April 3

Deuteronomy 10:15-16 (NIV) 15Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. 16Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

I love this expression, "set his affection". Not only has God set His affection on our forefathers in the faith, but He has set His affection on us. It was not anything good that we did. He sovereignly chose to set His affection on you! He loved you and chose you. So what should be your response?

Circumcise your hearts. Abraham had been given the ritual of circumcision confirming the covenant between God and himself. It was a physical illustration of an inner transformation that was to take place. This transformation is an act God is requesting us to do. "Make your heart tender toward me," God asks us. "Don't act like you don't hear when I call."

If we allow our hearts to be tender toward God, one word from Him and we will be at His feet waiting to hear what He has to speak to us. "Samuel, Samuel," God called out. Little Samuel had a circumcised heart. He heard. He responded. When God calls your name do you respond? Do you even hear Him call?

Once we have received His affection set upon us, realized His love and calling to us, we must respond by making our heart tender toward Him. We must respond by yielding our ear, by being quick to hear and respond. We can no longer go the way of our own choosing.

Meditation: God set His heart on me. What is my response?

April 3

Matthew 26:62-64 (NIV) 62Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 63But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

The political power plays that happened that night are an indication of the heart of those in leadership. They took Jesus to Annas first. He was Caiaphas father-in-law. He had been High Priest years before but still pulled the strings. He was interested in finding out who was a secret follower amongst the Jewish leaders. Jesus would not betray them and kept silent. Then the kangaroo court began. The High Priest was not supposed to conduct a trial before the morning sacrifice, but here in the wee hours of the morning, Jesus is being tried. They try to line up men of questionable character to be witnesses, because Judas didn't show up. These men were ready to condemn him, they just weren't smart enough to say the same thing.

Finally, Caiaphas used The Oath of Testimony. This was his ace in the hole. He could command a person to answer a question truthfully by authority of his position. A false answer would condemn the person before God. "Are you the Messiah of God?" he asked. Jesus answered with a verse from Daniel 7:13. All through His ministry He called Himself the Son of Man. In the Daniel passage the Son of Man is led into the presence of the Ancient of Days (God), and comes with the clouds. In that one passage we have the ascension and the Second Coming. Every eye will see that final event.

In emotional fury, Caiaphas broke the Law again by ripping his priestly robe, but the Law is not his chief concern. He had what he needed. Now he could order the execution through his influence with the Roman leader. The Man who exposed his whole system and hypocritical ways, the Man who drew the crowds, would be out of the way. There is one problem. Though Caiaphas did not believe the passage Jesus quoted, it came to pass and will come to pass. Jesus ascended to the Father. He will return on the clouds in glory. Caiaphas won the skirmish and lost the battle. His knee will bow, and his tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord of all.

Consider: Just as the ascension took place, so the last part of the promise, the Second Coming, will take place.