Archive for July, 2013

Jesus Wept

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.  And said, Where have ye laid him?  They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
John 11:32-36

“Jesus wept.”  That is famous as being the shortest verse in the Bible.  But it also gives us a powerful statement about Jesus and His nature.  In the context of the story, there is really no reason for Jesus to weep.  He had said earlier that God was going to be glorified through Lazarus.  He knew that He was going to raise him from the dead.  But that did not stop Him from weeping.  As I read this passage, I couldn’t help buy wonder why He wept.  But then I started thinking about the nature of Jesus, and it all made sense to me.

I think He wept for three reasons.  First, He wept to show His humanity.  As a man, He had feelings just like every one of us has.  He got tired.  He got hungry.  Here, He was sad.  Second, I think He wept because He cared so much about the people.  “Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her…”  He saw the people He loved and cared for weeping, and “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”  He had great empathy for others.  And third, I think that He wept because, as it says in verse 36, “he loved him!”  Jesus not only loved Lazarus’ friends and family, He loved Lazarus himself.

All of these things of course did not stop Jesus from raising Lazarus from the dead, but they do give us a little insight into His character and nature.  We would be wise to emulate Him in these things – loving and caring for others!

The Death of Lazarus

Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.  Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 11:23-27

This passage is encouraging to me.  Lazarus had died, and his friends and family were understandably upset.  Jesus told Martha in verse 23 that her brother would rise again.  She understood that he would indeed rise again in the last day at the resurrection.  Then Jesus said something that encourages me every time I look at it: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

Martha was looking forward to the resurrection of the last day.  But Jesus said that He is the resurrection.  Martha was looking to a future resurrection when the Resurrection Himself was standing before her.  He is the resurrection and He is life.  “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  Physical death is, as Psalm 23 tells us, but a shadow to the Christian.  Our Saviour has conquered death.  He is Life.  He is the Resurrection.

After telling Martha this, He asked her this question: “Believest thou this?”  He asks us the same question today.  Do we believe that He is the Life and the Resurrection?  Martha believed: “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God…”  Do we believe?  Are we resting in this truth today?  We have the One Who is Life.  What an encouragement!

John’s Fruit

And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.  And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.  And many believed on him there.

John 10:40-42

During the ministry of John the Baptist, he preached to many people.  He came as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”  He came to prepare the way for Jesus.  In doing that, he spoke very often of Jesus.  When Jesus did come, John immediately started pointing people to Him.  In this passage, Jesus when to a place where John the Baptist had been and found people there made ready by John to receive Him.

These people heard John speak, listened to what he had to say about Jesus, and recognized Jesus when they encountered Him.  What better testimony to leave behind?  “All things that John spake of this man were true.”  They heard John speak of Jesus, and when they met Jesus, they understood that everything he said was true.  And, after meeting Jesus, “many believed on him there.”

The conversion of these people started with John and his testimony.  “Many believed on him there” in part because of what they had heard from John.

May it be the same in our lives.  May we also point people to Jesus.  Everyone that we tell about Jesus will not come to Him and will not believe on Him, but we can and should still tell them about Him.  Maybe we can say something to someone about Jesus that they will remember years from now and will help them to believe in Him.

John the Baptist’s ministry bore fruit years after he was gone.  Will the same be said of us?

Near the Cross (Hymn)

Near the Cross
Fanny Crosby (1869)

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.


Near the cross!  O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.


Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
‘Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.


Fanny Crosby wrote a great number of hymns during her lifetime and this is one of my favorites.  Every verse is so powerful that they almost need to be meditated on separately.  It is so true that, as Christians, we need to keep ourselves “near the cross.”  That will help us every day and will solve many of life’s problems.  What a great hymn!  I think I’ll read it through again!

Judge His Life and See

If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.  Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand.

John 10:37-39

After the Jews asked Jesus to tell them plainly if He was the Christ, He told them plainly that He was the Christ.  This made them want to stone Him.

So He gave them these words: “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe…”

That is a powerful statement.  He told these people to look at His life and see what He had done and was doing.  He told them to judge His works.  He knew that He had always done the will of His Father.  He knew that He had always done the works that His Father had sent Him to do.  He was perfectly fine with people looking at His life with a magnifying glass to see that He was indeed the person He said He was.  In fact, He encouraged people to scrutinize His life.  “Believe the works…”

Could we say that today?  Obviously none of us are perfect like Jesus.  Obviously, we all have faults and flaws.  But could we tell people to look closely at our lives?  Would be want to tell people that?  Would people be able to easily see the works of our Father in our lives?  Or would we be ashamed to have people scrutinize our lives?  That is a tough and convicting question.  What is the answer today?

Tell Us Plainly

Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt?  If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

I and my Father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

John 10:24-26, 30-31

There is an interesting exchange between Jesus and some of the Jews in this passage that has, unfortunately, been repeated in the hearts and minds of many people throughout history.

