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Bible Study in John 4, When God Does the Unexpected
September 20, 2017, 3:14 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

When we look at Jesus, we see the unexpected things that He does. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have experienced the unexpected nature of the journey. He takes us to places that at times breaks us and at times overwhelms us. We even have those encounters with Him in which He reveals our deepest secrets and exposes them to the light. In John 4, God allows us to see a few of those unexpected encounters during the time that Jesus, the God-man, walked among us.
The first encounter is with those who hate Jesus. The Pharisees saw that Jesus was becoming a popular figure in the religious scene in Jerusalem. Their focused turned from John the Baptist, who seemingly stepped aside to let the spotlight shine on Jesus. The crowds saw something new and unique in Jesus, who spoke with an authority not heard from the Pharisees. So, the Pharisees sought to come up with a plan to eliminate Jesus. Since it wasn’t the time for the crucifixion, Jesus left Jerusalem and headed back to His home base in Galilee.
Looking on a map, the shortest route for Jesus to take would go through Samaria. During the time Jesus spent on earth, Samaria was a place to be avoided. A thousand years earlier, Samaria and Judea were united during the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon. After the death of Solomon, the kingdom split into two kingdoms, with Samaria becoming a hotbed of idol worship. The sins that took place plus the consequences of the Assyrian captivity turned Samaria into a place hated by the Jews. The Jews didn’t even consider the Samaritans to be Jews, but saw them someone lesser with whom they should not interact. So serious were the Jews in avoiding contact with the Samaritans, they avoided travelling through Samaria.
So it was unusual that Jesus “must needs go through Samaria” on His way to Galilee. Stopping at noon at Sychar, Jesus sat at a well while the disciples looked for food. He had the perfect place to encounter a Samaritan woman as she came for water. Something was wrong in the woman’s life. Normally the women came early in the day to get water. For her to come at the hottest part of the day revealed that she most likely was not highly regarded by the other women. I can imagine the looks she endured and the covered words followed by laughter directed at her. When she saw a man sitting by the well, she must have been startled, but seeing that He was a Jew brought a sigh of relief. Jewish men never talked to a woman in public, especially a woman like her. Can you imagine her surprised look when Jesus said, “would you draw water and give Me a drink?”
Since He started the conversation, she replied, “I can’t believe that a Jew like You would associate with a Samaritan woman, much less ask me to give You a drink of water. Aren’t you afraid that water from me would be filthy?”
Jesus must have laughed and replied, “you have no idea who I am or what gift from God that I bring to you. If you did, you would have asked me for the life changing gift of ‘living’ water.”
The woman sarcastically replied, “You are sitting by a deep well with no bucket in sight. Where and how would you get ‘living’ water? Do you have something better than our father Jacob, who dug and maintained this well so even today, we can get clean water.
Jesus reminded the woman that if she took a drink from Jacob’s well, she would have her thirst quenched, but only for a moment. Before long, you will be thirsty again. But if you drink the ‘living’ water I’m offering, you will never, ever thirst again, not even in eternity.”
The woman wanted this amazing water. “Please, Sir, give me a drink of this water. I want never to be thirsty again. I will never have to make this trip again.
Here is where the encounter takes a turn in which the woman’s life becomes transparent before Jesus. Jesus unexpectedly tells the woman to bring her husband to Him.
Caught off-guard, the woman lies by saying, “I don’t have a husband!”
Jesus responds, “Technically you’re telling the truth. You don’t have A husband. You have had five husbands and are currently living with a man to whom you aren’t married! Yes, you don’t have A husband.”
The woman uses a technique that I have used when I don’t want to deal with my failures, turn the discussion into something else. She compliments Him, by calling Him a prophet. But then she asks a theological question. She asks, “Where are we supposed to worship?” In asking this question, she brings back the differences between Jews and Samaritans. She wants to start an argument. But Jesus doesn’t allow her to sidetrack Him. Jesus brings the discussion to her personal relationship with God. In reading what Jesus points out, He tells her and us that true worship doesn’t involve a place. How sad that we have forgotten these words of Jesus. We have our “sanctuaries” and “God’s house” in a building and miss that true worship occurs in our hearts, that the true “house of God” is our inner being. Jesus also told us that true worship is founded in truth and in spirit. It is not outward actions that fulfill a checklist that we have established. True worship is when we authentically worship God without putting on an act, without pretending something. It is when we, as broken people, pour out our praise for God. Jesus reminded her that truth worship is when we seek to enter into God’s presence.
The broken woman then speaks from her heart, “these mysteries, these truths, will be made clear by the Messiah when He comes.”
Imagine the tears that fill her eyes when the man to whom she has talked reveals His true identity, “I am the Messiah, the One for whom you have been looking.”
At this point the disciples return and look on in amazement that He has been talking to this woman. The woman runs away, returning to her hometown without her water pot. Stopping men and women, she shares the good news that has been told her, and points people to the Messiah. The excited people came out and approached Jesus.
Jesus seemed energized by the people seeking Him. He tells the disciples, who wonder if He has been fed by someone else, that His nourishment is serving God. The woman shared with neighbors, who believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Others in Samaria believed because Jesus had told them the Truth.
What a sad difference that Jesus experienced among His own people. When He got to Galilee, He saw no true faith in Him.
So as He continue to travel to Cana, a government official approached Jesus, begging Him to help cure his young son who was on his death bed. He wanted Jesus to travel to Capernaum because he felt that Jesus had to go to his son or his son would die. But Jesus told the man that his word was enough for the young boy to be healed. The authority with which Jesus spoke provided the confidence the man needed to put faith in what Jesus had said. Before reaching home, servants met him with the news of the son’s miraculous recovery which happened at the time Jesus spoke.
So where does this leave us? We need to expect God to do amazing and unexpected things in our lives. When He does, we are to rejoice in those things, and celebrate they blessings that come from Him. We also need to respond to His word in faith even when the circumstances paint a different picture. We need to lay aside our human reasoning that seeks our answers and solutions and trust Him. While we may not always understand what He does and why He does it, we need to allow Him to change us to Christ-likeness. This will stretch our faith and this will result in a us denying our plans and ambitions to do His will.

