Sunday, 30 October 2016
Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness, and he remained there with the disciples. John 11.54
Jesus is effectively in hiding. John tells us clearly that the authorities were after Him and had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him. (v57)
At the wedding feast in Cana, Jesus had said to Him mother, “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2.4) His hour had still not arrived, though it was considerably closer than at that earlier time in Cana.
Jesus walked closely with the Father. He walked so closely, so absolutely in tandem that He knew the Father’s timing, and He was totally given over to the Father. In just a little while, after meeting with some enquiring Greeks, He would respond to Andrew and Philip, “The hour has come…” (John 12.23) He was most wonderfully in time with the Father and the Father’s will.
Just recently I have felt flat, even a little dry. I’m asking, “Where is God? What is He doing in my life? Why do I feel unused and redundant?” I think I have more to learn about God’s timing. And I certainly can learn more from Jesus about trusting God and giving myself to live so close to Him as to know His needs of me.
I thank You for this lesson today. I discern that Jesus was at ease with hiding, with biding His time because the hour had not yet come. May I do likewise, and rest in You. I am reminded of those times when Jesus withdrew. He maybe found a solitary place on a mountainside where He could commune with You. Let me utilise these times of apparent inactivity, to draw aside and seek You out, to give myself to You in sweet communion. Draw me, Lord, I’m waiting on You. Hallelujah! Amen.
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” John 11.40
Faith can lead to manifestations of God’s glory. Jesus’ challenge to Martha applies to us all. Martha was prepared for the expected. Lazarus was dead and had been so for four days. His de-composing body would already have begun to smell strongly, to produce the “stench” that Martha described.
With faith all things are possible. Martha was conditioned for the expected, the normal, the ordinary. Faith can fit me to look for the unexpected, the abnormal or the extra-ordinary.
God can do anything. His Word tells me this. Indeed the written word and Jesus, the living Word, both attest to the sovereignty and supremacy of Almighty God.
So, what of my faith? In His question to Martha I hear, in my heart, Jesus follow through with another question. He has said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” I now hear Him say, “Do you then believe? Where is your faith?”
Yes, this is my faith. I need to demonstrate my faith. I also believe faith to be a gift from God. I have faith, but I would like so much more. My heavenly Father can give me this faith and, so, I will ask for it. I cry out, with the boy’s father who said to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief!” (Matt. 9.24)
Jesus has challenged me to believe. I do believe, yet I seek to believe even more. I ask You to deepen my faith. Lazarus was raised from the dead. I ask You for a faith to believe for such things and other extra-ordinary, supernatural events. I see this as part of a life lived truly in You. I seek a complete life in You. Hear my prayer and answer me, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Sunday, 23 October 2016
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” John 11.25
My first reaction to these words is akin to that of Martha, judging by her response to Jesus. We know He is the resurrection and I believe that, after I die, I will live the resurrected life with Him.
But I am reminded of another, more immediate, impact of these words. I believe in Jesus and I know Him to be the resurrection and the life, and this resurrected life is available to me, in perhaps limited form, from the moment I receive Jesus. As I die to myself, and my own desires, limitations and sinful ways, I can live in Him.
The Scriptures give me much encouragement in this. Matthew reminds me that Jesus is with me always, to the very end of the age. The writer to the Hebrews endorses this: He will never leave me nor forsake me. This writer further exhorts me to fix my eyes on Jesus. All of this together gives me every opportunity to live in Him. And He is now risen, exalted, and glorified. It is this resurrection life that He calls me to.
I have suggested resurrection life might be limited in this world. By this I mean I will not know it as fully as when I enter eternity and see Him face to face. But, whilst on earth, I must not seek to limit this life but look for it in fullness. This is the life He has for me. Let me be willing to receive it in fullest measure.
I hear You say to me, “I am the resurrection and the life – for today!”
Yes, dear Lord! I say “Yes” and “Yes” again. I open myself to You to receive the fullness of what You have for me today. I give myself to You for whatever this day will bring in Kingdom living. May I hear You, see You and be obedient to all that You would of me. Lead on, let us journey this day in glorious company together. Amen.
Friday, 21 October 2016
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of the world.” John 11.9
Two phrases strike me from this verse, and I see a clear difference between the two. Jesus reminds His disciples that there are twelve hours of daylight. These hours of light are available to all, except the physically blind. Thus many walk “in the light” and they might well live “enlightened” lives, doing good and living to a fine moral and ethical code, but do they live the very best “life in the light” that they can? Others may live in these same hours of daylight and promote all manner of unhealthy, even evil, behaviour while they embrace the same light.
Jesus then refers to those who see “the light of the world”. I see a difference between this and the twelve hours of natural daylight (already presented by me metaphorically as a form of natural “enlightenment”, which people may choose or not.)
Jesus has declared Himself to be the light of the world: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8.12) For me, walking in the “light of the world” is much different to simply walking in the hours of daylight Walking in Jesus, and with Jesus, I give myself to the extent of my ability to live as He would have me live. I look to do what He wants me to do. And I experience the joy of His company and the intimacy of His relationship with me.
Dear Lord Jesus,
I commit to walk in Your light. I pray for my journey through today and the days ahead. Let me see clearly the light that is You, and may I walk in that light. Alert me when I am tempted to stray into dark areas. Bring me back into the light. And may I know Your sweet presence with me, in Your precious name I ask. Amen.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
“… but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.” John 10.26
I see in these words the key to identifying with Jesus as a believer and the reason for the resistance and intransigence of non-believers. The believer belongs, but the action, I truly think, is initiated by God. Thus, if God doesn’t deliberately draw the individual, they will be held in disbelief and denial.
Jesus further emphasises the divide between Christians and non-believers with His next words: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (v27)
Jesus “knows” His sheep. The Father has drawn them to Him, and He is their way to the Father. When Jesus speaks, His sheep hear Him, and they follow Him. Here we see the wonderful relationship that the Christian enjoys and which is totally unknown, even alien, to the non-Christian.
I rejoice that Jesus knows me. He knows every last detail about me. He knows the good and the not so good. He accepts me. I try to keep myself ever alert to hear His voice. I delight in dialogue with Him. I yearn to share more and more. As He calls, as He leads, I want to follow. I see this not as a following behind but, rather, as a journeying together. He is with me, and the travelling is joyous. I belong. I am His.
I thank You that I belong to Your sheep. I rejoice in hearing Your voice. I ask You to speak to me, to converse with me that we may share many things.
I want to follow You. Please show me Your way, and guide me in that way. Be my companion on the journey. May we enjoy each other as we travel the road in partnership together. I ask these things in Your loving name, Amen.
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