Those Who Are Spiritual.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 ESV

God is mysterious, transcendent, holy, perfectly righteous and completely invisible to the human eye. He is an non-created spirit being who has no beginning and end. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, unbound by space or time, and inaccessible by man unless He makes Himself known. But that is the amazing thing. He has made Himself known. He has revealed Himself through creation. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:19-20 ESV). But over the centuries, God has made Himself known in many other ways. He spoke to Abram in Ur. He guided him, directed him, and promised to make of him a great nation. God had personal encounters with Isaac and Jacob. He personally cared and provided for Joseph. He appeared to Moses and used him to release the people of Israel from captivity. God spoke through prophets. He used judges. But His greatest revelation of Himself was through the incarnation of His Son. One of the titles of Jesus was Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Paul tells us, “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 ESV). John writes, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18 ESV). 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man and took on human flesh. He lived among men. He ministered to men. He healed them. He taught them. But the greatest accomplishment of Jesus’ earthly life was His sacrificial death on the behalf of men. He died so that we might live. God sacrificed His own sinless sin so that men might be made right with Him. And those who have accepted the sacrifice of His Son’s death as payment for their sins received another manifestation of God’s presence: His Spirit. The Spirit of God has come to dwell within all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their sin-substitute and Savior. And Paul would have us consider the staggering significance of that reality. “Now we have received … the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV). This may sound a bit sacrilegious, but the Holy Spirit within us is like a radio receiver that allows us to pick up the spiritual wave lengths broadcast to us by God. Think of it like having a radio in your can that can receive Sirius radio signals. If you don’t have one, you can’t hear what is being broadcast. Without the Spirit, we would find it impossible to pick up and make out what God is saying to us. His Word would be impossible to understand. His presence, while all around us, would be oblivious to us. Paul explains why. The Spirit interprets spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. And we are only spiritual because we have the Spirit within us. Our spirituality is not something we have earned or attained. It has been given to us by God, just like our salvation was. We have received the gift of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. And His presence within us makes it possible for us to hear from and understand God. The bottom line, according to Paul, is that “no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11 ESV). But thankfully, we have His Spirit within us. And we CAN understand the thoughts of God. We CAN comprehend His Word. We CAN hear from Him and communicate with Him.

When we read the Scriptures, we are not on our own. We do not have to rely on our intellect alone. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us hear from God as He speaks to us through His written Word. That is what makes the Scriptures so powerful and potentially life changing. The write of Hebrews describes the Scriptures as “alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT). The Word of God is alive to us because the Holy Spirit lives within us. He is the one who makes us spiritual beings. Rather than being limited to our physical and mental capacities alone, we have the ability to receive spiritual truths directly from God Himself, all because we have the Spirit of God living within us. And Paul, quoting from Isaiah 64:4, provides us with the incredible nature of that reality. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” We can’t even begin to imagine what God has to show us, teach us, reveal to us, and do for us. But because we have the Spirit of God within us, we can experience and understand the unimaginable and unknowable – the things freely given us by God.

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The Deep Things of God.

God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 ESV

Paul was a highly intelligent man. He was well-schooled in all things concerning the Law, having studied under Gamaliel, a well-known rabbi and expert in the Law. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus did not diminish his intellectual capacity, but it did alter his perspective. After having come to believe that Jesus Christ was the long-awaited Messiah and Savior of the world, he found that he no longer had to rely solely on human reasoning and his own intellectual prowess. He had another resource on which to rely. There had been a time in his life when his oratory skills and debating talents were of great importance to him. But he reminded the believers in Corinth, “When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan” (1 Corinthians 12:1 ESV). In other words, Paul didn’t rely upon his highly-developed and well-honed speaking skills or his personal powers of persuasion. Instead, he said, “I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4 ESV). In fact, his whole approach while ministering in Corinth was intentionally simplistic and one-dimensional. “For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:3 ESV). Why? He gives us the answer:  “So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV).