Your turn. Take the time to read John 4. When you do, read the story as if you don’t know it and search for details. To help you, use these three questions to keep your attention.
John 4
1. Going from Judea to Galilee led Jesus to a place that most Jews avoided. What was the place?

(The place became the symbol of rebellion and idol worship that characterized the Northern Kingdom during the Divided Kingdom Stage. The rebellious Jews built a temple on Mt. Gerizim to the True God, an act that demonstrated that they rejected God’s Word as their authority.)

2. What unexpected act did Jesus show a woman of Samaria?

(Jews never talked or had any contact with Samaritans. Jewish men also never approached a woman like this in public. Jesus is going against the social standards of His day. That’s why Jesus’ act was unexpected.)

3. What “signs and wonders” had the father of the dying son seen and trusted, and what did he trust after Jesus confronted his faith by saying “Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe”?
a. Before the question:
b. After the question:

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Four Hard Lessons David Learned (2 Samuel 11-12)
September 10, 2017, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” (2 Samuel 11:27)
When we read 2 Samuel 11 we read about the time that David commits the sin of adultery with Bathsheba by an act in which she gets pregnant. To cover his sin, David arranges for Uriah, her husband to be killed in a battle. and then takes Bathsheba as his wife, and she has his son, born due to an act of rebellion and sin. The verse written above is the last verse in the chapter. If you look at the passage in your Bible, you will notice the word “LORD” . (In most Bible it is capitalized but the last 3 letters are in a smaller font.) It is the only time the word is used in chapter 11. But in chapter 12, the word is constantly used, showing that Jehovah (LORD) took the responsibility to deal David and his sin upon Himself.
Here are four things to consider:
David was, and is, known as a man after God’s own heart. Any of can sin in a major and destructive way. But we can’t be separated from God’s love. (Romans 835). Many Bible scholars believe that David was guilty of raping Bathsheba. This man after God’s own heart revealed that his own heart was evil and wicked. The good that David did was on God and every evil act and thought was totally David’s fault. By law, David was to be killed but God dealt with him in mercy and grace.
Second, God used someone who was His faithful servant to confront David. Notice the words “The LORD sent Nathan to David”. Nathan didn’t go on his own. He waited until God sent him. Notice how God used Nathan to confront David. Nathan wasn’t up in his face condemning but told a story which resulted in David condemning himself. The result of Nathan’s dealing with David can be understood by reading Psalm 51, the confession and repentance of David for his sin. How powerful is God’s dealing with His people’s sin.
Third, while we can’t see a time difference we know that at least 9 months have passed. God waited to confront David. Why? I think that it may because David, in his rebellion, was very defensive after his sin. After months of rebellion, David may have been more open to God dealing with Him. God still used the story about the young lamb taken from a shepherd who only had that one lamb.
Finally, this sin didn’t go on without serious consequences that David didn’t expect and couldn’t change. David’s secret sin would result in someone taking his wives from him and everyone in Israel would know that this person did (his son Absalom would take David’s royal concubines during his rebellion). Since David’s rebellion had damaged the reputation of the Lord in the sight of the enemies of the Lord, there would be consequences. The baby born from this act of rebellion -would died. David would plead with God and do everything just right so that his prayer would be answered but the baby became sick. The giant in David’s life won this time because David had taken his eyes off God and placed them on what he wanted and not on what God wanted. His prayers were useless. After 7 days of David wanting to die instead of the child, this small baby was taken into the presence of God, to enjoy the glories found in Him. Sin is always destructive and always costs more than it brought.



