Tag Archives: Jesus
“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).” (John 1:35-42)
It is interesting to see how people came to know Jesus in the days before he started his full ministry. They did not hear his sermons, or see his miracles, they were introduced by those that already knew him.
Andrew learned of Jesus from John the Immerser, Peter learned of him from Andrew, his brother. In the following verses, Jesus finds Philip (sometimes thought to be the other of the two disciples mentioned here) and he finds and tells Nathaniel. Those who came to know who Jesus was in the early days were led to him by another.
The same holds true today. For the overwhelming majority of people, if they are led to the knowledge of Christ, his church, and his covenant, it is by friends and family members. Occasionally it will be by sheer will and purpose of the individual’s heart, but often it is because someone who knows that person took the time to teach them and point them to Jesus.
Who are you pointing to Jesus?
“Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and he fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you whole.'” (Luke 17:11-19, NKJV)
One of the greatest lessons that can be taught to young and old alike is thankfulness. It is easy to desire things, but it requires far more effort to be thankful for what has been given to you.
In a world of entitlement, where people believe they are owed everything they have and more, it is hard to find genuine thankfulness. Many people are thankful as long as they have everything they want, but if they desire something else they become immediately ungrateful for all they have previously received.
Out of the ten lepers Jesus healed, the only one who exhibited thankfulness was the one who was supposed to be the furthest from God. Equally in our lives, sometimes it is those that have the least, or who we think are the least deserving, that are the most thankful.
Do we thank God for the blessings bestowed upon us each day? Do we stop and tell him how much his love and grace mean to us, or do we simply continue on with life like those other nine men that kept on walking? Let us never forget to be thankful.
There are 2 books of the Bible which begin with this particular phrase. The very first words laid out in Scripture bear these words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). In the New Testament, John begins his epistle, by inspiration, with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Both of these books introduce themselves by going back to the beginning. Yet they both deal with very different facets of that beginning. When you put these two statements concerning the beginning of time together, they lead to a beautiful conclusion of the might and majesty of the creation.
John, in his writing, deals with the spiritual presence at the beginning of time. Unlike many in the modern world would have us believe, there was “someone” present in the beginning. It was not simply an accidental “big bang,” but there was an intentional cause behind it. John wrote that the Word both “was with God,” and “was God.” John continues by stating: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).
John proclaims who was responsible for the creation. It was the one who was “made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). It was none other than Jesus Christ; thus advocating the presence, not only of the Father, but of the entire Godhead at the creation of the world.
Though John shows the spiritual side of the beginning, Moses, in the book of Genesis, lays forth the physical side. Just as important as who did the creating is what was created. Moses begins the book of Genesis by laying forth a premise: God created the heaven and earth. He then continues that he might prove the fullness of that premise. Over the course of the next 2 chapters, God through Moses will show how everything which is, or has ever been, found upon the face of the earth came into being. Whether it was the creation of light, the universe, and the earth itself on the first day, or the creation of man on the sixth day, the Bible clearly shows that all in the universe was created in that time frame. Paul emphasized the creative power of God (specifically Christ) as it was displayed in the creation when he wrote by inspiration, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:16-17).
As sad as it is, there are many in the world, and some even in the church, who do not believe that God created all in 6 days. They believe in “theistic evolution,” the idea that God started the process, and then let evolution take over. Yet a study of Genesis 1 and John 1 leaves absolutely no room for such a conclusion.
An examination of the verses which follow these 3 great words in each of these 2 books leads man to see a complete picture of the beginning of time. That picture includes who was involved, how it was done, and what was accomplished. Let us always be mindful of what occurred “in the beginning.”
On the heels of his discussion with the rich young ruler, Jesus discusses with his disciples the prospects of those with riches entering the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew records, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mat. 19:23-24).
