Even for Christians, stuff happens

John 13

Dirty work

” It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

I’m not sure how we got away from this, the foot washing. I guess some groups still do it. It’s a Maundy Thursday thing. Some groups do it more often. I have washed feet but never have I had my feet washed.

Washing feet is an act of saying we are all human. I fail at perfection. No matter how well I cover up, conceal, perfume or otherwise hide my imperfections my feet will still sweat and stink.

Will you help me not stink? Will I help you not stink? Life is dirty. Feet get dirty. We can cover up or we can confess our human-ness and participate in keeping each other less dirty and less stinky.

It’s not just our feet is it? It’s my heart and my mind. My life and my actions. Will we help each other clean up our life and actions? Will we trust each other?

“But my feet have been in some really deep poop”.

We are all at times in deep poop. Life is at times, deep poop. Deep stinky sticky poop. Are we committed to clean others as we ourselves are cleaned?

Confession and forgiveness. Cleansing each other in a close and personal way.

Christianity isn’t living the perfect life. Christianity is living the forgiven and forgiving life.

The end of darkness

John 12

Are you in darkness? Jesus is the light of the world.

“John 12

Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[h]

39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

40 “He has blinded their eyes

and hardened their hearts,

so they can neither see with their eyes,

nor understand with their hearts,

nor turn—and I would heal them.”[i]

41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”’

I am afraid of the dark. As a child it paralyzed me. As an adult I’ve worked past the fear, and I carry a flashlight. All of us with phones carry a flashlight. Jesus can be our spiritual flashlight.

Jesus being light and bringing light into our lives is one of the things that can make us uncomfortable. There are things done in darkness, or memories hidden in dark corners of our hearts, things done by us, things done to us that we want to stay hidden. Hidden and forgotten.

Jesus came to expose those things not to shame us or hurt us, but to forgive us and free us from the pain and the stench and the mess and the clutter.

Some of us are hoarders of bad memories.

I challenge all of us today to let the light of the world into our darkest corners so that cleansing and forgiveness can begin.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Who is this Jesus guy?

Who is this Jesus guy?

That is the most important question we can ever answer. Who is Jesus?

It’s not just a life and death question. It’s an eternal life or eternal separation from God question.

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his disciples this very question.

“13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”

In my mind I see Peter answering this casually, with a mouth full of the first century version of potato chips.

Muffled by the food in his mouth and crumbs tumbling out and he said it, “you are the Christ, the son of the living God…”

Only God’s Spirit can reveal this truth to a person.

I pray today that folks that read this post would stop and answer the question for themselves.

Who is Jesus?

For those of us who already know him, I pray there would be fresh revelation of what that means to us and to the world. For those who haven’t discovered who he is yet, may Gods Spirit shine it into your hearts.

Jesus is the messiah, the son of the living God.

Family Hug!

I want to give my self an out I want a free pass. I want a conditional release from the next few verses of 1 John 3.

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

1 John 3:4-10

I don’t sin any more, (for comic relief I want to add, I don’t sin any less either!) so what is the true meaning of this verse? Do we really have to stop sinning? Is that possible?

I’ve had these verses on my brains back burner for months. Here is one thing that I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me.

The prodigal son. (Luke 15). He left his father’s home, squandered his inheritance on prostitutes and parties. He came to his senses when he had lost everything and was hungry enough to eat pig slop but couldn’t even afford that. He decided to repent. He could not have been serious about repentance and stayed in the foreign land. He had to leave where he was and come home to his father to repent.

We cannot stay in our rebellion, our sin that separates us from God and say that we have repented. Will we fall, will we stumble? Does a baby learning to walk just stand up straight, point their face like flint in the direction they want to travel and never stumble or fall? No. At least I didn’t and my kid’s didn’t and my grandkids don’t. We stumble, we fall, we sin.

Where is the balance? How do we look at this and say how to live this out?

We go back to chapter 1 of this same letter.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:5-10

If God is our Heavenly Father and he loves us as his children, then as we learn to walk we walk in obedience, but we may stumble and fall, we may go the wrong way. My children stumbled, they went the wrong direction at times. I did not abandon them when this happened. I helped them up. I rerouted them if they were straying. If I did that, what more will our father God do for us who did not spare his only son but gave him up for us all?

