Saturday, August 26, 2006

John 16-20 The Word is our Speed Monitor

Today I was driving into our subdivision and they had put a speed monitor on the main boulevard as you drive in. The immediate effect of the speed monitor is to show you your speed in relation to the speed limit, which invariably is too high. So.... when you see the monitor, you slow down.

It occurred to me that the Word is like the speed monitor. There are warnings about how we should behave and an outline of what is good and right. It is the Holy Spirit's role to keep us focused on God's Word and to remind us what Jesus was teaching when He walked the earth.

John 16:8-11"When he comes, he'll expose the error of the godless world's view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He'll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.

In John 16, Jesus is trying to help the disciples understand what is about to happen when he is crucified. He talked them in parables and they struggled to understand. When he finally spoke plainly, they ultimately grasped what he was trying to say.

John 16:32-33 I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."

This verse is at the heart of my faith. I am so thankful for his gift to me and my ability to be unshakable and assured - DEEPLY AT PEACE. Even in the midst of difficulties, I can remember that He conquered the world, so I don't have to!

In Gethsemane the night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed for the disciples, and he also prayed for us. His prayer was simple:

John 17:21 The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you.

I know that you know what it feels like to be at odds with others, perhaps even with your spouse or best friend. There is nothing worse --- and nothing better when you reconcile and become one heart and mind. That is what He wants for us.

In John 18, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and delivered to Pontias Pilate. Pilate handed him back to the Jews and offered a pardon, but he was betrayed a second time when they asked that Barabbas, a freedom fighter be pardoned instead. In John 19, Pilate knows that Jesus is in fact the son of God and he is afraid and tries again to pardon him. But in the end, he is more afraid of the people than he is of Jesus, so he gives in and orders him crucified.

John 19: 16-19 Pilate caved in to their demand. He turned him over to be crucified. They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote a sign and had it placed on the cross. It read:

jesus the nazarene
the king of the jews.

20-21Many of the Jews read the sign because the place where Jesus was crucified was right next to the city. It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The Jewish high priests objected. "Don't write," they said to Pilate, "'The King of the Jews.' Make it, 'This man said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"

22Pilate said, "What I've written, I've written."

Who are we to deny Jesus, when in His presence, the highest law of the land knew Him to be the Son of God?

Throughout the balance of chapter 19 and the account of His death, over and over, the old testament scriptures were confirmed. The account even contains a statement of its accuracy and the words that "it was told so that you would hear and believe".

John 20 - Resurrection!
1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.

John 20 is the story of Jesus being raised from the dead. Resurrection. Life in exchange for death. This is the culmination of our faith -- the promise that He has for us. We no longer have to live in sin, in separation from God, in the mundane and the lack of purpose. We live because He lives! The chapter ends with Thomas, known forever as doubting Thomas, questioning the resurrection unless he sees Jesus with his own eyes and touches the hole in His side.

John 20:29 Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."

30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

I pray that in revisiting this familar story, you will be convinced in your heart that He is not only Messiah, the Son of God, but that if you never have said out loud that you believe, that you will now do so and that you will know real and eternal life, the way he personally revealed it. And that you too will be unshakable and assured - DEEPLY AT PEACE. Even in the midst of difficulties, you too can remember that He conquered the world, so you don't have to!

And, the next time you see a speed monitor, you will be reminded of the importance of staying in the Word and listening to the Holy Spirit who is here to remind us to love, so that we can be loved.


Chicke Fitzgerald

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