They asked Him in verse 24 and 25 to “tell us plainly” “If thou be the Christ.”  They wanted Him to come right out and say that He was Christ.  So He did.  “I and my Father are one.”  It doesn’t get much plainer than that.  Of course, He had told them that He was the Christ many times before that, but they refused to believe Him.  After asking Him and simple question and getting a simple answer, they still didn’t believe Him.  In fact, after answering them plainly, “…the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”

They asked the correct question: “are you the Christ?”  But they refused to believe the answer.  They flat-out rejected the answer.  They came so close to Jesus and so close to eternal life that they could reach out and touch Him.  But they still refused to believe Him.

How many people do we know who are the same way?  Maybe we have even been that way at one point or another.  We need to pray that people who come face to face with Jesus will not be as these Jews and reject Him, but will accept Him and believe Him.  Imagine if these Jews had believed Him instead of trying to stone Him – how different history would have been!

Power Over Death

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father.  There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.  And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

John 10:17-20

When Jesus told the people these things, many of them weren’t sure what to think.  “There was a division therefore among the Jews for these sayings.”  Some of them went so far as to say that He had a devil or was crazy.  They had never heard anyone say these things before.  This man was standing before them and was saying that He had power over death.

“I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”  No man had ever had that kind of power before.  No man had ever even claimed to have that kind of power.  You and I certainly do not have that kind of power.  We might have the ability to lay our life down, but we certainly do not have the power to take it up again.

We have no power over death.  No person in history has had power over death in and of themselves.  People have been raised from the dead, but they did not raise themselves.  There have been a few through history who have claimed to have that kind of power, but none have been able to show it.  Death is a powerful thing – more powerful than any of us or all of us.

But death has no hold on the Lord Jesus and death has no power over Him.  Isn’t it good to serve a God Who has complete control over death?

The Good Shepherd

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

John 10:10-13

In this passage, Jesus referred to Himself as “the Good Shepherd.”  This is an apt description of Him, for He IS the Good Shepherd.  All through the Bible, we get the imagery of Jesus being a Shepherd with us as His sheep.  Sheep are not intelligent creatures and I’m sure that we can all relate to that.  They need a shepherd to take care of them and to lead and guide them.  We can all also surely relate to that.

Jesus does lead and guide us.  He does help us.  He does protect us.  But He goes even beyond those things in His duty as the Good Shepherd.  In verse 11, He tells us that “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”  He did not just lead us and help us, He gave His life for us.  A shepherd can do no more to show his love for his sheep than to give his life for them.  That is exactly what our Good Shepherd did for us.

The reason that He would be willing to do that is found in verses 12-13: He is not a hireling.  He is the shepherd.  And, unlike the hireling, He cares for His sheep.  When you think about things in these terms, isn’t it a wonderful feeling to know that you are one of His sheep?

Abundant Life

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:9-11

Jesus is called “the Good Shepherd” in the Scriptures and this passage gives us a comparison of Him as the Good Shepherd and “the thief.”

The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy.  Jesus comes that people might have life and that they might have “it more abundantly.”  Not only does He come to give us life, He comes to give us abundant life.  The contrast could not be more striking.  On the one hand, you have Satan, who promises fun and pleasure, but (being the father of lies), ends up stealing, killing and destroying.  On the other hand, Jesus promises abundant life and delivers abundant life.

When we come to Him, He doesn’t just save us and then leave us to fend for ourselves in a world that hates us.  He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  He promises to lead, guide and help us every day of our lives.  He wants not only to give us life, but to give us life “more abundantly.”

How sad is it that so many people, even knowing these verses, still choose to follow the destroyer instead of the One Who gives life and gives it abundantly?  How sad is it that, as Christians, we even sometimes ignore our own abundant life-giving Saviour?  He gives us life abundantly, and let us thank Him for it!

The Door

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:7-9

Jesus is called many things in the Bible.  In this passage, He refers to Himself as “the door” and “the door of the sheep.”  He is here emphasizing the fact that He is the only way.  Some houses have many doors.  Some sheep folds have many doors.  But not Heaven.  Heaven has but one Door, and Jesus Christ is it.

Verse 8 tells us about the thieves and robbers.  They try to enter into the sheep fold other ways.  They try to find a different way.  It is the same today as it was then.  There are many people today who do everything they can to find another way to get to Heaven.  For some reason, they refuse to accept the Lord Jesus and they refuse to admit their need for Him.  They can see the one true Door, but they refuse to walk through it.

Sadly for them, there is no other way.  There never has been and there never will be.  Jesus told these people “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”  It is the same today as it was then.  Have we been through the one true Door?  Have we come to the Saviour?  If so, we can “go in and out, and find pasture.”  We can rest under the protection of the Good Shepherd.  If not, we need to come to this door today!