Getting to Know Jesus: Luke 5

IMG_20141124_090944969

I love Luke’s gospel as Luke, being a medical doctor, writes with clarity and precision with a keen eye for detail. His meticulous writing only enhances our understanding of this gospel. Luke’s gospel also emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and His heart for people. In Luke chapter 5, we see Jesus initiating relationship with people as he calls some of His first disciples to come and follow Him. Jesus’ invitation is simple. No frills. No persuasive speeches. No convincing arguments. Jesus just says, “Follow me.” And Simon along with James and John leave everything they have to follow Jesus.

We can learn a lot from the disciples’ simple but bold decision to follow Jesus. They didn’t stop to consider the pros and cons of following Jesus. They didn’t take time to think about it or pray about it. Sometimes, those things aren’t necessary. Especially when you meet the Lord face to face. They knew that He was worth following. And worth trusting. They didn’t need anyone else’s opinion when met by the very face of the Lord Jesus… whispering their names to come and join Him in His mission on the earth. The very image of God awaiting their response. What honor and privilege. What an invitation.

How do we respond when Jesus asks us to follow Him? Do we recognize His offer as an honor and privilege? Do we abandon all we have to seek Him? Or do we continue on in dry religion doing things our own way, lifeless and without zeal? Jesus is the only One who can revitalize the emptiness of our lives and fill it with overflowing abundance. The disciples in this passage witnessed this first hand as Jesus filled Simon’s boat with an abundance of fish that he wasn’t able to catch by himself earlier in the day. Jesus was necessary for Simon’s flourishing. Jesus provided the fish. Jesus provided the abundance. Only Jesus can take the emptiness of our lives and fill it. We must decide how we will respond to Him.

Going through this passage again, I noticed a detail included by Luke that gives more depth to Jesus’ encounter with Simon. Verse 2 of chapter 5 says that “Jesus saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them (emphasis mine).” Then in verse 3, it says that Jesus got into one of the boats. At first, I just assumed that Simon’s boat was the only one He saw and consequently the one He went to. But the passage says that Jesus saw two boats and chose one. It doesn’t tell us why Jesus chose the boat he chose or what the significance was. But for some reason, Simon’s boat was chosen by Jesus. Perhaps Jesus knew that Simon had not caught any fish that day and He wanted to bless him after He preached. Perhaps He knew about Simon and wanted to pursue Him. Perhaps He had other reasons. The reasoning can be left up to speculation but the point is that Jesus pursued Simon when Simon didn’t pursue Jesus. Jesus chose to initiate a relationship with Simon.

It reveals Jesus’ purposeful pursuit of people. Jesus pursues people individually and intentionally wherever they’re at in a way that relates to their current needs, ultimately exposing them of their soul’s need of a Savior.

Simon never expected for the Lord, who was Jesus, to show up caring about his fishing haul. Simon probably thought…why would someone holy and in the middle of preaching the good news even care about my lowly fishing duty?

But Jesus did care. And He cares about the areas of your life that you think are too mundane for Him to be bothered by.

Jesus Christ wants to enter in to the mundane. He wants to fill the places in your heart that you can’t fill yourself. He wants to blow your mind with care and concern for you. Won’t you let Him in today? Won’t you let Him be Jesus… and love you like no one else can? For He is always pursuing your heart and drawing you near to Him in ways that are unique to who you are. Trust in who He is. Let Him be the Savior that your soul longs for…overflowing your heart with freedom and peace in the God who desires to rescue His people.

