I have found it difficult to get to writing on Sunday. After church, food, a rest and youth group, it's difficult to sit down and write. But here are my thoughts from yesterday's text, and I'll bring it around to today's text as well. We are on the home stretch together, keep it up! By the way, there won't be a chance for me to write tomorrow, I can almost guarantee it, so look for John 16 and 17 Wednesday.
For John 14, I’m going to just recap where I landed with Sunday’s message. In Genesis 1, in the account of creation God creates the heavens and the earth. God created the heavens and the earth when the whole universe was both “formless and void.” God proceeded to Form and Fill the earth. He formed the sky, the waters and the land. God formed it, and filled it with vegetation, animals, birds, fish and humans. He did so, in the seven days of creation. God takes what was formless and void, and forms and fills.
It was my thinking yesterday that God is still forming and filling. He forms and fills the Israelites, to take the form of his holy nation and fill the Promised Land. Other examples in the Old Testament of forming and filling are of the Ark of the Covenant, Noah’s Ark, and the Tabernacle. God forms and fills in the Old Testament, and he continues that work in the New Testament. In Jesus’ ministry, he takes on human form and fills the earth with glory (Philippians 2). He forms his disciples with his teaching and fills them with his Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes that faith in Jesus Christ unifies us together as the body of Christ. Whatever may have divides us is overcome and we find unity through Christ, and we take shape into his likeness.
I ultimately landed in John 14 in my sermon, where the promise of forming and filling continues. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. My Father’s house has plenty of room; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3
When we decide that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we pay more than lip service to our Creator. We invite the same power God used to form and fill the broken, empty and formless world to go to work on our broken, formless and empty life. He forms it into the image of Christ and joins it with a body of believers who take form together to be the Church. The hope for those who are united together in Christ Jesus is redemption. Jesus is coming back, that is the assurance of those who believe in him and invite God to go to work in creating us anew in Jesus Christ.( 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:4, Phil 3:17-20)
This leads me to John 15
John 15 is home to a verse that troubles me greatly. If I understand correctly, John 15:1-4 is Jesus telling us that he is the vine and we are the branches. What he means by that is that He alone is our life source. Our life is in him; we cannot exist outside of him. Jesus is our life. If we don’t bear fruit, then we are pruned. That makes sense, why carry the dead weight right? But then he has to follow it with this “while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (emphasis mine) (15:2) Wait a minute? If I’m bearing fruit, I may still be pruned? That doesn’t sound good, and it sounds like it might hurt.
God’s interest is in fruit and obedience. Remaining in Christ is a test of perseverance. The Gardener’s job is for the health of the vine and for his garden to bear much fruit. I think a lesson for me to learn is not whether or not I feel that the pruning done is fair or not, but whether I prove faithful by remaining in Jesus. The correction of the Father is for my good that I would be stronger and bear more fruit for Christ and the kingdom.
This doesn’t rest easy with me; I would much rather avoid trouble and problems. I would just assume let other people learn valuable lessons and I learn from them and their mistakes and hardships.
But I suppose, all I am asking is that I can have the cake and eat it too. Or more likely, that I may follow Christ without carrying my cross.
Jesus is the Vine and I am one among many branches. Our relationship is simple in this: I find life by being in him. He is my life source, and whatever circumstances I might find myself in, whatever struggles or “pruning” experience, it is only an opportunity to draw closer to the true vine and have true life. Pruning is for my own good, and that’s difficult to comprehend and accept, but those who remain faithful go on to live a fruitful life for Christ and his Father’s Kingdom. That’s what I want.
Prayer: You are the Vine, I am the branch. I know I cannot avoid the pruning shears. Your end is that I remain in your Son and bear fruit in ministry for your kingdom. Help me to persevere and trust in you as the true gardener who knows what is best for your garden. You ultimately know when to water, when to weed, when to prune and when to sow. May I trust in your timing and be pleased with how you FORM me and FILL me for your purposes. You have the power to create out of nothing; form within me a loving heart, a considerate mind and new life in Jesus Christ. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
John 12 has several talking points. The bit about the poor always being among us could be a worthy topic. The kerenel of wheat that falls to the ground and must die to have life is worthy as well.
But I’m thinking about one verse: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death whe was going to die.” 12:32-33
He said this, I believe also, to reveal the true role of preachers of the Gospel. A wonderful reminder is that my sole job on Sunday mornings is to lift Jesus up. He was speaking of his death, but I’m speaking of his glory. When HE is lifted up, HE draws all the world to him.
