On the Journey with Jesus
Resurrection and new life sometimes takes awhile to fully unfold itself in us and lead us to act in new, fresh and empowered ways. But when we get it; when it gets us we are stirred to action and given fresh speech.
I cannot even imagine the anguish felt by Nicodemus and Joseph that day as Jesus’ body was retrieved and prepared for burial but I do understand needing SOMETHING to do and the sense of relief that comes with being able to do one last thing for a loved one.
On a day some 2,000 years ago all mankind raised its rebellious fist against the Almighty. The day Jesus Christ was crucified is by far the most infamous day of all humanity.
In any good novel or show, there is always a motive and the motive is based upon sin -- greed, jealousy, hate, you know the list. And in every sin there is always the ingredient of fear. Fear of exposure, fear of losing, fear. The religious authorities in today’s reading are no different than the characters in mystery novels or television shows or us -- they are afraid. They are afraid when confronted with the possibility of loss.
A testimony can be the beginning of belief in Jesus for those who do not know him, but the only way one can truly believe in Jesus is to communicate with him themselves through the Word and through prayer.
Paul tells us in Philippians Chapter 2 that since we have received the love of Christ that we are to be like-minded and to share that love and concern for others, not for our own glorification, but because we truly value others. Those in Africa who are suffering the ravages of death due to Malaria truly need our help, and God willing we will stand united, and be generous in our contributions to help eradicate this disease.
The Lenten Season is a time of self-denial, reflection and spiritual renewal. I want to take off my “grave clothes and bindings” and listen but instead I keep the “grave-clothes” on. Sometimes we have to slow down to hear Jesus saying, (verses 25-26): “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live; and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
No matter what, God is always holding onto us. He is constantly working for our good, even when we do not realize it.
I had always wondered secretly why God never answered my prayers with his booming all-powerful voice. After all, God led the prophets in such a way and Jesus always vocally guided his disciples even after his ascension," Brett Bottorff writes. But after a personal experience, he realizes that the voice of God can also come from those one encounters.
Jesus had so little time on earth to teach, so He often gives us two lessons in one. He heals and he teaches us about priorities in one compassionate event. He declares that he is the light of the world, and then he opens the eyes of the blind and shows us our need for spiritual enlightenment.
“Who is he, Lord, so that I may believe in Him?” This is the great question of the people that surround us outside of our church. Who is Jesus? How can I believe in someone I do not know? If we want our neighbors to actually get to know Jesus and believe in Jesus as the Son of God, we have to do the same thing that Jesus did: go out to find them, confront their beliefs, and present to them our Savior as the only option for eternal life. God willing, we can all be instruments for those that are outside of his kingdom, and they can get to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
We each have a story to tell. It might not be dramatic, but if we have met Christ, we have a valuable witness to share with others. I wish we would all respond like this man did. I hope that we will follow his example and never, ever be afraid to share what Jesus has done for us and means to us.
How often have we “taken the easy road,” tolerating sin under the pretense of maintaining harmony, or by not taking an unpopular stance in defense of our convictions and beliefs? How often have we said, “This is too hard; who can live by that set of rules?
Jesus is the “Bread of Life,” the One who provides for us now and for all eternity.