Digging   The   Word

"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure." PSALM 119:162

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Do You Want?

How would you answer Jesus question?

John 1:35-39  The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples.  36  As Jesus walked by, John looked at Him and declared, "Look! There is the Lamb of God!"

37  When John's two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.  38  Jesus looked around and saw them following. "What do you want?" He asked them.

They replied, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are You staying?"  39  "Come and see," He said. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with Him to the place where He was staying, and they remained with Him the rest of the day.

A popular phrase that you have probably heard is "Jesus is the answer" but have you ever thought about the questions that Jesus asked? As a teacher or Rabbi Jesus used questions to make us think and go deeper in analyzing our hearts. Instead of easy answers Jesus asks difficult questions.

It is almost time for John the Baptist to fade into the background, his ministry doesn't seem to have lasted very long, it isn't long after Jesus begins his ministry that John's ministry disappears. There isn't any reason for the crowds to keep following John the Baptist when the Messiah is the one that you should be following.

I have to wonder what the disciples of John wanted if they didn't want Jesus. John the Baptist must of had a lot of disciples around him the day that he pointed out Jesus and told the crowd that that guy is the Messiah and yet we only know of two people that stopped following John and turned to Jesus. It makes me wonder why they were following John. If they believed in his message about the coming Messiah then they should have said good-bye to John the Baptist and followed Jesus.

These two guys were very happy to see Jesus and the look on their face must have made it very clear that they wanted to be with Jesus. As Jesus notices the disciples he turns to them and makes himself available to them. That's the same thing that he does for anyone that is honestly seeking him.

Jesus breaks the ice and begins the conversation with a question. Jesus asked them "What do you want?" Their smiling faces may have turned to red with embarrassment. Was he mad that they had interrupted his day?

What do you want from Jesus? Why are you following him? We all have different reasons for beginning to follow after Jesus. Most of them are pretty selfish at the beginning of our faith journey, we want to avoid hell or we want Jesus to fix our situation in life that we created, your life is a mess and you don't know what else to do.

Instead of a direct answer the disciples ask Jesus where he is staying, that's an indirect way of saying that they want to get invited over for the afternoon, they wanted to be with Jesus for more than a few minutes on the road. They addressed Jesus as "Rabbi" and they knew that they needed to stay with him and learn from him.

Consider three of Jesus questions that are recorded in the Gospels:

✔  What do you want? (John 1:38)
✔  Why are you looking for me? (Luke 2:49)
✔  What do you want me to do for you? (Mark 10:36, 51)

We can analyze our motives and the condition of our heart by asking ourselves the questions that Jesus asked two thousand years ago. His questions will help us to focus on God and not religion, his questions will draw us to repentance, and his questions will bring to mind our level of obedience and commitment to him.
The Man That Amazed Jesus (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
A Question You Need To Answer: Who Is Jesus? (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
What Have You Decided About Jesus (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Special Announcement

“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

John 1:6-9 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

John 1:15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

John 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

There is a special announcement to be made and God like he usually does sent a special messenger to give us the news. God sent John the Baptist to break the silence that has lasted for four hundred years. Nobody heard anything from God but now he is ready to reveal the Light of the world to us.

You may wonder why a dark world would have a problem seeing the Light. Even a small match would be obvious to somebody that was living in total darkness. It would be just like standing in a cave without any light at all. As soon as a source of light is turned on everybody knows it but that isn't true if you are a blind man. 

2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

You have to realize that a blind man is always in the dark, even if he is standing in the brightest light, that's how it is for those that need Jesus. We needed John to tell us about the Light because Satan has blinded our eyes.

John the Baptist had to do some searching to find out the truth about Jesus, God gave him proof, he made it clear that he didn't always know that Jesus is the Messiah. (John 1:31-34) The men that the religious leaders sent to question John and ask him who he is were not open to the truth that John shared with them.

Are you trying to decide about Jesus identity, is he really God in a body? John the Baptist says "Look at Jesus, he is the one." But what makes John a good witness and why should we listen to him?

Is John a credible witness?

John 5:31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid.  32 But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. 33 In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true.
Jesus confirmed that John was a credible witness that we should listen to. Everything from his special birth to his peculiar lifestyle is evidence that John's testimony should be admitted into the courtroom in our minds as we attempt to know who Jesus is.

✔  His birth and his ministry were a fulfillment of prophecy. (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1)
✔  He is a good and holy man. (Mark 6:19-20)
✔  He didn't show any desire for power, for wealth or to exalt himself.
✔  He stood up to the powerful for what he believed. (Matthew 3:2-10)
✔   He died for his mission. (Matthew 14:1-12)
✔  He was an eyewitness to God's revelation. (Matthew 3:16,John 1:30-34)

When John says, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" we have plenty of reasons to believe him. John didn't have an agenda other than the one that God gave him, it was the reason that he was born, it was the reason that he lived, and it was the cause of his death.
Who Is Jesus? (whoisjesus-really.com)
Who Is Jesus? (truthforlife.org)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?

Keeping your perspective in ministry.

John 1:19-28 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” "No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.” 22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”

24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.

Somebody has started a new ministry and it is causing quite a stir. The established religious leadership decided to form a committee to figure out who this guy is and why he thinks that he has the right to perform a religious ritual such as baptism. We want to know who he is but we don't want to be bothered with going out there and seeing for ourselves.

The religious leaders thought that they knew the next event on God's calendar. They had a checklist of possibilities that they went through but that didn't help them. Was this the Messiah? Was he the prophet that was to come before the Messiah? Who is this guy and why is he in ministry?

After the committee went through their list John revealed his identity by using scripture. Certainly the religious leaders would understand if John quoted scripture, they are the experts on God's word, it seems like that would have made John the Baptist identity crystal clear. Instead of a clear revelation about what God is doing the committee seems to be interested in getting an answer and going back home as soon as possible. They are not the least bit curious about John's claims that he makes based on prophecy.

Since they don't know who he is they certainly don't understand why he is baptizing. Instead of getting caught up in arguments about religious issues he answers the question "what right do you have to baptize?” by pointing to Jesus. Forget about who I am there is somebody much more important on the way and you probably aren't even going to recognize him.

It's all about Jesus

John 10:39-42 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him.

“John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
John didn't perform any miracles he just pointed people to Jesus, when they asked him "Who are you and why are you doing that?" He would minimize the "who are you" and talk about the "why are you doing that."

John knew his place in ministry and even though Jesus called him the greatest man that had ever lived he still kept his focus. Success in ministry could have been his downfall, pride, jealousy, envy or have ruined him. No doubt Satan worked on him to try and get him to focus on himself.

"Being in ministry will either make you a much better Christian, or a much worse Christian."
-Kathy Keller

The pull to become apathetic, cold, disobedient to be proud of your success can make you a much worse Christian than when you first started serving. If the greatest man that ever lived thought very little of himself then I need to do the same.
Growing Big Faith: Personal Ministry (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
The Danger Of Faking It In Ministry (thegopelcoalition.org)
The Call (bradwhitt.com)
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