Category Archives: Wednesday

Peace and Power for Mere Humans

John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe [or may continue to believe] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

“Jesus comes to us and gives us his peace with God. Then he gives us power to do the kinds of things that mere humans can’t do — like defeating our own selfishness, and loving other people, and treasuring Christ above all. And then with that peace and that power he gives us our central purpose for existence” John Piper

Betrayer

John 18:1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.  2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.  3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

It is not an enemy who taunts me —
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me —
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
Psalm 55:12–13 RSV

What do you think about Judas?  This is one of the saddest passages of Scripture because of Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. 
Did Jesus mistakenly choose a betrayer to be one of His disciples?
Did He purposely set Judas up for this awful betrayal?
Was Judas’s mind lost in a battle with “the” enemy?
Did Jesus grieve these words of Psalm 55 over Judas?
What about Peter and his three denials?
Did Jesus grieve these same words of Psalm 55 over Peter?
……………………………WHAT ABOUT YOU?…………………………………

Advocate

John 16:7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. NIV

“…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV

Reminder

John 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Advocate: one who pleads the cause of another, defends and maintains a proposal and supports the interests of the cause.

The Word is so much more than just words.  It is the place God captures our hearts through our mind.  There is only one condition: you must accept that the Lord has placed His Advocate in your heart to begin the process of training your mind to first go to “He will” before it goes to that other place, “I should” which has a very different manager.  

2 Peter 1:12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.

“We let our mind descend into our heart and
there stand in the presence of God.”
Henri Nouwen in Spiritual Direction

The Judge

John 12:47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” ESV

These Words are the last thing Jesus says before separating himself from his public ministry to begin this very personal “Passover” preparation.  Jesus speaks these Words as a commandment from His father.  They are the judge, not Jesus.  God’s commandment is eternal life and He has given Jesus the power to Pass Over His judgment to liberate those who will hear and keep His Word.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent. NLT

 

Bound by Jesus

John 10:1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  

John’s reference to ”anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate” is about a thief and a robber who looks for opportunity to attack.  When your heart is broken you are vulnerable to attack.  That’s where I am right now because of grief.  My natural inclination when searching for words was to use the old familiar language of protection…to “bind” Satan.  Then I realized I don’t want to attribute any power at all to that thief and robber  so I’ve chosen my words carefully for this prayer of protection, Bound by Jesus.    “… The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd” who will protect my heart, mind and body.  These words are the “gatekeeper” beside my bed that opens the gate for the shepherd as the first and the last thing of my day.  I’ve only just realized it may be so much more than a prayer for protection in grief.  It may be a prayer for life.

“Come to me, Shepherd!
Come quickly! Make no tarrying, O my Lord.” 
a
Come to protect my heart, mind and body
from the enemy as only you can.
Be the shield that deflects the enemy’s clever
use of weapons that destroy my heart.
Let my mind recognize ”you will” before
the enemy tells me “I should.”
Help me be satisfied in my weakness
because of your strength.

a quote from Hind’s Feet on High Places

Power

John 8:51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death. 52 At this they exclaimed, ‘Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?’

These verses are such an odd exchange.  It reminded me that the politics of power is nothing new.  It can even impact faith.  No I’m not talking about the “R” or “D” kind of politics but the dictionary kind: “activities associated with governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having, or hoping to, achieve power.” 

Jesus’ words: “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death” challenged the Jew’s power over their people and that was the real conflict they had with Him.  Their political authority gave them the ultimate power to end life, but Jesus continued to proclaim He had the ultimate power to end death. 

Believers in Jesus Christ already have been given the promise of the power over death wrapped in the mystery of being “born again.”  Born again is the indefinable personal moment of  recognition that Jesus Christ guarantees your “new” life will not see or taste death.  That life has already begun in you.  You are living it right now.   It doesn’t promise you won’t die but that by obeying His word in this life you will be able to see and taste the power of life that continues beyond death.

Mindset

John 7:1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”

The voices in these verses are different but they are reminiscent of that “snake” in the garden assuring Adam and Eve to take that first step that would change the created mindset of man from contentment with, and dependence on, the glory of God to the tempting awareness of self.  “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”  Thank God that Jesus the man had heard it all before.

Shared Glory

John 5:44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 

Glory: high renown or honor won by notable achievements.

This one verse is part of Jesus’s fairly long indictment of the brokenness of human nature.  As hard as it is to read, it’s also encouragement to respond.  From the moment of our birth we begin to understand “notable achievements” can make people respond positively to us.  Even a toddler can enchant us with their response to the right encouragement.  We clearly have a built-in nature that still recognizes “notable achievements” can result in glory for this life.

Jesus is determined to remind us it’s our remembrance of what glory is meant to be that is broken.  Our glory will not be complete until we “seek the glory that comes from the only God” who’s most “notable achievements” were to create mankind and this world so His glory might become part of our shared glory that would honor Him.  

How can you believe, when you receive “high renown or honor won by notable achievements” from one another and do not seek the “high renown or honor won by notable achievements” that comes from the only God?

The Source

John 5:13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

How many people’s lives have been changed by Jesus and they don’t know it?  I wonder how often Jesus has stepped into someone’s life with an act of unrecognized mercy that was attributed to luck or fortune?  Why did healing happen to someone who had no apparent knowledge of Jesus?  This is such an unusual story to me.  A body had been physically healed but it was only later that Jesus “found” the healed man to wake up his mind to the source and the purpose of what had happened to him.  That’s the message of this one verse.  The mercy of Jesus doesn’t come with strings attached but it’s an incomplete blessing until it becomes the wake-up call for our mind to recognize Jesus as the source of all mercy.