What about addiction? I don’t feel qualified to speak to people struggling with addiction. I have my own battles and wounds in this area. All I can suggest is that to keep coming home. Keep leaving the foreign land that wants to suck us dry then feed on our bones. Leave that behind and come back to our Good Father. Where will he be? Where will God be when we repent? According to the story in Luke the Father will Be scanning the horizon looking for us to return.

“20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

I so want that. I want To be hugged and kissed by my Heavenly Father, Forgiven. Will you join me in our Father’s embrace? Family Hug!

The horn button principle

John 12

The horn button principle.

” Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.”

The horn button principal. I have A 57 chevy pickup. His name is Rusty. For close to 30 years before I had my truck, I had a 57 chevy truck horn button. It sat on a shelf in my garage. I wanted a truck. I had horn button. When anyone asked about the horn button I would say “I’m growing to grow a 57 Chevy pickup from that horn button”. A long time passed. Finally one day I gave away the horn button. That ended my dream. Or so I thought. Several years went by but around my 50th birthday I got a letter from an uncle saying he had a 57 Chevy truck that he wanted to give me. It was the same person that I had given the horn button to. The day I got the truck I also got the horn button back. I had planted the seed and it germinated and grew into a truck.

The principle is that you have to let the dream die so that it can come back to life. Bigger and better than you could hope for.

Jesus literally planted himself in the earth for us. He died and was buried and came back to life changed. The people who were following him had an idea of who and what Messiah would be. It was wrong or at least incomplete. Messiah wasn’t coming to set Israel free from Roman oppression. Messiah had come to set mankind free from sins oppression. Jesus had to die, the incorrect or incomplete messianic dream had to die so that Jesus could become the real and only hope of freedom from sin.

“25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Off diet, off course

You can have chili, cedar cheese crackers and raspberry sorbet for dinner but there is a day of reckoning or in my case, a morning of testing. That meal doesn’t sound like a diabetic rebellion but wow. Ding ding ding! High score for blood sugar.

Spiritually there is stuff we do and get away with that’s off our spiritual diet. We ingest and partake of things that we shouldn’t and because of grace and mercy we are forgiven when we apologize to God.

But there are 2 things I wonder about. The first is, is saying we are sorry the same as repentance? Repentance means to turn around, change course, do a 180 degree turn. The second is, what does this cheating on our spiritual diet do to our spiritual health? We may be forgiven but are we killing the spirits moving and working in our lives?

In the Lutheran liturgy each week as he began his sermon the pastor would say “grace and peace to you, from God our father and from our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ”.

It’s the greeting Pail used in many of his letters, Peter used it too. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

The reason I mention these scriptures is that they state Jesus’ dual role in the life of the Christian. he is our savior, his death pays for our sin and he is our Lord, our boss, our master, our sovereign King. It means he can tell us what to do and we will obey him. He can also tell us what not to do and we will obey him.

Do we really need a boss in our life telling us what to do and even harder, what not to do? Yes. Yes We do need that because this boss ordering our life Is the same boss who can and will forgive us when we fail him. And besides that His orders are always for our best good.

I sum up.

I fail, in my diet, in my spiritual life. There is forgiveness but there may be consequences, physically and spiritually. Jesus wants to fulfill his dual role in my life, save me from my sins and lead me as a good King. When I fail I should repent, turn around, throw the cheese crackers away! (the sorbet is gone already, burp).

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Who is on the throne?

John 12

Our king is here.

“12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna![d]”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[e]

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;

see, your king is coming,

seated on a donkey’s colt.”[f]

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”’

Kings usually care about controlling real estate. They want to control parts of this planet. Our king cares about a much smaller but more significant area. My heart. Our hearts. Jesus wants to rule from where we love. From where we decide. He wants to rule in our hearts.

Personally I struggle with allowing him to sit on the throne in my heart. One minute I say “welcome King Jesus!” As I show him to the throne. The next minute I’m tipping the throne forward and dumping him onto the floor.

Why? Why does he put up with me?