Summary of Luke 5

As Jesus is standing by the Sea of Galilee, a crowd is pressing into Him as they wait for Him to start preaching the Word of God; Jesus sees two empty boats while the fishermen are washing their nets; Jesus decides to get into one of the boats ,which belongs to Simon; Jesus asks Simon to put out the boat from the land so that He can preach to the crowd from the boat in order for all the people to hear fully – the Sea of Galilee is like a bowl, so Jesus’ voice from a boat in the water would echo more than on land and project His voice farther; after He spoke to the crowd, He asked Simon to take the boat far out into the water so that they could catch fish; Simon is hesitant at first to do so since he did not catch fish at all earlier in the day, but relents because of Jesus’ word to do so; they let down the nets into the water just as a swarm of fish come near the nets; they catch so much fist that the nets start to break; they ask some men in boats near them to come and help them haul the fish, and the other boats are filled with fish as well, almost to the point of sinking; Simon Peter all the sudden feels unworthy in Jesus’ presence and asks Him to depart from him because he is a sinful man; the men in the other boats that helped them are named: James and John, sons of Zebedee; Jesus consoles Simon, telling him not to be afraid because He wants him to start fishing for men; they all bring their boats ashore and leave everything behind to follow Jesus; Jesus goes to one of the cities and heals a leper who cries out to Him for healing; Jesus instructs the man not to tell anyone that it was Him who healed him; greater crowds started to come near Jesus to hear His teaching and to receive healing; Jesus would withdraw to desolate places to pray; one day Jesus is teaching in a man’s house where many Pharisees and Scribes from all over Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem had come to hear his teaching, so that they might critique Him; a group of men bring their friend to Jesus by cutting a hole in the roof and dropping him down into the house for Jesus to heal; Jesus forgives the man of his sins and heals him because of the faith that they displayed; the Pharisees and scribes are indignant that Jesus forgave him his sins and try to accuse Him of blasphemy; Jesus tells them that he has authority to forgive sins; the man walks home giving glory to God; all who saw what had happened were amazed; Jesus sees Levi, a tax collector, at his tax collecting booth and asks him to follow Him; Levi gets up and leaves everything behind to follow Jesus; Levi invites Jesus over to his house and cooks Him a great feast along with other tax collectors and sinners as well; the Pharisees and scribes grumbled at Jesus for eating with them; Jesus tells them that healthy people have no need of a doctor, but the sick do and that he has come to call sinners to repentance, not those who think they are righteous; they ask him why His disciples don’t fast and pray like the disciples of John, but Jesus tells them that this is because Jesus, the bridegroom, is with them right now so they have no need for fasting until he leaves.

Jesus in Luke 5

Jesus draws crowds (v. 1)

Jesus is known as the one who proclaims the Word of God (v. 1)

Jesus is aware of his surroundings (.v 2)

Jesus is observant (v. 2)

Jesus sees fishermen washing their nets (v. 2)

Jesus sees two boats (v. 2)

Jesus chooses who He will pursue (v. 3)

Jesus climbs into one of the boats: Simon’s boat (v. 3)

Jesus is bold (v. 3)

Jesus asks the man to let him out into the water in the boat (v. 3)

Jesus preaches from the boat (v. 3)

Jesus is innovative (v. 3)

Jesus is creative (v. 3)

Jesus never stops pursuing people (v. 4)

Jesus decides to meet a need (v. 4)

Jesus takes time to help Simon (v. 4)

Jesus tells Simon to let out the boat to catch fish (v. 4)

Jesus’ insistence and concern compels Simon to try again (v. 5)

Jesus cultivates tenacity in people (v. 5)

Jesus directs them towards an abundance of fish (v. 6)

Jesus provides what Simon could not find himself (v. 6)

Jesus exceeds Simon’s expectations (v. 6)

Jesus’ miracle blesses Simon’s friends (v. 7)

Jesus is recognized as Lord by Simon (v. 8)

Jesus’ work causes Simon to feel unworthy (v. 8)

Jesus astonishes all who saw the catch of fish that was brought in (v. 9)

Jesus immediately calms them (v. 10)

Jesus says don’t be afraid (v. 10)

Jesus calls them to pursue men just as they had pursued fish (v. 10)

Jesus inspires them to leave everything behind (v. 11)

Jesus inspires them to follow Him (v. 11)

Jesus is recognized as Lord by a leper (v. 12)