Bible Study, John 3 The “Must Read” Chapte
September 7, 2017, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

In life, we often hear of things that we “must” do. A list of the “musts” of our lives would both fill this page and frustrate us with the things that we feel are required by immediate or future need, or something that we see as fulfilling our purpose. Sometimes the “musts” of our lives are legitimate and necessary things that we have to do but many times these required things are simply what we assume to be needed things. “I must go to the store” often times isn’t something that is necessary or essential but a desired preference.
However, in John 3, John lists some essential musts for us. These “musts” are essential and needed as we fulfill our purpose in life. The first must is easily seen- Jesus, in His conversation with Nicodemus, tells him that a man “must” be born again. In the 3rd and 4th chapters of John you read of two of the encounters have with people, Nicodemus and an unnamed woman at a well in Samaria. Although these were two uniquely different people, they share a common need, the need of the new birth and a personal relationship with God.
Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, which speaks of both his position and presumed knowledge of God’s Word. Evidently, Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish governing body. You can see the interest that Nicodemus has in learning more about Jesus because he comes to him. Also notice the respect Nicodemus shows Jesus by calling Him “rabbi”. Although Jesus didn’t have formal rabbinic training, Nicodemus recognized His wisdom and authority in speaking on the Bible. I also notice that the miracles of Jesus caught Nicodemus’ attention. Most likely these miracles included the cleansing of the temple. John gives the miracles performed by Jesus which show us that Jesus is God in the flesh.
I also note that Nicodemus had an attitude of fear. He comes to visit and talk to Jesus at night. Perhaps Nicodemus was concerned what the other members of the Sanhedrin might think about his interest in and respect for Jesus.
Jesus shares with Nicodemus “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” So, the seed is sown in the life of Nicodemus that would result in him following after Jesus and publicly revealing Himself as a follower of Jesus Christ at a time when the enemies of God thought they had won. But as the great sermon reminds us, “Sundays coming!”
The narrative then switches to John the Baptist’s testimony about two essential “musts”. When Jesus and his followers come into a region where John the Baptist and his followers were ministering, some of John’s followers show their competitive nature by telling John that Jesus was in the area. I think they were implying that John needed to bring his “A-game” to his preaching and baptizing because “all” men were going to Jesus and his disciples instead of them. In verse 30, John gives two essential “musts” concerning how we are to view Jesus and us. First, Jesus “must” increase. The indication is that John had fulfilled his purpose in pointing people to Jesus and now, Jesus had to be in the spotlight. He must replace John as the “big deal”. John then gives the 3rd essential “must” of his willingness to cast the attention to Jesus. John proclaimed, “I must decrease!” How convicting are these words to those of us who are born in a land which places great importance of becoming somebody. We strive and struggle, sacrifice and work, manipulate and deceive, all to become someone. John later in an epistle talks about “the pride of life”, or the desire to be somebody. John the Baptist had it right, Jesus is to be in the spotlight. Life is all about Him. John the Baptist’s concludes his testimony reminding us that “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: (think about this! The believer already has life which doesn’t end.) He goes on the say “and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

The Questions
1. Tell the two characteristics used to specifically identify Nicodemus.
2. What Old Testament event was linked to the discussion with Nicodemus?
3. Take the time to read John 3:36 in several different versions of the Gospel. Notice how some translate the second use of the word “believeth” (or believe). Putting it together with the first use of a form of believe, what do you learn about what it means to “believe” Biblically?



