Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me.  He who sees me sees him who sent me.
When we reflect God, we obey the Bible. We care about the 10 commandments and the commandments of the New Testament. It is natural to bind the Word to our hearts, it reflects the Father. Additionally, we put away anger. Instead, we respond to people gently, even when they are rude. We do not try to get even or to justify ourselves. Instead, we are patient, caring more about the things of God than our egos. Finally, when we reflect God, we walk in love. We put away jealousy and bitterness in exchange for mercy, kindness, and grace. In our daily walk, we testify of God through our words and actions.
When we practice these basic principles, God is reflected to the people around us. We must separate ourselves from sin and come into obedience to the Bible. More, we must submit our goals to God. Are our goals truly Biblical reflecting the whole counsel of the Bible? Or do all our choices hang on one or two scriptures that speak of blessings? When we are purposed to reflect God to the world, we bring all these areas of “flesh” into obedience to the Scripture.
When we separate ourselves from fleshly indulgences we begin to look like Jesus. We both reflect God, and we reflect Jesus’ motivations. Like Jesus, we love to the point of laying down our lives. We are powerful to confront sin in other believers. We are passionate about getting people into a relationship with God. We also believe the Bible when we reflect God. We believe in heaven and hell and an eternal destiny so we realize the worthiest thing we can do to reflect God and imitate Jesus is to share the gospel with the lost.
Lord, please help me have the same motivations as Jesus. I long for those around me to see your love and goodness. Please help me witness to the lost. Help me focus on your priorities. Teach me to love others more than myself. Please help me bring my flesh into subjection to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.”  Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
The Pharisees were a religious group intent on obedience to God. In their intense desire to obey God, they wrote approximately 400 rules every Jewish person was meant to obey. The book of rules was called the Talmud. During Jesus’ day, the Talmud was the authoritative text of the Jewish religion, Judaism. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were about the only people that could properly obey the Talmud. This was because they studied the Scripture and Talmud daily. They did not have other employment. Instead, they spent all their time focused on obedience to God.
Because they knew the scriptures Jesus said their eyes were open. That meant they understood the scripture had authority over the Talmud. The Pharisees considered anyone a lawbreaker if they disobeyed the Talmud to obey scripture. In fact, the Pharisees were professionals at policing and enforcing the Talmud. Anyone caught breaking the rules of the Talmud were put out of the synagogue, an extremely traumatic life outcome.
The Pharisees had just thrown the man who had once been blind out of the synagogue. He went to them to have his healing confirmed. However, instead of rejoicing that the Father had healed him, they were more concerned that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Doing anything on the Sabbath, even healing someone, was outlawed in the Talmud. This upset Jesus. The scriptures testified of the Father’s kindness and goodness. Therefore, to outlaw kindness and love on the Sabbath was disobedient. Because they knew this Jesus hurls the truth at them and declares them fit to be judged.
Father, forgive me for caring more about rules than about people. I long to be righteous in my obedience to the Bible and I long to be holy in my love towards others. Help me repent, Lord. This is inner work and I need you to come and show me the best way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, “Isn’t this he who sat and begged?”  Others were saying, “It is he.” Still others were saying, “He looks like him.” He said, “I am he.”  They therefore were asking him, “How were your eyes opened?”  He answered, “A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and I received sight.”
Have you ever seen or experienced a miracle? If you have, one of the things you may have noticed is miracles tend to be obscured. In the above passage, people were already casting doubt on the miracle of healed vision. There were people telling others the man was not blind. Even as we read the Bible today, we can see skepticism in these Bible characters. Miracles are easy to doubt, even when we see them.
Yet, God does perform miracles in our lives. Some are profound, and others are simply sweet. It is a miracle to be healed of blindness but it’s also a miracle to have access to eye care, including the skills and talents to earn money to go to an optometrist. We are so busy waiting for an undeniable God event that we miss the sweetness in the abundance of what God does for us.
The blind man needed sight. He needed to see, so Jesus healed him. But there is a small tension in the story because Jesus sends the man to wash in the pool of Siloam. Why did he do that? Why did he give a command that truly has nothing to do with being healed? Because the enormous miracle of sight was the smaller miracle of God’s care. God was healing more than the man’s physical vision; he was also healing his heart.
