Category Archives: Jesus

Finding the Thread – Listening in John 9-11

In John 9 Jesus heals a man who was born blind…on the Sabbath (9:14). This got the attention of the local authorities who began to question the healed man. After verbally assaulting him the man defends Jesus saying, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.” – John 9:31. The idea is that Jesus would have healed by the power of God and that God wouldn’t work like that through a sinful person or a blasphemer (that is what they are accusing Jesus of in this chapter). If you ever hear someone say God doesn’t hear a sinner’s prayer and quote this verse, always remember the context. If God doesn’t hear a sinner’s prayer we are all doomed. But keep listening.

In the next chapter we get the only parable in the Gospel of John – Jesus the Good Shepherd. In that parable Jesus says,

3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” – John 10:3-5

Notice all the verbiage about sound – voices and hearing. The sheep hear their true shepherd. They not only hear him, they know him. They recognize his voice, listen and obey as He calls them by name.

Then, in John 11, we get the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus raises him Jesus says a few simple words phrased as a command – “Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” – John 11:43. Lazarus recognized his voice, listened and obeyed as Jesus called him by name.

It is important that we are people who can discern the voice of Jesus. We see something similar later in John when Mary meets Jesus in John 20 and thinks he is the gardener. She doesn’t recognize Jesus until he calls her by name (John 20:16). We have so many distractions, it can be hard to hear Jesus’ voice and yet he calls. Maybe we think it is just the gardener calling. He calls us by name and we need to have the ears to hear…to discern His voice from all the other noise so that we can obey and follow Him as He calls us by name.

The Profound Presence of Christ

There are moments in life when Jesus feels extra present. We might consider those “holy moments” and the space those moments occupy “holy ground” or “sacred space.” The reality is Jesus is always with us, it is just more obvious some moments than others. When Jesus was on the earth he was always divine. ThereContinue Reading

Naming Jesus

We call Jesus many things. We call him Lord, which means master. We call him Christ, which means anointed one (Messiah in Hebrew). We call him savior because he brings salvation from sins. Before Jesus was born the angel told both Mary (Lk 1:31) and Joseph (Mt 1:20-21) that they were to name him Jesus,Continue Reading

Jesus Didn’t Wait Until Sunday

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own traditions that we miss the bigger point entirely. The Jewish religious authorities in Jesus’ day had done this. In their effort to be holy…to cross the t’s and dot the i’s they had wrapped various commands in so many traditions that it was hard to tellContinue Reading

Jesus Inaugurates the New Creation Via the Holy Spirit

I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit lately. One of the connection points that I have been looking into is the Spirit’s role in Creation and His corresponding role in New Creation. First is the Spirit’s work in God’s original creation. In Genesis 1:2 we see the Spirit of God hovering overContinue Reading

Jesus as an Illustration to Understand the Holy Spirit

Imagine yourself in a crowded street in Galilee. Jesus is there and you have found yourself swept up in a crowd of onlookers who have heard Jesus is on his way into town and a rush of people have gone out to see him. Through the bobbing heads and undulating crowd you spot him. JesusContinue Reading

The Sermon on the Mount and the Power of Self-Deception

The sermon on the mount is one of the most powerful sermons ever preached. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned that one of Jesus’ longest sermons was only a few minutes long if we have the whole thing recorded. Sometimes less is more. But in these three chapters of Matthew (5-7) Jesus givesContinue Reading

Prophets Unaware

Several times in scripture we have people doing things that are prophetic without them recognizing it. There are several instances in the Gospels where the Gospel writer informs us of what is going on. One of those instances is in John 11. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Jewish leaders began plotting asContinue Reading

An Important Principle in Reading the Old Testament as it Relates to the New – Fulfillment

We teach a lot more Old Testament to our children than to our adults. At least that is my experience. The Old Testament is so full of great stories that work well with the imagination of our kids. We don’t ever need to graduate out of the Old Testament. Instead we need to understand justContinue Reading

Ironing Out Our Conflicting Message on the Usefulness of the Old Testament

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard in my life that the Old Testament is irrelevant to us because it was nailed to the cross and is therefore no longer useful to Christians today. People have based this view on a number of things. First there is Colossians 2:14 that says somethingContinue Reading

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