Why was Jesus not accepted as the Light of the world by the religious people of His day?It is because they were not open to it.If you face the blazing sunrise with your eyes shut you will miss its brilliant majesty every time.They were so busy showing off their own light that they missed the opportunity to participate in the biggest Light show in the history of the world.Besides, Jesus didn’t fit the Messiah-mold which the Rabbis had concocted. They weren’t prepared for the creator of the world to walk among them as part of the created order; and it was unthinkable to believe an eternal God could willingly place Himself into space and time; it was especially shocking to think that Jehovah would come to Palestine and live among His own people, the Jews.BUT HE DID!
The idiom, “A place to hang your hat” means that you can depend on something or really and truly believe something and make further assumptions based upon one single truth.It also refers to the place you call home.John 1:14 is that place in all the Bible where you can “hang your hat,” because the truth of this verse gives integrity to everything else you believe about God.
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out (Grace), true from start to finish (Truth).”John 1:14 The Message, NIV, KJV(Please use the hyperlinks to read the verse in several translations)
If this verse is NOT true then nothing else matters!Jesus is the reason Christianity is the one true religion.When He became God-man and walked among us, He also offered himself as the willing flesh sacrifice to pay for our sins.Before we only saw Jehovah through the lens of the distant past, but the incarnation of Jesus changed our view.The God that was, now is.He was actively engaged in the pre-creation planning of the universe, and He is actively involved in the tiny details of your life; He was clothed in immortality, He is mortal like you and me.Now drive a nail in that verse, choose your favorite translation and memorize it, learn it, share it, trust it and hang your hat on it, for it is HOME to every Christian!
There are three thoughts John wants to drive home to us in this verse.First, John witnessed God’s glory in the incarnation of Jesus.He saw with his own eyes the “glory of Jesus,” a word rich in meaning used to describe something you can see, a visible manifestation of God.Jesus’ life was radiant with the presence of divine majesty.That same characteristic is yours for the claiming, so that you can glorify the name of Jesus every day of your life.Receive the power that comes from a close walk with Him and live the kind of Shekinah glory testimony that God wants for you.
Secondly, John wrote that Jesus had a one-of-a-kind relationship with His Father.Likewise, your relationship with Jesus is one-of-a-kind.He has a specific plan for your life which is unlike anyone else; He cares deeply about everything in your life and wants to be intimately involved in it.
The third way the beloved disciple described Jesus, was that He was full of Grace and Truth.Grace is that characteristic which has the tendency to give people what they do not deserve; and truth is rooted in the determination to be predictable, consistent, and therefore trustworthy.That is how God wants us to be, too.But these two traits should come with a warning:“Never practice one without the other.”This is why:Grace without Truth is deceitful, and Truth without Grace is brutal.The first describes a slobbering love affair without honesty, and the latter is what the scribes and Pharisees practiced, using the Truth as a club to beat their congregation into submission.
Jesus wants us to bless each other with both love (grace) and honesty (truth).When we find the right balance people will see Jesus in a way they have never seen Him before.They will experience Jesus in the flesh because they will see Him in you.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to be like the words of this hymn:
“Then live for Christ both day and night, Be faithful, be brave and true, and lead the lost to life and Christ. Let others see Jesus in you.”
In the referenced scripture, Jesus was among a throng of people and knew that someone had touched him.Peter pointed out that He had been touched by many, but Jesus was looking for only one at that moment.A woman who had suffered an unspeakable affliction for 12 years dared touch the hem of his garment and was healed instantly.She humbly knelt before him, acknowledged her story, trusted Jesus and He answered.
Unlike a lot of us who often doubt the Lord’s ability, this woman trusted with all her heart and a similar story revealed itself through the meeting of two strangers, Molly and Alex, during a 12-step recovery program meeting.
One of the members of the group announced that they had noted Alex’s need of a kidney transplant on his Facebook page.As Molly heard the news, the idea of the need whirled around in her head.
Despite more differences than similarities, Molly knew in her heart what she needed to do and decided to get tested to see if she could possibly be a match.Alex didn’t trust people and was quite skeptical as to why this stranger would consider such a gift.(His need was due to a hereditary kidney disease that had killed his father and two aunts while in their 30s.)
