And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.”—2 Kings 19:15
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. —Isaiah 37:16
And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.” —Revelation 15:3-4
~This is the fourth part of the series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Last Thursday Donna left us with this:
Each time we fall short of God’s standard for us, all we need to do is confess those sins to Him and we are immediately washed clean.
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” — John 13:7
The disciples seemed obtuse to us, but they didn’t have the Holy Spirit yet. We do, and we still fall so short of understanding. It is sad how little I know of His Word.
Jesus told them not all of them were clean. This is true for us as well. Not all in our midst are saved. It is like the parable of the wheat and tares.
Tares Among Wheat
24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’
29 But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.
40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
— Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Tares are a weed resembling wheat.
We are not called on to pull up the tares because we don’t know who they are…just like the apostles didn’t know that Judas was a devil in their midst.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were.
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. —1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Here again we are told there are those among us who are not clean. The unlined verses say some of us were, but we are now washed clean.
“…in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
We are to serve others, we are to preach the Word, because it is the power of God unto salvation.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. —Romans 1:16
Dr.J. Vernon McGee defines salvation as the all-inclusive term of the gospel, and it simply means “deliverance.”
It embraces everything from justification [the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin] to glorification [the future and final work of God upon Christians, where he transforms our mortal physical bodies to the eternal physical bodies in which we will dwell forever].
Dr. McGee describes salvation as both an act and a process, and goes on to say that it is equally true that “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I shall be saved.“
I ask myself:
- Am I teaching others His Word?
- Am I modeling His Word as He did to His disciples?
- Can my children and grandchildren look at my life and see the reflection of His Word at work in my life?
- Or am I hiding in a corner shrinking back in fear or disappointment at how my life has unraveled?
Beloved, how about you?
Aim So High You’ll Never Be Bored
The greatest waste of our natural resources is the number of people who
never achieve their potential.
Get out of that slow lane.
Shift into that fast lane.
If you think you can’t, you won’t.
If you think you can, there’s a good chance you will.
Even making the effort will make you feel like a new person.
Reputations are made by searching for things that can’t be done and doing them.
Aim low: boring.
Aim high: soaring.
A message as published in theWall Street Journal by United Technologies Corporation, Hartford, CT 06101
,For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
.Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
~This is the third part of the series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Last Thursday we learned that we can be equally vulnerable whether we are in the valley or on the mountain top.
The key is to be like Jesus and keep focused on our mission.
Jesus was facing unmentionable things and He knew it, but He kept His mind stayed on His Father. He knew His mission. He went forward. He did not hurry or shrink back.
He used His last hours to teach His disciples to be humble. To be servants. And to love each other as He loved them.
The washing of the feet was a visual picture of how He was willing to do the job of the lowest of servants, and how they, too, should serve each other in the same way.
We are all to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ.
Only Peter seems to think it inappropriate for Jesus to wash his feet. But here again we have this beautiful visual picture of what the Lord was doing for them and for us.
Jesus said that we cannot be washed unless He washes us, but once we are clean [saved], we only need to have our feet washed.
Jesus washed their feet because He knew that He would “depart out of this world.” His ministry would continue after He went back to heaven. He has identified Himself with His people, and today He still washes the feet of His disciples. He says that He will depart out of this “world” [kosmos], meaning the world system. It is man’s world, a world of sin. It is a civilization that is anti-God and anti-Christ, and it is under judgment. Because He is leaving this world, He washes their feet. (1)
In John’s other book, we read this:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us… —1 John 1:9
We only need to confess to be washed clean. Ephesians 5:26 says we are washed by the washing of the Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. —John 1:1
So we know what God says and Who Jesus was and is: The Word. This is how we are washed—once for all, and daily as well.
To me, the feet imply our daily life—our Christian walk. We need to wash those dusty, dirty feet that have led us into some grimy, filthy places where we have sinned.
We do this by what we read and obey in God’s Word.
Each time we fall short of God’s standard for us, all we need to do is confess those sins to Him and we are immediately washed clean.
(1) J. Vernon McGee, Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee (Nashville:Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), 451.
