Check out this great post about the power of our words by my friend Ginny Wilcox.
‘…even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.”
Words have impact and power in our lives…
We all confess this to be true, but do we really believe it, do our lives reflect it? What about our prayers; are they prayers filled with item after item of what is wrong with a situation, begging God to hear our prayers and fix everything?
What about those words we choose when we speak to God, do they not have impact and power? (Positively or negatively) ... (Read more here.)
Yesterday, we looked at the fact that Jesus is the express image of God and to see God we should look at Jesus. But as I promised, I want to see where Jesus took this truth next as He answered Philip’s request:
Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8
Here is the passage again, with my highlighting:
Again, it would be awesome if you would read this aloud:
Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. ~ John 14:9-21
Jesus, the way to know God
So along with telling the boys how they could see God, how they could get to know God’s character and nature, He was going to take this conversation to another destination.
The first paragraph of His answer basically goes like this. You have seen God because He lives in Me, and you have seen Me, the things I do and the words I say, show you exactly who God is.
And as we saw yesterday in Hebrews 1, He is not just the “good parts version” of the immutable (unchangeable) God, He is the “exact representation of His nature” (from Hebrews 1:3.)
The Other Shoe
After making it clear to the disciples that He was how they were to see God, He explains that in the very same way, they were, and we are, a way for people to see and know God.
Each reason Jesus gives Philip for seeing the Father through Himself, He turns around and explains how they will have the same ability to present or should I say re-present the Father to those they touch.
The same Spirit that was in Christ, “will be in you.” The same works that Christ used to demonstrate the character and nature of the Father, “he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.”
Just as Jesus spoke only what He heard the Father say, His promise to the boys comes down like this:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. - John 14:26
Honestly, this revelation is a bit of a world rocker to me. I can be such a screw up at times. I hurt the people I love on a regular basis because my head is stuck where the sun does not shine, and I am thinking about my agenda, my needs, my…self, and that is NOTHING LIKE GOD.
But THIS is His plan. The master plan, set in place before the foundations, before time, before sin, before life as we know it.
If you are in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, His idea is that when people see you, they would be looking at the Father. [Boy, that feels downright blasphemous, doesn’t it?] [Click here to tweet it anyway]
OK – let’s not get all arrogant-n-stuff, because we fall, we fail, and that’s on a good day. But the fact is, when men and women look at YOU and ME, because of the new creation, the new heart, the new covenant, God, using His infinite power, gives your circle of influence a glimpse of the Almighty.
When they look at you, they see God, and when they see you fall, and God lift you up, they see their own need for God, their own need for “my Glory and the Lifter of my head.”
I know, crazy, right?
Lord, today, this day, shine through my successes and my failures, so those around me can see You, and are drawn to the Lover of their souls.
Today and tomorrow I'm going to re-air 2 posts from three years ago about the nature of Jesus. I think these two posts will bless you and I pray we would together turn our eyes toward Jesus. Here we go.
Let's dig into Jesus’ answer to Philip’s request:
Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8
Have you been pondering this passage?
Here is what jumps out at me – Now normally I would put all these words in red, this being Another Red Letter Day, but today I am going to paint a just a few words in blue so they stand out.
It would be awesome if you read this out loud (or out quiet) but I want it to be oral. The more faculties you involve the more tuned in you are, so let’s have a faculty party today.
Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that Hemay be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." ~ John 14:9-21
I know, that is kind of a big chunk of scripture for a blog post, but as you can see from what is highlighted, there are some pretty strong ties from top to bottom.
Here is what I saw as I pondered this passage.
There are two (or maybe three) aspects Jesus emphasizes, that He says will enable us to see the Father.
Indwelling, or cohabitation
The first is the fact that, as He says, “I am in the Father.” This He says three times, and two of these are followed with “and the Father is in Me.” He tells Philip and the rest of the disciples that they can know God. They can “see the Father” right before their eyes because Jesus is indwelt by the Father.
