June 2, 2016
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 37 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, 2016
Thomas didn’t see the risen Jesus when he first appeared. Even though Thomas had followed Jesus as one of the Twelve, he still doubted until he saw the risen Lord for himself. When the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, his confession of faith was to ascribe divinity to Jesus. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and God. It was Jesus who addressed Thomas’ agnosticism. He invited Thomas to see and touch and believe. It was Jesus who helped Thomas with his unbelief. Where are you doubting the Lord today? Wherever you are still worried and troubled, in that very area, you are still doubting Christ’s Lordship, in that very area you are in a state of unbelief. Confess your unbelief to Jesus. Declare him Lord over the arena of your anxiety saying, “I trust in you Jesus, for you are my Lord and my God!”
May 31, 2016
The final words of Jesus on the cross were not words of defeat, but of ultimate victory. He shouted, “It is finished!” His last words expressed exultation at accomplishing the task He had come to complete. In the Greek, it is one word: Τετέλεσται (Tetelestai), which is in the perfect tense. The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect. In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence. It might also be translated: “fulfilled, accomplished, paid-in-full.” Essentially, Jesus, with this one word, “tetelestai,” announced that He had accomplished His God-given mission, fulfilling every prophetic detail, and paid-in-full the price for our sins, so that we might be forgiven and receive eternal life. His salvation work is complete and its finished results are even now in existence for those who would believe on Him.
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?