Jesus’ presence causes the leper to cry out to Him for healing (v. 12)

Jesus responds (v. 13)

Jesus stretches out his hand to heal the man (v. 13)

Jesus is always willing to heal (v. 13)

Jesus reveals compassion (v. 13)

Jesus instructs the man to tell no one (v. 14)

Jesus’ acclaim began to spread more (v. 15)

Jesus drew greater crowds (v. 15)

Jesus drew more people to be healed (v. 15)

Jesus would withdraw to be alone (v. 16)

Jesus would leave the crowds to go pray (v. 16)

Jesus drew even the Pharisees and teachers of the law to hear him from all over Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem (v. 17)

Jesus drew those wishing to critique Him (v. 17)

Jesus has power to heal (v. 17)

Jesus is the purpose of a bold display of faith (v. 18)

Jesus witnesses a bold display of faith (v. 19)

Jesus sees their faith (v. 20)

Jesus immediately forgives the paralytic’s sins (v. 20)

Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees and scribes for forgiving sins (v. 21)

Jesus sees through their thoughts (v. 22)

Jesus confronts the Pharisees (v. 22-23)

Jesus is the Son of Man (v. 24)

Jesus has authority to forgive sins (v. 24)

Jesus’ power enables the paralytic to stand up and go home (v. 25)

Jesus’ healing is made evident as the man arises, goes home and gives glory to God (v. 25)

Jesus amazes them all (v. 26)

Jesus causes them all to give glory to God (v. 26)

Jesus sees Levi, a tax collector as he leaves (v. 27)

Jesus calls Levi to follow Him (v. 27)

Jesus causes Levi to leave everything and follow Him (v. 28)

Jesus partakes of a big feast made by Levi (v. 29)

Jesus eats with sinner and tax collectors (v. 29)

Jesus surrounds himself with those who need Him (v. 29)

Jesus is grumbled at by the Pharisees and scribes (v. 30)

Jesus responds to the Pharisees logically and straightforward (v. 31-32)

Jesus desires to call sinners to repentance (v. 32)

Jesus does not call those who already think they are righteous on their own (v. 32)

Jesus is challenged by his critics regarding fasting (v. 33)

Jesus calls attention to the purpose of fasting (. 34)

Jesus utilizes analogy to point out that there is no need for fasting since He, as God, is with His disciples now in the flesh (v. 34-35)

Jesus tells a parable to show why one cannot mix the old with the new (v. 36-37)

Jesus is never outwitted (v. 34-39)

Jesus has a purpose for everything that He does and doesn’t do (v. 34-39)

Jesus has the last word (v. 39)

 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32-

Questions for Today:

  • Why is Jesus’ calling and pursuit of Simon significant?
  • Do I recognize that Jesus pursues my heart?
  • Do I consider it an honor to be invited by Jesus to follow Him?
  • What does it look like for me to abandon all to follow Jesus?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“Narrow Road” by Hillsong Worship

The Gospel Project: A Gift for the Holidays

 IMG_20141113_135359196-1IMG_20141113_135346020IMG_20141113_135352729

As the holidays are nearing and the season of baking and Christmas tree decorating ensuing, it is proper that we make time to think about how we can reach out to others during this season. All too often we can easily slip into the frenzy of Christmas consumerism forgetting that Jesus really is the reason why we celebrate. I know I can. So in effort to make Jesus the center of our celebration during the holiday season, is it essential that others know about Him and who He truly is. We need to tell others of His love, His grace, His justice, His radical sacrifice for us on the cross, and His desire to see all men come to salvation through Him.

One way we can contribute to the cause of furthering the gospel is by merging the practice of evangelism with one of great prominence during the holidays: baking.

For a class assignment, I had to create a “gospel project” in order to create a means by which to share the gospel with others more effectively. Thinking about what I should do, I finally realized that I should just stick to what I like doing. Why not share the gospel in a way that accompanies my love of baking, helping me to be more intentional about who I share the gospel with?

