obeying God.

When we accept Christ as savior, accepting the work Christ did on the cross, then our old man who was a bondservant to sin dies, which then releases us from our bondage to sin, and because of the resurrection we are a new creation, being a new man who has no ties to sin, and we now are slaves to righteousness.

Now, there are two ultimate endings based on our decision.  Let’s look first at our former life.  We read in a couple verses up, “Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.” Romans 6:21.  This is simple, if we remain in in our former life, not accepting Christ as our Savior, the “final result” is death.  There can be no other.  For we have nothing we can do to be declared righteous before God.  Only the work of Christ provides it.

Now, let’s look at our new life in Christ.  Paul said in the next verse, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” Romans 6:22.  The “final result” of accepting Christ is first, a new life focused on holiness since the old is gone.  However, even better, this life will be eternal, everlasting, never ending.  I would say this is infinitely better then if we remained separated from Him.

Now, to the focus verse.  Look at what is said.  “Wages of Sin” and “Gift of God”.  Wages are defined as something we earn by the works we do.  Therefore, if we do not accept Christ, the old man will get what he earned, what he deserves.  That being death.  However, if we do accept Christ, we earn / deserve nothing.  However, we get a “free gift” from God.  And that is eternal life in Him.

So, we either get what we earn, which is death, or what we do not earn, which is eternal life.  I’ll take what I did not earn.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 16:11

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 16:11

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” – Psalm 16:11

This is a very encouraging verse.  David here is speaking to the Lord and thanking Him for the goodness of the life to come.  First he is saying that God has shown to Him the path of life.  What he is referring to is that even though he may die in this life, God will not keep him in this state.  He would be brought back to the living world, that which is life everlasting.  David believed in the resurrection from the dead.  He believed that God had for Him a life that will no end.  “He asked life of You, you gave it to him, Length of days forever and ever.” Psalm 21:4. We see this same idea from Daniel.  “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.  Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:2-3.  The idea of everlasting life for the righteous is found in various places in the Old Testament, and David took comfort in this truth. Note, Daniel was after the time of David, however, it shows this truth carried forward to his time.)  Regardless of this, David rejoiced in knowing he would be resurrected when the end came.

He then says that in the presence of God is fullness of joy.  This is not a partial nor imperfect joy, intermingled with pain and sorrow.  This is a joy that completely satisfies the soul not in conjunction with anything that may minimize it.  This is not a joy as we experience here, but an unimaginable joy that will never lessen, nor will it end.  It will not be diminished by the idea we have in this life that all earthly joy must come to an end.  It will be a joy that will be understood as everlasting.  This is the joy we will experience in the next life.  “So, the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”  Isaiah 51:11.

And lastly, David says that in His right hand are pleasures forever.  God’s right hand is the place of honor, where the saints will be throughout eternity.  It denotes that he would be raised up to exalted position; one filled with eternal happiness and exalted honor.  And this happiness will be forever.  This is not happiness as we find here in this life that comes and goes.  We will reside forever in happiness, for there will be nothing that can take it away.

This is the life we look forward to as Christians.  First, we will be raised from the dead to a life that is infinitely different from this one, and God will guide us into this new life, we will be in His presence forever where our joy will be full and never ending, and there will be great pleasure because of our exalted position in Christ.  And this will never end.  What more could we ask for, and what could ever be better than this promise from Him.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

John 3:16

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

This verse is probably one of the most recognized verses in all of scripture.  This shows how much God loves us and wants to be reconciled with us.  He loved us even though we did not love Him.  He loved us even though we refused to follow His ways.  However, His love for us does not constitute an approval of our conduct.  It shows that He loved us in spite of what we do.

This was a gift, the most valuable gift that can ever be conceived.  This was not just a book of rules or laws.  It was nothing we could ever have imagined.  And it was a free and undeserved gift.  It was a gift given for the sole reason that He loved us beyond all measure.  It was an act of pure love and eternal compassion.  It was because He did not want us to perish, to be separated from Him forever.

And what was this unimaginable gift?  It was His Son, His only begotten Son.  Something man has no claim to.  And again, something that was so amazing and incredible, it is inconceivable to the minds of men.  Imagine someone you know who committed a great crime that was punishable by death.  Someone you love and desire to fellowship with, even though they do not care to fellowship with you.  You then find out that someone who has not committed a crime could pay for the man’s crime by suffering the consequences that man deserved.  And you have a child who is completely free from any wrongdoing and could set this man free by dying in his stead.

