This week’s question: Do you love me more than these? (John 21.15).
Have you ever needed a new beginning? Has there been a time when you have blown it and you were tempted to just walk away from everything? Has that ever happened in your relationship with God?
Maybe you can identify with Peter. Someone once called him the disciple with the “foot-shaped” mouth. He had told Jesus that he would lay down his life for Him (Jn. 13.36-38), and yet, when that rooster crowed, he had denied Him three times!
Peter, heartbroken over his denial, walked away and went back to what he knew … fishing. Peter needed a fresh encounter with the Lord. And sometimes, so do we. Continue reading →
This week’s question: Do you believe this? (John 11.26).
This question was asked of a grieving sister as they approached the tomb of her beloved brother.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11.25-26).
The resurrection is what sets our Lord apart from a thousand other gurus and self-proclaimed prophets who have come along through the centuries. The question, “Do you believe this?” is what drives any responsible hearer to either accept or reject the Christian faith.
This bottom line question is personal, pointed and precise.
It’s personal. Do you believe this? Not … were you brought up in a Christian home. Not … this is what I have always been taught. Do you believe this?
It’s pointed. Do you believe this? Do you really believe. This isn’t a casual kind of agreement. The gospel hangs on this.
It’s precise. Do you believe this? You can’t believe He was just a good teacher or another prophet. Do you believe this? Hawkins: Continue reading →
This week’s question: “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6.9).
Jesus’ disciples found themselves looking out on the multitude of people who had gathered in Galilee. It was time to eat, and the disciples had nothing to serve. Kids were crying and stomachs were growling. Then Andrew stepped forward with a little lad and a little lunch. Andrew did quite well at first: his initial words suggested his faith. “Lord, here is a boy with a few fish sandwiches! But when you think about it, what are they among so many?” Andrew was about to find out how little can become much when God gets involved.
We have, probably, all experienced times when there was not enough. How were we going to pay the bills? How were we ever going to get ahead? Or maybe it was a ministry need. Who would help us? How could we possible accomplish what God had called us to do?
There are times when the need is not a financial. We could be at the top of our career or simply enjoying more success than we ever thought possible. We could have everything we want in the way of a spouse and family, but we feel like something is lacking. We feel empty. Perhaps we have found ourselves asking the age old question, “Is this all there is?” Continue reading →
This week’s question: “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3.4).
The chapter opens:
This question came immediately after one of Jesus’ most famous declarations: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3: 3). And this question was asked by a man named Nicodemus, who was the epitome of moral righteousness and theological acumen, yet he had entirely missed the point of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was not speaking of a physical birth, but of a spiritual birth.
… it is essential to grasp the meaning— the who, the when, and the what— of this engaging dialogue that took place in a dark alley of a silent night in the city of Jerusalem two millennia ago. Why? Because, like Nicodemus, you too “must be born again.”
First “who”: Who was asking this important question?
Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. He was a leader. He had power, prestige, and popularity, but he knew something was missing.
Next the “when”:
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. The Scriptures don’t say why, but commentators have speculated that he didn’t want to be seen by his colleagues or perhaps he didn’t want to fight the crowds that followed Jesus by day. Or as Hawkins suggests, maybe he just couldn’t wait to talk to Jesus.
That made me wonder if Nicodemus was struggling to sleep with all the stories he had heard about Jesus’ miracles, all the criticisms from his friends and fellow Jewish leaders, and all the questions running around is his head. Hawkins: Continue reading →