Daily Readings From the Life of Christ, Volume 2

Daily Readings From the Life of Christ, Volume 2

by John MacArthur


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Daily Readings From the Life of Christ, Volume 2 by John MacArthur

A Christian devotional on the person of Christ

As a Christian, you are called to live like Jesus—a life of courage, joy, passion, and purpose. Forget about the boring stuff—Jesus calls you to new commitment and new strength.

In this second volume of Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, highly acclaimed author and speaker John MacArthur focuses primarily on the Gospel of John, in which Jesus' love, power, and deity are highlighted. Your hungry heart will again be fed and focused on God's Word, with insights on the life of Jesus, thoughts to ponder, and wisdom gleaned from years of MacArthur's careful study.

Practical and encouraging, these pages are sure to challenge and uplift your heart as you come face-to-face with the infinite wonders of our Savior's life on this earth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802418043
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 04/11/2017
Series: Grace For Today Series , #2
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

JOHN MACARTHUR is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California; president of The Master's College and Seminary; and featured teacher for the Grace to You media ministry. Weekly telecasts and daily radio broadcasts of "Grace to You" are seen and heard by millions worldwide. John has also written several bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, The New Testament Commentary series, Twelve Ordinary Men, and The Truth War. He and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

Daily Readings from the Life of Christ Volume 2

By John MacArthur, Garry Knussman

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2009 John MacArthur
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57567-361-5



The Preexistent Word, Part 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. —John 1:1–2

The concept of "the Word" (logos in the Greek) was meaningful to both Jewish and Greek readers of this gospel. Greek philosophers defined it as the abstract principle of order and reason in the universe. Even laymen understood the term as one of the universe's most important principles, the source of wisdom.

Thus to John's Greek audience, he presented Jesus as the embodiment of the logos concept, though not as an impersonal force or emanation. God, the true logos, became a man, Jesus Christ. This concept was something new to Greek thought.

To his Jewish readers, on the other hand, John presented Jesus as the incarnation of divine power and revelation, a continuation of the Old Testament "word of the Lord" concept (cf. Gen. 15:1; Ex. 24:3–4; 1 Sam. 3:21; Ps. 33:6; Jer. 1:2). Among other things, Jesus was the agent of creation (Col. 1:16), inspired the New Testament through the Holy Spirit whom He sent (John 14:26; 15:26), initiated the new covenant (Luke 22:20), and was the One who instructed believers (John 10:27). As God's incarnate Word, Jesus is His final word to humanity: "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1–2).

Although Jesus was intimately with the Father from eternity past, He willingly left that glorious privilege and "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men.... He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:7–8).


Jesus is not all things to all people, yet He meets each of us at our individual points of need and our unique frames of reference. If you were to describe how Jesus proves His Word true in your own life, what ideas would come most quickly to mind?


The Preexistent Word, Part 2

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. —John 1:1–2

John restates the profound truths of verse 1 in verse 2. He underscores again the eternity of the Word—Christ existed "in the beginning" when everything else was created. And as noted in verse 1, that existence was one of intimate fellowship with God the Father.

Jesus' deity and full equality with His Father is a truth of the Christian faith that can't be compromised. The apostle John later warned the readers of his second letter, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [the biblical truth of Christ's deity; cf. vv. 7, 9], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting" (2 John 10). Such seemingly unloving actions are justified toward heretics who deny the Lord's deity and His gospel, because they are under God's curse:

There are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we [Paul], or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:7–9)

We must not be confused about the deity of Christ, because the Bible teaches it clearly and unmistakably. Jesus is the eternally preexistent Word, who has always enjoyed full communion and divine life with the Father, and is Himself God.


Are you ever in danger of limiting the power, rule, sovereignty and, yes, even the goodness of God? Though your belief and profession may be biblically sound and solid, does your daily interaction with life's circumstances reveal a complete trust in God's preeminence?


The Word's Creative Power

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. —John 1:3

Here John declares the weighty truth that Jesus, the eternal Word, created everything that "came into being." This truth provides two more proofs of His deity. First, if Christ is Creator of all things, He must be uncreated, and only God is uncreated. This verse uses a different verb from "to be" in verses 1 and 2, which denotes a state of being. Here the verb ("came into being") describes the creation of the universe, thus emphasizing the divine creative act distinct from that state of being. The verb also points to a second proof of deity—Jesus is Creator ("through Him") and thus is God. Elsewhere in Scripture the Creator is likewise portrayed as God (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 40:28; Rom. 1:25; Rev. 4:11).

