The disciples of Jesus were all for the most part what we would call “characters”. Take James and John, for instance, “the sons of Zebedee.” You might remember them as the ones who cornered Jesus to angle for the choice seats at his right and left hands in the kingdom. That was their great concern. They wanted to sit next to Jesus in all of eternity and have the greatest authority. They asked for it outright.
Or there was the time they wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a village that wouldn’t offer Jesus a place for the night. That was their solution and they weren’t ashamed of it. Their buddies called them idiots; Jesus called them the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17). He saw who they really were.
It’s their mythic name, their true identity. They looked like fishermen out of work; they were actually the Sons of Thunder. Jesus saw them for who they could be in God. He saw their heart. His view won out. Aren’t we glad for that?
Jesus knew why He was here. He knew how it would end. He knew He would go through the worst time possible.
What was the end in His mind? Not the sorrow or the crucifixion. It was the glorification. He knew what He had to go through to get to the glorification and for the sheer joy of it, he endured.
And so, we benefit from God’s new plan. We have gone through it with Him.
Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. ‘Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. John 12:23-27
Jesus had a lot to say to the Religious Scholars of His day. He still does. Do we really think reading the Bible constantly saves us? Is that where our life comes from? Are we missing the forest for the trees?
Jesus is standing right in front of us. He is giving us life right now.
You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want. John 5:39-40 (The Message)
How much do I need to budget for groceries? Let me consult with my Father.
Should I go to the party I was invited to after church? Let me consult with my Father.
Should I work in this ministry or serve in that way? Let me consult with my Father.
I do nothing without consulting the Father…… John 5:30a
- Friday (January 4): “Behold, the Lamb of God.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- “You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it.” ~~Jesus (mww1954.wordpress.com)
- A Thought… (jesusisms.wordpress.com)
He had been crippled for 38 years. Now that is a long time. Jesus healed him. Not a problem. He is perfectly aligned with His Father. He has a new plan. It is a new agreement. And when Jesus heals us, we look wonderful.
And, it is Good News all the time. God has a goal for us. We should listen to Jesus and not miss it. Who knows what could happen.
“You look wonderful! You’re well! Don’t return to a life of missing God’s goal or something worse might happen.” ~~Jesus (John 5:14 The Message)
He has promised living waters. Not just any kind of water. It is living water. It will flow not trickle. He fills me with His Holy Spirit. As His Spirit satisfies me, it flows out to others.
Thank you for knowing and caring!! You are amazing my Lord.
“If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within” (John 7:37–38 NLT)
Jesus knew before he selected Judas that he would betray him. He wanted him as a part of the 12 regardless.
He knew Peter would deny Him. He wanted him as a part of the 12 regardless.
He knew Thomas would, at his core, doubt Him. He wanted him as a part of the 12 regardless.
He knew John was way too competitive. He wanted him as a part of the 12 regardless.
Would I do that? Probably not. Betrayal hurts. Denial hurts. Doubt hurts. Competition hurts. It hurts to the core. But Jesus also knew that his Holy Spirit would fill them. He knew they would perform greater signs and wonders than He did. He knew that day would come, when, after His resurrection, they would be transformed and fill with Power.
Jesus’ identity did not come from anyone but His Father. And he knew how much His Father loved Him. He knew it in his core. So he could select a bunch of men who would betray Him, deny Him, doubt Him, be way too competitive with each other and yet be open to Him. They would leave Him alone at the most important moment. He knew it. He was grounded in His Father’s love and pleasing Him. He loved them no matter what.
May I do the same. May my identity come from my Father who is so perfectly good all the time. May my love come from my Father who is always in a good mood and has my best interest in mind. May my heart be grounded in Him!!
So be it!!! Whoo Hoo!!!
God is speaking. He is moving. Will I keep quiet about what I have seen and heard?
God had used Peter and John to heal a lame man. The story is stunning. They were arrested for it. After spending the night in jail, they were bold beyond belief. They drew the line in the sand with the religious leaders. Do we listen to you or to God? They chose God.
May I not keep quiet about what I see God doing.
They (the religious leaders) called them back and warned them that they (Peter and John) were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question—we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20
Many days, there is a whole lot of worrying going on. Fear can cripple. How many times does God come to us and say, “Fear not”? That is one of His great themes. Trust in Him. He is in control. He didn’t bring us this far to leave us now.
