Lifted Up

John 12:31-34 WEB

[31] Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out. [32] And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” [33] But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. [34] The multitude answered him, “We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?”

Jesus’ impending death was heavy on his mind. Jesus was addressing the crowd that was drawn through the mighty miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection. Ironically, the Father revealed that Jesus would die through the resurrection of Lazarus. God even went so far as to reveal how Jesus would die. He would be lifted up on a cross so that all people could receive eternal life.

With all they had seen, the crowd still could not understand a Messiah that died on a cross. That was because in Isaiah 9:7 the Bible says that there is no ending to the Lord’s rule. Also, the crowd believed Daniel 2:44 which says God’s kingdom shall never end. They had Jesus before them and yet could not see him. So, although Jesus was dealing with his own heartache, he continues to explain the kingdom and the Son of Man. With all the heightened experiences Jesus and the disciples had experienced they were almost surely ready for rest. Instead, Jesus keeps trying to make use of the current opportunity. His feet were prepared with the gospel of peace.

Jesus was the gospel of peace. His life story teaches us what peace looks like, strangely enough, Jesus’ story is full of chaotic moments. The water to wine in Cana, the scourging of the vendors in the temple complex, the feeding of the multitude, and the resurrection of Lazarus. Those situations were chaotic, and that chaos affected the disciples. However, Jesus remained unchanged. The chaos of the circumstances did not take Jesus’ peace. Jesus was fully confident in God’s goodness. So much that he obediently went to the cross to be lifted up.

Lord, please release a quality of peace that will allow me to stand steady amid chaos. Help me make use of opportunities to share the gospel. Please, Lord, take away the fear of rejection so I boldly and respectfully share the message of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

No Fear in Love

John 6:16-18 WEB

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, [17] and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. [18] The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing.

The disciples have been waiting for Jesus to return and it is now evening so they go to the sea. There they wait, but still, Jesus does not come. They decide to head for their home base in Capernaum and strikeout to cross the sea. On their way, a storm blows in making the sea dangerous. It’s then Jesus comes. He tells them not to be afraid and they let him on the boat.

This passage strikes me as symbolic as much as it is rational. I can imagine the evening and the dark reflecting spiritual conditions. Also, the sea always makes me think of the deep places with God. So, I look at this passage and I see symbolically that when things look dark, we must stand and wait for the Lord. Otherwise, the invitation into the deep places will not happen peacefully.

The disciples did not have peace. They made a critical error. They decided to move from the place where they were told to wait for the Lord. Perhaps there was a storm coming or perhaps they were tired of waiting. Either way, they end up where they are not supposed to be and nearly die for their disobedience.

During the storm, the disciples see Jesus walking on the water. He walks towards the boat and tells them not to be afraid. With this small comfort, the disciples let him on the boat. Even though the disciples put themselves in a dangerous position, the Lord does not abandon the disciples. He does not want them to be afraid of the storm or of him.

Lord Jesus, please help me clearly see the ways in which I am disobedient. Let me receive your gift of grace and turn from places of error. I trust you to protect me even when I make mistakes. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.