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Today’s Reading

Devotional

THE SITUATION BEHIND 3 John seems to be something like the following. The writer, the “elder” (3 John 1:1), presumably the apostle John, has written to a particular church in his purview, apparently asking that church if it would do what it could to help out some “brothers” (3 John 1:5) who have been sent out on evangelistic ministry. Unfortunately, that church had been hijacked by one Diotrephes, who, in the apostle’s view, was much more interested in being “first,” i.e., in self-promotion and autocratic control, than he was in the advance of the Gospel (3 John 1:9). With such values controlling him, Diotrephes was quite prepared to spurn the apostle’s approach.

From a distance, there was little the apostle could do. Nevertheless, when he does show up, he will call attention to what Diotrephes is doing, exposing him to the church (3 John 1:10). Apparently John is confident that he has the authority and credibility to carry the day. Meanwhile, the apostle sidesteps the normal channels of authority and writes his dear friend Gaius (3 John 1:1), who appears to belong to the same church but is of a very different spirit to that of Diotrephes.

After some preliminary words (3 John 1:2–4), John enthusiastically praises Gaius for the way he has opened up his home to these traveling “brothers” (3 John 1:5). Indeed, some of them have brought back reports of Gaius’s excellent hospitality (3 John 1:6). Gaius will do well to continue this excellent ministry, sending them out “in a manner worthy of God” (3 John 1:6)—an astonishing standard we should emulate today when we commission and support missionaries who are truly faithful. In short, stouthearted generosity among Christians, exemplified by Gaius, is bound to be mission-minded; bullheaded lust for power, exemplified by Diotrephes, is far more likely to become narrow and myopic in vision.

Observe the piercing clarity of the opening remarks (3 John 1:2–3). First, John prays that Gaius’s health will prosper as his soul prospers. Note which of the two is the standard of the other! Second, the apostle remarks on what has given him great joy—namely, the report of Gaius’s faithfulness to the truth, his walk in the truth. Third, John generalizes this last point: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). In a world where many Christians derive their deepest joy from advancement, ease, promotions, financial security, good health, popularity, and a host of other things, it is delightful, not to say challenging, to hear an apostle testify that nothing stirs his joy more than to hear that his “children” are walking in line with the Gospel. That tells us all we need to know of his heart—and of where we should find our pleasures too.

2 Chronicles 8

Solomon's Accomplishments

8:1 At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house, Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him, and settled the people of Israel in them.

And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and took it. He built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the store cities that he built in Hamath. He also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars, and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had and all the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. All the people who were left of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel, from their descendants who were left after them in the land, whom the people of Israel had not destroyed—these Solomon drafted as forced labor, and so they are to this day. But of the people of Israel Solomon made no slaves for his work; they were soldiers, and his officers, the commanders of his chariots, and his horsemen. 10 And these were the chief officers of King Solomon, 250, who exercised authority over the people.

11 Solomon brought Pharaoh's daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the LORD has come are holy.”

12 Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of the LORD that he had built before the vestibule, 13 as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. 14 According to the ruling of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their offices of praise and ministry before the priests as the duty of each day required, and the gatekeepers in their divisions at each gate, for so David the man of God had commanded. 15 And they did not turn aside from what the king had commanded the priests and Levites concerning any matter and concerning the treasuries.

16 Thus was accomplished all the work of Solomon from1 the day the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was completed.

17 Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Eloth on the shore of the sea, in the land of Edom. 18 And Hiram sent to him by the hand of his servants ships and servants familiar with the sea, and they went to Ophir together with the servants of Solomon and brought from there 450 talents2 of gold and brought it to King Solomon.

Footnotes

[1] 8:16 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew to
[2] 8:18 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms

(ESV)

3 John

Greeting

1:1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers1 came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Support and Opposition

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Final Greetings

13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

Footnotes

[1] 1:3 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 5, 10

(ESV)

Habakkuk 3

Habakkuk's Prayer

3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

  O LORD, I have heard the report of you,
    and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
  In the midst of the years revive it;
    in the midst of the years make it known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
  God came from Teman,
    and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
  His splendor covered the heavens,
    and the earth was full of his praise.
  His brightness was like the light;
    rays flashed from his hand;
    and there he veiled his power.
  Before him went pestilence,
    and plague followed at his heels.1
  He stood and measured the earth;
    he looked and shook the nations;
  then the eternal mountains were scattered;
    the everlasting hills sank low.
    His were the everlasting ways.
  I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
    the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
  Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD?
    Was your anger against the rivers,
    or your indignation against the sea,
  when you rode on your horses,
    on your chariot of salvation?
  You stripped the sheath from your bow,
    calling for many arrows.2 Selah
    You split the earth with rivers.
10   The mountains saw you and writhed;
    the raging waters swept on;
  the deep gave forth its voice;
    it lifted its hands on high.
11   The sun and moon stood still in their place
    at the light of your arrows as they sped,
    at the flash of your glittering spear.
12   You marched through the earth in fury;
    you threshed the nations in anger.
13   You went out for the salvation of your people,
    for the salvation of your anointed.
  You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,
    laying him bare from thigh to neck.3 Selah
14   You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,
    who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,
    rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
15   You trampled the sea with your horses,
    the surging of mighty waters.
16   I hear, and my body trembles;
    my lips quiver at the sound;
  rottenness enters into my bones;
    my legs tremble beneath me.
  Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
    to come upon people who invade us.

Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord

17   Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
  the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
  the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18   yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19   GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.
  To the choirmaster: with stringed4 instruments.

Footnotes

[1] 3:5 Hebrew feet
[2] 3:9 The meaning of the Hebrew line is uncertain
[3] 3:13 The meaning of the Hebrew line is uncertain
[4] 3:19 Hebrew my stringed

(ESV)

Luke 22

The Plot to Kill Jesus

22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

Judas to Betray Jesus

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

The Passover with the Disciples

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus1 sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

Institution of the Lord's Supper

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it2 until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.3 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

Who Is the Greatest?

24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,4 that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter5 said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus6 said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Scripture Must Be Fulfilled in Jesus

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.7 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant8 of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Peter Denies Jesus

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus Is Mocked

63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.

Jesus Before the Council

66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”

Footnotes

[1] 22:8 Greek he
[2] 22:16 Some manuscripts never eat it again
[3] 22:20 Some manuscripts omit, in whole or in part, verses 19b-20 (which is given . . . in my blood)
[4] 22:31 The Greek word for you (twice in this verse) is plural; in verse 32, all four instances are singular
[5] 22:33 Greek He
[6] 22:34 Greek He
[7] 22:44 Some manuscripts omit verses 43 and 44
[8] 22:50 Or bondservant

(ESV)