Bible Study on John, Day 2, John 2, First Things
September 4, 2017, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

First impressions are normally the impressions that stick with you. Think about the “Grand Openings”which you have attended. They are intended to impress you that this is the greatest store or greatest ballpark or greatest restaurant in history. So when Jesus begins His public ministry, He is the greatest so the miracle He does must be impressive. Last time we looked at the first week of Jesus’ public ministry and we got to day 5. Today, we pick up the 7th day, at a wedding feast in Cana. Jesus and the followers He has picked are there, as well as His mother. She probably was a friend of the family and may have been working behind the scene, making sure that the food and drink for the feast was being served. So when she saw that the wine was out, she looked for options and the very best option was in front of her, her son Jesus. John doesn’t tell us why she called on Jesus but most likely she had seen Him perform miracles before. What I love is that she put all of her trust in Him and told the servants to completely obey Him, no matter what He asked. Point of application- do you have that type of trust in Jesus when you are facing a problem or difficult situation? As we look at the story, Jesus commands that 6 large water pots be filled with water. We are looking at 180 gallons placed in water pots that had been used to purify hands and utensils previously. Notice that Jesus doesn’t do anything else, other than tell them to take a drink to the governor or head waiter who supervised the serving of food and drink. Whatever was in those water pots must have been amazing. What I noticed is the result of the miracle- Jesus revealed His glory and the disciples “believed”. While Jesus is letting people see that He is God, He is building the faith of those to whom He will entrust spreading the Gospel.
The second “first” in the chapter is Jesus’ first major confrontation with the corrupt and spiritual powerless Jewish religious leaders. Jesus makes His first public trip to Jerusalem to attend the Passover. John’s Gospel focuses on the Passover and His time in Jerusalem. When Jesus sees the corruption going on connected with the Passover and in the Temple, He drove out the money changers and all the animals. He then makes a controversial claim that puts the Jewish religious leaders on notice, Jesus is the Son of God. Take a look at what Jesus states in verse 16. The disciples take note of Jesus’ statement and remember Psalm 69:9, which the first century Jews took as a prediction about the Messiah. We also find the first public mention of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The temple that Jesus mentioned being destroyed and three days later raised up was His body. The Jewish religious leaders missed it entirely, telling Jesus about the length of time it took to rebuild the Temple that now stood. Again Jesus is investing in the faith of the disciples, who would remember this event after the resurrection took place.
The chapter ends with a statement that many believed in his name, because of the miracles and then tells us that Jesus didn’t commit to them because He knew their belief was only because of the miracles. It is hard for us to put our minds around this statement because we see the word believe and think that automatically means they were saved. The crowd was identifying with Jesus because of miracles and not because of the message. Did you notice the statement that Jesus knew their hearts. He understood that their belief was superficial and fickle. They liked the miracles and wanted one for themselves but weren’t evidently willing to go all in to trusting Jesus with their all.
Now it is you turn. Read the three questions, re-read the chapter as you answer them. Don’t forget to take notes as you read. What questions do you have on the passage? Write them out and then go to other versions and Bible study tools to find the answers. Remember to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance as you study. At the end, find one way to apply this passage to your everyday life. Write it as a sentence, and be specific!

