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Posts Tagged ‘John 05’

“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe…” — John 11:14-15a (Message Bible)

Jesus made a passing comment we should not pass over.

Lazarus became sick and eventually died while his closest friend, Jesus, purposely delayed. Why? Jesus told his disciples he was glad, for their sake, he wasn’t there because he wanted them to believe — implying had he been there they would not have believed — probably because Lazarus would still have died.

The often missing part of Faith’s message is that while having it enables mountains to move and the impossible to occur, it is a gift from God. It can’t be worked up, earned by personal holiness, or manipulated for our personal desires — Jesus said,

“I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. — John 5:19 (Message Bible)

So when you are told if you had faith you could be healed, it may be technically true but God gives the faith, not you.

Your responsibility is to present yourself to Him, present your need and/or the needs of others, look to him for faith, and act on the faith he provides.

That’s what Jesus did.

— fritz@langgang.com

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>What could be worse than 38 years?!

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Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. – John 5:14 (KJV)

Jesus healed a man crippled for 38 years. Later in the temple Jesus had a message for him – sin no more or something worse would happen.

What could be worse than the 38 years of malady he had already experienced, and was Jesus, in effect, telling this man his previous illness was a result of sin in his life?

The idea that when we do good God, life, karma, fate, whatever, rewards us with blessing and when we do bad we are punished, persists even today. Not long ago an actress said a typhoon hitting one country was because of the bad karma that country caused with its poor civil rights record. An evangelist, more recently, said a particular country suffered tragedy because they had previously made a pact with the devil. Even our favorite musical, The Sound of Music, sings “I must have done something good in my youth or childhood” when the two main characters fall in love.

This is ingrained in humanity, but it is NOT what Jesus is saying; in just a few more chapters when asked by his disciples about whose sin caused a man to be born blind, Jesus will tell them sin had nothing to do with it (John 9:2).

So what, then did Jesus mean, what could be worse than being crippled for 38 years?

Hell would be much worse!

… it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. – Matthew 18:8b (KJV)

This world is not all there is, and there is a coming judgment for the things done in this life; justice demands it and God promises it. It really does matter what we do in this life. Even the apostle Paul, a strong proponent of God’s grace and the gift of salvation, as am I, said in Romans 2:6 that God shall “render to every man according to his deeds.”

Question to ponder next: Is is possible to “Go and sin no more?”

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>Faith Killer #1 – Not what you might think.

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I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? – John 5:41-44 (KJV)

One might naturally think the number one faith killer would be personal sin, or selfishness, anger, or some other shortcoming but not so. Some of the worst sinners have come to a saving faith in Christ.

Jesus, in our passage, tells his hearers what was preventing their belief in him was their own desire for honour from one another.

Coming to Christ requires an almost brutal honesty about who we are. If we could save ourselves we would not need a savior. One has to admit before God that one has not only done sinful acts but is, in fact, a sinner by nature at his or her very core. This is hard for “good” people to do.

Those trying ever so hard to be good so others will like them, trying to do what will make them feel like a good person in their own eyes and the eyes of those they respect find it the hardest to admit their shortcomings and experience the overwhelming joy, wonder, and excitement the Bible says God can bring.

One does not have to have a bad reputation or act stupid to come to Christ – Lady Hamilton, an evangelical believer among the English nobility early in this century, used to say she was saved by an “M,” because the bible says that “…not Many noble, are called” (1st Corinthians 1:26).

But those concerned about what others may think of them if they go all out for Christ, will have trouble even believing.

Perhaps that’s why some fairly seedy characters find it easier to throw it all down and go for what they really want – Life! Some might even say they had, all along, been just following other avenues of self gratitude looking for that something which, once found in Christ, satisfied their deepest need.

It has been said by many that once you “taste” what Christ really has to offer, nothing else will do.

Jesus laid aside his own reputation (Phil 2:7) for us, and we should seek honor that comes from God alone.

– Fritz

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>Faith Killer #2

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How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? – John 5:44-47 (KJV)

I’ve been to school, I’ve been in the “higher education” classroom studying the Pentateuch and Wellhousen, the “Synoptic Gospels” and Tillich, and higher textual criticism all pushing the students NOT to believe Moses wrote what he did and NOT to believe what was written, either. I could regurgitate it like any other student.

To them there was no Adam and Eve. To them there was no crossing the Red Sea, no serpent image on a pole bringing healing to those bitten, no water from the rock, no cloud by day and no fire by night – all stories and myths to have their layers peeled back like an onion until the truth could be discovered. And after the peeling, where is the onion, how much should be peeled?

They do the same with the stories of Jesus, trying to determine who really wrote the gospels and letters, and what really happend with the feeding of the 5,000, the raising from the dead, the virgin birth – continually doing more and more peeling.

Jesus said from the start, “If you don’t believe Moses, you won’t believe me“.

There are a lot of books documenting the evidence for biblical authenticity – the issue is NOT one of evidence, but of desire.

As Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) said, “It is not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me, it is the parts I do understand”

– Fritz.

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>Not all the dead are in the graves.

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. – John 5:25-29 (KJV)

Jesus introduced metaphors into middle eastern faith. To the woman at the well (another of the “hour is coming and now is” scriptures) he talks about “Living” water – meaning a refreshment to the Soul, like water to the body, and indicated he is the one who gives it.

Here, in this scripture, Jesus tells the Jews there is a judgment coming for those who are in the graves (physically dead), when all shall be physically raised and actually stand before God, Almighty,and receive the results of what they did in life. This held no controversy for them, all but the Sadducees already believed in the physical resurrection of the body and judgment for actions; they had read the prophet Daniel (Daniel 12:l-3) and the Psalms.

What he told them they did not know was that 1) It would be the voice of the Son of God that would awaken them; 2) There is a different kind of death – an unresponsiveness to God’s and His ways, like the unresponsiveness of the physically dead to their own surroundings! (Not all the dead are in the graves, yet); and 3) It was his voice that, if they would only listen, could raise them, now, to a wonderful, glorious life!

– Fritz

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>Want to be made whole?

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In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk…waiting for the moving of the water – John 5:3 (KJV)

When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? – John 5:6 (KJV)

Jesus asks us, too, “Do you want to be made whole, or are you satisfied with just playing church?”

Enough of this waiting around until something happens; let’s cut to the chase, let Jesus make our legs work, and let’s start walking.

-Fritz

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