Do You Really Know Me?

September 17, 2014

Over the years, I have often heard it is not what you know, but who you know. As time went on, that adage was revised to  it’s not who you know, but who knows you. In this world, I have seen man make room for me because man knows me. Let’s face it, people benefit from relationships that they have with others. Right or wrong, fair or not fair, the reality exists that some benefit not because they are better but because of relationship – knowing. I have often stated that the physical often imitates the spiritual. In John 14, Jesus continues His questioning of man’s knowledge of Him.  If you follow Jesus through the book of John, Jesus makes knowing Him a central and pivotal issue. Throughout the book, I hear Jesus saying Do You Really Know Me?

For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.
Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.
He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.
Remember, Jesus predicted His betrayal in John 13:18-20. There He says, “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” He gave them evidence to know and follow Him, but the issue still remains Do You Really Know Me?
Now in John 14, we see Jesus adding to theme of knowing Him. Here is where Jesus questions the disciples knowledge of Him and answers that question as well. Remember the context of the statement below. Jesus had told them that He was going away, but that the disciples could not follow Him now. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Do You Really Know Me? Jesus answers that question for the disciples save Judas whom He had foretold would betray Him. Now, Jesus is telling the disciples that if they know Him, they also know God The Father and have seen Him. Here Jesus claims a clear as day to be God. He poignantly told the disciples that He was God. By virtue of saying that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father, Jesus claims to be both Jesus, the Messiah, and God. The second person of the Godhead has pronounced it. Later in the chapter (v.26), Jesus closes the triune circle when He speaks of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

It is well worth answering question Do You Really Know Me? Jesus made the distinction for the twelve disciples. He also makes the distinction for us. He says that if we know Him, we know the Father as well. Do you really know Jesus? Have you made Him Lord and Savior of your life? Jesus invites you to not only know Him but to be known by Him. He shares the consequences of not knowing Him and the benefits of being known by Him in John 10:

“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.”

Jesus is saying Do You Really Know Me?

I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life

September 15, 2014

Of the 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus, He has proclaimed six of them through John 14. As a reminder, those “I AM” statements are listed below.

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 those statements, Jesus reveals more about who He is on the way to the climax of His earthly existence the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus began conveying to His disciples who He is in efforts to prepare them for their roles in carrying forth the Gospel. While He knew that they would not understand everything at that moment, it was His plan to communicate the truth, so that when their understanding caught up with the truth their minds would be illuminated and faith cemented.

Jesus has just washed His disciples feet, told them that He would be betrayed by Judas, how to relate to one another and that He was going away to a place that they could not come at that time. This is what we find Jesus communicating to them here in John 14.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I will not profess to be able to succinctly communicate all there is about this verse in this short post or if I ever could. I want to communicate what God has told me today. The disciples wanted to know where Jesus was going that they could not go. Now in this chapter, He tells them. Isn’t that comforting that Jesus shows that He is willing to respond to our inquiries. While God is not obligated to answer us at our every whim, He has shown that He will answer when we call. After following Jesus for the past three years, the disciples were not sure where He was going and why they could not follow Him.

Jesus says, you know the way to the place where I am going. “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus says that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is key that we highlight, underscore, and any other focusing technique that Jesus says “No one comes to the Father except through me” Jesus claims to be the only means for man to have fellowship with the Father. God is not accessible without Jesus. Now, this is another mouthful to communicate. Whether in prayer or in eternity, Jesus declares that man cannot come to the Father except through Him. 

I am not going to attempt to convince any of you that Jesus’ Words are true. He makes that proclamation Himself. I am the way and the truth and the life. He says He is the truth. We either believe Him or we don’t. What about you? Do you believe Jesus? Do think that through good service that you can come to the Father? Do you think that through attempting to be good that you can come to the Father? None is true other than what Jesus said – I am the way and the truth and the life.  We will explore later tomorrow, but today, let us decide if we believe Jesus’ claim about having access to the Father.

