The Spectacle of Miracles

John 12:9-11 WEB

A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. [10] But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, [11] because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.


People love a spectacle. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he created a spectacle. People were astonished. In modern language, we would say Jesus “blew their minds.” And once Jesus astonished people with the wonder of the miracles he performed, people started following to watch the spectacle. Many did not want to become more intimately acquainted with God. They wanted to be entertained.

Of course, not all people were there for entertainment. Lazarus being raised from the dead excited many of the followers. A large number began to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Because of this, the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus. They were jealous of the attention Jesus and Lazarus were getting. It was a threat to their positions (John 11:48). Therefore, out of jealousy, they wanted to kill both Jesus and Lazarus.

For Jesus and Lazarus, being anointed carried a heavy price. Not everyone was there to serve the Lord. Some were there to see what Jesus would do next. They loved what Jesus could do for them, but they did not love Jesus. We know when Jesus died, he died alone. Only a few apostles came to the crucifixion. The crowd that loved the miracles was nowhere to be found when Jesus needed them the most. Jesus understood these things. The Word says that Jesus trusted no one (John 2:23-24). So, for the many who would believe, Jesus endured the many that wanted to be entertained.


Lord, please prepare my heart to be faithful to you. I don’t want to be a person who is in Christ for entertainment. Please give me the grace to do what you ask me to do in a godly manner. Help me love you and love the people you died to save. Help me recognize the self-seekers so I can focus on those who may be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Slow, like Jesus

John 8:1-8 WEB

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. [2] Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. [3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the middle, [4] they told him, “Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. [5] Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What then do you say about her?” [6] They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of. But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger. [7] But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” [8] Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.


Jesus is humble. We cannot know what Jesus wrote in the dirt. What is significant is he took the time to hear from God before he answered. Jesus had enough humility to slow down and listen before he blurted out the first thing that came to mind. I wonder though, why did Jesus take time here when in other places he does not? The answer is probably simple, a human’s life was on the line. This time there was more at stake than Jesus’ reputation. Another human’s life is in his hands. So, he slows down. He doesn’t presume upon his anointing.

He had the humility to pray for an answer. After he answered the Pharisees, he stoops down again. This is the one that intrigues me. I can understand why he took time to answer, but why is he taking time now? I suspect it was to say thanks to the Father. If I were in that situation, I would be profoundly grateful to the Father for giving me wisdom. And despite his divinity, Jesus is also human. That means he had human frailties.

If Jesus was bound to human frailties, how much more are we? I see Jesus taking extra time when another human beings’ welfare is on the line. It makes me realize, I need to slow down when I am giving answers that impact others. I used to drive the church van. While working with the van ministry I watched people fall away if any word of direction was given to them on the bus. For example, if someone brought an open container, we would have to tell them they could not bring it on the van.

People would get offended, and we would not see them again. Then one day, a woman with 3 rowdy children held the bus for 20 minutes before they were all on board. I did not want to lose this family. So, instead of saying something I went home and fasted for two weeks. I asked the Father to go before me and help me say what I needed to say to keep the van running smoothly.

When I brought the subject up, she was receptive to what I said. She did not get upset and fall away. Instead, she changed her behavior and started being ready on time to go to church. It was a profound experience for me because it highlighted how precious every person is to God. It taught me to go slow when I am interacting with others. More, it taught me to take time to first hear from the Father.


Lord Jesus, please help me grow in humility that I would always go slow and wait for you, especially when another’s welfare is involved. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Unreliable Sources in the Bible

John 7:25-27 WEB

Therefore some of them of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this he whom they seek to kill? [26] Behold, he speaks openly, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is truly the Christ? [27] However we know where this man comes from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know where he comes from.”


The Gospel of John is full of literary structure. One literary device is the unreliable character. It is surprising to find unreliable sources in the Bible. Each of the above verses contains misinformation by the masses. The masses are a frequent “character” in the Bible. In these verses, the masses are deceived and share untruths through the vehicle of misinformation. In literature, a character that doesn’t always tell the truth is considered an unreliable source. An unreliable source repeats gossip, disobeys, lies, may not know the truth, makes unrighteous judgments, and sometimes knows less than the reader.

In verse 25 the masses are repeating gossip. Jesus just said the Jews were seeking to kill him (John 7:15-16, 19). In just a few verses, the masses are repeating Jesus’ statement to one another. We know from the epistles that gossip is one of the “big sins” (Rom 1:29). Since the masses are engaging in a behavior that is unbiblical, they may be unreliable.

