I Am the Resurrection and the Life

July 22, 2014

In John 11, we have the 5th of Jesus’ 7 I AM Statements. Jesus made seven statements that directly proclaimed who He was as it related to God and God’s purpose for Him. Jesus proclaims I Am the Resurrection and the Life.

John 11

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Would have, could have, should have are all scenarios that we have played out in our minds. When circumstances happen that hurt and disappoint us, we all look for how those things could have been averted. For Martha, she told Jesus “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary too said the same thing when she saw Jesus (v32).  Martha believed that Jesus could have prevented her brother from dying. From Martha’s response, we know that she was expecting Jesus to do something but raising Lazarus at this point was not her focus. In fact, when Jesus said “your brother will rise again”, she referred to a resurrection of the last day i.e. the final return of the Messiah to establish God’s rule over all. She believed in the resurrection but just not then. Martha was in better positions than the Sadducees, the majority of the Sanhedrin, who did not believe in the resurrection.

Then, Jesus expands her understanding of who He is. He declared to her  I Am the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus is literally and figuratively the Resurrection and the Life. He begins to lay the foundation for that by raising Lazarus from the dead. I have read that Jesus was quite aware of the Jewish superstition of that time that said a soul stays near the grave for three days of  hopes to return to the body; therefore, it was accepted that after four days there was absolutely no hope of resuscitation. After four days, everyone assumed that Lazarus was really dead as evidenced by Martha saying there would be a bad odor if they opened the tomb. Their concept of Jesus raising someone who were really dead was not at the forefront of their consciousness.

As He did with Martha, Jesus calls all of us to make a decision as to whether we believe in Him or not. He told her I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Just as He proclaimed that to Martha, He is proclaiming that to us today via His Word. Jesus is also asking us “Do you believe this?” Like the people of that day, we have to look at who Jesus said He is and what He did to substantiate our belief or faith in Him. 

I can truly say that I continue to grow in my understanding of the triune God. Like Martha, I believe, but often, it is based on limited understanding. God continues to reveal Himself to me. That is what makes life so interesting and exciting. At times, I must admit that I get caught in the moment like Martha and Mary. It is in those moments that God challenges my faith in who He is. Where are we right now? Are we in the midst of a crisis where our belief of Christ is being challenged? For me, the answer to that is yes. In reality, we are always being challenged, but there are times where the challenge is more poignant.

Jesus says, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” While I may physically die, I will never die spiritually because of what Jesus did on the cross and from raising from the grave to ascend to the right hand of God. I will not die as Jesus proclaimed. If we want to be spiritually resurrected to life, we must believe in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world to save those who are His. Do you believe this?

 

 

Jesus is Not Far Away

July 21, 2014

In the post Why Jesus’ Delays are not Always Denials, I shared that Jesus may delay His coming to give us aid to bring greater glory to God. Today in John 11, we learn that, while He delayed, Jesus is Not Far Away. We may often think because His response is delayed that He isn’t around.

John 11

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,

Have you ever noticed that when you really need something that it appears to be so far away. It’s like riding home after a long trip and you have to relieve yourself. The bathroom seems so far away when you pull into the driveway. I am sure that’s how Mary and Martha felt when they Sent Word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick.

In verse 18, we learn that Bethany was only two miles from Jerusalem which means that Jesus could have easily come to Lazarus’ aid the day He heard word from Mary and Martha. Why didn’t He? We know “… it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (v.4)  Two miles revealed that Jesus is Not Far Away from Lazarus. There is something comforting about knowing that we are not far away from relief, aid, or help.

Help is exactly what Jesus did. The text points out that Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Not one, not two, not three but four days – four days dead. Why did Jesus wait? I have read that Jesus was quite aware of the Jewish superstition of that time that said a soul stays near the grave for three days of  hopes to return to the body; therefore, it was accepted that after four days there was absolutely no hope of resuscitation.

Lazarus was good and dead. He was not resuscitated or revived. He was resurrected as a precursor to what He would do for Himself after His death on the cross. Jesus, despite waiting four days, evidenced that there is no amount of time or circumstance that can prevent Him from helping us. Jesus is Not Far Away. 