But what Paul shared with the Corinthians was anything but simplistic or sophomoric. He had not checked his intelligence at the door or dumb-downed his message. He shared a brand of wisdom that was not of this world. It was not based on human reasoning and could not be grasped by human intellect alone. Paul, who had been a student of the Scriptures and, as a former Pharisee, an expert in the Law, knew that his years of study had not revealed to him what he now knew about God and His plan of redemption. It had been disclosed to him by the Spirit of God. No, Paul explained, “I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7 NLT). Had the “rulers of this world” – the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman governmental authorities – understood who Jesus was, they would not have crucified Him. But, in spite of all their collective power and wisdom, they were oblivious to the reality of Jesus’ identity and mission.

Paul makes it clear that the reality of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection were unknowable by men unless the Spirit of God revealed it to them. “These things” regarding Jesus had been revealed to Paul “through the Spirit.” He hadn’t ascertained it on his own. It had not been the result of careful study. His knowledge of the Scriptures had not prepared Him to recognize the Messiah when He came. Even Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39 ESV). In their passionate desire to understand the Scriptures, they failed to see the One who is the fulfillment of those very same Scriptures. Paul’s claim was that his knowledge regarding was Christ was the work of the Spirit of God. “For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets” (1 Corinthians 2:10 NLT). It was the Holy Spirit who had revealed to Paul his understanding of and appreciation for the mystery of Christ’s coming and God’s gift of salvation through His Son. He refers to it as the “secret and hidden wisdom of God.”

Jesus accused the Pharisees of trying to find eternal life through the study of the Scriptures alone. But because of their arrogance and pride, they were looking right past the very focus of those Scriptures. It has been and always will be about God’s redemption of man. God is a redeeming God. From beginning to end, the Bible is the story of man’s redemption. And it all points to Jesus. In his letter to the believers living in Galatia, Paul writes, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:4-6 ESV). At just the right time, according to God’s perfect, divine plan, He sent His Son. No man could have come up with this plan. And no man is capable of understanding it without help from the Spirit of God. But as Paul says, God has sent the Spirit into our hearts. We have divine assistance. We have been given the ability to understand the deep things of God. Because no one can comprehend the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We are dependent upon Him for all that we know. He is the one who made it possible for us to see and accept Jesus as our Savior. He is the one who makes it possible for us to understand the Scriptures and apply the to our lives. He makes it possible for us to grow spiritually and increase in the knowledge of God. We have within us a divine enabler who makes the deep things, the mysterious, unknowable things of God knowable.

The Privilege of Knowing God.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. – 1 John 5:20 ESV

1 John 5:13-21

John closes his letter with a strong note of affirmation: “We know that the Son of God has come.” John has given his own personal testimony to that fact, along with the testimonies of the three very reliable witnesses, not to mention God Himself. The evidence is more than sufficient to prove that Jesus not only came, but that He was and is the Son of God. He existed before the creation of the world with God. Not only that, He played a major part in the creation of the world. John begins his gospel with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3 ESV). The deity of Jesus is essential to the plan of salvation. Without it, mankind’s sin problem remains unchanged. We are left with the ever-present reality of sin in our lives and the complete incapacity to refrain from sin or remove the guilt and sentence of death associated with it. There were those in John’s day who believed that Jesus simply came to show us a better way to live. He came to give us a more enlightened moral code by which to conduct our lives. But Jesus’ entire life led to the cross, where He sacrificed Himself for the sins of mankind. He atoned for man’s sin by offering Himself as a worthy, sinless sacrifice. And as a result, when anyone places their faith in Him as their Savior and sin substitute, they receive not only cleansing from sin, but His righteousness. In other words, Jesus didn’t just pay our debt off and bring our balance to zero. That would still have left us spiritually penniless and helpless. No, what Jesus did was give us His righteousness. He replaced our indebtedness to God with the wealth of His righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). Not only that, He provided a way for us to know God and experience fellowship with Him for the very first time in our lives.