Jesus is at work in the sermon, Jesus draws people to him, it isn’t a fancy sermon, a catchy music tune, a well developed worship set, a great drama – it is all of those tools, used by God, that when they DO lift Jesus Up – HE DRAWS THE WORLD. It is my role within all of this to be the faithful to the task of lifting up Christ.
I’m excited for my message this weekend and the worship, because I believe we will be doing just that, lifting Christ up.
Godliness is a matter of lifting Jesus up, in all we do as Christians.
Here is my prayer: God may we be useful tools in the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. May my sermons lift Jesus up, may my words, always lift Jesus up, may my actions and deeds lift Jesus up that through your power, people would be drawn to Christ, to conviction and repentance. In Jesus name, Amen.
I love this chapter, we are given the command to love others and shown practical application when Jesus washes his disciples feet. He teaches – “Go and do likewise.”
Godliness is a matter of serving others. Whenever I read John 13 I am reminded of a missionary trip to Cuba I went on a few years ago. As we were traveling in the mountains of Cuba, it began to rain. The dirt turned to a cake-like mud. As we traveled to get to a house of a believer a mile or two through a winding muddy road, our shoes turned into cinder blocks of mud, collecting more mud with every step. When we finally got to our destination, our missionary leader cleaned off our shoes, dirtying himself throughout the process.
He served us as we were there to serve him. I’ll never forget that. We will be known, Jesus says, as his disciples if we “love one another.” (35)
Jesus commissions his disciples to service and love for others. Yeah he’s about to be betrayed, and as he tells the well-intentioned Peter, he’s about to be denied too. But that doesn’t stop Jesus from serving and loving. The love and patience of Christ encourages me greatly. To be identified as one of Jesus’ many disciples, I am called to love and serve.
I can grow weary in this, so I must pray:
“Father in Heaven, Almighty Son of God, despite the depravity of man, you went to the cross. Despite our denial and betrayal, you give us your grace and go to the cross. You love and serve others despite our disobedience. May my heart be molded and formed to be like the Son and filled with your Holy Spirit. Allow me to be so fortunate and blessed to be considered a disciple of Jesus Christ in recognition of my love others. I pray for your help and strength, in Jesus name, Amen.”
“Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the Glory of God?” 11:40
That is certainly our hope, if we believe we will see the glory of God unfold. If we believe we will see the Glory of God in the resurrection, in sight restoration, and in sinful lives reborn. If we believe, we will see the Glory of God.
I find it interesting that both tragedies, the man born blind and the death of Lazarus was an opportunity for Jesus to show the glory of the God. In 9:3, referring to the man’s blindness “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” In 11:4 “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Christ overcomes the effects of sin, the deterioration, the separation, the hurt and all the pain that goes with it, for the glory of God. Jesus uses the effects of sin; blindness and death, to reveal God’s agenda to reconcile the world back to him and redeem creation. When people “see the Glory of God” it’s a matter of sin and the effects of sin being overcome by the love and power of God. Ultimately, we will see this take form in the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus tells Martha in 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Those who believe will be saved.
For Godliness, we see a shining example in an unlikely source, Thomas. He gets a bad rapport for what he does later, for doubting in the resurrected Lord. But in this instance, his remark is quite interesting. The disciples were hesitant to go to Judea, after all, a short while ago people there were trying to kill Jesus. After clearly explaining that Lazarus was in fact dead, Thomas says “let us also go, that we may die with him.”
This is truly a remarkable sign of faith on Thomas’ part. Jesus plainly tells his disciples often that they will be despised and hated for following him. But by now, they each have discovered that “he has the words of life.” Thomas is willing to go back to Judea and face death. It’s just one statement, and we don’t hear of Thomas a whole lot in the scriptures from here on out. But we see in this one instance a willingness to take up the cross and follow Jesus. Godliness is a matter of bearing the weight of the cross and willing to follow Christ even to the most dangerous of situations. Thomas was willing, at least in this moment, to follow Christ and minister to friends.
We would be wise to follow and believe. Unfortunately, for our world many cannot believe. Hardened hearts have kept many from believing in Christ. Yet I think we need to have the same attitude as Christ when it comes to the effects of sin. The blindness of one man and the death of another were used by Jesus to reveal the glory of God. Sin is still prevalent in our world and Jesus can use it to reveal his Father’s Glory. He can take our brokenness and reveal the mighty power of God to heal, redeem and reconcile. That’s what the world needs to see in us, in the church and lived out in our lives, a redeemed and saved life from sin, that shows the glory of God.