This is what God did.  He conceived a child in the womb of Mary for the sole purpose of having Him die to pay the penalty for the sins we had committed.  He loved us before we could ever have loved Him.  Note this verse, “We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19. The basis of our love for Him is because He first loved us.  However, let’s go a little farther with this idea.  “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” Revelation 13:8.  Our names, us who have accepted Christ and are Christians, have been written in the Lambs book of life from before our world was created.  And this is due to God’s foreknowledge of our accepting Him, not His indiscriminate choice.  And because our names are there before the foundations of the world, so must have been the plan to give His Son for us in sacrifice.  He loved us before we were even created, before Christ came to die.  And because He came to die, we have the immense honor to love Him.  Remember, we love Him and others because He first loved us.

This beautiful and powerful verse has so much in it, we could contemplate for a long time and still not understand the full ramification of its meaning.  He loved us before He created us.  He knew we would fall away, and He still created us.  He provided the means of salvation before we even sinned, and it was through the death of His only begotten Son.  And anyone who believes in Him and the work He did on the cross will have eternal life.  There is no greater love than that which God gave.  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. This will be a difficult question, but is this the kind of love we have for others?  Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 8:28-29

Verse of the Day: Romans 8:38-39

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
This is an absolutely beautiful passage.  Paul is very clear that there is absolutely nothing that can cause God to stop loving us who are members of the Body of Christ, his should give us immense peace.  Because of His love, He will always be with us, helping us through all of our trials and troubling times.  And you can trust this, because He said I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). You can trust God to bring you through everything you go through.  If hard times come, remember He is with you.  And He will always be with you.  This is His promise to you, and one thing we know for sure, He always keeps His promises.

2 Peter 1:3

Verse of the Day Devotion.  2 Peter 1:3

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” – 2 Peter 1:3

This is powerful verse. What Peter is saying is that we, every Christian, has been given the ability through God’s divine power of life and godliness. It is through knowing God that we realize His divine power has given us all things necessary for true life and godliness, for all these things are in Him; and as we know Him, trust Him, love Him, and become like Him, we also come to possess all these precious things in and through Him. As an example I read recently. Suppose we see a dead body in front of a man. It would be absolutely wrong if he were to boast that it was in his power to restore this man back to life! However, it would be even a greater pretense if anyone should say that he could give to himself or to another the divine life, the spiritual life by which a man is made a Christian. We, in and of ourselves do not have the power to raise anyone from the dead. It is the power of God through and within us that we would be able to raise this person. And it is in the same way that Christians are granted, by God, everything pertaining to life and godliness. As it says in our focus verse, ‘through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Then we read, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. The words ‘Great’ and ‘precious’ are two words that are not often used together. Many things are great that are not precious, such as great rocks, which are of little value. On the other hand, many things are precious that are not great, such as diamonds and other jewels, which cannot be very great if they are very precious. But here we have promises that are so great that they are not less than infinite, and so precious that they are not less than divine. They do indeed exceed all things which they can be compared to. No one has ever promised as God has. Kings have promised even to half their kingdoms; but how does that come close to God’s promise to give His own Son, and even His own self, to His people, Which He has done. Princes draw a line somewhere, but the Lord sets no bounds to the gifts He has promised to His people.

Then in the next three verses, we see the path of growth in our faith. “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7. With all diligence, we are to show through our lives, moral excellence. The phrase ‘for this very reason’ links verses 3-4 to 5-7. Peter exhorted his readers to a godly life because Christ has given them everything they need for a godly life, and they possess magnificent promises of future perfection. It would be a serious mistake, therefore, to dismiss the call to virtue as legalism or moralism. The exhortation to holiness is grounded in God’s work of salvation as it has been accomplished in Jesus Christ. As is typical in the New Testament, grace precedes demand. The priority of grace, however, does not cancel out strenuous moral effort. Believers are to make every effort in carrying out Peter’s commands. A godly character does not emerge from passivity. As Luther says, “They should prove their faith by their good works.”

