Knowing the coming events, Jesus was starting to prepare His disciples for HIs departure from them. Jesus tells them that He won’t be with them much longer and they cannot follow Him where He is going. Jesus stresses to them the importance of showing love for each other. We are told by the experts that boys join gangs because they feel like a part of the “family”. We have something much better to offer them. So, why are they attracted to the gangs and not to the Church? The important questions for us to consider are these::
Do we show enough love for each other to attract the attention of the lost? When they look at us do they see anything that would make them want to be a part of our group? If not, why not? What about ourselves or the church as a group do we need to change to attract them to Jesus?
Do you remember the first time in your life that “you tasted that the Lord is good”?
I actually don’t remember the date but I do remember that it was about 9 in the morning on a hot summer day and I could take you to the exact place that the Holy Spirit miraculously moved in my life and “saved me to the uttermost”. Tears of joy and relief streamed down my face so much that I had to stop on the side of the road and just praise God for His goodness. Since that time I have not lived a sinless life but I can tell you that when I do sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit, breaks the heart of God Himself and now, thanks to His enduring goodness, faithfulness and mercy, it breaks my heart as well.
His love motivates me to rid myself of all malice and sin of any and every kind. When I pray and receive the forgiveness that Jesus bought for me on Calvary, I taste again and again of His goodness and mercy. I crave His Word and a day without it would be a dark, dreary and lonely day. My heart’s desire is to know Him more and more every day. I look forward to the day when I can move from the “milk” of the Word to the “meat” of the Word, so I might grow to be the mature son He wants me to be. Nothing less and nothing more.
As we travel on our journey with Jesus, we all have seasons that we go through, some are short, others longer. Some are joyous, others are sad. Some are lonely, others seem so crowded that we lose touch with our Master. Some are stormy, others calm and peaceful. God allows these seasons in our lives for His own reasons and purposes. But, always remember, we are just passing through on our journey to spend an eternity with Him. And we are never alone, He is always with us. Take a few moments to consider what you are going through right now. Are you allowing your emotions and feelings to rule your life? If so, it probably seems like you are on a roller coaster that never stops. All year long, but particularly now, let the peace of God rule in your life and enjoy His presence. Do you want to get off that roller coaster of emotions and feelings? Accept Jesus into your life as your Savior and Lord and He has promised:
5 The valleys will be filled,and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. 6 And then all people will seethe salvation sent from God.’ — Luke 3:5-6 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Our purpose while we are here on earth is to honor and glorify God. As sinners, we had neither the knowledge, ability or desire to do that. It was only after we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior that we came to realize how weak and foolish we were. As Christians, our knowledge and ability are still limited. That is why we must daily call upon the Holy Spirit to teach us God’s ways. Our flesh will rebel, so we need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome those desires and to change the desires of our hearts. He is waiting to guide us into all truth and to give us pure hearts that yearn for fellowship with Jesus. There is an old hymn with these words that we should make a daily prayer: “Just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, let it be.” Our hearts should long for Jesus more than anything else in this world. Any day spent without a conversation with Jesus is a dark, lonely and misspent day. Just as the sun rises in the east every morning to dispel the darkness, so must we allow the Son to arise in us each morning to dispel the darkness of evil that surrounds us. “Open wide the gates and let the King of glory come in”.
“There is only one God”, the great “I AM that I AM”, Yahweh. Yahweh is the third person form of the Hebrew root word, haya. It actually could be translated as “I am present with you”. God has been with us in one way or another ever since He created us. No religion can make that claim about the god they serve regardless of what name they call their deity. We come to know our God through Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said there is only one way to the Father and that was through Him. Jesus also said that to know Him was to know the Father as well. John 14:6, 7 NLT The Holy Spirit calls all of us regardless of what we may call ourselves here on earth. He calls us to come to Jesus, accept Jesus and become one of the family of God. Once we have done this, the Holy Spirit abides within us. Though we sometimes may feel lonely because of a lack of being with those we love, we can never truly be alone again. We are a new creation, we have a new family and we have a new friend who is with us constantly. This new friend is unique in many ways. He is really three friends in one. He is our Father, our Brother and our constant Companion. If we allow Him to do so, He can fill every void in our heart.
16 ”After a little while you will not see me, and then after a little while you will see me again.” 17 Some of the followers said to each other, “What does Jesus mean when he says, ‘After a little while you will not see me, and then after a little while you will see me again’? And what does he mean when he says, ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They also asked, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” 19 Jesus saw that the followers wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking each other what I meant when I said, ‘After a little while you will not see me, and then after a little while you will see me again’?—John 16:16-19 (NCV)
The last few days before the crucifixion of Jesus must have been very perplexing to the disciples. They had expected that Jesus might set up an earthly kingdom. Instead, He keeps talking about leaving and they won’t know where He is going and they can’t come with Him now. What could Jesus possibly mean that they would not see Him for “a little while” and then they would see Him? What could He mean by saying they couldn’t come now, but they would come to Him later. Jesus could have been referring to two events. “A little while” could be the 3 days He will be in the grave. But since God is not bound by the way we measure time and since He said that He was “going to the Father”, the little while could be from then until each of them arrived in heaven. Either way, it was a disturbing and sad time for them. A time that we will never have to endure. Since God has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell each of us that accepts Jesus as our Savior, we will never be without Him.
We will never be alone. I am reminded of the old hymn “Have Faith in God”
Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod; Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.