38 Again feeling very upset, Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Move the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “But, Lord, it has been four days since he died. There will be a bad smell.” 40 Then Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but I said these things because of the people here around me. I want them to believe that you sent me.” 43 After Jesus said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with pieces of cloth, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take the cloth off of him and let him go.”
—John 11:38-44 (NCV)
Just imagine this scene! A crowd standing at a tomb, which was a cave covered by a large stone. Some were crying, some were doubting, all of them, I am sure, wondering what Jesus was going to do next. Is it any wonder that Jesus had cried earlier? He was surrounded by a sea of unbelief. It would have been particularly hurtful because the ones who knew Him and He loved so much were also doubting. But, thank God, Lazarus didn’t have to depend on the faith of all those people or he would never have come out of that grave. Picture the look on their faces when Jesus said “Lazarus, come forth!’ Their attitude went from one of doubt to amazement! Some of them were even convinced that Jesus was really who He said He was. “Let Him go!” There must have been some rejoicing there that day in Bethany! STOP! Now, picture yourself in that same crowd that same day. In which group do you see yourself? Do you come there as a believer or a doubter? Do you leave there as a believer or a doubter? Fast forward to “now”. In which group are we now? Are we fully persuaded?
23 Then he said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not. 24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I say I am, you will die in your sins.” 25 “Tell us who you are,” they demanded. Jesus replied, “I am the one I have always claimed to be. 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is true.” 27 But they still didn’t understand that he was talking to them about his Father.—John 8:23-27 (NLT)
Jesus continues to try to convince the crowds of who He is. “You are of this world” but “I AM not”. Then He said to them because you refuse to believe you will die in your sins. The people repeated their demand, “tell us who you are”. Jesus said “I AM”. He tells them that He only says what He hears from the one who sent Him. You would have thought that hearing “I AM” would have reminded these Old Testament scholars of what God told Moses when Moses asks Him, “Who shall I say sent me and God replied “tell them that “I AM” sent you”. But just as Pharaoh refused to believe and his heart grew harder, so it was with the religious leaders and Pharisees of that day in Jerusalem. Let us speak the words that we hear the Holy Spirit say to us and pray that those word will fall on listening ears and the seeds of faith will be planted in the hearts of those that hear. When we are questioned, we too, can say that “I AM” has sent us.
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” 21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”—John 7:20-24 (NLT)
Doesn’t the crowd in Jerusalem that day kind of remind us of ourselves? Aren’t we always pointing fingers at others and trying to justify why and when we do what we do? Jesus pointed out some of the things that they and their ancestors had done on the Sabbath. Under the law, if the eighth day after birth occurred on the Sabbath, you would have to violate Moses’ law by working on the Sabbath or not circumcising the male child on the correct day. That is why Jesus said: 27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”–Mark 2:27,28 (NLT)
Jesus asks them to look beneath the surface, in other words, look into the situation and determine why the person is doing what they are doing on the Sabbath or any other time. Jesus has set us free from the law and now we live under grace. If we are led by the Holy Spirit, our conscience will determine if our actions are right or wrong. No law is required.
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” 61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them,“Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? 63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65 Then he said,“That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”—John 6:59-65 (NLT)
Many of the people who had followed Jesus and had become His disciples were offended at the words of Jesus when He said you must eat my flesh and drink my blood. They complained that His words were too hard to understand. In today’s society, we have the same thing happening. There are people who go to church, hear the Gospel of Jesus and leave offended. Because they don’t understand, they think that Christianity is a negative, bloody religion. It is only when the Holy Spirit calls us and we come to Jesus and believe His words that we can understand the message. The Spirit leads us into all truth and gives life to the words of Jesus. It is then that we can understand that the spoken words become the living Word, Jesus. 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.—John 1:14 (NLT)
Once we accept this truth, we become the Children of the Living God.