Then this is followed by, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:8-9. These holy things must not only be in us, but abound in us, or we shall be barren. Fruit is the overflow of life, and we must be full before we can overflow. There are many men who have lots of opportunities but never succeeded in doing true good in the conversion of souls. Unfortunately they lacked certain graces that are absolutely essential to fruit-bearing. For real useful graces are better than gifts. As the man is, so is his work. If we would do better, we must be better. Remember, we are a light in this world.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Luke 6:9

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 6:9 

“And Jesus said to them, I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?” – Luke 6:9 

Under Jewish tradition, sabbath regulations could be overridden only in times where a life is endangered. Otherwise, the sabbath must be upheld completely.  And this is the issue Jesus is dealing with in our focus verse.  “And it came about on another Sabbath, that He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.” Luke 6:6. A withered hand was not life threatening and thus did not qualify as an exception to Sabbath rules. In fact, Rabbinic tradition strictly forbade straightening a deformed body or setting a broken limb on the Sabbath.  Note the word here, tradition.

Now obviously, the leadership was watching carefully for a breach of their traditions. “And the scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely, to see if He healed on the Sabbath, in order that they might find reason to accuse Him.” Luke 6:7.  They did not care about this man; they were simply looking for some wrongdoing to accuse Jesus of doing. However, Jesus was aware of all this. “But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, Rise and come forward! And he rose and came forward.” Luke 6:8. Jesus was telling this man to come and stand before everyone, wanting to teach something to these Scribes and Pharisees. 

Then Jesus continues with our focus verse, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?” Luke 6:9. Jesus then looks around at all the leaders, waiting for an answer.  He received none, for they had no good answer to give that would not make them look bad.  Where good needs to be done, there can be no neutrality; and failure to do the good is to contribute to evil. It is thus not simply permissible to heal on Sabbath, it is right to do so, whether lawful or not. The scribes and Pharisees looked at the keeping of the Jewish laws as primary, no matter the impact it could have on others. A litmus test of true versus false religion is its response to injustice. Thus, according to Luke, the religious authorities have nothing to say to Jesus’ question. Their silence is self-incriminating, and Jesus returned their searching looks. And then Jesus tells the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand! And he did so; and his hand was restored.” Luke 6:10. A decision of faith now confronted the man. Most people with physical deformities seek to conceal them. What Jesus commands is the last thing the man wants to do if he is to hide his deformity, but the first thing he must do if he is to be healed of it. He did so, and his hand was completely restored. The man’s infirmity could be healed only by exposing it to Jesus. Faith is a risk that Jesus is worthy of trust when no other hope can be trusted.

Now after this the Pharisees were enraged at Jesus. “But they themselves were filled with rage and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.”  Luke 6:11. Mark puts it in a much stronger way. “And the Pharisees went out and immediately began taking counsel with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.” Mark 3:6.  This early in the life and ministry of Jesus, they were ready to kill Him because of His view of traditions.

Now, there is another way to look at our focus verse that is essential if we are to do the work of God.  “And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?” Luke 6:9. There are two basic questions being asked here.  First, is it acceptable to God to do good to someone, or to harm them?  And second, is it acceptable to God to save a life or destroy it?  We can look at this in regard to our physical life, but I believe this goes way beyond this.  Should we let our traditions or desires cause us to do harm to others, or to always do good?  There is nothing in the scriptures that say it is ok to do harm to anyone, either physical, mental, or psychological.  Absolutely no one should feel harmed or attacked by someone who claims to be a follower of Christ.  And no one should ever destroy a person’s life, neither their physical life, their spiritual life, or their integrity.  To do any of these is an abomination to God. For in doing these things, are we falsely exhibiting love we claim to have for God and others. If we act in this way, how can we say we love them?  In all things and all times, we must truly love everyone and do good to them, so that with the unsaved we can possibly plant a seed that leads them to salvation through Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

John 14:6

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 14:6

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” – John 14:6 

Over the next few weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is.  Today, we will look at the sixth of these, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

Jesus is now preparing the disciples for what is coming soon, that being His death. “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1. It is Jesus who is heading for the agony of the cross; it is Jesus who is deeply ‘troubled’ in heart and spirit. “Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose, I came to this hour.” John 12:27. And He was also troubled by the fact one of His beloved disciples would betray Him. “When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” John 13:31. Yet on this night of nights, when of all times it would have been appropriate for Jesus’ followers to lend him emotional and spiritual support, he is still the one who gives, comforts, and instructs. For they, too, are troubled, not because they are rushing toward pain, ignominy, shame, crucifixion, but because they are confused, uncertain of what Jesus means, and threatened by references to his imminent departure.

