ONE OF YOU

John, The Love of God

We know how deeply the hurt can go, making us physically sick, when we are betrayed by someone we love. Now think about being betrayed by one who walked you, ate with you, laughed and talked with you. He was ONE of us, we cry out. How can it be? We can’t believe it at first, we don’t want to believe it, then it all adds up. Truth rises to the surface. It always does, eventually.

Jesus knew his betrayer. He knew his heart, therefore he also knew what was being planned with the Jewish leaders behind the scenes under the cover of darkness. Jesus knew the plan because Scripture foretold the plan that included the plot of betrayal by “one of you”. The plan was designed and formed long before Creation of mankind.

After washing the disciples feet and telling them about what real, authentic servant ministry will look like for them, He brings the truth about Judas to the surface. “I’m not including all of you in this.” “One of you is going to betray me.”

Disciples response? “Who me?”

John 13 betrayal

John 13, The Message
The One Who Ate Bread at My Table
18-20 “I’m not including all of you in this. I know precisely whom I’ve selected, so as not to interfere with the fulfillment of this Scripture:

The one who ate bread at my table
Turned on his heel against me.

“I’m telling you all this ahead of time so that when it happens you will believe that I am who I say I am. Make sure you get this right: Receiving someone I send is the same as receiving me, just as receiving me is the same as receiving the One who sent me.”

21 After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. “One of you is going to betray me.”

22-25 The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about. So, being the closest, he said, “Master, who?”

26-27 Jesus said, “The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I’ve dipped it.” Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. As soon as the bread was in his hand, Satan entered him.

“What you must do,” said Jesus, “do. Do it and get it over with.”

28-29 No one around the supper table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor.

30 Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.

What do we learn?

–Where two or three are gathered, God’s spirit will be there, but so will the enemy…be alert.
–Judas was the treasurer of the group and a dishonest one at that. Where his heart was so was his life and behavior.
–Did Judas have a choice? That is a theological question that has been and still is debated. But remember, Judas was making bad choices before the final betrayal of His Master.
–Do we have a choice to be loyal to our Lord or betray him with our behavior? YES! We are faced with this choice daily.
–Be the one who follows, obeys and trusts in our Lord and stands for the Truth. Allow the Holy Spirit to correct and restore.
–Jesus became “visibly upset” when He told those around him, “One of you is going to betray me.” Jesus, God’s Son, loves us so deeply, wants only His best for us, so it is no wonder that out of this extravagant love that held Him to a cross, that he would be visibly upset. He loved Judas.
–Jesus loves us. He REALLY loves you and I.

Dear Heavenly Father,
We understand when the disciples ask, “Is it me?” We underestimate the love You have for us so many times. We fall away, avoid the Truth or don’t stand for Truth when You are questioned. We repent of the times we were in betrayal by being silent. We don’t want to be “the one” who betrays You. 
Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. Thank you for continually transforming us to be all you intended for us to be. Help us, Lord. Save us from ourselves. Keep us focused on Your Love. Thank you for restoration. 
In Jesus Name, Amen

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WHAT I’VE DONE, YOU DO

John, The Love of God

How much we love each other here on earth is measured by how much we understand the love God has for us. Jesus demonstrate that love in an act that is recorded in this gospel. John’s writes so we will know the love of God fully and love like He loved. John shows us that love is a verb, an action, in the way Jesus served those He loved dearly.

ALL the disciples are gathered for the Passover Feast. They do not realize that this will be the last time they share this meal with their Master Teacher…except one, Judas. Jesus “continued to love them right to the end”. He wanted to show them what love is and what love does. Jesus does something that brings surprise and shock followed by awe and humility.

The Master, Whom God has put in charge of everything, gets up from the table, takes off his robe of significance and lays it aside. He puts on the apron of a servant. He kneels before his beloved followers who have been with him for three years and washes their feet! That’s a lot of feet! It’s not about the dirt, it’s about the willingness to serve as a leader. It’s an act of love. Not only did He wash the feet of those who loved him back, he washed the feet of Judas, His betrayer! What kind of love is this? The love of God goes beyond human comprehension, so Jesus shows us love in this incredible act of serving.

