God has never failed to fulfill a single promise that He has made. Jesus said that He would be coming back one day and so He will. We wait with eager expectation for that day to come and it is nearer than it has ever been. Will He come in our lifetime? We have no way of knowing and it doesn’t really matter. Waiting, in a Biblical sense, does not mean that we sit around and twiddle our thumbs. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We are to be redeeming the time while we are here on this earth. We do that by laboring in the harvest. Jesus said “the fields are white for harvest, but the laborers are few”. That doesn’t mean that we have to be pastors, ministers, preachers. missionaries, teachers, or involved full time in any Christian ministry. Our neighborhoods and our workplaces are just as much “fields white with harvest” as any foreign land. Work while you wait. If God hasn’t given you any new directions then keep laboring in the field that God has you in now. God will honor your faithfulness. Just like some of the old prophets, we may never see the results of our labors here on earth, but we can be sure that if we speak His Word, it is powerful and effective.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.–John 17:20, 21 (NLT)
As we continue to listen in on this prayer, we find that all the things that Jesus asked our Father to do for the disciples, He asks Him to do for us as well. It is the very heart of Jesus that we be holy and that we full of peace and joy. Earlier, He had told us that He would send another to replace Himself. 26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.—John 15:26 (NLT)
This Advocate, this Counselor, Comforter, Teacher, Encourager guides us into all truth. Jesus was God in the flesh and as such, He could not physically enter into us, but this Advocate is God in Spirit. He could, would, and does dwell inside each believer reminding us of what Jesus did and said. He is our internal guidance system, installation charges prepaid by our Big Brother, no monthly fees, no interruptions and worldwide coverage with no breaks. Maybe that is why we say those that don’t have it are lost. It is our duty to tell the lost about this free guidance service. And like any good plan, you get a reward when they allow it to be installed! You get a blessing here and now! But, wait, there’s more! You get a reward when you get to heaven!
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.—John 17:9-12 (NLT)
Even though, we call the prayer in Matthew 6 the Lord’s prayer, it is really an example of how we should pray. This prayer in John 17 is the Lord’s priestly intercessory prayer for all of God’s children. The ones that God had given Jesus to accompany Him on His earthly journey and all the others from then on including you and me. God had given them and us to Jesus because of His obedience. They would now bring glory to Jesus and to God. Jesus protected them by using the name of the Father and now that He is leaving, He is putting them and us in the hands of God to protect us by the power of His name. Once we accept Jesus and become the children of God, we are in His hands for safekeeping. There is nothing or no one that is more powerful than our God, There is no way we can be taken from His hands. Paul tells us “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love”.
We have God living in us, we have God praying for us and we have God keeping us. What more could we possibly need? Knowing this should cause us to be faithful and fearless in our witnessing for Jesus.
1 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began—John 17:1-5 (NLT)
Jesus had given up all His glory when He left heaven to become our Redeemer. That mission was soon to be completed. He had not lost a single soul that the Father had given Him. (Yes, Judas was lost, but he obviously was never a true believer) Now, Jesus is asking His Father to bring Him back home to be returned to that glory. He will have accomplished everything that they had planned before the earth was formed. He, once again, tells us the way to eternal life is to know Himself and His Father, the only true God. Now, it is our turn to bring glory to the Father by living the same lifestyle that Jesus lived. 35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.—Matt. 9:35, 36 (NLT)
As we go, we should always be telling the Good News about the Kingdom, but there are those that Jesus puts in our path that He wants us to talk to about Him. Our lifestyle and actions should be such that people notice a difference between us and the world. If we allow the Holy Spirit that abides in us to do His work through us then we will produce the fruits of the Spirit and that will draw people to Jesus.
