Daily Devotionals

Stages of the Cross: Week 4 - Friday

"I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." John 5:24

When given a gift, we do nothing to earn it, right? If we had to earn it, that gift would become a prize or reward. Although we cannot earn a gift, we do have a responsibility to take the gift and accept it. It does no good to stare at a gift. We have to take it and accept it. Similarly, when considering the gift of salvation, we must ask ourselves the question: How will we respond to the gift? Will we accept it or simply ignore it?

In John 5, Jesus was being questioned by religious leaders for claiming to be equal with God (verse 18). What they did not know was that His claims were valid because He is God. Then, Jesus looked at the crowd of people and made even stronger claims to be the Son of God. "I tell you the truth," He said, "those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life" (verse 24). He told the crowd that He has life-giving power, which was granted to Him from God the Father. Did you notice who will receive the gift of eternal life? "Those who believe in God" (verse 24). In other words, it is offered to those who understand that God has offered them the gift of salvation and choose to receive the gift by trusting Him. God's gift of salvation cannot be earned, but at some point, every person must decide what to do with this gift they are offered. Will they accept the gift or not?

When you consider your life, what have you decided to do with the gift of salvation that you are offered? Have you chosen to believe in God, thus accepting the gift? If so, think back to that moment you believed in God and placed your trust in Him. Remember the joy, peace, and freedom that you felt on that day. Take time to thank Him today for all that He has done for you. If you have not placed your trust in Him, what are you waiting for? His gift of salvation is offered freely to you. Will you receive the gift and trust Him?

Moving Toward Action

With a notebook or journal, take some time today to think about the gift offered to us because of Jesus' death and resurrection. Write about the hope you have in Jesus, knowing that, despite the trials and heartaches that you experience in this life, you will spend eternity with Him forever and ever.

Going Deeper

Read John 5:16-30 (NLT)

So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.

So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.