But Alex wasn’t the only one skeptical about her desire to make such a sacrifice.The transplant team interrogated her as though they were members of the CIA.Her parents were less than enthusiastic, to say the least.But, they laid the seeds that brought her to her decision.“She explained that she was just following their example, that she had seen her mother drive to the West Clinic to hold the hands of those undergoing chemotherapy.”
Up until the last minute, Alex expected Molly to change her mind.He wasn’t used to receiving something he hadn’t earned.He knew he couldn’t earn this.
Both came through the surgery just fine and a new bond has been formed between them.There have been tears shed and lots of humor.More than the gift of a kidney, it was a gift of the heart.
Several other seeds were sewn as a result – Molly has a stronger relationship with her Mother, witnessed a tenderness in her father she hadn’t truly seen before and a growing relationship with Alex’s 12-year-old daughter Abigail.
Because of a daring and selfless act of kindness, several benefitted in ways that we could not imagine – not for the applause or for payment of any kind."I just wanted to do something nice," she said. "It's not as complicated as people think."
GospeLines Prayer:What seeds have we sewn?What sacrifice have we made to help someone in need?It may not be the gift of a kidney.Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of life through his death and resurrection, just as Molly gave Alex new life – a life of hope.
Father, we need Your reminders – the world doesn’t revolve around us.We are Your children and everything should be done for Your glory.
Sew the seeds of forgiveness and love in our hearts, Lord.May we trust in You and sew the seeds of hope through support and service to others.
During the 1970’s, the New Orleans Saints were playing the Houston Oilers in a professional football game in theHouston Astrodome.It was the first sports stadium in the world to have a roof over its head and the noise generated by jubilant sports fans was deafening.The fans of the visiting Saints marched around the stadium halls chanting during the entire game, “Who dat, who dat, who dat say gone beat dem Saints?”I was there on that day, December 9, 1978. It was Earl Campbell’s rookie year, the “Love ya Blue Days,” and Houston DID win the game 17 to 12, proving to the world that the Oilers on that day knew the answer to “Who dat!”
My interpretation of their obnoxious chant was, “Who are you to think you can beat us?What gives you the right to think you are better than our team?”
The scribes and Pharisees heard the ruckus caused byJohn the Baptistand sent priests and Levites from the synagogue to ask, “WHO DAT?John, who authorizes you to baptize in the name of God?Who are you, anyway?Why are you out here preaching in the wilderness stirring up trouble for everyone?”
John made it clear to everyone who he was NOT. “I am not the Christ,” he said.Do you know who you are not?In some strange way, acknowledging our limitations is the pathway to strength.It is a courageous thing to accept who we are NOT, because only then are we prepared to totally depend upon God to help us become the person He planned for us to be.
If, like John the Baptist, you are a voice in the wilderness, then you are the only one expressing a particular opinion or viewpoint about Christ.Have you noticed?It’s lonely out there!John the Baptist was ostracized; people came out to the edge of town to listen to him because he was different.He was a strange kind of person who ate locusts and honey and lived outdoors.But it wasn’t his lifestyle that made him unique; it was his message!“Get ready everybody…Jesus is coming!”Are you prepared to share that message to everyone you know and to those you do not know?
John said “I am not worthy to untie His shoes.”And that was what made him special as the forerunner of the Messiah.The person who knows His place at the feet of Jesus is the one who is best prepared to lead others to the throne of God. Make yourself comfortable as a slave to our Lord and you will be qualified to lead the multitudes.Oh, how we need servants like that in our churches today!
How would you complete this sentence?“The reason I (exist, live, attend this church, etc.), is so that He might be revealed.”Our reason for being alive will suddenly become clear to us if we live by this motto.We are here in this place, we are working at this job, or we are married to this person, so that Jesus Christ might be revealed.
GospeLines Prayer:“Who Dat, Father?”Who is it that wants to direct my life, improve my serve, empower my testimony, and allow me to discover who I am in the process?It’s YOU, of course.I give up…You win.I will do whatever You want me to do.Praise God!Thank you, Lord, for not quitting on me until we got it right.Amen and amen.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” (Revelation 19:11 – NIV)
Faithful and true… say the words aloud.What thoughts and images come to your mind when you say those words?Perhaps you have thoughts of a loving couple exchanging their wedding vows.Possibly you think of a pet that always greets you at the door, tail wagging with joy in unconditional love for his master.If you were a soldier, you might think of the motto “No man left behind!” that exemplifies the bond of loyalty between those in combat.What more could anyone ask from another than that they be faithful and true?
