Don’t Believe Me Unless….

31st January

““Don’t believe Me unless I carry out My Father’s work. But if I do His work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe in Me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.

John 10:37-38

Why should we believe Jesus was God? Why should the people of Jesus’ time believed He was God? Was it just because He was a good man, or a convincing public speaker? Was it that His teaching was radical and life changing? Was it because He said He was? Well, partly yes. But so much more than that, Jesus backed up what He was saying by living it out in His own life. He lived a completely transparent and sinless life, guided by the very ‘directions’ given to Him by His Father. He healed the sick because that was the Father’s will. He set the captives free from oppression, because that was also the Father’s will. He calmed the storms, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, became a Father to the orphans and husband to the widows, because that was His Father’s will. Everything He did, He did because it was God’s will and plan.

Yet Jesus was more than just an obedient Son: He was God in the flesh. He did on earth, what God would do, because He was God. ‘Let Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’, was not just some ideological teaching, or nice words to pray, it was literal. Jesus showed that to us. He did on Earth what He saw His Father do in Heaven. They were and are the same. We can believe in God because we can see Jesus, and because we can see Jesus, we can believe He was God. Jesus’ miraculous works was and is the evidence of God’s existence and the evidence that Jesus was who He said He was: God in the flesh.

The Good Shepherd: He Cares For You

30th January

““I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.”

John 10:11-13

Jesus often used the image of a sheep and Shepherd to describe His role in the believers life, and more obviously, because the people He was speaking to would have clearly understood this imagery because a lot of them were shepherds. Something that always stands out about the imagery of the sheep and shepherd is the care and protection a shepherd gives to his sheep. The sheep are 100% reliant on the shepherd to protect them from danger and he always does. He leads them, cares for them, provides for them and they follow him, because they know his voice.

Each of these attributes are what we find in our Saviour, in our great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. To protect us, His sheep, He had to lay down His life for us. He did not abandon us to be consumed by the enemy, the wolf, but by laying down His life and rising again, He defeated the wolf and lives eternally interceding on our behalf. Jesus is not an imposter, like a hired hand. No He is the real deal. He is the God who calls us by name, and those who hear His voice, follow Him. Will you follow the Great Shepherd? The One who cares so deeply about you?

The Holy Doctor

29th -29th January

Weekend Edition

Then Jesus told Him, “I have entered this world to render judgement – to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

John 9:39

When Jesus says words like, ‘I have entered this world to… ‘ or ‘ I have come to…’ it really is worth taking note of what precedes those words. In today’s passage, Jesus just healed a man that was born blind. Rather than rejoicing in this wonderful miracle, the Pharisees got caught up with ‘religion’ trying to prove Jesus was not who He said He was, because He broke the Mosaic law, of ‘working’ on a Sabbath. The man who was healed was convinced that Jesus was more than just a man. The crowds were convinced. And we as modern readers are convinced. Yet sadly, the ones who were supposed to be the religious ‘leaders’ seemed to have blinded eyes.

Jesus’ coming to this earth was so much more than just physical healing. Of course, Jesus is our healer, and yes He did and does heal our physical needs, but Jesus was and is more interested in our heart condition. He said He came to give sight to those who are blind; those who know they are sick and lost. The helpless. The needy. If you think you are well and healthy, then of course you won’t think you need a doctor. It’s only those who are sick that are in need of a doctor. This is what Jesus was alluding too. He came to give sight to those who wanted to know Him. To those who knew they needed Him.

Which bracket do you fall into? Are you earnestly seeking for more of God or are you blinded by your contentment to live how you want? Don’t get caught up in your own life, and miss out on the life-giver.

Hope For All

27th January

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been born 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?”

John 9:1-2

Sadly, if a person was sick from birth, in an Israelite context, that could only have meant one thing; Either the person’s future sin or that person’s parent’s sin. Of course this ‘theory’ was quickly quashed by Jesus, but in reality, society rejected those with disabilities, infirmities, or illnesses. They were classed as unclean, as ‘not fit to be with society’ kind of people. Yet that is not what Jesus saw. He saw through the cultural necessities, the religious laws and the judgemental attitude of the people. Instead Jesus saw a soul that needed Him. He saw a man, burdened by his situation, an outcast of society, rejected by his piers and utterly helpless. Jesus reached down, healed the man and gave him a new life.

Friends, Jesus has not stopped doing this. He lives, and continues to reach those in desperate need of Him. He doesn’t look at the situation you are in, judging you as to whether you deserve Him or not. He is impartial. He reaches down and lifts us out of the dire straits we may find ourselves in. Not just with physical sickness, but spiritually, and mentally too. Once you have met the risen Jesus, you will never be the same again.

Before Abraham

26th January

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born,, I AM!

