Monday, November 2, 2015


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 2:23-25
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Dan Kimball, sympathizer of The Emergent Church Movement wrote a book entitled:
"They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations"

I wonder if people liked Jesus today as much as they did during the days when He walked the Earth, whether or not they would crucify Him again . . . ?
There are all sorts of brands of Jesus to like today: The enlightened, Hindu-style Jesus and his related cousin, the New Age Jesus; there is the Muslim and Mormon Jesus, the Hebrew-Roots Movement Jesus, the Roman Catholic Jesus, the Theosophical Jesus, the ecological Jesus and of course, the Emergent Church Jesus (among others). Each of these are well liked by their respective followings. 
But now, will the real Jesus please stand up?
We need not worry about mis-identifying Him, He's the One found in the pages of Scripture.

There are many who profess to believe the Scriptures but do they really? The Pharisees and Sadducees (to varying degrees) professed such a belief in the Tanahk (what we call the Old Testament), but what did the LORD Jesus tell them?

JOHN 5:38-40
38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

They professed to be disciples of Moses, NOT this Jesus (JOHN 9:29) - but the LORD's comment just a few verses down in JOHN 5 was:

JOHN 5:45-47
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

If they truly believed the Inspired Word of God, then they would have believed the Incarnate Word of God (JOHN 1:1-3); but in truth, they believed neither!

Yet there were many in those days that did profess a belief in Jesus because they saw first hand, the mighty miracles He did! One might suppose that this would have been a great encouragement to our LORD, but He did not "...commit Himself to them..."

That word "commit" in the Greek is pisteuo and it's related to the word pistis, meaning "faith" - pisteuo means to "have faith in, to trust, to credit, to entrust". The LORD knew better than to trust in the whimsical, and flimsy faith of mere human beings.

Of ourselves, our faithfulness, reliability and trustworthiness is terribly inadequate, far deficient for what is required for true faith in Christ. This is why the LORD must grant us faith (ROM. 12:3) and by His indwelling Spirit grow the fruit of the Spirit, which is love and its associative characteristics, such as faithfulness (GAL. 5:22).

This truth puts a coffin nail in the 'positive/possibility' thinking, self-help and self-esteem philosophy and the general belief that "mankind is basically good". The holy, penetrating gaze of our God measures the essence of our inner most being and tests them for what they are worth:

JER. 17:10
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

And what He finds is:

JER. 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Not the least bit flattering is it? Mankind in his blind pride believes himself to be a god, and yet he is an abject, spiritually poverty-stricken sinner whose heart is desperately (read that, "incurable"!) wicked.

I have heard, much to my dismay, Christians say that "Jesus believes in you!"  or even "have faith in yourself!" when our text today, says the very opposite! If there were any basis of confidence in us, the All-knowing and All-seeing God, our Creator would know of it. It is enough that we believe in Jesus, and express confidence in His transformative power to create in us a clean heart, and renew our minds so that we are able by God's grace, to put on the mind of Christ (PSALM 51:10; ROM. 12:1-2; PHIL. 2:5).

This is why we are in need of a new heart, because the old one is so far gone, that even GOD Himself pronounces is incurable! Thankfully the LORD in His grace has provided new hearts to all who desire Him:

Ezekiel 36:26
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Humanity in itself has as much spiritual life as a stone; only the LORD can turn stones into His children (MATT. 3:9). Only He can impart true and eternal life by His Spirit. And it's only those who are born of the Spirit of God that the LORD Jesus can entrust with His Word, with the commission of the Gospel, with His dearest friends . . .

This is why the LORD intended on building His church upon Himself - the Rock of truth, not in a fallible, changeable, flawed people like Peter (or less so, ourselves), who denied Him three times. Certainly by God's grace Peter was restored to his position of ministry as an apostle, and as one of those apostles held a place of foundation (EPH. 2:20). But the very Cornerstone is Christ: the only One trustworthy enough as a proper foundation for His building, the body of Christ - born again saints (1 PET. 2:61 COR. 3:9).

It was a common belief among the Jews that if a person was affluent and rich, that they were blessed of God, Who demonstrated His approval by bestowing such blessings. This is why the disciples were blown away when the LORD said:

MARK 10:23-27
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

In verse 27, where it states that "Jesus looking upon them" a certain word is used that describes how one might closely inspect something; an intentional and perceptive gaze (like one beholding a theater performance).
I can well believe that the LORD beheld the 'theater of the hearts' of those before Him, carefully sizing up their quality and substance - and coming to the decided conclusion that humanity being approved of God by his own merit and works " . . . is impossible".

Elsewhere in Scripture the LORD pronounces the condition of humanity:

PSALM 39:4-6
4 Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.
5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

ISAIAH 64:6-7
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

ROMANS 3:10-12
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

May we declare along with the apostle Paul, and in agreement with the LORD Whose vote of 'No Confidence' in our frail humanity has been rendered in the counsels of Scripture:

PHIL. 3:3, 7-9
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

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