Tag Archives: Purpose

Sunday with John — Purpose

John 12:20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
There is life hidden in a hard nugget of grain that cannot be revealed until the hard outer shell is broken by the process of decay. That hard outer shell is the barrier to eternal life. “The hour has come for “the Son of Man” to break that barrier and reveal to His servants “the Father will honor” the life that “bears much fruit” in the presence of Jesus. 

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus recognizes God’s timing “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” His purpose is to break through the hard outer shell that prevents life in this world from bearing fruit that the Father honors.

What does it say about people?
Some who have come to worship,“wish to see Jesus.”

Is there truth here for me?
The fruit of eternal life” is hidden in that phrase “whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.“ It’s a hard phrase with a simple “either/or.” EITHER we hate the decay of this world that is going to end, and take us with it, OR we trust Jesus has broken that barrier of decay and given us the fruit of His life to get us through ours in this world so we’ll live with Him forever in the next.  

Wednesday with John – The Celebration

John 2:1-12 The Wedding at Cana
1 On the third day THERE WAS A MARRIAGE at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;
JESUS also was invited to the marriage, WITH HIS DISCIPLES.
3 When THE WINE GAVE OUT, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 And JESUS SAID to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? MY HOUR HAS NOT YET COME.”
5 His mother said to THE SERVANTS,  “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to them, “FILL THE JARS WITH WATER.” And they filled them to the brim.
8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to THE STEWARD of the feast.” So they took it.
9 When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and DID NOT KNOW where it came from (though THE SERVANTS who had drawn the water KNEW), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom
10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but YOU HAVE KEPT THE GOOD WINE UNTIL NOW.
11 This, the first of HIS SIGNS, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and MANIFESTED HIS GLORY; and HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED in him.
12 After this HE WENT down to Caper′na-um, WITH HIS MOTHER AND HIS BROTHERS AND HIS DISCIPLES; and there they stayed for a few days.

 

What is the general theme of the passage?
The wedding is an allegory of faith.  Jesus does this first sign to give us a picture of the difference between attending a ceremony as a guest and becoming a participant in a lifelong “feast of the best of meats and the finest of wines.” [Isaiah 25:6 NLT]

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s purpose is to move His people from a ritual to relationship; to celebrate the perfect wedding and lasting relationship of the Groom and His bride.

What does it say about people?
People cannot always meet their own needs. Mary wants to organize Jesus, Jesus is reluctant, the guests are oblivious, the steward is confused, the servants were an unwitting part of the sign that convinced the disciples of their belief.  The wine was the Sign proving He could overcome all those human obstacles to rituals and relationships.

Is there truth here for me?
I am all the things I wrote about “those” people but nothing can limit  glory being manifested better, than when Jesus turns the basic elements of a ceremony into a celebration. I was happy to be a guest at the ceremony for a long time before I realized I have been identified  as the “bride” and that God’s rejoicing. Me too!

For just as a young man marries a maiden,
so your sons will marry you;
and just as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so your God will rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:5 ISV

Behold!

I John 3:1 Behold, what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the sons of God! For this reason, this world does not know you: because it does not know Him.  2 Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God. But what we shall be is yet to be revealed. And we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is. RGT [Revised Geneva Translationa]

You may remember a simple chorus sung as a round based on these specific words of I John 3:1.  You may still mentally hear the music.  If it’s unfamiliar take a minute to listen here.  It’s a very basic two-sentence structure that repeats and overlaps as each side sings their part to complete the Word to the other.  

Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us,
Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us,
That we should be called the sons of God,
That we should be called the sons of God.

Reading those words triggered the memory of the music that goes with them. The testimony of truth is when music and the Word are combined, the two halves of the human brain are uniquely engaged in a lasting way.  Behold!  Reading Words on a page has the power to stimulate the music of our memory and remind our heart that the Father has given His love is to His children [of any age] for this purpose: our hope “that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is.”

aThe Geneva Bible is specifically designed to be SPOKEN and HEARD, repeatedly, and is built on the premise that a crucial key to revival in the present can be found in one simple practice from the past—speaking God’s Word back to each other in community.

Practicing Truth

I John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

__________❤️__________

MANIFEST;
To show or demonstrate plainly; reveal.  Clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious. Evident to the senses, especially to the sight; apparent; distinctly perceived, prove or make something clear.

Practicing truth requires an understanding of the purpose of light. On the very first day of His creative masterpiece God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”  He knew it was light that would separate night from day.  In the beginning that was the truth.   God began with light and then He practiced His own truth and life came into being.  Jesus was practicing truth when He spoke to us, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  Paul was practicing truth when he wrote “when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. 

It took me a beat to catch the incredible truth pulled out of Paul’s Word.  What might have seemed too simple to catch became very personal.  Light is not a reflection of anyone else’s intellect or truth.  We’ve been given all the visible signs of light around and in truth we ARE light.  That’s truth that takes a lot of practice to become personal experience. I wonder if the reason so many of us do our Bible study early in the morning is because intuitively we understand daybreak is a perfect object lesson.  Those early hours are when we clearly see the difference between artificial light and “real” light.  We are in fellowship with God as we see light come to life before our own eyes and experience practicing truth that really does overcomes darkness.

