Archive for the Come And See Category

Come and See (4)

Posted in Come And See, Jesus on January 26, 2012 by nmpreach

I love the gospel of John.  Too often, I’ve claimed it to be my favorite gospel.  I say too often because I like things about Matthew.  I like Mark’s servant aspect.  And Luke is great when I’m looking for details.  But John is still my favorite.  This time preaching through John’s version of the gospel has been no less than awesome.  Today, we’ll look at a text in John’s sixth chapter.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum.  It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.  The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.  But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’  Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.  (vs 16-21 ESV)

It’s no coincidence that this text follows John’s version of Jesus feeding the 5000.  He is steadily setting out the evidence that Jesus was more than a Jewish carpenter.  It’s also no coincidence that John records this event happening in the dark.  Have you ever been in the dark places?  Darkness carries a sense of uneasiness, of wondering, and in many cases, despair.  Most of the time, we think of bad things happening in the dark.

In this instance, a storm rose on the sea.  The disciples had reached the middle.  Therefore, there was no going back now.  Things looked grim.  After recognizing their challenge, John records the disciples “…saw Jesus walking…and coming near…and they were frightened.”  Why is it that they were frightened?

I don’t know about you.  But when I’m in the dark places, when chaos is all around and things seem to be hopeless, I want to see Jesus.  But they were frightened.  Let’s not be too quick to judge.  Most people didn’t walk on water.  Most people didn’t just show up in the middle of the “sea.”  But Jesus did!  Jesus did things that no one else could do.  And how could He just walk seemingly without effort?  There was a storm happening!  Jesus turned normal on its head.  Chances are, we’d be deathly afraid too.

May I suggest they were afraid because they recognized divinity?  It’s not unlike Isaiah receiving his commission (Is. 6).  Woe to me.  I am a man of unclean lips.  You see, when you recognize you’re in the presence of God, you should recognize the wonder, power, and awe.  It also makes one recognize their own limits.  I can’t.  But God can.

It’s only then that Jesus reassures.  Do not be afraid.  It’s me.  There’s reassurance that we all need right?  Despite all you see, God is with you.  And catch what John says next.  I love this.  Then they were glad to take him into the boat.  Uh…YEAH!  Hugs.  Kisses.  Grief turned to joy.  Trouble to peace.  Jesus is here!

Maybe you’re going through a storm in your own life right now.  Maybe you know it’s too late to return to “shore”.  That the quicker way now is straight ahead.  But you’ve been on this path for a while.  You’re in the middle of the sea.  And the storm has gotten stronger.  It’s dark.  It’s windy and wet.  And you’d love to just have some peace and quiet.  Look around.  Jesus can walk on water in the storm and bring peace to a dire situation.  Maybe you need to hear, “Don’t be afraid.  It’s me.”  Now rejoice.  And let him in the boat!

 

 

Come And See (3)

Posted in Come And See, Scripture on December 30, 2011 by nmpreach

As we continue through the study of John’s Gospel, I want to focus on just one phrase.  Too often, I think, we read our English translations and glance over important words, phrases, or concepts that the original readers/hearers would have appreciated.  The text again is from John 1.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”  And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.  And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (vs 29-34 ESV)

Let’s talk about what “Lamb of God” would mean to those in the Ancient Near East.  As a good Jew, you would quickly be reminded of the lamb of the Passover.  In Exodus, God delivered His people.  It’s with a the lamb (particularly the blood) that God reminded His people of His deliverance.  The Jews had celebrated this particular feast for thousands of years.

But this isn’t the only thing that John must have meant.  A Passover lamb would never be able to take away sin.  And John’s description of Jesus included, “who takes away the sin of the world.”  This lamb was to be different.  Whereas the first lamb had limitations ie. remembrance, the second Lamb had no limitations.  The second Lamb would prompt one to remember the past but look forward to the future.  In regards to the future, the Jews had a particular interest.  They had long-awaited the coming of the Messiah – one they believed that would overthrow the Romans, do away with their enemies, promote them within the “food chain.”

