Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Persecution and the Sabbath (John 5:15-16)

The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews ipersecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.  John 5:15-16

The job I have can be somewhat demanding on my time.  I enjoy and look forward to my days off.  I am sure you can relate.  In fact, as I write this I am looking forward to having tomorrow and Friday off.  

Jesus healed a man and the religious leaders of His day went nuts.  Oh... not because He healed the man.  They couldn't care less about that. IT WAS THE SABBATH... HOW DARE HE! The Sabbath, as I am sure you already know, was installed as a buffer for people so they do not work themselves to death.  It was also a day set aside for the worship of God. Part of worship is ministry.  Jesus, the great Physician, ministered to this man on a day specifically set aside for the worship of God.  The only problem was the rules people made around that day.

I wonder what rules WE, yes you and me, have placed around certain days that prohibit us from ministering to others or otherwise worshiping the Lord?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Left her waterpot (John 4:28-30)

The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" Then they went out of the city and came to Him.  John 4:28-30

There is a very good chance that if I had not become such good friends with a guy named Jorge, and hung out with him so much, I might not have met Daniela.  I don't know (nor do I care to know) how my life would be different.  If I had not met her, we would not have the amazing children we have.  That is, at least to some degree, the ""domino effect"... one ebent leads to the next, which leads to the next and so on.

What would have happened (or not happened) had the woman at the well stayed at the well?  What would have happened (or not happened) if she had not left her waterpot?  Did she have a responsibility to bring water back to her home.  Of course she did.  Did she have a greater responsibility to the people of the town, to share the news of Messiah's arrival?  Most definitely. 

Friends, we may not have waterpots to leave, but I am guessing that there is something we can/should leave behind that takes a backseat to the Gospel.  Well... what is it in your life?


Monday, May 28, 2012

Needing... (John 4:4)

But He needed to go through Samaria. John 4:4

First... a few words from our friendly neighborhood commentary (the Bible Knowledge Commentary):
He had to go through Samaria. This was the shortest route from Judea to Galilee but not the only way. The other route was through Perea, east of the Jordan River. In Jesus' day the Jews, because of their hatred for the Samaritans, normally took the eastern route in order to avoid Samaria. But Jesus chose the route through Samaria in order to reach the despised people of that region. As the Savior of the world He seeks out and saves the despised and outcasts (cf. Luke 19:10). "Samaria" in New Testament times was a region in the middle of Palestine, with Judea to the south and Galilee to the north. Samaria was without separate political existence under the Roman governor. The people were racially mixed and their religion resulted from syncretism and schism from Judaism. Its center of worship was Mount Gerizim. Even today in Israel, a small group of Samaritans maintain their traditions.

You see, Jesus had a mission... to seek and to save that which was lost. He had an appointment, set in Heaven, with a woman in Samaria. He certainly had the option of taking the more popular route, the easier route... you know, the route no one will gossip about.

That wasn't Jesus' M.O., though was it? His was a life of selfless giving. And He gave His all right to the end.

The question before us today (and every day after today) is simple:

Am I going to do what The Father asks of me, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it is?

What would/did Jesus do?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Cloak of Darkness (John 3:18-21)

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."  John 3:18-21

My car was broken into... once.  While I was helping a friend move.  Do you think it happened in a crowded parking lot at high-noon?  OF COURSE NOT!  It happened after the sun went to bed and no one was around. 

What do you do when no one is looking?  What do you watch?  What do you look at?  What do you read?  What do you allow yourself to focus on?  Here's a frightening truth about the human condition:

Who you are when you are alone is the "real you".

Jesus, fortunately, wants to fix the "real you".  He has a plan to make you more like Him (a big word called sanctification).  Jesus is THE LIGHT... come to Him and let Him heal, fix, or otherwise sanctify you.


Friday, May 25, 2012

The original Nick at Night (John 3:1-4)

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" John 3:1-4

I have heard sermons on this text where the preacher/pastor downright slams Nicodemus for "coming at night".  As if it was somehow a less meaningful thing to do at night.  Maybe he had to fulfill family obligations?  Maybe he did not want to tip off the other authorities as to the whereabouts of Jesus... seeing as how they want to kill Him. Maybe we will never know what the circumstances were that lead him to the feet of Jesus that night, but we do know this:  HE CAME TO THE FEET OF JESUS.

Jesus wastes no time getting to the point.  Nick comes to Him and the flattery begins.  Jesus isn't hearing any of it.  

