Jesus and the Father are One- John 10

Here in the later half of John 10 we see yet another place where Jesus Himself says that He is God.  The Jews were asking Him if He was the Christ.  Not only did He affirm that, but He said that He and the Father are One.

The Jews weren’t planning on stoning Him because He claimed to be the Messiah.  And it wasn’t because He claimed to be some “super-angel” or “the first creation”.  They wanted to stone Him because, as they themselves said, He claimed to be God.

When it comes down to the Word of God, it is such a dangerous thing to try to force your own meaning into the Bible instead of taking the Bible for what the Bible says.  We need to let the Bible make us, and not try to make the Bible.

Some people trust in others for their salvation without even realizing it.  When they stand before God and He asks them why they didn’t believe His words that they read… well, saying that so-and-so told them it meant otherwise isn’t going to fly.  God isn’t anyone’s fool.  Even if you deceive yourself, you won’t deceive Him.

Another thing to note here.  It’s amazing that when Jesus claims deity He isn’t doing it so people will give Him money or lip service or anything like that.  He’s not anything like the tyrannical man who pretends to be God so that people will serve his wickedness.  He’s not trying to justify terrible acts and play a push-around game of “king of the hill”.

Instead He’s revealing Himself to His creation, that they might find true life.  His claim is accompanied by healing a blind man.  It’s accompanied by promises of love and protection.  By the promise of the ultimate self sacrifice.

Jesus is God.  And oh what mercy He showers upon us!!!

My Flesh, My Blood (John 6)

Jesus wasn’t a man chasing the status quo.  He sought God’s righteousness.  And some of the things He said didn’t sit very well with the fallen people around Him.

One crystal clear example of this is the second half of John 6, where Jesus makes a bold statement.  He says to the people that they must drink of His blood and eat of his flesh in order to receive life.

Now the Jews were a people who saw cannibalism as a sin.  And that’s certainly what it sounded like Jesus was teaching them.  But they should have known that He meant something else.  He left no question on whether He followed the Father’s will.

I don’t know what I would have thought had I lived back then and heard this for the first time.  I’m guessing it would have been hard.  But we see that his closest disciples at least understood that Jesus was the one they needed to cling to.  They knew Jesus would direct them in the path of God.

I like the way Rich Mullins talked about this in an article he wrote for Release Magazine back in ’96.  Here’s what he said…

The Communion of Saints

by Rich Mullins

Release Magazine September/October 1996 

 

 

In one of those especially poignant passages that so frequently and powerfully mark the gospels and charge them with the character of Christ, we encounter Jesus and His twelve in a moment of deep sorrow followed by a great flash of glory. (And does glory ever come except on the heels of sorrow?)

Jesus has just alienated many of His disciples by telling them that they must “eat (His) body” and “drink (His) blood.” This directive must have been even more startling to its original audience than to us. They did not hear it through the filter of some 1900 of systematizing theology contrived to intellectualize and cushion us against the blow of His outrageous command. They it head on and felt the full force of it and they were repulsed.

Here, Jesus, who was habitually pushing the margin of reason into the realms of faith, crossed the line. Here, He ventured too deeply into the uncharted territory of the kingdom of God, articulated too clearly the good, yet disturbing news of that kingdom, and called for an obedience too radically opposite the reasonable sensibilities of many disciples at that time. He called them to follow too far outside their well-defined comfort lines…and they ran away in disgust or stood paralyzed in terror as Jesus walked on – walked on into the blinding light of the liberating truth He had just spoken.

The twelve stayed with Him – maybe reluctantly, maybe for reasons that they didn’t know. But when Jesus asked that heartbreaking question, “Will you also leave Me?” it is Peter – the impetuous apostle – who gives us the secret to the hidden heart of discipleship:
“Where else can we go? You have the words of life!”
Peter may very well have been as perplexed over the point of Jesus’ teaching as those who abandoned Him, but he was not confused about the person Jesus. Peter might have misunderstood His methods and mission, but he was certain that Jesus was Messiah. He may have been in the dark about where he was going, but he knew that in Jesus there was light. He may have been scared nearly to death by the demands of discipleship, but he knew that in Jesus there was life. Just before this confession of his dependency on and the sufficiency of Jesus, he had sunk in the storm of intimidating waves and been rescued by the hand of a Master who knew his weakness and the shallowness of his faith (Matthew 14:22- 31).

There is much that we are intimidated by in our walk: doctrines that run counter to our cultures and egos, tasks that seem nearly insurmountable, the weakness of our wills and the seeming severity of God’s. We can get lost in the endless debates over the mechanics of Christianity and sink in the despondency of our powerlessness to grasp the mystery of grace, but in the midst of that, we must do what the writer to the Hebrews advised and what Peter did, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” It is He who calls us and He who enables. His body is our bread; His blood our drink. He has the words of life.

