Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53.10 ESV

Isaiah speaks of the suffering servant in terms of the people of Israel, of the remnant, and finally of a single person. He narrows the identification of the servant until he arrives in chapter 53. In this chapter, he reveals details of how the servant would suffer for the sins of others. Continue reading

When I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive—forever and ever—and I hold the keys of death and of Hades!” Revelation 1.17-18

These were some of the first words of the Lord Jesus to the apostle John when, on the Lord’s day, he found himself in the Spirit. John had already registered a word from God the Father, that he was the Alpha and the Omega, in verse 8. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; omega, the last. Continue reading

Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. John 1.14

Becoming flesh means that Jesus became a human being. He also was born according to the will of God and not by human means, John 1.13. He participated fully in human life. He lived among us and experienced all that people do—hunger, thirst, tiredness, emotions, suffering—minus one—sin. He was God and man at the same time. Continue reading

But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children—children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. John 1.12-13

Nobody is born, physically, as a child of God. It is not by human parents that someone is his child. We are not his children automatically. It’s a lie to say that we are all children of God.

This shocking truth ought to cause us to learn how to become children of God. If we are not, God gives us the right to become his children.

In order to become a son or daughter, it’s necessary to be born into the family. Jesus explained that birth into God’s family comes through immersion in water, John 3.3, 5. Since it is an act of faith, it is described in the above verses as being an act of receiving or believing in the name of Jesus. His name is confessed at the moment of immersion by the person being baptized. His name is pronounced over him during the act of immersion, Acts 2.38; 8.37.

We live in a world which rejects Jesus, John 1.10-11. The very word “world” means, in many biblical contexts, humanity in rebellion against God. Even the religions and denominations are a part of this rebellion, for they have invented their own system against God’s will.

The verse above begins with the word “but.” It means that although the world rejects Jesus, there will be some people who receive him.

Let us be certain that we are among the number of those who receive and obey him.

Creator God, I want you to be Father to me. I want to be an obedient child of yours. I want to be part of your family.


Translated from our Portuguese-language devotional, Deus Conosco. For more information about becoming a child of God, see Richard Mansel’s book, The Most Important Question.

In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it. John 1.4-5

On earth, the sun makes life possible. Without it, everything would soon die. So we see the connection between light and life. In a similar way, as the light of God, Jesus brings life to man. This life is not physical, but spiritual and eternal.

Jesus as light shines in darkness. His light has the capacity of scattering the densest darkness. No person is unrecoverable. Jesus can save all. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. NRSV translates the phrase, “of mankind,” as “of all people.” Nobody needs remain outside, excluded. Continue reading

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. —Col 3.1

When we obey the Good News, God places us together with Christ. In immersion, we are raised with Christ and he gives us life. In the verse above, Paul wants us to live up to the life which we’ve been given. This level is where Christ is, the level of God.

How do we seek the things above? The two chapters that follow develop the answer to this question. It requires a vigorous mind control, an unrestricted killing of all that belongs to the earthly nature. It is necessary to clothe oneself with Christ’s qualities, love above all. Continue reading

Human beings disappoint, so we become wary and find it hard to trust. Politicians aren’t the only ones who fail to carry through with promises. Friends, colleagues, and family members also let us down.

For the latter groups, we need large doses of forgiveness and, sometimes, confrontation about their perfidy, in order to give them opportunity to change.

Looking inward, we discover we ourselves have also made promises that we couldn’t keep or that we decided to disregard.

So the following truth about God and his word provides us hope. Continue reading

Don’t be alarmed at prophets of doom, be they political, social, or environmental. Politics has always been dirty and dishonest. Social movements have grown and died. Environmentalists are not dispassionate scientists reading objective data.

Observers have divided the generations into baby boomers, generations X and Y, and new tags are invented every few years. The upcoming generation causes concern, and always has. The human being is a worrier at heart. Continue reading