Traditionally, this act was usually performed by prepared servants who meet invited guests at the door with a basin of fresh water. Servants then kneel down and wash the dust from the sandaled feet of all who enter as a way to refresh them and get them ready for fellowship over a meal. The roads were dusty and feet were dirty from walking them.

“Master, YOU wash MY feet?” Peter just cannot handle this reverse kingdom thinking. Jesus replies with love for Peter. I’m including you in what I am doing with this act of service. You are part of me. I am part of you.

It’s all about holiness, not hygiene. “…if I, Master and Teacher, wash your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet.” Jesus came to seek and to save the lost…and He did it as a servant to all, giving all He had. Many people talk about servant leadership, Jesus was the epitome of authentic servanthood and the supreme example of how we should live our lives.

“If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it–and live a blessed life.” –Jesus

“I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.”
I grew up in a church that included washing each other’s feet before observing the Lord’s Supper. The women were in one room and the men in the other so that it was without embarrassment in removing socks, hose and shoes. (We were more modest back in the day!) Later we got smarter and only wore quick release sandals. Still, the act of serving each other by taking the apron and wrapping it around us, kneeling down and soothing the feet of your brother or sister resulted in a blessing. The hug that finished the act with words of tenderness flowed easily. God’s love felt and expressed. This might of been the only time of year that some honored each other with words of affirmation, kindness and encouragement in the faith.

I miss it. In this modern world, many churches do not observe this act of feet washing. “It’s just too weird”, say some. Many leaders are afraid they will scare people off with this act of humble blessing and Jesus’ example of serving. Low attendance to this service has caused many to drop it from the ministry of the church. Mm. I wonder what Jesus thinks?

Then it occurred to me, the intention of the act is to serve. How can we bend down and humbly “wash feet” every day in our lives. Serving is an act. Serving is also an attitude. The attitude precedes the act. Our hearts reflect our behavior. What will we do today to serve? It might be weird, dirty or even disgusting. Ready for it? Are we the prepared servants waiting at the door?

“What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious” 
–Jesus

In Jesus Name, Amen

John 13 servant no words

John 13, The Message
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”

10-12 Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

12-17 Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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AT THIS MOMENT…

John, The Love of God

There are any differing opinions about everything and many social media ways to express it. Some of us are sarcastic and demeaning. Some are loving and kind. Some of us are full of hate from fear that feeds anger. Some of us seem hopeless and very afraid…of everything. For the most part, however, we seem to more brave to express these opinions and attitudes lately on social media than in a face to face, let’s talk it out, kind of way. It seems to be a way to shout out…from the dark corners of life.

At this moment the world is in crisis. But there is Hope. There is a Light that is available to shed light on our dark places. At this moment, this Light can bring clarity and focus to our confusion.
Jesus said, I AM the Light of the world. He came to save the world in crisis then and now. He did not come to reject, condemn, criticize or offend. He came to extend love, mercy and grace. He doesn’t not resort to social media, He gave us His Word.

Our next passage is long but reveals the heart of God and the mission of Jesus. Read it slowly, savoring and understanding every morsel of Truth. “At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out.” We are only hours away from Jesus’s final act on earth….dying for our sin. He without sin died for all, the whole world. Crisis is over for those who believe.

John 12, The Message
20-21 There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?”

22-23 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

26 “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.

27-28 “Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”

A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.”

29 The listening crowd said, “Thunder!”

Others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

30-33 Jesus said, “The voice didn’t come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.” He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.

34 Voices from the crowd answered, “We heard from God’s Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it, that the Son of Man ‘be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35-36 Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.”

Their Eyes Are Blinded
36-40 Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right:

God, who believed what we preached?
Who recognized God’s arm, outstretched and ready to act?
First they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t—again, just as Isaiah said:

Their eyes are blinded,
their hearts are hardened,
So that they wouldn’t see with their eyes
and perceive with their hearts,
And turn to me, God,
so I could heal them.
41 Isaiah said these things after he got a glimpse of God’s cascading brightness that would pour through the Messiah.

42-43 On the other hand, a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe. But because of the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.

44-46 Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.

