Thursday, February 26, 2015

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - JOHN 1:40-42 - SAND and STONE

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 1:40-42
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

Previously we had seen John the Baptist proclaim this One, Jesus of Nazareth - a cousin of His as the MESSIAH of ISRAEL: The "Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world".

This prompted two of the Baptist's disciples to follow Jesus - one of which was Andrew of Bethsaida, the brother of Simon Peter. After spending an entire day with Jesus, Andrew realized that John the Baptist was absolutely correct.

Andrew went and found his brother Peter (Simon) and told him so, and he brought his brother to see Jesus! We see Andrew doing this all the time, bringing people to Jesus and this is the best and most necessary act that any Christian can do for the lost: to bring people to Jesus Who alone can save and transform their lives.

We may pray for our lost loves ones - and these are effective! See JAMES 5:16b. We may present the biblical Gospel to them, and this is an imperative mandate given to us by our LORD (MARK 16:15). We can employ apologetics and prove the veracity of Scripture as the very Word of God and the great hope of the precious truth we carry in our leather cases as well as in our hearts (1 PETER 3:15) - but ultimately, only the LORD Jesus Christ can give a new heart to those whose hearts are corrupted by the ravages of sin (EZEK 11:19; 36:26; ROM 10:13; JER 17:9; ROM 3:10, 23).

Simon Peter came along with his brother to see this One, no doubt with no small amount of curiosity, perhaps even a bit of skepticism regarding this supposed Messiah; after all, Messiahs didn't appear on the scene on a daily basis. Yet the fisherman came nonetheless which displays an open-mindedness and a seeking heart that would find the truth, residing in this Man from Galilee.

Upon seeing Peter, the LORD declared: "You are Simon, the son of Jonas - but you shall be called Cephas, meaning 'a stone'."

Peter was already known for his tumultuous, impetuous nature - almost as stormy as the sea of Galilee whenever those waters grew angry with monstrous waves, and with dark brooding clouds above. He seemed to be a man given to moods, as changeable and shifting as the desert sands.

Yet the LORD declared him to be Cephas - a stone: something solid and sure.

All of us are unstable in our ways: given to what we deems as truth and righteousness one moment, only to stumble and fall in a moment of weakness, spreading deceit and self-interest. Paul knew of this instability in the human nature as well:

ROMANS 7:14-20
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Yet in the marvelous transformation of the Spirit's work in every born again believer, who has repented of their sin and received Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior, we are brought from a place of spiritual instability and flaws aplenty in our character to that state of being where the LORD is our Rock, and we are those "living stones" (1 PET. 2:5) built solidly, securely upon Him, and find that place of rest and security in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.

We saw such miraculous transformation in the very life of Peter himself; the sort of man he was before and after Pentecost, when the Spirit indwelled and empowered him as a vessel of Christ and His glory! So may we expect such transformation as we yield to the LORD.

The place of the heart goes from tumult to tranquility, from strife to serenity, from perdition to peace where we worship the LORD in His glory and grace as the Living Temple of the Spirit. Compare this condition with what we all knew once to reside in ourselves before Christ! The uncertainty of the winds and hardships of life, blowing us about hither and thither to where, we knew not, left us groping for answers, for peace, for solutions to our dilemmas.

We left behind us the purposeless existence of blowing sand, to those plans that God has ordained for us (EPH 2:10) and He places us intently in that position He has reserved for us in His kingdom, just as any mason sets a brick in the wall. There is fulfillment in knowing the will of God, and by His Spirit of grace, following His will. There is no other peace like "the peace of God"

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

May we as the saints of God yield to His craftsmanship as He carves His likeness into us, His living stones, so that we resemble all the more our LORD Jesus Christ, and know the certainty of His truth in a world full of lies, and the ever present Spirit Who will flow magnificently, powerfully through us as we surrender ourselves moment by moment - not to do our will, but His, for His glorious purpose He intends for us, His church

ROMANS 8:28 
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

PSALM 18:2 
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

ROMANS 9:33 
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

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