We can know the one, true God. No longer are we left to try and conjure up our own version of God or find something else that might act as a stand-in for Him. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can actually, legitimately know God. We can come into His presence. And when we do, we come as His children, not groveling, fearful debtors. He looks on us as His own children. He sees us as righteous, because our sins have all been paid for in full – past, present and future. We no longer have to try and earn His favor. We don’t have to attempt to measure up and keep our sin-quotient below 50 percent. Yes, we are to live holy lives, because that is what He has called us to. But we don’t do it out of a sense of obligation or in order to earn His love and favor. We do it gladly, out of love for Him. And we do it in the strength He has provided us through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Our testimony can be that of Paul’s, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV). Through the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in us. The Spirit of God has taken up a permanent residence within each and every believer.

But the main point John leaves us with as he closes out his letter is that “we may know him who is true.” By coming to know Jesus as Savior, we come to know God the Father. There is no other way. Any other attempt to come to know God will fall short. It will end in idolatry, a false form of God. Rather than the true God, man will always end up worshiping false gods – apart from Christ. John wants us to know that Jesus makes it possible for us to know the one true God and experience eternal life. But one of the false perceptions among many believers is that eternal life is somehow a commodity. It is some kind of future reward reserved for those who make the right choice and place their faith in Jesus. But Jesus said, “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV). Knowing God and Jesus is eternal life. It is the reward. A relationship with God and His Son is the prize. But do we value it? Do we fully appreciate the remarkable reality that we can have an intimate, experiential knowledge of God – right here, right now? Jesus has made it possible for us to know and understand the infinite, indefinable, all-powerful God of the universe. Through the living word, Jesus; and the written Word, the Scriptures; and the indwelling Spirit; we can know and understand God. We can come to comprehend His character and nature. We can grow in our knowledge of Him. We can increasingly see His incredible love for us and respond in kind. Rather than seeing Him as distant, detached and difficult to understand, we can know and love Him. And we don’t have to wait for heaven in order to start. What an incredible privilege.

Listen Carefully.

They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. – 1 John 4:5-6 ESV

1 John 4:1-6

John made a fairly bold claim when he wrote, “We are from God.” He was telling his readers that he could be trusted because what he wrote, he had received directly from God. He was making it up. It wasn’t his opinion or his fading recollections of how things had happened. John had received his message directly from the Spirit of God, just as Jesus had promised. “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26 NLT). John had special help and assistance. So did Paul and the other writers of the Old and New Testaments. Paul made a similar claim when he wrote the church in Corinth, “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths” (1 Corinthians 2:13 NLT). Paul and John both believed that what they were writing, teaching, and proclaiming was the very Word of God. Paul reminded Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV). And Paul was not just referring to the Old Testament. The authors of what would become the New Testament believed what they were writing was from God. Peter said this of Paul, “just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures” (2 Peter 1:15-16 NET). These men were penning the words of God. They were prophets acting on behalf of God. Listen to what Peter claimed:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,i with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Peter 1:16-21 ESV

Peter was confident that what he wrote was from God, given to him by the Holy Spirit. So what they taught concerning Jesus was God’s words, not their own. That is why they were so adamant that their readers, those who believed in Jesus, not be deceived by any other messengers who might teach a different Jesus, a different gospel, or a different Spirit. Paul and the other New Testament authors wrote under the divine influence of the Spirit of God. They were not just motivational speakers coming up with their own version of the truth or their own take on spiritual life. Paul wrote, “And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:4 NLT). He claimed, “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths” (1 Corinthians 2:!4 NLT). The things of God are impossible for the non-spiritual to discern or understand. “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT). But they can understand the things of the world. The non-spiritual, those who do not know Christ, are susceptible and receptive to falsehood, because they don’t know any better. But believers have the Holy Spirit, who helps us discern the difference between truth and fiction, the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. But we must learn to listen carefully to what He is saying. We must spend time in the Word of God in order that the Spirit of God can educate us and equip us for life in this sometimes very confusing world. We have the truth, as revealed in the Word of God. We have the ability to understand God’s Word because we have God’s Spirit. And we have the promise that “the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4 NLT). 

Day 148 – Matthew 28:9-15; Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35

Believe It or Not.