So, this is just a simple idea of making holiday bread mix in a jar while trying to connect its meaning to the gospel in a way that gives the sharer the opportunity to share Christ with someone.

I hope you will join in baking bread this season, sharing with friends the true bread of life who is Jesus. Let us share the gospel with those who have yet to hear the good news.

Below is the recipe for replicating this bread mix as a gift, as well as a summary of the purpose of the product.

Please make for your neighbors, friends and family!

Enjoy!

Product: Jar of Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread Mix, as a gift to a non-Christian, with attached recipe for the recipient to make the bread and attached gospel paraphrase.

The jar reads “Jesus is the Bread of Life” as an introduction into the gospel, connecting the gift of the bread mix to the purpose of the gift: to share the gospel. The attachment to the Jar includes a short paraphrase of the gospel message. This is intended to be a conversation starter between the giver and recipient regarding Christ’s love for him or her and God’s desire for a real relationship with that person. This gift strives to reveal the connection between physical bread and the incarnate Christ as the bread of life. This further indicates that in our humanity we are in need of “bread,” or food, to function normally and how this basic need is only a shadow of our ultimate need –a spiritual need– which can only be satisfied in Jesus. Thus, our souls will die if we never eat of the eternal bread of life, which is Jesus Christ. We are in desperate need for Jesus to give us life that is only found in Him, and nothing else.

Purpose: This jar of bread mix is meant to be given as a gift to a non-Christian in establishing friendship and demonstrating hospitality, while initiating a way for the giver to talk to the non-Christian about Jesus in a non-threatening way. The giver will articulate the connection between the purpose of eating physical bread and the necessity of partaking of eternal, spiritual bread which is found in Christ. The giver will point out the gospel paraphrase which is attached to the jar, sharing the gospel with the non-Christian in his or her own words, even sharing his or her own testimony of salvation.

Recipe for the giver (who wishes to make this again for others): This product is meant to be repeated as many times as one wishes.

  1. Find or buy a tall mason jar or milk bottle.
  2. Gather the follow ingredients for layering in the jar or bottle:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Prepare a card/sheet with the Gospel Paraphrase given below. Attach with string or   ribbon to jar.
  2. Prepare a card/sheet with the Recipe for Recipient “Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread” given below. Attach to jar.
  3. Prepare a top label reading, “Jesus is the Bread of Life.”
  4. Decorate further, if you wish.
  5. Give the final product and share the gospel with a non-Christian friend.

Gospel paraphrase: (attached to jar in the following format minus the ending verses, which are for the giver/sharer’s own reference):

Opening Question (only on the jar): What kind of bread do we have in our life?

Our Problem:

Humanity has fallen short of God’s holiness by trying to satisfy our needs in ways that just don’t work. This results from our innate sin that separates us from a holy God. The “bread of our own efforts” will never satisfy and never complete us.

*Verses for reference: Romans 3:23, Genesis 3:22, Romans 1:18, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 51:5, Isaiah 53:6, Ephesians 2:9

God’s Solution:

God provided a solution to redeem us of our innate sin and bring us into eternal union with Him by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Because Jesus Christ is “the bread of life” that satisfies and the perfect sacrifice, Jesus can satisfy our separation with God, even despite us causing the separation to being with. Jesus can and will save us if we choose to respond to Him.

*Verses for reference: Romans 5:8, Hebrews 2:17, Isaiah 53:5, & 10, 1 Peter 1:20-21, Romans 6:23

My response:

God will redeem my sin when I acknowledge that I indeed am separated from God as a result of my own sin and need Jesus to cover my sins. I must acknowledge that “I cannot live on physical bread alone” but “I need the true bread of life,” which is Jesus Christ. I can choose to surrender my entire life to Jesus Christ, choosing to let Him alone be my Lord and sustainer, abandoning all other false sustainers in my life. Then God will be faithful to forgive me and bring me into eternal union with Him.