Lord, help me to be faithful in recognizing miracles in the world and in my life. Heal me inside and out. Help me see. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.”  The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”  Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM. ”  Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through the middle of them, and so passed by.
Jesus is talking to a crowd who has been calling him a demon. Now, taking it a step further, the crowd attempted to stone Jesus. But Jesus knew he could trust God. And so, Jesus just walked right out of that situation. He took one step at a time. Step by step, with stones in their hands, he walked through the middle of the crowd.
How did Jesus walk out of a raging mob intent on stoning him to death? He believed God. He believed the things he heard and saw from the Lord. Based on that belief he knew he was safe. Based on that belief he knew to pivot and walk away.
What we believe about God’s Word matters. Jesus had the Word of God in his heart and he had the scriptures. We have those same things. The Holy Spirit gently speaks to us and leads us. The Bible also leads us. If it is in the Bible, you can trust it completely. If you encounter a promise in the Word, let it guide your decision-making process.
Lord Jesus, please help me know your Word, trust your Word, and act based on your Word. Help me receive the promises and walk in them. Give me the grace to trust You more. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’  Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?”  Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God.  You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, ‘I don’t know him,’ I would be like you, a liar. But I know him, and keep his word.
White lies. American culture practically runs on them. We thoughtlessly go through conversational motions without realizing we casually tell white lies for the sake of good. But this was not Jesus’ problem. He did not tell white lies. Nor did he tell possible lies. He told what he believed to be true and for this choice, he was called a demon.
Jesus was also called a demon for bringing a new idea. That was, salvation comes from obedience to Christ versus obedience to the law. When you stop and think about how counterculture this idea of obeying Jesus was, it makes it easy to understand the crowd calling Jesus a demon.
Another reason for saying Jesus had a demon was because he said he knew God. Someone in our modern era would probably be called a demon for saying they knew God. It is stunning that Jesus went through everything we go through. Even being pressured to recant, he holds firm when he says of the Father, “…I know him, and keep his word.”
Lord Jesus, I want to be like you. Please forgive me for telling white lies to preserve myself. Help me trust you fully and teach me to kindly say the truth. Teach me to keep silent when appropriate so I do not cause harm in disagreement. In Jesus’ name, amen.
He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”  Then the Jews answered him, “Don’t we say well that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?”  Jesus answered, “I don’t have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.
The accusation of being demonized is a plague in the church. It caused Jesus trouble, and it causes us trouble. One of the challenges is someone owns the church building. Someone’s name is on the utility bill. And that someone has a vision they are pursuing. So, when someone from the crowd brings a word of correction, an easy out is to call them demonized. People’s lives and mental health are damaged by these careless accusations.
You see how easily Jesus was accused of being demonized. And don’t make a mistake about it, Jesus suffered because of those accusations. Just like every believer suffers from such accusations. For example, when you call someone a demon who has schizophrenia, they will likely stop taking their medicines because you prayed for them, and they believe they are well. So now, once their mental health issues arise, most churches would ask the member to leave.
Calling someone a demon should not be an easy decision to make. For Christians, it is the ultimate shaming tool. To tell someone they have a demon is to accuse them of a partnership with Satan. That implies deliberate intent. That is the problem with even suggesting a demon is involved.
Lord Jesus, help me never accuse someone of having a demon. Let me bring those concerns to only you so that everyone can have their privacy. Give me the wisdom to understand what is going on with other believers. Help me focus on them enough to understand their issue. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Therefore Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven’t come of myself, but he sent me.  Why don’t you understand my speech? Because you can’t hear my word.  You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father.  But because I tell the truth, you don’t believe me.  Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”
Do you like to drink, smoke, live selfishly and in general always think about yourself? Do other godly people irritate you? Do you love the Father, or do you love the world? These are important questions for each of us to use to evaluate our heart condition. The one we serve is our father. Is God in heaven our Father, or is Satan of the earth our father?
We need to look out of ourselves to make these types of evaluations. Why? Jesus says when we hear Satan we become deaf to God. So, worldliness may not be easy to detect. For most of us, when we do not want to face sin we make an excuse to deal with it later. But it takes discipline and perseverance to self-check for worldliness and godliness.
