Messy Grace Week - 6
When seeing Jesus is enough for me, others will see Jesus in me!
Tell about a time when it felt like Jesus was enough for you?
How about a time it felt like He wasn’t?
Though God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts, He has revealed Himself to us in a manner and way that we can understand. God’s revelation of Himself is Jesus. Because the Bible teaches us that Jesus is God, we can know everything we need to know about God by looking to Jesus.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 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 works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
One of the primary reasons John wrote the Book of John was to show that Jesus is God. To John and the early disciples, this fact was of the utmost importance; in fact, it was and is essential to what we believe as Christians.
Why does the fact that Jesus is God matter? Why is it essential that someone believe in Jesus’ divinity in order to be a Christian?
What would some of the implications be if Jesus were not fully God?
The implications for us are enormous if we do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. Because Jesus claims to be God, if He is not God, then He is a mad man. That means every word from the mouth of Jesus can be trusted only if Jesus was and is God. If, on the other hand, we believe what Jesus says about Himself, it means that we can know everything we need to know about God by looking to Jesus.
READ John 14:1-11.
What does Jesus mean in referring to Himself as the Way? Truth? Life?
How would these truths have encouraged His disciples at that moment?
How might Jesus’ claim at the end of verse 7 been received by faithful Jews during Jesus’ day? Why?
As staggering as Jesus’ claim to be the exclusive way to the Father was, His statement “you do know Him and have seen Him” must have been even more staggering to the disciples. The Jews taught that no one had seen God at any time (see John 1:18); the Greeks claimed that God was invisible. Jesus asserted that if anyone knew Him and saw Him, that person had known God and seen God.
What do you think Jesus meant by the phrase, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me”?
What evidence do we have that Jesus’ words are true?
Philip and the disciples were called to believe Jesus as well as to believe in Him. The grounds of belief are two-fold: first is Jesus’ declaration, and second is the evidence of Jesus’ power. There is a call to recognize the miracles as signs pointing to Jesus’ deity. Believers have ample reason to be confident in Christ because His words reveal God’s truth and His works reveal God’s power.
Is there anywhere else other than Jesus you are looking in order to know God?
What is one way you can fix your eyes on Jesus alone as the fullness of God in bodily form?
What will it take for me this week to see that Jesus is enough?
As you close in prayer, thank God for coming down to our level in the person of Jesus Christ. Confess that Jesus is God, and ask Him to help you worship Him in the manner He deserves.
14:1. Troubled people need peace and affirmation. The problems of the disciples were as real as our problems. In fact, it is probably fair to say that most Christians are realists. From Scripture they recognize the reality of sin, the reality of evil in the world, the reality of deliverance from sin, and the reality of ultimate eternal life. These disciples, good Jews, had already trusted in God and now Jesus asked them to trust in him. They had watched him feed five thousand people and bring Lazarus back from the dead, but now they must trust him not just for food or miracles, but with their lives.
14:2. Let us acknowledge at the beginning of this chapter that this portion of Scripture is not about huge buildings in heaven but about space. Lots of songs have been written to proclaim “mansions over the hilltop,” but Jesus simply told his disciples, “There’s room in heaven for you.” But he also wanted to indicate that he would go ahead of them to do specific work—the preparation of heaven (14:2b). The New Testament teaches us we are pilgrims and wanderers in this world. We may own homes, and some of them may be huge and beautiful. But we do not belong here because we are not primarily citizens of this world. In heaven we will be where we really belong because Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us.
14:3–5. Forget the mansions; what this passage talks about is the personal touch of the Savior. Count the times he says I or me in these two short verses, and you will come up with five. He wanted the disciples to trust him personally. It was not just preparation of a place in focus here, but the personal return of Jesus to take his own to heaven. This passage does not speak about levels of reward or big buildings in heaven. It promises the second coming of Jesus Christ. Did they really know the way? They should have known; it has been obvious in this book since chapter 3.
14:6. In response to a question from Thomas, Jesus stated that He was the way and the truth and the life. Jesus did not claim to be one of many ways. Jesus is the way. He not only taught the way, demonstrated the way, and provided the way, He Himself is the way—the only way. The way is not a philosophy or a principle, but a Person. Jesus is the truth. The expression emphasizes Jesus’ utter dependability and also the saving truth of the gospel. Jesus is the single reliable source of redemptive revelation. Apart from Him there is no means of knowing God. Jesus also is the life. No real life exists apart from Him. Jesus claimed that individuals are dead without Him. He is the Source and Giver of life and the Conqueror of death. Through Jesus, the very life of God is available to us—abundant, everlasting life.