Purpose

John 9:1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” NLT

Real life is less than a perfect display place but
The purpose of Jesus was not limited by “dis-ability”
so the power of God could be seen.”
“But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world”
[And Now]
“You are the light of the world.
—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden…
 so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”a

aMatthew 5:14

 

Psalm 119:73-80 י Yodh – Hand [Bent]

Psalm 119 [NIV]
73 Give me understanding to learn your commands and how your hands made me and formed me
74 I have put my hope in your word so those who fear you can rejoice when they see me
75 You have afflicted me in faithfulness I know Lord and your laws are righteous
76 According to your promise to your servant, may your unfailing love be my comfort.

77 Your law is my delight that I may live and your compassion come to me
78 I will meditate on your precepts, may the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause
79 May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.   

>§§§>

The mention of hands  in v73 was distracting in terms of that small Hebrew subtitle, “Bent.”  Reading each individual section of Psalm 119 backwards and rewriting them without changing their intent [I hope] has made them seem more like a personal prayer to me.  The last two verses today couldn’t possibly have been any more personal so I haven’t changed them.  I hope they’ll be your personal prayer too.

My first thoughts about “bent” evoked the imagery of the gently bent hand of God reaching toward us.   I don’t think that’s what the Psalmist had in mind, as true and welcoming as that is.  “Bent” is something more than a description of the physical hand of God.  Instead I believe the Psalmist has discovered “Bent” is God’s purpose for His laws, precepts, statutes, decrees and commands.   God’s promise was to change His servant’s natural “bent,”* so his inclination would be the determination to do or have all that God was offering him: hope, faithfulness, unfailing love, comfort and compassion.

*Bent: determined to do or have or a natural talent or inclination

Exercise of the Heart

MSG Eph 3:8 And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ.

ESV 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

NLT 8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.

>§§§>

What you see above are three different versions of the same verse listed one after another.  The first is an esteemed paraphrase and the other two are translations. The Word of God still has the power to remind us it’s purpose is our purpose too. Put yourself in Paul’s place and read these inspired words as if they’re your own.

“And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.  Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.”

Combining three different versions of this one verse has become an exercise of the heart that makes use of repetition to emphasize the clarity of their purpose: the “privilege” to tell people about the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”  It’s also become a contemporary application that confirms the Word of God is still alive and able to inspire the heart of His people to make it very personal.

Biblegateway PDF
This downloadable PDF file has directions on how to use your internet access to read many versions of a single verse Bible reference in list form.

Purpose

John 15:11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

>§§§>

Verse 11 is an unfamiliar place to look for a connection to Advent but we have history and hindsight to remind us God had a purpose in sending Christ as a new born baby.  John recorded this statement as part of the narrative of the purpose of the life of Christ.  Jesus clearly said what the purpose of His teaching was.  That’s a lot of “purpose” from a one-sentence verse but when I read the definition of the two grammatical parts of “purpose” it became my purpose for this second Advent post.

Purpose
noun: the reason for which something is created or for which something exists.
verb: have as one’s intention or objective.

God’s purpose for the birth of Jesus into our world as a baby was to provide a visual experience of new life and growth with all the perfection that had been lost back in the Garden of Eden.  That is the renewal of purpose we celebrate during Advent.  John is a respected expert on the purpose of the life of Jesus from the moment of His conception in the mind of God through His birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection.  

Verse 11 might actually be the bottom line purpose of why we celebrate Advent year after year.  There are so many good things that appeal to us emotionally and visually during the preparation for Christ-mas but don’t ever leave out that  “-.”  Christ was “created” and “exists” [the noun] as the reason for this season but  His ”intention or objective” [the verb] for your life lasts far beyond Advent – “that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

The Purpose of Grapes

John 15:2 He [the Father] removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes [and cleanses] to make it bear more fruit. [NRSV]

>§§§<

Facts: Artful pruning of a grapevine is what produces better fruit and maintains the optimal health of the branches.  The pruner determines which branches should be allowed to grow and which should be removed. The only shoots that yield grapes are those that grow each spring from one-year-old canes – those that began growing the previous year.  Pruning is vital for the vine because old canes can still produce leaves that make a branch look good but only sap the strength and ability of the newer canes to produce fruit.  It’s all about the fruit. 

Truth: Jesus speaks in pictures I can understand.  There is no substitute for new growth and how it contributes to fruit bearing and a healthy life of faith for the believer in Jesus Christ.  I know how easy it is to look pretty good based on what has already happened in your life of faith.  I know what it’s like to resist the pruning of things that were real and good “then” but are old now.  I know the pruned branch looks really bare and exposed until new growth appears.  I know the purpose of pruning is the fruit…and I know the purpose of grapes.

Inspiration: What turns the grape into wine?  It is crushed and then in due time when the process is through, the wine will be new.  You’ll be my wine in this world.  💕Jesus

Obligation and Purpose

II Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Being an ambassador “…as though God were making his appeal through us” become more real to me this week.  I wanted to implore these people I really care about but instead my appeal was full of frustrated emotion and more loaded with the need to persuade than the desire that anyone might be reconciled to God.  It’s so easy to spout off when you get your mouth and emotion involved.  The fact is being an ambassador for Christ has obligations of grace.

I lost track of the reality that grace at it’s most basic level is God working to give me time to change.  My motivation was more of the problem than my words were, and I blew it. I disappointed myself, and my two best advocates, Christ and my husband.  It’s been a reminder to me of the obligation of, and my need for, grace AND it’s purpose.  

Forgiveness has bound me to these people and grace in a new way AND loosed me to transformation “so that in him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God”…together.