Tag Archives: Son of God

IF YOU BELIEVE

IF YOU BELIEVE

“‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died…'” John 11:21 NIV.

“‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’ John 11:27 NIV.

How important these moments were with Martha before Jesus went to the tomb! He knew what He was doing. His delay and Lazarus’ death were part of a much bigger plan but…He needed to re-establish the bond of trust between Him and the sisters before He could give them their miracle.

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” John 11:32 NIV

They were disillusioned and disappointed because He had failed them in their crisis. The first words they uttered when they saw Him revealed their heart attitude. Betrayal! He had betrayed their trust and they let Him know it.

He was straight with Martha. She was the practical one, the tough one, the vocal one, the one who took the lead. No words of rebuke in response! He made a simple, straightforward statement: ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha had a general appreciation of that fact but it did not ease the pain of losing her brother. Jesus knew that.

He took her on, one step at a time, from acknowledging her belief in the resurrection to centring it on the one who stood before her. ‘I AM…’ Jesus assured her. Did she get the impact of that statement? No-one could claim to be I AM except the God who revealed His name to Moses in the desert. She answered Jesus’ challenge with an affirmation of her conviction that He was who He had revealed Himself to be…God’s Son and Messiah.

“…Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ He said. ‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.’

“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that, if you believe you will see the glory of God?'” John 11:38-40 NIV.

No, the impact of Jesus’ statement had not yet hit Martha. She did not connect the I AM with the rotting corpse in the tomb. Jesus was about to show her just how real resurrection was. This was not the final resurrection when bodies long decayed and returned to dust would come out of the graves, refashioned into the likeness of His glorious body, yet to be revealed after He too, like Lazarus, had tasted death. God’s power, nevertheless, was displayed in bringing a decomposing body back to flesh-and-blood life!

Martha’s embryo faith had not yet reached that level of trust but, from Jesus’ point of view it was faith enough, although it was as minute as a grain of mustard seed. There was a flutter of hope; the connection had been made and He could reverse the process of death and show the grieving sisters and all who were there to sympathise with them the mercy and compassion of God.

What lesson did the sisters learn from this painful experience? What can we take for ourselves from the story? Is it worth trusting God when He seems silent and unmoved by our plea for help? If He says nothing, does nothing, never give in to the devil’s lie, ‘God does not care.’ He is preparing for a much bigger miracle, one that will put His glory on display and leave no doubt of His love and His power.

“God will not answer your prayers until He had put all the structures in place to maintain that answer.” His only answer is, “Will you trust me?”

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

THE GOSPEL OF LUKE – NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

“He will be called great,                                                                                                                                                           be called ‘Son of the Highest’.                                                                                                                The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;                                                        He will rule Jacob’s house forever –                                                                                                  no end, ever, to His kingdom.”

“Mary said to the angel, ‘But how? I’ve never slept with a man.’

“The angel answered,                                                                                                                            ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you;                                                                                                the power of the Highest hover over you;                                                                                          Therefore, the child you bring to birth                                                                                                will be called Holy, Son of God.’

“‘And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth, conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

“And Mary said,                                                                                                                              ‘      Yes, I see it all now;                                                                                                                                  I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.                                                                                                    Let it be with me just as you say.’

“Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:32-38.

Unlike Zachariah, Mary did not have a problem with unbelief. She just didn’t know how she could conceive a child without a husband. A simple explanation satisfied her and she quickly submitted to the Lord’s will.

Did she understand what this calling would cost her? In the mercy of God she, like us, lived her life one day at a time.

If her fiancé, Joseph, had not been the godly man that he was, and a man who truly loved her, she might have lost him and the opportunity of having a husband and a normal family.

She had no idea of the stigma that she and her son would carry because of His virgin birth. And what of the pain of a son who appeared to have lost His mind so that He needed protection from Himself, and the worst of all, losing Him to death at the hands of His enemies? How would she handle the transition of being the mother of Jesus to being a disciple of the Son of God?

When Mary made her commitment to the angel that she was willing to be God’s handmaiden, although she knew nothing of what lay ahead of her, she was ready to entrust her body and her life to the God whom she loved and served. Whatever He asked of her, she was willing to give and she never reneged on her promise.

She trusted the God of her fathers and she trusted the Son He had placed in her care for thirty years. With the angel’s reassurance ringing in her ears, “Nothing is impossible with God,” she gave herself to her calling to bear this child, no matter what pain it brought into her life, because God had asked her to do it.

Jesus – The Son Of God

JESUS – THE SON OF GOD

The Apostle John recorded Jesus’ miracles from a different perspective from the other three gospel writers. He presented Jesus to his readers as the Son of God.

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing, you may have life in His name (John 20:30-31).

John recorded only seven miracles in his gospel which he referred to as signs. Each miracle focused on a specific aspect of the nature of Jesus. Each of the seven miracles resulted in either an individual or a group putting their faith in Jesus or, at least, responding positively to Him.

  1. Water to wine (John 2: 11)

The disciples put their faith in Him.

