Connecting People to Jesus


DAILY DEVOTIONAL – June 13, 2019



Prayer:  Almighty God, the gift of Your love and salvation in Jesus Christ, Your Son, is truly priceless.  All of the money in the world has no value in the economy of Your grace.  Lord, help us to receive the fullness of all that You have so freely given in death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus, our Lord.  Amen.


Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Devotional – “Pay All or Nothing”

The other day I was talking to one of my pastor friends and he told me the story of a recent gift he had received. This pastor and his family had been friends with the Jones family in their congregation for quite some time.  Their kids more or less grew up together.  One day the pastor got a knock on his office door.  It was his friend Mr. Jones who had come to give him a gift.  The pastor was handed a white envelope and in it were 5 tickets to Disneyland; one for him, his wife and his three kids.  Caught off guard by such an unexpected and generous gift, the pastor said, “Well, I’m not sure how to thank you properly for such a nice gift.”  The pastor’s friend Mr. Jones said, “You can thank me by leaving your wallet at home when you come with us to Disneyland.”  “What do you mean?!” the pastor replied.

Mr. Jones told the pastor that they wanted to treat him and his family to everything: transportation, hotel rooms, meals, tickets into the park, everything they could possibly need to enjoy this trip as much as the host family did.

There was only one condition and one condition only Mr. Jones said, “If you pay for anything, you pay for everything.”  In other words, try to pull out your wallet to pay for anything, and you are going to owe for everything. He insisted it was to be entirely his treat or none of it would be his treat.

As my pastor friend finished telling me this story, I said, “I’m sure glad I didn’t get that gift.”
“Why do you said that?” he asked.  I said to him, “I’m not sure I could enjoy that trip at all. I’d spend the whole time feeling absolutely guilty about not being able to pay for anything!”

What about you friends?  Would you find it easy to keep your wallet or purse closed the whole time?  Even if I could make it through the trip without ending up having to pay for the whole thing myself, I would spend the rest of our friendship feeling obligated to repay that family somehow.

I’ve never quite figured out why gifts are sometimes the hardest things to receive.  There is something about a truly generous gift that makes us feel somewhat guilty…at least for me, it’s because I know I have done nothing to deserve such generosity…none of us have.

How much more true is that then when it comes to the free gift of God’s love and salvation, given to the whole world freely and without cost because Jesus paid the full price for our sins on the cross?  Could you and I have offered ourselves to God to be crucified on the cross instead of Christ?  Sure.  But even if we crucified ourselves in an attempt to save ourselves it would be absolutely ineffective.  The blood of a sinner cannot atone for sin.  Only the blood of a perfect sacrifice.  Only the blood of the Perfect Son of God could serve as an adequate offering for the sins of mankind.  Jesus paid the debt we could never pay.  With His perfect life and death, He earned for us what we could never earn for ourselves.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ and His ascension back to the Father and back to the glory from which He came declares that Jesus’ payment was accepted by God the Father as entirely sufficient.

If we were to ever try and save ourselves by being good enough for God or trying to make up for all of the wrongs we have committed against God in thought, word and deed, then much like Mr. Jones told my pastor friend, if we try to pay our own way to salvation we must pay the full price or pay for none of it.  James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

How impossible it is indeed for us to pay for our own salvation.  Who can even remember every twisted thought, every mistake, every willful sin ever made and every little lie we have ever told?  Even if we could, how would we even begin to live such a perfect life so as to make up for and pay God back for the injustices we have committed?  We can’t.  There are not enough lifetimes or enough good works possible.

Jesus said in our text for today from Matthew 5, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  In other words, Jesus didn’t come to live and die in order to give us a “pass” or make God turn a blind eye toward our sin.  Jesus came to pay for our sins.  God’s holiness and justice demands an answer for evil and wickedness.  Jesus answered for us.  To reject His free gift is to leave only yourself to answer for yourself when you stand before the Almighty God.  I can think of no more terrifying prospect than to be face to face with God and with the full weight of my own guilt.  I can think of no more glorious and wonderfully good news than the fact that Jesus died and rose again so that through faith in His perfect offering, we would be declared innocent and even worthy of eternity in the presence of God.

So, when it comes to our salvation, it’s best that we just leave our wallets in our pocket and our purses closed and let Jesus pick up the tab with His finished work on the cross.

Thanks for joining me for another daily devotional in God’s Word, and remember that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today and has already taken care of tomorrow.  Amen.