Jn13:1 – Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
I love the last part of this verse, “(Jesus) loved His own until the end”. In this passage Jesus displayed His love for His disciples by taking on the role of a servant and washing the disciples’ feet. He was washing the feet of fishermen, tax collectors, political activists, and even the one who would betray Him. Not only was Jesus displaying love to His followers, He was mirroring the coming work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. That’s what this whole night was about; foot washing, instituting the Lord’s Supper that would prepare the world for the Holy Spirit, and finally an extensive teaching on the One He called Another Helper.
In this teaching on the Holy Spirit that is really over our heads and past comprehension, Jesus began to describe the love the Father has for Jesus. He was now saying that that infinite love enjoyed by the trinity is now becoming available to us. Jesus said it like this, Jn.15:9 – “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts”. This is unending love, eternal love, the love that is enjoyed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus proclaimed the unthinkable, this love is now available to us. Here is a description of this love from the Passion Notes.
“Unconditional love flies in the face of the most basic drives of human nature. We tend to love conditionally; we love only those we consider worthy. God’s love is nothing like that. Christians see the unconditional quality of God’s love displayed on the Cross. It is love for the utterly unworthy, a love that proceeds from a God who loves simply because He is love. Such a love could never be conceived by men. Only God would dare to love in such a way.”
So when we meet Christ we are confronted with a totally different kind of love than we have ever known before. He loves us despite us being us. He loves us because that is Who He is. God is love and the Holy Spirit is the outpouring of God’s love on whosoever will.
Mic.2:12,13 – Amp. – I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely collect the remnant of Israel. I will bring them [Israel] together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture. They [the fold and the pasture] shall swarm with men and hum with much noise. The Breaker [the Messiah] will go up before them. They will break through, pass in through the gate and go out through it, and their King will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.
Breakthrough, who doesn’t need a breakthrough. Everything from finance to health issues, work drama, to family emergencies; breakthrough is something all of us look for. What does breakthrough actually mean to you? For me it is a sudden, dramatic change in circumstances. It awakens visions of David killing Goliath and setting the Philistine army on the run, or maybe 185,000 Assyrian troops being killed when laying siege to Jerusalem. All of us pray for those sudden changes in our circumstances but it seems like real breakthrough is more like an elusive pipe dream. That’s why today’s verse is so critical. Did you read it? Did you catch the source of all breakthrough seen in this passage? Breakthrough does not come from some extra human effort, it is the work of the One Micah calls the Breaker. Jesus is the author of all breakthrough and I think He is preparing for a major breakthrough in our world today. Here is how the Expositor’s Commentary describes this verse.
“Suddenly a figure, called “the Breaker” (NIV, “One who breaks open the way”), appears in the narrative and goes up before the multitude. Led by the Breaker, the people burst through the gate of the enclosure to form a procession with their King at their head. Micah envisions a time when the kingdom of God will burst forth into sudden reality and the people of God will be manifested. He affirms that the strictures that now prevent the visible realization of the power and glory of God’s kingdom and that blur the identity of God’s people in the world will be shattered and the Breaker will lead his people to glory.”
I like that. Breakthrough is a corporate thing as well as a personal thing. How can I be sure that the needed Breakthgrough will happen in my life? It is really quite simple, get as close to the Breaker as possible and you will follow Him as He breaks down every wall of resistance in your world.
Jn.1:11-12 – He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
In yesterday’s devotion I spoke about receiving from the Lord. That was the first lesson I learned as I embraced the outpouring of the Spirit in 1994. Somehow, my receiver had been broken. I had been serving and counseling and praying and preaching and binding and loosing for so long that I had become stuck in the pouring out mode. Even when standing in the line to receive prayer the tendency was an aggressive, intercessory type of prayer. There is a place for that but not when you are trying to drink in the Holy Spirit. To receive from the Lord our stance needs to change. Words like compliant, humble, open, and hungry come to mind. Jesus said it like this, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink”. Here is how Spurgeon speaks about receiving.
“When I receive Jesus, He becomes my Saviour, so mine that neither life nor death shall be able to rob me of Him. All this is to receive Christ—to take Him as God’s free gift; to realize Him in my heart, and to appropriate Him as mine. Salvation may be described as the blind receiving sight, the deaf receiving hearing, the dead receiving life; but we have not only received these blessings, we have received CHRIST JESUS Himself. It is true that He gave us life from the dead. He gave us pardon of sin; He gave us imputed righteousness. These are all precious things, but we are not content with them; we have received Christ Himself. The Son of God has been poured into us, and we have received Him, and appropriated Him. What a heartful Jesus must be, for heaven itself cannot contain Him.”
When my heart first opened to the outpouring that summer of 1994, I felt like waves of glory were literally washing over me. I was shocked at how real and how profound this outpouring was. It was unmistakeable and undeniable. The only prerequisite was spiritual thirst which flows from a profound humility. David says it like this-
Ps 34:1,2 – “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice”.
