Devotions

Author Archives: Keaton Washburn

Jesus Betrayed • Devotion #6: The Good Shepherd

As we spend this week focusing on the betrayal and arrest of Christ, I want to begin by reading Scripture. Please read John 18:2-12.

There is so much packed into this short section. In verse 4, we see the knowledge that Christ had of what was to come and He still chose to endure it. He was not surprised by any of it but saw beginning to end and chose to allow it to continue. In verses 5 and 6, as Jesus answers, “I am he,” Judas and the soldiers fall to the ground. By Jesus’ words, they fell to the ground. Where I want to focus today is verses 8 and 9, “Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.’ This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: ‘Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.’”

When I think of Jesus fulfilling prophecies, I think of the Old Testament. Throughout His life, He fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies (that is by conservative counts, there are arguably many more than that). Not a single prophecy did Christ contradict. He fulfilled all of them! However, here in John 18:8-9, the words Jesus is fulfilling are His own.

The words Jesus is fulfilling are from John 17:12, where He says, speaking of His 12 disciples, “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Jesus spoke these words only hours before this and fulfilled them at this moment. Charles Spurgeon makes a beautiful observation here in saying, “It is not the age of God’s Word but the truth of it that constitutes its power. What Christ had said that night in prayer was as true and as much the Word of the King as what God had spoken by his Spirit through holy men ages before.” This is the beauty of God’s Word. Because it is from God, all of it is true. The red letter verses (the words spoken by Jesus) are no more Scripture than every word of the Old Testament.

Reflecting on the words of Christ, like a good shepherd, none of His sheep were lost, only the one that chose to betray Him. Even when His disciples could have been arrested with Him, He defended them, as a good shepherd does. If you are a follower of Christ, He is your shepherd and your defender. When the evil one attacks, Christ will not lose you to Him because He is the one holding your salvation. Stand strong against the attacks of the evil knowing you have a Good Shepherd who watches over you.

Cleansing the Temple • Devotion #3: Prayer or Profit?

As we are in this series leading up to Easter, we continue by examining Jesus’ actions in driving the money-changers and vendors out of the Temple. Please begin by reading Mark 11:15-19. Take a few moments to read this passage.

We meet Jesus as He makes His way into the Temple, sees what is happening, overturns tables, drives out the money-changers and vendors, and concludes by reminding His listeners of a passage in Isaiah 56:7. The passage says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples?” Jesus adds to this by saying, “But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Until I studied this passage to write this, I always thought of this as a story about Jesus’ anger towards the money-changers and vendors for ripping people off. As we see through Jesus’ quotation though, the point He was making was that the Temple is supposed to be a place for prayer and worship. Furthermore, the court where this took place is the only place in the Temple that Gentiles (non-Jewish) people were allowed to enter to worship. Jesus is angry because Gentiles do not have a place in the Temple where they can worship since their area had been turned into a market. As Grant Osborne says in his commentary on Mark, “The temple was intended for prayer, not profit.”

The application of this passage for Christians today is not that we must keep our church buildings really clean and not sell t-shirts in the lobbies. Rather, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?… For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” If you are a follower of Christ, you are the Temple where God’s Spirit dwells! Are you a place where people of all nations know they can commune with God? Are you known for being someone who prays? When you say you are going to pray for someone, is that your only prayer for them? Or do you actually take time to intercede for them later on when it is just you and God talking?

Christians no longer have to go to the Temple to be in God’s presence. If you are a follower of Christ, God’s Spirit goes with you because He is in you. That is a sobering thought for me. Today, take time to consider what that means and if you have been putting it off, pray for those who you have said you are going to pray for!

Siblings • Devo #1 • “Consequences Modeled”

One thing about me is that I have a brother and a sister. I am the oldest of the three of us, with my siblings both being four years younger than me because they are twins. My parents were Christians long before any of us were born and all three of us had the privilege of being raised in a loving, Gospel-proclaiming church with loving parents who consistently pointed us back to Christ. We are in no way a model family, but through lots of prayers and the grace of God, each of us three siblings is still following Christ and are active in our local churches!

Being the oldest sibling, I got many things before my siblings did. I was the first to get a phone, Gameboy, freedom to hang out with friends, and the ability to stay up later, to name a few. If you have siblings, you understand the jealousy that comes in from the younger siblings when the older one is given or allowed to do something that the younger ones cannot. It usually leads to frustration and jealousy. For me though, growing up, I remember a reverse type of jealousy that I felt. I had to wait until I was almost 16 years old to get a phone but my siblings got a phone as soon as they turned 15. I got a “dumb phone,” while they got an iPhone first. In my mind, it was not fair! This sibling jealousy is not something new. It has manifested itself in families for thousands of years. 