Thank you Jesus for being patient with my willful and wayward heart. I long for the day when the struggle will be over and you will be my permanent King. Forever enthroned in my heart.

The hole-y bread of life

Beware!

Sorry celiacs but you may want to skip this next post. I’m going to talk about the glory of bread.

Bread glorious bread! The crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy insides. All of the yummy ways we can use it to carry other delicious food types into our mouths like pepperoni and garlic butter and sandwich fillings! I think the best part of bread is the delightful aroma as it bakes. The yeasty smell.

Yeast is pretty amazing stuff. It turns a ball of dough into a loaf of bread by puffing it up. As the yeast activates thousand of bubbles create little pockets of nothing.

In Matthew 16 Jesus talks about yeast. It’s not always a good thing.

“5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Just like yeast in dough, self righteousness can puff up a person. A puffed up

Person thinks themselves larger and better and self approved and not in need of a savior. But they are, as is a loaf of bread, Full of holes.

When Jesus died he got holes put into his hands and feet. But his death paid for my sin and restores my relationship with God. His holes make me whole. It is nothing I have done. I receive his holiness as a gift because he was willing to receive holes in his hands and feet.

Jesus called himself the bread of life.

“32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”’

Beware.

Beware of bread? No.

Beware of yeast, the yeast of the self righteous. Receive the bread of life, Jesus who became hole-y to make us holy and restore us to wholeness.

Gopher snakes and lions

I take a walk down a gravel road every day. In fact I walk the same path 3 times every day. I take the same route so I can just pray or think and let my brain relax. Last week for the first time I saw a snake. I saw a gopher snake, a little baby one less than a foot long. Then 2 days later I saw a much bigger one. It stretched across about 1/2 the road. Now that I know they are there I can’t just mindlessly wander. I am vigilant and watching. These snakes are harmless but they scare me.

I wonder if my spiritual life could use a wake up like this.

The bible warns us to be vigilant, not because our enemy is a gopher snake but …”Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

We have an enemy who is actively seeking our destruction. not a harmless gopher snake, a powerful and destructive killer. A lion. Maybe I should wake up and watch where I’m going. There is so much good and so much evil just a click or two away.

If we look at the Christian life like Jesus described it in John 10 where Jesus is our shepherd and we his sheep then the lion analogy brings on fresh meaning.

“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

There is a lion who wants to destroy me but he knows that he has to separate me first. Isolate me from my flock and from my shepherd. I need to stay close enough to hear his voice.

Rivulets

RivuletThe word challenge is “rivulets”. That word makes me think of my mom.

I’m not sure why she didn’t have the windshield wipers on. The rain was light. Mom said to watch the drops as they raced to the top of the window. I watched as the drops group together to form rivulets.

The air was chilly, I had a sweater on. The defroster motor was running on high. Mom could be easily overwhelmed with too many gadgets to run. There was a knob on the dashboard in the center of the speaker that I could twist. It wasn’t connected to anything, it was there to complete the symmetry of the dash.

We were driving moms 56 Chevy 4-door sedan. It was red and white with a red and white interior. The year was 1964, I was 4 years old.

The car was roomy and comfortable. It fit our family of 6 really well. On this day it was just me and my mom. There were no seats belts, no child carriers, what could possibly happen that the lightening speed of my mothers forearm could not stop?

That day we put this logic to the test we found that even moms forearm can fail. The car was suddenly just there- brake lights, big bright red, they seemed even larger when being scattered by the rain drops on the windshield.

My face hit the all steel dashboard hard. The blood scared me. My blood. It ran opposite the rain drops, in rivulets, down my face. It was hot and it was sticky and it smelled funny. It was coming out of my nose and my mouth. My face hurt, my teeth hurt. Mom stood me up on the seat so she could see me better and assess the damage. As I stood up I started to calm down, but then I saw the damaged little boy in the rear view mirror and realized that it was me and I started crying all over again. I don’t remember if we made contact with car that stopped us but still, a lot of people stopped to see if they could help. My mom was pretty and she could gather a crowd easily on her own but a distressed bloody, crying little boy just added to the attraction. I think my dad showed up. I remember being embarrassed to be such a mess, both the blood and the tears. He was calm and he was strong and reassuring.

