pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Who and What

Reading: John 6: 1-21

Verse 2: “A great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the miraculous signs He had performed on the sick”.

The crowds came. They came not to hear Jesus preach but to be touched, to be healed by Jesus. Today we read, “A great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the miraculous signs He had performed on the sick”. They came in droves for the miracles. After briefly testing a few of the disciples, Jesus has the people sit down and then He proceeds to turn five loaves and two fish into enough to feed thousands. And almost as a witness to His power, the disciples collect twelve baskets full of leftover bread. Not only can Jesus heal the sick and injured, He can also produce food. It is no wonder that they wanted to make Jesus be their king. What a king He’d be!

But Jesus is not this kind of king, so He withdraws from them. Yes, the miracles are evidence of Jesus’ power, but the miracles themselves are not the essence of who and what Jesus is. He did not come to conquer an occupying army and to restore Israel to power. Jesus came to conquer our hearts, one person at a time, to build a new kingdom here on earth. It is a kingdom of love and compassion and mercy and grace. It is a much different kingdom than the politically oppressed were looking for. So Jesus withdrew.

This passage makes me wonder how often I try and make Jesus something He is not. How often do I try and fit Jesus into the mold I need at the time because it suits my needs or desires? One does not have to ponder very long to find examples where this has been the case. I suppose to fully know who and what Jesus is would require fuller surrender on my part. I would have to kill the miracle-seeking and accept who and what Jesus really was – love lived out in the world.

Jesus was love of God and love of other lived out on a daily basis. May this be my purpose too, day in and day out. Through His power and presence, may it be so.


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Conquering

Today’s passage is about love.  If we love God, we are His children and we will obey His commands.  If we obey His commands, we will love our fellow man.  The passage even tells us that God’s commands are not burdensome.

They may not be burdensome but they are not always easy either.  To love ALL of my fellow man is hard at times.  Friends and family can put this to the test at times too.  To really live into the command to love others as Jesus first loved us is difficult.

In today’s passage the Greek word used for overcome or conquer is a word usually used in reference to athletic contests.  To succeed in an athletic contest usually suggests victory over someone or something.  In terms of obeying God’s commands, this battle is most often between my flesh that pulls me one way and my relationship with jesus Christ that pulls me another way.In me, this battle often wages.

In looking at loving one another as a struggle that requires conquering, other examples of an athletic contest are involved.  You do not just show up on the day of the contest on your first day.  For many days before the contest you train and practice and test yourself.  You want to be prepared.  Living out our faith is analogous.  One cannot fight Satan’s temptations without the power of the Word of God.  One cannot join Jesus in overcoming the world without putting in the hard work all along the journey of faith.  But through faithful dedication we can conquer.  It is possible to love our fellow man as Jesus first loved us.

Scripture reference: 1 John 5: 1-6