The best way for them to see God was to look at Jesus.
Words and Works
The second way they could see God was to look at the things Jesus was saying and doing, His words and works. He actually tells them that if they were not sure what to believe about Jesus’ relationship with God, this indwelling thing, they should believe just because of the works He was doing. He was… – well as Luke tells us:
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. - Acts 10:38
Jesus, because God was with Him, the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside, did works that demonstrated God, His character, and nature.
We read again in my favorite of all scriptures (I am pretty sure this is the top of my top ten list:)
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:1-3
We see here that Jesus is not "like" God, fuzzy around the edges, like what the prophets taught, according to verse 1. Instead, Jesus is the “exact representation of His nature.” He is not a partial image, where He is only depicting "the good parts" of who God is, but Jesus is a complete revelation of God. If you don’t find it in Jesus, it is not in God. Jesus is the complete study guide to God the Father. Jesus is perfect theology. [Tweet This] There is nothing in Jesus that is not in God, and there is nothing in God that is not in Jesus. And God has seen to it that what is recorded in the Word about Jesus is enough of a revelation for us to know the Father.
So my first takeaway is pretty simple. The best way to know God, and what God is like is to look at Jesus, His words and His works. He, Jesus, tells us this repeatedly and these other passages reinforce this idea, that He only ever did what God was doing, or would do, and His words were coming straight from the throne of God.
But Jesus does not stop here. He does not simply say, you want to see God look at Me! He takes it to a place that changes everything.
Come back tomorrow, and we will see as the other shoe drops.
Here I am… standing at Golgotha’s door. Looking upon my Lord, hanging from a Cross. Looking upon a blood red floor. (Matthew 27:33;John 10:9)
That he who carved beauty from a hewn hunk of wood, with precise eye and vision. With such tender care and understood. Held in strong hands and with gentleadmonition…
Has been SLAMMED so carelessly – against a cruel stake, bare knuckles nailed to a calloused Tree. (John 19:20)
Exhausted and spent, our lives torn apart. Even so, I wasn’t about to give up on the One who had captured my heart! Give up, go home? Oh no! I would see this through. Approached the Centurion, told him what I planned to do.
“Come see a man who knew all about the things I did,
who knows me inside and out.
Do you think this could be the Messiah?”
What I Found at the Well
I wasn’t always this way: a pariah, an outcast from society, cut off from my children, forgotten by those I once loved. Now, I live day to day. Then, I had a future. Hopes. Dreams.
When I was a young girl, I dreamed of the day when I would be the one in the white dress. I would be the one swept away by the dashing and gentle man. I would be the one celebrated, congratulated. The young girls would sing and dance around me.
I remember when my fortunes began to turn. As a woman in a man’s world, it wasn’t like I had much to say in the matter. My first husband threw me out one day. I know it wasn’t the first time I didn’t have a meal ready for him when he came in, but was that all I was to him? A cook?
He was nearly three times my age. When we married, his forty-six years could have been a hundred to me. He was a butcher, and my father made the match thinking I would not go hungry. At sixteen, I had done some cooking, but our family was large, and I was the youngest girl. I never learned how to manage a kitchen or plan a meal.
The marriage lasted less than two years. Now instead of a silly sixteen-year-old girl, I was a divorced woman with a broken heart at seventeen. He and his new wife kept my baby, my only joy for the last eight months.
My parents let me back in my childhood home, but things were not the same. They looked at me with different eyes. Rather than seeing my pain, they saw the shame I brought them.
My father tried for a couple years to find me a match, but a good man did not want a divorced woman.
That’s when I began to settle. I settled four more times, and each time I found myself back on the street. Now I live with a man, and he’s a brute. He does not have any interest in marrying me; he just wants someone to boss around. I have finally learned to get supper on the table promptly, since the alternative is so painful.
After my second marriage, the women in Sychar began to talk. It got worse and worse, until I just didn’t want to be seen in town anymore. Every time I showed up in the village, my shame burned me. It was like holding my hand over an open flame. When I entered a shop or market, all the talking stopped and the glaring began.
