Isaiah 58:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Isaiah 58:10

“And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.” – Isaiah 58:10 

This verse compels us to show compassion on those who are hungry and has nothing to eat.  This is the example expressed in this verse however, I would say that any of the three needs found in Matthew 6 are to be included.  “For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  Matthew 6:25.  In this verse, Jesus is telling His followers not to worry about food, drink and clothing.  He will supply them for us.  However, He often uses us to make it happen.

The idea here of giving yourself to the hungry is not simply to hand them food and then walk off. It is showing them compassion and letting them know you care.  Often, this will be accepted more heartily than the food.  Too many feels no one cares about them.  We, as Christians, should show how much we care with both our words and our deeds.  Take the time to comfort them while meeting their physical needs.  And when we provide for those who have needs, our light will shine into their darkness.  We can show the light of Christ into their darkness, and even their darkness will be as bright as the midday sun.

It is important to remember that mere words are not enough.  James said that faith without works is dead.  Look here at what he says, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James 2:14-16 How does this meet their need?  How does this show the love of Christ?  It does not.

And when we do give to the needy, look what the writer of proverbs says, “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.”  Proverbs 19:17. You will be repaid in this life, or the life to come.  Of course, this should not be the reason we do it, it should be totally out of love for God and people.  God never asks anything of us that He is not willing to give us more for our willingness to sacrifice.

And one more thing.  Remember the parable of the sheep and the goats.  Here is how Jesus put it.  “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.  Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:34-46.

For all He has done for us, should we not meet the needs of those we come across?  He says if we do, it will be as if doing it for Him.

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

Psalm 119:105

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105

How do you see the Word of God?  It is so powerful and deep in the knowledge of God we will never be able to thoroughly see all that is in it.  We will never be able to exhaust the riches that are waiting to be discovered by us. However, many look at it as just a book that we must read simply because we are Christians.  If that is how we see it, we will miss are the beauty and wisdom that is found inside it.

God gave us the scriptures to aid us in every aspect of our lives.  He loves us and desires that we live a life that is not only pleasing to Him, but also the best for us.  It shows us what His perfect will is.  It shows us what is right and good, and what is wrong and evil.  It tells us such things as we are to love God with all our heart, soul,  mind and all our might.  (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Luke 10:27).  It says that we must love our enemies as we love ourselves. (Proverbs 25:21 and Matthew 5:44 ).  We are to be humble and not arrogant. (2 Chronicles 7:14 and James 4:10).  And lastly, we are to rely on God when things get difficult. (Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7).  Note that I included an Old Testament and a New Testament verse.  God has not changed and everything He promised and expected in the Old are also promised and expected in the New.

Not only does He show us how to live a life pleasing to Him, He will also guide our lives so that we will not fall or wonder away.   He shows us what the way of righteousness is, for He is our guide.  One of the most famous passages of scripture shows us beautifully what this means.  “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23.  He is our loving shepherd and He will only guide us to the places that are good while supplying everything we need.  When are spirit is weary, exhausted or troubled, He will lift us up and encourage us.  And He will never lead us to a place of doom but will take us a straight way to Himself.  And though we walk in difficult and dangerous places, we have no need to be afraid for He goes before us providing protection which gives us much comfort.  And He will prepare a table for us to feast at, and though our enemies see us, and are with us, we still have what we need, for God ensures we are provided for.  Moreover, we can be assured that His goodness and love will always be with us, and we will reside with Him forever.  Is not this a wonderful picture of His perfect guidance and leading?

And while we are on this journey, He lights our way so that so that we need not stumble over things the enemy puts in our way, and He lights the way so that we will not leave the path He has chosen for us.  He will not guide us blindly, but will show us clearly that path, ensuring us that as long as we stay on the path, we are safe and will be brought through.  Now, there is always the possibility that we may need to give our lives in His work.  This is illustrated by Paul when the prophet Agabus told Him he would be arrested by the Jews and handed over to Rome.  “Then Paul answered, What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13

God’s Word is more than just a list of commandments, although there are things we are commanded to do to show our true love for Him.  It is also a guide as to how we should live this life and the type of service we are called to.  It is also a source of encouragement and peace that whatever He calls us to do, we will never be alone.  “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5and “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5.  God’s Word is used to teach us, lead us, guide us, protect us and show us the great and eternal love of God.  You do not need anything but His Word.  “For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.” Psalm 48:14