I am not sure where you are or what you are dealing with in this very hour, but Jesus is Not Far Away. He wants us to know that if He wanted to that He could bring us back to life to show who God is and what God can do. Remember, it is not about Lazarus, Mary, Martha or us. It is about Him bring glory to God. Jesus’ delays or denials are not an indictment on His love or the lack thereof for us but about Him glorifying God. Just as God told Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6, He also tells us “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

While it may have seemed like it to Mary, Martha and you,Jesus is Not Far Away just trust in Him. He will bring about the results that give God the greatest praise and glory.

Why Jesus’ Delays are not Always Denials

July 20, 2014

In the post Why You Should Send Word to Jesus, I shared that Jesus desires to demonstrate the love of God and bring glory to God. This is why were are told to bring our cares and concerns to Him. Each time we do so, we have the opportunity to have God’s character revealed resulting in our praise of Him.

Imbedded in Jesus’ desire to bring glory to God is His care or love for those whom the Father has given Him. As we see in verse three below, Mary and Martha dial into Jesus’ love for Lazarus. Notice that there was not all out appeal in desperation, but the appeal or call for help was not directly stated. Instead, the word Mary and Martha sent was simply “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Do we have to call for a helping hand when someone who loves us learns of our condition or need of assistance? The text here says, No! The text also gives us a rationale Why Jesus’ Delays are not always Denials.

John 11

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

John 2 and John 7 are two other places that show Why Jesus’ Delays are not always Denials. John 2 is the account where Jesus’ mother, Mary, tells him that they have run out of wine. Jesus’ response was “My hour has not yet come.” In John 7, Jesus’ brothers were going to the Festival of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths, which was a celebration of God’s gracious provision for the Israelites in the wilderness and the completion of the year’s harvest. There they said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. Jesus’ response was  “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” In both of those cases, what appeared to be a denial by Jesus was only a delay. Jesus, nor the Father, does not do things in our time frame or in our way. God, if He chooses, does things in His own time and His own way

Now here in John 11, we see that truth demonstrated in response to the word from Mary and Martha that Lazarus was sick. What was Jesus’ response?

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Again, we are shown Why Jesus’ Delays are not always Denials The focus here is not whether Jesus delays or denies but on whether God is glorified. To use a little vernacular, don’t get it twisted. God does not do things solely for us. It is about God; it will always be about God. It is God who should be glorified not us. God wants His character to be revealed in anything that He does. That is why Jesus told His mother and brothers His time had not come. He did not want to reveal too much about who He was before His time.

For us who live after Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, it is time for Him to be revealed. For us who have chosen to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord (those who Christ love), our whole purpose is to bring glory to God in and through our lives. We must have a kingdom or godly perspective to bring glory to God. To have a godly perspective, we have to substitute our circumstance in to the sentence, “This ______ will not end in _______. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” This relationship, this bankruptcy or financial hardship, this accident, this illness, or this whatever. For me at this time in my life, This vocational or job change will not end in my family’s demise. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Watch and see how God writes this story for His glory. I will be sure to tell it.

When we learn that our lives are not about us nor about delays or denials but about God. We will be able to endure all kinds of delays and even denials because we know that God will be glorified from what we are experiencing. After all, the believer’s life is not his/her own. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Likewise, I must give myself for the Son of God.

Why You Should Send Word to Jesus

July 19, 2014

When we face a situation that exceeds our means to resolve it, we usually call on someone to assist us was the gist of the post Have You Sent Word to Jesus. To me, the question of Why You Should Send Word to Jesus surfaced this morning. In John 10, Jesus had already shared that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep.  His love for His sheep is now being demonstrated in His interaction with Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus. We see in verse 3 that Jesus loved Lazarus. We see in verse 5 that Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus. Why the two references? We shall see.