Matthew 28:9-15; Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” – Luke 24:17-18 NLT

This is a wonderful story, full of irony, humor, and fascinating juxtapositions of sorrow and joy, defeat and victory, and tragedy and triumph. Jesus has risen from the dead and has begun revealing Himself to many of His followers. News about His resurrection has begun to spread, but it has been met with disbelief and incredulity. When the Jewish religious leaders were informed about what had happened at the tomb by the guards who were ordered to protect the body from being stolen, they couldn’t believe their ears either. This was the worst thing that could have happened. It was what they had feared would happen and they they had begged Pilate to post guards at the tomb in the first place. But rather than believe the guards’ stories and accept that Jesus had risen from the dead, they concoct a lie that accuses the disciples of stealing the body while the guards were sleeping. Think about that. While the guards slept, somehow the disciples rolled away a large stone from the face of the cave and then carried off the body of Jesus – all without waking the guards! And how would this admission of dereliction of duty look on the records of the Roman guards? Sleeping on the job would not be a career enhancer for these men. But evidently the story of an earthquake and an angel appearing and rolling away the stone sounded far too unbelievable too. And the fact that the guards fainted at the sight of it all would not exactly leave the guards looking good in the eyes of their superiors either. So they agreed to spread the lie, and it became the popular explanation among the Jews as to what had happened that day.

But meanwhile Jesus was living, breathing and walking about. He was revealing Himself to His followers. And Luke records His encounter with the two on the road to Emmaus. They were leaving Jerusalem and heading home. Their mood is one of sorrow, dejection, and disappointment. Their dreams have been shattered. Their Messiah is dead. And all their hopes of a restored Jewish kingdom and salvation from Roman rule have died with Jesus. Then suddenly, Jesus appears walking next to them, but “God kept them from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16 NLT). Here was the resurrected Jesus walking right beside them, but they didn’t realize it. So Jesus asked them what they were discussing and they respond with surprise at this individual’s ignorance of current events. “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days” (Luke 24:18 NLT). Unbeknownst to him, Cleopas was addressing his somewhat sarcastic remark to the very one to whom all “the things” had happened. So Jesus, playing dumb, asks, “What things?” Then they begin to tell Jesus all that had taken place. But notice what he says. “He WAS a prophet.” “He WAS a mighty teacher.” “We had HOPED he was the Messiah.” They had been told that His body WAS missing. These same individuals also told them that angels had appeared to them saying the Jesus was alive. But Cleopas and his friend hadn’t believed a word of it. Why? Because Luke tells us that when Jesus found them walking on the road, they had “sadness written across their faces” (Luke 24:17 NLT). Despite the fact that there was news that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb and that He had risen from the dead, they refused to believe. They were headed home in defeat and disbelief. So Jesus said, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26 NLT).

Then Jesus began to unpack the Old Testament Scriptures, from the writing of Moses to all the writings of the prophets, showing them all the things concerning the Messiah. This was a comprehensive Bible study taught by the Savior Himself, and the focus of the study was Jesus. Later, when they finally recognized who it was who had been walking and talking with them, they said, “Didn’t our hearts burn with us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32 NLT). Why did their hearts burn? What was it that lit a fire inside them? At that point they still didn’t recognize Him, but as they had the Scriptures opened up to them, they became convinced about who Jesus was and all that the Messiah had come to do. The written Word of God opened their eyes so that they could receive and believe in the living Word of God. Now, rather than going home, they returned to Jerusalem and found the disciples and told them about their encounter with the risen Lord.

The Word of God reveals the Son of God. The Old Testament gives us a vivid glimpse into the life of the Savior. He is represented throughout the writings of Moses and the prophets. His suffering, death and ultimate resurrection was prophesied. His crucifixion was predicted in vivid detail. His torture at the hands of the Romans was written about hundreds of years before it happened. His substitutionary death and sinless sacrifice were told clearly presented long before they ever happened. But all those things were overlooked or ignored by generations of Jews because they didn’t fit their concept of who the Messiah would be. But God’s ways are not man’s ways. He never does things the way we would. He had a plan that would make no sense to us. But it was the only plan that would work. It was the only plan that would satisfy His holiness and still allow Him to extend grace, love and mercy to those who had openly rebelled against Him. Jesus was the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament predicted. The writer of Hebrews tell us, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT). God had predicted the coming of His Son. Then He actually sent Him to do what He had to do. And one day He is coming back to complete God’s plan. And the Scriptures reveal that part of the Messiah’s assignment as well. Believe it, or not.