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

Matthew 5:14

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14

Before we discuss this specific verse, let us look at several verses in the Old Testament that helps lay out what Jesus meant in our focus verse. First, “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” Isaiah 42:6-7.  Notice what this verse is saying. God is calling someone who would do His work through a new covenant on the earth. The Old Covenant was a conditional agreement that God made with the Israelites. The Old Covenant was in effect during the dispensation of the Law. It is ‘old’ in comparison to the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah the prophet and made effective by the death of the Lord Jesus. And this new covenant would replace the old one. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, to the extent that He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Hebrews 8:6,10.

Then God tells His servant, “He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the protected ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. In this verse, we see that God’s servant was declared the light of the world. Jesus tells His disciples this which is recorded in the Gospel of John. “Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. And we see here that God’s servant who was made the light of the world was the coming Messiah.

Now we come to our focus verse. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14. In John, Jesus declares Himself to be the light of the world, however, He knew His ministry would not last longer than His life here, so He passes on this responsibility to His followers. It started out with His disciples, but now it includes all true Christians from the time of Christ until He returns.

As a side historical point, Charles Spurgeon writes the following regarding lights of the world. “This title had been given by the Jews to certain of their eminent Rabbis. With great pomposity they spoke of Rabbi Judah, or Rabbi Jochanan, as the lamps of the universe, the lights of the world. It must have sounded strangely in the ears of the Scribes and Pharisees to hear that same title, in all soberness, applied to a few bronzed-faced and horny-handed peasants and fishermen, who had become disciples of Jesus.

Physical light is necessary for physical life. A forest full of trees with very thick covers of foliage high above has very little plant life on the ground except for moss or lichen, which needs little sunlight. Plants will never move away from the light; they are said to be drawn to the light. In the same way, spiritual light is necessary for spiritual life, and this can be a good test of our standing in Christ. The believer will always tend toward spiritual things; he will always tend toward fellowship, prayer, the Word of God, and so on. The unbeliever always does the opposite because light exposes his evil, and he hates the light. Indeed, no man can come into the true spiritual light of Jesus Christ, unless he gives everything to Christ.

Now, Jesus gives Christians a great responsibility when He says that we are the light of the world, because He claimed that title for Himself as He walked this earth. And now He wants us to continue this duty, which is to shine the light of truth into a very dark world. And the light that we shine is not our own, but the light of Jesus reflected by us to the world. In other words, when we receive the light of Christ, we are not just to experience it, but we are to share it with those who do not know or see the truth. Note what He says in the next verses. “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16. Jesus shines His light upon us so we can reflect this light to a lost world. What do people see when they look upon us? Do they see the light of Christ, or do they see the darkness of this world? If they see the latter, then we must get our act together and stop covering the light and start shining it forth, for it is the light of Christ we are called to show the lost, and this is the only way we can convince them we are truly followers of Christ.

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

Matthew 5:14a

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14

When Jesus came in the flesh to this world, it was to help the people here, both Jews and Gentiles, to understand the grace of God through His sacrifice in paying the penalty for all our sins. And by understanding this truth we can then accept this sacrifice that covers our sins if we believe Him and the one who sent Him. The first chapter of John lays this out beautifully. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1-3. He starts by declaring Jesus to have been since the beginning and existed when everything was created. In fact all that came into existence was through Him. And then we come to verse 4. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. What He is saying here is that because He came, we have access to eternal truth. When we walk into a dark room, we have no idea what is there because all we see is blackness, for there is no light. However, when we turn on the light, we then see clearly what is there. It is essentially the same idea we see in verse four above. Jesus came here to reveal the truth to all people, especially since the Jewish leadership were not.

Now there are several clues that ‘shine a light’ on who this light is. We read again in John the following. “There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came that he might bear witness of the light.” John 1:6-8. This could be none other than John the Baptist who came to declare that Jesus was the promised Messiah; to be a witness that Christ is this promised light. He was not the light but was a witness to the light. And this light was intended for all people. “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:9. This light that reveals truth was not intended only for the Jews, but all who are in the world. But unfortunately many, including God’s people the Jews, would not know Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:10-11. But those who believe would receive a great honor. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13. This incredible honor was the right to be adopted as sons and daughters of God.

