How Jesus loved

John 13:34-35 WEB

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. [35] By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Jesus loved the disciples. He walked with the disciples and cared for them. How did Jesus love his disciples? He loved them by caring for their many needs. First, he fed them and gave them rest. Next, he taught his disciples the truth. Finally, Jesus prayed for the disciples and answered their questions. To begin, Jesus cared for the disciples’ physical needs. He both fed them and gave them rest. In Mark 6 and Matthew 15 Jesus feeds thousands of seekers. He literally broke up fish and bread and miraculously multiplied it to feed the large crowds. In addition to feeding the disciples he gave them rest (Mk 6:31). When they grew weary from ministry, Jesus pulls them aside and lets them rest.

Jesus loved the disciples. Not only did he feed them and give them rest, but Jesus also taught the disciples. He taught them to walk in faith turning away from sin. Jesus taught the disciples everything the Father was releasing (Mt 7:28-29). Additionally, Jesus rebuked sin and praised faith. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus blatantly rebukes Peter and calls him a stumbling block. This happened because Peter was trying to protect Jesus. However, Jesus did not appreciate the gesture but instead calls Peter Satan. In Luke 17:3 Jesus teaches the disciples to rebuke those in sin. Jesus also taught the disciples to behave and think faithfully. In Matthew 16:17 Jesus praises Peter for his insight into the things of God.

Jesus fed the disciples and taught them the difference between faith and sin. He also prayed for them and maintained an intimate relationship with the disciples. Jesus prayed for his disciples and those they brought to him. In John 11 Jesus prayed for Lazarus to come back from the dead. In this same passage, both Martha and Mary have intimate conversations with Jesus. Also, at the Last Supper Jesus let the disciples lean against his breast and ask him questions (John 13:25-26). Jesus loved his disciples and was intimate with them.


Lord, help me love like you love. Not as the world loves with flattery and half-truths, but real love that comes from you. Help me care about other people’s physical and spiritual needs so that I can discern how to love each one. Put truth in my mouth along with kindness and gentleness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Metaphor?

John 11:11-15 WEB

He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.” [12] The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” [13] Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. [14] So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. [15] I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”


Some Christians believe the Word of God is black and white with rigid borders and boundaries. Other Christians turn everything into a metaphor with a plethora of meanings. So, which is it? Is the Bible to be obeyed to the letter? Or, should the Bible be analyzed as a metaphor so that people can take a range of meanings from the Word? In the above passage, Jesus mixes metaphor with concrete action.

Jesus tells the disciples Lazarus has fallen asleep. Actually, Lazarus is not sleeping, he is dead. What do we do with a passage like this? Do we call Jesus a fool or a liar? No, of course not. Jesus is hinting at the coming resurrection. When he says “Lazarus, has fallen asleep,” it is a metaphor that expands the meaning to something greater than the words therein. Lazarus had died but was going to awake from death.

But the metaphor is only part of the passage. There is also a concrete, black and white, command. Jesus tells the disciples, “Neveretheless, let’s go to him.” It was time for Jesus’ entourage to make their way to Bethany. They were in danger of being arrested and killed. So, it was not an easy command to obey. Without the hope found in the metaphor, the command seemed pointless.


Lord, help me listen to your Holy Spirit so that I can understand your Word. Fill me with obedience and understanding. Let your Word be a lamp to my feet. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Father’s Bosom

John 7:32-36 WEB

The Pharisees heard the multitude murmuring these things concerning him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. [33] Then Jesus said, “I will be with you a little while longer, then I go to him who sent me. [34] You will seek me, and won’t find me; and where I am, you can’t come.” [35] The Jews therefore said among themselves, “Where will this man go that we won’t find him? Will he go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? [36] What is this word that he said, ‘You will seek me, and won’t find me; and where I am, you can’t come’?”


Did you catch that? In the above verses, Jesus says he is going somewhere the Pharisees cannot follow. He then goes on to say, “where I am, you can’t come.” What does Jesus mean when he says where he is they cannot come? He is talking to the Pharisees in person. Doesn’t that mean they are all in the same place? No, according to Jesus they are not because he is somewhere the Pharisees cannot come.

Where is this special place Jesus is at? Jesus is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18). The bosom is a central pocket or fold in a garment tied with a sash or belt. Thus, John gives us a picture of Jesus being carried in a fold of the Father’s garments. However, the bosom also means the center of one’s thoughts. Jesus was favored by God and had access to God’s thoughts (John 14:6). And that was somewhere the Pharisees could not go.  

Praise the Lord! We are not excluded from being present with Jesus. We also are in the bosom of the Father if we have learned to rest. When we are trying to please God with constant activity, we miss the chance to go where only he can take us. The Pharisees were the picture of striving (Hebrews 3:18-19). They had hundreds of rules they believed were necessary to please God. More, they kept themselves on the throne of their lives by remaining in control.

The bosom of God is not a place one can achieve striving in the flesh (Heb 4:6). It is a place of peaceful surrender to the ways and thoughts of God (Heb 4:10). We release our own desires in exchange for God’s desires. Then God places us in his bosom and carries us. More, the bosom is the place where God’s heartbeat can be heard.


