Where is our hope?

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:1-7
What a wonderful passage of scripture! We see Christ comforting the hearts of the disciples during these last hours. Notice how He does it…by speaking of our future hope of eternity, that is granted only through Christ (14:6). A common misconception here is that the comfort comes through the pleasures of bliss in heaven. But what do we see Jesus really tell them? Is the emphasis on the Father’s house? I would state the text is emphasizing the who will be in eternity. Notice Jesus words, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” The glory of heaven is not the “mansions” or “golden streets” but Christ Himself. What makes heaven, heaven, is Jesus! Want validation…what is Thomas’ reply to Jesus? “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Thomas doesn’t ask how big the Father’s house is, he doesn’t ask anything other than how he can be with Jesus! Jesus’ answer of how we can be with Him, is only through Him, only by turning from our sin and turning by faith to Christ and His sovereign grace to give us life.
What about you, have you turned from your sin and turned to Christ by faith? If so, Christian where is your joy founded? Where is your hope? Is it in the glorious things of heaven or in the one who gives heaven its glory?

Servant Leadership

In the famous upper room discourse before Jesus would be betrayed Jesus models perfectly what true leadership was and is.

He was God incarnate, yet He humbled Himself and served His disciples in a service that was saved for the lowliest of slaves. To wash the feet of His disciples was a sign of amazing humility. Even to this day is the middle east the feet have a grotesque place in the culture as one of the worst insults you can give them is to show the sole of your foot.

And I love Peter’s typical response in John 13:8, “Don’t wash my feet!” Peter said this because one with such authority and status should never do this. Jesus is teaching him that if you cannot serve in the lowliest service than you cannot serve my sheep. Now look at his second response in verse 9, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

When Jesus calls you to be humbled in whatever task He has called you, is your response like Peter’s first or second?

the 2 faced crowd

In John 12 we see what is commonly referred to as the Triumphal Entry, where Jesus rides into the City of David as the Messiah, the King of Israel. We then hear that chants of the people of Jerusalem saying “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12:13

Sadly this glorious day is extremely short-lived as only days later this same crowd would cry out, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” John 18:40.

What is your heart response to Jesus? Is it to acknowledge him as Lord and Savior or is it to turn your back on Him seek after wicked things of this world? Or maybe you are like those from Jerusalem who cried out to Him as Lord, but in their actions deny Him.

How you respond to Jesus is everything. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36. Don’t turn from Christ, turn to Him!

Jesus wept.

One verse that virtually every child knows outside of John 3:16, is John 11:35. For one simple reason, its the shortest verse in the bible. These 2 words, Jesus wept. pack a tremendous theological wallop. Why did Jesus weep? In the context the brother of his friend Lazarus had died and she lay at his feet sobbing and in anguish over her brother. The text says that Jesus was “deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled.” He then asked to see the tomb where Lazarus lay. When he saw Lazarus, we hear these tremendous words, “Jesus wept.”

Why do these words have such meaning? We have all lost someone dear to us at some point or another, and we see the God of the universe who has taken on human flesh (John 1:1, 14) is weeping over the loss of someone close to Him. Jesus knows what we have gone through, what we are facing and what will be facing us in the future. He longs for us to bring our cares, our struggles, and our sorrows before Him in prayer.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with boldness draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

a good shepherd or a hired hand?

I have been reading through the gospel of John recently preparing my heart for the next stage in our families ministry as a pastor. I was told by a pastor friend of mine that John speaks much of Jesus as a shepherd as well as his practical shepherding. John 10 was so profound in preparing my heart for future pastoral ministry.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” John 10:11-13

What a contrast between the good shepherd who is willing to lay down his life and be mauled by the wolves to protect his sheep, and the hired hand who cares nothing for the sheep and when the wolves come he leaves and allows the sheep to be scatted and slaughtered. For those of you who have godly pastors who love and care for you in their ministry you should be thanking God for these men and lifting them up in prayer regularly.

What is Sin?

The debate today over sin has become more about whether man is inherently good or evil. The problem with this debate is that the question is wrong, misleading and inherently man-centered. What is sin? 

“The glory of God not honored. The holiness of God not reverenced. The greatness of God not admired. The power of God not praised. The truth of God not sought. The wisdom of God not esteemed. The beauty of God not treasured. The goodness of God not savored. The faithfulness of God not trusted. The commandments of God not obeyed. The justice of God not respected. The wrath of God not feared. The grace of God not cherished. The presence of God not prized. The person of God not loved. That is sin.” -John Piper