Jesus tells them later that He will not always be the light. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5. While He is here on the earth, He is the one who shines the light of truth in this world. But who is it that will do it after His ascension?  This is seen in our focus verse. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14. The disciples became the light in this world after Jesus’ ascension. Jesus, knowing that His Spirit and righteousness are found in them, declares they are the light of the world, shining the light of Jesus who is the true light of the world. And since they did not live forever, this blessing has fallen on all true Christians to this day and going forward till His return. This light is the same light that shined forth from Christ. But now we are to be a reflection of this light. People when they see us must see the truth of the gospel being lived out in us. And when they see us living it out, they will be able to see their need for Jesus to provide salvation to them. For just as the moon has no light of its own, reflecting the light of the sun, so are we, true believers, to reflect the Light of Christ so that all can see this light in us. This light is proven to others by the good deeds we do in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The focus here is Christians are to maintain an obvious and credible witness to the world that shows we are true believers, faithful and true to God in all ways. And this evidence must be sincere and trustworthy regarding everything about us. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16. We are to have such a love for unbelievers that we will do all we can to show the truth of the gospel by reflecting the light of Christ to all people. This is our calling. So let us go out and make it happen.

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

Isaiah 60:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 60:1

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1 

The language used here is reminiscent of what is found in verse 51:17. “Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk from the LORD’s hand the cup of His anger; The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs.” Isaiah 51:17. The difference being in chapter fifty-one it speaks of God’s anger on them, whereas, in this chapter it speaks of God’s glory upon them. After the thick and desperate darkness described in Isaiah 59:9-10, this is the glorious rescue available from the Redeemer. Light has come; therefore, God tells His people to respond to it, and to arise and shine.

This is no light that comes from here on earth. This light emanates from God’s glory. the glory of the Lord. This is like the light of Jesus in the Transfiguration, when His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. “And He (Jesus) was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” Matthew 17:2. Sometimes harsh, bright light can be disturbing or uncomfortable, but not this warm, wonderful light that is reflected from the glory of the Lord. Verse two makes this very clear. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth, And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you, And His glory will appear upon you.” Isaiah 60:2. Here, Isaiah speaks a profound and incredible truth. And this is the result of all He believes. And that is that only one God exists, that God is other than this world, and that God has revealed Himself to Israel alone. And given these truths, the conclusion is inescapable. That being, darkness covers the earth, but on us the Lord rises. The whole world, and all the people in it, are covered in a thick cloud of ignorance and ultimately, sin. And this vision of Isaiah’s shows there is no one or nothing in this world that can save us. Only God can save us, through the work of Christ.

Then we read in verse three, “And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:3. Here, Isaiah is speaking to Israel saying that the light of the glory of God is reflecting from them to the world. And this light will draw many non-Jewish people who live in non-Jewish nations to the Lord. So splendid will be that glory, that it will attract the distant nations, and they shall come and participate in the blessings of the gospel. And they will not come to Israel because they find Israel a better place, but because of the light. The brightness of the presence of God in the person of the Savior will be irresistible to many.

And today, this is our calling as Christians/People of God. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. We are not called just to do Christian things. We are called to be those ehom Isaiah spoke of in the three verses above. “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you, And His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3. The light of Christ is here, and it is incumbent upon us to ensure all as possible can see that light. Go out and display the reality of Christ through how we talk and how we live. It is by this ‘light’ that the world will see the light of the glory of the Lord Jesus and begin the process of coming to Him for salvation.

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

Isaiah 2:5

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 2:5

“Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” – Isaiah 2:5  

Verses one through five here is a vision from God. Starting with verse 1 we read, “The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:1. This was not a voice he heard, but a word he saw, confirming this was a vision. Isaiah has seen many visions from God, which at various times were ignored by the Israelite leaders.

So, let us look at what Isaiah saw. “Now it will come about that In the last days, The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths. For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” Isaiah 2:2-4. First, he saw that this was to occur in the ‘last days’. This phrase, the last days, refers to a time in the future, most notably the time of the Messiah, when the anointed of the Lord, The Christ’ will reign over the earth. This also speaks of many people going to the mountain of the Lord to learn the ways of the Lord so they could walk according to God’s ways.