John 2 questions
1. When Mary comes to Jesus with the problem of no wine at the wedding, how did Jesus address His mom and what question did Jesus ask her?
a. Address to His mom? ___________________________________
b. Question Jesus asked her? _______________________________

2. Jesus went to Capernaum with what three groups (individual or several people)?
a. ___________________________________________________
b. ___________________________________________________
c. ___________________________________________________

3. Read verses 23 to 25 and note that “many believed in his name” (put their trust in Him) yet Jesus didn’t commit Himself to them. Carefully read the passage again and explain what was wrong with their belief that caused Jesus, who knew what was in man, not to commit to (believe in, entrust himself to) them.
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________



Bible Study on John, Day 1, John 1
September 3, 2017, 2:06 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

I am a middle school and high school Bible teacher, starting my 36th year.  One assignment for my students is to have them read the Bible.  In order to help them, I sat down these past summer and wrote three questions to each chapter in the Bible.  I mentioned this in a Sunday school class and had a suggestion that I post this each day on my blog.  So Rose and Teresa, here is the Bible study, day 1.  Hopefully, God will use this to help us study His word and deepen our relationship with Him.  God bless as you start this study!

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, CHAPTER 1

The Apostle John delivers the Great News of Jesus the Christ that is unique among the Gospels.  While the other three books focus on the miracles, parables, and public speeches of Jesus in order to show that He is the King of the Jews, the Servant of God to man, and the Perfect Man in living a right life, John takes the story of Jesus beyond the Jews, Romans, and Greeks to the entire world.  His intention is clearly evangelistic, seeking to reach unbelievers with the story of the unbelievable love and grace of God.  Dated by most scholars as after A.D. 70, John may encourage readers that Jesus is the new, better center of worship, replacing the Temple that had been destroyed.

John accomplishes his goal by showing that Jesus is clearly God.  From the first words of the first chapter John states that Jesus is God.  John records that Jesus used the significant phrase “I am” throughout His public ministry in Jerusalem, each time claiming that holy, personal name of God as His own.  Jesus was always in charge, always knowing what was going on, and always showing that He was enabling man to have a personal relationship with Him.  John also wrote to give his readers reasons to “believe” and “know” Jesus as God.  These key terms are seen in his gospel over 90 times, with two types of “know” appearing well over 125 times.  The connection of these two words with verbs demonstrate that knowing God and believing God involving action.

The first chapter of John can be divided into two parts.  Verses 1 to 18 is a prologue which presents Jesus as the eternal and pre-existent Word, or very expression of God.  In these verses the origin of themes found throughout the Gospel are introduced.  Jesus is presented as the Life, Light, and Truth.  Believers are presented as God’s children, while the world is presented as lost and rejecting Jesus.

In the remaining part of John 1, we see the first 5 days of Jesus’ public ministry.  Although the first miracle which brought attention to Jesus doesn’t occur until John 2, the foundation of the public ministry is established.  Think of it this way.  The building is built, the doors to business are opened, but the official grand opening occurs with a big event.  In days 1 to 3 of Jesus’ ministry we read of John the Baptist’s witness about Jesus, encounter with Jesus, and referral of two of his own disciples to Jesus.  On day 4, Andrew introduces his brother Simon to Jesus.  Simon would later have his name changed by Jesus to Peter.  On day 5, Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael to follow Him.  Jesus ends the first chapter with the first of twenty-five uses of “verily, verily”, a translation of the Hebrew “amen, amen” and indicates the authority of his announcement.  To help you in your personal study of chapter 1, here are three simple questions to keep your attention as you read.  John 1’s three questions

John 1

  1. Give me three characteristics of the Word as given in this chapter
    1. The Word was in _________________________________
    2. The Word was with _______________________________
    3. The Word was ___________________________________

 

  1. What action of John the Baptist did the Pharisees want to know why he was doing it if he wasn’t that Christ (the Messiah) or Elias (Elijah)?

 

  1. Jesus told Nathanael that he would see things greater than the thing that impressed him enough to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. What was it that impressed Nathanael?

 

 



