A Devotion for 26 August 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
42 ¶ Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Matthew 24:42-46
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Revelations 14:12-13
I have heard many well-meaning Christian refer to themselves as ‘slaves’ of the Lord. Nothing could be further from the truth. A slave serves by force – a servant serves from loyalty, reward, and affection. We began our walk perhaps as servants to the Lord, but He has elevated our standing to that of ‘FRIENDS.’ “15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:15-17 A friend acts solely out of love and not out of compulsion. But in a larger sense, the servant is not greater than his Master, and the Lord is both our Master and our Friend. Are we any less than both servants and friends to Him?
Christ is the Supreme Servant of His Father as well as Son most Beloved. “6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Chris t is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:6-11
The Lord Jesus Christ is our Friend, our Master, Our Lord, our King, our Savior, and our Redeemer. “24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 Christ is our very BEST Friend. His friendship is a bond that exceeds every other of blood or fellowship. He is a Friend whose friendship never fades or wavers. But how can a Friend be closer than a brother?
A brother comes by means of natural family selection. We do not choose our brothers, but we do choose our friends. Sometimes, a Friend will choose us for reasons we may not understand. Our Lord chose us for His own discreet purpose. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” There are man things of which we would not speak with a brother, but we may share with a close friend. Well, our Lord Jesus Christ is both Friend and Brother in whom we can confide our most sensitive secrets.
He has not called us to be servant and friend without setting the ultimate example. He came as a lowly servant and executed His ministry in humble language and demeanor. He traveled the dusty roads of Judaea and Galilee without rest. He never complained but continued to serve with compassion. What a Friend! He not only showed us the Way to the Celestial Gate, but was the very Way and Door Himself.
The Lord is our Friend because He loves us for our Persons and not our parents; but He is also our Brother because we enjoy a Blood relation with Him that is stronger than any that exists between parent and child, or brother and sister. It is the Blood of the new birth which He shed at Calvary.
At birth, we inherited the sin-tainted blood of Adam. It is part of our DNA! Sin is an ugly blood-disease like leprosy; it is a deadly disease that begins as a small blemish but grows into an incapacitating sore. There is no cure for that blood disease short of a total blood transfusion. How do we obtain that transfusion? We receive that blood covering for our sins when we are drawn to Christ by the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit. We are made whole and are immunized against that disease of sin. When it arises in our souls, the Holy antibodies of our spiritual immunity rush to encounter and overcome the infection.
Our Divine Friend and Brother served us the Water of Life, the Wine of Redemption, the Bread of Heaven – He served us His Passover on the night of His betrayal, and He washed our feet. Who else has done these services before shedding His life’s blood for us?
It was our sins, as well as the sins of the world, that drove the nails into His beneficent hands. It was our cruelty and thoughtless irreverence that pounded the crown of thorns down upon His brow. It was our sins for which He received the stripes in Pilate’s paddock.
Our Lord has not asked of us our livelihood. He only requires our hearts which symbolizes our whole persons. He has borne the burden of our sins. He asks that we place our burdens on Him for He is able to bear them. He asks that we take His yoke upon us for it is light and easy to be borne. In fact, it is our Lord who bears that yoke of His on our shoulders. WE have our REST (sabbath) in Christ for it is He who works in and through the Christian believer. He is also our Passover which is the perfection thereof and it is eternal – once and for all.
“7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Cor 5:7-8 (KJV)
Our Lord was prefigured in the innocent animal (lamb) whom the Lord killed to make a covering for the nakedness (sins) of Adam and Eve at Eden. He was prefigured in Isaac and the Ram whose horns were caught in the briar bush at Mt. Moriah. He was prefigured in the first Passover Lamb in Egypt symbolizing all who are under His blood will not experience the second death.
Do you have such a Friend – one who will lay down His life for those who spat on Him, publicly disrobed Him, and nailed Him to a cross? The Roman centurion acknowledged Him as the Son of God. Have YOU?