Twice a day—morning and evening—since the day I was first married, it fell to me to fetch the water. A few years back, I stopped going with the rest of the women. As their distaste for me grew, I looked for different times and other places to find water. I began to travel all the way out to Jacob’s well. It was deeper than the one in town, so I needed to bring more rope. It was fifteen minutes farther away, but it was private in the heat of the day.
When I got to the well today, I was a bit surprised to find a man there. Not just a man, but a Jew. I could tell by the locks of hair curling down beside his cheeks and by his Galilean accent. I can’t even imagine how he came to be there.
It was rare to see a Jew in Samaria. They didn’t like us. They didn’t like our animals. They didn’t like our roads. They didn’t like anything about us.
This Jew looked tired, having most likely spent hours traveling, and he had nothing with him—no waterskins, no luggage, no food. Who traveled across this desolate tract without water? But here he was.
I was hesitant to approach. The Jews could get pretty hostile toward Samaritans. The fighting wasn’t of a physical nature, but there was no love lost in our dealings.
Then, out of the blue, He spoke to me.
“Will you give me a drink?”
I looked up. I had not let my eyes meet His. Eye contact was usually painful for me; the scorn or condemnation I found in most eyes drove mine to the ground. But when He spoke it startled me, put me off-balance.
At first I thought I would just ignore Him. This Jew could only have malice in mind. But I could feel His eyes on me. He did not turn away and was not put off by my silence. He just sat there on the edge of the well and watched me. When I finally looked up and met His gaze, something in His eyes said He was there just for me. He didn’t look at me like other men. He was looking at the “little-girl me”—like my father used to when I sat on his lap. There was somehow safety in His gaze.
Still, this could not end well for me, so I took another moment, gathered my wits, and put up my guard.
“You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan, a woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”
Then He started talking to me about some living water. At first I didn’t get it. I couldn’t tell if He was flirting with me or making fun of me. But there was something in His tone, in His way, something completely genuine.
Next thing I knew, He told me to call for my husband.
There it was again. Every time I dared to hope for something good, for a new relationship, my past stood like a locked gate before me, an iron barrier between me and life.
I wanted the living water. I wanted eternal life. But who would ever love someone with my past?
“I’m not married,” I mumbled. It was true after a fashion. The man of my house won’t even let my children visit when he’s at home. He would never marry me—love me.
He waited a beat. My heart waited, too. Did He know I was bending the truth?
“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”
How could He know these things? They say Messiah will come, and when He comes He will tell us all things. Could this be Him?
We spoke of other things—of temples and worship, of Mount Gerizim and Jerusalem. But what I wanted to ask Him—Are you the One?—I couldn’t get my tongue to say the words.
Finally I edged up on the question.
“I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
His answer broke the iron gate, and the floods began to flow. His answer was like living water to my soul.
“I AM He.”
This Man-Jew-Prophet-Messiah-Savior of the World, this Jesus, flooded my soul with living water. He made me a temple, a place of worship to the One True God. And He did it knowing who I was and what I’d done. He knew me—all of me—and loved me.
Today, when I lie down to sleep, it’s not in blankets of shame. The flood within me springs up to life daily.
The acceptance I pined for these forty years, I found at the well.
The cleansing I wept for year after year, I found at the well.
Come! See a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?
To read the original story, see John 4:1-29.
Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2015
The story above is a chapter from my book Encounters With Jesus, which is a compilation of forty such stories. It takes the reader from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matt 5:14)
When our question is posed to Jesus, we get another answer today. Who is the light of the world? You are! That's pretty empowering isn't it? Jesus said that you (yes, I'm talking to you!) are the light of the world.
