Friday, 15 February 2013

The Most Important Question in the World

 {HTB / Nicky Gumbel Daily Online devotional: Bible in One Year}

The brilliant professor of philosophy at London University, Professor Joad, was not a Christian.  He was asked on a radio programme, ‘If you could meet any person from the past and ask just one question, whom would you meet and what question would you ask?’
Professor Joad answered without hesitation: ‘I would meet Jesus Christ and ask him the most important question in the world – “Did you or did you not rise from the dead?” ’
There came a day in Professor Joad’s life when he assessed the evidence for himself and became a Christian.  He had been right in saying it was the most important question in all the world.  If Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, then he is who he said he was.
This changes everything.  When the New Testament writers speak of God’s love they point to the cross.  When they speak of God’s power they point to the resurrection.  God’s ‘incomparably great power’ was ‘exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead’ (Ephesians 1:19–20).  As we see in today’s New Testament passage the risen Jesus says to his disciples, ‘All authority (all power to rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to me’ (Matthew 28:18, AMP).
The resurrection means that the risen Jesus is present with us now.  Jesus continues, ‘I am with you always’ (28:20).
The result of the resurrection is not only his power and his presence but also his provision (as we will see in our Old Testament passage for today).
1.  Jesus and the power of God
2.  Jesus and the presence of God
3.  Jesus and the provision of God

Are you worrying about the future – your health, your job, your family or your finances?  Make a decision today not to worry.  ‘When we worry about tomorrow,’ writes Joyce Meyer, ‘we waste today.  Trust God and learn to live one day at a time.’

We see in this passage that God promises to provide, but only one day at a time.  Jesus taught us to pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:11).  We are to trust God that what we need in terms of provision will be there when we need it.

God promises his provision for physical and material needs.  He promises to rain down ‘bread from heaven’ (16:4a) called ‘manna’ (v.31).  Each day he provides them with all they need in terms of their ‘daily bread’.  Each one gathered as much as they needed (vv.18c,21a).  But they were told not to store it up for the future: ‘No one is to keep any of it until morning’ (v.19).

It is always a temptation to want to store up everything we receive as security for the future – rather than trusting God to provide what we need when we need it.  This applies not just to our physical and material needs, but also to our spiritual food.  We cannot just rely on past blessings.

It is also sad to see in this passage how quickly the people of God seem to forget about God’s goodness and provision in the past, and begin to grumble about problems in the present.  It always strikes me how soon they begin to grumble – and yet so often we can find ourselves doing exactly  the same thing, forgetting God’s blessings and grumbling.  This passage is a reminder of the need to trust in God’s provision in the good times and the bad.

It is the resurrection of Jesus which gives an eternal quality to this provision.  Because Jesus has been raised to life, those who eat this bread will live forever.

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Ronell x

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