Tag Archives: Confirmation

Sunday with John – Evidence

John 12:9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus and Lazarus are attracting too much attention. The people have heard of the power of Jesus’s life to destroy death and come to see for themselves.  They’ve believed. The chief priests have also seen…and believe death will preserve their power and have “made plans” to destroy life. 

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is there.  He is part of the large crowd.

What does it say about people?
People have heard of Lazarus having being raised from the dead.  They have seen Lazarus.  He’s the confirmation of what they’ve heard and they are “going away and believing in Jesus.”

Is there truth here for me?
The phrase “going away” is what has alarmed the chief priests.  Going away…from obedience to a powerful, well-developed and highly refined legal system designed to be their evidence that God verifies them. “Many of the Jews are going away” to follow this man, who the priests have identified as an itinerant outlaw, because they have believed Jesus is their evidence that verifies God.

Holiness that Defies Humanity

Mark 1:12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him. 14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” [NLT]

I couldn’t avoid the red letters of verse 15 in this very familiar story. This chapter is filled with truths I think I know but I know for sure there are still new kingdom things to ponder. Those things turned out to be the few verses that preceded Jesus’ own words combined with this quote from a commentary on Mark .

“Life would be very different if, instead of yearning for some distant and at present unattainable goal, we did all that we could to bring that goal nearer.” [Barclay]

Forty days of temptation plus a dear friend and cousin who’s been arrested don’t bring to mind a neon GO sign do they? Don’t forget the fact that Jesus was fully human and he’d just endured a long period of Satan making sure he knew that. Jesus was experiencing humanity at it’s lowest point but it became his confirmation that “The time promised by God has come at last!”

There’s another compelling thing to remember: he was fully God. That’s even more important because it’s our evidence that his eyes were wide open to just what his “unattainable” goal was – he would not avoid the cross. That was his painful reality and he still chose to do all he could to bring that goal nearer.

That’s the example Jesus gave us to follow: holiness that defies humanity.

Person of Interest

I just realized I’ve been confused about assigning pronouns when I write about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit may not have a body but he’s not a ghost or an “it.” “He” is definitely a person of interest. These Scriptures from the ESV version confirm his position as a co-equal, and distinct, personality of the Trinity that plays a powerful part in the believer’s life.

• Inspiration: 2 Peter 1:21 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

• Truth Teller: John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

• Guarantee: 2 Corinthians 1:21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

• Within: 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

• Teacher: John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

• Support: Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

• Helper: John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

• Confirmation: Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,

What I’ve learned:
These authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit as they wrote. They chose their words carefully but, more importantly, God chose to give their words the power of the Holy Spirit that could interpret His absolute truth to believers for all time independent of any particular language or translation.

The Holy Spirit is the guarantee God has placed within us to teach, support, help and confirm our place in His family through those same ancient written words. The Holy Spirit speaks God’s language to his people forever and is still making His timeless truth relevant to life today.