There isn’t an ending to this tale. My teeth stayed in but the top front two turned grey. It was a relief to finally lose them to the tooth fairy in grade school.

As an epitaph, Even now when it rains, 50 plus years later, I pause before turning on my windshield wipers and watch the the drops turn into rivulets and race to the edges of my windshield and I think of my pretty mom and my strong dad and I smile, teeth intact and heart warmed.

 

Huddle and cuddle little sheep

Matthew 10, the disciples first mission

 

The first mission of the apostles in Matthew 10 (apostle means one who is sent) is to the lost sheep of Israel, to the Jews, the lost Jewish people. Later on Jesus will broaden the scope to include all people.

“5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

Shepherds of that time had it rough. There weren’t fences for pastures. Sheep would stray. Sheep who stray are easier targets for wolves to kill and destroy.

We have an enemy. He is actively seeking out those who stray. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

In the wild it’s the weak and the straying that get picked off. This entire world is wild.

Message to the sheep in the flock: Huddle up sheep. Huddle and and cuddle and stay close to the shepherd. Protect each other and follow the shepherd.

Message to the shepherds: Gather the strays. If we see a stray, so does our enemy. He wants to destroy them. Who will get there first?

Jesus is THE good shepherd. He is calling for us to come to him and be safe.

“11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”’

Jesus is the good shepherd who has laid down his life for us his sheep. I want to learn to follow his voice and stay close.

Jesus please don’t let me stray.

John 3, behaving vs. belonging

John 3

Behavior vs belonging

Did this ever happen to you? As a kid You invite a friend to join you for a day of family fun. Then this friend out shines you in every way in front of your parents. They are more helpful, more courteous, more polite. By the end of the day you can’t stand your friend anymore and you are pretty sure that your parents are looking into trading kids. But then the friend goes back to his house and you go back to live with your parents. You are still their kid.

Good works don’t earn us salvation like behaving for our parents doesn’t make us more of their child. The good behaving neighbor kid didn’t earn his way into our family through their good behavior. Our bad behavior didn’t make us lose our last name. Birth makes us a child of our parents. Being “born again” makes us a child of God.

New birth makes us a child of God. Our good works please him but they won’t make us part of his family.

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”’

God wants us in his family.

“‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”‘

When I sin as a Christian, what do I do?

The same man that wrote the Gospel of John also wrote this in one of his letters: 1John 2

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

If we are born again we belong to God, we are part of his family. Our behavior won’t change our family status. If we’ve sinned we need to confess it, admit it and get it cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It’s his death that washes away our sin. We need to Stay clean, but if we stumble, we get back up and get cleaned up. Then we get on with sharing About this amazing God who forgives sin.

The miracles aren’t the main thing

John 6

 

The miracles aren’t the main thing

 

“60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

 

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

 

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

 

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

 

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)”

 

My pastor says this often, the problem with life is it’s so daily. I live my life day by day and the challenges, especially the spiritual challenges are there every day.

 

The next day After Jesus fed the 5000 they were all hungry again. At the wedding when the water turned into wine was gone people got thirsty again.

 

The miracles were not to change the world, the miracles were to point to the one who could change a heart.

 

The miracles that Jesus performed weren’t an end in themselves. They were to point to Jesus otherness, his holiness. Yes, he did grow up down the street, but his origins were from eternity, not Galilee.

 

Not everyone could see past the miracles to the God/man who was before all time and who could build a bridge from a sin filled existence to an eternity with God.

 

The disciples saw it and Peter said it. ““Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”’

 

To whom shall we go? Is there another offer? A better offer? An offer with a brighter future than an eternity with a holy God?

 

To whom shall we go?

 

(Your name here) come out

John 11

Jesus brings the dead back to life.

“38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.”

This story was hard for me to write about. I couldn’t get images of rotting flesh and Zombies out of my mind.

The weird thing is that I have personal experience with being clinically dead. I was in a car accident when I was 11 and was without pulse and not breathing when I arrived at the hospital. My mom arrived just then, saw me and asked some doctors who had just checked me and were walking away if she could talk to me. They said ” it doesn’t matter now”. My mom touched my leg and I started coughing. The doctors spun around and started working on me again. I remember being above my body in the hallway and the return to the pain of being damaged but in flesh.