So how is it that He is the Light of the World, and we are the light of the world. Check out this bit from the first chapter of John:
He [John the Baptist] was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There [in Jesus] was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (John 1:8-9)
You see, Jesus is not only the light, but he is the lighter. Check out this prophesy from Isaiah about our day. (my opinion)
Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you, And His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)
I have heard many folks say our job is to reflect the glory of the Lord before men, but I say Jesus is calling on us to be more than reflectors. When I read these passages (feel free to read more than what I have listed here, this is just a taste) I hear the Lord saying He is the source of all light, but He sets us aflame - like candles and lanterns, not mirrors or moons. We don't simply reflect His glory, we are set ablaze with His glory, and we shine the light He has given us in the darkness, gross darkness, He has trusted us to illuminate.
I love that! What a great job He has given us. My mother always used to tell me "Bloom where you're planted." Well today I say: "Shine where you're screwed in!" [Tweet This]
Can you shine the light into the darkness He has assigned to you today? Perhaps you can share your victories with us, to encourage us to shine in our own darkness.
The stories and news reports were reaching my little village and a spark of hope began to spring up, perhaps for the first time since the day I pulled my shirt over my head to get into bed that night nearly four years ago. My wife asked me about the white splotch under my left arm.
I had to pack my things, leave my home, my wife of nine years, and my three beautiful children, and go live with the lepers.
Some say there is no way out of this village, but I have seen many leave. Their destination? The grave. Welcome to No Hope Flats, my home.
Jesus meets a leper in Matthew 8.
This leper put into words the thought a great number of good God honoring Christ followers have every day:
Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. ~ Matthew 8:2
A number of things intrigue me about this statement.
He acknowledges Jesus as Lord.
He doesn’t question the ability of Jesus to heal.
He doesn’t actually ask Jesus a question.
He begins on a very good footing. He calls Jesus “Lord.” This is as much a fact today as when He walked the shores of Galilee. Jesus is Lord. As He sat on the hillside teaching, the people could tell – they knew this was not some gifted teacher. The authority which He carried declared it.
He had demonstrated right from the start of His ministry that sickness and disease were under His authority, and the leper had, no doubt, heard these stories. He, our leprous friend, does not wonder about Jesus’ ability. He is confident that he has come to the one man who could set him free from this living death of leprosy.
He does however have ONE HUGE QUESTION that is stuck right in the center of his being.
Will He or won’t He?
He does not frame it as a question though. It is almost as though if he asked the Lord the question, it would force an answer, and the thing he dreads even more than living with his disease is going back to the land of no hope.
When Jesus comes on the scene suddenly hope springs up. It stands boldly on our friends splotchy right shoulder saying – ask Him, ask Him, ask Him. But in his left ear he hears some familiar words. I bet you have heard some of these in your left ear.
You deserve this disease
You certainly don't deserve healing
He won’t help the likes of you
Maybe if you were a better father (mother, son, daughter)
Maybe if you were a better Christian (prayed more, served harder, slept less, ate less)
You no doubt have heard others. That left shoulder liar has a HUGE repertoire to shut down hope.
Today there are a few words I want you to hear. I want you to hear Jesus speak them to you. If you can identify with our leprous friend, I want you to read these next few lines out loud – YES out loud– do it – really – it’s important that you hear Jesus' answer to this unspoken question.
I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Matthew 8:3 I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Luke 5:13 I am willing; be cleansed. ~ Mark 1:41
Just in case you are not sure you understand what Jesus said, here is Matthew's account in a few different translations (keep reading out loud – it will help)
I am willing; be cleansed by being cured. AMP I do want to. Become clean. CEB I want to! Now you are well. CEV I want to heal you. Be healed! ERV I will; be clean. ESV Of course I want to. Be clean! JBP (I love this one!) I will; be thou clean. KJV I do choose. Be made clean! NRSV Of course I wish to. Be clean. VOICE
Are you getting the point. There is no equivocation here. Jesus takes this non-question, these waves of doubt and hope that are tossing our new friend to and fro, and calms them with this one phrase.
I want you to hear Him speak these words today, and not just in your right ear, but in your inner most being. “I Will, be clean.”
