Monday, April 23, 2018
There's a lot to this chapter that we could look at. I believe that most of us can sympathize at least a little with Martha and Mary. We've had some kind of loss and if God just would have answered then life would be better. Christian friends try to console with dumb platitudes, God has a plan, His ways are not our ways, or my least favorite, all things work together for good. I've often said that if this is all that you can say when someone is hurting then just shut up. Look at what Jesus did with Mary. No platitudes, no explanation. Lazarus' death is part of something bigger but Mary doesn't want to hear that. Jesus simply asks where is the body and He weeps. Sometimes that's more comforting, knowing that someone actually cares enough to sit and cry with you.
Friday, April 20, 2018
John's gospel focuses on Jesus' divinity more than the others. Jesus proclaims Himself to be messiah in several places but the times when he really infuriates the religious folks are when He declares Himself as God. In chapter 8 Jesus says that before Abraham was I Am. There is no mistake in the translation, the tense of the verb is exactly as it should be. I Am is the name that God gave Moses and this was not lost on the Jews. Again in this chapter Jesus declares that He is God and provides His works as evidence. Jesus came, God in the tent of a man, to know and walk with His creation. He was all man in order to experience what man does and He was all God at the same time. It can be hard to understand how this is possible but He is God, I think it's important to not miss that.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
In our modern philosophical age there are a lot of people who believe that what goes around comes around, a twist on karma. There certainly is some truth to that and there's also a strong possibility that we each cause our own problems. I frequently hear the dumb saying that everything happens for a reason. I want to reply with, yes and the reason is that you're a twit. But Jesus tells us that not everything is a result of our sins, sometimes we suffer from what others have done and sometimes there's just no explanation. He says here that this man was born blind to show the works of God. That might be hard to accept, that the hardship in our lives are designed by God to show forth His works. Part of me wants to say that I'm willing but there's still a big part that says no thanks. And then there's the other side of the equation. When the works of God are displayed, the skeptics and unbelievers still won't believe. The world wants to disprove God in all ways. It's almost humorous that the Pharisees, the teachers of The Law, won't accept that God could actually heal a man.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
All of the arguments in this chapter made by the religious leaders bear the mark of logic. They know the law, in the case of the woman brought to Jesus one could ask that since they already knew that The Law said to stone her, why hadn't it been done already? They trust in being the offspring of Abraham for salvation, and state that they've never been slaves. That's far from true. The nation was captive at least three times, Egypt, Syria and Babylon. And in their current state were subjects of Rome. Man continues to use the logical argument, using the axiom that God is love and a parent who loves their child wouldn't hurt them. Or by looking at the tings done right, the argument that I'm a good person doesn't work yet it's a common phrase. An understanding of the scriptures and an understanding of humanity shows that there are no good people, we're all evil on the inside and only God can work the change in us.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
We use the phrase to mean looking for small or unimportant errors. The origin is to pick out the tiny eggs from head lice, pretty small. In this whole chapter that's what we see. Jesus is doing things that are not with the traditions. He's healed on the Sabbath and it's not the healing that becomes the focus. He won't do what His brothers want, at least not in the way they want. The teachers marvel at His knowledge yet won't accept Him because no prophet has come from Galilee. We still get nit picky. Not necessarily with Jesus but that too happens. We find faults in each other and argue about things which really don't matter. Paul wrote whatsoever things are good, think on these.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Peter said this and it's pretty profound. When we read through the whole chapter we see that the majority of people were coming to Jesus because they wanted something. That's still true today. Some were seeking entertainment, some healing and some more food. Jesus simply took a boy's lunch and fed a multitude. That's why they went looking for Him on the other side. Not for any message about God or eternity but simply for food. I've lately become more conscious of the fact that so many churches preach that Jesus will simply meet every need, provide food and shelter. Healing for the sick, and in so many places wealth to the faithful. But that's not true. It's easy to see how Christians and Jews around the globe are persecuted, homeless, hungry, and martyred. So what is the real message? It's about eternal life. We focus so much on our existence and pleasures but not on the idea that life is eternal. Peter says that only Jesus has the words of eternal life. No religion or prophet can say these things. What happens to a person's faith when they are brought to church on promises of prosperity or health and that doesn't happen? When all of the things of the world fail, including the people around you, you will find that only Jesus has the words of eternal life.
Friday, April 13, 2018
A line made famous from a classic movie but it's essentially what Jesus told the teachers of The Law in the last section. They recognize there was something different about John and sort of accepted him as a prophet. But Jesus is healing on the Sabbath! That's just not right, we've never done it like that before. Jesus tells them the things which should be plain to any teacher who knew The Law. They've spent years studying the words and never grasped the meanings. Jesus says that Moses accuses them, the name Moses can be used to mean the person or to mean the books Moses wrote, in either case it's essentially the same. The very writings of Moses, The Law, accuses and condemns. This is a pretty severe chastisement, no-one likes to be chastised but what do you do after? Most of us will get angry, if we're smart we'll take a moment and see if maybe there's something to this. These people did not, they became more angry and more determined to kill Jesus.