However, most people change their doctrine to accommodate sin. Most of us cannot bear for our stated beliefs to be proven false. It’s called psychological dissonance. We all try to keep a balance so we do not experience dissonance. The easiest way to solve dissonance is to change our minds. We must resist this urge. When Holy Spirit starts to bring conviction, making excuses will cause your love for God to wax cold. In this place, strange perverted ideas can masquerade as godliness. For this reason, decision-makers in the Body of Christ need to be thoroughly tested and tried before they are given power over other believers. It is also why believers need to read the Bible with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, open my ears so that I can hear you. Forgive me for partnering with the world. Please help me change to true godliness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.  But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham didn’t do this.  You do the works of your father.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God.”
Jesus grew up being a boy that came from sexual immorality. Everyone knew it. And here, where Jesus is telling the crowd Satan is their father, they demonstrate their cruelty. Jesus says they are going to kill him, and the crowd does not deny it. When Jesus logically fences them in, they grab for something to change the subject. They throw Jesus’ shame of being born too early for a marital pregnancy. These are whitewashed sepulchers using religion for power but having no love in them (Mat 23:27).
If they had love in them and God was their Father, they would have the faith of Abraham. Abraham talked with God. He heard from God (Gen 17:22). Abraham loved God and loved the things of God. He wasn’t perfect in his behavior (Gen 12:10-11). Where Abraham was so amazing was his faith walk. For Abraham, if God said, Abraham was going to act on it (Gen 12:4). When strangers came Abraham fixed them the fatted calf and he believed these men were angels of the Lord (Gen 18:1-5).
If the crowd believed Abraham, they would have listened to Jesus because Jesus came to them as an angel of truth. For this, he was accused of being a reprobate by virtue of his birth. Praise God we are judged for our own merits because of the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus did not have this luxury. Not in the eyes of the crowd nor in the eyes of Jewish leaders. He was viewed as the product of sexual immorality and was considered unfit for ministry.
Lord Jesus, please give me discernment to correctly view others in ministry. Help me love and honor those you have promoted. Alert me to wolves. Protect me as I stop trying so hard to protect myself. Help me, love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I know that you are Abraham’s offspring, yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you.  I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father.”
Not only does Jesus realize people want him dead, but he also has the boldness to say it publicly. In our time, saying someone wants to kill you would lead others to consider if you are mentally ill. In Jesus’ time, they did not think about mental illness, they related it to demonization. Jesus was taking a huge risk saying his truth.
Jesus goes on to say the truth has no place in those listening to him. Jesus’ words are truth, and the truth cannot reside in the children of Satan. What Jesus see’s, he says. On the other hand, the crowd imitates their father, Satan. Jesus tells what he has seen. Those with a heart for God will receive his words as truth. Those who seek their own good instead of the Father’s good are children of the enemy.
This is why we must be careful in our self-centered culture. We easily compromise truth when we say God would never ask this or that of us. Actually, God will ask a lot of his people. If God is your Father, you are going to do a few things you would rather not do. God has a purpose through us, but first, he has to work his purpose in us. Only then can his truth work through us to save those we encounter.
Lord Jesus, please help me discern truth as I pursue a relationship with you. Reveal yourself to me, Lord. Help me put away selfishness and turn my face towards you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know me, and know where I am from. I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true, whom you don’t know.  I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
Jesus is at the temple on a feast day. He has just confronted the Jews for wanting to kill him (John 7:19). Now, he is standing up declaring he alone knows God. I can only imagine how much courage that took. In just a few verses, Jesus is going to tell people to believe in him (John 7:37-38). Every one of these choices could get Jesus killed. It is surprising he was not thrown out of the temple.
It is surprising to recognize the favor on Jesus’ life. If God had not intervened, Jesus would have been killed, beaten, or made an outcast from the temple. Instead, the leaders miss their opportunity to silence Jesus. Jesus was not foolish. He understood the risks of saying the things he was saying. I appreciate that Jesus took risks like all of us. He was dependent on God’s favor just like all of us.
He was dependent on God in the same way that we are dependent on God. I like that. I like knowing that Jesus had to do the hard things as we all do. More, Jesus shows by example how to be holy. That is, he shows how to create a space in which people can interface with God. Jesus shows by example he was willing to die so a few might be saved.
Lord Jesus, please give me the courage to obey you, even when it is hard. Please help me lay my life down at your feet so that others may be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.