NICK: "Teacher, you are amazing and we know that you come from God because..."

JESUS: "You can't enter Heaven without being born again."


At any rate, let's make this apply to today.  Have you come to Jesus' feet today to learn from Him?  I've said it before... hint, hint, you'll hear it again I bet.... the lost need a Savior and the saved need a Lord.  Fortunately, Jesus supplies both needs.

Yes... even if you come at night.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bypassing the process is the process. (John 2:5-10)


His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water."And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"  John 2:5-10

I refuse to enter the "can the Christian drink" debate.  Many who wish to say that we cannot use take this passage to mean that Jesus turned water into grape juice (though that must have been some really amazing juice to get drunk off it...! cf v10).  

Let's focus on the point of this miracle... Jesus bypassed the fruit.  Whether you believe it was grape juice (again... really powerful, you can get drunk off it, grape juice) or wine, notice that Jesus didn't need grapes.  

What is He telling you to do that seems like it can not be done because of some obstacle?  Sometimes bypassing the process is the process.

I don't know what He is calling you to do but I do know that all of us should take His mother's advice:

Whatever He says to you, do it.


PS... Luke 7:34 says:
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Ok... I'm done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

COME AND SEE (John 1:37-39)

The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).  John 1:37-39

Ten years ago, when Daniela and I were envisioning a future we did not see 4 kids.  We did not see my pastorates and we certainly did not plan on moving across the country.  I was going to be a math teacher and we were going to live in the suburbs of Miami.  That was the plan.

Then God interfered with the whole thing (which we are most thankful for).

In this passage we see two men, Andrew and Peter, who had other plans and were called to follow Christ.  There is a delightfully adventurous aspect to all this:

"Rabbi where are You staying?" 

What's next?  Where are we off to?  WHAT IS THE AMAZING PLAN...???

There is also a terrifyingly empty answer that leaves us to TRUST Him:

"Come and see."

But what is the plan?  

"Come and see."

Where are we going?

"Come and see."

What's next?

"Come and see."

What do you have in store for me and my family?

"Come and see."

Here's the take away that we need to understand:

Following the Good Shepherd means trusting that He knows what's best and will provide for the journey.

Besides... He loves you more than you love yourself.  Think about that.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

John points the way. (John 1:6-8)

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  John 1:6-8

So much can be said about this passage.  
- Twice John mentions that John (the Baptizer) was sent by God. 
- The word "witness" comes from the Greek work we get martyr from.
- The witness was a man... not your average man because of his unique calling... but a man none-the-less.
- His mission was to bear witness of the Light (Jesus). 
- The Light is the object of faith (that all through him might believe).

We could go on... but there is something that jumps out:

He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Why would you write something like that?  Was there a teaching going on that John the Baptizer was the Messiah? Certainly John did not go around claiming to be the Light.  Just a few verses down we read:

Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."
John 1:19-20

Allow me to suggest something.

There are times when we hold people up, put them on pedestals and the like.  John had a tremendous following, as did our Lord. In fact, twenty years after Jesus' resurrection (cf. Acts 18:25; 19:1-7) Paul found about 12 disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus. Here's my point and something we should all take away from this passage:

Ours is to be a life of reflecting, not receiving, glory.  All such praise belongs to Christ.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Right from the Start [pun intended] (John 1:1-3)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  John 1:1-3

There are books out there that start off the way many high school essays read... you don't really know what the author's point is or where they are going. John makes not apologies for the Subject of his book/letter.  JESUS is the theme, subject and aim of the Gospel According to John.  Notice a few things with me:

- The Word existed in the beginning.

- The Word was with God.

- The Word was (and still IS) God.

- All things were made through Him.

- Nothing came into existence without His making it.

I know that I am simply restating what verses 1 - 3 plainly state... but look at the EMPHASIS of the opening words of this Gospel. 

The Word is God.

This will be a reoccurring theme and the testimony of the whole book.

I wonder if it is a reoccurring theme and the testimony of our lives?



So, six months ago I posted a message that said I don't have time to
write. Well... I'm on vacation and I wake up before everyone else
does, so I don't have an excuse for a 5 more days.

Isn't that what we try to do? Follow the path of least resistance?
It would be easier for me to say "Ya... but I need my rest!" Ya... but
you always need to exercise your "spiritual muscles". Keep on the
lookout... theirs writing 'a comin'.