21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return. — Job 16:21,22 NLT Here and in other verses in this book, it is as if Job gets a glimpse of the future and the plan that God has in place to redeem fallen man. Job realizes that it is useless for a man to argue with God. We need a mediator and God had a plan in place to provide one for us. We are certainly free to state our case in any situation. When we are speaking to God, we should always be as honest as both Job and David. They were not afraid to pour out their disappointments to God. They did not blame God. However, just as we do, they questioned why God allowed certain things to happen in the life of His children. But when we do this, we must realize that we are in the presence of the Almighty God. We can be bold but at the same time, we must be humble and ready to accept His answers. God listens carefully, but He does not negotiate. In the end, we, like Job and David, must come to the conclusion that God is God and He truly knows what is best for us. We all must go through the valleys and the dark nights. But the key thing for us to remember is that we are going through, we are not going to be there forever. For every valley, there are two mountains and for every dark night, there is light on both sides. As the McKameys sing, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley and the God of the daytime is still God in the night”. Do not be discouraged nor dismayed, our God will never leave us alone and He will never forsake us.
“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
29 Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively.30 Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”—John 16:29-33 (NLT)
As Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples, they found it easier to understand the things He was telling them. Now they understood and believed that Jesus was the
Son of God. Now Jesus tells them that each one of them will abandon Him in His time of suffering. But He assures them that He will not be alone, even when they all leave Him. Jesus explains to them that they will have trials and sorrows in this world, but they can still have peace because He has overcome the world. We will have our times of trials as well. But we have someone now that the disciples didn’t have until later. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came to take His place. The Holy Spirit is not another god, He is the same God in a different form to perform a different function. We should not fear the trials and temptations that will come our way, because we have someone inside us who is more powerful than anything in the world. 4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.—1 John 4:4 (NLT)
How can we be called “over-comers” and “more than conquerors”, if we never have any problems to overcome or battles to win?
20 I tell you the truth, you will cry and be sad, but the world will be happy. You will be sad, but your sadness will become joy. 21 When a woman gives birth to a baby, she has pain, because her time has come. But when her baby is born, she forgets the pain, because she is so happy that a child has been born into the world.
22 It is the same with you. Now you are sad, but I will see you again and you will be happy, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will not ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.—John 16:20-24 (NCV)
From desperation to delight, a part of the journey that most, if not all, of us must go through on our way to heaven. It’s that part of the journey we would like to skip, but God doesn’t allow any shortcuts. It is in those times that we learn where our true allegiance is. The disciples had been on a mountain top experience while they were walking with Jesus, but now they were in the valley. But as the McKameys sing’ “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley”. At this point in time, the disciples didn’t have the luxury of looking at the cross from the resurrection side. Those three days would seem like a lifetime to them. Jesus knew this and encouraged them to be faithful. Ask the Father in my name and He will fill you with joy, the fullest, possible joy.
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.–Romans 15:13 (NASB)
23 One of the followers sitting next to Jesus was the follower Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus whom he was talking about. 25 That follower leaned closer to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “I will dip this bread into the dish. The man I give it to is the man who will turn against me.” So Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, “The thing that you will do — do it quickly.” 28 No one at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas. 29 Since he was the one who kept the money box, some of the followers thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast or to give something to the poor. 30 Judas took the bread Jesus gave him and immediately went out. It was night.—John 13:23-30 (NCV)
Jesus had just told them that one of the 12 would betray Him. It is only natural that they would wonder which one it would be. Jesus told them it would be the one to whom He gave the bread. Even when Jesus dipped the bread and handed it to Judas and said to Judas, “Do it quickly”, they still did not understand. When Judas took the bread, he immediately left. He walked out into the darkness of the night. Judas had spent years with the Light of the world, yet it seemingly had not penetrated the utter darkness of his lost soul. Judas was still more concerned about his own well being than he was about the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is possible to sit in the light without seeing the light when you are blind. Judas was spiritually blind and unwilling to see the Light. Jesus knocks at the door, but it is up to each of us to open the door and let the Light into our hearts and lives. We can hear the Word daily, just as Judas did, and still not be redeemed. We must not only repent from our sins and empty ourselves of all impurities, but we must fill that void with the Light of the Word. 43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. —Matt. 12:43-45a (NIV)
1 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast. Jesus knew that it was time for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. He had always loved those who were his own in the world, and he loved them all the way to the end. 2 Jesus and his followers were at the evening meal. The devil had already persuaded Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to turn against Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him power over everything and that he had come from God and was going back to God.—–John 13:1-3 (NCV)