Father, I believe in the resurrection, Jesus Christ. He is your Son and he is busy redeeming the world back to you. May the witness of my forgiven life give you all the glory and honor due you. And let my forgiveness and new life in your Son be a shining light to the world of your magnificence and grace. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
I AM THE GATE FOR THE SHEEP
Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate , but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber
Whoever enters through me will be saved
I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
BUT THEY WIL NEVER FOLLOW A STRANGER; IN FACT, THEY WILL RUN AWAY FROM HIM BECAUSE THEY DO NOT RECOGNIZE A STRANGER’S VOICE.
The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep
I know my sheep and my sheep know me
I lay down my life for the sheep
I have other sheep that are not of this pen – I must bring them also
They too will listen to my voice
There shall be one flock and one shepherd
My sheep listen to my voice
I know them and they follow me
I give them eternal life, they shall never perish
No one will snatch them out of my hand.
No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
This powerful figure of speech brought great confusion and angst from the Pharisees, but to believers in Christ we are given great encouragement. We are encouraged that Jesus is our Great Shepherd and the Gate into the pasture. We are given great promise in this passage; I’ve highlighted a few above. The Sheep know him, they cannot be plucked from his hand, they have eternal life, and they will never perish. These promises are of great comfort to Christians.
As for what we learn concerning godliness we see that there is truly only one way, that is Jesus Christ. The sheep listen to the shepherds voice; they know and follow him.
The sheep (followers of Christ) know and recognize his voice and run away from others. This is godliness, to listen and follow the Good Shepherd and run away from any other voice. It seems that we hear the voice of the thief and the robber and we haven’ run away. The sheep, you and me, ought to be cautious of other voices. The voices can be any number of things, from the music we listen to, to the movies we watch, to the books we read, to the friends we surround ourselves with, to the preacher we listen to on a weekly basis. All have a voice and we need to discern whether or not the voice is of God or not. We discover the ability to discern what the voice of the Good Shepherd sounds like by prayer and the study of God’s word.
I will admit that I’ve never had a burning bush experience, but over time I think I know what the voice of God sounds like. It is often subtle promptings to do good and help people, to say a certain word of encouragement, or pray for a friend. That voice is the Spirit working within me and transforming me.
So the application here is simple: If I am a sheep in the fold of Christ, then I must continually follow the voice of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd offers eternal life, “no one will snatch them out of my hand.” I must grow in my faith and learn what the Shepherd’s voice sounds like. I do that by the Study of God’s Word, Prayer and the practice of the other disciplines.
Our Prayer then is simply this:
Father, help us hear and recognize your voice. We are distracted by many other voices in our world, may we flee the voices that lead us away from you. May we recognize and follow your voice so we may be led to life. In the Good Shepherds name, Amen.
John 9 I read yesterday but didn’t have the time to post. With a funeral and a trip to Indianapolis and back for class, I’m a day late to posting. Day 10 will be later today.
Verse 25 – “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
Verses 31-33 “WE know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
37 “You have now seen him (the Son of Man); in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 “The man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
39 “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’”
41 “Jesus said to the Pharisee “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” – Jesus doesn’t appear to be speaking of the physical realm but the spiritual. What I think Jesus is saying is “You claim you understand and stand as an expert in religion and all things God, but right now, you are staring the Son of Man in the face and you don’t believe. Your response wasn’t like this blind man, who bows down and worships saying ‘Lord, I believe.’ Rather, your ignorance condemns you and leaves you still with a great deal of guilt.”
This is one of my favorite stories in John. Jesus heals a blind man, from birth, and the topic of conversation becomes all about sin. Is it the cause of blindness the blind man’s sin or the parent’s sin? Is Jesus sinful? How can he do these things if he is sinful? There is a lot to be learned in regard to these questions:
The disciples ask about the man’s blindness and whose sin it was that caused it, the man’s or his parents. Jesus doesn’t make it about their sin as the cause; rather, he made it about the ministry of restoring sight to the blind. This will be a sign to John the Baptist that Jesus is the Messiah, the coming Savior. For the blind man will come to know the Son of Man because of the healing as well. Jesus reveals himself and his nature as the Son of God by restoring sight, it’s one of the things he does to open the eyes of the spiritually blind.
