When we spend time in God’s Word we begin to understand God’s Character. The book of John is a great place to meet Jesus. We gain an inmate look at His nature and love for us. It is a call for all people to come into a lasting relationship with Him. It is in John that we journey with Jesus…who He is, what He did and what He taught.
I am back at school to finish the classes required for full ordination with the Assemblies of God and the current class is taking me through the book of John. I have a fresh look at why God inspired John to tell of Jesus’ miracles (signs). My prayer is that through my eyes you will encounter the goodness and nature of God in a deeper way, may this encourage you to get into God’s Word and discover how He wants to speak to you right where you are in your life, take the journey with Him.
Today, I want to share seven different encounters with Jesus and how they lead us into knowing Jesus is the reflect of God (God incarnate) who came to earth to live among us, bringing the Truth of God to all who would believe, He went to the cross and conquered death to repair the broken relationship we have with God through sin. (John 3:16)
Let us get going…
John 2:1-11 The wedding in Canaan. This first miracle reveals His glory, it shows that Jesus is God in the flesh. His disciples were there and so for them this is the first opportunity to believe in who He is. Jesus turned water into wine, not just any wine but the finest wine. Are you someone who lives with the 90% rule? Let me give you an example; when you rake leaves are you satisfied to leave some so you can “get the job done”? God demonstrates through Jesus that He is a God who only creates, heals, loves above and beyond 100% excellence. He is a God of quality over quantity…you and I cannot even fathom this. It is through God’s ultimate excellence we see His righteousness revealed as well. Look at all of God’s creation, everything God does is done with such care and detail, all His work blends together to make our world mind blowing. Think now of yourself, you are His creation, made for His glory and pleasure. In God’s eyes you are perfect. The apple of His eye! Nothing about you is a mistake or just so-so. Right now, take a moment to thank God for who you are and the opportunity you have to serve a loving Father, who never creates something less than.
John 4:43-54 The healing of the official’s son, Jesus knew He would face rejection as written in John 4:44, those who discard Jesus’ Truth miss God’s blessings, but those who welcome Him receive good things John 4:45, 47 and 54. Jesus goes the distance to bring salvation and truth to all of us. The message and Truth of Jesus is still moving in power and strength today, we as believers have the opportunity to share the Truth and so the message is ongoing crossing the boundaries culture, ethnicity and gender. Today, we celebrate around the world the Truth of Jesus Christ the One True God and His message of salvation. There is no comfort zone for God, He goes into the darkest places bringing His light to expose sin and the devils attempt to destroy God’s most precious creation, you and I. (John 10:10) Do you have a comfort zone? Do you find yourself saying “Well, I am willing to bring a covered dish to the church potluck or help a fellow Christian mow their lawn but….I’m not confident to share God’s goodness and Truth with that single mom who is struggling with addiction.”
Yep, right there you put limits on the distance you are willing to go. You will never have all the answers, it is not with persuasive words people come to Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) You see the Holy Spirit will give you everything you need to bring God’s Truth in every opportunity God puts before you. In fact, ask God to show you more clearly whenever there is a situation, an encounter, that you can share the love of Jesus with an individual in need. You are more than able to go the distance, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit in you, Jesus went the distance for you, take time right now to praise Him, Jesus never gave up and He is willing to go the distance for you still.
John 5:1-15 Healing the man at the sheep gate pool in Jerusalem. In Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porticoes in other words entrances. Here we read that this man was ill and crippled for 38 years. In verse 6, we see Jesus knew he had been like “this” for a long-time. This healing shows us several things about Jesus, first, we learn…this healing demonstrates that Jesus is equal with God in nature, power, and authority. You must understand that healing touch you or others need where the spiritual and physical meet is all about timing. This man had allowed bitterness and hatred to grow within his spirit, the devil had repeatedly lied to him verse 7 says when he attempted to reach the water someone always stepped down before him. If you notice there was not only one entrance into the pool yet somehow this man continued to miss his opportunity. The devil used this circumstance to build resentment in him. The “if only” became the man’s excuse for staying just as he was, convinced he would never reach the water. Let us call this what it was a pity party. I am confident God is always working in us, even before we know Him, He is there intervening, positioning us so that in His perfect time we will be ready. Many of us call this “coming to the end of one’s self”. That attitude or behavior, say it now out loud, my “sin” that I am stilling holding on to or hiding is keeping me from receiving the full immersion of living water Jesus brings. Right here I need to point out that nothing is hidden from God, you maybe fooling yourself or others but not God. God’s timing is perfect in every situation, He is patience and His love steadfast. It is different for everyone, there is no exact formula, what I will say, you will reach that point, the end and God will call. Respond do not delay, He will call again however why miss out even one more moment of all God has for you. Remember, Jesus is always on time.
John 6:1-15 Feeding the five thousand. I love this example of how good God is, how patience, how big, there is always enough of Him for everyone. Such a teaching moment for all of us. I know the disciples where scratching their heads, nodding back and forth, whispering to one another “no way, we have 2 fish and 5 loaves, look at all these people??!!” BUT God always provides enough…Jesus says in verse 35 “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” You and I can never have to much Jesus, we must never become tired of church, prayer, or worship. In fact, if your relationship is limited to Sunday there is no way you are experiencing all God has for you. You will never cross the barrier Satan has constructed between you and God if you do not invest the best part of yourself in Jesus. God demonstrates that He is more than enough, there is plenty of Him to go around, He is calling each one of us to Him. It is His desire that “not one would perish”, His Word is our food and when you fall in love with Jesus believe me, you can not get enough. Think of your favorite food or TV show that you binge on, come on we all do. You know like fresh baked bread with delicious fresh butter melting over it…yum…you keep going back for alittle more and then alittle more, you just can not stop! That is what your relationship with Jesus should be like…fall in love with your Creator. In fact, there is enough for you to share with those around you. I call God, My Forever Father. He is waiting, calling you and He is a God who is more than enough and always provides.
