Lenten Devotion for Tuesday, March 25

By Christine Darragh

Read John 5:18-25

There are few places where the physics rule about the ever-increasing entropy of the universe is more empirically evident than in a preschool classroom. Left to their own devices, 4-year-olds descend into atavistic, lawless behavior.

As I walked into the room for pick-up the other day, my daughter’s teacher was making a valiant attempt to assert her gravitational pull on the students’ attention as they awaited their parents’ arrival. I was greeted by rousing music, and a wild, weaving line of followers, each trying his or her best to imitate the teacher, who danced, weaving expressively around the room.

Their uncoordinated arms flailed and legs tangled as they laughed along, oblivious to the fact that they were hardly imitating at all.

In our reading today, the Pharisees accused Jesus of acting in a way that made Himself equal to God–something they knew was impossible. (Satan tried it, and we all know how that ended up.) They were right, and it became ammunition in their battle against Him.

But, they made one important mistake. They assumed that because no one can in his or her own power elevate themselves to near-God status, it can’t be done.

But Jesus’ answer suggests otherwise. He responds, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” In other words, “In and of myself, I am powerless. I can only act in the way that I do because I’ve been shown by God in heaven that this is the way to behave.”

Jesus acted with godly authority on earth because–and only because–it was given to Him by his Father. Jesus’ actions reflected exactly the actions that the Father would have taken had He taken physical form on earth.

Where do we come into all this? When Jesus left the earth after His resurrection, promising a second coming, He gave power also to disciples through the Holy Spirit–elevating them as His own witnesses.

As believers, we have the same gift–the same power through the Holy Spirit. And our job? To be witnesses–with our mouths–but also by demonstrating faith through our own lives and actions, by following our leader, Jesus.

Like 4-year-olds whose gross motor skills haven’t yet fully developed, we cannot be perfect imitators. But we can rely on the power of the Holy Spirit within us for guidance.

We pray: Lord Jesus, make us imitators of You. Use the Holy Spirit to continue to change us every day. And bring us to a place where we can and want to do nothing but what You want.

Family discussion

What are some ways that we can be imitators of Jesus every day?

Everyday object

Play a game of follow the leader as a family. Take turns being the leader. Act crazy. Was it easy or hard to imitate the leader?