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Archive for November, 2009

John 8

John 8 starts out with the Pharisees bringing a woman who has committed adultery to Jesus. They promptly tell Him that the punishment for such a sin is to stone her to death, but Jesus kneels down in the sand and begins to write. Eventually, He tells the people around Him, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. He then kneels down and writes again, and the people around Him leave.

This story was best described to me by one of my old pastors. He explained that the Pharisees were essentially trying to trick Jesus into making a decision that was against God. Either He would condemn her and send her to her death, or He would not judge her sin and not show His power as God’s son. But Jesus handles it well (like Jesus always does), and writes in the sand.

The question becomes, what did He write in the sand? It seems that maybe He started writing the names of the people that were standing there in the crows, and next to those names he began to list off each of their sins. This seems most likely considering He then tells the crowd that the person without sin may throw the first stone. It’s a crude awakening to the people around Him, but it caused them to realize that they were just as guilty as the woman laying in the street before them (probably naked since she was just caught in the act of adultery).

So how does this apply to my life? Jesus was the only person in that crowd that had committed no sins, and he easily could have casted the first stone, but He didn’t. The truly amazing love and grace of Jesus is shown in this instance when Jesus shows that He forgives all people and that even if everyone else in the world condemns us for what we have done, Jesus never will.

Pray this week about any situations that you have been part of where you were the girl in the street facing the condemnation of the world around you. Jesus forgives you, and in those tough times, remember that you can always rely on God.

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John 7

John 7 deals a lot with the idea of a person’s faith being tested. Throughout the entire chapter, Jesus is questioned in several different forms. The people question his authority, they question his knowledge from his education, they question his faith and they question where he is coming from.

I remember a few summers ago (actually my first summer being a Christian), where I felt that my faith was being tested. I was living with some people who definitely were not Christian and didn’t quite hold up to the same ideals that I had about things. It was difficult sometimes to talk with them because issues of ‘how my faith was wrong’ would always seem to come up. I ended up meeting with a friend of mine for coffee one evening and he told me, “The Bible doesn’t say you faith might be tested, or it could be tested….the Bible says that your faith will be tested.”

…it really put things into perspective…

People always speak about those ‘God moment’s’ where they feel really high on life and can feel God’s passion and will within their lives. That is great, beautiful and awesome, but I think that some people can often forget about God during their troubles in life. While some of us have trouble praising God when it is necessary and only look to him for a ‘way out,’ others of us have no problem giving him praise…but when life hits, deadlines get closer and closer and life gets stressful, we can forget about God.

We forget about asking God for wisdom sometimes…and sometimes we just need to remember James 1:5-8.

I think that one interpretation on John 7 is that Jesus is giving us an example that our faith may not only be tested by other people and those that are trying to condemn, but also…our faith can be tested by the weighing down of life itself.

So the challenge is: when you are feeling stressed, lost, overwhelmed…ask yourself if you have looked towards God and had a conversation…perhaps you need one.

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John 6

John 6 deals a lot with the concept of accepting the idea of Jesus being everlasting life. It is hard for the audience in this context to understand that Jesus is offering them the chance to never ‘thirsty’ or ‘hungry’ again, but this doesn’t refer to physical need, but emotional and spiritual need as well. John 6:27 says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life” reminds me of a verse we discussed in my men’s minsitry last night, Romans 6:23. It states,”For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The reason that I see these two verses as similar is because of how I interpret the Romans verse. I have heard that verse spoken aloud many times by many people, but no one fully explained it to me. Basically, the explanation I got out of it was, “if you sin, there is death…don’t sin because God gives you eternal life.” Granted, even though that is true, I felt that there was more behind it than simply that.

Here is what I think when I hear the word ‘wages’: I think of working a job and receiving a paycheck. The more hours you work at a specific job, the more money or ‘wages’ you will receive in return for working that job. Well, ‘the wages of sin is death’ works in a similar fashion. If you decided to be a slave and work for sin, the wages or payment you will receive is death (whether that is spiritual or emotional or death in relationships, whatever). The more you work, the more death you receive. However, the less work you do for sin, the less death you receive…we’ll come back to this in a minute.

The other half of that verse says, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When I think of a gift, I think of a Christmas present from a friend. Despite whatever my friend decided to give to me, there was nothing that I had to do in order to ‘earn’ that present (theoretically). The true meaning of a gift is receiving something from someone else without having to give them something in order to get it (for instance, I wouldn’t have to wash their car in order to receive a ‘free gift’). This means that the gift of everlasting life (aka, not death) is completly free from God. There is no work that I have to endure in order to receive that salvation from Christ.

So this is what I understand, overall, from the Romans verse….why would I ever want to be a slave and work for sin when all I receive is death when I could be set free from the bondage of sin and accept the free gift of everlasting life from God? When we accept Christ, God lifts us out of the bondage from sin, where it no longer has power over us…so why would we ever want to continue to work for it when we don’t have to?

I related this back to the John 6:27 verse, for it states, “do not work for the food that spoils, but for the food that endures eternal life.” It is the same concept. Why would I continue to do something that ends up being completely futile in the end, when I could do something completely different and get exactly what I was looking for? The entire point of John is to show the new Christian about how Christ can change your life, which includes no longer having to life in sin. I would much rather follow Christ and ‘never be hungry again’ over always searching for fulfillment.

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