John 11

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

While we do not make much of a distinction in the use of multiple words for the word love, we are semi-conscious of its varying means in our culture today. In saying I love cheesecake in comparison to I love my family, I am sure that all of us would understand that there are two meanings of the word love. In the Greek, the language in which the New Testament is written, there are multiple words for the word love. For the following uses, both are verbs. In verse 3, phileō (fē-le’-ō) is to like, to be fond of, to show affection to signifying a tender affection. Agapao (ä-gä-pä’-ō), found in verse 5, is

In the Vine’s Dictionary, we are told “The two words are used for the “love” of the Father for the Son, Jhn 3:35 (No. 1); 5:20 (No. 2); for the believer, Jhn 14:21 (No. 1); 16:27 (No. 2); both, of Christ’s “love” for a certain disciple, Jhn 13:23 (No. 1); 20:2 (No. 2). Yet the distinction between the two verbs remains, and they are never used indiscriminately in the same passage; if each is used with reference to the same objects, as just mentioned, each word retains its distinctive and essential character…Phileo is never used in a command to men to “love” God; it is, however, used as a warning in 1 Cor 16:22agapao is used instead, e.g., Mat 22:37Luk 10:27Rom 8:281Cr 8:31Pe 1:8;1Jo 4:21. The distinction between the two verbs finds a conspicuous instance in the narrative of Jhn 21:15-17.” In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential “love” in them towards the Giver, and a practical “love” towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. I know that this may have become too technical of an interaction about love, but I wanted to point that out.

Whether affectionately or reverentially, what we know is that love is probably the greatest motivator for man. Love for a parent, a child, a friend, a stranger, an ideal can all be seen as the source of sacrifice love requires. I know this to be true for Jesus’ sacrifice. That is Why You Should Send Word to Jesus. He loves us enough to be tender toward us and reverential in His obedience to God on our behalf. Moreover, Jesus wants to bring God glory; that is reveal who and what God is to man. Who God is and what God is should always result in “good opinion, praise, honor, an appearance commanding respect, magnificence, and excellence. Now in John 11 (Lazarus’ resurrection John 11:4, 40) and at Cana in John 2 (changing water to wine), both His grace and His power were manifested, and these constituted His “glory”.

Why You Should Send Word to Jesus? Jesus desires to demonstrate the love of God and bring glory to God. This is why were are told to bring our cares and concerns to Him. Each time we do so, we have the opportunity to have God’s character revealed resulting in our praise of Him. What are you facing? What are your needs, not wants? What is it that you can’t handle and need someone to call? Those are the things that we should send word to Jesus. Thank God for the opportunity to have your concerns heard. Stop and pray right now. Send Word to Jesus.

Have You Sent Word to Jesus

July 17, 2014

In John 11, we will find one of the I AM statements Jesus made during His earthly ministry.  In this first part of the chapter, there are some important elements that we need to see. Yes, we like to go to the climax of events, but we lose meaning many times when we just want to see the most exciting part. I think though it is exciting to see Jesus develop His work. As such, we see a little of that today.

John 11

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

When we face a situation that exceeds our means to resolve it, we usually call on someone to assist us. If we are not knowledgeable about mechanical issues with cars, plumbing issues, heating and air issues, computer or network issues, legal issues and the like, we call on the one whom we think is most qualified to assist us. Many times, that decision is driven by our ability to pay for those services. In a spiritual sense, we see that same dynamic happening. Mary and Martha, whose brother Lazarus was sick beyond their cure, Sent Word to Jesus.

Have You Sent Word to Jesus about the prevailing issues in your life? I am sure that you are dealing with something right now that exceeds your ability to resolve it. You don’t have the power or ability to resolve that issue in your life. It may relate to a relationship, a job, an illness or whatever. Regardless of the nature, you are not able to fix it yourself. Jesus lays the foundation as how we are to address the situation. We are to send word to Jesus.

Have You Sent Word to Jesus? If you have not, stop right now. List the issues that are troubling you. Send word to Jesus. He will certainly respond to those whom He loves and those who belong to Him.  Send Word to Jesus and be blessed.

 

 

Jesus’ 7 I AM Statements

July 17, 2014

Throughout the Old Testament, God reveals that He will send His Christ/Messiah. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all in the Old Testament. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18 – “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” While here physically or incarnate, Jesus proclaimed who He was to draw man to Himself, to God. In John, Jesus made seven I AM statements as a means to provide greater insight into who He is. Below are those statements.