Jesus spoke to Lazarus. “Come out” and the mound of flesh and bones that was rotting inside a cave came back to life and walked out of the grave. The same voice that had said to pre-existing darkness, ” let there be light” and light came into being, reanimated the body of his friend with 3 words. “Lazarus,come out.”

We are all dead in our sins.

“2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved”.

We are all dead in our sins but we don’t have stay that way. Jesus speaks to each one of us and says “(your name here), come out”.

Ephesians, A study trip through

Posts from Ephesians

After reading through Romans a chapter a day since January I think I’ve read the book about 14 times this year. I’ve been pondering which book to read next. The book of Ephesians keeps popping up in my head so this morning I read the preface. It is a letter that Paul wrote while in prison in Rome so beyond the words in it, the where, why and how of this book compels me to study it next after studying Romans. First the book to Romans and then the book from Rome.

I found this this morning and it is my heart for me and those who read my posts.

“12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

I want to know God better. I want to know the hope that he has called me to, the riches of his glorious inheritance, and his incomparable great power.

Ephesians 2

It was a cold and cloudy January morning. I had just left college to become the manager of my family’s business, the Burger Bar Cafe. It was Sunday, so we were closed. I was in the back room getting breakfast for my pregnant wife. We were newlyweds and pregnant with our honeymoon baby. So much change in one year. Getting married, getting pregnant, moving three times, starting college to become a pastor, leaving college to become a dad.

It was that morning in that restaurant back room right next to the dishwasher that I finally understood that God loved me, not based on anything I did or didn’t do, not on my “works” but just because he is a loving and gracious God, a God who “stoops low” to aid those he loves. That’s the day that Ephesians 2:8-10 came to life to me. That’s the day I was saved.

Part of my desire to go to college and become a Pastor was the need to please God. To earn his favor. I had just given that up and I was floundering. But this verse popped into my head and I understood that I couldn’t earn Gods favor, because he had already graciously given it to me through Jesus.

” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Thank you Jesus for the path you put me on and for loving me and our family. For dying for our sins and also providing for all of our needs. Thank you for being gracious to me, for saving me. I love you Jesus.

Ephesians 3

We live in a desert. Eastern Washington state is a desert. It lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains. Our annual rainfall is around 10″. There is very little water here naturally. My Grandpa Loeffelbein’s property in Cashmere, out on Pioneer Ave had a Tiny little stream. It was so small that I could jump across it. The odd thing about it that it was always flowing, and it flowed fast. It was not a lazy little trickle. Put your foot in and it would try and knock you over. It took strength to stand in the flow. The water was cold, and the force was steady and strong and constant.

Sometimes my life feels like a desert, arid and dry. I need a source of refreshing.

God’s love is like that little stream in some respects. It’s steady, strong, constant, refreshing, water in a desert. It just isn’t little. Nathan Dowd quoted someone recently who said, “God’s love is an ocean without shores and without bottom.”

“17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Lord I need to know your love today, not just know it but feel it. I need your wisdom and understanding, I’ve got things to do today that go beyond me. Help me Jesus. Fill me up.

Ephesians 4

Every once in a while, our Pastor will say that what he is speaking about is “family business” meaning it pertains to those of us who are part of that specific body of believers. It is a specific message to a specific group of people.

I feel like Ephesians 4 is a “family business” chapter but not just for the people in Ephesus but all believers everywhere for all time.

I think I just said that it is specifically written to a general group. At least that’s what I intended.

John 3:16 is written to everyone, everywhere. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Once we decide to follow Jesus we join a new group, the body of Christ. The group of people known as the body of Christ live by a different set of guidelines.

I will use myself as an example. Basically, there has been a shift, a change of command has happened. I used to be in charge. I did what I wanted. Now I have given over the control of my life to Jesus.

I’ll let Paul say it, “Living as Children of Light
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Paul goes on to say how our honesty in word and deed, and our reaction to anger needs to be different now that we are filled with Gods spirit. Our life experiences haven’t changed. We will still face the same temptations and trials that the general population does but now we are empowered to respond differently.

