Where is Jesus? – John 9

God is at work in our world.  People are touched by Him in more ways than they can really understand.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell just how a thing came about.  Other times there is no question.  But knowing “who did what” isn’t the focus, rather its a signpost telling us where to go.  It is the thing that directs us while we are lost.  But we remain lost if we do not venture beyond the signpost.

The focus is coming to the Worker of all good things.  Our destination IS Him.

For the man born blind, whom John tells us about in his ninth chapter, there was no question Who worked the miracle.  It was the Man they call Jesus who opened his eyes.  The signpost was like writing in the sky, everyone knew who was responsible.

But one could not say that the man had truly found Jesus.  They could only that say that he was touched by Jesus. 

That healing touch of love did mighty things for the man’s soul.  He gave the man an opportunity to see, and I’m not talking about with his eyes.

When the Pharisees harassed him about the healing, the man told them it was Jesus who did it.  They continued to press the matter, twisting the truth into all sorts of distortions.   But in response to their lies the healed man said “One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see!”

He may not have realized it, but the work of Christ in his life made him able to see the wickedness of the Pharisees.  He did not receive a miraculous gift of discernment, but he did have a clearer vision because of the one miracle worked upon his natural eyes.  The more he talked with the Pharisees on the matter, the clearer it became to him.  Theses guys had an agenda, and the truth would not sway them from their goal.

He didn’t know who Jesus was, but he saw that Jesus was from God.  Unfortunately today many of those who find themselves in a similar situation remain as they are.  They don’t seek the One to whom the signposts point.  They stand at the signposts and called it being saved, but they are still lost. 

And they are not able to truly show people who Jesus is.  Even if the right words come out of their mouths, they are only able to give lip service to Him…

Having been thrown out by the Pharisees, the healed man went on his way.  Then Jesus found the man and made it clear to him who He really was… the Son of Man, Lord, the Giver and Taker of sight, the Judge, the Gate, the Good Shepherd.

It is a great thing when God works in the lives of men.  But that work may only be the signpost, directing people towards Him.  If a person doesn’t follow that signpost and come to God on God’s terms, they may find themselves in the position of the Pharisees who were with Jesus when He healed the blind man.  They asked Him “What?  Are we blind too?”

Jesus responded “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

Jesus Is Always The Truth (John 7)

Some people like to point to John 7:8 to try and accuse Jesus of lying.  Jesus told his brothers that He was not going up to the feast.  Later though, He did go.

I can understand how a non-Christian would think that this was lying.  But they’d be wrong.  And they have the responsibility to look deeper into the passage to see what the truth of the matter is.

When Jesus said he wasn’t yet “going”, he used this Greek word…

 anabainw Verb : 1st Person : Present : Active : Indicative : Singular 305 anabainw

“Going”, also transliterated “Anabaino”, is a present tense word, not future tense.  Jesus was waiting to go later, but was not going up at the time with His brothers.  This lines up just fine with what Christ said.

Please remember that Christ will never lead you astray.  He calls all men unto Himself.  He will not ever sin, nor will He call us to sin.

Psalm 3:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.

Miracle of Marriage (John 2)

Often when we read of Jesus turning the water to wine we discuss the issues of alcohol.  Unfortunately, too many people ignore the rest of the Bible, or twist it to the point that those defending the truth are set on guard whenever the word wine is read.  To be clear, I believe to get drunk or even buzzed is a sin, and that belief comes from Scripture.  No excuses.  But that is not what this post is about.  For those people who try to force this text into being proof that they can get drunk, into a sacrifice for their religion of self, I hope you someday learn the truth of what Jesus did at the wedding in Cana.

Jesus had recently been “announced” to the world by John the baptist.  Then He gained a few disciples and took them to Cana.  And what is the first event Jesus takes these men to? 

A wedding. 

I don’t know what things were like back then, but I know that nowadays guys don’t usually go and hang out at weddings together.  But even if that was normal back then, I still can’t help but wonder if this is a clue about our walk with Christ.  The New Testament talks a lot about marriage.  We’re even shown how marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the Church.  And Jesus chooses a marriage as the first public event to take His disciples to.  At least it’s the first one that God chooses to inform us about.

Can we really go very far in our relationship with Christ without learning the truths of marriage, and how they relate to God?  I don’t know.  But I know that we have an opportunity for a deep relationship with Christ if we can understand how important marriage is to God. 

The Creator of all things has placed much value on relationships.  And through that truth we can see how God has placed much value upon people.  Upon us.  Mankind was a single man until God instituted marriage.  God decided that it was the relationship that would bring about life, both through childbearing and through undivided love for another person.

And this may also be why Jesus decided to do His first miracle at a wedding.  He wanted His disciples to know.  He wanted the servants at the wedding to know.  He wants all of us to know.  Marriage is a beginning of life.  God stepped into the world in a miraculous fashion to honor a wedding.  And Jesus wasn’t going to start His ministry of discipling without a marriage.  Marriage reveals much about the heart of God.