Jesus never had any question about what His purpose was here on earth. This was decided before the beginning, He had laid aside all of His royalty in heaven and come to earth as Love incarnate. He lived a simple life doing what He saw the Father do and saying what the Father said. Now, the time for Him to return to His glory in Heaven was quickly approaching. He loved people with a love that our human minds cannot fully embrace. Even knowing that Judas would betray Him, He allowed Judas to be one of His disciples. The Father had given Him all authority over all things and He could have used it at any time. Yet, He stayed the course and died a cruel death for our redemption. He was love clothed in human flesh for our benefit. Through the blood of Jesus, we have access to that same love. Jesus was perfect and could love perfectly, we are imperfect and so we love imperfectly. But one day, we will love as He loves. Then we will know fully just as God knows us now. We need to practice showing love to others every day so they will be attracted to Jesus. Love will never fail. 12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me. 13 So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.–1 Cor. 13:12,13 (NCV)
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 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the person who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The one who guards the door opens it for him. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he brings all his sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger. They will run away from him because they don’t know his voice.” 6 Jesus told the people this story, but they did not understand what it meant.—John 10:1-6 (NLT)
It is often heard that sheep are dumb,stupid animals. That statement is, of course, up for debate. Sheep are gregarious and are natural followers, this is for their own protection and it also makes them easier to herd. They do have an excellent sense of hearing which could explain why they know their shepherd’s voice. They will follow the shepherd because they know his voice. Without a shepherd, they will follow the lead sheep wherever he goes, even unto death. Where there is only one sheepfold, all the shepherds put their sheep into that holding area for the night. It is guarded by a gatekeeper who allows only the shepherds to go in the next morning and call their sheep. Only that particular shepherd’s sheep will follow him because sheep will not follow a stranger. Jesus wanted the people to understand that there was more than one shepherd in the world. Would they follow the voice of the True Shepherd or the voice of the deceiver? At birth, we humans are all in the same sheepfold and hear those same voices today. Which voice will you learn to recognize and follow?
17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” 19 “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, then you would know my Father, too.” 20 Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come. 21 Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me and die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” 22 The Jewish leaders asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?”—John 8:17-22 (NLT)
Time after time, Jesus has tried to convince the religious leaders and Pharisees of His true identity. Even after seeing all the signs and works that Jesus had done in their midst, they refused to believe. How heart broken, Jesus must have been because of the rejection of His Jewish kinsman, the very people that He had come to save. They continued to deny that He was the Son of God, the Messiah that they were waiting to see. So, finally, He pronounces their death sentence to them. “You cannot come where I am going.” Jesus knew because of their hardness of heart, they would never accept the truth. They would remain in darkness because they refused the Light. Where Jesus was going and now is, there is no darkness. Darkness and light cannot be in the same space. Now, we are to bear witness of that Light, so that others will come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Pray that neither we nor they will ever have to hear those sad words: “You cannot come where I am going”. 14 “You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden.—Matt. 5:14 (NCV)
16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough.19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” 21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!—John 6:16-21 (NLT)
The disciples became concerned when Jesus didn’t return before dark. Assuming that He had gone on without them, they started to cross the sea of Galilee. Sudden storms were not unusual on this sea. Even though they were experienced fishermen, crossing the sea at night could be dangerous. Seeing someone walking on the sea anytime, but particularly in these conditions, would certainly be frightening. Jesus assures them that it is really Him and they shouldn’t be afraid. Gladly, they allowed Jesus in the boat with them. Now, an amazing thing happens, There is no mention of Jesus calming the sea. Instead, they immediately find themselves at their destination. The sea (or lake) is 8 miles wide and they had only rowed three or four miles. Wow! Forget Disney World, that trip across the rest of the lake is one I would love to take! So, when we find ourselves in stormy seas, we just need to hang on, Jesus is coming for us and we are going to take a trip with Him that has never been equaled or even imagined. We will join Him in the air and He will take us home to heaven! So, now matter how bad it seems right now, just remember what Paul said: 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay–Romans 8:18-21 (NLT)
45 “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. 46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”–John 5:45-47 (NLT)
It wasn’t necessary for Jesus to accuse us or condemn us. Our unbelief has already condemned us. Just as the religious leaders were condemned by their unbelief of the Old Testament Scriptures, we are condemned by our unbelief. We have even more reason to believe the truth about Jesus than the people that Jesus was speaking to then. If we believe in Him, there is no condemnation or judgment for us. 18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.–John 3:18,19 (NLT) 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.—Romans 8:33, 34 (NLT)
Will the world accuse us and condemn us? Will we be offended? Of course, but we must remember that the words they speak have no authority in the courts of heaven. If we believe, there is no condemnation for us. This is the Good News that we need to spread to a world full of people searching for something to give them hope in a world filled with violence and discord. There is someone who can give them the peace for which they are so desperately searching.