Jesus now gives the reason for His departure; it is to the disciples advantage. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3.  The reason is now spelled out: Jesus’ departure is for the disciples’ advantage. True, he is going away, but he is going away to prepare a place for them, and he will come and get them so that they may be where he is. What more could they ask for?

Then in verse four we read, “And you know the way where I am going.” John 14:4.  Jesus said they knew the way He was going; however, we see in the next verse they did not get it. “Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” John 14:5. Thomas’ question sounds as if he interpreted Jesus’ words in the most obvious way, such that it was a physical destination He was referring to. He wants an unambiguous destination, for without such a destination how can one meaningfully speak of the route there? Jesus then answers him with our focus verse, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6. 

In this verse, He states three things that He is.  First, He is the way.  Jesus used the definite article to distinguish Himself as the only way. The idea is of a way, path or route to a specific destination. Jesus here is in essence telling them to follow Him, just as He did in their initial calling to them. He is the only route to salvation and their new home they will have with Him. And this salvation is only found by following Him. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

Second, He is the truth.  This and the last one can be derived from the first, that He is the way. He is the truth because He is the only true path to salvation. The Jews believed that salvation came from doing the deeds of the Law.  And there are many religions today who claim to have the way to eternal peace and life aside from Christ.  However, there is only one way to salvation, and that is through Christ and His way which is true. 

And lastly, He is the life. He is the source of our eternal life, again because He is the way to this wonderful existence.  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:18-20.    

In these words, Jesus was declaring Himself the great “I Am,” the only path to heaven, the only true measure of righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life. He was staking His claim as the very God of Creation, the Lord who blessed Abraham, and the Holy One who inhabits eternity. He did this so the disciples would be able to face the dark days ahead and carry on the mission of declaring the gospel to the world.  And this is what we are called to do as His disciples.  We are to follow His ways and not deviate, gripping ahold of the truth with everything we have, and by these we have access to life forever as He does and has freely given to us. 

I want to close with a quote from the book, “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis.  It was first composed in Medieval Latin around 1418 A.D. 

“Follow thou me. I am the way and the truth and the life. Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou must follow; the truth which thou must believe; the life for which thou must hope. I am the inviolable way; the infallible truth, the never-ending life. I am the straightest way; the sovereign truth; life true, life blessed, life uncreated.”

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

John 11:25

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 11:25

“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,” – John 11:25  

Over the next few weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is.  Today, we will look at the fifth of these, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

This chapter tells the story of the death of Lazarus and his eventual resurrection.  His sisters Martha and Mary knew Jesus from a past meeting.  “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” John 11:1-2. And because they knew Him, they sent for Jesus to come because their brother Lazarus was extremely sick.  When Jesus received the message, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4b.

However, though He loved the three of them, He stayed where He was for two additional days.  This was done for the purpose of revealing Himself to them in a way they had not seen and heard before.  Then He tells the disciples it is time to go to Judea.  “The disciples said to Him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” John 11:8.  However, Jesus answers them by saying, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.” John 11:9.  This statement refers to a comment He made in chapter nine.  “We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5.  What He was saying is that His time was drawing near, and He must do the work He was sent to do prior to His death.  Now, in speaking of Lazarus Jesus said that he was asleep, and He needed to go and wake him up.  When He said this, the disciples thought He meant He was asleep and said He would recover and wake up.  However, Jesus then came out and said, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” John 11:14b-15.

When Jesus arrives in Judea, Martha goes out to Jesus and said, “Your brother shall rise again.” John 11:23.  Martha responds, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” John 11:24.  She believed in the resurrection in the last day, but Jesus was referring to the present.  Then our focus verse, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,”  following up with “and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:26. She then answers, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” John 11:27.

She believed He was the promised Messiah.  And Jesus shows her that neither Death nor time is an obstacle to Him. While standing outside the tomb with the stone rolled away, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, Come Forth.” John 11:43. And Lazarus came out  He came forth after being dead for four days. Jesus proved that with Him, death is but sleep. Paul says the following, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. Death has no dominion over Him who is Life itself, nor does death have dominion over those who are in Him. “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting.” 1 Corinthians 15:53-55.