12 Years A Slave

September 14, 2014

I admit that I am not much of a movie goer. If I go to the movies, it because my wife or kids want to go, but there is value in going as art often imitates life. There are many parallels that can be drawn from scenes, lines or music from a play or a movie. In 12 Years A Slave, this is certainly the case. I watched this movie last week with my wife and my daughter, partly. For those who may not know, 12 Years a Slave is a 2013 historical drama film and an adaptation of the 1853 slave narrative memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before his release. (wikipedia)

Northup, a free family man, was working as a violinist. He was kidnapped, really man-napped, and sold into slavery. He was taken away from his wife, children, life and freedom. I am sure all of us can sort of imagine what it would be like to taken away from our free lives to be sold into captivity where we were dehumanized and subjected to horrible treatment. The film is said to have breathed reality. “There are enough scenes of brutal violence in 12 Years a Slave to make your skin crawl. But few are as disturbing and as genuinely shocking as one in which a black slave is left hanging from a tree, grunting from suffocation, his toes barely touching the ground. Behind him, children play and other slaves go about their chores, fearing for their lives if they even look his way. The camera lingers on this wide shot for several minutes as if to emphasize the sheer helplessness of these people.” (ref).

In another situation where art imitates life, Clemens, one of the characters who had been kidnapped, participates in a discussion with Robert and Solomon. He says, “Three can’t stand against a whole crew. The rest here are niggers, born and bred slaves. Niggers ain’t got the stomach for a fight, not a damn one.” Normally, I stay away from the use of that word; however, this scene struck me because it evidences man’s estate with sin. He has not stomach for a fight against sin. In fact, man does not want to fight against sin. He wants to exists seamlessly with sin. Man wants to sin. Man loves to sin.

12 Years a Slave chronicles the life of one man who was free and became a slave. Man, on the other hand, is born a slave. Psalm 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:23 says, “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Since we were born into sin and all sin, we, without Christ, are all slaves to sin. Listen to what Paul says about people being slaves to sin and Christ setting you free in Romans 6.

13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Without Christ, we are free from the control of righteousness (v20 above). In fact, Romans 8 says,

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.

The Word says that we have an obligation to live according to the Spirit of God if we have the Spirit of God. In essence, Paul is saying that for those who have trust Christ as Savior and Lord are obligated to live as free men and free women not as those who “ain’t got the stomach for a fight, not a damn one.” Christ calls us to live in righteousness and as a slave to righteousness that sets us free. Romans 6:18  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

12 Years a Slave is nothing compared to a lifetime of being enslaved by sin. In regards to freedom, Solomon Northup said, “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” The only way for any of us to be free from the slavery of sin is through Christ. 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” Do you want to be slave to sin, then ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:7

He Who Had No Room Has A Room For You

September 12, 2014

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:1-7

We cannot fathom the incarnate God, Jesus, being born into this world without a decent room for Him to arrive and lay. Away in the manger my little Lord lay… Jesus’ first entry into this world as incarnate God was filled with irony. Colossians 1:16 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” Jesus, The Creator, subjected Himself to a world that valued the created over the Creator. He experienced disrespect and devaluing circumstances as He entered this world.

Just as Jesus had no room in the inn, we will experience circumstances in our lives where people do not make room for us in their lives or spaces. When it does happen, we act as if some great tragedy has occurred. Why should we feel bad, hurt or disappointed when the world confronts us with our own similar experiences? We shouldn’t, but we do because we think we are too good for many circumstances. We think we are above the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Just as Jesus endured humblings, difficulty, hardships and sufferings, we too may endure them but not to the point of sweating blood.

In John 14, Jesus was continuing to prepare the disciples for His humiliation, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. He was preparing them for a life where they would endure hardships for Jesus. In essence, Jesus said, He Who Had No Room Has A Room For You. Let’s listen in on what Jesus said.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus provided comfort for them in His conciliatory statements. While they did not know it at the time, He was preparing them for the moment when they would need to know that He Who Had No Room Has A Room For You. Jesus was preparing them for when the world would reject them because of Him. Jesus tells them that there are many rooms in His Father’s house. Jesus left many rooms for no room for us, so He is saying to His disciples this world did not make room for me. It will not make room for you. Don’t spend your time looking for this world to love you, to desire you, to embrace you. It will not, but it is said of our God that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 Since He will gather and lead us, we know that He is preparing that place for us. He promises to come back to get us that we may be where He is – with the Father. 

He Who Had No Room Has A Room For You. The world does have room for you, but Jesus does. Will you trust Jesus and live for Him knowing that He will wrap you in His arms in this world keeping you until He returns to take your new room in your new house. He Who Had No Room Has A Room For You!