With this clear verse, John strongly rejected the developing heresy of Gnosticism, which claimed that matter was evil and spirit was good, and therefore a good God could not have created the universe.

Today's world, however, is obviously radically different from the Lord's original good creation (Gen. 1:31). The fall not only affected humanity adversely but the whole creation as well. Because of that, Christ will eventually redeem not only believers but also the created world, as Romans 8:19–21 teaches:

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.


The concept of God as Creator comes with many practical, daily implications since we live inside His created order at all times. How does the creation itself—even in its fallen state—continue to reflect the grandeur and careful oversight of its and your Creator?


The Word's Self-Existence, Part 1

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. —John 1:4–5

God's and Christ's having life in themselves—self-existence—is a foundational truth to our faith. We can describe everything created as "becoming," because nothing created is unchanging. But the divine, eternal, nonchanging being or life, such as the Father and the Son, is distinct from what is becoming—and is actually its source. It is what distinguishes creatures (us) from the Creator (God).

There was a point when the universe did not exist (Gen. 1:1), but never a point when God did not exist (cf. Ex. 3:14). Acts 17:28 says, "In Him we live and move and exist." We can do nothing apart from Him, but He has always lived and moved and been.

This verse is one of the purest descriptions of deity—and to say Jesus is "the life" is the purest statement about His deity and His role in creation. As Creator He is the source of everything and of everyone who has life. Furthermore, John's gospel often uses the form of the word "life" that denotes spiritual or eternal life (1:12; 3:15–16; 6:37, 39–40, 44, 47; 20:31). Christ came into the world to impart spiritual life to sinners who "were dead in [their] trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1; cf. John 6:33; 10:10).


Of all the things we forget to be grateful for and most often take for granted is the simple gift of life. May you stop at frequent moments of the day simply to give glory to God for the gift of breath, of sight, of hearing, of life itself ... and the privilege of enjoying it with Him.


The Word's Self-Existence, Part 2

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. —John 1:4–5

John's statement "the life was the Light" says that life and light are essentially the same. It basically has the same construction as "the Word was God" (v. 1)—divine life and light share the same essential properties.

The divine life is true and holy. "Light" is that truth and holiness displayed against the darkness of lies and sin. In John 8:12 Jesus declares, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life" (cf. Ps. 36:9).

This Light is no less than the manifest life of God shining in His Son: "The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor. 4:4; cf. v. 6). "The Light" is simply the Father's divine light revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Satan's kingdom is the "domain of darkness" (Col. 1:13), but Christ is the source of life (John 14:6) and the Light that "shines in the darkness" of a lost world (cf. 12:35–36). Despite the devil's intense assaults on the Light, "the darkness did not comprehend it." The word translated "comprehend" is better rendered "overcome." A very small candle can dispel darkness from a room; the Lord Jesus, the glorious Light of saving truth, will destroy the satanic realm of spiritual darkness. In fact, since Jesus' earthly ministry, "the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining" (1 John 2:8).


What effect does Jesus' being "the Light" have on your life? How does He brighten the path you walk? What does His light expose, both in the world and in yourself, refining your approach and strengthening your confidence as you journey through each day?


The Word's Self-Existence, Part 3

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. —John 1:4–5

Because they understand so well the final judgment awaiting them, Satan and his forces have tried desperately throughout redemptive history to destroy the self-existent Word of life and light, the Lord Jesus. First they attempted to destroy the nation of Israel, from which Messiah would arise. They also targeted the royal line from which Christ would descend (2 Kings 11:1–2).

Shortly after Jesus' birth, Satan prompted Herod's vicious but futile attempt to murder Him (Matt. 2:16). Prior to the start of Jesus' ministry, the evil one tried in vain to turn Him aside from His mission (Matt. 4:1–11). Later he worked through Peter in an effort to accomplish the same objective (Matt. 16:21–23). Likewise, Satan's children, those who refuse to believe the truth, are eternally lost because they reject the Word of Light and life:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them [through Jesus Christ]. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but ... their foolish heart was darkened. (Rom. 1:18–21)

Anyone who rejects the deity of the Logos, Jesus Christ, will be lost: "For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24).