47-50 “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”

John 12 Light of the world

At this moment, remember…
–Jesus must die so that all, the world in crisis, can be saved and have a rich relationship with God.
–“We want to see Jesus”, said some visiting Greeks, but the time was up for Jesus to remain on earth. The Greeks and the rest of the world who believe will now see Jesus as Savior.
–Let this life go…reckless in our love for Jesus…and live forever.
–“If you want to serve Me, then follow Me.”
–“This is why I came in the first place. Father, put your glory on display.” The Voice of God replies! “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.”
–“The Voice didn’t come for me, but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I AM lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.”
–“As you have the light, believe in the light. Than the light will be withing you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.”
–Many did not believe…just as Isaiah said.
–On the other hand, many of the leaders did believe. BUT cared more for human approval than for God’s glory. That is the crisis in the world today?
–“If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection.” –Jesus Crisis averted by our choice.

“The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, THAT Word and no other is the last word.” –Jesus

Dear Heavenly Father,
At this moment, the world around us is in crisis because of sin unresolved. We pray for those who do not believe and need You desperately. We pray for those who believe but are hiding in the dark, thinking more about the approval of mankind. Shed your light on all the dark places in my life and cleanse every part. May we live redeemed lives, reflecting your light and your glory! Yes, to YOU be all glory, honor and praise! I believe. 
In Jesus Name, Amen

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WHAT WAS WRITTEN MATCHED

John, The Love of God

Contracts are written and then signed with witnessed, notarized signatures of those who say they will indeed do what the contract states. When a contract is not followed, lawyer advocates are called in to ask why with efforts to get the involved parties to follow the mandates of the original contract. I’m sure, like Randy and I, you have signed many contracts in your lives in good faith that the contracts would be followed and fulfilled. Maybe sometimes they are and other times they are not. These contracts are made by humans trying to keep things fair and equitable. Our courts are filled by those who do not do what was written. Their actions do not match the words of the contract.

God designed the ultimate contract between Himself and mankind. The Plan was devised with His Son, Jesus Christ as our advocate standing there with him before the world and everything in it was created. The Plan had many details. The Plan gave mankind the option to turn back to God. From Genesis to Revelation, the plan is outlined and fulfilled in the actions of Jesus Christ. The Plan was foretold by the prophets hundreds of years before it happened…in detail! Every detail of the actions of our advocate Jesus Christ matched what was written! Every. Detail. When contracts are fulfilled, trust is built.
Read and think about all the details that were written before it happened.

John 12, The Message

See How Your King Comes
12-15 The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered:

Hosanna!

Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!

Yes! The King of Israel!

Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it:

No fear, Daughter Zion:
See how your king comes,
riding a donkey’s colt.

16 The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him.

17-19 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”

John 12 Fulfilled 2

Key Words: What was written about Him matched what was done to Him.

Think about it….

–Their are many witnesses who are still excited about watching Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. They have told the travelers coming to Jerusalem all about what they saw Jesus do. There is a buzz among the crowds. “Is He here?” “He is coming to Passover celebration?” Imagine hearing and wanting to see someone Who raises people from the dead! Yes, eye witness accounts caused people to wave branches and pay homage to The Man who heals in magnificent ways. Even the colt Jesus rode was foretold hundreds of years before it happened.

–Jesus follows the written Plan with every word and action. The disciples, caught up in the festivities, do not realize until later that all Jesus did fulfilled all that was written before it happened.

–This “contract”, made between God and man, because of His love for whom He created, states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ His son would live forever with Him in paradise. This contract is only broken when we do not believe. WHY would we tear up this contract? Why would we choose death over life? Guess what, it’s not too late! We have an advocate who will save us from ourselves! Jesus Christ brings us back into the contract, pays the damages of our sin and restores our contract with God to love Him back. Case closed.

–One more question to consider: Does my life match what I say I believe?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Only a few words from Your Word causes us to ponder our own lives. Help us to focus on You each day and listen to Your Holy Spirit. Only then can we live like we say we believe in the most excellent way…with your love flowing through us. Continue to transform us daily to be all you intended for us to be. Thank you for your iron-clad contract that never changes and will always be trusted.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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BRING OUT THE BEST! EXTRAVAGANT LOVE

John, The Love of God

We are getting close to cooking the biggest feast of the year…Thanksgiving dinner! We will prepare our homes, get out the best china and other heirloom dishes, and deep clean with care. Why? We want to give our best for those we love dearly. Randy and I are preparing even now! (Well, after time with God, asking for help in doing our best.) We love God with all our heart, mind and soul. God loved us first and teaches us to love like He loves every day. Our desire is to hold nothing back in our love and gratitude for what He has done, is doing and will do.

