The Hard Evidence of Love

November 28, 2017

Love is one of those words that is kind of abstract. You ask 100 people about what love is and you will likely get 70-80 different answers. I think that love, in its purest sense, is the determination to do what is best for the one loved.

But love is an idea, more than just a feeling, that has to take action. It has to make the choices that best serve the one loved.

In John 14, after Jesus introduces us to the wondrous promise that He will send the Holy Spirit, he makes some interesting comments.

You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I will come to you.” If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. (John 14.28-31)

When Jesus told the disciples that he was leaving for a while, it brought a significant fear to their hearts. Like a kid who is being told that his parents are leaving for a while, their immediate concern is for what is to become of them without Jesus there to lead, guide, and teach them. But he went on to promise His return in the person of the Holy Spirit.

He comes back to their reaction by trying to show them His own example. He said, “If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father.”(28) Why would they rejoice over that news? Because it’s what they knew, if they were at all thinking about His heart instead of their own, would bring Him joy—to be back in the presence of the Father.

Jesus is revealing what is going to come about so that their faith will be bolstered when it comes to pass.(29) He is aware that His time with them is coming to an end and there was not much opportunity left to give instruction. “The ruler of this world” that Jesus said was coming was surely the working of Satan to bring Jesus to the cross—despite the fact that he had no rightful claim upon Jesus as there was no sin in Him to condemn.(30)

Jesus explains that He is going to obey the Father’s plan out of love for the Father and for them… and us. He was going to do this hard work out of love.(31)

Jesus was determined to give evidence of His love for the Father and for all of us. He was determined to do what was best for us, to die the death we deserve that He most certainly did not.

It was going to be hard.

But Jesus was determined to produce the hard evidence of love.

What about us?

Will we do the hard things so that others may see the evidence of the love of Jesus in our lives?

As this chapter closes, I would challenge us all… “Rise, let us go from here.” But let us go out more concerned with the things that please His heart. Let us go out more concerned with the needs of others than our own.

Let us go out to give the hard evidence of love to those we meet.

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When the Stones Dropped

October 24, 2017

Imagine being caught in the most embarrassing situation you can think of… at your most shameful moment.

Imagine that the ones who caught you in this compromising position were the leaders of the local religious institution, the ones known for their flowery prayers and fine speeches and in-depth Sunday School lessons.

Imagine being dragged by your arm or your hair through the streets in whatever remnants of clothing you had about you when you were caught. Feel the disdainful stares of the women in the streets and the creepy eyes of the men taking note of every detail they could soak into their memory of your compromised state of appearance.

Think of the cold stares and snidely condemning words from the men who accompanied you on this journey and the way they sized you up when they found the perfect stone along the street. Picture what it might have been like to come around the corner into the courtyard outside the temple where this young teacher that was gaining so much attention happened to be.

This is the real life experience of a woman that remains unnamed in John’s gospel record as she was caught in the act of adultery.

Take a moment to read it in John 8.1-11. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mess of Religion

October 10, 2017

Yes, I wrote it – and I mean it.

We’re walking through the book of John and the theme, in my understanding, is that God came here into our mess in the person of Jesus, the Son of God. But you have to bear in mind that he stepped into the world in what may have been the most religious place on the planet.

So… if there was so much religion already, why would God come here?

I submit to you this thought: His objective was not to bring religion, but relationship.

I addressed this in Sunday’s message.

Do you see Him? Between the tangled threads of religion, do you see that He came to make it possible for you and I to have a personal connection with God?

Do you believe Him? Do you really trust that He did this for you?

Do you know Him? Today, will you take Him up on His invitation to walk through this life and beyond with Him?