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

September 10, 2014

No matter where you are in the world, there is some level of trouble facing you. Whether emotional, physical, financial, relational or any other manner, we are facing trouble. Life confronts us at every point of contention that moves us. From 2 Corinthians 4, we know “10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” We should not be surprised at trouble. It is necessary for God to conform us to the likeness of His Son which is the goal for those who are not perishing.

Today’s post comes from John 14Do not let your hearts be troubled is the first line of the text designated as John 14. It follows Jesus predicting His betrayal, His denial and His death. Despite knowing the weight of what He was about to face, suffering for the sins of man, Jesus had his attention on His disciples. Jesus’ selflessness continues to be a model and inspiration for me.

He issues the conciliatory statement to HIs disciples. He shows that He is God in that He evidences love. Like us, He could have been consumed with His own sufferings, but He was concerned with man’s. The Greek word for troubled is tarassō (tä-rä’s-sō). Here is its meaning

tarassō (tä-rä’s-sō)

  1. to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro)

     a. to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity

     b. to disquiet, make restless

     c. to stir up

     d. to trouble

     e. to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread

     f. to render anxious or distressed

    g. to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts

We know what it means to be troubled. We are not at peace. All is not well within us. We are preoccupied with our circumstances. The disciples had just learned that one of them would betray Jesus, that Peter, the emotional leader of the group, would deny Jesus, Jesus, after being with him everyday for three years, was going somewhere that they could not go right now and that Jesus would die. Fortunately, I have not had too many people whom I love die, but for those who have, I know the finality of the moments of realizing death is at their door. It is humbling and sobering at the same time. We realize how infinitesimal our strength and ability is. This is why Jesus always offers an alternative action to ones that He directs us not to engage.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

We are told not to let our hearts be troubled. That conveys that when our hearts are troubled that it is because we allowed it. How can we prevent it? Jesus tells us plainly to trust/believe in God and trust/believe in Him. Believe that He is the Son of God, the Resurrection and the life, the Good Shepherd, the Door/Gate, the Light of the World, and the Bread of Life. Jesus was calling on the disciples to reflect on all that He had shown them He was and to believe in Him. If He turned water to wine, healed the blind, raised one from the dead, He could comfort their fears and sooth their sorrows.

Through His Word, He is saying the same thing to those who claim Jesus as Lord – Do not let your hearts be troubled. We have a choice to not have our hearts to be troubled by trusting in who Jesus is and what He said He would do. As a matter of application, write down your troubles. Seek out scripture that addresses your concerns. Present your concerns to God; trust in Him; stand in faith. David laid this out for us in Psalm 37. One of the things God says there is “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” God wants us to be at peace. The only way we can experience peace is through Jesus. Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

Do not let your hearts be troubledYou believe in God; believe also in me.

“Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

September 6, 2014

As humans, we are very inquisitive. We always want to know why. I am not convinced though that it is because of the love of inquiry. With all my fiber, I believe that is predominantly because of selfishness. We want what we want, and we want to know why we can’t have it when we want it. Consequently when Jesus says, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”, it is no surprise to hear Peter ask “Lord, where are you going?” then follow it up with “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Well, most of us are aware of Jesus’ famous retort. Jesus said, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” All quotes from John 13

We over-estimate our commitment to God, to Christ. We assume that we are further along the continuum of love and service to Him. Jesus’ acuity in addressing our issues is spot-on. It should be. He is God-incarnate. I believe Jesus reveals why Peter nor any of us could follow right away.

30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. 31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

As believers and followers of Christ, God’s aim is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2. We will be made like Christ before we go to the Father. Jesus was telling the Peter that He could not come now because He had to be made in the image of Christ bring glory to God through our lives. Our lives will be filled with challenge and controversy to build our faith. We will endure hardship, but “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1

Hardships and trials forms God’s crucible for our lives to conform us to the likeness of Christ. Romans 2:6-8 says, “God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Like Christ, we glorify God by obedience, by doing what God has told us to do. Until we complete the work God has given us to do, we cannot go where He is – with the Father. Jesus says that we will follow Him later. The later is after completing the work God has prepared in advance for us to do.

Paul understood this reality and conveyed it to us when he said, “21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.Philippians 1:21-22. He challenges us to develop and maintain that mindset in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I hope that you now see why Jesus said, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” therefore,”23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24.

