Daily Reading & Meditation
8 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Meditation: What is the unforgivable sin which Jesus warns us to avoid? Jesus knows that his disciples will be tested and he assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them what they need in their time of adversity and temptation. He warns them, however, that it’s possible to reject the grace of God – his favor, blessing, and help – and to fall into apostasy – giving up our faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ out of fear (being a coward), pride, or disbelief (refusing to believe and trust in the Lord Jesus). The scriptural expression to deny someone means to disown them – to have nothing to do with them anymore.
Do not reject the gift and help of the Holy Spirit
Jesus also speaks against blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What is blasphemy and why is it reprehensible (extremely bad and deserving severe rebuke)? Blasphemy consists in uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly, words of hatred, reproach, or defiance. It’s contrary to the honor and respect we owe to God (who is our Father, Creator, and Savior) and to his holy name. Jesus speaks of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke about this sin immediately after the scribes and Pharisees had attributed his miracles to the work of the devil instead of to God.
Do you trust in God’s help and deliverance?
A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance (admitting wrongdoing and asking forgiveness) is impossible. If someone repeatedly closes his or her heart to God and shuts their ear to his voice, they come to a point where they can no longer recognize God even when God makes his word and presence known to them. Such a person ends up perceiving evil as good and good as evil (Isaiah 5:20). To fear such a sin, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God’s merciful help and strength.
There are no limits to the mercy of God, but we can reject his mercy by refusing to ask God’s pardon for our wrongdoing and by refusing to accept the help he gives us to turn away from sin and from whatever would keep us from doing his will. God gives sufficient grace (his favor and mercy towards us) and he gives sufficient help (his wisdom and strength) to all who humbly call upon him. Giving up on God and refusing to turn away from sin and disbelief results from our own sinful pride, stubborn will, and the loss of hope in God’s promises. God never turns a deaf ear to those who seek his help and listen to his voice – his word of hope, pardon, and freedom from sin and oppression.
Our hope and confidence come from God
What is the basis of our hope and confidence in God? It is the free gift of his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for our sake and who now intercedes for us at the right hand of the throne of God’s mercy (Hebrews 4:14-15). John the Evangelist tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus’ death on the cross won for us new life and freedom to live as men and women of faith, hope, and love. That is why Jesus offers us the gift and power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) who enables us to live each day as God’s beloved children – his sons and daughters. The love and mercy of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are freely given to all who acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Is your hope securely placed in the Lord Jesus and in the victory he won for us on the cross?
“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my salvation. May I never waver in my hope and trust in your merciful help and strength. Let the fire of your Holy Spirit burn in my heart and fill me with a consuming love for you.”
6 O offspring of Abraham his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
7 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He is mindful of his covenant for ever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant which he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac
42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
43 So he led forth his people with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The Holy Spirit will inspire martyrs and teach believers, by Cyril of Jerusalem, 430-543 A.D.
“You must also know that the Holy Spirit empowers the martyrs to bear witness… A person cannot testify as a martyr for Christ’s sake except through the Holy Spirit. If ‘no man can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3), will any man give his life for Jesus’ sake except through the Holy Spirit?” (excerpt from CATECHETICAL LECTURES 16.21)