Blessed are Those with Power Under Control!
September 2, 2017, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) The third in a series of “blessed” at the beginning of the greatest sermon ever preached uses a term that seemingly emphasizes weakness. Googling the word meek results in a definition or explanation like this “the adjective meek describes a person who is willing to go along with whatever other people want to do, like a meek classmate who won’t speak up, even when he or she is treated unfairly.” One definition even tells us that a meek person is overly submissive or spineless. Not exactly a characteristic that you want for your child, is it? How many of us teach our children to stand up for what you believe, even if you stand alone. Fight for what is right. Have a strong determination, get a backbone! So how can a meek person be blessed?
One way to discover the Biblical meaning of the word is to explore the Greek word. Transliterated, the Greek word is “praus”. In non-biblical writings, the word for meek was used for bringing a spirited horse under control. It was applied to wind that was brought under control and made useful. Drugs were considered meek when given in proper doses making it useful. A workable definition for meek is “power or strength under control”.
When I was a boy, my dad was a tremendously strong man, due to the work he did. His hand strength was amazing. So he would play a game with me called “Mercy”. I loved it because I wanted to be as strong as my dad. We would lock fingers and apply pressure. Eventually one of us would “give up” because the pressure of the other would overcome our strength. It was always me. But I was determined to one day beat my dad. Dad never applied full force, and he sometimes would let me almost win. But in the end, he never wanted me to win because he let me. He wanted me to win because I won. As I grew, I began involved in athletics and a part of what I did was weight lift. My strength grew, especially in my hands and arms. Our contest became more competitive and eventually I won. I was so happy and so was dad. As the years passed, I could beat dad anytime I wanted. His hands grew weaker and he was unable to beat me. So now I had this overwhelming strength but I controlled it so we could play the game. As dad aged, he struggled with remembering things. So he wanted to play the game, showing me that he could win. Knowing my dad’s condition, I would put up a fight, and then surrender to him. Even though I had superior strength, it was strength under control. Winning wasn’t as important to me as it had been before I knew I was the strongest. In the Old Testament, the greatest leader of Israel, Moses, was called a meek person. In the New Testament, the most powerful God-man, Jesus, was called meek. Power to win, under control. So Jesus is saying, Blessed is the person who is powerful, or who is right, or who was control but puts it under control so that another is not destroyed. When we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, the fruit includes meekness. James talks about a meek and humble readiness to be taught the Word of God. Galatians 6:1 shows us that when we deal with a person is caught in any sin, we who are spiritual should work to restore him or her, when a spirit of meekness. We have the right to throw the book at them, to disown them, to dress them down, but we put that right or power under control.
Jesus shows what this looks like in John 8:1-11. While teaching in the Temple, the scribes and Pharisees drag in a woman guilty of committing adultery. While in the act of sex, she was grabbed and brought to Jesus. Most likely, she wasn’t fully dressed when she was forced to stand in front of Jesus. Imagine her shame was those listening to Jesus now turned their attention on her. Can’t you see her head bowing and her eyes looking at the ground as she sobbed in fear and shame. Hearing the Pharisees tell Jesus that she had been caught having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband was bad enough but then hearing the sentence “the law of Moses commands that we stone every woman who does this to death” broke her. What hope did she have? John tells us that they were doing this as a test for Jesus. The woman was just a pawn in the game. You know the response of Jesus. He bends down and begins writing in the ground with His finger. What He wrote is a mystery. We aren’t told. As the Pharisees continued to ask what verdict Jesus would pass, Jesus said these famous words, “let him who is without sin among you throw the first stone!” Bending down, writing once again in the ground, Jesus must have heard the sound of sandals leaving the Temple area. Then the One Man who met the requirement to throw the first stone stood up. Jesus, the God-man, had never and would never commit a sin. He would never be guilty of breaking God’s holy law. Then as God, He had written the law! He alone had the power, the authority, the right to cast the first stone. But Jesus shows us how to be meek in the right way. Using my imagination, I can see Jesus standing to His feet and getting the woman to look Him in the eyes asked her where her accusers were? Looking around, she saw no one but then looked into His eyes. Such righteous eyes revealing a righteous Man who had every right to pick up a stone to hurl at her, bringing death. As God, He knew her sin, or should I say SINS! And then Jesus covered her sin with GRACE! “Neither do I condemn you, go, and from now on sin no more!” The command to “sin no more” means to leave your life of sin or stop practicing sin as a way of life. Here’s what I love, Jesus forgave her, and then enabled her to live a life of following Him.
So, I guess my point is this. We all have failed God. My violations of the standard of God would fill a large book. I am condemned. Praise God for the Meek! My God had every right to destroy me. But He showed grace! So as I follow Him, I have to become a Grace-giver! Blessed are the meek! God, help me to become meek! Help to to restore! Help me to show grace!