Now, referring to the mountains, let us look at something that explains the meaning. Many of the ancient religions saw their gods as dwelling on a high mountain; mount Olympus by the Greeks or mount Cassius for the Phoenicians. Isaiah said that ‘the House of the Lord will be raised above the hills’ intonates that the God of Israel will be raised above all other gods, showing the great importance of the dwelling place of God. God reveals this same picture to Ezekiel as well. “In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me there. the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; and on it to the south there was a structure like a city. So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. And the man said to me, “Son of man, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you; for you have been brought here in order to show it to you. Declare to the house of Israel all that you see.” Ezekiel 40:1-4. It is understood by various theologians that ‘this man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze’ was a picture of the Messiah. And this will be a time of peace, And all the weapons will be destroyed and the metal used for peaceful purposes.

And this leads to our focus verse.  “Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Isaiah 2:5. Isaiah ends this brief look at the ideal Zion of the future with a call for the current Israel to transform their thinking, to reorient their worldview, and to change their behavior based on their knowledge of what God will do in the future. Judah and its leaders can either continue to be self-absorbed and follow their own ways, or they can choose to glorify God and follow his instructions.

And as Christians, we are the people of God and He is calling us to do the same. Do we continue to live as we want, or live the way God wants us to? We are to walk in the light of the Lord. This is best explained by Jesus in John’s gospel. “Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. We are to walk in the light of the Lord Jesus, in his ways and as He desires us to. It is important that we choose, in every avenue of our lives, to walk in His light. For in doing so,  we shall see the truth and will not be blinded in the darkness of this world. “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John  1:5-7.

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

John 9:5

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 9:5 

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – John 9:5  

Over the next week we will be looking at seven miraculous signs performed by Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John.  These signs show that Jesus was not just some ordinary man but was truly the Son of God.  Today we will look at the sixth sign which is Jesus healing a man blind from birth.

After Jesus walked out of the temple in Jerusalem to avoid being stoned, He was walking and saw a man who had been blind from birth.  The disciple asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” John 9:2. Most Palestinian Jews at this time believed sin and suffering were closely connected.  Theologian D. A. Carson expands on this idea. “In this instance, the disciples presuppose the tightest possible connection. This specific individual is suffering from blindness; therefore, some specific, individual sin must have been the antecedent cause. Because he was born blind, it must be that either he sinned in the womb (certainly regarded as possible by some Jews), or his parent sinned in some way that implicated him.” However, Jesus states this is not the case. “Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:3. Jesus essentially tells them he was blind in order that God’s work might be displayed.  And this is so that the world can see who He is.

And this work must continue. “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. The reality of God and His mercy, as well as Jesus being His Son, must be displayed as much as possible, for there is a time coming when He will no longer be there. After making this statement. He proceeded to heal Him. “When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). And so, he went away and washed, and came back seeing.” John 9:5-7. 

After the man came back seeing, the neighbors who knew he was blind and was a beggar said, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” John 9:8. They was also questioning whether this was the blind man. “Others were saying, this is he, still others were saying, no, but he is like him. He kept saying, I am the one.” John 9:9. They asked where Jesus was, however the formerly blind man did not know. Therefore, they brought him to the Pharisees on the Sabbath, and they also asked him how he received his sight. The man gave them the specifics regarding applying clay to his eyes and when he washed off the clay, he could see. But because this was done on the Sabbath, some of the Pharisees said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs? And there was a division among them.” John 9:16b. They then asked the man about Jesus. He responded by saying He is a prophet.

The Jews decided they did not believe the man had been blind, so they called his parents in asking, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” John 9:19. And they answered clearly, saying “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age he shall speak for himself.” John 9:20-21. When they finally spoke with him, they then kicked him out saying, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” John 9:34b.

Then Jesus, hearing he had been kicked out found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” John 9:25b. “He answered and said, And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” John 9:36. And here we come to the crux of the matter. “Jesus said to him, You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Him,” John 9:37-38. And finally, He addresses the Pharisees that were there. “And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind. Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, We are not blind too, are we? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” John 9:39-41. They saw Him but refused to believe.

