John 18:4-9 – I Lost None

John 18:4-9
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Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
9 That the saying might be fulfilled , which he spake , Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

-Behold the roar of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!  The priests and Pharisees sent a small army to the garden to ensure the capture of Jesus; an army sizable enough to put down any resistance that Jesus and His followers might give.  Why didn’t the rest of the soldiers kill Peter as soon as he attacked Malchus?  Why didn’t the soldiers arrest the whole group while they were there?  When the band of men arrived, Jesus gave a small demonstration of His power along with the words, “let these go their way”.  This was not the Lord’s suggestion, but rather His command.  No matter what happened, Jesus’ disciples would ultimately be safe because the scripture had already foretold that Jesus would ensure their safety.  The same scripture that ensured the disciples’ safety still ensures ours even today and no power in the universe is great enough to prevent the Lord from watching over and keeping those who trust in Him.  “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

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Luke 9:51-56 – Limit of the Law

Luke 9:51-56
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And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

-Elijah was arguably the most powerful prophet in the Old Testament; his exploits include everything from casually parting bodies of water to facing down hundreds of heathen priests at once to ascending to Heaven by way of a flaming chariot. The instance referenced here by John and Jesus however illustrates Elijah’s limitation. When Ahaziah, king of Samaria sent forth bands of soldiers to bring Elijah, he responded by calling God’s fire down from Heaven to consume them (2 Kings 1). It wasn’t that Elijah was cruel, but because he operated under the law, he could only bring forth God’s judgment and destruction when faced with the sinful and unrepentant. But behold, a greater than Elijah is here; in the Gospel we are introduced to One who is not only a Prophet, but also the fulfillment of all prophecy. He is of “purer eyes than to even behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13); but because of the Blood which He alone shed (Hebrews 9:12), He is able and willing to look on sin and offer mercy.

John 10:9 – The Door

John 10:9
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I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

-What are the two essentials functions of a door?  It opens to let people in and closes to keep people out.  While it is important to recognize Jesus as the way for all of us to come unto the Father, we must never lose sight of the fact that the Door also closes when necessary.  Jesus offered His own perfect life as the propitiation for the sins of all mankind.  In doing so, He made a way to grant us access to Heaven and the presence of God.  As the door, He opens to those who trust in Him; but Jesus also ensures that those who have not trusted in Him shall not enter into Heaven.  “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)

Matthew 2:9-10 – The Joy of the Lord

Matthew 2:9-10
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

-Do you know why the wise men rejoiced when they saw the star?  Not because of any beauty or splendor which the star possessed; nor because its movements proved right their predictions; but because the star was leading them to the Lord.  There are a great many things that draw our attention and lead us in any number of directions, but if those things point anywhere other than to the Lord, they will ultimately leave us unfulfilled and without joy.

Matthew 19:26 – All Things

Matthew 19:26
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But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

-Notice that Jesus didn’t say that with God more things are possible, but that all things are possible.  This brings to light an important aspect of the Lord’s nature; omnipotence.  Although it may be beyond our ability to understand, it is nonetheless important to accept that God has no limit.  He can do anything, at any time, in any place.  He sees, hears, knows, and understands everything.  He is not bound by time or space.  He’s not just more powerful than us, which implies that we could be measured on the same scale as Him; He is all powerful and beyond measurement.

Matthew 15:22-28 – Dogs and Crumbs

Matthew 15:22-28
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

-Jesus’ words in this verse may seem uncharacteristically harsh, but they are in fact a necessary reminder of the order of things.   Human pride deludes us into thinking that we are something special when, in fact, we are not.  The Lord assumes the responsibility of reminding us that He resists the proud and only gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  Jesus called this lady a dog because He knew she had the humility to accept it.  Could you humbly swallow being called a dog by God?  If not, think about all the many blessings you will miss out on because of something as foolish as pride.

Hebrews 5:8-9 – Obedience Through Suffering

Hebrews 5:8-9
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Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

-Although Jesus was always the loyal Son of the Heavenly Father, His time on Earth taught Him a new level of obedience because, for the first time, He had a reason not to obey.  It’s one thing to be willing to obey when you’re in Heaven and everything is good; it’s altogether another thing to obey when you’re being beaten on the way to the Cross.  That’s what the Lord did for us; He accomplished the Father’s will even when that meant suffering.  So when you suffer, know that you are in the presence of One who knows what it means to suffer.  When you obey, you are in the presence of One who knows what it means to obey- even when it’s hard to obey.

Hebrews 13:5-6 – Be Content

Hebrews 13:5-6
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Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

-You’ve no doubt heard the expression “keeping up with the Jones’”; the reason we have such a saying is that the idea of have more and better than those around us is so prevalent in our society.  What if it didn’t have to be that way?  What if we could look at how little we may have and still feel satisfied; what if we could look at the successes of those around us without feeling envious or slighted.  This is not possible in the American economy, but it is possible in God’s economy.  God offers us the one thing that can scratch every itch and satisfy every desire-Himself.  Even if we don’t have all of the finer things in life, we can still make God happy and He can still make us happy; what’s more, that happiness never has to run out.  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:19-20)

John 3:16-17 – God Is Love

John 3:16-17
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For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

-As I’ve looked inside myself over time I have found many worthwhile qualities- zeal, diligence, compassion, integrity. (I’ve probably found even more bad things, but I’ll forego mentioning those) But even with any “good” I’ve found and maybe even more good that I’ll discover in the future, I’ve never found a single thing that explains why God loves me.  God’s love defies understanding and reason. Logic dictates that God would have been better off all around if He’d simply forgotten about us and left us to die.  But God didn’t do that; rather, He chose to bear the awful burden of sin and save us because…  I don’t know how to finish that sentence.  He did it just because He loves us that much.

Romans 6:16 – To Whom Ye Obey

Romans 6:16
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Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

-There is a condition in Psychology called Stockholm Syndrome; a situation where a hostage or victim begins to manifest affection toward a captor or attacker.  In some cases, a victim may mistake a lack of outright abuse as kindness and develop affection from there.  In most cases, however, it is a post-traumatic condition that stems from the level of power exerted by the captor over the hostage.  In extreme cases, hostages, once freed, have a desire to stay with and even defend their former captors.  This is sad in the physical sense, but it is tragic when it happens spiritually.  The Lord Jesus Christ conquered Hell and Death and won freedom for all of mankind (Revelation 1:18), yet many choose to stay with their current master- Sin.  Sin has held such a strong hold for such a long period that an affection has developed for it; we choose to stay with and even defend our sin.  The Lord opened the prison for all of us who were bound (Isaiah 61:1), but we each have to make the choice to walk out.