Jesus’ 7 I AM

I AM the True Vine (John 15:1-17)

I AM the Way, Truth and Life (John 14:1-7)

I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44)

I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18)

I AM the Door (John 10:1-9)

I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12-18; 25-30)

I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:25-35; 48-59)

In that Place Many Believed in Jesus

July 16, 2014

In the post Jesus declares He is God, the Jews to whom He was interacting faced a decision – to believe that Jesus was God or not. That was the most important decision that they could have made. Likewise, it is the most important decision that any human can make. After all, eternal life hinges on how you believe. Eternal life is not going to heaven. As defined in John 17:3, Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

John 10

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

The Jews in John 10 continued to ask Jesus who He was, if He was the Christ. Repeatedly, He told them who He was and that He was sent from God, but many of them did not believe; however at the end of the passage, this commentary is given In that Place Many Believed in Jesus.  Similarly, my son had been told on many occasions by many people who Christ was, but he had not yet believed. Yesterday, he says that he believed that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for his sin; thus, he his sins have been eternally taken care of by Jesus Christ. While there are consequences for sin, his sin will not separate him from God for eternity.  Like those at the end of John 10, I too can say about my son in my house In that Place Many Believed in Jesus. 

My daughter’s comment was “now our whole house is Christian”. We are not perfect by far. We just are aware enough of our sins that we were in desperate need of the Savior. Jesus comes to those who will believe to reveal Himself. How has Jesus come to you? Have you believed in Him as the Son of God, the Savior for all who believe? He offers you eternal life. He offers you the opportunity to know God and to be known by God. With belief in Christ, you become known by God because only then do you become a child of God. When you are not a child, you have no legitimate claim to what the parent, the Father in this case, has for his child.

God’s desire is for all to be saved but not all will believe. Despite that, let this be the day that it is said of you In that Place Many Believed in Jesus.

 

 

Jesus declares He is God

July 15, 2014

In the post If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly, Jesus tells the people who He is and , again, tells the people that He is God. When Jesus says (v30) “I and the Father are one”,  Jesus made another claim to be God. Some today say that this oneness is only in regards to unity of purpose and will. If we read the text, that is not what the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking perceived.

John 10

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter,23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him,but he escaped their grasp.

What is it that the Jews perceived Jesus to be saying? They say it quite clearly in verse 33 – “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” To claim to be God was blasphemy (nawab) that is to curse the name of God. For the Jews, it was established that whomever blasphemed were to be stoned to death. By response, in word and attempted deed, it is clear that the Jews understood Jesus declares He is God.

Fortunately for man, Jesus provides support for His claim. First Jesus holds them to their “law”. He used the Word against them. We see the metaphorical reference to judges as “gods” that Jesus uses as an example in verses 34-35. Jesus references the judges of Old Testament who were certainly identified as inept and not righteous. In Psalm 82, the psalmist references the imperfection of the judges; yet, the fact that the people trusted and followed their judgements. Jesus is juxtaposing imperfect and unrighteous judges with Himself, the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world.  Jesus reminds them that scripture can’t be set aside. If they were going to follow one part of the scripture, they needed to follow it all. Beyond that, Jesus references again His work that serves as evidence that He is from God. We saw Jesus reference the works i.e.miracles in verse 25 where He says, “The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me”.

Throughout the scriptures, Jesus declares He is God. Jesus calls us all to look at His works that He did in the Father’s name not His or anyone else’s. Will you stone Jesus with your unbelief or will you be like the Jews in John 10 who discarded Him as Savior and Lord?

If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

July 14, 2014

We know from scripture that Jesus Divides. Particularly in John 10, the people were divided (v.19) as to whether Jesus was of God or demon-possessed i.e. of the devil. There is always the question of who Jesus is? At that time, the people wanted to know the same, so they asked Jesus, “If You are the Messiah (Christ), tell us plainly.”

The Messiah (Christ) was the King of Israel, the anointed priest of Israel. He, the Christ, was the Messiah, the Son of God. The Jews there were asking if Jesus was the Son of God. “If You are the Messiah (Christ), tell us plainly.” Jesus responded to the question that asks who He is. This is the same question to which Jesus responded when Pilate asked him “are you the king of the Jews” in Matthew 27:11Mark 15:2, and Luke 23:3. The Jews did not believe Jesus then nor when He stood before Pilate.

John 10

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter,23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[d]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him,but he escaped their grasp.

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

While the people asked Jesus to tell them plainly if He was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus, as He always does, does not let man dictate His agenda. Jesus answered them saying “I did tell you, but you do not believe” Remember the I AM the Bread of Life in John 6:25-35; 48-59 and I AM the Light of the World in John 8:12-18; 25-30. It is said that Jesus was telling them that look at my substance to who I am.