*Verses for reference: Romans 10:9-10, John 3:16, Deut. 8:3, Romans 3:24, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 6:35, Exodus 20:31 John 1:9

Recipe for Recipient (attached to jar):

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread

  1. Mix together the contents of this jar:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Beat together 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.
  2. Stir this mixture together with the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Scrape into a buttered and floured 9 X 5-inch loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350° about 50 minutes (until you can test with a toothpick or knife and it comes out clean).
  5. Enjoy!

And yes…I will gladly bring out the Christmas music! Enjoy, friends.

“Joy To The World” by Jeremy Camp

A Tainted Love and The Sandwich of Trust

IMG_20141110_124428587

The farther I traverse this life with my Savior, I find that He is so complex. So unfathomable. So brilliant. So indescribable. And yet as I get to know Him more and more, I become increasingly aware of how sinful I truly am.

Though I desire to know Jesus and pursue Christlikeness, I struggle with my own propensity to do things that break the heart of God. As Paul discusses in Romans 7:15 & 24, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul goes on to exclaim, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” in Romans 7:25, that we will be rescued in full from our sinful condition through Jesus Christ.

In this life, we will have trouble, as John 16:33 says, but Jesus reminds us that He has overcome the world. Therefore we can have peace.

There are days when I am confident with this peace that Jesus has overcome the world and that I stand before Him complete.

But there are other days when I’m so keenly aware of my sin.

And I feel so unfaithful. So unworthy. I find myself tempted or lured in by ideas, people, things or knowledge. Any moment of sin renders me shameful in the Lord’s presence. And I am tortured in bringing that before the Lord, both of us made aware of my unfaithfulness. Knowing I promise Him so much… and live up to so little.

I hate that I can’t maintain righteousness. I hate that I can’t remain faithful to Jesus. I want to reciprocate His love with integrity. I want to worship Him in purity of Spirit and truth. But I struggle to demonstrate that every day. Even in my greatest moments, my love and worship of God is tainted at best.

This reminds me of a song…a song that I’ve grown up hearing but never really understood completely. This song, ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus, is really a very beautiful song but the verse where it says, “How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er” just doesn’t resonate with me. How can we prove Jesus over and over? I feel like I’ve failed him over and over. Not proved Him over and over. And the closer I get to Him the more I’m aware of this dilemma.

As I pore over God’s word wrestling with this idea of proving ourselves to God and loving Him faithfully, I find comfort in the psalms of David. The utterances of David’s heart are raw and transparent, revealing his emotions and confusions that accompany spiritual life. David truly loved God in the ways that are humanly possible, but he messed up just like anybody else does. He even stumbled into an adulterous affair leading to murder. Now that’s pretty wicked, most of us would argue (as if our sins can be measured.) But the Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). I wonder why?

The psalms so clearly reveal David’s desire for God, which surely pleases the Lord and serves as a source of inspiration in our pursuit of the Almighty. But more particularly in Psalm 40, David displays a shift in focus that indicates his turning away from wallowing in his own sin to trusting in God. We can learn a lot from David’s response in this spiritual progression, or the “sandwich of trust,” as I like to call it.

David goes from trust → praise → shame → praise → trust.

Trusting in God, praising God for Who He is, recognizing his own wickedness and asking for God’s help, praising God once again, and choosing to trust in God despite his sinfulness and shame.

This progression in Psalm 40 is as follows: “I waited patiently for the Lord…He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me….Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me…But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in You…As for me, I am poor and needy…You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (emphasis mine; Psalm 40:1, 3,12, 13, 16, 17).

Trust and praise hem in David’s shame on every side.

David just never stopped praising God. And never stopped trusting Him. Because of David’s response, his shame didn’t stand a chance. Why? Because David admitted his sin, released it to God and then chose to praise Him despite it and trust in Him even in the wake of it.

I think this is why God loved David so much. David was honest about his sinfulness and always sought to acknowledge God in all things. David chose to receive God’s unconditional love for Him and because of that transaction was enabled to love God in a way that surpassed his human capacity to do so.