I think of this as we read our next passage in John’s gospel. It has been a few days since the raising of Lazarus. It is six days before Jesus will complete His mission here on earth and die on a cruel cross for our sins. Jesus has been invited to the house of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Can you imagine THIS thanksgiving dinner? They must be giddy and still smiling in the afterglow of their brother being raised for the dead! How grateful to Jesus they must be! “Martha served”. The busy sister is bringing out all the best dishes filled with food for a King. This is her act of love for Jesus. Lazarus sits with Jesus at the table. Can we try to imagine the joyful conversations about how God was glorified in that day of coming out of the tomb alive. Lazarus is alive and grateful. Jesus is thinking about how He will do the same in a few days…

Mary appears with a jar of very expensive perfume, the kind that was sealed in a jar with a long neck. They only way for that perfume to pour out was to break the jar. This might have been Mary’s dowry, saved by a bride to give to her husband on their marriage. OR maybe it was the burial perfume NOT used in the now alive Lazarus? All we know from Scripture is that it was VERY expensive and she used it to pour over the feet of Jesus with great love and humble gratitude. This was Mary’s act of extravagant love.

The critics gasp, beginning with the one who would betray Jesus in a few days with a kiss. Ironic. Judas indignantly quips, “that could have been sold and given to the poor”. Jesus knew his heart and knew that Judas was more upset that he couldn’t get his hands on it to make a profit for himself.

Jesus also knows Mary’s heart and comes to her rescue. Jesus is like that. “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial.” Mary, full of gratitude and love for her Master, gave the best she had. We do that for people we love with all our hearts, minds and souls. Jesus did that for us…He was broken and spilled out in payment for our sin. This was HIS act of extravagant love.

Why not bring our best EVERY day? Bring out the good china and surprise your family and others with your best when they least expect it. There is no better way to express your love than to act upon that love with humble gratitude, full of grace with the best you have.

John 12, perfume

Broken and spilled out…

John 12, The Message
Anointing His Feet

1-3 Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.

4-6 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.

7-8 Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”

9-11 Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.

“We love him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your salvation. Thank you for your love, mercy and grace expressed in Your act of sacrifice. You gave Your best for us. Your are teaching us to do give our best back to You and others. Help us to be and do all that pleases You and makes you smile.
In Jesus Name, Amen

And I’m singing…

Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.

Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.

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DIDN’T I TELL YOU?

John, The Love of God
 
When we know we have little time to make a contribution and help a group of people, we pray first and then plan. We want every detail to go well. We want people to know how much we love them. We stress and maybe get a little upset if the plan doesn’t go well. These feelings come because we are wanting the best ultimate outcome. Here is an example…
 
When my mom turned 80 years old, I wanted to show my love for her by planning a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant with people she loved. I put out the word to immediate family as well as to our cousins. Mom helped to raise one of my cousins in his early years so she always had a very loving relationship with him. He lived in Wyoming, however. I got word that he indeed was going to fly in for this event, rearranging a business trip to make it happen. I knew she would be thrilled and was hoping her heart could take it!
IMGP1525
She and Dad were elated to turn around and see him standing there with his wife. It was a grand moment. It was a great memory. Over the next few seemingly short years later, all three, my dad, mom and Joe would be reunited in heaven together with Jesus forever. I am elated, though I miss them greatly, that the plan that day came together so that I could see the joy in their eyes. I still praise God for that day so all of us could see His glory and the plan carried out.
 
Jesus was given a plan. He took great pains for God’s plan to be carried out in every detail as given to Him. Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, is very ill, about to die. Jesus does not go running to heal him. He has a greater plan for this family and for expressing, yet again, the glory, power and majesty of God.
 