Instead of faith in the Lord, the Pharisees demonstrated the futility of faith in themselves. The Pharisees asked what they thought was a rhetorical question: Are we blind too? Jesus being the light declared them guilty of rejecting relief from their blindness. Every person who realizes his or her spiritual blindness becomes a candidate for seeing; those who refuse to recognize their spiritual blindness place themselves beyond help. We might paraphrase Jesus’ final words like this: “If you would only admit your blindness, you would not be guilty of sin because I would forgive it; but because you claim your own self-righteousness, your guilt remains.

The sign I see here is showing those who see the light and those who refuse to. Many were seeing that Jesus was the Son of God, and that He was not just an ordinary man.  He did miraculous things that proved He was the promised one, the Messiah, with the healing of this blind from birth man being the latest.  Those who were blind and now see the Christ will be saved, however, those who see and refuse to acknowledge the Christ will be lost.  This is what Jesus was getting across. 

And in closing, I want to put this statement from Kenneth O. Gangel where he said, “How many people enter church Sunday after Sunday thinking they must be good enough in God’s eyes since they assess themselves as righteous. Yet they desperately need the light of God’s truth to shine on their own wickedness so the light of the world can open their eyes and help them see his truth.”  

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

John 8:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 8:12 

“Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12 

Over the next seven 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 second of these, “I am the Light of the World.”

Just prior to this verse, Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and was approached by scribes and Pharisees who brought a woman caught in the act of adultery, interrupting His teaching. It is understood that adultery was exceedingly common at this time, so common that they had ceased to put the law in force against it. The waters of jealousy were no longer drunk, the culprits or those suspected of this crime, being so very numerous; and the men who were guilty themselves dared not try their suspected wives, as it was believed the waters would have no evil effect upon the wife, if the husband himself had been criminal.  However, at this time, the Jewish leadership decided to test Jesus regarding the Mosaic Law.  “And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” John 8:4-5.  They asked Him several times about this, and so Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger.  However, they persisted in asking, so He stooped again, writing in the dirt with His finger and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b. At this point, every one of her accusers left and only the woman remained. While they could not trap Him, He trapped them in their hypocrisy.  He then asked her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” John 8:10. Then He told her He also does not condemned her and therefore she is to go and sin no more.

So, resuming His teaching in the temple He proclaims a powerful statement regarding Himself. In our focus verse He says, “Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.  Now, this was a powerful statement that probably caught the people’s attention. Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and claimed to be the luminary itself. The Pharisees probably knew that the coming one would be called a light, and this would not have been taken well.  “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7. Thus, in His claim to be the light of the world, He was claiming to be the ‘sent one’ who would be a light to the nations. We also see in the Psalms, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Who shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Who shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1. 

There are two types of light in the world. We can perceive one, both, and neither! When we are born into this world, we perceive physical light, and by it we learn of our Creator’s handiwork in the things we see. However, although that light is good, there is another Light, a Light so important that the Son of God had to come to both declare and impart it to men. When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.’” The allegory used by the Lord in this verse speaks of the light of His Truth, the light of His Word, the light of eternal Life. Those who perceive the true Light will never walk in spiritual darkness.

And when He left at His ascension, He kept the light shining, through His disciples.  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. His light has not gone away, it still shines from Him, however it is reflected off us into the world.  Through our lives, the world can see the truth as opposed to deception, and the light of life as opposed to the darkness where many still reside. And through our witness, all who see and hear will be able to join us in the light by accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord. It is our job to spread this light, as Jesus did, showing all the truth of the gospel which leads to life in the light for all who believe.

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

2 Corinthians 6:14

Verse of the Day Devotion:  2 Corinthians 6:14

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Paul here is telling the Church in Corinth they need to ensure they do not become bound to unbelievers.  This term, “bound together” is a military term which has the idea of keeping in your own ranks.  In other words, do not leave the Christian community to join in that of the heathens.  The verb ‘together’ signifies to leave one’s own rank, place, or order, and go into another; and here it must signify not only that they should not associate with the Gentiles in their idolatrous feasts, but that they should not apostatize from Christianity. 