To be continued next Thursday…
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity. —Hebrews 2:14
When we are hurting, if there is one thing that eases our pain or grief, it is this: We want someone to understand. We want somebody to really identify with us, to have some idea of what we’re enduring.
It is certainly like that for me. I hate feeling alone and alienated in those dark times when my paralysis seems overwhelming. On my really rough days, it helps to remember what the Bible tells us about Jesus identifying with us in our sufferings. It says that He was tested and tried in every way like us. That helps! When it comes to suffering, the Lord Jesus has gone ahead of us, and has intimate, experiential, first-hand knowledge of the pain, the weight, the frustration, and the struggle. He appreciates. He understands. He connects.
But it works both ways! Not only does Christ identify with us in our suffering, we identify with Him in His suffering. He identifies with us, and we identify with Him. He appreciates all that it means to be human, and we appreciate all that His divine grace supplies. Through suffering, He participates in our humanity; through suffering, we participate in His divinity.
So why do we struggle so to escape our suffering? Why do we look so desperately for release? I suppose this is why I’m not earnestly seeking to be healed and raised up out of this wheelchair. I see this trial of mine as a window into the heart of Jesus. Suffering is a connecting point between my Savior and me. And when I see His great love on the cross, it gives me courage to take up my cross and follow Him.
Do you want someone to understand what you are going through today? Turn to Jesus. When you do, you will better understand what He has gone through for you.
Lord Jesus, sometimes in my grief or suffering I just want to run away and hide. Help me, Savior, to run away to you, and to hide in you.
Joni and Friends: Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
~This is the second part of the series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Last Thursday we read how Jesus spent His last hours fulfilling the will of His Father in teaching and serving others.
God’s plan was in place.
Jesus was in lockstep with His Father in spite of what He knew He was facing.
The focus switches now to Judas.
During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him… —John 13:2
All sin begins in the heart. Only when it is acted upon does it become sin.
We can read about this downward slide in chapter 1 of James:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. —James: 1:13-16
If you look up the verses in the Bible where Judas is mentioned, you learn he was covetous. We know this because it tells us he was a thief. He didn’t need the money, he simply wanted the money. He had been with Jesus for three years. Did he think Jesus didn’t know he was stealing?
Our hearts deceive us too. We think God doesn’t see our secret sins but He does, just as Jesus knew Judas’ heart.
One of the most startling things to consider about Judas is that earlier in time, Jesus had also sent Judas to heal, cast out demons, etc.:
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
—Matthew 10:1-8 (ESV)
Isn’t this astonishing? Judas was able to do all these things and saw these miracles and many more. He saw Lazarus and the others Jesus raised from the dead, and yet he still didn’t believe with his heart.
Sobering thoughts, aren’t they? Doesn’t it give this portion of Matthew 7 a whole new perspective to ponder?
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
We all have preconceived ideas of what we expect of Jesus in our lives even if we are not aware of it. It is very likely that Judas had some preconceived ideas too—how he thought Jesus should be or do—and it was not working out that way. From my point of view, this is probably part of why he was contemplating betraying Him.
Here is one of my thoughts [and remember, this is my opinion, not the Bible’s]: we know that two of the other disciples thought Jesus was going to set up His kingdom right away and free them from the Romans. We know this because their mother asked Jesus to give them the two highest political offices, on the right and the left of Him.
Maybe Judas expected, as they did, to have an important “cabinet” position such as Department of Treasury where he could have both prestige and siphon off a lot more money to help him grow rich and powerful.
Does that sound like some of today’s politicians?
When it became clear to Judas that Jesus had another plan, he was probably disillusioned and maybe even angry. He seemed to have forgotten all the miracles of the past.
Remember, it is only a few days before Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead! Judas was there!
How this applies to us.
Often when we pray, our preconceived or erroneous ideas expect God to answer in a specific way. Or maybe we wonder why He is sometimes silent. Perhaps there’s even some other way we are disappointed by the answer [or no answer] to our prayers.
We must guard our hearts so as not to let unbelief seep in and cause us to sin or to doubt that God always has our best interests at work in our lives.
Therefore, we must be like Jesus: keep focused on the mission.