Thanks for coming by today.
See you again soon.
This was originally posted in June of 2013. It encouraged me this morning, and I hope it encourages you too!
... for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other.(Matthew 6:24 NASB)
I am having one of those chicken – egg moments (and no I don’t mean that I am pondering the wonderful bird that you can eat both before it’s born and after it’s dead.)
Riddle me this.
Does serving God lead to loving God?
Does loving God lead to serving Him?
As I work through the Song of Songs on Saturdays, I am finding that if I love Him well, it better prepares me to serve Him without holding back.
But then again, verse almost feels like it's saying you fall in love with the one you serve.
So here is a tip for every day life – get ready – it's a bit off topic – but should help somebody out there.
If you are having relationship troubles – perhaps with your spouse or your parents, or your kids, or your neighbors, or your boss, or your (ok – you're thinking of someone – stick a word here that describes your relationship and goes with the flow of my rant)_____________, try serving them.
First act of service – pray for them. Do it now – they're already stuck in your brain.
Next, do something you know they will appreciate without being asked.
Hey – I know it won’t fix every relationship, but as a Jewish sitcom mom from the 1960’s might say – ‘It couldn’t hoit!’
Picture this with me – when a relationship goes from good to bad, it does not happen in one fell swoop (usually – I do get that there are exceptions.) Often it is more like a wall built one brick at a time, over time, until you can no longer see the face of the one that you love, only the ‘dead or alive’ wanted poster on the brick wall of offence.
So, if today, you take down one brick of offense you have turned your relationship around. You've turned the momentum in the opposite direction.
Oh – and you know I am not talking about allowing them to become your Master (with a capital ‘M’ – there is only room for one of those, and that needs to be Jesus. We will get back to that – but for today just a little slice of Dear Abby.
Thanks for stopping in.
Post Script - I am on vacation this week, and working on other things. I thought I would pull up this favorite of mine from December 5, 2012. Hope it blesses you today.
Check out this related post from my new friend Sue at pen2paper: Building Walls
We all know that Jesus is the Light of the World. But once Jesus set His light in you, He says:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; - Matthew 5:14 NASB
I guess I always have thought that being light meant not doing bad things or perhaps doing good things that Jesus did and told us to do.
Then I started to consider Matthew 5:16:
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (NASB)
Check it out:
You are the Light of the world
Your Light Shines
Your good works are illuminated
The Father is glorified.
You see? The light is shining on your good works. The works are not the light, but they are in the light.
I started looking at the other references where Jesus said He was the Light of the World, and I saw the same thing. Check this out from John 3:19:
And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. (NASB)
Men loved darkness because their deeds were evil. They did not love darkness because darkness was evil deeds, but because darkness hid their evil deeds.
This is why in the Old Testament men would leave the towns and fields and hide in groves to worship their false gods. They loved the darkness and cover that the groves provided for their evil deeds.
Our life shines in such a way as to expose our good works.
Does that sound like pride to you? Check out this little tidbit from brother Paul:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB)
You have been saved (Lit up) by grace (not works, no reason to boast.) Once saved by grace (not works) you are equipped by God to do good works that He planned and equipped you for.
The fact is, these good works you are doing in the light that Jesus has placed on, in and through you, are so good, no one will ever think it was your natural talent that produced such amazing fruit.It could only be God, and so He is glorified when your light shines on the works you do.
Was that too much for one thought? It is leaking out of my brain even as I type it. (LOL) This makes me crazy happy. I am so excited that God has such an extraordinary plan for me that He will be glorified by stuff I do, and I can expose His amazing grace to me. And how will I do that. I will Arise and shine in this gross darkness, and let every man see what a miniChrist looks like.
If you are a letter written to this world, turn on the light so they don’t have to strain their eyes! [Tweet This]
Don’t cover up the stuff God giving you to do. Let it rip so He can get the glory He deserves.
Tell me what you think? Does this help you, or does it just bring up more questions?