This thought is found in the Old Testament.  In Leviticus we read, “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” Leviticus 19:19.  And in Deuteronomy we read,  “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.” Deuteronomy 22:9-11.  The idea here is that there should be no mixing of different animals, seeds or fabrics, that it is important that purity is maintained.  We see in our focus verse that the purity suggested is true Christians with non-Christians involving activities and lifestyles of the non-believer.  Now, it is important that we understand what is meant by unbeliever.  It is not someone who is a Christian that struggles with belief in certain areas.  In this event, we need to teach him and help him understand that they may grow as a Christian.  In our focus verse, unbelievers are non-Christians and this makes things clearer. 

Now, Paul is not saying we are to ban social interactions with unbelievers.  For how can we be a light in the darkness if we choose not to let unbelievers see our light.  What he is saying is that we must not  participate with them in activities that are sinful.  We should not worship false gods if they do or speak evil of Christ if they do.  However, we can interact with them in such a way that the light of Christ shines forth from us and the unbeliever sees it.  In this, we are showing them what our life is all about and it may open a door to present the gospel message to them.

In the last part of our focus verse he asks two important questions. “for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  2 Corinthians 6:14b.  The answer to both of these rhetorical questions is ‘none’.  In the next verse he asks, “Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:15.  Again, the answer to both are none.  But again, this does not negate any opportunity to share the gospel.  They are referring to the different beliefs and practices which do not mix or there is no unity between.  But that does not say that we should never associate with them for they need to hear the truth.

Paul in his letter to the church at Rome says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:12-15.  It is important that we preach the gospel to those who do not know Him, for how can they know if no one tells them.  Therefore, Paul is not saying we should ostracize them, but we are not to engage in their sinful practices.  We can fellowship with them without sharing in their sinful activities.  They need to hear the truth and we are the ones called to tell them. “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  Mark 16:15

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

Matthew 11:30

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Matthew 11:30  

“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:30

In Matthew 11, we read where Jesus presents His thanks to God , “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27.  The Father has placed all things under the authority of Christ.  “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35-36.  Everything regarding our relationship with God is in the hands of Jesus.  If anyone does not believe in the Son of God does not have eternal life. But those who do believe have eternal life.  The “all things” of Matthew 11:27 and John 3:35-36 is referring to the kingdom of grace and on all things referring to the salvation of mankind.  Which also means over the church.  “And He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23

And because all authority has been given to Him, He continues with, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.  This is the idea found in John 3 above.  “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36.  Note here the above highlighted words.  Salvation is based completely on Christ.  All this was given to Christ and was put under His authority.  Looking deeper in verse twenty-eight, we see the phrase “weary and heavy-laden”.  This metaphor is speaking of those who are bearing a great and heavy load on their backs.  And every step they take renders the load even more oppressive.  However, the person continues, using great exertions to get to the point where it can be laid down. 

Now, in order to bring clarification, lets look at the next verse. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” Matthew 11:29.  This speaks of two types of yokes.  The yoke we need to get rid of is the yoke placed on us by man, and in the case of the first century, the Pharisees and the Scribes.  These two types of teachers placed such a heavy burden upon their disciples that they were, as Jesus said, weary and heavy-laden.  They place such a burden upon them they became exhausted in trying to follow these rules and laws in all ways.  But Jesus told them to take His yoke upon them, His teachings and become His disciples.  And if they did, they would not become weary, but they would find rest for their souls.  And we find rest for our souls because we are not alone, but the Holy Spirit will help us.  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17. 

And finally, because the Spirit of God lives in us, and we believe in Jesus and He is the reason for our salvation and Jesus is our teacher, we do not live under the yoke of man’s teachings or oppression, but we are to be taught and led by Christ, and His yoke is easy and the burden incumbent upon this yoke is light. As our focus verse states, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30.  His is a yoke that is comfortable and a light burden upon us.  The lightness of His yoke depends not only on His personal character as described in verse 29 (for I am gentle and humble in heart), but also on His new interpretation of the Torah, which, in contrast with the scribal concern for detailed regulation, enables a person to see beyond the surface levels of dos and don’ts to the true underlying purpose of God.  Which is loving God and your fellow man.  “Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable than is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:9-12. 

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