What we have revealed to us about Godliness in this chapter is specifically God not listening to sinners. We see that Jesus is without sin, because the only way that sort of miracle happens is if it is by the power of God. Jesus asks and God listens. Jesus, throughout his life and ministry encourages his followers to ask, seek, and knock. Jesus washed away our sins, we should look at this passage as an encouragement for the godly to seek and ask of God for help and to reveal his glory in our world. Godliness seems to me like living without sin and seeking God and his kingdom in this world. We should take full advantage of our privileged relationship with God because of our faith in Jesus Christ. That means prayer, prayer, and more prayer.
I think that is my application for me, more prayer. I come away from this text with a lot of thoughts about how Jesus uses the man’s blindness as an illustration of the Pharisees spiritual blindness. Where I find myself in this story is the man born blind who now sees and knows Jesus as the Son of Man. The text tells us he believed and he worshiped. My response to knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior ought be the same, belief and worship.
Pray, believe and worship.
As for the application in our world; how many times do we see people have miracles happen in their family and nothing comes of it in regards to their faith? It may not have been sight restoration, but it could be miraculous recovery from cancer or a near fatal car crash that wasn’t. They come face to face with the Savior of the world and they remain spiritually blind. I find that this can be quite discouraging at times. But if there is any peace to be had in this, at all, it is that Jesus was face to face with many people who still chose to disbelieve. One thing is for sure, and this should capture our hearts, without belief in Christ, the guilt of sin remains. For those who were blind and now see, we ought be challenged to go out into the world and share our testimony and encourage all to come to believe in Jesus Christ. We collectively have one testimony, the same as the man born blind, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Let’s share that with others.
That will be my prayer:
Father, I am one of a privileged many who has come to believe and know the Son of Man as Jesus Christ. You have, through the power of your Son healed my spiritual blindness. With new eyes, may I see the needs of the world and proclaim Christ Jesus as the Savior, as the Messiah, as the Son of God. Let my testimony be used for your glory. Break into our world and bring healing and restore sight to those blinded by sin. Let the Church be the visible witness of Jesus Christ in our world. May he be lifted up in your Church that people would come and see him and believe. I ask of this in Jesus name, Amen.
What John reveals about Jesus –
What do we learn about Godliness?
There is a lot to focus on but my heart this morning leads me to the final section in verses 54 onward. “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.” I can remember a while back playing basketball with a guy that liked to encourage himself out loud. He would make a three pointer and shout boastfully: “What a great shot!” After making a decent pass, to a guy who made a far more difficult shot he would shout out “What a PASS!” It cracked me up. Jesus says, “If I glorify myself,my glory means nothing. My Father, who you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me….I know him and obey his word.”
John is preparing his readers for the Father to glorify his Son. Because Jesus obeys his Father’s word, he will end up on the cross. One of the reasons why Jesus has ditched out of the crowds who were trying to make him king was because of this. Jesus doesn’t say “What a great miracle, look at me, make me king.” He does, almost the opposite and goes to great lengths to get out of an earthly position of glory like kingship. Jesus does what the word of the Father tells him to. He’s obedient, and as Paul puts it in Philippians, “obedient to death, even death on a cross.” And as that wonderful old hymn encourages us “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
We learn that true Godliness, that God-honoring life we are called to in Jesus Christ is a matter of obedience. Jesus was obedient, even to death. That decision brought him ultimate glory through the resurrection. It reminds me that I am not in this Christianity thing for my own glory. I have chosen to follow Jesus, not to what earthly heights he may take me, but to the humble task of cross bearing. Godliness is humility and obedience to the word of God and the reward is wonderful “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” 8:51.
How does this apply to our world?
Jesus has the words of life, how will they hear it if it is not modeled by the church? The application for our world is for the church to be obedient to the Word of God. We must always be students and applicators of God’s word.
How does this apply to me?
There can be dark days in ministry. Sometimes I feel like I have to be the one to tell myself “What a great Shot” or in this case “What a great sermon!” I don’t have to often because I am a part of a very encouraging church and I am thankful for them. But there are times when I long for earthly glory. What see in the life of Jesus is not a deep infatuation with the praise of men. What we see is a man who desired nothing more than to live a life that brought God glory. Ultimately, this must be true in my own life. Certainly, the praise of men is welcomed, it’s far better then criticism, but my hearts desire ought always be to bring honor and glory to God the Father. We do that by obedience to the Word of God.
My Prayer – Father, your Son models true obedience. He followed your word to the last iota; he was perfect as you are perfect. Help me to model this same obedience to your Word. Your words offer true life and real hope. Make my heart new. Transform me Lord, and recognize me as your child who does your will. Do your work in me and through me, so I may bring you all the glory. Thank you for Christ, Amen.