Jesus tells them plainly “The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me”. In essence, Jesus was saying that if you don’t believe what I said then believe the works that I have done. We know them as the six of seven miracles Jesus performed in John. Jesus was asking them to reflect on what He had done to show them that He was the Christ/Messiah, the Son of God.

  • Miracle #1 – John 2:1-12 - Jesus turns the water into wine; This miracle symbolized nothing less than the Mission of the Messiah; changing the empty way of man’s religion into a living, joyful, relationship with the Lord, as demonstrated by the wedding celebration. The New Christian is now clean and becomes filled with the Holy Spirit
  • Miracle #2 - John 4: 43-54 - Jesus heals the Official’s Son; Here’s an act of God’s Grace, pure and simple. O
  • Miracle #3 – John 5:1-17 – Jesus heals the Invalid or lame man to walk. It shows us our need for a Savior … that we’re hopeless and helpless without Him.
  • Miracle #4 – John 6:1-15 - Jesus feeds 5 Thousands with 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. This is the practical demonstration of the Lord’s promise that if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, all our other needs will be met as well.
  • Miracle #5 – John 6:16-25 – Jesus calms the storm. This represents that Jesus calms our fears during the storms of life
  • Miracle #6 – John 9:1-41 – Jesus heals the man born blind; Jesus said He came so the blind would see and those who see would become blind.
  • Miracle #7 – John 11:1-44 – Jesus Raises Lazarus From The Dead

Jesus wanted them to reflect over the works in their lives that He had done. Likewise, Jesus wants us to reflect over His work in our lives that He has done. Look around at how Jesus has demonstrated His power, His deity. We, like the people in John 10, have a choice. We can believe Jesus or not. If we don’t, Jesus says it is not because He isn’t God, but it is because we are not His sheep. We were not given to Him by the Father. I have believed in Jesus’ work – His work in His Word and in His work in my life.

I am no longer asking “If You are the Messiah (Christ), tell us plainly.”

I Lay Down My Life

July 13, 2014

There are times in our lives where God tells us something and it just flies over our head. We hear it but do not understand it. In John 10, Jesus accounts for some of this imperceptibleness (my word). He says, “the sheep listen to his voice and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Jesus also said, “I am The Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Jesus told the Pharisees, whom He declared were not His sheep, that I Lay Down My Life for my sheep. He reiterated that Tho Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep as opposed to the hired hand who will run away when challenge and danger surfaces. He runs away because he does not care deeply for the sheep putting them before himself; he does not see himself as owner of sheep i.e. not personally invested. I think we get the picture.

We understand the imagery of a shepherd laying down his life for his sheep. He will die to protect and provide for them. Here is the picture that we should focus Jesus said I Lay Down My Life.  This connotes that it is a personal choice. If he lays it down, it is voluntary. This is what Jesus clarifies in verse 18 of John 10.

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Jesus wanted the Pharisees and all others looking in to know what He was about to do and why. Jesus said no one takes it from me. The Pharisees nor the disciples remembered this at the crucifixion. On the surface, it appeared that the Jews who cried crucify Him and Pilate who relented to the chants of the people took Jesus’ life; however in the text above, Jesus makes it clear before the crucifixion that dying on the cross was a voluntary choice of obedience to the Father. Jesus said the Father loves him because he laid down his life.

Jesus did not take on this task without ability. Jesus also made the proclamation that He was God. Jesus had already told them this in verse 15 - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. In verses 18 and 19, Jesus makes it clear that when He lays down His life He will take it up again. He would rise from the dead – the resurrection. Who has the ability to give life? God! Jesus says that He has authority to lay it down and take it up. God has that type of authority.

When Jesus says I Lay Down My Life, He says that as God.  He knew it but others were not aware. His death and resurrection validate Jesus’ assertion. He did lay it down and take it up with His own authority. Jesus made it clear though that He was submitted to the Father as the He stated He received the command to lay down and take up His life from the Father. It also says to us that God will empower us to fulfill any command that He gives us.

Like Jesus, God has called us to declare I Lay Down My Life in trust that Jesus will provide you with the resurrection as promised. Will you lay down your life for God to receive resurrection?


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