  1. Healing the official’s son (John 4: 53)

The official and his household believed in Him.

  1. The paralysed man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5: 15)

The paralysed man who was healed broadcast everywhere what Jesus had done for him.

  1. The feeding of the five thousand (John 6: 68-69)

Peter confirmed the disciples’ faith in Him.

  1. Jesus walk on the water (John 6: 19-21)

No record of anyone coming to faith.

  1. The man born blind (John 9: 38)

The blind man who was healed believed in Jesus.

  1. Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11: 45)

Martha, Mary and many of the Jews believed in Him.

John’s declared purpose for relating only these seven miracles out of a choice of many others was to bring His readers to faith in Jesus so that they would have eternal life.

John’s choice of signs focuses on one thing – that Jesus’s disciples would see the glory of God in Him and that they would believe.

Not only did He work miracles to relieve people’s suffering and even to call them back from premature death, Jesus also showed His power over the natural world. He calmed a violent storm on the lake, walked on water and multiplied bread and fish to feed a hungry multitude. Was He merely showing off or doing magic, or was He revealing His control over the natural world? Why would He do that?

His disciples were stunned at His power over a stormy lake. He simply spoke and the wind and waves obeyed Him – from violent wind and turbulent water to instant calm. They were awestruck and afraid.

They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him?’ (Mark 4: 41)

After He had fed five thousand people with only five small barley loaves and two fish, He sent His disciples back across the lake while He went into the hills to pray. A storm came up on the lake during the night while the disciples were on their way home. Jesus set off after them, walking on the water. When they saw Him, they were terrified, thinking He was a ghost.

Jesus called out to identify Himself and the ever-impetuous Peter, wanting to do what his rabbi did, asked permission to walk on the water as well. To his great surprise, he managed to take a few steps before fear got the better of him. Jesus grabbed him and they both made it to the boat in safety. The minute they climbed into the boat the wind ceased and the lake calmed down. How did the disciples react?

Then those who were in the boat worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matt. 14: 33)

After giving His disciples opportunity to gather evidence, He would ask them, on another occasion, the most important question they would ever have to answer. In a most unlikely environment, Caesarea Philippi, where idols were publicly worshipped by sexual orgies with goats He asked them,

‘But what about you? . .  Who do you say that I am?’ (Matt. 16: 15)

Without hesitation Peter, as the spokesman for the group declared:

‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ (Matt. 16: 16)

How did Peter reach this conclusion? Evidence! The accumulative evidence of all that Jesus had said and done led to only one conclusion – Jesus was no ordinary man. He was a man and much more – He was the Son of the living God.

Every rabbi with authority selected disciples in whom he had confidence that they would do what he did and even more.  Jesus expressed His confidence in the men He had chosen:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. (John 14: 12)

Unlike all other rabbis who trusted their disciples but had no guarantee that they would fulfil their expectation, Jesus could say with confidence that His disciples would do even greater things than He did because He was returning to the Father and would send the Holy Spirit to be in them forever. The same Spirit who empowered Him would do His works through them if they believed.

The apostle Paul declared that we are God’s masterpieces, created in Christ to do the good works He prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2: 10). What are these good works which God has prepared for us to do? According to Jesus, the same works He did, showing mercy to all people!

His commission to His disciples before He left them was to go and make disciples of all nations. He conferred on them the authority He had received from the Father to do the same things He did. This means that the works we do will confirm the authenticity of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God, with the right and power to forgive sin, testify to the nature of God and His kingdom and proclaim that the kingdom of God is here, just as His works did.

In response to His commission, Jesus’s disciples went everywhere preaching His word as He had commanded them to do.

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16: 19-20)

He did not send them out to hold healing and miracle campaigns. The emphasis was not on miracles; it was on the kingdom of God of which Jesus is king. As He was proclaimed, so He confirmed His Word with signs.

This was the testimony of Paul as well.

The things that mark an apostle – signs, wonders and miracles – were done among you with great perseverance. (2 Cor. 12: 12)

Therefore, I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Rom. 15: 18-19)

Did you get the order? First the proclamation of the gospel of Christ – then the signs and wonders which confirmed the Word of God.

Is it not possible that there is far too much focus today on the signs and wonders which people are seeking instead of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and His kingdom, towards which the miracles point? Miracles have become an end in themselves instead of a confirmation that the kingdom of God is here. Those who claim to live in the kingdom are to walk in the ways of the Lord. It is His role to work with us and to confirm His Word with signs.

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

Do you like this post? Then buy your own copy of my book, Learning to be a Disciple, which is also available from www.amazon.com or www.takealot.com in South Africa. You can also order a copy directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com

Watch this space!

My latest book, The Heartbeat of Holiness, will also soon be available

 

The Threefold Witness

THE THREEFOLD WITNESS

What was the difference between His Messiahship and His Sonship? As Messiah, Jesus carried the anointing of the Holy Spirit to fulfil His mission. As the Son of God, He was the Father’s personal representative, revealing the nature of the Father because He and the Father are one. According to the requirement of Torah, there had to be two or three witnesses for a claim to be verified. In spite of the refusal of the religious leaders to recognise Him, Jesus appealed to three witnesses to ratify His identity and authenticate His claim:

  1. The testimony of John the Baptist

You have sent to John and He has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. (John 5: 33-35)

In what way did John bear testimony to Jesus as the Son of God?

