Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursdays Child: John 6:61-71 Weeding, and Pruning

Well, it looks like we're going to finish John 6 today. In this section, the term disciple is used twice. The first time in verse 61, it refers to the twelve Jesus had chosen that we usually think of as His disciples. The second time is in verse 66, when Jesus refers to the crowd. They were also considered disciples because the word "disciple" means "to follow the teachings of another." Jesus specifically chose the twelve because He knew they would be the ones who would become His Apostles. "Apostle" means "one who is sent out." Jesus chose them to teach them, then send them out to become the ones who would start the early Christian church. The large group of people were Jesus' disciples, because they were His students, and followers. That doesn't mean they didn't tell others about Jesus, that just means they were always known only as disciples.
Jesus had just taught the crowd that He was the true bread from heaven. If they eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, they will have eternal life. He knew that some of them were complaining. He turned to them and asked "Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see me, The Son of Man, return to heaven again?It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. But some of you don't believe me. This is what I meant when I said that people can't come to me unless the Father brings them to me." That was a bunch of the crowd left. In my last post, "Drawn To God" we talked about how it is our responsibility to have an open mind so the Holy Spirit can work in us. Even though the Holy Spirit didn't come on the scene until after Jesus' death and resurrection He gave us a hint here that, that is who touches our spirit.
When the crowd started leaving, Jesus turned to the twelve and asked "Are you going to leave too?" Peter said "Lord to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them, and we know you are the Holy One of God."
Here again we are challenged to have an open mind. I believe we are still suppose to question, and seek answers. Let the Holy Spirit touch your spirit, and let Him give you the answers your are looking for.
Next we are going to start Chapter 7. That is going to be a little while. I have a story brewing in my head for my other blog "Damsels Ghosts and Heroes."  So I'll be back as soon as I clear my head. Until then keep searching and asking those questions.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursdays Child:John 6:37-45 Drawn To God

John six has really provided us with some good discussion material. On this Thursdays Child I would like to take a look at a phrase Jesus says a couple of times in chapter six. In verses 37, and 44 Jesus says "Those that the Father has given to Me will come to Me." and "For people can't come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them to Me." In these two verses Jesus is essentially is saying the same thing. People can't come to Jesus unless the Father draws them to Him. I have heard people argue that, God chooses people to find salvation, and if He doesn't choose you, you go to hell. They are trying to say "How can God be so cruel, and pick and choose who goes to heaven?" Well, let's look at John 6:37-40. Jesus says "However, those the Father has given to Me, will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do what I want. And this is the will of God that I should not lose even one of all those He has given Me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the last day. For it is my Father's will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life, that I should raise them at the last day."
Then in verse 45 Jesus says "As it is written in the scriptures 'They will all be taught by God', Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me."  
This last scripture tells me it is up to us to learn from what we hear being preached. How many times have heard something or seen something that we just can't accept. A recent news story comes to mind. A preacher who was having a service where they handled snakes, got bit by a rattle snake, didn't go to the hospital right away but, prayed for healing. When they saw he wasn't getting better, they took him to the hospital, but it was too late. He died. The outcome of this story isn't my point, my point is, I wouldn't have been in the service, because I'm just not that open minded when it comes to touching snakes. People who aren't open minded to hearing the word of God, don't accept it right away. We do like to say that every time  some tells another about Jesus, "it plants a seed," and the more people that share Jesus with that person, that seed grows. This is what verse 45 is talking about. That person continues to learn, then one day he or she comes to Jesus. These days we say it is the Holy Spirit that draws then. Back then Jesus says it is the Father, because Jesus hadn't died, rose, and ascended to heaven. It was after He went up to heaven that the Holy Spirit came. That passage also says "It is the will of God that I should not lose even one." That tells me, that God wants all of us to come to Jesus, but God also gives us the ability to chose, or not. This is called free will. The more people that share Jesus with someone, the more chances they have to exercise their free will. God wants us all to be raised in Jesus at the last day, and spend eternity in heaven. It's up to us. God just provides the opportunities. This would be one of those opportunities. If this is your first time reading this blog, or if you want to know more about what it means to come to Jesus, please leave a comment in the comment section, and I'll reply.
Next time we finish off chapter 6, which talks more about how the crowd following Jesus aren't able to accept Him as the Messiah.
Thanks for searching with me as we try to figure out how God draws us to Him.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursdays Child John 6:35-60 Things Aren't Always What They Seem