I’d like to quote one more verse that reminds me that when I need to forgive someone, that I too am in constant need of forgiveness.

“32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5 is more family business meaning this is written specifically to those who are following Jesus, to Christians.

Being a Christian is brand new to some of us. What do we do? How do we act? What are the rules?

Here’s a general guideline:”1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Things NOT to do:

Be sexually immoral
Be greedy
Get drunk
Don’t do these.

Instead, Do these:
Be filled the Holy Spirit
Sing
Make music
Give thanks
Wives submit to your husbands like you do to Jesus
Husbands love your wife. be the Christlike man that a woman doesn’t have to fear submitting to. Love your wife like you love you. Love like Jesus did- Die to yourself and live for Jesus and your family. Love your wife. Love your wife like you love you. Love your wife. (I added one more “love your wife” than Paul did, sorry, now two more)

Being a Christian is the simple life. It is not the easy life but it is simple.

Live a life of love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.

Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6 I want to start at the end.

Paul says that he has entrusted the letter to Tychicus not just as a postman but as one who will encourage the believers there. Basically, Paul said Tychicus will carry the letter in his hand, but he will stay and help because he has Jesus in his heart. Tychicus will be a living letter to the Christians in Ephesus. Tychicus is mentioned 5 times in the bible and every time it says this guy can be trusted, “faithful servant”, one who encourages. I want to be like him.

To the family of God:
Kids, obey your parents,
Fathers, raise them right. Do not exasperate
Slaves (people who have bosses, and even bosses have bosses) work like your boss is Jesus himself, obey respect, work hard
Masters (bosses) remember we all have one master Jesus and there will be a day of personal accountability.

We are in a battle but it’s not with who you think, because if you can mentally picture your enemy with skin on then you got it wrong. Our battle is not with flesh and blood and so neither are our defenses or weapons. Our battle is spiritual: truth, righteousness, good news of Jesus, faith in him, and being saved by him are our battle gear, the word of God is our only weapon.

Weird war. Let’s get to it then.

The Flu and Father Brown

What do a stomach bug and a TV show about a crime solving priest have in common?

Two essential elements of Christianity. That’s what. Repentance and confession. In The series Father Brown is more concerned about the criminal’s soul than he is about solving the crime.

His main goal in the show is to get the guilty party to repent and confess.

Today I came down with a Flu bug. I was at work when I decided to turn around, change direction and go back home. I repented of my decision to go south east to Moses Lake, I turned around and headed north west back to Ephrata.

I was only home a couple of minutes before my stomach confessed of everything I had eaten. It wouldn’t be satisfied with a partial confession, it had to have it all out.

“5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

Take it from me, when a stomach confesses it is nasty business. All kinds of ugliness comes out. The same is true for a heart and soul.

Usually working together with confession and almost always preceding it, is repentance. My favorite story of repentance is found in the book of Luke. Jesus tells the story of 2 brothers. The younger cashes in his inheritance and goes partying. When he runs out of money he also runs out of friends and ends up destitute, feeding pigs.

“17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.”

The next verses are what I think are the best bd description of God’s Father heart towards us, his wayward children.

““But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

Are you feeling a long way off? Sometimes I do. It’s mostly my fault too. I go my own way and then feel estranged but Gods heart towards me, towards us has not changed. God is scanning the horizon anxiously waiting for us to return.

Repentance and confession are not our ticket back in to his love. God loves us. Repentance and confession are our way to be purged and healed.

So I say and you can say it with me if like; Forgive me Father, I have sinned against you and against heaven. I am unworthy to be called your child.

And he says about us and to us, welcome home!

3 guys

Three guys….

Why do so many jokes start with 3 guys?

The next thing I will say here is no joke.

On this day about 2 thousand years ago three guys hung from crosses on a hill outside of Jerusalem. They weren’t tied to the cross, they were nailed, through the hands and feet. Two of them were thieves, the third was a man named Jesus.

We have a record of his Jesus’ last words. The last thing he said was, ” it is finished ”

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (Jn 19:30)

What did he mean?

