Good morning. This generation (including me) seems to be living life at a break neck pace. We’re running here and rushing there and staying barely under the speed limit on our drive to drop off our children at school or pick them up or take them to an after school activity or practice. Throw in work and church and hobbies and electronics and social media and then it feels like we can barely breathe.

In the midst of the chaos, it sometimes feels like God is an afterthought. Until we can intentionally, make the time for Him, we will not reap the rewards. We will not grow closer to Him, nor change into who He has called us to be. We will not be able to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We will worship other things though. Money, status, reputation, sports, work, even marriage and children.

To come back to the heart of worship is to come back to the person of Jesus Christ. To worship Him is to believe in Him. To believe in Him, we need to ask ourselves several questions, starting with, “Who is Jesus to us?” Then we go on to “How can we draw nearer to Him?” and finally “How can we make Him known to those around us?”

Each of us needs to individually wrestle with Who Jesus is. Is HE Father? God? Friend? Lover? Judge? Savior? Unfair? Loving? Kind? Unjust? Strict? Vengeful? Merciful?

Once we answer that question, the rest become easier. But we can only answer that for ourselves. Sometimes it takes a lot of searching, sometimes we can accept it on faith.

In the four chapters that I’ve chosen for today, we see stories of people either believing in Him or rejecting Him. It starts with Jesus asking the blind man who had been healed if he believed in the Son of Man. Do you? Let me know in the comments below who Jesus is to you.

RELATED POST: John part 2: Jesus says “My time has not yet fully come.”

Continuing on…..

In chapter 9: Jesus heals a man who was born blind and gives him his sight. {1} Jesus declares Himself to be The light of the world with another powerful “I AM” statement. After the man is thrown out of the synagogue, Jesus finds him and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man. The man says, “Show me who He is and I will believe”. Jesus tells him to which the response is “Lord I believe” and he worships God.

 

In chapter 10 : In this chapter Jesus utters two more ” I AM ” statements which I’ve combined for simplicity’s sake, here. Jesus says He is the Gate, the One who protects us from evil, no one can get through us without going through Him first. He is also the The Good Shepherd, the One who leads us and guides us and protects us and restores us and feeds us. Jesus mentions that He knows His sheep (His people) and they know Him (v 15) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and recognize His voice. Jesus also says that He’ll lay down His life willingly for His people and He has the authority to take it up again.

Jesus is further questioned over His claims by the Jews in the Temple courts. Jesus reiterates that He and the Father are One. He says they are not of His flock and so they don’t believe in Him. Those who do (believe) receive eternal life from Him and they will never be snatched from His hand. The Jews try to stone Him for His blasphemy but Jesus replies that His works testify that He comes from the Father and does the Father’s work. He escapes their grasp and goes back across the Jordan. While He is in that place many people believed in Him.

RELATED POST: John Part 1: Jesus is the Giver of grace upon grace.

In chapter 11: In this chapter Lazarus {2} dies but Jesus tarries where He is for two more days before coming to Bethany. Jesus tells His disciples that He is glad He didn’t go right before Lazarus died, so that they can see what He does now and believe.  Jesus again tells them that He can do the works He is supposed to while it is daytime{3}. When He does go back to Bethany, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. Martha, his sister comes out to meet Jesus while the other sister, Mary stays at home. Martha tells Jesus she knows God will give Him anything He asks. She believes Lazarus will rise on the last day.

Jesus tells her that ‘HE IS the resurrection and life’ and those who believe in Him will live even though they die, and those who live by believing in Him will never die. He then asks her if she believes this. To which she replies (v 27) “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” and then she tells her sister Mary that The Teacher is asking for her. Mary goes to Jesus (because He hadn’t entered the village yet) and the Jews who had come to comfort the family follow her. Mary is sorrowful and Jesus seeing her grief and those of the people who followed her, weeps{4}. Jesus thanks His Father for hearing His prayer and then in loud voice calls out to Lazarus to come out. He does. Jesus instructs the people to help free Lazarus from the grave clothes binding Him.

Because of what Jesus did, many people believed in Him, though some did go and tell the Jewish leaders what Jesus had done. The leaders are concerned over the influence Jesus has over the people, but Caiphas the high priest wants to kill Jesus. The Bible notes in (v 51-52)  he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. We see the prophecies of the Old Testament coming to pass. Jesus then moves about privately so not to attract the notice of the leaders.

In this chapter as in chapter 9, we see that the tragic event that happened in the family, was intentional, so that through what God did, people would believe. In Jesus’ words (v 4), it[Lazarus’ illness and subsequent death] is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’

 

In chapter 12: Six days before the Passover, Jesus goes to Bethany again. This time Martha serves without complaining, and Mary in an act of worship, pours half a liter of pure nard{5} over Jesus’ feet and wipes it off with her hair. The house is filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Judas Iscariot complains about the waste, but Jesus admonishes them to leave her alone, Mary had saved the perfume for the day of His burial. Many Jews came over to see Jesus as well as Lazarus because he had been raised from the dead. Because of Lazarus , many people believed in Jesus, and so the authorities made plans to kill him as well.