This statement by Jesus is one that has caused many people to be troubled over the years. Many scholars have tried to restate Jesus’ analogy to make it more palatable. Some have argued that he was simply repeating an old Eastern proverb. Jesus didn’t mean it literally; he was using a figure of speech. Others have argued that he was referencing a gate in Jerusalem that was so narrow it was almost impossible for a camel to travel through it. However, neither of these answers hold up to a critique of what Jesus actually said.
Jesus uses the Greek wording for a literal statement. He does not state that for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven it would be like a camel going through the needle, but instead that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom. Add to that Luke’s version where he uses the Greek word belone, which is the word for a surgical needle, and there is no doubt Jesus is making a comparison to the impossible.
Is Jesus saying that it is impossible for one who is rich to get into Heaven? Not at all. However, in order to understand Jesus’ intent, one needs to consider the precursor to these statements. Jesus has just shown a rich young man what he needs to do to be right with God, but the man refuses to do it because of his riches. Those who are rich oftentimes put their faith in their riches and in their own ability to maintain them. They do not put their trust in anyone other than themselves. With such an attitude, the chances of one getting into the kingdom of Heaven are the same as a camel getting through the eye of a needle: it is impossible. One cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven based upon his own wealth, actions, or generosity. There is something beyond the abilities of man that is necessary.
Jesus gives the other part of the equation in verse 26 when he states, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” In order for a rich man to be saved, there must be the recognition that he needs God. Without God there is no way for any man to be saved, for “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
Many of those with physical wealth will try to save themselves by their own devices; such an exertion is folly and, as Jesus showed, impossible. But if any man, no matter his wealth, will submit himself to God and devote his life in obedience to God’s will, he will receive the greatest treasure of all: entrance into the kingdom and eternal life.
In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus will bestow upon those listening yet another parable. It is a parable depicting the kingdom of Heaven. The basic premise of the parable is that God has made the kingdom available to all, but only a few have shown themselves worthy of the honor of being a part of the wedding feast. With this in mind, consider the differences to be seen in this parable between feast and famine.
The feast was prepared and ready to go. The only thing that was needed was guests to partake of it. Initially the invitation was sent to the king’s first choice of guests (Vs. 2). All they had to do to obtain a part in the feast was show up prepared for it. Upon the refusal of the first list of guests the king then sends his servants everywhere to find the lesser members of society and bring them in to the feast (Vs. 9). Therefore, by the time the orders were finished, all had been invited to partake in this feast.
Consider the honors bestowed to those who chose the feast. They were given the opportunity to set at a feast in the very presence of the king. This should have been considered a great honor by all, yet only a few took advantage of it. The same holds true for the kingdom of God today. Though many are called, only few take advantage of the opportunity to remain in the very presence of God.
They were not given seating based upon social status. It did not matter from whence they came or who they knew, only that they had answered the call to come to the feast. This is God’s attitude toward men today also. He does not care who we know, what we have done, or where we live, but only whether or not we are willing to take part in the appointed feast.
Hence, this feast was a great opportunity for all to come forward to be in the presence of the king and to take part in the glorious nature of the feast set before them. So the option is also laid before us today. We have the opportunity to take part in a great Heavenly feast in eternity, but we must be willing to make our plans to be present.
On the other side of the coin is the famine, which the remainder of the individuals portrayed in this parable received. They laughed and scoffed at the king when he invited them to his feast. They refused to come and participate with him and thus were not again offered entrance into the feast. Instead, the king gave them famine. The king sent forth his armies to destroy them and their city (Vs. 7). They had nothing left by the time the king was finished with them, and did not have any opportunity to take part in the feast after that point. There are many in the world today that fit this bill. They are unwilling to answer the call of God with anything other than derision and scorn. God says that He will take care of them and their attitude at the appropriate time.
There is also another type of individual which received famine in the parable. The one who tries to come to the feast unprepared will not be allowed participate in the feast (Vs. 11-14). This individual is one who seeks to gain the rewards, but because he seeks to do things his own way is unprepared and not given entrance. Unfortunately, this is typical of many in the religious world today. They want to come to the feast, but they want to come on their own terms. However, the terms of the king are the only terms that matter and those who refuse to adhere to those standards will receive nothing but famine in return.
