Alas, there are so many counterfeits around today. I am not talking about dollar bills, but about professing Christians. Today’s devotional reaches back in history to show us the real thing and press us to ask whether or not we qualify as the real thing. God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, is an area of beautiful farming country, there lies a village embosomed in the fields called by the pleasant scriptural name of Ephratah. In that village there once preached a humble Baptist minister. In the town was a very wicked man, who did a great injury to this preacher. The War of the Revolution came on, and this wicked man joined the army of Washington. For misconduct he was court-martialed and sentenced to death. The army was then in the neighborhood of Philadelphia.
“The news of the man’s conviction and approaching death reached the preacher at Ephratah. Immediately he set out for Philadelphia, traveling the whole distance, more than seventy miles, on foot, and sought an audience with the commander of the army, with whom he made a plea for the life of the convicted soldier. Washington heard him through, and then said, ‘I am sorry, I can do nothing for your friend.’
“‘Friend?’ said the preacher. ‘He is the worst enemy I have in the world!’
“‘What!’ exclaimed Washington. ‘And you have walked from Ephratah to Philadelphia to plead for the life of your worst enemy? That puts a new light on the case. The prisoner shall not be shot.’
“Here was a humbler servant of Christ who had not forgotten the teachings of Jesus.” [Clarence Edward Macartney, The Greatest Texts of the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1992, p. 87]
September 7, 2017