 

Identity Theft

September 5, 2014

According to the FBI, Identity Theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains another’s personal information without their knowledge to commit theft or fraud. Since fiscal year 2008 through the middle of fiscal year 2013, the number of identity theft-related crimes investigated by the Bureau across all programs have resulted in more than 1,600 convictions, $78.6 billion in restitution, $4.6 billion in recoveries, and $6.8 billion in fines. Identity theft victims suffered more than $24.7 billion in direct and indirect losses in 2012 — that’s more than the combined $14 billion in losses consumers experienced from other types of theft (burglary, motor vehicle theft and other property theft) in the same period. Needless to say, Identity Theft is a huge problem.

Identity Theft occurs in other ways in the lives of people at an even more alarm rate. In this world, there are many distinguishing characteristics that define who people; yet, so many people are undefined. They spend so much of their lives trying to establish who they are. As one who has worked in schools the past twenty-four years, I have first-hand knowledge of seeing children, even adults, feverishly trying to fit in to establish some identity. Because people have no concept of the purpose of their creation, their suffer Identity Theft in the millions. In fact, they are aiding in the thefts of their identities.

The prince of this world has a goal of robbing man of his identity in Christ Jesus. That is, for man to have a personal relationship with God, his creator, through the person of Jesus Christ. Man was created to have fellowship with God, but as a result of our sin, our iniquities have separated us from God; our sins have hidden His face from us so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)  As with Identity Theft, people want a solution to that problem. Once more, God offers us that through the person of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus’ Identity Was Questioned throughout the Gospels and here in John. If Jesus’ identity was questioned or attempted to be stolen, we know that we are subject to the same experiences. In Luke 9:46, we see the disciples arguing about who would be the greatest among them. Clearly, an issue with the loss of identity. In another yet more poignant case, we see Judas as a prime example of one experiencing an identity crisis. Because Judas was prompted by satan (v.21,27), he experienced Identity Theft at an enormous cost. He sold out Jesus and damned his soul eternally.

As Jesus prepared his disciples for His death, burial and resurrection in John 13, He provides the solution for Identity Theft. 

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus stated that He wanted His followers to be known by their love. It is a distinguishing feature beyond every other attribute because everyone wants to be loved. After all, that is why so many experience Identity Theft in the first place. Love is the attribute that Jesus wants us to ascribe; yet, we find it so hard to put others above ourselves even those closest to us.

For the believer, we are told When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:42 Timothy 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, butChrist 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. Galatians 2:20

Jesus offers protection against Identity Theft. Will you accept his coverage?

Jesus Foretells His Betrayal

September 3, 2014

For most of us in Christendom, it is nothing to believe that Jesus is God incarnate. For others, it may be of a challenge. Despite that, Jesus evidences many attributes of God. Omniscience the quality or state of being omniscient.   Omniscient is having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding as defined by dictionary.com. Simply put, it is knowing all things. Jesus is omniscient. We se that throughout the Gospels, but in particular, we see that today in John 13 where Jesus Foretells His Betrayal

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.

Jesus was fully aware that Judas would soon betray him. If you read further in the passage, not only does he reveal who it is, Jesus tells Judas “What you are about to do, do quickly.” Despite Jesus foretelling His betrayal and there being discussion about it, the disciples still did not get it. This is further evidence of His superiority. He told them pointedly “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” The disciples could not fathom that one of their own would do such a thing. It did not cross their minds, but it was ever before Jesus’ mind even before creation occurred.

Jesus foretold His betray. Jesus, through the Word of God, has foretold our futures, our lives. Like the disciples, it flies right over our heads because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways. Nevertheless, we struggle in believing what Jesus tells us. We read the Word hearing the Words of God just as the disciples. For believers in Christ, we even have the Spirit who dwells in us revealing the Word to us, but we still do not believe. In sin, we are given over to doubt and fear.

Jesus Foretells His Betrayal, but He has also foretold our victory in Christ Jesus. We have the full measure of Jesus’ joy. We are protected from the evil one. We are sanctified by the truth (the Word). We are one with God on the way to complete unity. We are loved by God. We will be where Jesus is,  see and live in the glory of God – John 17   Give Praise and Honor to God.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

 

Understanding What the Word Said

September 2, 2014

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Whether we are talking about Jesus’ literal words or the Word of God itself, there are times when we don’t understand what is being said. God desires to reveal Himself to us. Because God is incomprehensible, we will spend eternity having knowledge of the Holy revealed to us. As they say, Rome was not built in a day. Likewise, we will never full know all there is to know about God. We must make a commitment to Understanding What the Word Said.

