Pool at Bethesda (John 5)

This is one of those passages that always draws out a lot of questions.  It’s quite the picture, with angels coming to stir the water… and then the first person in being healed from it.

God’s ability to work in this manner is not what one should wonder about when reading this passage.  God can do much more than this.  The question is why would He work in this particular way.  It almost seems out of character.  But then the end of Romans 11 comes to mind…

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
       How unsearchable his judgments,
       and his paths beyond tracing out! 
   “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
       Or who has been his counselor?” 
   “Who has ever given to God,
       that God should repay him?” 
   For from him and through him and to him are all things.
       To him be the glory forever! Amen.

We must be careful when we think that something is outside of God’s will simply because we’ve never heard of it before.  Obviously we must filter things through the Bible, but what we don’t want to do is limit God when He never told us He would not do the type of thing in question.  The leaders did just that in response to this same event, and it drove them to persecute Jesus.  We must be careful.

On the other side of the coin, there are indeed many things the world falsely credits to God.  God hates it… it’s called using His Name in vain.  We do not want to join in with that either.

Instead, let us take the straight and narrow path.  Let us join in on proclaiming what we do know about Him.  And let us continue to treasure up His Word in our hearts, that we may grow in our knowledge of Him.  That we may experience and enjoy one of the greatest things God has placed into all of creation… an ever deepening love between man and the Almighty.

Romans 12:2-3

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Heavenly Well(John 4)

In John 4 we have the well known account of when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well.  I wonder how many times we’ve gone over this story.  I wonder how many times we’ve thought of ourselves as the woman…

I never picked up completely on her misunderstanding before.  Jesus told her He would offer a water that would never leave a thirst.  Water from a continual spring.

She responds in verse 13 with “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty…”  I always skimmed over her answer and assumed that she was catching on.  I thought it was obvious to her that Jesus was speaking of a spiritual water.  But then I consider the rest of her reply, “… and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 

Her focus is still on a physical fulfillment.

Too many times I have done likewise.  Jesus has promised me eternal things, and I mistake them for temporal gifts… things that will burn away.  It’s hard, because we live in a culture where physical reward is king.  Even much of the broadcasted preaching, from those who claim to have God’s message, is filled with this fallen focus.  God doesn’t need to make us rich, powerful, popular or beautiful.  There are plenty of those people in the world. 

What God calls us to is something beyond this far country.  Something that carries the scent of our true home.  We must long for the spring of water that wells up to eternal life.

And we must be careful when we tell other people about the promises of God.  The average person will be looking for physical gifts, things that can help them in their present circumstance (from an earthly point of view).  We must shine in the darkness so people can see that their needs are beyond what is seen.  So they can find the well that longs to eternally burst forth within them.

Can we see taste clearly enough to tell when the water is not from the physical well, but rather from the eternal well?

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.