John 8:58

John chapter 8 is a wonderful chapter that teaches us so much of who Jesus was and is. However, for Jesus’ listeners, it presents a great challenge to their understanding of who God was, who Jesus was and why He came. As you read the words in chapter 8, you can almost feel a growing crescendo, an almost tangible tension, as Jesus moves deeper in challenging people’s perception of who God was and who He was. As you read the words, you can almost picture the people’s faces, turning from confusion to anger as Jesus probes them into thinking outside of their ‘religious and limited understanding’. Chapter 8 reaches its crescendo in today’s verse, verse 58.

Jesus, in a fiery debate with the crowds, makes a very bold statement about Abraham, a patriarch in the Jewish faith. Jesus exclaimed, in verse 56, that even Abraham understood and looked forward to Jesus’ coming. Moreover, speaking of Abraham, “He saw it and was glad.” One can only imagine how crazy this must have sounded to the people. A thirty something year old ‘man’ telling the crowds that He knew what Abraham, a man who had died hundreds of years before, was thinking and looking forward to. So the crowds further pushed Jesus, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” Jesus’ response, in the next verse, is completely the changing point in this whole chapter, if not in the whole Bible.

Jesus then boldly said, that “before Abraham was even born, I AM (He is)!” WOW. That statement utterly infuriated the crowds. The crowds went mad, picking up stones to try to stone Jesus. What Jesus just said, implied that HE WAS GOD! Wait, what Jesus said, did imply He was God. If He was alive before Abraham, then He couldn’t be just a human, He had to be God! Or completely deluded! But Jesus, said in His final statement, these precious words, ‘I tell you the truth’. We know that Jesus was without sin, and didn’t lie, and so was indeed 100% speaking the truth. So by Him saying He was there before Abraham, which He was, could only mean one thing. He was, which meant, He was God!

Friends, we have it there in clear writing. Jesus saying (alluding to the fact) He was God! We can have two reactions. Do we believe and accept His truth, or do we pick up a stone and try to blot Him out of our lives because He said something that challenged our perceptions of who God is and who Jesus is? The choice is yours to make!

The Truth That Sets Us Free

25th January

Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”

John 8:34-35

We are free. We are not bound by sin. We are not slaves to it. We have been severed from the root of it. Why? Because Jesus said so! More than just His words, His actions showed us so! We live in freedom because we have been set free by the sacrifice that the Son of God made on our behalf, taking our sins and taking our punishment for us.

Sometimes the word ‘freedom’ may be unclear for us. Jesus’ listeners also didn’t quite get it. They didn’t understand that actually there were slaves to sin in the first place. If you don’t understand you’re bound to something, then of course you won’t understand being free from it. Yet that is what lifestyle we were living before Christ came into our lives. We were trapped by sin. It ensnared us, motivated us, deceived us and lied to us; all without us actually realising. Yet when Christ entered into our lives, those prohibiting chains of sin, were shattered into pieces. We were and are set free: truly free. We longer have to say yes to sin’s temptation, but rather we can walk in the victory of Jesus.

Not only is this ‘freedom’ a one time action, but a constant freeing from the things that try to attach themselves to us. Jesus has given us His word, so that we can know this truth and that by this truth we can be set free! Let us following His word, accept what He did for us, and live in His freedom.

ONE

24th January

““Where is Your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.””

John 8:19-20

Jesus statement in today’s key verse was not only relevant and applicable for Jesus’ listeners at the time of His speaking but also for all those who read His words today. If you want to know God the Father, then simply look at Jesus’ life. Jesus clearly says this of Himself. “If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.” Jesus isn’t simply implying that if we know of Him, then we will also know of His Father, in human terms. No. On the contrary. Jesus is implying that if we know Him, then we know His Father, because they are ONE! In John 10:30 Jesus plainly spells this out, “I and My Father are One.” So clear were Jesus’ words, that the people wanted to stone Him for making such a statement, because, His words clearly implied that He was God!

So what does that mean for us? If Jesus and the Father are indeed ONE, then that means Jesus was God. Period. Yet that is not some far away truth that we reserve as a reference when trying to convince people, Jesus and God were and are ONE. It is a truth that should transform our lives. Why? Because we are involved. Jesus didn’t just disappear when He rose again and ascended to Heaven, He lives on; In US. Jesus Himself said, in John 14:20, that “When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in My Father, and YOU are in ME, and I am in YOU.” Again in John 17:23, when praying in the Garden of Tears, Jesus repeats these same words, “I am in THEM (meaning us) and YOU are in ME.” Jesus, who is ONE with the Father, who is God, lives in us, and we in Him. Simply put, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, lives in YOU. Moreover, we live in His presence, in His favour and are seated in Heavenly places with Him.

This is the wonders of the ONE-NESS of God.