John 7What we learn about Jesus from John:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (6:17)
Jesus’ critics are questioning the validity of his words and his life. They question whether or not Jesus is truly the Messiah and if he has any authority to teach. Jesus tells them it’s rather easy to figure out if he has the right to teach or not: “Do the will of God.”
In an age of skepticism of our own, we might be wise to consider also “doing the will of God.” There are plenty of people who are skeptical of Christ these days. For those who have chosen to follow Jesus, we have experienced often the validity of Jesus as Messiah. When we do what he teaches, we find ourselves within the will of God. We find that Jesus is truly from the Father and the Father sent the Son.
To explain this further is difficult. And beyond what I can do after a long day. But my heart this evening has me reflecting on the Truth that is Jesus. Godliness is doing what Christ teaches, it matches accordingly, with the Will of God.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (7:24) I’m thinking what Jesus was saying here was simply this: Look at the heart. When we judge we tend to look at what we see. To judge correctly seems to be a matter of the heart. I’m not so good at that yet, so I think I will leave that up to God for awhile, who sees and knows each of our hearts.
How it applies to our world:
Well certainly the skeptics of our world could stand to test out the teaching of Christ and see if they find themselves in the will of God. All this atheist business we are dealing with might subside if the world gave an honest shot at the Truth of Christ.
How it applies to my life:
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I think that’s right? If I’m recommending that skeptics follow the teachings of Christ, that might be good advice for myself too.
Prayer from the text:
God, I live in a day and age where skepticism is rampant. Help me to trust fully in Christ, in his teachings and stand firm in the faith. Help me to listen and obey the teachings of Christ that I may find myself within your will. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Well, I’m going to have to shorten this up a bit tonight. I’m exhausted from a long day. But I would like to get this one thought out there and call it a night.
John 6:66 ironically says, “From this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
It’s not easy following Jesus. What he has to say will cause you to have to drastically change your life.
I don’t know about you, but when I read of the disciples who turn away, I quickly dismiss myself from the rift-raft. I like to think of myself as one among the true followers, like Peter and join in with his confession “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (6:68).
The would-be disciples left Jesus because of this difficult teaching, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” (6:56) When they hear that, they give each other strange looks, saying to each other, “Did he say what I think he said?”
If you are looking to gain followers, you don’t tell people to drink your blood (unless your at a Twilight convention). You just don’t do it. But Jesus says this to separate the wheat from the chaff. He wanted to point out who was there because they were looking for more grub and who was there to truly feast on the life of Christ. He desires those who hunger for the truth and live it out in their life.
My instinct is to separate and distance myself from the chaff in this story, the chaff being the disciples who left. But I want to take a closer look at the text and figure out where I stand. Am I all in for Christ? Would I drop everything, follow him, and pick up my cross in the process?
A good way to look at this text and reflect on it is in this way:
When I consider my relationship with Christ, am I wearing a bib or an apron? Am I coming before Christ expecting him to serve me, or am I willing to serve him?
Peter’s confession is truly God-honoring. As people are jumping ship, he grabs a hold of it and doesn’t let go, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
“We’re sticking with you Jesus.” That’s what the true disciples tell him. When the Christian life gets difficult, when people start jumping ship, when following Jesus means abandoning the comforts of this world, my prayer is that I too will tell Christ “I’m sticking with you, you’re the Holy One of God.”
Here is my prayer “Dear Lord, may I be among those who hold tightly to Jesus. Even in the midst of struggle, may I hold firm to my faith in Jesus Christ. I have truly come to know as the Holy One of God. Let my life reflect that conviction and be a light to others. Just as Peter and the true disciples desired to know Christ, allow me to walk in that same conviction each day. In the name of the Holy One, Jesus Christ, Amen.
What does John reveal about Jesus in this passage?
“The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” 5:22
“The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” 5:22
“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” 5:26
“And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” 5:27
“I (Jesus) seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” 5:30
“The very works that I am doing – testify that the Father has sent me.” 5:36
“The Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
A quick summary of what we learn: Authority is entrusted into the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, to be the judge. Those who listen and obey the words of Christ, honor the Father and will rise to live. Jesus seeks to please the Father and all of his good works validate his Sonship.
What do we learn about Godliness?
“Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” 5:23
“Whoever hears my word and believe him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” 5:24
“A time is coming…those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” 5:29
“But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” 5:47
Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father – If we want to live a God honoring life, we do so by honoring Christ. Godliness, as I mentioned before is a God-honoring life. It pleases God for his creation to love and follow Jesus. “Those who hear the Son of God will live.” (5:25) The word “hear” implies obedience.
