30 The Father and I are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus. 32 But he said to them, “I have done many good works from the Father. Which of these good works are you killing me for?” 33 The Jews answered, “We are not killing you because of any good work you did, but because you speak against God. You are only a human, but you say you are the same as God!” 34 Jesus answered, “It is written in your law that God said, ‘I said, you are gods.’ 35 This Scripture called those people gods who received God’s message, and Scripture is always true. 36 So why do you say that I speak against God because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? I am the one God chose and sent into the world—John 10:30-36 (NCV)
The Jewish leaders just could not grasp the fact that Jesus was the Word incarnate, God in human flesh. Even though they knew that a Messiah was coming, this was not at all what they had expected. When Jesus truthfully claimed to be the same as God. 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.—Psalm 82:6 (NASB).
Because of their spiritual blindness, this made no sense to them. Christ was first to be chosen. Those that hear God’s message, receive it and believe it become the sons of the Most High God. God had chosen Jesus to be the first-born of many sons and daughters to be raised and glorified.. 28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. 29 God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. 30 God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.—Romans 8:28-30 (NCV)
The message is still the same today, God is still calling others.Those that answer “Yes” will be made like His Son and those that are made right will be glorified. This resurrection and glorification is the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Paul says that without it. We Christians, of all people, would be most pitiful. 19 If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.—1 Cor. 15:19 (NCV)
12 Be joyful because you have hope.–Romans 12:12a (NCV)
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?” 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. 5 But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smoothed the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came back seeing!—John 9:1-7 (NLT)
In those times, the people thought that physical ailments meant that you or someone in your family had sinned and the problems were God’s way of punishing them. This was why the disciples asked the question, “why was this man born blind?”. Jesus explains to them that his blindness is not caused by a particular sin of either the man or his parents. After all, how could a person sin before they were even born? This blindness was another evil thing that occurred because sin was a still in the world. But Jesus used the evil for good to demonstrate the power of God against such things. People are still asking the same question today, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The answer is the same, sin is still at work in the world. But Jesus can still use those situations to show the power and the glory of God. All of us are born spiritually blind and we still need Jesus, “the Light of the world” to open our eyes. But rejoice! The day is soon coming when all these evil and bad things will be gone! That day could be tomorrow! 4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies
He is coming to save you”.
5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.–Isaiah 35:4-6 (NLT)
1 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He did not want to travel in Judea, because some evil people there wanted to kill him. 2 It was time for the Feast of Shelters. 3 So Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You should leave here and go to Judea so your followers there can see the miracles you do.4 Anyone who wants to be well known does not hide what he does. If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (Even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him.) 6 Jesus said to his brothers, “The right time for me has not yet come, but any time is right for you. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I tell it the evil things it does. 8 So you go to the feast. I will not go yet to this feast, because the right time for me has not yet come.”9 After saying this, Jesus stayed in Galilee.John 7:1-9 (NCV)
Jesus knew that He would be going down to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles. It was one of the three festivals that required all Jews to go to Jerusalem to celebrate. He also knew that He could not take a large entourage with Him to attract attention to Himself. If Jesus was discovered in Judea (the region between Galilee and Jerusalem), He knew He would be detained and possibly killed. If He were murdered by those hired by the religious leaders before His time and in the wrong manner, then He would not be able to fulfill all prophecy concerning His death. How many times have we missed God’s best plan for us because we ran ahead and did a “good” thing? God has a specific plan and a specific timing for all of us to accomplish His plan. If we miss it, someone else can do our job, but no one else was, is, or ever will be qualified to take the place of Jesus. Between “good” and “God” , there is only one little “o” of difference. But, OH! what a difference it makes. Not in God’s eternal plan which will be accomplished whether we cooperate or not. The difference is in how God can use us here and, more importantly, in the rewards we lay up in heaven.
33 In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. 34 Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. 35 John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. 36 But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, 38 and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.—John 5:33-38 (NLT)
Jesus continues to explain to the Jewish leaders why they should believe that He is the Messiah. In Jewish tradition, the testimony of two or three male witnesses established a truth. Jesus points out to them that He has John the Baptist and God the Father as His witnesses. In any other legal situation this would have been sufficient proof for any Jew to believe what He was saying. But, as Jesus explains, He has an even greater proof, that of His teachings and His miracles. Just as so many people today refuse to believe His words, so it was then. This unbelief by His chosen people broke His heart. Unbelief still breaks the heart of Jesus. It is not His will “that any should perish, but that all should come to everlasting life”. Take the time today to tell someone you love about Jesus.