The next day when the people hear that Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, they take palm branches and go out to meet Him with rejoicing, shouting, “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord“. There are Greeks at the Festival who want to meet Jesus, they go to Phillip who takes them to Andrew{6}, and together they take them to Jesus.  Jesus now says “It is the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified”. While troubled in His Spirit at the thought of the suffering He must endure, He cries out, “Father Glorify your name”. Then a voice from heaven thunders,  “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again”. The people hear and believe it to be a voice of an angel, but Jesus says the Voice was for their benefit, not His. When He is lifted up (His death), He will draw all people to Him.

Even after the many signs that Jesus performed many people did not believe in Him as Isaiah had prophesied. Yet at the same time, many did. Even among the leaders, there were people who believed in Jesus, though not openly, since they did not want to be put out of the synagogue. Jesus begs the people to believe in Him, as those who believe , don’t just believe in Him, but also in the One who sent Him, His Father. Jesus further says that He did not come to judge the world but to save it, but there is a Judge for the ones who choose not to believe. They will be condemned at the last day. Jesus tells them that He has come as a light to the world so that those who believe will stop walking in the darkness.

 

{1} Jesus’ disciples asked Him if the man had sinned or his parents. They wanted to know if there was a reason for the man to be born blind. Jesus replied neither, it was so that the works of God would be manifested in his life. Jesus said He will do the things He is supposed to while it is still day as no one can do works during the night. Jesus makes mud using His spit and puts it on the blind man’s eyes and sends him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man obeys and comes back seeing. This miracle as had often happened with Jesus in the past takes place on a Sabbath. The Jewish leaders are skeptical of the man’s healing. They don’t believe the man had been born blind until they send for his parents and confirm that. They are also looking for a reason to discredit Jesus and so constantly ask the man to repeat his version of the healing. This incident ends with the man thrown out of the synagogue. I’ve written a comparison between this miracle and the one in John 5, here.

{2} Lazarus lived with his sisters Mary and Martha. There are a couple other occasions where they are mentioned, but in everyone of those, the author takes care to mention that Jesus loved this family. They were His faithful followers and by His reaction, also good friends.

{3} Jesus makes a point of mentioning that He can do the works He is supposed to, only during the day. This ties in with Him saying “I AM the light of the world”. He says this in several other chapters, that when the Light goes away, no one can do anything. When He ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came to live in us, we became and are the light of the world. Through the Spirit in us, people are able to see in ‘darkness’ and we become a guiding light to them. It isn’t anything we do, but with the Spirit, we are able to give a reason for our hope. We are able to bring peace and joy to the world. As much as the world is going downhill now, once all the Christians are removed from the world, darkness and evil and satan will have a free rein, and none of the works that glorify God will be done then.

{4} In John 11: 35 we see that Jesus wept. He intentionally stayed away so that His disciples would see a miracle and believe in Him. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. But…… Jesus saw the grief of the people and of Mary and He was troubled in His Spirit and He wept. What a comfort to know that our God sees us and joins us in our grief. When we hurt, He hurts too. When we mourn, He mourns with us. I have no greater comfort to know that the King of all the universe joins me in my sorrow. I am not unseen, unknown or of too little importance. He cares for me.

{5} Pure nard was extremely expensive and in today’s economy we estimate the cost to be between $12,000-$50,000. Judas objected with the statement that if the perfume had been sold, the money could have been given to the poor. Here John gives us a key insight into the character of Judas. He was the keeper of the money bag and would help himself to the money collected. He did not care for the poor.

{6} Andrew was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus. He brought his brother Peter to Jesus, and Jesus commissioned Peter to build His Church. Andrew later brings a little boy and His lunch to Jesus. Jesus uses the boy’s lunch to feed upwards of 5000 people and in so doing, many people believe in Him. Now Andrew brings people of a different nationality to Jesus and they worship God. I love Andrew’s heart. He’s obedient to God and content to stay in the background while some others receive acclaim, but always, always making connections between seeking people and the God they seek.

 

In John, Jesus’ Divinity is heavily emphasized. Throughout the gospel belief (or unbelief) in Jesus and Jesus being the light of the world is mentioned often. I want to leave you with this question, Do you believe in this Son of Man/Jesus?

 How we answer this question determines if we live in and are walking in the light. In John part 3: Jesus asks, ” Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Do you? Let us purpose to live in Him and for Him and together be a light to the world. click to tweet!

If you enjoyed reading this post, would you let me know in the comments below? Thank you.

Until next time,

Your fellow sojourner,

Vanessa.