May 29, 2016
When the soldiers came to arrest him, Jesus protected his disciples. He did this in fulfillment of his own promise to keep the sheep that the Father had given him. This displayed the character of Christ. He lay down his life for his lambs. While he was physically present, he protected his own. And then, he entrusted their care to the Father (John 17:15). Jesus continues as the Advocate and Protector for his sheep. He ever stands before the Father advocating for us.
May 27, 2016
Jesus taught his disciples about the threefold ministry of the Spirit towards the world. The promised Helper that would come at Pentecost would be Comforter to his saints, but “Convicter” to sinners. Yet, even this ministry is grace, for he moves to bring the sinner into realization of the depth of their sin, the truth of Christ’s righteousness, and the inevitability of God’s judgment. The Spirit acts in conjunction with the preaching and hearing of God’s Word to bring those far from God, near. This clarifies the role of Christ followers. We are to share the Good News and leave the convicting of sin to the Spirit. Yet, pity the one who would harden their heart to the Spirit’s conviction, for they remain in their sin with full knowledge of their condition.
May 25, 2016
“Orphans.” The Greek word here is the origin of our English word: “ὀρφανός, orphanos.” It can mean “parentless, fatherless, bereaved” or as in the KJV, “comfortless.” Which in this context seems most fitting. Jesus will not leave us “comfortless,” for he will send a Comforter. He was letting his disciples know that he would no longer be with them bodily, but would be with them in the Spirit. The promise he made to his disciples that he would “come to you” is already being fulfilled. This is not his future return when he will come again bodily. This “coming” is already here. The Spirit of Christ, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter is present and available. We have not been left “as orphans.” He is with us.
May 22, 2016
Many leaders in Jerusalem believed in Jesus, but would not speak of it publicly for fear of censure by the Pharisees. It wasn’t popular to confess Jesus among the upper classes. Such faith was for the little people. Although fear of rejection may have been their motive for keeping quiet concerning their faith, it was actually “love of glory” that sealed their lips. They loved the approval of man, more than the approval of God. Whose approval do you seek? Whose glory do you love?
May 19, 2016
In many places Jesus was rejected, but in the land where John the Baptist had preached, “many believed.” I wonder what made this place different? Was it John’s plowing that prepared the soil of their hearts to receive the gospel seed? What made the people there more spiritually receptive to the gospel? Whether we are plowing, sowing or reaping, I pray that we will ultimately see “many believe.”
May 18, 2016
Jesus came that we might have life. The Greek word here is ζωή (zóé), which speaks of both physical and spiritual life. This life originates with, and is sustained by Jesus, who is Life. “Zoe” life is described both by its quantity (eternal), and its quality (abundant). Receiving Jesus, we receive His life. Many focus on the eternal nature of this life, but miss Christ’s emphasis on its “abundance” for the present. In Christ we are to thrive, living life to the full, bearing fruit, and exploding with vibrance all around!
May 17, 2016
As Jesus and his disciples passed by they encountered a blind man. The disciples entered into a theological debate concerning the reason for his blindness. For them, the man represented a philosophical puzzle. But Jesus was not interested in such metaphysical conundrums while he felt the urgency of this man’s condition. While the disciples argued, Jesus acted. He knew that his remaining time on earth was short. The shadow of the cross loomed before him. Jesus, the Light of the World, opened the eyes of the man born blind. He led him out of darkness and into the light.
May 16, 2016
This was Christ’s response to the Jewish leaders who claimed to have no need of being “set free.” He told them that they were “slaves to sin.” In other words, sin owned them. Even if they wanted to stop sinning, they couldn’t. Sin was their master. And the fact that they were blind to this slavery, made its grip upon them all the more powerful. Denying their sinfulness, they remained enslaved. Yet, if only they had confessed. If only they had admitted their sin and powerlessness to stop, then Christ would have broken their bonds and set them free.
May 15, 2016
Jesus only did what the Father authorized and only said what the Father instructed. He was perfectly attuned to the Father at all times. The one that would follow Christ is invited into this oneness (John 17:20-23). Not a rote or ritual checking of boxes, but a real relationship. It is this relationship that Christ came to offer, giving His life that we might believe and be made right with the Father.
May 14, 2016
Early in the morning, just as the rising sun dispelled the shadows in the temple courts, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” On the day after the end of the Feast of Tabernacles, when the Jews remembered their 40 years in the wilderness and lit huge lamps in the temple for the seven nights of the feast to commemorate the pillar of fire that guided them by night, Jesus said, “I am the light of life.” There in the temple courts where they came to worship the Lord, Jesus said, “I AM.” That day, as Isaiah prophesied, “the people who walked in darkness saw a great light” (Isa.9:2). Some chose to remain in darkness, but many others believed and came into the Light (John 8:30).