If we won’t let God hem us in on every side of our shame, we will fail to believe that He loves us when we sin. And problems will arise in our relationship with Christ. We will begin to believe the lie that we have to do x, y and z in order for God to not be mad at us anymore. Or we will think that we break His heart and that this cannot be undone. I have believed the latter many times over.

For me, the problem lies in relying on myself to hold my faith together. Or relying on myself to love God with all of my heart.

But really, it’s the other way around.

1 John 4:10 says, “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (emphasis mine). I will never be able to love Jesus the way that He deserves to be loved, at least not on this side of eternity. But because of His own purpose and plan, He has chosen to love me, and willfully does so even when I sin against Him. There is not a causal correlation between my performance and God’s love for me. It has never been about you or me deserving His love.

Therefore, it’s not up to me to love God so that my relationship with Christ will flourish. No, no.

It’s up to me to receive God’s love so that my soul will flourish, and then my view of Jesus will be elevated so that I can’t help but fall more in love with Him.

This is the key. And it should free our hearts knowing we are capable of love beyond what we have to offer through the Holy Spirit working within us.

Now I’m learning that God isn’t waiting for me to earn His love or to stop breaking His heart. He’s not mad at me for bringing my sins before Him time and time again. He’s not loathing my repetitious repentance. Nor does He need me to be righteous enough. He simply wants me to rest in the grace He provides for today and for tomorrow. He wants us to come to Him broken and teachable (Psalm 51:10&17). I’m so overwhelmed by the freedom this brings. Let this be a word for your heart today that sinks in and relieves the pressure of feeling like you have to prove yourself to God. God already knows us fully anyways.

Not only does 1 Corinthians 13:12 tell us that we are fully known and fully loved, but reminds us that one day we will get to know Jesus in the same way: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” To be known for all and still loved is just unthinkable. It’s what we all desire.

It’s taken me a while to believe that if God is pleased with Jesus, He is also pleased with me. That I am hidden in Christ as it says in Colossians 3:3. That we are one with Christ and the Father as is says in John 17:22-23. Therefore, God sees you and I in the same way that he sees Jesus (Matthew 3:17, Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:22, Revelation 19:8).

Unknowingly I realize that the picture/diagram with this blog kind of looks like an eye. But maybe it can remind us that the way we look at shame has a direct impact on how we respond to God. If we look at sin and shame as a barrier between us and God that keeps us from His love, we will remain disheartened and in a negative place spiritually. But if we look at sin and shame for what it is, an assailant of God, and feel broken over it… it will lead us to repentance, then will return us to praise and trust in our God.

So despite my tainted love for God, I can experience the greater love of God as I praise and trust Him even in the midst of overwhelming shame. Turning our hearts towards Him in repentance is what He desires as it says in Joel 2:12-13. Then God can move in our hearts and change us into the image of Christ.

Why don’t we posture our hearts towards the Lord and let him love us despite the sin that causes our shame? And may it turn our hearts towards repentance, praise and thanksgiving to our God, learning to trust him every step of the way. For He is more than willing to forgive us. God desires to draw us closer to Himself.

 

“May He incline our hearts towards Him to walk in all His ways.”

-1 Kings 8:60-

 

Questions for Today:

  • When I sin, do I repent and let praise and trust hem in my shame on every side?
  • Why is it important that I receive God’s love for me instead of trying to love God on my own?
  • Why must I elevate my view of Jesus so that my soul will flourish?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

Elevation Worship, “I Will Look Up”

Getting to Know Jesus: John 14

IMG_20141102_230526273

The gospel of John reveals Jesus as the One through whom the world was made . The very Lamb of God, slain for the sins of man. Unlike the other three synoptic gospels, John is laden with a theological tone revealing Christ’s divinity and role as God in the flesh. I love that John also mentions himself in his gospel as “the one that Jesus loved” (John 13:23 & 21:20). He was confident in his identity as Jesus’ beloved. Even when his world was shaken by the arrest and crucifixion of his Lord. May we also be people who find our identity solely in Christ, as His beloved, even when our worlds are shaken by what we experience around us.