The final thought of the discourse of Christ is powerful – “But since you do not believe what he (Moses) wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” 5:47 – What a powerful question. This statement would prick the heart of his hearers. The hearers devoted their life to listening to the Scriptures, of which Moses played a considerable function. Yet Jesus says, you read it, but you don’t believe it. To read the scriptures is to read of Christ. They studied it intently and missed the living, breathing Messiah right before their very eyes.
Where is there application here for our world?
Again, we look at Salvation. For those who hear and believe, who listen and obey, they cross over from death to life. I heard last night that the means of salvation was through a sinners prayer and a couple other prayers. What I didn’t hear was this “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life…” It’s more than a prayer to ask Jesus into your heart, that’s nice (but not biblical). Salvation is for those who follow Jesus Christ - It’s hearing, following and believing in the Son of Man. It’s being Born Again in Spirit, Water and Truth (like we read in chapter 3).
What’s the application for me?
Sometimes when we study the Bible, we read it intently and we miss the whole point. Why this happens, I don’t know. I’m sure that I have done it multiple times myself. Christ condemns those he is in contention with for reading the scriptures without really reading it. They missed the application. The whole debate was over a healing. To read the Scriptures and decide that healing on the Sabbath and having the gentleman pick up his mat is somehow wrong or sinful is missing the whole point of the scriptures. Jesus’ argument goes like this, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” He tells us later what his work is like his Fathers, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (5:21) God and Jesus are both busy giving and restoring life. I’m glad he isn’t taking a break from this.
What I think happens is we want the Scriptures to be what we are comfortable with, what we can handle. The role of the Scriptures isn’t to somehow keep us comfortable and unchanged, but to radically transform us into God-honoring, loving citizens of his Kingdom. The Bible is more than a rules for living, the words are transformative and life-breathing.
I’m getting carried away here, but the application is simple – really read the Scriptures and let God’s word go to work on your heart. After all, He’s raising the dead to life.
Prayer – I’m certain, Heavenly Father, that I have taken your word and ignored the truth. I’ve gained convictions that are outside of your will that lead me to form my own sort of righteousness. But as you have displayed through the life of Christ, you have revealed Truth and life. May my life honor both the Son and the Father. May my life be transformed into the likeness of Christ. He truly is the Son of Man as Moses and the rest of the Scriptures direct me. Your truth, revealed to us in the Scriptures points us to Jesus. May I listen, really, truly listen and obey. With your help, I pray, Amen.
What do we learn about Jesus from John?
Chapter 4 of John offers us much by way of godliness as each chapter has thus far. Two parts of the chapter stand out considerably to me today. The first, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about…my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” What an incredible picture into the godliness of Christ. The purpose, the driving force, the hunger pangs of Christ, weren’t for food and quenching his earthly desires, it was to do the will of his Father. Godliness is to desire, above all, that God’s will be accomplished.
The second part is the man who took Jesus at his word and departed. Our faith and living a godly life is summarized in this man's example. Faith in Christ is listening and obeying the word of Christ. He took Christ at his word and went on his way.
How does this apply to our world?
Our world is hungry and filled with an insatiable desire for more. We see this in our world every day, people seeking more, seeking something of substance trying to find meaning and purpose. Christ teaches us what is truly fulfilling in our world is accomplishing God's will.
How does this apply to me?
Is my food the will of God? Am I more satisfied after a hearty meal with the family or the preaching of the Good News? Am I satisfied to see the changing of lives for Christ? Is the accomplishment of God’s will a pleasing thing to me? These are important questions to ask in our individual journey. They provide a window into our heart.
I also consider this morning the application of the man who took Jesus at his word and departed. What would my life look like if I took Jesus at his word and departed? By that, I mean, I go and do what he asks.
Matthew 5:39 “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Am I listening and doing what Christ asks of me? Do I respond in faith and trust in him? Putting the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) into practice may not be easy. But I think about this, how difficult would it had been for me, if I were the man concerned for the life of his child? If Oliver was ill, I would want the physician at his bedside and I wouldn't leave until he came with me. But this man, took Christ at his Word, and departed. He left for his child without the physician.
Following and trusting in the word of Christ is never promised to be easy, but we know that there is healing for those who take to heart what he says and follow through with it. When we do what he asks, we find our testimony to be similar to that of the Samaritans "“We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." 4:42
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.