June 2, 2018
THE LAST LIVING APOSTLE
After Jesus told Peter the manner in which he would someday die for his witness, he asked about John’s future. Peter asked, “What about him, Lord?” The Lord responded that he shouldn’t worry about the plan God had for John’s future. He should focus on following Jesus, not on what happens to John.
John, who was probably the youngest disciple, perhaps still a teen when he started following Jesus, was in fact the last living disciple. He died around the year 100 AD. He was boiled in oil by the Romans but survived. He was exiled to the Island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. He eventually returned to Ephesus where most accounts state that he died peaceably. All of the apostles died a martyr’s death, except for John. The disciple who Jesus loved lived to see the gospel successfully carried into the next century.
June 1, 2018
THE RACE TO BELIEVING
When Mary Magdalene told Peter and the “disciple that Jesus loved” that the tomb was empty, they ran to see it for themselves. The unnamed disciple won the race, but paused at the tomb entrance, while Peter ran straight in. Finally, John, the beloved disciple, entered the tomb. Remembering the Scriptures concerning Jesus’ resurrection, he believed. John may have been the faster, but Peter was bolder. Yet, both of them won the race to believing.
May 29, 2018
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MALCHUS?
All of the gospels tell the story of the high priest’s servant losing an ear to one of the disciple’s swords. Yet, only John names names. We are not surprised to learn that the sword belonged to Simon Peter, but we are somewhat amazed to learn the name of the ear’s owner, namely, “Malchus.” The Synoptics only referred to him as the “high priest’s servant,” but John gave us his name.
John recorded the names, but only Luke recorded the miracle. Jesus healed the ear. Malchus did not have to go through the rest of his life without his right ear. It’s absence would have always reminded him of the sword, but it’s presence no doubt, always reminded him of Christ’s healing touch. I wonder. Does John record his name to add further fact to his testimony? Or is it because Malchus became better known to the disciples later on, having become a disciple himself?
May 28, 2018
CHRIST’S JOY NOW AVAILABLE TO US
What is this joy that resides in Christ? Isn’t it the continual, irrepressible joy that He shares in fellowship with the Father? As Jesus prayed in anticipation for His return to the Father, He prayed that we might become one in this same fellowship. And by being one in fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit, we might share in their mutual joy.
The apostle Paul wrote that believers are to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), and so bear the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). One of the chief attributes of this “fruit,” second only to love, is joy. This joy comes from being in union with the Spirit.
The apostle John also wrote about this fellowship of joy. In his first epistle, he wrote, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:3-4).
What is this joy? It is the joy of being in fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit. It is being held in the embrace of the One who made us, died for us and now offers to live in us.
May 27, 2018
THE ABUNDANT JOY OF PRAYING IN JESUS’ NAME
Jesus has become our Mediator, opening up the way to the Father by giving Himself as a ransom for our sin (1 Tim. 2:5-6). The veil of separation has been torn, allowing our entrance into the Father’s presence in prayer. Asking and receiving from the Father in Jesus’ name, we “will have abundant joy.” This joy is not the request, nor the answer, but the real experience of praying in Jesus’ name. This joy is not only for the moment, but is abundant, overflowing into every area of our lives.
Do you know the abundant joy of praying in Jesus’ name?
May 26, 2018
THE THINGS OF CHRIST THAT GIVE US JOY!
The disciples were grieved to hear that Jesus would soon be leaving them. So Jesus shared with them the “things” that would belong to them because of His sacrifice. “These things” now belong to all those who abide in Christ, so that His “overflowing joy” abides in them.
What are “these things” of Christ that bring us joy?
1) HIS PLACE. Jesus told His disciples not to be troubled because He was preparing a place for them to live with Him forever (John 14:1-3).
2) HIS PATER. The place that Jesus would prepare would be with His Father (Greek: “Pater”) (John 14:1-6).
3) HIS PARACLETE. Jesus told His disciples that He would ask the Father to send them “another Advocate” (“parakletos”), which is the Holy Spirit to live in them (John 14:12-31).
4) HIS PRESENCE. Jesus told them the parable of the Vine and Branches, that He was the Vine and they the branches, and that they would only be able to bear spiritual fruit by abiding in Him. In this way, Christ would abide in them and they would abide in Him (John 15:1-11).
Happiness is based on favorable happenings. But joy, overflowing joy, is found in “these things” of Christ. His Place, His Pater, His Paraclete, and His Presence, these are the things of Christ that bring us overflowing joy!
May 25, 2018
THE SPIRIT IS ANOTHER OF THE SAME KIND
Jesus sought to comfort His disciples by explaining that although He must return to the Father, He would send “another Advocate” to be with them always. In the Greek, the word “Advocate” is “Paraklētos,” which literally means, “one called alongside.” It might also be translated, “Helper” or “Comforter.” This “Advocate” is the Holy Spirit.
If the Greek word “Paraklētos” is revealing, then the Greek word translated “another” is perhaps even more so. For there are two words translated “another” in the Greek. The first word is “eteros,” which has the meaning of “another” of different character. For example: “I’d rather have ‘another’ piece of fruit, like an apple instead of an orange.” But the Greek word used by Jesus was “allos,” which means “another” of the same kind. As in, “May I have ‘another’ apple?”
Why is this significant? Because Jesus was making the point that the Advocate is “another” of the same character as He. Jesus, the Son of God, was sent by the Father. Now, as He returned to the Father, He would ask the Father to send “another” of the same kind to be with His disciples. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are of the same kind. As the hymn declares, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
This is why the apostle Paul referred to the Holy Spirit as both the “Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ” in the same verse (Rom. 8:9). For if we have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we have received His Spirit, which is “another” of the same kind. So, we are able to say along with the apostle Paul, “Christ in us, the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27). For in Christ, the “Paraklētos” lives in us!
May 24, 2018
STOP WORRYING. START TRUSTING.
The disciples were troubled in heart when Jesus talked about His impending departure from them. They were anxious and fearful about the future. But Jesus told them to replace their fear with faith.
Is your heart troubled today? You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you know who holds tomorrow. Stop worrying and start trusting in Jesus.
May 23, 2018
CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS ARE CHRIST’S MESSENGERS
On the night before Christ’s crucifixion, He reminded the disciples that whoever welcomed or rejected them were in reality welcoming or rejecting Him. In addition, the way people responded to them would also affect their relationship with the Father. For the one who welcomes Jesus, welcomes the Father, but the one who rejects Jesus, rejects the Father.
As believers, we are messengers of Christ. We must learn not to be overly concerned about whether someone welcomes or rejects us. We are not to live as people-pleasers, fearing the rejection of man. For if we live as messengers of Christ, some will welcome us and some will reject us, but all will in reality be responding to Christ. And how they respond will determine their eternity. So, let us boldly declare the message of Christ to all we meet!