Acts 3:16 – And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
The resurrection changed just about everything. Jesus was raised from the dead for us, that’s why Paul called it firstfruits, Jesus was the prototype. One day all of us will be raised from the dead. When Jesus was raised from the dead all authority was given to Him by the Father as a man. That’s what changed everything, a human was given all authority over demons, sickness, and death. Jesus turned around and gave that authority to us. That’s what it means when we were given authority to act and pray in His name. In today’s verse Peter is used to heal a lame man in the Name of Jesus. I guess what all of us need to determine is this, have we too been given authority to minister in His Name and what would that mean. Here is how Maclaren describes it.
“The name of Christ, then, is the representation or embodiment of that which Christ is declared to be for us men, and it is that Name, the totality of what He is manifested to be, in which lies all power for healing and for strengthening. The Name, that is, the whole Christ, in His nature, His offices, His work, His Incarnation, His Life, His Death, Resurrection, Sitting at the right hand of God—it is this Christ whose Name made that man strong, and will make us strong. Brethren, let us remember that, while fragments of the Name will have fragmentary power, as the curative virtue that resides in any substance belongs to the smallest grain of it, if detached from the mass….yet in order to realize all that He can be and do, a man must take the whole Christ as He is revealed.”
So Peter made it very clear that day, that lame man was healed by the authority given to him to act in the Name of Jesus. In other words we have been given the power of attorney to act in behalf of Jesus. If that is true, it is not our resources that are important but the resources invested in the Name of Jesus.
Thou shalt call his name Jesus.
The angel’s message to Joseph so many years ago has brought hope to every generation and to every tribe and tongue. ‘Call His Name Jesus’. This Name has become the Name above all names. His Name is like a song or like oiled poured out. This Name brings peace, healing, courage, purity, and power. In His Name we are freed from sin, filled with a love for the hurting, and empowered to reach the nations with the power of the gospel.
Whatever state you find yourself in this Christmas season The Name of the Lord is your place of protection. Jesus promised to be with us until the end and will be with us even in the darkest of times. Here are Spurgeon’s thoughts on today’s verse.
“Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether he be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world-the King, the Prophet, or the Priest-every title of our Master-Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor-every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distill from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name. It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.”
When the Lord gave this word to Joseph he experienced a life change. There is something about that Name that always changes lives. Joseph went from depressed and fearful to a man of courage, purpose, and joy. He took Mary for his wife, defied Herod and his soldiers, and provided a family and provision for the Son of God. Maybe you are facing discouragement or depression this Christmas, call His Name Jesus and you can be brought out into a place of joy.
MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS
WHO TOUCHED ME?
“And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?”
Luke 8:45 KJV
What a precious story of one individual lost in the sea of humanity that had an encounter with Jesus. You read of it everyday in the news; the child left in a dumpster, the elderly abandoned in some overcrowded nursing home, the sick wasting away after spending all that they had on empty promises. The suffering are not forgotten in the world in which Christ walks. The storyline may not look like it will end well but even eternity brings sweet bliss to those who meet His touch. Christ looks for those who stretch out their hands when all else fails. His hands grasp ours when we have no life left in us. The child is found, the sick one is visited and the miserable are comforted. He gives a medicine no physician can conjure up, for He is the balm of Giliad. Somewhere, somehow Christ comes and the atmosphere changes. l believe He walks hospital hallways, empty airports, abandoned buildings, refugee camps bringing the antidote needed. He is the remedy for all of mankind pains and the answer to all their questions. Christ’s followers abound through the earth looking for the hurting and they pour out the oil and the wine. Christ always looks to those who touch Him with the touch of pain. His hands are stretched out still, for He ever lives to make intercession on our behalf. He loves to be loved and He knows each and everyone’s make up from what makes us tick to our favorite foods! He created us to need His touch! You are not just some number or a mistake or some nobody drifting through this life on this planet. God saw you as His since the beginning of time and He knows your need.
Who touched me? He is waiting for your need to get so big so that you press through the crowd and finally meet the lover of your soul. When you do touch Him that’s when you start your story!
Luke 10:38,39 ¶ Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
One of the great stories in the Bible talks about the conflict between the two sisters, Martha and Mary. The Bible says that Martha was “distracted with much serving” while Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Martha was very upset with Mary and asked Jesus to correct her sister. What Martha failed to see was that Mary was not just sitting, avoiding the real work. Mary was sitting at Jesus feet. Jesus said to leave Mary alone, she had chosen the best part. There is a huge difference between just sitting and sitting at Jesus feet, Charles Spurgeon helps us see the difference in his comments on this passage.
“Mary was not praised for sitting still; but for her sitting at Jesus’ feet. Even so, Christians are not to be praised for neglecting duties under the pretense of having secret fellowship with Jesus: it is not sitting, but sitting at Jesus’ feet which is commendable. Do not think that activity is in itself an evil: it is a great blessing, and a means of grace to us. Paul called it a grace given to him to be allowed to preach; and every form of Christian service may become a personal blessing to those engaged in it. Those who have most fellowship with Christ are not recluses or hermits, who have much time to spare, but indefatigable laborers who are toiling for Jesus, and who, in their toil, have him side by side with them, so that they are workers together with God. Let us remember then, in anything we have to do for Jesus, that we can do it, and should do it in close communion with him.”