But there’s something else we must see regarding the Old Testament.  The Jews of John’s day would have also have been reminded of a prophecy from Isaiah.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Is 53:6-7 ESV)

Can you imagine?  Seven hundred years prior to Christ Jesus’ birth, Isaiah prophesied about the crucifixion of Jesus.  Not only that, but he used the picture of a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Could it be that John the Baptist also had this Old Testament text in mind?  I think so.

John was from a family of priests.  He would have known what sacrifice was all about.  He would have known that the temple sacrifice – being performed at the temple on a daily basis – was limited.  The temple sacrifice was to remind one of his/her sin.  But it wasn’t the ultimate sacrifice.  The Lamb of God – the ultimate sacrifice – the one who would destroy the power of sin completely had now arrived!  Remember Abraham speaking to Isaac?  God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.  (Gen 22:8 ESV)  Jesus brought old and new together.  Everything found fulfillment in Jesus.  And John recognized that fact.

We’ve just celebrated the birth of Christ.  And without a birth, there could be no sacrifice.  There would be no atonement for sin.  Hope would be impossible.  But as it stands, Christ Jesus willingly came and became the Sacrificial Lamb.  And notice John says, “…for the whole world.”  Wow!

Behold , the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Come and See (2)

Posted in Come And See, Scripture on December 6, 2011 by nmpreach

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  John 1:12-13 NIV

I’m excited about working through the Gospel of John during the first few months of 2012.  If you’re not aware, John’s Gospel account is much different than the synoptic gospels.  This is just one of many examples.  John sets out to prove that Jesus is who said He is (20:31).  In other words, if you and I were the jury, John attempts to convince us based upon the evidence.

In these particular verses in chapter 1, I want you to notice the duality of relationship.  For example, watch this:

  • Yet to all who received him
  • to those who believed in his name

Notice those are mankind’s responsibility.  We must receive Him.  This might be a good time to read the first 11 verses of the Gospel.  Also, we must believe in His name.  We must believe means we must live our lives with an unparalleled faith.  But we don’t have faith in just anything.  We have faith “in his name.”  That makes all the difference in the world – literally!  Knowing that God is bigger than anyone or anything and he has our best interests at heart should give us an immense amount of peace.  Those things are our responsibility.  No one can do them for us.

  • he gave the right to become children of God

Don’t miss this!  God gave us the opportunity to become children of God.  Wow!  This is the time that we often refer to as “The Fork In The Road.”  There’s a choice to receive or reject.  God is faithful and He always comes through with His part.  The question is:  Will we?

I love this!  God is God.  And He could do anything He wants.  But He offers us a relationship – a duality of responsibility.  Here’s the point:  God allows us to be a part of what He’s doing.  He doesn’t force.  He offers.  And when He does, we then have to make a choice.

Realize God is going to do His part.  Will you?  Will I?

Come and See (1)

Posted in Come And See, Jesus, Scripture on December 2, 2011 by nmpreach

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life… John 1:1-4a NIV

The word “zoe” is used thirty-six times in the Gospel of John.  Life is a theme throughout John’s writing.  However, we should note this isn’t just the ability to breathe or to have a heartbeat.  The life John refers to is much greater.

Life refers to something only given by God.  It is what He intended at creation.  And to be separate from God equals the absence of life.  Sin separates us from what God intended – a relationship between Creator and created.  Because all are disobedient (Rom. 3:23), there is a great chasm between the unrighteous and a holy God.

It is for this reason that Jesus had to come and provide a way back to the original – when things were “good” or “very good” (Gen. 1; Jn 3:16, 10:10).  In other words, it’s only through Jesus that life can take shape (Jn 14:6).

Tired of searching for answers that never come?  Interested in a peace that is often times hard to explain?  Want more than a heartbeat or a breath?  The Gospel is going to point to the One who can provide all that you need – The answer, The Peace, The Life – Jesus.  Come and See!