John 6:16-21 Walking on the water. After feeding the 5,000 Jesus perceives there is a mob forming to make Him King right there and then. It was not His time or His way there was still much to do, as we well know. So, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. Meanwhile, the disciples went down to the sea and started to make their way across. The scriptures say, “Jesus had not yet come to them.” Every occurrence in the Bible happens for a reason, nothing was or is a surprise to God. We see here that Jesus is going to use the boat, the sea, some wind, and the disciples to demonstrate something new. Jesus reveals His power over circumstances. When He is with you, you have nothing to fear. In verse 20 Jesus tells us “It is I; do not be afraid.” As I read through these scriptures again, my eyes latch on to these words in verse 21 “So they (the disciples) were willing to receive Him into the boat.” Look at those words, “they were willing” this is so key, Jesus is such a gentlemen, He never forces us to believe, if He did then our free will to decide, to embrace Him can be thrown out the window. They asked Jesus into the boat and immediately their circumstance changed “the boat was at the land which they were going.” Safe, through the wind, possible storm, rescued…the power of Jesus in your life. This is what happens when we become a believer, the storm may still be raging based on your decisions and associations, but God is there at once positioning you…providing the strength to see it through. Your part is to be “willing to receive”, “to allow”, “to surrender”. It is a process, a change in thinking and the best part is one day you will open your eyes and declare “How did I get here?!” Well, long story short you decided to follow Jesus and that life once destroyed has been not only restored but even more than you could ever dream about. If you are there take a moment right now and praise God, thank Him that you are loved and not forsaken. God has promise to do a good work in you until it is completed, and it is happening right now! Remember, Jesus is bigger than any circumstance!
John 9:1-34 Healing the blind man. This healing brings two God Truths. First, blame is done! Just stop blaming yourself or others! It is just time to seek the Truth of God, the Truth of why Jesus came, walked among us and how we now have the Holy Spirit to help us. Jesus clearly tells us that we need to stop looking back and trying to figure out why this or that happened and who was responsible. You will never be free as long as you hold on to the dead things in your life. Jesus warns us that we must not turn our hurt, our offense into bitterness and hate…DO NOT romance the trauma, the addiction, the abuse, the sin. He wants us to wash the mud away and put our eyes on Him, to see clearly that a time is coming when everyone will be held accountable. God has set Jesus as the judge and He will take care of the locust in our life. Second, this healing of the blind man is a warning to the believer, the doubter, and the unbeliever alike. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you are the blind man healed with Jesus’ spit and alittle dirt.
Your salvation and relationship with God is not about you, yep that’s what I said “IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!” Ouch, you see this new person you are becoming is the miracle of Jesus and as such your transformation becomes a light of hope into a dark world. In verse 8 and 9 the man’s neighbors do not recognize this changed man, a discussion breaks out because those around him cannot believe their eyes. Now that is a true example of God working in someone life…darkness to light. The man declares Jesus, shares God’s Truth you see it is not about his transformation but about the One who transformed him JESUS! Now the “they” in verse 13 take the man to the Pharisees. Here again, God uses what is happening to plainly bring more Truth…some will have a hard shell, a religious spirit, the devil has spoken lie after lie cleverly sometimes even wrapped in God’s Word to deceive. In this instance there was a law in the old testament that one could not work on the Sabbath. Sadly, these pharisee’s would rather see a man remain blind, (lost to God’s Truth) because Jesus “wasn’t doing it right.” Jesus warns us in verse 39 “For Judgement I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” The Pharisee’s and some of the neighbors had developed their own sight and so they became blind to the Truth. Jesus is calling us to reflect His Light to those around us, to stand firm…full of His Love to the lost, the hurting and leave judgement to Him. Jesus is the only one who can truly bring sight to the blind!
John 11:1-44 Raising Lazarus from the dead. Soon Jesus will be facing death, the cross. When Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead we see what is coming. The gravity of what is coming alludes the disciples, Mary and Martha and Jesus’ followers, I think they are still waiting for Jesus to take the throne, wear the crown here on earth. We see in this final example of who God is, why Jesus came revealed. Jesus waits for the perfect time, he waits for Lazarus to die, verse 17 says Lazarus was in the tomb for 4 days. This is done intentionally; the world must see that not even death is final…eternity awaits everyone. Martha rushes out to meet Jesus and declares “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then she perceives Truth, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” So much power, over every circumstance even death. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” Here it is, salvation revealed…Jesus is going to the cross, He will defeat death and His earthly ministry will be finished…our relationship with God restored because Jesus takes the sin of the world upon Himself. There are two Truths made clear to me here, first though our flesh dies, our spirit will live (verse 11:25) even for those who do not believe. Are you confused? This is God’s Truth…you can live with Him, forgiven and loved or suffer in the fire of hell for eternity. Do not shoot the messenger…God clearly states this in His Word. We all are spiritual beings’ believer, doubter, and unbeliever. Second, Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension all have eternal weight. His death carries our sin past, present and future. His resurrection declares our relationship with God has been restored and we can walk here on earth in that Truth…price paid, atonement made,sacrifice done; spiritual death (separation from God) conquered. Finally, His ascension means we have an advocate that sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. How glorious this is! The icing on the cake is, Jesus tells us that He has sent a helper the Holy Spirit and through the power of the Holy Spirit we will represent Him.
Wow! Spend time in the Book of John, there is so much there! I pray these words minister to you and that they challenge you to a deeper relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.