“What is Truth?” (John 18:38) People Still Asks the Same Question
August 10, 2017, 1:56 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: ,

If you are living in our world today, I’m sure that you notice how often we have at least two sides to any issue. Both sides look at the other side’s logic and reasoning as flawed, based on misconceptions and lies. If you have children you have no doubt interrupted a heated discussion, perhaps even a fight and then asked that ridiculous question, “what’s wrong?” Listening to each side finds that whatever happened will have to be discovered some other way because the two stories you are hearing can’t be about the same event.
The same thing happened during the life of Jesus. Beginning with Adam and Eve’s sin, two different worldviews have been used to interpret the events of life. One is based on God’s view, while the other is the result of man’s interpretation based on his knowledge and understanding at that point of life.
As we go to John 18, we find Jesus arrested as a part of the Jewish religious leaders’ plot to discredit and destroy Jesus. Taking advantage of a leak from one of Jesus’s own, they developed a plot to use this disloyal and greedy “disciple” to locate Jesus and have Him arrested. Following His arrest, a series of illegal trials occur, showing that the alleged loyalty to the Mosaic Law is set aside for what they believe to be a necessary death to save what they hold as important. In case you misunderstand, while they tried to deceive others into thinking that their actions were because of their loyalty to God, it was really motivated by their loyalty to themselves. They loved the position of honor, the power they possessed, and the material wealth they gained by doing “God’s bidding”.
So, to gain the Roman’s approval for a public death on the cross, a lie about Jesus is told, and He is taken before Pilate. Pilate didn’t agree with the Jews about the need of a Roman trial leading to Jesus’ death as he attempted to turn from their request. As they persisted, Pilate agreed, for political reasons, to put Jesus on trial, under Roman law.
Pilate asked a simple question, but one of extreme importance. “Are you the King of the Jews?” If Jesus answered yes, then He would be an insurrectionist, leading a rebellion against the Roman government. If Jesus answered no, then His claim to be the Messiah would be destroyed. Notice what Jesus said. Is this your personal belief that I am the Jewish king, or has someone else brought the charge against me? The discussion goes back and forward with Jesus telling Pilate the Messiah’s kingdom wasn’t a temporary, physical kingdom like the Romans. So once again Pilate asks, “Are you a king then?”
Jesus gave an answer that revealed The Plan of the Ages was being carried out by these events. “You said that I am a king. That’s the reason for my virgin birth. I have come, God in the flesh of man as the Messiah. My purpose is to bear witness to all this Truth, God came to rescue man from the punishment of sin. God, in human form, came to pay for man’s rebellious and evil disobedience against the expressed will and standards of God. God, as a man, to die the necessary death to pay for all of mankind’s sin. I came to tell that Great News of Eternal Truth. Everyone can find the truth, because I am the Truth Speaker. My word is the absolute, unchangeable, and eternal Truth from God Himself.”
Confronted with this Truth from this One who claims both in words and deeds to be the Messiah, God in the flesh, Pilate does what so many unfortunately do. He asked, “what is truth?” At this very moment of being confronted with Truth, Pilate chose to reject the Truth. He will go back to the Jewish leaders and tell them he finds no criminal acts, no guilt, nothing for which Jesus should die. But instead of putting complete faith in Jesus and basing his life on Jesus, Pilate turned to the false truth which he was comfortable and made a choice that he decided was best despite the overwhelming evidence that Jesus was Truth.
So, what do we learn? We have two versions of truth. One is that truth which we develop over time. We live in a world that presses us into the mold that everyone else follows. Resistance to this earthly truth is futile as we learn to pursue the American dream that shows us that it is important that we strive for material possessions, achievements, honors, and positions of importance, and fill our lives with exciting and unforgettable experiences. This truth is ever-changing and adapts to our current situation.
But there is another Truth. It is from God and is based on Him. While we know this Truth is absolute, eternal, and unchangeable it is also uncomfortable and contrary to every message we get in life. This Truth demands change as God transforms us into Christ-likeness. The transformation at times is uncomfortable and demands self-sacrifice. We go from wanting it all, seeking material rewards for our efforts to be great to following Jesus as His slave.
We have a choice to make. God’s Truth or the common truth of this world that really isn’t truth at all. This world’s truth is based on a lie, “man is the center of the universe”. What will you do?