God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. John 3:16
He sacrificed for his children.
He is my father. He wakes up early. Eats some food, he provided from his pocket. He is getting ready to go to the store/shop where he is the owner, manager, salesman, utility man, accountant, public relations, etc. He goes to this place not with a car to ride but bundles of textile riding him. He shoulders rolls of materials for jeans and upper wear so his family can shoulder day to day living. He opens and closes the shop as he opens the future for his eight kids. At the end of the day, no beer or any vice to color his monotonous life but rather goes straight home to rest his tired body. No fanfare when he comes home, just a house full of imperfect children. Imperfect as they commit mistakes not following his directions. Milking from his sacrifices day in and day out, they give him reason for him to stop what he is doing but he doesn’t.
I was thinking, how can he do this?
I answered myself — he must have followed God’s footprints.
He gave his only Son for he so loved the world. The world is us. Imperfect us. He rides on the clouds yet our sins burden him. He carried us from our iniquities by giving his Son, his only Son. No day, we don’t falter. No hour, we don’t commit mistakes in his eyes. We justify our action saying we are only humans. Yet, the Father continues to do what he does — loving his imperfect adopted children. And his love is not only given just for us the experience it, it is given for us for our eternal future. The human father works for a limited future for his children, but our heavenly Father works for an unlimited future for you and me. He opened the eternal gates for us to enter through Jesus Christ.
All the Father is asking is for you and me to believe. Believe in the Son he gave. Believe in his great love.
I am thinking, why believe in his love?
I answer my question again…
He sacrificed his only Child.
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah? John 4:28-29
She left her water jar.
This was her only purpose before Jesus met up with her and spoke with her. To fetch water when no one was near the well. When everyone might be having their lunch at their homes, she sneaked to the well. Water was there. The living water was there. Jesus talked about her. Jesus talked about himself. He quenched her thirst, not of her body but of her soul. Thus she forgot about her water jar just as she forgot about her past, about her sin. And know only one thing — knowing the Messiah who took her time and who gave her, her new life.
She was lifted.
No friend to come with her to the well. No husband to hold her hands or hold her jar. At noontime, she was getting water, she is making sure she is not getting attention. She is wrong. Jesus’ attention is on her. He knows her. He knows her dirt, her sins. In spite of, he speaks with her, let her know him. Let her have time with the Messiah whose itinerary is fully booked. Don’t underestimate her minutes with Jesus, for this moments gave her the lift from playing hide and seek. She went into the town and exposed herself to the folks saying, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” From keeping herself out of the crowd, she goes to the crowd. From living in the shadows, she emerged to the light.
Jesus knows your past and he urge you to leave your sins. Leave behind your old self. Leave matters that doesn’t satisfy your thirst. Drink from God’s well. Feast on his feast. Come out from hiding. Come to the Son. Exist for a new purpose. Live a new life. Know Jesus and make him known. Love him and make him loved.
Have you met Jesus? Leave your water jar and be lifted.
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
Some are drawing near, yet some are drawing far.
The ones who were closing in to Jesus were sinners. They were publicly identified as sinners. No righteousness in their skin or in their heart. They have no academic knowledge of drawing near to God. All they know is to come closer to Jesus. All they know is that Jesus welcomes them. He searches for them. Jesus ate with them. He walked with them going to a dinner or a teaching session of sorts. He spoke with them in public even if they were known publicly. They felt significant when he is with them, when he took time with them, when he sat with them at the places where they would congregate.
The ones who were drawing far from Jesus were not sinners, at least for them. They were identified as righteous persons. Their piety is shown in their appearances but not sure if it has penetrated their hearts. They have an academic knowledge in drawing near to God. All they know is theory not practicality. That’s why they always put Jesus in the examination room. Yet, Jesus searches for them or they look for Jesus. Wherever they are, Jesus is there. Wherever Jesus is, there they are. Given their position, they should be near to him but they are far. They even question how they spend the Jesus welcomes and eats with the sinners. Not only they are drawing far from him, they are making people draw far from him.
What can you learn from both? You can choose to be near or far to Jesus.