1 There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” 3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” 5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”—John 3:1-8 (NLT)
Nicodemus was a leader and a Pharisee. He came to Jesus at night because he probably did not want the other Jewish leaders to know about the visit. Nicodemus readily admits that he believes that Jesus has been sent from God. He wants to know more about this man that is proclaiming that the kingdom of God is near. Jesus immediately tells Nicodemus that unless you are born again, you will never see the kingdom of God. What an amazing concept! How can a human be born again? Jesus explains that He is not talking about physical rebirth, but spiritual. It is not a physical change, but a change of the desires of the heart. How does this happen? From a human standpoint, we are unable to explain what happens inside. But just as the wind comes and goes without our understanding, so the Holy Spirit works inside us to renew us and rebirth us as children of God. We may not know how, but the work that He does in our hearts leaves no doubt in our minds that we are being made into new creatures. At the very moment that we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, the new creation is born with all the rights that come with being a citizen of heaven. God will spend a lifetime completing the work that He has started in us, but finish it, He will. 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,—Hebrews 12:1-2a (NKJV)
18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” 19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body.22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. 23 Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. 24 But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. 25 No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.—-John 2:18-25 (NLT)
The Jewish leaders questioned the authority of Jesus and asked Him for a sign that God had given Him the authority to cleanse the temple. Jesus agreed to their demand, but with an answer that completely baffled them. No one could build this temple in three days, it would take years. They eventually saw the sign that Jesus was referring to, but the leaders probably didn’t know it because of their unbelief. Human nature hasn’t changed, people are still looking for a sign. How often do we miss what God is doing because of our “little faith”? Jesus knows whether we really believe or not when we ask Him for something. We know the “temple” that Jesus was speaking about was rebuilt (resurrected) in 3 days. Is the Cross and the Resurrection enough for us or do we still need a sign? 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”–John 10:37,38 (NLT)
When Jesus completed the work His Father had sent Him to do, He said “It is finished”.
45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. 47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” 48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” 49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”—John 1: 45-51 (NLT)
Each of us must come to Jesus for ourselves. No one else can do this for us. Parents and Grandparents, regardless of how much they love and pray, cannot make this decision for you. It is personal and it is eternal. Just as Jesus knew Nathanael before He came to Jesus, so He knew each of us before we came to Him. He knows us at our very worst, He knows our unkind thoughts. No matter how sinful or how ugly it is, Jesus knows all about it but He still loves us. He is waiting with open arms to receive us. If you haven’t truly accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, then, please, “Come and See for Yourself”. Once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will never be alone again.
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins are forgiven through Christ.
13 I write to you, fathers, because you know the One who existed from the beginning.
I write to you, young people, because you have defeated the Evil One.
14 I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know the One who existed from the beginning.
I write to you, young people, because you are strong;
the teaching of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One.—1 John 2:11-14 (NCV)
John is reminding each group of people of who they were, who they are now, and how each of us got here. Now that we have been redeemed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we need to be walking in the Light and our lifestyle should reflect the example that Jesus set for us to follow. When we are tempted to think that we might be just a little better than our neighbors or when we start to wonder; “how could Jesus save a person like that?” ,we need to remember who we used to be and the kind of lifestyle we used to lead. Just as Isaiah told the children of Israel, remember that we were all cut from the same stone, we are all born sinners. The Lord says, “Listen to me,
those of you who try to live right and follow the Lord.
Look at the rock from which you were cut;
look at the stone quarry from which you were dug.–Isaiah 51:1 (NCV)
We have done nothing to desire God’s mercy and grace, it is a free gift that is available to all. Thus, the old saying: “Except for the grace of God, there goes you and me”
9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.—1 Peter 1:9-12 (NLT)
Can you imagine the amazement and awe that the Old Testament prophets must have felt when the Spirit inspired them to prophesy about the Messiah. A future hope that their eyes would not see. Can you imagine that they wondered, “why would this Messiah have to suffer so”? Yet they were faithful in telling about a Savior that was coming to redeem a fallen world, even though the message was not for them, but for us. They looked forward and wondered. We look back and know the truth about the Good News. The first century preachers were anointed with the Holy Spirit and were faithful to spread the Good News. Now, it is our turn to be faithful and spread the Gospel as we look forward to our soon-coming King. Like the prophets of old, we may not be alive to see Him return, but it is still the Hope of those who love Him. The Hope and the knowledge that one day, we will all rise to meet Him in the air. Altogether, He will take us home to be with Him in glory! Can you say Hallelujah!! Amen!!?
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.–James 2:18-22 (NLT)
Let’s be sure to always remember that salvation is a free gift from God. There are no “good deeds” that will save you. It is not that we believe there is one God that saves us. Every religion has their own god, but none of them have Jesus Christ or any one else that gave their life for their redemption. James is saying that faith alone might be enough to scare a person or a demon(demons tremble) but it won’t save you. Abraham lived a long time before Jesus died and was resurrected, so he didn’t have the choice we have today. Therefore, God in His great mercy counted his actions as righteous. Abraham and the others from the Old Testament did not receive everything God had planned for them at that time. Their total salvation and perfection had to wait until Jesus was resurrected and we all join Him in heaven and we will receive our rewards at the same time. There, we will be totally saved and we will worship Jesus forever. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.–Hebrews 11:39,40 (NLT)