Jesus is There if You Want Him

Recently, I started reading and studying the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John marches to its own drum, different from the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Like the writers of the three other Gospels, the author of John does not name himself within the text. There is evidence within the Gospel itself and in the writings of the church fathers that the writer was the Apostle John, one of the original Twelve, that accompanied Jesus on during his earthly ministry.

According to Eusebius, John probably wrote the Gospel while he was ministering to the church in Ephesus, sometime during the 30-year span between A.D. 65 and 95. At the time, Ephesus was one of the largest centers of Christian activity in the Gentile world.

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Compared to the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John places a much greater emphasis on the deity of Jesus. This can be problematic to some who are willing to accept that Jesus existed solely as a historical human teacher and religious prophet. Naturally, the Synoptic Gospels speak to the divinity of Jesus also, but John’s emphasis on Christ’s deity covers the beginning and end lying at the heart of the message: Jesus is God. Many faiths, including Islam and Judaism, accept that Jesus lived. Only Christianity touts Him as the Son of God, from the beginning of time through the end of history. The Gospel of John boldly points to the divine nature of Christ, the Son of God and second person of the Trinity.

In Chapter 1, verse 11, the Scripture makes it clear that Jesus, the Christ, came to His own people and they failed to receive Him. In verse 12, the writer of John declares that all who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, are given the right to become children of God. In verse 13, the author points out that this is not because of our doing, but solely by the grace of God.

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did  receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Gospel of John (ESV) Chapter 1, Verses 11-13

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So there it is in plain sight. Jesus stands at the door knocking. He wants you to receive Him. He stands before you ready for the taking, if only you will have Him. Yes, you can accept Jesus as being a man. He was, after all, fully human. But to stop there and deny His deity leaves you standing alone at the altar. It is not enough to say Jesus was a great man or magnificent teacher or extraordinary healer. In order to receive the full benefits of the Kingdom that God himself has prepared for you, you must receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. Nothing less will do.

Jesus is there if you want Him. Will you receive Him today?

Be blessed and be a blessing.

TDG

 

References:

Constable, Thomas J. (2017). Constable’s Notes: John. Retrieved from Bible. org

Thanks to the artists at Pixabay for sharing their images.

Growing?

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You grew spiritually today. Each day, you and I either grow closer to God or we grow further away. At times, we take one step forward, two steps backward. It was that way for the Disciples, those closest to God when He walked the Earth in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Why would we expect it to be different for us some 2,000 plus years removed from being in the direct vicinity of God in the flesh?

It Was Hard For The Disciples.

When you read the 4 Gospels, you get four human perspectives on who Jesus was and what He did, authored by 4 different writers who were each inspired by God to tell the story of when the Son left His throne to become a man (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus, fully human, fully divine (Hebrews 2:5-18), taught and ministered to those He encountered. He watch them grow spiritually. At times they grew closer to Him; other times they moved further away. The same men who stood in awe of our Lord when he fed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21), abandoned him to die alone on a cross (Mark 14:50). Talk about spiritual highs and lows…

Following Jesus Isn’t Easy.

My own experience has taught me that our individual journeys are like that. Growing spiritually doesn’t mean we just experience mountain top after mountain top. Growing in Christ means we walk through valleys, weather storms, and endure trials. Honestly, a lot of times, it seems like growing in Christ is a lot more difficult than what our church brethren advertised it to be. They made “being saved” sound like such a good thing—and IT IS—but it’s certainly no cakewalk afterwards. Following Jesus is not for the timid or faint of heart.

Marriage Isn’t Easy Either. Coincidence?

Our marriages reflect that. Getting married is a GREAT THING. But… It’s not all wine and roses or cake and ice cream. Marriage—living with another human being for eternity—can be HARD WORK. To make it real exciting, throw some kids into the mix. Just like growing in Christ is challenging, marriage is not a life for the timid or faint of heart, either. I believe it’s why the sanctity of marriage is so important in God’s economy. In so many ways, marriage is a reflection of Christ’s work, through the Holy Spirit, in us. Don’t enter into either relationship lightly. But when you do, I encourage you to do it with all abandon, living the highs and the lows to the fullest. Put the pedal to the metal.

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Keeping the Faith.

Spiritual growth isn’t just an upward spiral to eternity. It comes with peaks and lows, ebbs and flow, mountains and valleys. It is through our experiences between these polar opposites that we see our faith flourish and strengthen. Ours is not intended to be a lukewarm faith encountered on a broad path. Ours is a faith experienced and lived in abundance along a narrow road.

Be faithful for He who created all things is faithful. Press On.