Lord Jesus, please help me rest from works. Help me cease striving. I long to be carried in your bosom Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Resting While Working

John 5:17-19 WEB

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” [18] For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. [19] Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.


Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 talk about the rest of God. We are told to be diligent in our pursuit of rest. (Hebrews 4:11) Yet here is Jesus telling the Jewish leaders that he is working, and his Father is working. More, it says that Jesus could see what his Father was doing and chose to join him. Seeing is an activity that happens in the flesh. Notice the verses do not say Jesus envisioned what the Father was doing. Rather, it says he saw. So, he joined in the Father’s labor. In this alignment with the Father, miracles occurred.

How is it that Jesus had open eyes to recognize the work of the Father? The Bible says that Jesus prayed for a long time each morning in a secluded place. (Mark 1:35) The Bible also teaches that Jesus did not care what others thought. Instead, he consistently demonstrated placing God’s priorities first in his life. (John 4:27) But do these attributes account for Jesus having eyes that see and ears that hear?

Both of the above examples show us how to see and hear the Father. Before and after Jesus moved in signs and wonders he frequently prayed. (John 11:43, Mt 14:23) Also, Jesus considered doing the will of God more important than his own fleshly needs. (John 4:31-34) The Bible says in John 3:16 that the Father desires all people to come into a relationship with him. Since Jesus is the one who said John 3:16, we can be sure he believed the Father loved all people. Therefore, Jesus loved people more than himself. He did it because it is what he believed the Father wanted. So, prayer, desiring God’s will, and loving others more than himself seem to be the keys to Jesus’ supernatural success.

Jesus’ supernatural miracles proved that Jesus was aligned with the Father.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus thought He was God or thought He was equal to God. The Jewish leaders, out of jealousy, interpreted Jesus’ motives as evil. However, Jesus did not step out in the flesh. He waited to see what the Father was doing and joined him. Even when he worked, he was fully resting in the Father.


Lord Jesus, please help me pray, desire your will, and rest in you. Give me eyes that see and ears that hear so that I can join you in what you are doing. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Wellspring of Life

 John 4:11-14 WEB

The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. So where do you get that living water? [12] Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?” [13] Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, [14] but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”


Does the well you drink from give you rest or do you have to go to the well to draw over and over? The well of our best thinking will never give us rest. Nor will the well of tradition. The well which gives rest and springs eternal is Jesus. Not the Jesus of our best thinking, nor the Jesus of our forebears. It is the Living Word that comes from a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ which becomes a spring of eternal life.

Are you tired? Do you feel worn out? Does taking a vacation make you feel better or do you come back and find you are still exhausted? If so, something is not right. This is one of those places in our lives where we have a view into the truth of our faith. Isaiah says that our hearts are wicked (Isaiah 64:6). The Apostle Paul also speaks of the wickedness and deceit within our hearts (Romans 1:18). Therefore, most of us cannot see ourselves. Rather, we see what we want to see. What we need is a way of seeing the truth that goes beyond our own idealism about ourselves. The issue of being exhausted versus refreshed is one of those places in our spiritual journey where we can evaluate ourselves.

If you are tired something is not right. You should have a well springing up within you that always refreshes. A living wellspring of spiritual wellness. If not, it’s time to put idealism down and look deeper. What beliefs are your works based upon? Do you take the knowledge you have and demand an explanation? God does not seem to be inclined to explain himself. He has told us a great deal about himself in the Word. However, when we take information about God from the Word and fill in all the missing pieces with our own ideas, we are going to become bankrupt. We simply cannot make up a God in our thinking that refreshes.

We also cannot take someone else’s faith and feel refreshed. Yes, we can be encouraged by others’ faith, but eventually, we need to stand upon our own faith. Do you honor your parents by keeping the traditions of faith they passed down? Honoring our parents is good but relying on tradition rather than the Living Voice of Jesus within ourselves is a work that does not bring rest. Are you reading the Bible to learn how to live? Or are you relying on what you have been taught to make your life decisions? The Bible has the power to go inside and spring up a well within. It must be the anchor of our faith.

How is your prayer life? The ultimate spring of life within is the Voice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must cultivate our relationship with Jesus in the same way we must cultivate any healthy relationship. We read the Love Letter He left us, the Bible. We also talk to Jesus and listen for the small still voice of His response. We must have both pieces in place or we may fall into delusion. However, it is wrong to avoid hearing the Living Voice of Jesus within because of fear of being deceived. Rather we should be familiar with the Bible so Satan cannot influence our thinking about God, His nature, and our relationship with Him. When this is our truth, we will have rest even as we work for the Lord. He will be a spring of eternal life within, eternal life we can drink from and give others to drink.  


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for looking in the wrong places for my rest. Please help me read Your Word and pray. Help me enter through the narrow gate to a life of spiritual rest and wellness. Please let my life be a place of refreshing both to me and those to whom I am sent. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.