The Lord looked down from his holy height

Scriptures of the Day

Psalm: 102: 2–3, 16–18, 19–21

O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.

The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.

Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”

Gospel: John 8:21–30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Questions of the Day

  • Will you die in your sins?
  • Have you come to believe that Jesus is I AM? That he is who he says he is?
  • Do you seek to please God in all you do?
  • Do you labor on your own, seeking self, or do you labor with God and for God, having died to self?
  • Is your prayer “the prayer of the destitute,” of one who recognizes he cannot save himself?
  • Does your soul wait for the Lord, to hear him say, as he said to Lazarus in the Gospel reading yesterday, “Come out!”?

The Evening Rabbit Report

God is omnipotent. He sees all and knows all, because he created all, and sustains all that is, in its coming into being, its life, in its dying, and eternal destiny. This omnipotence is what allowed Jesus, after hearing that Lazarus was ill, to wait two more days before going to Bethany. Our physical ailments, however, are nothing compared to our spiritual ailments.

God knows the tiniest movement of your heart, even that which your own conscience cannot detect. The psalmist affirms that God hears the prayer of the destitute. Have we come to know our poverty of spirit? Jesus says that if we have, we are blessed (Matthew 5:3), and that the kingdom of heaven is ours. Is our heart moving in the direction of humility or pride?

The religious elites to whom Jesus is speaking have not become poor in spirit. Rather, they are proud in their keeping of the law and have a self-righteous attitude toward those who fall. They separate themselves, and Jesus tells them “you will die in your sins,” because they reject the Son of Man.

God is not put off by our sin and fallen nature. He wants only to restore us to all he desired us to be. And so he sends his Son into the world. The worldly rejected him when he came, and so many continue to reject him to this day, choosing the world and death over spirit and life.

Quote of the Day

I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. — Jesus, John 10:10

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