A faithful person is steadfast (long-suffering) in their affection or allegiance – firm (unwavering) in their adherence to promises they have made.The true person is loyal (dependable), honest, and just (honorable and righteous) in all they do.
We try to be faithful and true to everyone; we try especially hard to be faithful and true to those we love.Unfortunately, we cannot always remain faithful and true in all situations – we are often limited and constrained by our physical, emotional, financial, or political circumstances.We want to live up to our promises and commitments; we want to always remain steadfast to our word; but, sadly, we cannot.We are only human and we are bound by fleshly (earthly) circumstances and situations beyond our control.
Then is it impossible… can no one really be faithful and true all the time…?
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:26-28 – NIV)
“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1st Corinthians 1:9 – NIV) and He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5 – NIV).
So, rejoice; Jesus is faithful and He is true - to all of His promises.
·“He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 – NIV).
·“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:38 – NIV)
·"He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies;and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
·“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46 – NIV)
So, sing to the Lord; make music to the Lord, the God of Israel.Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day.Sing to the Lord, for He has been good to you.Sing to the Lord, you saints of His; praise His holy name. Sing to the Lord all your life; sing praise to your God as long as you live.Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.Sing to the Lord for He is faithful and true…
Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.
(Psalm 33:3-5 – NIV)
Be made new in the attitude of your minds and have the same attitude, purpose and humble mind that was in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 2:4-7)
Not every Christian is a disciple of Jesus.They should be, but they haven’t yet made that all-out commitment.Where will you be in your walk with the Lord when He asks you to become His disciple?When Jesus called Andrew, he was following John the Baptist; Peter, the brother of Andrew was a fisherman by trade when he was asked to follow Christ; and Phillip was from Galilee, a largely pagan region, in the Greek town of Bethsaida.Then there was Nathanael…before Jesus ever laid eyes upon him, the Lord said He first saw into his heart of hearts while Nathanael was sitting under his fig tree, studying the scriptures and meditating upon the peace which the coming Messiah would bring to the world.
It was the tradition of the Hebrew men to get away from it all, sit alone under his vine or fig tree, and contemplate about the ways of God (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4).When Nathanael retreated to his shady spot, he often dreamed about the changes which would come with the arrival of the Messiah.There is no doubt that Nathanael had spent many hours in that place thinking about the Chosen One and the deep promises of Jehovah.This was a place of peace, a tranquil respite from the world, a place so personal that no one would know his thoughts from there unless he shared them.Maybe Nathanael wasn’t surprised that Jesus could have seen him sitting under his tree, for he wasn’t hiding his devotion.What amazed him was how Jesus already knew his thoughts!
Had Nathanael finally found someone who understood him?“This man knows my heart!Here is a man who knows my prayers, sees my deep concerns, and feels what I am feeling!Surely, this must be the Son of God; He must be the Chosen One!”
To those first disciples Jesus simply said, “Follow me.”And that’s what He says to you, also.This is a relational call rather than an intellectual or emotional one.He isn’t offering you an idea to consider, a feeling to experience or a task to accomplish, instead He is giving you a person to obey.I don’t know where Jesus will find you, but find you He will because we live in a day that demands more from Christians than we have given in the past.Jesus is looking for disciples He can depend on.Will He find you under the fig tree, praying, studying, and preparing for the coming of our Lord?Oh, you may have some questions at first…Nathanael did.Initially he was skeptical about becoming a disciple for Jesus, but there was never any real doubt that he would follow Him.What about you?The only way to be ready for discipleship is to spend a little time alone with God through prayer and reading His Word.Try it and you will learn as did Nathanael that Jesus knows your heart better than you do; He wants to build a relationship with you, the kind that you dream about during those intimate spiritual moments.Let the secret words of your heart draw you like a magnet into the comforting arms of Jesus.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, allow me to have such great joy from serving you that it will cause me to invite others to sit with me under my fig tree (Zechariah 3:10).Amen and amen.