Category Archives: Ezekiel

Sunday with John — Reliably Prepared

John 13:36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Peter was a follower of Jesus and prepared to go anywhere with Him.  He was convinced of the reliability of his own words “I will lay down my life for you.”  Jesus knew that night Peter was going to learn the answer to his question “Lord, why can I not follow you now?”  Jesus knew Peter’s preparation to “follow afterward” must include understanding the deniability of human reliability.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus knew the whole plan!  He had no illusions about the present situation or that every detail would become a reliable part of Peter’s future.

What does it say about people?
Peter’s mind could not comprehend the unpredictability of his own heart.

Is there truth here for me?
Every follower of Jesus knows this story.  Any believer who’s ever professed an “absolute” belief has discovered the reliability of their words challenged by their own unpredictable heart.  My heart wants to believe the faith God has given me is a monolithic [formed of a single large block of stone] superstructure that will stand up against every challenge but then I read and ponder: why wouldn’t God choose the same preparation He required of Peter for me, or for you?  The deniability of my own human reliability is where my faith discovers it’s true dependence on the grace of God.   Grace reveals the truth that Jesus is less interested in unmovable, monolithic superstructures than He is in hearts that will be reliably prepared by Him to “follow afterward.”

Ezekiel 36:23b, 26 & 27 …Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes…26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Sunday with John – Access

John 7
32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him[Jesus]. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. 33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Every day of this Festival there was a ritual water drawing that reminded people how important God’s provision of access to good water had been to their history with Him and that His provision for the survival of their ordinary daily lives still depended on that access.  The “hope” of this week was that God might choose this water offering as a means of access to the Messianic age.  The Festival water was drawn each day from the Pool of Siloam, known as the “well of salvation,” and poured into a bowl that drained onto the altar.a  “On the last and greatest day of the Festival Jesus compared Himself to that water…“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”  That made Jesus a problem the Pharisees couldn’t ignore. Some remembered Isaiah’s promise when like water poured “…on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants [44:3]…and they were talking!  Some saw beyond the ritual of that poured water flowing through that bowl onto the altar of God for exactly what it was; Jesus was the bowl that promised access to the future Spirit of God.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s time of physical accessibility to them is short.  God has sent Him and He is returning to that certain and exclusive place.  That place is a destination even thirsty and curious people will not be able to find without Jesus.

What does it say about people?
What thirsty people need is a willingness to accept the water…and drink! 

Is there truth here for me?
I think Jesus could add “I am the bowl” to His identity statements.  Jesus is the “bowl” that directs the living water drawn from God’s own heart to the Holy Spirit. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:25-27 NIV

a Water Libation Ceremony