Jesus’ mother Mary was also at the wedding.  This opened up a great opportunity for Jesus’ new disciples.  From the beginning of their time with Christ, they were given an intimate glimpse into His humanity, seeing Him interact with the woman who birthed Him into this world.  The woman who helped nuture Him, and raise Him up as a little boy.  The woman who treasured up in her mother’s heart the deep truths about her Son, the Christ.  Christ introduced His disciples to His mother at a wedding.

The disciples in Cana that day experienced all at once the humanity of Christ, the divine glory of Christ, and the heart of Christ.  And they put their faith in Him.

It happened at a wedding.

Get personal(John 1)

I’m noticing already a pattern here in John 1.  Jesus seems to directly work towards revealing what’s on the heart of the one He’s talking to.  While that may not be some earth shattering discovery, it does validate a practice which our culture seems to frown upon.

We’re often told that one must develop a close friendship with someone before dealing with them on personal issues.  That we must bow to impersonal religion that, coincidentally, is mocked by the same people who try to force us into it.  But in many of the examples we see in the Bible, the messenger of Christ was direct and so very personal… even with strangers.

If you study and meditate on the Bible, you will more likely have love and the Word of God on your heart when you deal with people.  And if you have His word on your heart then you have the Words of Life, and you can trust that those Words will work their way into the hearts of men.  You don’t need to always focus on working up some great oration on current events or politics or whatever, you just need to point their heart to Jesus.  And when you give a person directions on how to get to Him, remember that they must start that journey from where they are at.

God’s Word will not return unto Him without serving its purpose.  And He does not place you into people’s lives at a particular time and a particular place without expectation that you will use that exact time and exact place to glorify Him. 

Use His words directly with people. 

Reach into their hearts exactly where you encounter them.

Show them that even in the fleeting moments they are important to you and to God. 

And show them they are important by being personal. 

Don’t dance around the hearts of men, be like Christ and dance with them…

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.

How we treat our own

Reading again from John chapter one, I found myself thinking about the contrast between how God treats us and how we treat Him.

v.11- “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

How often do we give the proper amount of weight to the fact that God Himself was willing to come to us.  That alone is something that blows my mind.  Who are we that He should consider us?  Yet because of who He is, He has chosen not only to reveal Himself to us, but to actually come here.  As a man. 

And that’s an entirely different thing to consider, that He would become like us!  To somehow be limited, to suffer with us.  To take on the human, that is, the servant’s form. 

And then to consider how we murdered Him, and He knowingly went through with it all.

And John, by God’s leading, also tells us this…

v. 12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

God became a man, that man might know God.  That man might somehow be one with God.  How is it that we can question His love for us?!  Never has love been more undeniable.  If we could only see beyond ourselves…

John 1- Jesus is God

Jesus is God.  Why is that so hard for people to accept?

 

I’ll admit, understanding the nature of God can be difficult.  How can Three be One, and One be Three?  What’s the difference between Them?  How exactly does the Holy Spirit live in us, and how does He move us?  Why didn’t God make another way for our sins to be forgiven, some other way that didn’t include Jesus dying?  How can He be eternal?  Why does He allow evil?

 

These are difficult things to understand, and I don’t know that any man can fully explain any of them.  But I don’t believe that they are difficult to accept.

 

Understanding and acceptance are not the same.  Sure they relate to each other, and even lead to each other.  But one cannot call them equals.  We do not need to understand God to accept what He says about Himself.  Why is it so hard for people to accept that Jesus is God?

 

There are a lot of things we do not understand, yet we accept them without reserve.  Do we understand how gravity works, what drives it?  Do we know why music impacts us so deeply?  Why a beautiful sunset makes any difference to us at all?  Do you know exactly how your brain is interpreting the words you’re reading right now?  How do you know for sure that you even have a brain?  If you’ve seen your own brain, how do you know it does all the things that you’re told it does?  Who can explain life itself? 

 

This list could probably go on for the rest of your life.

 

We accept so many things that we don’t understand.  We accept so much understanding based on what others tell us is true.  Certain truths force themselves upon us in the fact that we live in reality.  We accept them as true, or deny reality.  Our understanding of a thing does not always accompany acceptance of the thing.

 

Why is it so hard for people to accept that Jesus is God?

 

John 1:1 says, speaking of Jesus, “the Word was God.”  We accept the Bible as God’s truth, and that God is always true.  But some feel that God did not communicate exactly as He should have.  So they add in little words to alter the truth of the statement.  For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, I’m speaking mostly of the Watchtower here.  They are the authority of those who falsely call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.

 

It amazes me how people in general can be so blind.  This is an example of that.  One only needs to read the text here (without added words) to see the point of the entire passage: Jesus is God, and He has come to His own people.  Yet they take a few verses and alter them in an effort to take that meaning away.

 

It’s like taking a picture of a mountain, and writing a caption that says “This is an anthill.”  It’s like writing the biography of an 80 year old man and saying “He only lived to be two years old.”  It’s like pointing to the moon and calling it a firefly.  It’s a foolish and obviously desperately intentional attempt to use Truth to speak against Itself. 

 

But Truth can never speak against itself, for it is always True.

 

Jesus declared Himself to be God.  Jesus is God.  We are not called to fully understand that fact.  But we are called to accept, embrace, and love it. 

 

To accept, embrace, and love Him.