1 “I have told you these things to keep you from giving up. 2 People will put you out of their synagogues. Yes, the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are offering service to God. 3 They will do this because they have not known the Father and they have not known me. 4 I have told you these things now so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. “I did not tell you these things at the beginning, because I was with you then. 5 Now I am going back to the One who sent me. But none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?–John 16:1-5 NCV
Jesus is warning His disciples and us that there will be times when the path will not be so smooth. There will be times when we are mistreated and offended for the Gospel’s sake, but we need to press on. Paul thought he was doing a service for God when he was persecuting and killing Christians. He was walking in darkness but he encountered a powerful Light that changed his life. As long as Jesus was here with the disciples He knew that He would be the target for all the abuse. But now that He was leaving, He knew that He had to reinforce the things He had been teaching them. We need that same encouragement every day in our lives. It is easy for us to become frustrated and want to give up, but we have a friend that sticks closer to us than a brother. He is always with us. As Paul learned after his life-changing event, we must suffer with Christ. There is a cross for each of us to bear. But we must remember and hang onto the conclusion that Paul came to in his journey. 18 The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us. 19 Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.—Romans 8:18,19 NCV
6 God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again–Philippians 1:6 NCV
16 You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. 18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it loves its own. But I have chosen you out of the world, so you don’t belong to it. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If people did wrong to me, they will do wrong to you, too. And if they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours, too. 21 They will do all this to you on account of me, because they do not know the One who sent me.–John 15:16-21 (NCV)
Are you getting the feeling that we are stuck on this “love” theme. Love the Father, love me, love each other? We are and we should be. After all, the author of the Bible is perfect, complete Love. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.–1 John 4:8 (NCV)
The world is full of hate. Those that walk in the flesh despise people that love. We have been chosen out of the world, but as long as we inhabit this fleshly tent, we will remain in the world. While we are here, it is our job to show the world love. Some of them will be drawn to Jesus through that, others will not be so kind. The name of Jesus is powerful. Every time a person hears that name, they have to make a decision. They will either be for Jesus or against Jesus. If they are against Jesus, they will offend and persecute us. We hear about it in the news every day. You can talk about religion all day and nobody cares, but just mention the Name of Jesus and there will be, there must be, a reaction. It gets personal because it is personal. It requires each of us to build a relationship with a living Savior that is founded on and built with LOVE!
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me is really believing in the One who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees the One who sent me. 46 I have come as light into the world so that whoever believes in me would not stay in darkness. 47″Anyone who hears my words and does not obey them, I do not judge, because I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for those who refuse to believe in me and do not accept my words. The word I have taught will be their judge on the last day. 49 The things I taught were not from myself. The Father who sent me told me what to say and what to teach. 50 And I know that eternal life comes from what the Father commands. So whatever I say is what the Father told me to say.”—John 12:44-50 (NCV)
Because of His great love and mercy, Jesus gives one more invitation to the crowd to believe in what He has said and who He is. He is telling them since you have seen and heard me, you have heard and seen the Father. Every word Jesus said and every act He committed came directly from the Father. On judgment day, the unbelievers will be judged by the words that Jesus was teaching. After all, Jesus was the Word Incarnate, the Living Word, the Word that was established in the beginning. In Jesus, there was life and that life was the light for all the people. 1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.—John 1:1-5 NCV)
Jesus is God, God is Jesus, Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus and in Him is life and light. God and Jesus are in perfect agreement and have been since the beginning. The Word that Jesus spoke was commanded by the Father and contained Life. It is the same Word that has saved us and will keep us until the day Jesus returns. The world needs to hear that Word today, so they can ask the Lord for help. 14 But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; 15 and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent. It is written, “How beautiful is the person who comes to bring good news.”–Romans 10″14,15 (NCV)
1 Six days before the Passover Feast, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. (Lazarus is the man Jesus raised from the dead.) 2 There they had a dinner for Jesus. Martha served the food, and Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. 3 Mary brought in a pint of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet, and then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house. 4 Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ followers who would later turn against him, was there. Judas said, 5 “This perfume was worth three hundred coins. Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” 6 But Judas did not really care about the poor; he said this because he was a thief. He was the one who kept the money box, and he often stole from it. 7 Jesus answered, “Leave her alone. It was right for her to save this perfume for today, the day for me to be prepared for burial. 8 You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.”–John 12:1-8 (NCV)
The purpose of every human is to glorify God. On an earlier occasion, Martha had complained about Mary setting at the feet of Jesus while she cooked and served the people. Now, Judas is complaining about Mary “wasting” the expensive perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus. God has gifted each of us with different talents to achieve His glory. Martha was a worker and a helper. She knew how to get things done. Mary had the gifts of giving and encouraging. Some of us are vessels of gold and silver while others are vessels of wood and earth. Sometimes we try to do things outside of our gifting and calling. Those are the times that cause problems in the body of Christ. If you haven’t already, ask God to show you the gift He has given you to glorify Him. The body of Christ needs each of us to fulfill our calling, God needs each of us to exercise our gift so that the body will be complete. Once you discover “what is right” for you, you will find the joy and peace that God wants to give each of His children every day.
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.
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)