Choose to draw near to Jesus. Accept you are a sinner. Accept you need a Lord and Savior. Accept you need to know him. Listen to him as he declares his unconditional love for you. Listen to Jesus and listen not to people who are putting a gap between you and him. He searches for you, search for him, too.
Don’t draw far from Jesus. Don’t prevent people to come close to him. Jesus left his throne to be near to people, make his trip worthwhile. Even as you grow in Christ, don’t let your head knowledge of him overcome your relationship with him. Let him sit with new members of your church or community. Let him eat with new believers. Be glad, he welcomed you as he welcomes them.
When given a pencil and a clean paper, you know what to sketch. Draw near.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Luke 16:24
This was the request of the rich man.
Max Lucado wrote about this man. That this man requested water. He also requested Abraham that Lazarus go back to his house to warn his brothers regarding the netherworld — Hell. Max pointed out that the rich man did not request that he’ll be save from hell.
Jesus is pointing out rather an important teaching for all of us in this story — once you go the hell, forever you will be in hell.
That’s why as long as you are here on earth, do everything in God’s power not go to hell.
Commit to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Love God. Love others. Repent and believe. Avoid sin. Remember to love and follow the laws of Christ. Be faithful to your spouse. Be a responsible and loving parent. Respect your parents. Respect your children. Show love to your neighbors including the snob at the corner. Give encouragement to the fallen. Share your food to the Lazarus at your doorstep. Send money to children in need in developing nations. Attend church. Pray daily. Read his word. Commune with believers.
I know, you have a long list of to believe, to love and to do.
Yet, always keep in mind and in heart these are all worth it. For in every action, every thought, every word, you choose between heaven or hell.
For in both places, there is no return flight. There is no back in the back and forth. It’s a one way trip.
…and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him… Hebrews 5:9
For a non-electrical person, you see the the wall convenience outlet as the source of electricity. Yeah, that’s the small colored white or off-white plastic patched on your wall. You get power from it. You power your devices from it. For an electric person, that rectangular thingy is just a convenience outlet. It’s a channel not the source. Behind your electric outlet are strands of copper wire with maybe length of some hundred miles. At the end of those wires is a generator, which generates electric power. That’s the source. It’s the spring of electric everything. It’s the fount of why you have lighting and you can work your appliances. Most of the time we don’t acknowledge it as the source since we only see the outlet for convenience.
Some people may say I don’t need Jesus as I don’t do harm to my neighbor. Some people may say I follow all laws and regulations, I am good. You keep your obligations to your family, work and country, you’re a model citizen. You do social work. You feed the hungry. You help at the senior’s housing. You educate street kids. You volunteer at the orphans’ asylum. This is what we call – good without God. Isn’t this convenience?
The writer to the Hebrews cleared this long time ago. Jesus is the source of salvation. He is the generator of salvation. Jesus is the spring of our deliverance. He alone is. Our obedience is a channel. Our goodness is an outlet. Our good works are wires.
Be glad salvation doesn’t depend on us. For Jesus is the source of eternal salvation.
Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy (him) and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present (day). Matthew 28:8-15
Three or more days after Jesus was believed to have died from being crucified on the cross, two contrasting stories will circulate. Two opposing stories will spread regarding why the tomb is now empty.
One story says Jesus has risen from the dead, the other says His body was stolen by His disciples. One story comes from the total number of women who came to the tomb, the other comes from some of the guard who were at the tomb. One story comes from lowly women, the other from regarded soldiers. One story originated from fearful and afraid yet overjoyed women, the other comes from supposedly brave guards. One story comes from women who received grace and forgiveness, the other from men who received money. One story comes from women who woke up from sleep, the other comes from men who said they were asleep. One story comes from women who gave their lives to Jesus; the other comes from men who are trying to save their lives from the governor. One story points to a specific place of promise – Galilee, the other points to a place to nowhere. One story requires faith, the other logic.
Friends, search the depth of your hearts. Which men or women will you listen to? Which story will influence your life? Which story will get your prime time? Which story will you bookmark? Which story will you highlight? Which story will you believe?
Distinguish. For the story you will believe is the story you will tell.
Decide. For the story you will believe is the story you will live.
Postscript- Originally posted on April 14, 2009