Lazarus dies. Jesus is accused of negligence. “Master, if only you would have been here”. By now the playacting Jews, have come to mourn with the family. (People were actually hired to mourn and wail with the family.) Jesus’ anger builds. He weeps. We don’t see these two emotions often. He is not weeping for the loved one who died. He is angry to the point of tears to see that there are so many that still do not understand and believe in who God is and what He can do. Jesus looks weeping Martha, who said she believed, right in the eye and through His own tears said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
 
Jesus gives directions to remove the stone. Then He prays. He asks God to show the crowd His glory once more “so that they might believe.” He shouts to the dead who comes alive at the sound of His Voice! “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out.
 
“Unwrap him and let him loose.” I have to ask myself, what binds me and causes me to hesitate to tell others of the glory, power and majesty of God? Jesus sets all of us free! We are “unwrapped”, too! Live like it!
 
After this display of the resurrection of a mere mortal man, the crowd is still divided. Many Jews with Mary believe. Others, in power, are scared of losing what they have worked so hard to establish on earth. That group plots to kill Jesus. They miss the whole God moment. Jesus knew they would, but he did it anyway so that some would be saved. Maybe this is want brought on the anger and tears.
 
How would it make you feel to give a gift to someone who not only turned it down but snatched it from your hands, threw it down and stomped on it?
 
Jesus IS the great I AM. He IS the resurrection and the life. “You don’t have to wait for the End,” he told Martha. “I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
Do WE believe this? How deep is our belief? We either believe or we don’t.
 
My mom, dad, uncles and aunts, cousins, grandparents only changed their spiritual address for now. Later, we will ALL see Jesus and live together forever with Him. To God be the glory! Incredible moments, like mom’s birthday celebration, on this earth only give us a glimpse of the glory of God. Enjoy every moment here in preparation for there. Jesus IS the Resurrection and Life!
 
Believe. He’s coming back, you know.
 
John 11, The Message
1-3 A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”
 
4 When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”
 
5-7 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
 
8 They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”
 
9-10 Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”
 
11 He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”
 
12-13 The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.
 
14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”
 
16 That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”
 
17-20 When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.
 
21-22 Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”
 
23 Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”
 
24 Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
 
25-26 “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
 
27 “Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”
 
28 After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”
 
29-32 The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
 
33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”
 
34-35 “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.
 
36 The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”
 
37 Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”
 
38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
 
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”
 
40 Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
 
41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
 
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
 
43-44 Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
 
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”
 
The Man Who Creates God-Signs
45-48 That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”
 
49-52 Then one of them—it was Caiaphas, the designated Chief Priest that year—spoke up, “Don’t you know anything? Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?” He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people.
 
53-54 From that day on, they plotted to kill him. So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews. He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples.
 
John 11 life
Dear Heavenly Father,
I believe.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
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TRUTH CONQUERS ALL

John, The Love of God

In the midst of life struggles, where lies and gossip run rampant, we long for the truth to rise to the surface. What is real? Who is authentic? No one wants to be fooled. The One who loves us most is Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Pharisees are more blind than the now sighted man Jesus healed. They keep repeating the same questions over and over to Jesus. If He said simply, I am the Messiah, then they probably would have sent him to be killed instantly. But it wasn’t time, yet. Jesus explains truth to all of them. He explains the sheep analogy once more but they do not hear. They seem to only have one agenda…to get rid of Truth so they can continue to control the people with pretense and lies, power and pride.

John 10, The Message
22-24 They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon’s Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you’re the Messiah, tell us straight out.”

John 10 follow

25-30 Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.”

31-32 Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?”

33 The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.”

34-38 Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”

39-42 They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, “John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true.” Many believed in him then and there.

What do we learn?
–Jesus is Truth. Whether we choose to believe or not, Truth is. Truth paid for all sin for everyone in the world who believes and accepts, follow and obeys.
–Those who believe Truth hear know and hear His Voice.
–Truth lives in us.
–Our actions should reflect Truth who lives in us.
–“Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”
–Many DID believe and follow Truth as the Person of Jesus Christ.

Dear Heavenly Father,
When we seek Truth, we are seeking You. You promised that when we seek, we find You. We are seeking Truth in a world full of lies. Lead and guide us to Truth today and always. We don’t want to miss Truth in the fog of lies. Forgive us. Transform us.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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