14:7. Jesus’ words “if you know me” refer to the disciples’ limited comprehension. Of course, they had known Him well enough to leave their homes and livelihoods to follow Him. Jesus was not saying their knowledge of Him was not real. Rather, He was saying their knowledge did not go deep enough. They had not fully comprehended that Jesus was the only and absolute way to the Father. They needed to come to a fuller knowledge of Jesus and His significance. As staggering as Jesus’ claim to be the exclusive way to the Father was, His statement “you do know Him and have seen Him” must have been even more staggering to the disciples. The Jews taught that no one had seen God at any time; the Greeks claimed that God was invisible. Jesus asserted that if anyone knew Him and saw Him, that person had known God and seen God. This reality gives believers confidence and a deep assurance that trusting Jesus is all that is necessary to ensure a place in the Father’s house.
14:8-9. Philip wanted an immediate display of the Father’s glory. His request reveals that He had not grasped Jesus’ words recorded in verse 7. Perhaps Philip desired the kind of revelation of Himself that God occasionally gave in the Old Testament. Jesus’ response to Philip reflects an element of sadness and a measure of rebuke. Although Philip had heard Jesus teach and had witnessed His miraculous power for such a long time, he had failed to grasp the unity between Jesus the Son and God the Father. In light of all that the disciples had seen throughout Jesus’ ministry, how could Philip say, “Show us the Father”? As believers, we need to be continually growing in our knowledge of Christ. Is our knowledge of Jesus what it should be in light of the length of time we have been following Him?
14:10. Jesus’ question to Philip expected a yes answer. The essential unity between Jesus and the Father was so evident that Philip should have recognized that the words and works of the Son were the words and works of the Father. Father and Son are one in nature and essence. The word living points to a permanent relationship.
14:11. In this context the verb believe involves intellectual content as well as personal relationship. Philip and the disciples were called to believe Jesus as well as to believe in Him. Observe the two grounds of belief. First is Jesus’ declaration and second is the evidence of Jesus’ power. The phrase believe because of the works themselves is a call to recognize the miracles as signs pointing to Jesus’ deity. Believers have ample reason to be confident in Christ because His words reveal God’s truth and His works reveal God’s power.
DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE
HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME
The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.
UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart:Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.
FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God:Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!
INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer):After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.
OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action:Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
The disciples had seen thousands of miracles. They’d even seen the greatest miracle of all: Jesus resurrected after three days in the tomb. And yet, here at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, we read that “some doubted.” Even as they worshiped and received the Great Commission, the disciples doubted Jesus.
Unbelievable—isn’t it? It’s so easy to sit here with my Bible in my lap and gape at their lack of faith. After all, you and I would never struggle with doubt if we had seen and experienced what they had, right? Well… Not so fast.
Remember the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31)? In this story we see a conversation between two characters, a rich man who died and went to Hades and Abraham. The rich man is in torment. And as he’s suffering, he looks across a great chasm and sees a poor beggar he knew from before he died named Lazarus. This poor beggar, who’s wounds dogs used to lick, is right at Abraham’s side. The rich man calls out to Abraham: “Please, send Lazarus over to give me a cool drink of water—I’m in agony!” Abraham replies: “Sorry, that’s not how it works. The gulf between us is too wide to cross.” The rich man begs: “Will you at least send him to warn my family so they don’t end up in this place of torment?” Abraham’s answer is chilling. He says, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
The Enemy of Unbelief
You see, this parable is eerily similar to what’s happening in today’s verses—and to what happens in our hearts every day. While it’s easy to sneer at the disciples’ doubt, we ignore the reality of our own. And in doing so, a great enemy ravages our hearts without us ever taking notice. Like the rich man, we think if we just had the right evidence or information laid out for us, we’d believe the truth. But Abraham helps us see this isn’t so. In fact, the disciples themselves show us that no amount of “evidence” ever quite convinces the human heart. So to the very end of his earthly ministry, Jesus battled unbelief tooth and nail. The disciples were looking a man raised from the dead straight in the eyes—and even that wasn’t enough. The truth is that unbelief is likely something we’ll battle for all of our earthly lives. It’s good to ask honest questions and seek their answers (Proverbs 25:2). But it’s foolish to think we’re beyond doubt. Instead, we must worship through our doubt, be honest about it with each other, and ask Jesus for increased faith. Just like the man whose son Jesus healed in Mark 9:24 said: “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2
A word of admonition to us all: don’t be a “wannabe” theologian! Paul was straightforward with the church in Corinth. He didn’t yammer on endlessly; he cut straight to the source of life, Jesus. As Christians, we should be all about Him. We should wake up with a craving to be like Jesus everyday and we should long to walk as He walked. But how exactly did He walk? Great question. He walked through mobs of people shouting, spitting, and jeering at Him while carrying a cross. That’s how Jesus walked, that’s how Jesus lived. He allowed Himself to be humiliated, mocked, and ridiculed all for our good. Paul realized a simple yet powerful truth: when we know Jesus, our pride should evaporate.