Here is the good news. Jesus has overcome everything. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. All is well. It is finished.
“But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
—– Jesus,John 16:33
God wants me to prosper. He has every good thing in mind for me and wants me to have them. He is in a good mood. Period.
And, it is not just for a few parts of my life, it is for everything I do. Every part of my life. My health, my finances, my relationships. Everything. He wants me to prosper. That is just His way.
May my everyday affairs prosper, as He has them in mind for me.
I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health—that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul! 3 John 2
I look at the question and it seems pretty reasonable to me. But Jesus blew them (and me) away with the answer. They were asking an “old plan” question. The “old plan” has a whole bunch of what must I do stuff.
Jesus gave them some “new plan” answers. This was in fact good news. Here it is. BELIEVE!! That is the new plan. Work equals believing.
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’ Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’ John 6:27-29
Difficulties are a natural part of the world. Jesus brings me peace and offers courage. Why can He do this? He has overcome the world and I am a new creation that shares in His resurrection. I can take heart. He is risen and I am seated with Him. The victory belongs to the LORD!!!
May peace be mine. May I have courage today. Why worry?
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage ; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
When Jesus was on the cross, redeeming me, he cried out it is finished. Here he tells the crowds, before that happened, that now was the time for judgement and how Satan would be driven out by His death. What He said and did is very clear. It is not the future. It was taken care of and finished. Faith compells me to believe it. Not just “kind of” believe it but really believe it.
May I continue to experience His victory.
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. John 12:31-33
When I see miracles, I am seeing the glory of God. In this passage, Martha was doubting that Jesus could raise her brother Lazarus from the dead. Of course, we know how the story ended. She didn’t. She was on the front end of the miracle.
There are lots of days that I am standing on the front end of the miracle. My job is to believe Jesus. When I do, I see His glory.
May I believe Jesus. May I see His glory.
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40
Fill in the blank. But because of __________ I would not confess my faith for fear I will be kicked out of _______ . Because of my colleagues at work? Because of my friends? Because of my family? Because of my boss?
Whose acceptance am I striving for? Whose rejection do I fear? Where does my identity come from?
May I care more what God thinks of me than my colleagues, boss, friends or family. May I seek to please Him in all I do.
Yet at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. John 12:42-43
Jesus is saving me a seat. It has my name on it. At the great wedding dinner, I have a place already for me.
Remember the feeling when someone saves a seat for you at a crowded event. The place is packed but you look over and there they are. They wave to and motion you to come over.
Imagine how we we will feel when Jesus does the same thing!! The music is playing. The room is packed with energy and excitement. I look over and there He is. He waves to me. He motions me over. He escorts me to my seat. He huges me and tells me how happy He is to see me.
Oh my. That will be a BIG Whoo Hoo for sure!!!
“I am going . . . to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
Jesus started a whole bunch of new stuff. He wasn’t about the old world. His mission was to bring God’s love to us all. He also set whole new standards for how we should live.
And so …. it is straighforward. No wiggle room here. He love us. We are to love each other that same way.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
It is a fairly reasonable question. We come to Jesus and from our religious culture and upbringing ask “What must we do?” We have been told our whole life, go to church, pray, fast, be religious. The focus is on doing. It is more that just a religious culture. It is the way of life in America. So, what does God require? Good question.
Jesus wants us to work at believing in Him. It is all about the relationship with him and not what we do. We must believe. That leads to His new plan. His mission will fill us when we know He cares for us.
Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God
Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the
one he has sent.’ (John 6:26-29 NIV)
This is pretty good advise. It came from a woman who knew Jesus very well. His mother knew who he was and what He could do. And so it was pretty simple. “Do whatever he tells you.” Now the whatever wasn’t going to make any sense to them. They needed wine. He told them to put water into some jars. But, she advised them to do whatever He asked.
And so, the rest of the story is pretty simple as well. They did!!
May I do whatever He tells me.
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, John 2:5-8 TNIV
There were the multitudes. There were the 72. There were the 12. Peter, James and John made up the 3. Then there was the one whom Jesus loved. He reclined next to Jesus at the last supper. He heard what He whispered.
May I recline next to Jesus. May I hear what He whispers.
One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. John 13:23