Get Personal 2 (John 4)

I’d like to reiterate a point I made in this post a while back.  We need to reach out to people’s hearts, not waste their time with the things that don’t really matter.  Rich Mullins said in a song…

Well you can talk about fashion
You can talk about the weather
It’s all just stuff and it all goes up in flames
Just in case somebody comes askin’
Why don’t you do ’em one better
If you got to talk why don’t you tell ’em
‘Bout the things that remain the same

Please, don’t be scared to talk to people right where they are, however it comes up in the conversation.  And show the world that you truly believe Romans 11:36 by relating their life directly to Jesus…

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. 

And always, speak to people with truth and with love.  Just like Jesus did…

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, `I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

What would you ask? (John 1)

So here He is, the Messiah!  Jesus Christ in the flesh, the Lamb of God, is standing right in front of you!  And He looks at you and asks “What do you want?”

What would you ask?  I mean, this is God here!  As a religious person, you’re likely to have a whole lot of questions in mind and heart.  So many things have happened in your life, and you want to know why.  What they all mean.  And you want to know what all these passages in Scripture are talking about.

Well, this was the situation with the first two disciples of Christ.  They finally meet the Lamb of God, face to face, and He has asked them what they want.  Their deep desire is the answer to the question… “Where are you staying?”

What?  Are you kidding me?  They could have asked so many things, but they want to know where He’ll be sleeping tonight?!

Maybe they were overwhelmed.  Maybe they didn’t understand the opportunity before them. 

Or maybe they did understand.  I don’t think there’s enough information here for us to conclude what was going through their minds.  But there is enough information to tell us something about their character.

Jesus answered their question in a way that He often answered questions.  With opportunity to learn in ways that a simple answer could not afford.  He said “Come, and you will see.”

What did they do?  They didn’t press Him to tell them, they followed. 

How many times has God said to us “Come, and you will see,” only to have us reply “No, I’d rather an answer now thank you.”  I’m not looking to make some deep metaphor out of “Come and see” here.  I’m simply trying to consider our response to God.  When He calls us beyond the limits of our understanding, calls us to step off of the cliff and out of our lives, how do we respond?  Do we continue to push for our selfish desires, for our comfortable Christianity?  Or do we walk with Him, following Him whether it’s a leap off of the cliff or to simply see where He’s laying His head that night?

Knowing where Jesus was going to go to sleep was probably not the most exciting thing to learn when faced with God Himself.  But they listened to the answer and followed.  Not only that, but they took advantage of the opportunity it provided them to bring others to Christ.  The first thing Andrew did was run off and tell Peter “It’s Him, it’s the Messiah!”  And then he brought Peter to Christ.

What is your question for God?  And how are you going to use that answer for the Peters in your life?  I hope that we use what He has given us to bring others into the presence of the Messiah.

Follow Him (John 1)

So today as I was reading on in John 1 I was thinking still about what it must have been like for John the Baptist to know he was spoken of exclusively in a prophecy from Isaiah.  I can’t fully imagine what life would be like if I was in his spot.

It must have been at least a little bit of a struggle not to become proud.  I mean, that’s no small honor John was given.  When I look at the text here in John 1 it looks like he was gaining quite a following.  So many people were coming to him to be baptised.  He even had his own disciples!  Add to that having the hypocritical religious leaders of the Jews snooping around, and it would be hard for me not to think more highly of myself then I ought to.

Well it seems like John did a pretty good job of keeping his ego in check.  When people wondered if he was the Messiah, he quickly responded with humility. 

And we see something special from John in 1:35-36.  These disciples of his, these followers, were obviously supporting John in his work.  And with all the Jews around there, John certainly had his work cut out for him.  Two of them were down by the water with him as he was baptising the people.  John had already declared that Jesus was the Messiah.  He fulfilled a major part of his task, though much work was left to be done.  And Jesus, he didn’t make any indication to John that He needed any help.  So I imagine if I was John I’d still be wanting all the help I could get.

But I’m not John.  And instead of seeing John as a man scared to lose his disciples, we see John as a man eager to give God the glory.  When Jesus comes walking by the water again, he tells his disciples “Hey look, that’s Him!  That’s the Lamb of God!”  And with the way these two disciples so quickly turn and follow Jesus, it’s clear that John had lifted Christ up properly.  We see no questions from John’s disciples, and we don’t see John dishing out advice to them like it’s his kids leaving home for good.  They just go.  And John just watches…

Christ has called all Christians to do likewise.  If you are a Christian, and not all who claim to be are, you must remember that you have given your life to Him.  You have committed putting yourself on a cross, and going out into the world with the purpose of bringing the world to Him. 

Looking back at my life, I’m saddened to see how often I’ve failed to follow the example John set.  Instead of pointing to God, I have often pointed to myself.  I sometimes even start with the intentions of pointing to Christ, but instead I get to focused on how good of a person I am and how good of a Christian I am.  If I saw the truth of it, I would know that I’m not as good as I think.

Is this true for you?  Do you get so worried about what people think of you that you forget your mission?  Your mission, not to simply look good, but to declare with your actions that God is good?  If so, read over the accounts of John the baptist and ask God for understanding.  Look at how John always seemed to take the focus off of himself and shift it towards Christ.  You will find encouragement and insight on how to do the same.  If God has called you to a work, believe He will provide what is needed for that work!

And your work is to point to Him.