The parable of the wedding feast is a very powerful and vivid parable in portraying the judgment of God upon mankind on that final day. We must ever prepare ourselves to be seated at the feast, so that we are not left with famine.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Book of John is the author’s emphasis on the dual nature of Jesus as both man and God. Combatting the ideological debate of his day that Jesus had to be either human or Deity, but not both: John gives extensive evidence that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man while on earth. As such, his abilities surpassed anything any other man could do.
An evidence of such is Jesus’ ability to see into the hearts of men. John 2:24-25 explains, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” Jesus did not have to waste his time figuring out who was truly interested in him and the truth of his message and who was simply trying to see him do something amazing. John will further enlighten us over the next few chapters as to the level of Jesus’ knowledge as he examines the Lord’s interactions with the four corners of society.
Nicodemus: The Spiritual Elite. John 3:1-21 details Jesus’ evening discussion with a man by the name of Nicodemus. He is a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. He is one who is a member of the ruling class among the Jews and is in the know on the workings of the Sanhedrin (John 7:45-53). He is one who is truly interested in Jesus and his teaching, but he has a great deal to lose if he is shown to be a supporter of Jesus publicly. He comes to Jesus, not to trap him or trick him, but to better understand his doctrine. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about a number of deeper things, including prophesying his own death (Vs. 14) as he explains to him his work and purpose. Jesus knew the heart of Nicodemus and taught him plainly, even though he was considered among the spiritual elite in Israel.
The Woman at the Well: The Spiritual Deprived. In John 4:1-42 John delivers to us one of the most interesting interactions of Jesus’ ministry as he speaks to this woman at the well. She is a Samaritan and a woman: two strikes against her as far as the Jews were concerned. The Samaritans were considered little better than dogs because they were half-Jew and half-Gentile. Therefore the Jews wanted nothing to do with them and, unlike Jesus, would not even travel through their region much less speak to them. But Jesus knows this woman’s heart and speaks in a very calm and comforting way to her, showing who he is, what is coming, and what she needs to do. Because of Jesus’ willingness to teach this woman, he will be extended the opportunity to teach the entire city in which she lives, when she goes and proclaims his statements to them (Vs. 39-42). Jesus knew this woman had the right heart and would present an opportunity for him, not just with her, but the people around her as well.
The Nobleman: The Physically Elite. As we come to John 4:46-54, Jesus meets a nobleman whose son is sick in another city. The man has all of the wealth and prestige this world has to offer, but his son was still dying. He comes to Jesus hoping that Jesus will come and save his son’s life. From Jesus’ statement in verse 48, Jesus knows this man does not yet believe in who Jesus is, but that the evidence of his signs and wonders will sway him. He heals the man’s son while the nobleman is standing before him and sends him on his way. Upon returning home and finding his son well, the nobleman knows Jesus was the one responsible and he and his entire household believe (Vs. 53). Jesus knew both the situation of the son and the heart of the father. He helped the son knowing it would also help this nobleman believe the truth.
The Invalid Man: The Physically Deprived. John 5:1-9 shows Jesus interactions with the final corner of society: those who are physically in need. At the pool of Bethesda those with physical ailments would congregate hoping for healing. The man Jesus helps on this occasion had been inflicted with his condition for 38 years (Vs. 5). Jesus, knowing the man’s desire to be rid of his affliction, heals him by telling him to take up his bed and walk. He did not have to do a detailed interview with the man asking his medical history and specific condition. He saw the need, knew the man’s heart, and healed his condition.
Just as Jesus knew the hearts of those of his day while on this earth, Jesus knows the hearts of all men today. He sees through the statements of faith and proclamations of sincerity to the core of who we really are. What does Jesus see in us?