Jesus’ statement that He is the resurrection and the life provides a Godly perspective on several spiritual matters. Martha believed that the resurrection is an event; Jesus showed her that the resurrection is a Person. Martha’s knowledge of eternal life was an abstract idea; Jesus proved that knowledge of eternal life is a personal relationship. Martha thought victory over death was a future expectation; Jesus corrects her, showing that victory is a present reality. And we must learn the same lesson Martha did.  He is the resurrection, and all who are dead and followers of Christ will rise again from temporary “sleep” to an eternal life.  He is the resurrection and the life.  He essentially said, “I [and no other], regarding the future resurrection, is not an impersonal fate that is to take place at some future time, but a personal effect proceeding from Me who is present with you. It is even now present and active in Me.  And the life in the absolute sense will awaken both the body and the spirit.  If your body has died, in the resurrection you will have a new body for your spirit will still be alive.  And if the body does not die, then you will receive a new body which is eternal, just as the those whose body has died. 

Therefore, we are not to attach a merely spiritual meaning to the two propositions, just because Jesus is speaking of faith. For instance, he that believes on Christ shall rise again spiritually, and he that hath received life shall retain it forever, which would, again, involve the idea of the resurrection.  And He makes this happen because e is the resurrection and He is the life. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

John 10:11

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 10:11

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” – John 10:11  

Over the next few weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is.  Today, we will look at the fourth of these, “I am the Good Shepherd.”

Immediately after declaring that He is “the door” in the previous verse of the day, Jesus declares “I am the good shepherd.” He describes Himself as not only “the shepherd” but the “good shepherd.” What does this mean? It should be understood that Jesus is the good shepherd, not simply a good shepherd, as others may be, but He is unique in character.  The Greek word kalos, translated “good,” describes that which is noble, wholesome, good, and beautiful, in contrast to that which is wicked, mean, foul, and unlovely. It signifies not only that which is good inwardly in character but also that which is attractive outwardly. It is an innate goodness. Therefore, in using the phrase “the good shepherd,” Jesus is referencing His inherent goodness, His righteousness, and His beauty as in the way He carries Himself. As shepherd of the sheep, He is the one who protects, guides, and nurtures His flock.

Jesus here, again, is making a big distinction between Himself and the Jewish religious leaders.  He uses the idea of one who is hired to take care of the flock, which is an interesting way to see the Jewish religious leaders.  They are more concerned about doing their tasks rather than caring for the sheep.  “He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He  flees because he is a hireling and is not concerned about the sheep.” John 10:12-13.  In verse eight, He refers to them as thieves and robbers. “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.” John 10:8. He who is a “hireling” works for wages, which are his main consideration. His concern is not for the sheep but for himself. Interestingly enough, the shepherds of ancient times were not usually the owners of the flock. Nevertheless, they were expected to exercise the same care and concern the owners would. This was characteristic of a true shepherd. However, some of the hirelings thought only of themselves. As a result, when a wolf appeared—the most common threat to sheep in that day—the hireling abandoned the flock and fled, leaving the sheep to be scattered or killed.

In our verse of the day yesterday in verse nine, I spoke of the shepherd being the door to the sheepfold when in the wilderness.  He would lay at the opening as he slept so as to protect them from wild predators. He put his life on the line to protect the flock.  Likewise, Jesus gave His life on the cross as “the Good Shepherd” for his own. He who would save others, though He had the power, did not choose to save Himself. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28. Through His willing sacrifice, the Lord made salvation possible for all who come to Him in faith. In proclaiming that He is the Good Shepherd, Jesus speaks of “laying down” His life for His sheep. Jesus’ death was divinely appointed. It is only through Him that we receive salvation. “Jesus’ death was divinely appointed. ”I  am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15. 

Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine.  So much so, that as a shepherd lays down his life for his flock, Jesus laid down His life for His sheep, His people, Christians.  All who accept what He did will be saved. The Jewish religious leaders would not sacrifice their lives for God’s people.  They were not good shepherds but merely hirelings. Jesus sacrificed everything to save His people thus becoming our Savior, otherwise known as the good shepherd.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.