Evening, January 13
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Bible League: Living His Word
A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison--your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

Jesus often used hyperbole in his teaching. "Hyperbole" may be defined as a figure of speech that makes use of exaggeration in order to strongly emphasize a point one is trying to make. Hyperbolic statements are not usually meant to be taken literally. Thus, they need to be interpreted in light of the point that is trying to be made.

In our verses for today, the point Jesus is trying to make is that discipleship comes first. Jesus is not literally saying that one must hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, or even one's own life in order to be a good disciple. Rather, he's saying that nothing should come before being his disciple. If a relative could somehow come between a person and discipleship, then discipleship should come first, not that one should literally hate the person. After all, it was Jesus himself who said we should even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Likewise, the point Jesus makes about carrying one's cross is also hyperbolic. He's not saying that every single disciple must literally carry the instrument of their own death, as Jesus himself would do, but that nothing should come before discipleship. If it comes down to discipleship or not carrying one's cross, then, again, discipleship should come first. In that case, one should willingly go to their death, even carrying the instrument of death in the process.

Being a disciple of Jesus is the most important thing one can do in life. It is not surprising, then, that Jesus would use hyperbole in order to underscore the point. It forces us to question our own priorities. Is there anything before discipleship in our own lives?

Bible in a Year
Old Testament Reading
Genesis 31, 32

Genesis 31 -- Jacob Leaves for Canaan; Laban Pursues


Genesis 32 -- Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau, Wrestles with God


New Testament Reading
Matthew 10:24-42

Matthew 10 -- Christ Sends out His Twelve Apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles


Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.
Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion
The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me.
God was saying that the people would one day possess land in Canaan, but in God's plan, only God's ownership was absolute. He wanted his people to avoid greed and materialism.
If you have the attitude that you are taking care of the Lord's property, you will make what you have more available to others. This is difficult to do if you have an attitude of ownership. Think of yourself as a manager of all that is under your care, not as an owner.
Morning and Evening by Spurgeon
2 Kings 6:6  The iron did swim.

The axe-head seemed hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honor of the prophetic band was likely to be imperilled, and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectation, the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God. I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called thereto, and his faith rose with the occasion; God honored his faith, unlooked-for aid was sent, and the iron did swim. Another of the Lord's family was in grievous financial straits, he was able to meet all claims, and much more if he could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was overtaken with a sudden pressure; he sought for friends in vain, but faith led him to the unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps were enlarged, and the iron did swim. A third had a sorrowful case of depravity to deal with. He had taught, reproved, warned, invited, and interceded, but all in vain. Old Adam was too strong for young Melancthon, the stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony of prayer, and before long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard heart was broken, the iron did swim.

Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case? What heavy matter hast thou in hand this evening? Bring it hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help his saints. He will not suffer thee to lack any good thing. Believe thou in the Lord of hosts! Approach him pleading the name of Jesus, and the iron shall swim; thou too shalt see the finger of God working marvels for his people. According to thy faith be it unto thee, and yet again the iron shall swim.

Daily Light on the Daily Path
Ephesians 4:26  BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

Matthew 18:15,21,22  "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. • Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" • Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Mark 11:25  "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

Colossians 3:12,13  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; • bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Luke 17:5  The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. For Permission to Quote Information visit http://www.lockman.org.

Morning January 13
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