There is no room for arrogance when you’ve met Jesus. Paul didn’t need to use impressive words or flex his vocabulary, he needed to proclaim nothing but “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” This mindset can work in us in two different ways: Firstly, if we’re constantly looking to impress others with our knowledge or holiness, we’ve completely missed our purpose. The point is not us, it’s Jesus. Secondly, we’ve also missed it if we neglect sharing Jesus with others because we’re worried that we don’t know enough. If we do this, we’ve also missed the heart of the matter. Again, the point is not us, it’s Jesus!
Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com
And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1 John 1:4
John was one of Jesus’ closest friends, even called the “beloved disciple.” He heard Jesus speak, saw him with his own eyes, touched him and spent time physically with him (1 John 1:1-3); but this did not complete his joy. Just knowing Jesus wasn’t enough for him. Some of us may be wondering why the joy Jesus said we would have (John 15:11, John 16:24) just doesn’t seem present in our life. Could it be because this joy is not intended as a personal well, but an overflowing, communal spring? John wrote this letter to his Christian brothers and sisters to complete his joy. His joy was complete only when sharing Jesus with others, and the joy he possessed he shared. Some think we only talk of Jesus to non-Christians, and when that’s finished there are weightier matters of the faith to converse with Christians about. But Jesus is the source of our joy.
Have you been talking with other Christians about Jesus lately? Have you shared about what Jesus has done in your life with those who are not Christians? Examine your life and see if your joy isn’t complete because you have not been sharing Jesus with everyone.
Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.org
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus taught many things about prayer and its central role in a believer’s life. He also promised that our petitions will be answered when we meet certain requirements.
One condition is mentioned in John 14:14: After receiving Christ as our personal Savior, we have the right to present requests in Jesus’ name, which means praying something that the Lord Himself might pray. To exercise this privilege, we must come to the Father, depending not on our own good works or character but on the merits of Christ alone. Jesus’ atoning death on the cross is the only basis for approaching God and being assured of receiving an answer to our petitions.
A second requirement is separation from all known sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” This refers to ungodly behaviors and thought patterns that we know are wrong but refuse to give up. Remember, God looks at our heart attitude. If we struggle against our sinful ways, grieve over them, and ask for forgiveness, He will hear our cries and respond. But when He sees a hard heart, He is not obligated to listen.
Next time you pray, start with words of praise to God for His sacrificial love and gratitude to Jesus for dying in your place (1 John 4:10). Express that you understand why your prayers are heard—because you have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and not because of anything you have done. Confess all known sin and ask for forgiveness. Then present your requests to God with anticipation, and trust His answers.
Adapted From: http://intouch.org
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10
When Jesus began His public ministry, the first word that came out of His mouth was repent. The Bible tells us to repent and be converted (see Acts 3:19) and that God has commanded people everywhere to repent (see Acts 17:30).
However, this is something that I think is missing in the lives of a lot of people. They have never repented of their sin. There may be thousands and thousands of people with a false sense of assurance sitting in the pews of our churches today. They think they will go to Heaven because they walked down an aisle or prayed a simple prayer.
Yet they have never fulfilled one of the primary conditions of being forgiven of their sins, which is repenting. It’s great to realize that God loves you. It’s wonderful to recognize that He is ready to forgive you. And yes, you must ask Jesus to come into your heart. But the Bible says that part of that process is repenting of your sin.
There are people who have never taken this step. They say, “I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died on the cross for me. I believe that He is able to change me. And Lord, I ask You to come in my life and be my best buddy.” Meanwhile, they have never repented. They have never turned from known sin.
There are a lot of people today who have come close, but they haven’t come close enough. The recognition of personal sin is always at the base of repentance. But to only do that can be useless at best and dangerous at worst. Recognizing personal sin without taking action can be self deceiving, because it makes us think that mere acknowledgment of sin is all that is necessary.
Adapted From: http://harvest.org
One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.
Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”