Particularly in John chapter 14, Jesus lovingly prepares His disciples for what is about to take place. Little do they know that their Rabbi, and friend, is nearing death and humiliation upon a Roman cross. But Jesus knows. He anticipates His departure and yet he already looks ahead to where He will be…not where He is imminently headed. Jesus possessed care and concern for the ones He led, which compelled him to speak to their anxiety before dealing with His own. Before the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus spent time with His disciples describing to them the hope of his final destination: heaven. Not his looming circumstance: death. Jesus wanted them to know that just as He conquers death, so will His followers. He will come back to rescue.

Jesus knew that his disciples would face persecution, bullying, and humiliation after his death and resurrection. He knew that they would doubt their calling, doubt their purpose, and doubt their abilities at times. So he prepares them beforehand by setting a firm foundation in their minds of hope and anticipation of His return and their home with Him in heaven. We must take advantage of what we have through Christ’s Holy Spirit and let him prepare us before we experience certain struggles that will cause us to doubt our calling, purpose and abilities.

We must remember God’s truth before we are seduced by the lies of our culture. We must believe God’s love for us before we are tempted to think that we’re not good enough. We must be saturated with the hope of Jesus Christ before we get caught up in hoping for things that never last. Preparation is necessary before we can overcome. And this always requires the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus has sent to us in His name to help us remember all that He has taught.

When Jesus describes the Holy Spirit to his disciples in this passage, having just explained to them His own equality with God, I’m sure the disciples were just scratching their heads wondering just what Jesus was talking about with all these “I am in the Father…the Father is in me…” ideas. But I love how Jesus is bold to declare the truth of his identity despite the ambiguity that it brought to his disciples’ understanding. For them to hear that Jesus is the very image of God, while the Father is also in Jesus, and that there was a whole other part of God called the Holy Spirit was likely an overwhelming teaching lesson…and they had no Trinitarian theology books to help them make sense of it all! They just took Jesus at His word. They knew Jesus. And because they knew Jesus, they trusted Him that what He said was true. If only we would do the same. If only we would take Jesus at His word when he declares who He is to us. There is something valuable to this kind of faith.

As we get to know Jesus in John 14, we see Jesus as our God, our comforter, and our rescuer. John 14 reminds us there is something far greater than what this life has to offer: life with Jesus forever. And that we have hope in the midst of our circumstances by the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. When we allow Jesus to prepare our minds with His truth, we become ready for any kind of battle that we may face. I don’t know about you, but I need that kind of hopeful preparation to remind me of my final destination of being with Jesus, not my impending circumstances. Let us allow Christ, through His Holy Spirit to prepare us with His truth above all else. For He alone is the way, the truth and the life. We are secure in Him. Forevermore.

 

Summary of John 14

Jesus talks to his disciples just hours before his arrest; Jesus encourages his disciples to not be afraid but to trust in God; Jesus describes His father’s house, where he plans to go and prepare a place for them; Jesus reassures them that He will come back again to take them to the place that He is preparing for them; Thomas asks Jesus how they are to know where Jesus is going; Jesus declares that He Himself is the way to where they will go; Jesus declares who He is in relation to God the Father, elaborating on how He and the Father are one; Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, but Jesus reminds Him that they have already seen the Father because they have seen Jesus; Jesus tells his disciples that they will be able to do even greater works than He has done; Jesus encourages his disciples that if they ask anything in His name, He will do it; Jesus tells his disciples about the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at Jesus’ request; Jesus describes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; Jesus reminds the disciples that He will come back for them; Jesus encourages the disciples to keep His word if they love Him; Jesus reminds them that the ruler of the earth has no claim on Him.

