15 So on October 2nd the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16 When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God. — Nehemiah 6:15, 16 NLT
Rebuilding the wall that surrounded Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time was a major construction project. Although we can’t be sure of exactly how much of the wall they rebuilt, we can be sure that at the very minimum, it would have exceeded two and a quarter miles. Compare that to how long it takes a construction crew to repair a section of interstate that exceeds two miles even with all the equipment and ready-made materials they have available to them today. Then add to that, the fact that they had to build the final portions of the wall using one hand and carrying a weapon in the other. And the whole time, they were being harassed and ridiculed by their enemies. It was quite a miraculous feat. There is no way Nehemiah and his people could have even started this project without the direction and the power of God working through the people involved. From the king of Babylon to the least of the workers in Jerusalem, God worked through each of them to provide for the people and the project. When satan sees that God has raised up people to do a great work, he is always there to try to thwart what God is doing. He was there in Nehemiah’s time trying to discourage everyone with bluster and lies and he is still up to his old tricks today. We need to pray that God will raise up Ezras and Nehemiahs in our day to rebuild the body of Christ. So that satan and his allies will once again be “frightened and humiliated” when they see God helping 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
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”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. 17 Then the Pharisees once again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “This man who opened your eyes — who do you say he is?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.” 18 The Jewish leaders wouldn’t believe he had been blind, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he see?” 20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.”22 They said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.” —John 9:16-23 (NLT)
About Jesus, some said He can’t be from God or He wouldn’t heal on the Sabbath. Others asked: then how can He do these miracles? No ordinary sinner could do this.” So, the discussion goes on and on. The Pharisees asked the former blind man “….who do you say He is?” The leaders called the parents to confirm that this man really had been born blind. They testified that he was their son and yes, he had been born blind. But because of their fear of the Pharisees, they denied knowing who healed him or how he was healed. Instead, they said, “he is old enough to speak for himself, ask him”. How sad that these parents could not celebrate the healing of their son because of their fear. Now, we must ask the same question and answer it for ourselves. “Who do you say He is?” Was he just a man? Or was that baby born in a manger early Christmas morning really the Messiah? That baby grew into a man who divided history to “before” (BC) and “after” (AD). His name still divides families and nations today. But that Man also gave His life so that you could be redeemed and live without fear. Accept Jesus and live a life of peace and joy that the world can never know. “Who do you say He is?”
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)
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”.
1 For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we have heard. Then we won’t drift away from the truth. 2 After all, the message that the angels brought was reliable, and every violation and act of disobedience was properly punished. 3 So how will we escape punishment if we reject the important message, the message that God saved us? First, the Lord told this saving message. Then those who heard him confirmed that message. 4 God verified what they said through miraculous signs, amazing things, other powerful acts, and with other gifts from the Holy Spirit as he wanted.–Hebrews 2:1-4 (GW)
Since so many people heard the message that Jesus brought into the world, we have more than sufficient evidence to confirm His birth and His life. In John 1, we are told “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity became a living human being in every aspect except sin. The angels brought this message to the shepherds and it was confirmed by the many signs and wonders that Jesus did while here on earth. Then at the crucifixion of Jesus every sin ever committed or that ever will be committed was poured into Him. Those sins were properly punished by His death as His blood poured out from His body. After the Resurrection, Jesus was seen by many people and then His message was again confirmed by miraculous acts from God. The believers spoke the words given to them by the Holy Spirit. Amazing, awesome things happened as the disciples spoke the truth and thousands upon thousands were saved. That same miracle-working power is still available to us today. God has given each of us a spiritual gift that we are to use for His glory and the edification of His church. Our lack of faith and refusal to believe that God is the “same yesterday, today, and tomorrow” has limited God in what He can do now, just as the children of Israel limited what He could do in their wilderness journey. 40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
And grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His power:
The day when He redeemed them from the enemy,–Psalm 78:40-42 (NKJV)