January 26 | Daily Devotion

If you plan to read every verse of Scripture this year, use the Lectio Continua (continuous reading) passages. The Lectio Semi-continua (shorter reading) is an abbreviated selection of verses from the day’s passages. Lectio Divina (divine reading) is Pastor Lionel Young’s commentary on the daily readings. See the Resources page on the Lectio Divina website for additional study helps.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina (meditation on the text)

“And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” ~Exodus 12:26-27

Salvation begins with bloodshed. Moses spreads the word to the captive Israelites: Any household with lamb’s blood applied to the doorframe will be “passed over” by the Lord as He strikes down the firstborn sons of the land. The Lord spares the sons of those families with blood on the doorframe.   The application of the blood is an expression of active faith, a faith that responded to Moses’ message. And so, while a nation mourns, God saves His people from death and brings them safely out of Egypt to worship Him. So special is this night that the Israelite people are instructed to remember it with a weeklong celebration (Passover).

The celebration of Passover, and the memory it evokes for Israel, provides the backdrop for the salvation of all people through Christ. In fact, at the Passover meal with Jesus’ disciples, on the very night He is taken into custody, He gives God’s people a new tradition to celebrate a new act of salvation (Matt. 26:26-28). Communion, the act of eating and drinking together as a body of believers, is done to commemorate the Lamb (Jesus) slain for the sins of the world (Rev. 5:12). All who place their faith in Him have “the blood of the Lamb” applied to them. God’s wrath passes over them and they are assured of an eternal life in the land of promise. We remember and celebrate our salvation every time we eat and drink together as a church community!

God gives us meaningful religious rituals to mark special times so that we will not forget what He has done for us. Such rituals also give us opportunities to proclaim the good news to the next generation as curious children watch our reverent actions and ask questions (Ex. 12:14, 26). However, we must be watchful that our rituals do not become rote. Traditions and rites only carry meaning if our hearts are right (a fact that God often has to repeat to the Israelites, as we’ll see in later books). Can we truly celebrate Christ’s forgiveness with the communion cup and wafer if we refuse to forgive another? This is the warning in today’s gospel reading, those who refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive (Matt. 18:35 and Matt. 6:14-15)! Or to give it a positive spin: Forgiven people are forgiving people.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for your sins, celebrate your salvation and His forgiveness. Meaningful rituals like worship, communion, and praise can help you do that.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.