URC Daily Devotion Thursday 23rd November 2023

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Thursday 23rd November 2023
Heaven 4

John 6.35–38
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’
In John’s Gospel, we read the remarkable words of Jesus that he has come down from heaven to do the will of the Father. They are remarkable for three reasons in particular.
First, they make clear the connection between heaven and earth. Heaven may not be a place like other places, we know; but heaven is still a place, and specifically that place where God dwells and from where, Jesus tells us, God sends his Son to dwell with us.
Second, they make clear that Jesus comes to do the will of the Father. In a funny way, Jesus has already fulfilled the Lord’s Prayer, that the will of God be done in heaven as on earth. He has already obeyed the will of the Father, taking him all the way to the cross.
And third, they make clear that even as heaven seems far away from us and all that we experience on earth, it is not entirely separate. God can work back and forward across the divide: God can act on earth, coming among us as one of us, and not leaving us to our own devices.
Given the perfection of heaven and the chaos of earth that we have been exploring, there can be no surprise that Jesus faces opposition when he speaks and acts for God. Heaven and earth, at least for now, do not sit easily together.
Yet Jesus also shows us that the power of heaven overcomes the power of earth. In his resurrection, Jesus triumphs over the worst that earth has to offer. And in doing so, he shows us that this earth will not have the final word, and that we too will triumph over it.
That is the promise of the Gospel. May it sustain us in the bleakest of times.
Gracious God,
We are thankful that you sent your Son from heaven to earth, doing your will among us. Coming in our form, he has both shown us the way to live and made it possible to live that way.
Grant us the faith to walk in his path, to follow in his mission, and to believe in his triumph. In the face of all that assails us, may our love stay strong, and may we not lose hope.

Today’s writer

Professor Paul Nimmo, University of Aberdeen

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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