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Friday, August 28, 2009

John 5

Before you read this post, please breathe a short prayer for me, that God would use me this evening as I preach at a leadership conference in Jamaica Queens, NY. Thanks.

Based on today’s reading, what areas of my life do I need to put into Christ’s hands because I trust him?
In vv. 41-44 Jesus says that he doesn’t need to defend himself or prove his identity or promote his ministry; he claims that God the Father does that for him. Jesus reveals his strength of character in this statement. How many people do we know, whether inside or outside of the church, who refuse to self-promote in order to let God defend, promote, and vindicate them. I am challenged by this. Sometimes I want to yell out to the people around me, to my spouse, kids, friends and church family, “look at all the good I’m doing…don’t you realize how lucky you are to have someone like me.” I am going to trust God to defend and promote me when and how he wills. After all, as Jesus suggests, self-promotion destroys our testimony in the eyes of God and in the eyes of people with true spiritual wisdom and discernment.

Based on today’s reading, how can I lovingly submit to Christ by obeying his commands?
It’s so easy to think that knowing is the same as doing. In vv. 39-40 Jesus gets on the Jewish leaders for thinking that by merely knowing Scripture they have life. Jesus says that the true power of Scripture is when it leads people not to simply no more but to move closer to Christ. According to Jesus, the intent of Scripture, is not to show off our intelligence in theological debates but to move us closer and closer to Christ, the giver of life. I don’t want this 21 day devotional journey in John’s Gospel to deteriorate into theological jargon or information acquisition; I want to translate not into more information but more transformation. As I continue this journey, I’m going to look for ways that each day’s reading will propel me deeper into Christ. If it doesn’t, I’m reading for the wrong reasons.

Love and prayers,



Brad said...

When reading scripture, I pay close attention whenever Jesus says "I tell you the truth."

When He said, "the Son can do nothing by himself," I realize it is necessary evaluate my motives whenever I serve. It is easy to fall into a look-at-me mode, but I will continue to serve, hopefully for His glory alone!

May Christ stengthen and guide me in all I say and do!

Roberta said...

The thing that stood out for me first is the fact that the man had been laying by the pool for 38 years. He was out of touch with Jesus to the point he did not know who he was even after he healed him. Later Jesus told him to stop sinning. Did that man need 38 years to be ready for Jesus to heal him? Do I stand in the way of what Jesus wants to do in my life? And if so, how and what? In Exodus when it says that God heard the cry of the Israelites in Egypt - it was after hundreds of years and I wondered what was God doing before that - why did he wait so long? However, after the Israelites were delivered, 2 1/2 seconds later, they started complaining and missing Egypt. Is that the way I am with God... ?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion it appears that this invalid has an attitude problem--he's at the right place, at the right time but complains about his inability to "seize the day." I think he wants it to be easy. After Jesus heals him, Jesus tells him pointedly to "stop sinning" and then remarks, "or something worse may happen to you." This un-named character seems to have liked the physical changes but perhaps not the spiritual accountability. As the story concludes-"the man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus . . ." Now why did he do that? I have often held my own "pity parties" and stooped to pettiness. I'm not proud of those occasions in my life. Jesus had no easy task--redeeming a rebellious world. Like this invalid, we often want the easy fix without the accountability, the privileges without the responsibilities. I'd like to be more like Jesus and less like the invalid.

Roberta said...

Something you said Brad struck a chord in me, about Jesus saying, "I tell you the truth". It hit me not too long ago that even more important He is Truth and to know Him (The Truth) is to set me free. I had been thinking about the prevalence of lying that is so commonly accepted and how Satan is described as the "father of lies". The two extremes - Jesus and Satan. How often do we try to straddle the fence between the two extremes of truth and lies? To know Jesus is to know truth and to no longer speak lies or believe lies we have learned about ourselves, others and about Him.