In what ways do you continue to see the enemy at work, combating and contradicting Jesus, His gospel, and His people? We know he cannot ultimately succeed, but what can we do as Christ's followers to stand against the onslaught of Satan's attacks and accusations?


God's Grace on Mary

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. —Matt. 1:16

When God chose Mary to be the mother of His Son, He showered much grace upon her. And although a descendant of King David's family, she was a humble, obscure young woman, just as much a sinner as all other human beings ever born. She was likely a superior person morally and spiritually than her contemporaries, but she was not sinless. Mary demonstrated her faithfulness and obedience to God by her humble and submissive response to the angel Gabriel's announcement (Luke 1:38).

Mary herself, in her song of praise called the Magnificat, acknowledged her need of a Savior: "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave" (Luke 1:46–48). These words refute any ideas of her being co-redemptrix and comediator with Jesus. Such beliefs are not scriptural and were never contained in early church doctrine. The Catholic Church embraced such false concepts several centuries later by accommodating pagan myths from the Babylonian mystery religions.

According to Scripture, Mary never did dispense grace but only received it from the Lord. "Favored one" (Luke 1:28) literally means "one endued with grace." Just as every other sinner, Mary needed God's grace and salvation. That's why she "rejoiced in God [her] Savior" (Luke 1:47). Mary realized what an unequaled privilege she enjoyed being a sinful woman chosen by the Lord to give birth to the Messiah, Jesus.


Are you encouraged by realizing that even the most revered figures in biblical history were just as much in need of God's grace and mercy as you are? Humility is the shared property of all who possess an appropriate view of themselves and of their incredible debt to God.


God's Grace on Two Men

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. —Matt. 1:1

Although they were sinful men, David and Abraham, by God's grace, both were ancestors of Jesus Christ.

David sinned against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah. He was also a poor father who failed to discipline his children. One of those (Absalom) even tried to wrest the throne from David by armed rebellion.

Abraham on two different occasions (Gen. 12:11–19; 20:1–18) told pagan kings that his wife Sarah was his sister. This brought shame on Sarah, himself, and God, the One he claimed to trust and serve. In spite of these sins, God made Abraham the father of Israel, the chosen people from whom Christ would arise. The Lord appointed David head of the kingly line from whom Messiah was promised.

Furthermore, God's grace extended to specific descendants of these two men. Abraham's son Isaac was the son of promise and a type of Christ, willingly offered up to God (Gen. 22:1–13). Isaac's son Jacob (later renamed Israel) and his sons were leaders of the people of Israel. God's grace was always with them, even when they needed discipline or rebuke.

David's son and royal successor, Solomon, was peaceful and wiser than most men but also foolish and sinful in many ways. His hundreds of wives, mostly pagan, turned his and the people's hearts away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:1–8). The kingdom of Israel soon became divided, but the royal line remained and God eventually fulfilled His promise to David, God's grace prevailing in the person of Messiah Jesus.


All the way back, we see humanity's inconsistency and God's faithfulness, intertwining into the merciful, purposeful outworking of His plan for the ages. Far from being an excuse to slack off, how does this realization infuse you with new zeal to trust, obey, and follow?


God's Grace in the History of Three Eras

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. —Matt. 1:17

Matthew's summary of Jesus' genealogy shows us God's grace working in three eras of Israel's history. First was the period of the patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, and the judges. During that time God's people found an identity, served as slaves, wandered after their deliverance, received divine law and covenant, and conquered the Promised Land.

The second era was one when Israel became a monarchy similar to her neighboring nations. But the Israelites soon discovered that sinful kings more often led them away from God instead of toward obedience and peace. There was much decline and apostasy, followed by defeat, exile, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Kings David, Je-hoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah were notable exceptions to the pattern of ungodliness.


Excerpted from Daily Readings from the Life of Christ Volume 2 by John MacArthur, Garry Knussman. Copyright © 2009 John MacArthur. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
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