Jesus in John 14

Jesus shows concern for us (v. 1)

Jesus desires to un-trouble our hearts (v. 1)

Jesus is calming (v. 1)

Jesus reassures us to believe in God (v. 1)

Jesus reassures us to believe in Him (v. 1)

Jesus un-troubles our hearts as we believe in Him (v. 1)

Jesus goes to prepare a place for His people in the Father’s house (v. 2)

Jesus prepares (v. 2)

Jesus plans (v. 2)

Jesus builds (v. 2)

Jesus’ words are trustworthy (v. 2)

Jesus will come again (v. 3)

Jesus will rescue us to Himself (v. 3)

Jesus’ place of residence is our place of residence also (v. 3)

Jesus keeps His promises (v. 3)

Jesus is faithful (v. 3)

Jesus tells us we know where he is going (v. 4)

Jesus is the way (v. 6)

Jesus is the truth (v. 6)

Jesus is the life (v. 6)

Jesus is the only One by whom we have access to God the Father (v. 6)

Jesus is the way to the Father (v. 6)

Jesus is the human manifestation of the Father on earth (v. 7)

Jesus is reflective of the Father (v. 9)

Jesus does not speak by His own authority alone (v. 10)

Jesus speaks and does by the Father who dwells in Him (v. 10)

Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him (v. 11)

Jesus and the Father are one (v. 11)

Jesus will enable those who believe in Him to do even greater works (v. 12)

Jesus will do whatever we ask in His name (v. 13-14)

Jesus, as the Son, glorifies the Father in answering us (v. 13)

Jesus tells us to keep His commandments if we love Him (v. 15)

Jesus asks the Father to give us the Holy Spirit (v. 16)

Jesus’ Spirit is sent to help us (v. 16)

Jesus’ Spirit is the Spirit of truth (v. 17)

Jesus’ Spirit is not available to the world (v. 17)

Jesus’ Spirit is only available to His followers (v. 17)

Jesus’ Spirit dwells with us (v. 17)

Jesus’ Spirit dwells in us (v. 17)

Jesus will not leave us as orphans (v. 18)

Jesus will come back for us (v. 18)

Jesus will always be seen by us because of His Spirit (v. 19)

Jesus will not be seen by the world (v. 19)

Jesus lives (v. 19)

Jesus’ life gives us life (v. 19)

Jesus’ return will confirm that He is in the Father (v. 20)

Jesus’ return will confirm that we are in Christ (v. 20)

Jesus’ return will confirm that Christ is in us (v. 20)

Jesus’ followers, who love Him, will be loved by the Father (v. 21)

Jesus loves those who love Him (v. 21)

Jesus will manifest Himself to those who love Him (v. 21)

Jesus tells us to keep His Word if we love Him (v. 23)

Jesus will indwell those who love Him (v. 23)

Jesus says those who do not love Him will not be able to keep His word (v. 24)

Jesus’ words are not His own, but His Father’s (v. 24)

Jesus’ Spirit is the Helper (v. 26)

Jesus Spirit is sent by the Father in Jesus’ name (v. 26)

Jesus’ Spirit teaches us (v. 26)

Jesus’ Spirit reminds us of Jesus’ teachings (v. 26)

Jesus gives peace (v. 27)

Jesus doesn’t give in the same way that the world gives (v. 27)

Jesus doesn’t want us to be troubled or afraid (v. 27)

Jesus’ departure to the Father initiates rejoicing (v. 28)

Jesus in human form is not as great as the Father is in His fullness (v. 28)

Jesus warns of the future (v. 29)

Jesus wants us to be ready for His return (v. 29)

Jesus is never overruled by the ruler of the world, Satan (v. 30)

Jesus does as the Father commands Him (v. 31)

Jesus’ works reveal that He loves the Father (v. 31)

 “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

– John 14:6 –

Questions for Today:

  • Do I trust Jesus when He reveals who He is to me in Scripture?
  • How can I allow the Holy Spirit to prepare me for what I will face in life?
  • Why is it that I can know the Father when I know Jesus, and vice-versa?
  • Does the way I talk and live proclaim that I love Jesus?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong Worship