Well, I hope you liked the last entry "Son Of Man." It was fun for me to research. If you didn't catch it, it is just below this one. We looked at what Jesus meant when He referred to Himself as "The Son Of Man." Check it out.
As we continue in the book of John, we'll take a look at how Jesus tries to explain to the crowd (the crowd of 5000 He had just fed the night before) that He is the "Bread Of Life." This passage has a lot of repetition in it. It probably could have been a lot shorter, but Jesus kept trying to convince the crowd that He had come to give them eternal life, and they just weren't able to accept it. As I was reading it, I was able to understand it from both perspectives. If we look at verse 38, Jesus says "I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent Me, not to do what I want." Then in verse 42 the people said "How can He say He came down from heaven, we know His mother and father." It doesn't say how long they had known Jesus' family, but I was thinking if they knew Him as He was growing up, it would be really hard to accept Him as the Messiah.
As we look at the next exchange between Jesus and the people, this is the part that spans twelve verses. Jesus is trying to explain to them that they are to eat of His flesh, and drink His blood. You can understand why the disciples said in verse 60 "This is very hard to understand. how can anyone accept it." It was back in verse 57 that help me understand. Jesus said "I live by the power of the living Father who sent me, in the same way, those who partake of Me will live because of Me." Jesus is saying here, if you totally take in and consume and live everything I teach, you will have eternal life. I don't know why, but the word "partake" helped me to realize what Jesus was saying. I think it's very cool that, after the people told Jesus they expected Him to take care of them while they followed Him, and brought up how Moses fed the Israelites with manna, Jesus compares himself to the manna. God supplied manna from heaven to sustain life for the Israelites, now Jesus is telling them, and us, that He has come from heaven and He is all the bread we need to "partake" of to have eternal life. When He says we will never hunger and thirst again, He means when we get to heaven. Naturally we will while we're still living as humans on earth, but when we get to heaven, when all is perfect, there will be no need for food or drink. If you were having a hard time understanding what Jesus meant when He said we are to eat His flesh, and drink His blood, I hope this helped make things a little clearer.
Just remember, things may not always be what they appear. The people in this passage would never have expected Jesus to be the Messiah (and some of them still didn't believe.) So keep an open mind, the most wonderful things could come to us where and when we least expect it.
In verse 37, and 44 Jesus said "those the Father has drawn to Me." I'd like to take a look at this next time. I have heard some debate about this in the past, and I'd like to see if we can shed a little light on this phrase. Until then keep questioning, and keep searching for the answers.
Thanks for searching with me,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursdays Child: "Son Of Man" Examined

As I mentioned in the last Thursdays Child, I would like to take a look at the phrase "Son Of Man." It's a phrase that I always wondered what it's meaning was. It is used 88 times in the New Testament, and one that Jesus used to refer to Himself.
What I found is that there are two possible meanings. One is from the book of Daniel, in a prophecy about Jesus being the Messiah. In Daniel 7:13-14 it says, "In my vision at night I looked and there before me was like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations, and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." The second meaning actually means born of a human. An interesting use of the phrase, is in the Old Testament, it is used to confirm a person's relationship to another person. They used the phrase, like we use "next of kin" today. If a person needed to be bought from slavery, or released from jail, the "son of man" could redeem them. Since Jesus was totally human He can be considered our relative by blood, and since He was totally God, He could forgive sins. Therefore, Jesus was able to forgive the sins of those who lived when He did, and since He died and rose from the grave He is also able to forgive our sins today.
It's interesting to learn that Jesus did things that were based in His tradition. He observed the laws that were given by God, but then He would turn around and do things contrary to the man made laws, like having the man at the Bethesda pool carry his mat on the Sabbath.
It's fun to research the things you wonder about. I have wondered about the "Son of Man"" phrase for  a while. I'm glad I decided to finally find out what it meant. I hope it was as interesting for you also.
Thanks for learning with me,