We see it from the very beginning in Genesis chapter 4 in the lives of Cain and Abel, two brothers. Genesis 4:1-6 tells us that Cain and Abel were bringing their offerings to the Lord; their way of worshiping God. Abel brought his best and Cain brought leftovers. Insignificant as that may seem, it was a reflection of their attitude towards God. Abel sacrificed his best because he knew that was what God deserved. Cain did not give up much in his offering, just his leftovers. The Lord was pleased with Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. This made Cain angry. Verse 7 gives us God’s words to Cain about this, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Between siblings, it is easy to be jealous. God had a very stern warning for Cain. He tells him that because of his jealousy and anger towards his brother, “sin is crouching at the door.” The power of sin is that if it is not dealt with it will manifest itself in sinful actions that have real-life consequences. In the life of Cain, his sin that festered because it was not dealt with, led him to murder his brother.

One warning to believers today through the story of Cain and Abel is that envy and jealousy have to be dealt with, confessed, and ripped out. A sin that is left “crouching at the door,” is prey for the evil one to take hold of. What is crouching at your door because you have not dealt with it and confessed it?

Men • Devo #5 • “Counting the Cost Modeled”

For the Christian, the idea of self-control is often thought of as a virtue, something to be desired. For many non-Christians though, the idea of self-control is ludicrous. To be self-controlled means to deny oneself of what one desires. For the person who is only living for themselves, they live to gratify their desires. The idea of self-control for that person makes little sense. 

As we continue our series on role models, we are going to look at a snapshot of a man who understood what it meant to be self-controlled. More than that though, he understood why God calls men and women to be self-controlled and was blessed because of his obedience. The story of Joseph is located in Genesis chapter 39. At this point, he had been sold into slavery by his brothers and his master was a man named Potiphar. It seemed that everything Joseph touched flourished and God was blessing his work.

Please read Genesis 39:6-10.

As Joseph was carrying out his duties, he began to be tempted by Potiphar’s wife. Verse 10 tells us that “day after day,” she spoke to him, tempting him to lie with her. Each day, Joseph resisted. Keeping in mind his responsibilities, the trust of his master, and his desire to obey God, Joseph did not give in. Speaking of Joseph’s actions here, Allen P. Ross says, “The way of wisdom is to consider the cost of sin.” Joseph knew this. Ross continues to say, “Joseph did not yield to temptation because he was convinced God had something marvelous for him to do. Joseph would not throw away God’s blessings for the pleasures of sin.” He knew what God had called him to do and did not want to lose that. 

How many times do we choose to give in to temptation and lose a blessing that God has for us? The peace that God promises to His children is often squandered because we continually choose to give in to that particular sin we have not ever confessed. Sometimes we give up the promise of answered prayer. In 1 Peter 3:7, it is very clear that if a husband is not living with his wife “in an understanding way,” his prayers will not be answered. The wise person considers the cost of their sin. Do you consider the cost of your sin? 

Siblings • Devo #1 • “Consequences Modeled”

One thing about me is that I have a brother and a sister. I am the oldest of the three of us, with my siblings both being four years younger than me because they are twins. My parents were Christians long before any of us were born and all three of us had the privilege of being raised in a loving, Gospel-proclaiming church with loving parents who consistently pointed us back to Christ. We are in no way a model family, but through lots of prayers and the grace of God, each of us three siblings is still following Christ and are active in our local churches!

Being the oldest sibling, I got many things before my siblings did. I was the first to get a phone, Gameboy, freedom to hang out with friends, and the ability to stay up later, to name a few. If you have siblings, you understand the jealousy that comes in from the younger siblings when the older one is given or allowed to do something that the younger ones cannot. It usually leads to frustration and jealousy. For me though, growing up, I remember a reverse type of jealousy that I felt. I had to wait until I was almost 16 years old to get a phone but my siblings got a phone as soon as they turned 15. I got a “dumb phone,” while they got an iPhone first. In my mind, it was not fair! This sibling jealousy is not something new. It has manifested itself in families for thousands of years. 

We see it from the very beginning in Genesis chapter 4 in the lives of Cain and Abel, two brothers. Genesis 4:1-6 tells us that Cain and Abel were bringing their offerings to the Lord; their way of worshiping God. Abel brought his best and Cain brought leftovers. Insignificant as that may seem, it was a reflection of their attitude towards God. Abel sacrificed his best because he knew that was what God deserved. Cain did not give up much in his offering, just his leftovers. The Lord was pleased with Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. This made Cain angry. Verse 7 gives us God’s words to Cain about this, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Between siblings, it is easy to be jealous. God had a very stern warning for Cain. He tells him that because of his jealousy and anger towards his brother, “sin is crouching at the door.” The power of sin is that if it is not dealt with it will manifest itself in sinful actions that have real-life consequences. In the life of Cain, his sin that festered because it was not dealt with, led him to murder his brother.

One warning to believers today through the story of Cain and Abel is that envy and jealousy have to be dealt with, confessed, and ripped out. A sin that is left “crouching at the door,” is prey for the evil one to take hold of. What is crouching at your door because you have not dealt with it and confessed it?



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