Then John gave this testimony, ’I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.’ (John 1: 32-34)

  1. The testimony of the works themselves

Although John’s testimony was valid and acceptable as a witness to Jesus’s identity as the Son of God, Jesus drew attention to an even more powerful witness than John’s.

I have a testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. (John 5: 36)

Did He clarify what He classified as “work”? He said to His disciples in the Upper Room,

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least, believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. (John 14:11)

Part of His work was to do the miracles assigned to Him by the Father as proof that He was sent by the Father and that He was “in” the Father and the Father “in” Him.

  1. The testimony of the Father

The greatest testimony of all was the witness of the Father.

And the Father who sent me has Himself testified concerning me. (John 5: 37)

When did the Father bear witness to Jesus as His Son?

When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as He was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven; ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ (Luke 3: 21-22)

Three powerful, independent witnesses, whether the Jews liked it or not, were enough to authenticate Jesus as the Son of God.

No amount of positive witness would convince the religious leaders that Jesus was both Messiah and the Son of God. Whatever He said or did, they rejected as evidence of His identity. They even went as far as accusing Him of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub. Imagine that! Jesus showed them how ludicrous it was to attribute His power to the devil.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?’ (Matt. 12: 25-26)

Instead of His miracles giving them a reason to accuse Him of being in league with the devil, Jesus pointed out that they were the very reason to believe that God’s kingdom had come among them.

But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt. 12: 28)

What is the point of this testimony for us as believers? It is important that we have the absolute assurance that the one in whom we have put our confidence for time and eternity it reliable and trustworthy because our eternal destiny is at stake. Jesus pointed to His works – His miraculous intervention in the lives of people and in nature, even to raising the dead to life again, to reassure those who believe in Him that He is who He says He is – the Son of God.

We can have the utmost confidence in His promises because He revealed the power of the Holy Spirit through whom He lived, to do in us and through us what He did through Jesus.

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

Do you like this post? Then buy your own copy of my book, Learning to be a Disciple, which is also available from www.amazon.com or www.takealot.com in South Africa. You can also order a copy directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com

Watch this space!

My latest book, The Heartbeat of Holiness, will also soon be available.

 

The Way To The Father

THE WAY TO THE FATHER

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’

“‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.” John 1:43-46 (NIV)

John gives us some interesting little exchanges between these would-be disciples and Jesus. The other gospel writers focus mainly on Peter and John, the ones who were always getting into scrapes or had the most to say. Andrew and Philip were the evangelists among them. Their first encounter with Jesus was enough to put them on the right track.

Andrew had already done his little bit by introducing his brother Peter to Jesus. What if he had kept his discovery to himself and left Peter out? Meeting this unique Man was something he couldn’t keep secret.

Philip was so convinced that he had come face-to-face with the one who fulfilled Old Testament prophecy that he unashamedly declared his faith to Nathanael. He brushed Nathanael’s skepticism aside by inviting him to come and see for himself. It was no use getting into a theological argument about it. An encounter with Jesus would be enough to convince Nathanael that He was the Messiah they were expecting.

“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite, in whom there is no deceit,’ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’

Nathanael was blown away when he overheard Jesus’ comment about him. ‘Now this is a really good guy! He’s a true Israelite, not a fraud like some of them.’ How did Jesus know that? He’d never met Nathanael, let alone spent enough time with him to watch and listen to him so that He could sum up his character.

‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael demanded. ‘I know you, Nathanael. I knew you long before you came here today.’ Is this a subtle hint that Jesus was referring to His pre-incarnate existence with the Father when He knew Nathanael from before the foundation of the world? Where was Jesus when He saw him under the fig tree? Was He actually observing him? What prompted Him to discern in Nathanael a wholesome sincerity that pleased Him?

Nathanael’s conclusion was the only one he could come to. This man must be more than a man. There was no other explanation. His spontaneous outburst, ‘You are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel!’ may have been accurate, but he was yet to see and hear much more — marvellous truths and miracles that would flesh out the conviction that would bind him to Jesus and send him out to tell the world that Jesus is the Son of God.

“Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ Then He added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'” John 1: 47-51 (NIV)

The purpose of John’s gospel was to convince his readers that Jesus is the Son of God. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life through His name,’ “John 20:31 (NIV). Andrew and Peter, Philip and Nathanael found that out by meeting Jesus and spending time with Him.

The witness of brother and friend was not enough to convince them. When they spent time with Jesus over the next few years, they would see for themselves that it was He who would open the way between the unseen realm of the spirit and the earthly realm in which they lived and functioned. He was the link and the key to restoration of fellowship with the Father and personal access to the heavenly realm which sin had denied them.

There is no one other than Jesus who can take us to the Father.