Father, Your written Word is full of insights into the life and ministry of Your Son, and it’s not relegated just to the Gospels. His life and ministry is found throughout the Scriptures. Give us a desire to know Him better. Give us a passion for Your Word because it is in Your Word where we discover the truth regarding Your Son and His ministry, past, present and future. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Day 27 – John 5:1-47

The Son of God.

John 5:1-47

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” – John 5:39 NLT

In this passage, Jesus encounters a man who had been sick for 38 years. Every day, this man somehow made his way to the pool of Bethesda, near the wall of the Temple. The waters were thought to hold healing properties and, when they were stirred up, if you could be one of the first to get in the water, you would receive healing. This man’s problem was that, after 38 long years of suffering, he had no hope of ever getting in the water in time. Jesus asked him a question with a very obvious answer. “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6 NLT). To which the man replied, “I can’t, sir, for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me” (John 5:7 NLT). In response, Jesus tells the man, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” (John 5:8 NLT).

And immediately the man is healed and does just as he is told. It was an amazing moment. This man’s life was changed forever. But John reminds of us one small detail in the story. It is the Sabbath. And when the Pharisees see this man “working” on the Sabbath by carrying his mat, they are appalled. And when they find out Jesus told him to do so, they begin to confront Jesus about breaking the Sabbath. But it would be Jesus response to them that would turn their anger into thoughts of murder. Jesus said, “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17 NLT). Here lies the greatest disconnect between Jesus and the religious leadership of His day. He claimed to be the Son of God, and in so doing, He claimed to be deity. According to their standards, that was blasphemy, a crime punishable by death.

And this is still the disconnect most people have with Jesus today. Most have no problem believing that Jesus lived or that He was a powerful and influential teacher. Many have little or no struggle with the idea of Him doing miracles. But where the problem comes up for most is with the concept of Jesus as the Son of God. This remains a stumbling block for most people today. Even for many church-going, Bible-believing, so-called Christians today. Like the Pharisees, they search the Scriptures, thinking that in them they will find eternal life (John 5:39). In other words, the secret to having a right relationship with God is through discovering His requirement as found in His Word. So they read the Scriptures trying to decipher the rules and requirements God has set out so that they can keep them and make God happy. But Jesus reminds us, “the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life” (John 5:39-40 NLT). Jesus’ miracles were simply to act as proof of who He claimed to be. They were evidence of His deity. The power He displayed came from God and so did He. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that God had given Him the power to provide eternal life to any and all who would believe that He was God’s Son. “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life” (John 5:24 NLT). It was essential that they believe that Jesus was sent from God and was the Son of God. And not only has God given Jesus the life-giving power to provide eternal life to those who would believe He came from God, He has given Him the power to judge all men at the end of the age. With a word from Jesus, all the dead will rise and face judgment – some to face eternal life and some  eternal death. The Pharisees saw the miracles of Jesus. They heard the powerful teachings of Jesus. But they could not handle the claims of Jesus to be God. That was beyond their ability to comprehend or consent to. And as a result, they missed the point. They were so busy trying to work their way to eternal life that they missed the very one who could give them eternal life.

Jesus was and is the Son of God. He is the second person of the Trinity. He was God’s means by which the world might be saved and men might be reconciled to a right relationship with Him. But it is essential that men believe Jesus was who He claimed to be. The miracles and messages of Jesus mean nothing if they do not point us to His deity. The words of Scripture will mean nothing if we do not find within them the message that Jesus is the Son of God, sent to save the world from the judgment of God. Jesus was more than just a man. He was more than just a prophet. He was more than just a faith-healer. He was more than just a teacher. He was the Son of God. Yet Jesus can still say to so many, “For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me” (John 5:43 NLT).

Father, it was Jesus’ claim to deity that became the stumbling block for so many. They couldn’t comprehend it, so they simply rejected it. They couldn’t explain it, so they refused to believe it. But to those who believed through a simple act of faith, He gave eternal life, and I am so grateful to have been included in that number. Thank You. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org