April 21, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.”
Jeremiah 32: 17, N.I.V.
Nothing Is Too Hard for Jesus
“When my way is closed in darkness,
And my foes are fierce and grim,
Still it sings above the conflict
Like some glad, victorious hymn, -
Nothing is too hard for Jesus,
No (one) can work like Him.
When my heart is crushed with anguish,
And the waters reach the brim,
Faith can hear the mighty chorus,
Like some glorious battle hymn,
Nothing is too hard for Jesus,
No (one) can work like Him.”
A. B. Simpson
Songs of the Spirit
Today’s Study Text:
“The disciple whom Jesus loved.”
John 21: 7
“Behold The Man” – Part 1
“I Want You to Meet Jesus”
“The more we see of Jesus, the more we know there’s still so much to be seen. The more He touches our lives, the more we realize our desperate need for Him to consume every part of us.”
If I was asked to describe Jesus as “Someone” I personally knew, what descriptive words would I use to paint the picture of my friend?
“Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.”
“If there is any trouble in your heart, if you are in darkness, or in the power of sin, I bring to you the Son of God, with the promise that He will come in and take charge.”
During the past few months, I have spent time not only praying about the devotional series I wanted to share with you, but also the call to focus our lives on the way Jesus lived when He was on earth.
In what I call a “providential circumstance,” a few weeks ago, I spent a weekend with my mother as an early birthday celebration of her Godly life. While at her house, I had time to go through many of the books which line the walls of my parent’s library.
Among the volumes was a tiny historical book called Behold The Man. This little paperback grabbed my attention, not because of the content of the book, but because of the title of the book.
The words “Behold the Man” were spoken by Pilate who brought Jesus out to the crowd who were calling for Him to be crucified…As the Apostle John states, “Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, ‘Behold, I bring Him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in Him.’ Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, ‘Behold the man!’” (John 19: 4, 5, K.J.V.).
These three words struck a cord in my heart. More frequently than I’d like to admit, when I read the gospel stories found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, so many of them have become implanted in my mind through the years, that I think I’ve failed to see or at times uncover the depths of the truth and beauty in the life of Jesus. So it is with the sacred intent of looking even more closely at “Who” Jesus is and exactly what He showed us about His Father when He came to earth, that I’m undertaking a series entitled “Behold The Man.” For the next 6 weeks, I want to see Jesus with eyes that have been cleansed with heavenly eye-cleaner. I want us to uncover the expansive purpose of Jesus life, not only in the mirror of events which transpired in His daily life, but also as the divine ministry of Jesus relates to you and me in our day-to-day contemporary lives.
In order to understand Jesus in a more personal manner, I began to reflect on the way that I have gotten to know people who I want to play an important role in my own life. So I ask you, ‘How do you really get to know the people you meet?” As I contemplated this question, I thought about the ways I am able to get acquainted with individuals who I want as friends or intimates in my own live.
Here are just a few of the ways I have witnessed investigators work as they sought to find out about an individual:
1. They talk with a person’s family members.
2. They get acquainted with their co-workers.
3. They find out what their neighbors know about them.
4. They even visit the church the person attends.
5. And last but not least, they spend time with the individual, themselves. They travel with them. They talk with them. Indeed, by daily contact, they get to know how they relate to others and treat those around them.
This is the way we are going to work in the coming weeks. And it is with the great longing in my heart to know Jesus better that I decided to start with the book of John.
My reasons for getting John’s perspective at the beginning are based on two things I uncovered about this wonderful written legacy that lifts the veil on the life of Jesus Christ. First of all, in John 21: 7, there are these words, “Then, the disciple whom Jesus loved, said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’” Biblical scholars believe this was a conversation between John and Peter. For me, learning more about Jesus from someone who “Jesus” loved and someone who knew Jesus immediately and recognized Him as his Lord, is exactly where I want to go to find out as much as I can about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The second reason is something I uncovered in my studies over the past several months and it is this: over 90% of John’s Gospel is unique to the book of John. While the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels, and they focus on Jesus’ life by seeing it through the miracles and parables of Jesus, the gospel of John shares a great deal of “special” information about Jesus and His words and His teaching including the reason Jesus came to earth. Thus it is my prayer that the depth of the fellowship John had with Jesus will bring a transforming change in our lives and that we too will look at Jesus when we see Him and cry out as John did, “It is the Lord.”
In studying the book of John in order to get acquainted with the “Man” I love, it became eye-opening to uncover the fact that the word “believe” or as we might say, “trust, adhere to, or rely on,” occurs “ninety-eight times throughout this book. The assured result of this belief or faith in Jesus Christ is the possession of eternal life.”
It was the Apostle John who many years ago wrote, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life” (John 6: 40).
When I think about the eternity that we are looking forward to spending with our Lord, it reminds me of all the planning which people here on earth will go to in making arrangements for a lengthy journey. Not long ago, I watched a documentary about a 6-month trip a man took, traveling around the United States and Canada by car. Believe me, while his journey proved to be a fascinating adventure, the effort it took to get ready for this event was mind-boggling. And even though the trip had many enjoyable moments along the way, there were also a lot of challenging endeavors the gentleman faced that caused him to reflect on the fact that a trip of such a nature, in the future, might not be something he would undertake. This sentiment led me to find the words by Thomas á Kempis even more thought-provoking when he observed that, “for a small reward, an (individual) will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a step.” Today we begin to take steps that I pray will culminate in our choice for the eternal -- those things which will never pass away.
In the coming days, as we “Behold The Man,” it is my prayer that the words of Helen Lemmel will become the focus of our lives every day:
“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonder face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”
Helen H. Lemmel
Jesus, Priceless Treasure
“Jesus, priceless treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me:
Ah! How long I’ve panted,
And my heart has fainted,
Thirsting, Lord, for Thee.
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb,
I will suffer naught to hide Thee.
Hence all fears and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus enters in;
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within;
Yea, whatever I here must bear,
Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure.”
“As the Father hath loved me,
So have I loved you;
Continue ye in my love.”
John 15: 9
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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