I often speak about the outpouring of the Spirit that happened in our church in 1994. In that outpouring the Lord redirected my main responsibility in ministry. Before that time I had been more involved in the business of the ministry, the Lord was calling me to a new job description. My new job was to spend the majority of my work focused on seeking God in study, listening to the Lord, and preparing to minister His Word. Don’t get me wrong, Martha’s work is very important. It’s just that the kingdom needs Mary’s work as well, not just sitting but sitting at His feet.
MERRY THURSDAY BY PARRIS-
“Christ is all, and is in all” Colossians 3:11
The message of the Gospel is timeless. People treat it as though it’s backward, old fashioned, not hip and out of date but Christ transcends all trends. He has been “trending” before time began. He is, as it were, the wheel in the middle of the wheel, for from Him all things exist, breathe, operate, and flow. Christ is all and is in all and man just keeps looking down at his own existence and his own understanding. In fact, wherever you go on planet earth Christ can be found for He speaks the language of the lost man. He doesn’t just come to the educated man, he comes to the most remote people group on earth and they can have their spiritual understanding opened to feel and know Christ. He isn’t a CAUCASIAN ENGLISH CHRIST but He became flesh and blood and dwelt among us for all mankind. He isn’t a JEWISH CHRIST but a Christ that transcends to every man, woman, and child from all nations creeds and color. Anyone that is born on this earth was born in the image of God and was created to give Him glory. What’s trending? Christ is trending and He will always be the center of it all. Man can say what they want, blast away at their pompous ways but it doesn’t change what Christ is. He is the great I am. Wherever you go, you can worship Christ because He will be found everywhere one finds the hurting, the lost and the hopeless. Christ is timeless-for He isn’t bound in time. When he says, “Come unto Me all ye that are heavy laden and he will give you rest” He is speaking to the here and now . Anyone that is anywhere if they hear His voice can experience redemption. No-one can say that He doesn’t understand because He does. He is timeless, present, and future.
Jonathan Edwards says, “What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior, that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Savior should be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there wanting? What is there that is great or good; what is there that is venerable or winning; what is there that is adorable or endearing; or, what can you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in the person of Christ? Would you have your Savior to be great and honorable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean person? And, is not Christ a person honorable enough to be worthy that you should be dependent on him? Is he not a person high enough to be appointed to so honorable a work as your salvation?”
Whats trending? Christ always Christ.
How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head. Psalm 133:1–2
What is the life of the church? What makes it different from all other societies and organizations? The answer is Christ, He is the difference and our source of life. Recently, I found myself fixating on what I perceived as weaknesses or blemishes in our church. The Lord began to correct me only as He can, His correction came in the simplest yet most profound way. It was as if I heard a whisper throughout the day, during the preaching (we had a guest speaker that morning in church), and during the prayer time. The whispering voice just repeated one word, “Christ”. After a while I began to get it, it wasn’t about my gifts, our excellence of ministry, or really any human effort at all, the uniqueness and blessing of the church is simply Christ. He is all in all. After all, He is what makes us a true community marching on our way to the heavenly city. Here are some thoughts from Watchman Née on today’s verses.
“Psalm 133 is a Song of Ascents, sung three times a year by those going up to worship at Jerusalem. There were all kinds of people on that road, but they had one thing in common: they were all heading for Zion, the abode of God. These men in their great variety were all brothers in unity. How? The illustration explains. It is like the oil. There is one “holy anointing oil”: the Spirit of God Himself. And the flow of oil is down, not up! In other words, His anointing is not directly on the members but upon Christ the Head. The Spirit finds rest and satisfaction in Christ and nowhere else. Hold fast the Head, obey Him in all things, and you will be found walking in step with all who do the same.”
That’s it, Christ is the very life that we share together. In Christ we have revelation, encouragement, power, moral strength, compassion for the hurting, and love for our brother’s and sisters in Christ. Like the pilgrims of old in their journey to the joyful festivals in Jerusalem, we too are on the road, our destination is the Heavenly Jerusalem. Our journey will end in a place of joy and celebration, our joy in the journey increases with anticipation as we draw near to our destination.
Matt. 13:44 ¶ The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
You can learn a lot about someone when you discover their treasure. Everyone has one; from the homeless man’s shopping cart to the rich man’s yacht, different things are precious to different people. You can evaluate a person’s spiritual condition by their value of the Lord. Jesus was talking about that in today’s verse, the treasure in this verse is God Himself. That is what Jesus came for, not to just purchase length of days for us in a place called heaven, He came to give us a new treasure that is too good for words. When He purchased us with His own blood He purchased access to Him for us. We now have access to an amazing relationship with the Lord Himself. God has become our treasure, He is the treasure hidden in a field. Jonathan Edwards often spoke about the Lord being “our good”. Here are some of his thoughts on our precious treasure.
“God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God, he is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the “river of the water of life” that runs, and the tree of life that grows, “in the “midst of the paradise of God” [Rev. 2:7]. The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast.”
So its not the golden streets, the pearly gates, length of days, or even a grand family reunion that is the primary focus of redemption. What Christ purchased at Calvary was our ability to have God as our very own treasure. He is our portion and our treasure, He is more than enough to satisfy all of our wants, He is our good.