We are Spirit-bred, (John 3:5)
We are Spirit-led (John 16:13)
We are Spirit-fed (John 21:15-17)
41 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 43 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)—John 6:41-46 (NLT)
Apparently, the old saying “seeing is believing” doesn’t always hold true, The people had seen the miracles Jesus had performed, but it still was not enough to convince them of the truth of Who He really was. They said,”We know His mother and father”, so how can a human claim to be the Son of God and that He came down from heaven? Jesus said “stop complaining….”. You can’t come to me unless you are drawn and you can’t know the truth unless you are taught by God. How can this be? How can we be taught by God? This is the work of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. It is His job to “guide us into all truth”. We haven’t seen God and we can’t see the Holy Spirit, but we can know that He calls us and abides in us, if we accept that invitation to come to Jesus. Once we listen to the Holy Spirit (the Father) and learn from Him, we are children of the Living God. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the first installment that guarantees Jesus can and will keep us until He raises us up on the last day. 21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.—2 Cor. 1:21, 22 (NLT)
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.—Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”—John 6:30-34 (NLT)
Even after Jesus had fed the multitude, the people wanted more miraculous signs. Jesus corrects them on the Old Testament scriptures. Moses was their earthly leader, but Moses could not have produced enough manna to feed millions of people. God supplied the bread and when that wasn’t enough, God supplied the quails. Jesus uses this to teach them about the true Bread from heaven. God, in the human form of Jesus, came to earth. God is the Creator who breathed the breath of life into us in the beginning and God is the one who sustains life now. Earthly bread make feed us physically, but it cannot sustain us forever, The True Bread is the source of life. If we partake of that Bread, we shall have eternal life. 23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.—1 Cor. 11:23,24 (NLT)
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.–Eph. 5:20, 21 (ESV)
God knows that we have work to do and relationships to maintain, so how can we “always” be giving thanks? I think we have to put this verse with the verse in 1 Thess. 5:17 where Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing”. To give God thanks always and to pray without ceasing are not commands for us to go around orally praying and giving thanks at all times. Neither do our prayers and thanksgiving have to be with lots of fancy words. One of my favorite prayers in the Bible is Peter’s prayer when he takes his eyes off Jesus and starts to sink in the sea. “Lord, save me”. That prayer was very short and effective. Our lifestyle, which is determined by our thought patterns, should always be one that is ready to pray and give thanks. We should be as quick to say “Thank you, Lord” in the good times as we are to say “Save me, Lord” in the rough times. 1. I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.–Psalm 34:1 (ESV)
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,–Psalm 63:3-5 (ESV)
8 Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard–Psalm 66:8 (ESV)
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. 24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”—-John 6:22-27 (NLT)
The people that Jesus had fed the day before came looking for Jesus. Perhaps they thought Jesus would feed them again or perform other miracles for them. But just as we are today, they were concerned about physical welfare and “now”, rather than Spiritual things and eternity. They missed the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach them because of their concerns. Jesus is still trying to teach us this lesson today. But, we are so busy trying to make a “living” that we miss the true life that Jesus wants us to have. Huge crowds still gather to see miracles today. People run here and there to see or participate in revivals and “spiritual movements”. Jesus tells us in John 10:10, that He came that we “might have life more abundantly”. That abundant life is not necessarily a life without problems or a life overflowing with money, It is a life of abundant joy and peace that we can have now in any situation, if we “cast our cares” on Him. Since our Father owns everything and give us the best gifts, there is no reason for us to stress over anything. After all, He has given us everything we need. 3 By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory–1 Peter 1:3 (CEB)
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.—John 4:25-30 (NLT)
For hundreds upon hundreds of years, generation after generation had heard the story, “Messiah is coming”. Could Jesus possibly be the long awaited Messiah? The woman hears all that Jesus said to her, but like so many today, she is not totally convinced. “Could he possibly be the Messiah?” HE WAS–Jesus’ answer takes us all the way back to Exodus: 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM who I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.”–Exodus 3:14 (NLT) He IS— Just as He came to this woman, His Holy Spirit comes to each of us today.
HE ALWAYS WILL BE— Just as the people back then waited for the Messiah, we wait for Him to return. There are still people that doubt the truthfulness of the Bible, but God has never failed to deliver on His promises. I stand firmly with Job when He said: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.–Job 19:25 (NLT)
People get ready! Jesus is coming again!
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” 15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”—John 4:10-15 (NLT)
”Give me this water!” Do you feel the urgency in this woman’s voice as she asks Jesus for the living water? She didn’t quite understand what Jesus was saying, but she knew she wanted some of whatever it was that He had. Do you remember when you reached the point that you had to have a drink of the living water? Right now, where you are, there are hundreds upon hundreds of people still crying out for this living water. They, too, want something, but they are not sure of what it is they want. But you and I know there is only one thing that is going to fill that emptiness inside of them. We have the Living Water flowing in us, will we be kind enough to offer them a drink? Will we take the time to tell them about Jesus?