Despite that, Jesus provides a model for us to understand what He has said to us.

John 13

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

First, we need to know how God speaks to us. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” It is through His Word that God speaks to us. In John 13, we see Jesus talking to His disciple Peter. He asks Peter do you understand what I am saying and doing? It was a rhetorical question. Being God, Jesus was fully aware that Peter, nor  any of the other disciples, had no clue as to the significance of what He said and did.

Next, we see that Jesus tells Peter that he did not understand, but he would understand later. Jesus did not leave it up to Peter’s intelligence or will. Jesus Himself explained what He meant. Let’s go to verse 12. There Jesus explains what He meant by what He said and did in washing their feet. Let’s see.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

After Jesus reveals His expectations via His Word, He reveals the benefit of our choice. We can choose to obey or not. If we do, Jesus says that we will be blessed if we do the things He has said in His Word. First Jesus tells, then He explains. After that, it is up to us to decide if we will obey and be blessed. Conversely, if we don’t obey, we will not be blessed but cursed. More than anything else, I want you to get this. In verse 6, it says, “ He came to Simon Peter”. Jesus comes to us, but nothing will happen if we ignore Him when He comes to us. It is not by coincidence that it is Peter who is mentioned here. Peter, while often missing the mark, was always open to Christ save his denial.

Are you open to Understanding What the Word Said? If you say yes, then you must be open to hearing from Jesus and obeying Jesus. 1 John 2:27 (NIV) “27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” God, through the Spirit, gives us the Understanding What the Word Said. 

Know Thyself

September 1, 2014

It has been written that “To Know Thyself is a phrase, by Socrates and also an inscription at the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece, used to discuss the importance of getting to know yourself.  He believed that self-knowledge was important in order to find peace, happiness, and become who we were meant to be in life.  Getting to know yourself is discovering and getting to know everything about who you are and who you want to be.  It is about looking inside and thinking for yourself about what you like and dislike.” [s]

Know Thyself is a lofty aim. In my experience, most people don’t know themselves or even how to access who they are. It appears to be more of a life journey in discovering who were are. Moreover, our lives or persons is not static but dynamic. We are always changing either progressing or regressing, but we are always changing. I believe that when we know who we are in light of who God is and the plan He has for us that life is a beautiful experience. Life comes alive.

We are back in John 13 as an example. We look at Jesus who knew God and God’s plan for His life. Listen to the commentary about Jesus in one of the most crucial and tense times in His life.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

In knowing God’s plan and who He was in light of God and His plan, Jesus could take action uncommon to man. The text states that Jesus knew that:

  • the Father had put all things under his power
  • he had come from God and was returning to God
  • he could serve man and still be who God called Him to be

In essence, I can imagine Jesus said, “I Know Thyself. Jesus knew He was in complete control. Jesus knew He had all authority; yet, we find Him here washing His disciples’ feet. Knowledge and confidence causes us to take unconventional paths or actions. Jesus did not exercise harsh authority or control over the ones He knew would betray and deny Him. He served them. WOW!!! How many of us would respond in such a manner. This passage reveals that knowing thyself is not the key but knowing who you are in light of who God says you are is the key to life.

How does one know who he is in light of who God says? 1 Corinthians 2 says,

“as it is written:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughtsexcept their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

We can know what God says by knowing God who gives us His Spirit to reveal the things of God to us. We have to surrender our will to Christ in order to have the Spirit of Christ leading us. Otherwise, we will consider the things of God foolish. If you ever wondered why the things in the bible seemed foolish or crazy to you, it may be that you have not surrendered your life to Christ. As a consequence, you don’t know the mind of God because you don’t have the Spirit of God. That is the only true way to Know Thyself.

I am asking you to Know Thyself not to gain some mystical insight or power, not to develop your self-esteem or even as Socrates thought – to find peace and happiness. True peace is only found in Christ as He is our peace Ephesians 2:14. God is not concerned with happiness as much as He wants us to experience joy which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I am asking you to know yourself because it requires you to know God. To reiterate, “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us… for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” For those of us who know God through Christ Jesus, we can truly Know Thyself because we know God who reveals God to us.

By knowing God, you Know Thyself. 


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