He meant that the job of paying for all of the sin in the world, all the wrongs, all the hurts and hates, the stains on the souls of men that could not be removed by men had been removed by God.

This is no ordinary man this guy Jesus. He is the very, the only son of God.

Much to our relief he did not stay dead. 3 days later he rose from the dead. He is alive! Jesus is alive.

He died to finish the plan of our salvation and he rose from the dead to give us eternal life.

Three guys hung on crosses to their deaths. One guy said “It is finished”. And so it is.

All we gotta do is ask.

A letter from our dad

Not everyone has a dad but wouldn’t it be cool to find a long love letter addressed to you from your father? Even if you didn’t know him, he knew you?Something that not only gushed words of love but gave you instructions on how to live the best life possible? A letter that showed that life and the world and even world events had been all arranged just so you could be born and live. A description of the purpose of your life. The letters end with a promise to return to you and reunite with you.

This letter exists. It exists for each one of us. This letter is the Bible. The Bible is a love letter from our father. Our father is the being who created not just us but every thing that exists including time and space and light and darkness.

Because of misuse and abuse some of us discount or discredit the Bible. We call it many things, we malign it, we return abuse on it, or worse, we ignore it.

I was born into 20th century America and I now live in 21st century America. We are being called a post Christian society. We have forgotten about our fathers love letter to us.

One of my goals in life is to reacquaint my contemporaries, the people I live and work with, the folks and families, those people who my kids and my grandkids will be living and working with after I’m gone, to know about the letter, the love letter that my Father, our father has written to us all.

There a line in the letter that sums up the message succinctly.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17

God not only proclaims his love for us he has shown it by sending his son Jesus to pay the price that is required by God to reconcile us back to Himself. Why do we need to be reconciled?God does loves us but we have been separated from him by a thing called sin. Sin isn’t just bad things we do, but it’s in our very nature. We can’t get rid of it or do good to appease him for it. We are powerless, but God, being God could sacrifice himself by offering up his one and only son Jesus to die in our place. This one act covered all people for all time. All that is left to do is to accept the gift.

In another place in God’s love letter to us it says this in order to explain how to grab hold of this wonderful offer; “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”’

Romans 10:9-11

Bloom where you’re planted, unless you are dead.

John 11

Bloom where you are planted, unless you are dead.

“17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”’

This week some famous people died. George Beverly Shea, 104. Chyna, 46. Prince, 57. My uncle Delvin passed away recently. He was buried next to my parents who both died in 2003, January and June. I stood on the ground that covers my parents remains.

Most people once dead stay dead.

Or do we?

“25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”’

This is the question we all must ask ourselves: Do we believe this?

Jesus will show his authority over death by raising Lazarus. And it won’t be long in our reading of John before Jesus himself is put to death. But death couldn’t hold him.

The questions remain.

Who is this Jesus?

Do we believe him?

I do.

Note: yesterday I posted a picture of myself in front of my truck Rusty. Both of us, Rusty and were dead, but brought back to life. I was clinically dead after being in a car accident. With Rusty it’s s figure if speech with me it’s a fact. Miraculously I came back to life.

Jesus remembers us.

John 11

Wait, what?

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”’

There are a couple of things that happen here that make me scratch my head.

Jesus said that the sickness wouldn’t end in death but Lazarus dies. But it doesn’t end there.

Lord willing I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

The second thing is that John mentions a thing about Mary washing and anointing Jesus’ feet as if he had already told us about it but it doesn’t get written in until the next chapter.

I have often felt that in the story of my life I only play a minor supporting role. In the credits of “Peters life, the movie” towards the end, right before they thank the caterers and the city of Ephrata there will be “and Peter Loeffelbein”.

I think lazarus’ sister Mary may have felt that way about her life but her simple act of ministering to Jesus was so well known that John could reference it before he had written it.

I think this says our service to Jesus may be more significant than we know. He remembers it all.

Do the right thing and do it for the right reason and for the right person.

Do it for Jesus. And keep doing it because he remembers it all. Keep serving him. Love people. Serve people. Keep going. He remembers it. He remembers us. It is significant.

We are significant to him.