However, one or two issues do not mean a character is consistently unreliable. There are a group of behaviors unreliable sources share. One is lying. In verse 26 the masses state the Jews are not speaking to Jesus. We know that is a lie and is not unintentional ignorance.

However, there is a great deal the masses do not know in verse 26. For example, they seem to believe the leaders are trying to kill Jesus (vv 25). Oddly, the masses also think the leaders believe Jesus is the Messiah (vv 26). As readers, we know what is going on. On the other hand, the masses do not seem to know as much as the reader.

A lack of information leads unreliable characters to misjudge people and circumstances. In verse 27 we find the masses passing judgments on the leaders. They reveal they are less informed than the reader. The masses probably believed Jesus was born in Nazareth. They make a logical leap to get to this conclusion. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, so the masses believe that is where he was born. Of course, they are wrong.

Recognizing there is deliberate structure to the gospels helps the reader have a richer experience reading the Bible. Someone trained in writing wrote the gospel of John. It is full of literary structures. The Gospel of John has structure and deliberate choices by the author which do not diminish the spiritual value of the book. This use of the author’s technical skill does not diminish the anointing of the Spirit in the writing. It does mean God will use our knowledge and understanding to accomplish his purposes.


Lord Jesus, please give light to my understanding so I can read the Bible accurately. Help me acquire skills that you can use. Help me prepare an offering for you Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Spiritual Truth

John 4:24 WEB

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”


God is a spirit, so, why is it hard to believe that he works despite the truth of reality? He is a spirit and the works he does are spiritual. How he works is spiritual. Why he works is spiritual. His goals are all spiritual and point to a life after death. A life with God where he is, in the presence of Jesus and with the whole company of believers.

Have you noticed how hard it is to testify to God’s purely spiritual works? People tend to dismiss these testimonies as fanciful or wishful. There is no boasting in God’s spiritual works. His works refrain us from boasting. The truth is, to testify of His spiritual works can be costly. In fact, according to the truth of the Bible, his works are foolishness to the lost (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The good news regarding this is we have a truth that is founded upon reality. If the spiritual is foolish to the lost, then we need a reality-based tool to use. God is spiritual and he used the spiritual tool of anointing to inspire the writing of the Bible. No word of the Bible is apart from anointing. The Bible is inspired from the first verse of Genesis to the last word of Revelation.

The Bible is truth. We are to worship God in both spirit and truth. We must accept, recognize, and share that which is spiritual. We must also accept, recognize, and share that which is truth. When God changes our circumstances so that we have favorable outcomes, we must share, especially with other believers. When God leads us to share with a lost person we must testify from the Bible. Believers can receive the spiritual and the lost can receive the truth.

To fulfill our purpose in the Lord we must worship in spirit and truth. When we testify of the spiritual, we build up the body of believers. When we share from the Bible, we build up believers and harvest the lost. As people of the Church Age, we are bound by the great commission. Regardless of how or when the Great Commission was inspired and written, we are bound to work in the harvesting of the lost. It is our most significant purpose.

As our primary purpose, it should be our primary pursuit. Instead, many have fallen into the trap of pursuing wealth and prosperity. This is tricky because wealth and prosperity are a part of the blessing of the covenant of salvation. Yet, it is also testing for the spiritual. What you focus on in your witness or ministry is spiritual. The outflow of your spiritual condition becomes the reality of your goals and pursuits.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for selfish pursuits. You died for me, and I am honored to pursue your direction and commission. Please cause me to become a soul-winner. I want to be a part of your harvest as the Bible commands. Please heal my spiritual health. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

He Must Increase

John 3:28-30 WEB

You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ [29] He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full. [30] He must increase, but I must decrease.

As people were drawn to Christ, John the Baptist was able to stand aside. He was great at being second. It gave him joy to see the people go to Christ, the bridegroom, to receive forgiveness for their sins and be baptized. John understood the critical thing, that Jesus was meant to increase while he was meant to decrease. It’s hard to be famous for Christ and then have him move the anointing to another. Charismatic leaders can often go right on as if nothing had changed. They can use their natural social acumen to keep the attention focused on themselves when what they should be doing is rejoicing to hear the voice of those anointed by the Father. There are times when the Lord closes a door to one person and leaves it open for another. It is very hard to step aside and let another pass through. Jesus said that John was the greatest prophet ever born (Luke 7:28 WEB). John’s ability to decrease while Jesus increased was praiseworthy.

Lord Jesus, please help me refrain from drawing unnecessary attention to myself and instead help me point others to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.