May 12, 2016
Jesus had four younger half-brothers named James, Joses, Judas and Simon and several unnamed sisters (Mark 6:3) by his mother, Mary and his adopted father, Joseph. Prior to Christ’s resurrection his brothers didn’t believe in him. We don’t read much about them, but here John records how they gave Jesus sarcastic advice about how to become more famous. Jesus calmly replied to them that they didn’t understand God’s timing nor purpose for him. Often the hardest people to live out your faith in front of is your own family. They have expectations of you and when you don’t live up to them, they punish you with biting comments. Yet, Jesus was obedient to God’s will for him. And after they saw him suffer and rise again, his family finally believed. James and Judas (Jude) both authored NT books. James, who became the lead pastor of the first church of Jerusalem, opened his little book with “James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). Can you think of a more convincing testimony for Jesus than this?
May 10, 2016
The crowd that sought Jesus had been present when he miraculously fed the 5,000. Jesus accused them of seeking him, not for Himself, but for more bread. What is your reason for seeking Jesus? Have you come with your laundry list hoping He will do your bidding? Would you prefer He offered a “drive-thru” for your fast food order? What do you seek of Jesus, His face or His hand?
May 7, 2016
Jesus described His practice of first looking to see what the Father was doing and then joining Him in His work. This is a great spiritual principle. Rather than asking God to join us in our plans, we can begin to look and ask what God is already doing, and then join Him in His work. This kind of following means listening and looking before speaking and acting. When we look to join the Father in His work, we begin to follow as Christ did, and as His body, which is the church, should.
May 4, 2016
When John’s followers worried that more people were going to follow Jesus than their leader, John rebuked them. He recognized that God determined spiritual results. And he also understood that his ministry was to prepare the way for Christ’s ministry. As John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). To be jealous of another’s ministry or blessing, is to accuse God of wrong. Having a competitive spirit towards other churches and ministries is to misunderstand God’s work in our cities and world. Instead, rejoice that God is blessing His work through whomever He will. Because after all, it is His work to bless, not yours. Our calling is not to make ourselves famous, but to make Jesus famous.
May 3, 2016
All Adam’s children are “condemned already” because of sin and because of sin’s wage, which is death. Every member of the human race is born under the curse of sin. It was this curse, this condemnation that Jesus took upon His own body, so that the judgment that we had earned fell upon Him. As a result, those who “believe in Him are not condemned.” Why? Because there is no longer any condemnation left for those that are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). Jesus took it all upon Himself. But what of those who do not believe? They are “condemned already.” The condemnation of sin remains upon them. They have not afforded themselves of Christ’s payment. They will face judgment without Christ because of their unbelief. What you believe matters.
April 30, 2016
The “Logos” (Greek for “Word”) which was in the beginning has now become flesh. The Logos that was and is God, has now become man. He did not “become” God for He was God already. He did not “become” life or light for these were His divine attributes before eternity. But He did “become,” of His own will and power, flesh. And this He did that we might finally perceive God’s “glory,” and receiving and believing in Him, we might become children of God. For God made Him who knew no sin to “become” sin for us, so that we might “become” His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus is the Logos become flesh. He is the perfect communication of God. He that has ears to hear, let him hear!
June 2, 2015
After Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to his disciples many times. On one occasion he asked Peter three times whether he loved him. Certainly this was connected to Peter’s denying Jesus three times before his crucifixion. In this manner Jesus helped restore their relationship, giving Peter the opportunity to renew his pledge of love, even reminding him of his earlier promise that he was willing to die for Jesus. When we make a commitment to Jesus, as Peter learned, he helps us to keep it. Jesus loved us first and it is His love that enables us to commit to love him back. Coincidently, this OYB reading falls on June 2nd, my wedding anniversary. On this day 36 years ago, Robin and I committed to love one another until death do us part. The Lord has blessed us by helping us keep that commitment to Him and to one another, and to grow even more in love as the years have passed. Jesus still asks His followers, “Do you love me?” It’s a question of relationship, not religion. It’s an invitation to commit your life to the One who is Love itself.
June 1, 2015
As the apostle John came near the close of his gospel, he gave its purpose statement, namely, that his gospel was written that its readers might believe. John was an eyewitness to all that he wrote and his writings concerning Jesus call for a faith response. Some will read or hear the gospel and reject it outright or otherwise attempt to discredit it. Yet others will hear John’s good news concerning Jesus and trust His account. Those who believe will also receive, their hearts being renewed and their destinies forever changed.