Re:Verse reading–John 9:1-7, 13-41 (day one)
“As He walked along, he SAW a man blind from birth.”- v 1.
There are two miracles in John 9. Two outcomes of God’s outpoured power.
The second is the one we usually notice. A man born blind receives physical sight. He SEES (for the first time).
The previous miracle is the source and start. Jesus SEES the man. SEES his suffering with clear eyes. UNDERSTANDS that pain is never the ultimate story, that all struggles are just opportunities for the unconquered (and unconquerable) glory of God to shine–v 3. Our Lord SAW the Father at work. Daily. Determined. Generous. UNDERSTOOD the grace that invites sinner like us to join Him–v 4.
This week, as you read, will you pray for a third miracle? That the Lord would open your eyes to see the world with his compassionate vision.
“What do you want Me to do for you?” said Jesus. “Lord, I want to SEE again”–Luke 18:41.
Re:Verse reading–John 6:52-69 (day one)
“As. . .I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me. . .will live because of Me.”–v 57
Strange idea to most of us. As unfamiliar and distasteful as it was to those who first heard it. However, it was a central construct of the Lord’s mind.
1) Life requires fuel. No one but God is self-sustaining. We draw/borrow life from something other than self.
2) As bread is fuel for physical life, Jesus is fuel for eternal life.
3) Eternal life is greater than physical life. We should work of it with greater interest/intensity than for physical needs. v 27
4) Bread must be eaten and digested. In the same way, Jesus and His words must be appropriated, considered, obeyed.
Most of us are fitful and irregular in our spiritual diet. What strength and health would come if we could think like Jesus!
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You (alone) have words of eternal life. v 68
Re:Verse reading–John 5:1-30 (day one)
“After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. . .and Jesus saw him. . .and asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ “–v 1, 6.
Christmas Eve, 2018. I hope you and your family will be in worship tonight. It is a holy day.
John 5 presents Jesus in a similar setting. The Lord delighted in the feast days that celebrated the saving acts of God. God’s word instructs families/culture to carry and teach “His story” to each succeeding generation. Even with the growing danger in Jerusalem, Jesus journeyed to be present.
While there (once again, John’s gospel has the “feel” of an eye-witness account) Jesus “saw” a man in desperate need and engaged him with life-giving words.
We do well to cherish the same hope. Tonight, when we gather, the Lord will be there and will see our need and speak life to us.
It is a holy day.
Re:Verse reading–John 4:4-30, 39-42 (day one)
“Go call your husband, and come back.”–v 16.
What memories must have flooded into her mind as Jesus spoke this command. Early years. Young love. Tension, anger and ultimately collapse of the first marriage. Then other men. Many. Social consequences and shame.
Why uncover such painful memories? Why revisit this shameful subject? Because the gift of God (up-bubbling fountain of life) comes only on the condition of repentance and faith! The wound must be lanced and cleansed before healing can come.
We all hide from shame. Keep secrets. Try to forget. The Samaritan is not unique.
He is faithful to remind us. Nothing that has occurred in our lives has escaped his notice or been simply forgotten. Healing requires us to face the brokenness.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us.” With stern mercy He probes us so that life-giving water can flow.
Re:Verse reading–John 3:1-21 (day one)
“You must be born OF the Spirit.”–v 7
Small word. Often ignored. Important truth. We must be born OF the Spirit.
The word in Greek is “ek”. It meant “out of” (note EXodus–when God lead the people of Israel “out of” slavery).
It speaks of origin. Life that comes “out of” the Spirit. The unlimited creation-power of Heaven acting on persons, inaugurating them into a new life, both in dimension and usefulness. The agent of this new birth is the Holy Spirit. We are to be born OF Him.
It speaks of likeness. Those who are born OF the Spirit will necessarily reflect His character and nature. As children “look like” their parents, we must “look like” the Spirit in humility and holiness.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ this season, we should make this connection. The Lord was born OF Mary so that we would be born OF the Spirit.
Re:Verse reading–John 2:1-22 (day one)
“This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and He manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”–v 11
It was an unexpectedly small start. Not a big splash on some large stage. (That will come next. See v 12-22) His first miracle was humble. Local. IMMANUEL–God with us. As present and involved in our homes/marriages/jobs as He is at church.
John (and most of the prophets) were distant. Detached. Separated. Men of the desert. Jesus is different. God at the dinner table. Same prophetic power. More accessible.
And if God is near us, we are to get near others. To be “in the world, but not of it” is a hard assignment. No argument. Even so, the example and command of Christ is clear. “Go into all the world.”
What good is salt except in contact with corruption? As we get near them. He will be with us.
Re:Verse reading–John 1:1-18 (day one)
“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”–v 18
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.“–Hebrews 1:1
Are you confused, today? Got questions? God has a Word for you! What the heavens and the prophets have been declaring from the beginning of time, God is now clearly communicating in His Son. Got your ears on?
No one has seen God. No one can. The Son must explain Him. Interesting word. It literally means “to lead someone out or forward” (ex=out, hegeomai=to lead).
Do you hunger to know God? Do you want to get forward in your search for truth?
Jesus is the Word. God’s explanation and communication.
May God have a Word with you?
Re:Verse reading 2 Corinthian 12:1-10 (day one)
“I refrain (from boasting) so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me and hears from me.”–v 5.
Something my grandmother said. Yours too, probably. “The proof is in the pudding”. (Originally the proverb said, “the proof of the pudding is in the tasting”. Not sure my grandmother ever got that memo).
The meaning, however, is clear. After all the talk, the evidence that matters most is outcome. Not stories of past spiritual highs, what I do and what I say is the real me.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul is content to let his life do the talking. His opponents bragged about deep, spiritual experiences. Good enough, said Paul, I have had them too. But, the bottom line is who you are.
Easy to speak Christian truth. Much harder to be kind, brave, and unselfish. (See 1 Thessalonians 1:5) Tell your story! Just remember, the proof of your words is your life.
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 10 (day one)
It is a false idea. More powerful because it is close to the truth.
Christians never get angry. False. Christians must always be careful with anger because it can (often does) lead to sin. True. See Ephesians 4:26.
In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul is over the anger, but he is very assertive.
Having won the majority (2 Corinthians 2:6) Paul now sends a warning to the minority (those who still spread rumors, still work against him night and day) not to underestimate his resolve or courage. “I am a warrior”, he says in v 4. My weapons are not worldly, but it would be a great mistake to think that I do not have weapons, or am reluctant to use them.
Are Christians always passive? Are we always nice? Ask the money changers in the temple. Ask the opponents of Paul.
Even though it calls for extreme caution, sometimes anger (assertiveness) is exactly what God wants from His soldier/children.
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 7:5-16 (day one)
“He told us about your longing for me. . . so that my joy was greater than ever.“–v 7
If you have ever experienced a broken or strained relationship, you know. Distance from a friend or family member is painful, joy-depleting. Reconciliation is SWEET!
Paul and the Corinthians had not had an easy relationship. Distrust. Accusations. Hurt feelings. But Paul was careful and prayerful. Communicated even when it was hard. Continued to invest and believe. In the end, he was richly rewarded.
Churches and pastors, members of churches, citizens of a nation, all of us must be frequently reminded. In many (most) cases, it is possible to be reconciled. Someone just has to care enough to work at it under the leadership of Christ.
“If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering and go; first be reconciled to your brother.”–Matthew 5:23-24