Beyond Samaria

Jesus lived as we do, facing what we face, so we could live as He lives, overcoming what we face.

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John 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

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In John 4, we read of an interesting encounter with Jesus.  He was in Samaria, not among His own in Judea.  Apparently, He had been on a ministry journey with His disciples, and to return home, had chosen to travel through Samaria.  His disciples had gone into a village to buy food, and Jesus remained behind at a well.  When a Samaritan woman came to the draw water at an unusual time of day to, no doubt, avoid the ridicule and derision of other women, Jesus broke all the protocols.  He spoke to her; something no self-respecting Jewish male would do to a Samaritan woman.  He asked her to give Him water; something no self-respecting Jewish male would ask of a Samaritan woman.  He ministered to her in the spirit and in truth; something no self-respecting Jewish male would do to a Samaritan woman.  But what I would have you focus on is that when Jesus, apparently being thirsty, asked for water, the first thing He received was amazement, doubt, and even a rebuke for violating the normal protocols that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans.

Now let us travel to another day.  Once again, Jesus was among those who were not of His culture; this time it was the Romans.  His disciples, as in Samaria, were gone away some other place; perhaps looking on from far off.  And once again, He was thirsty.  And once again, He asked for something to drink.  In Samaria, He received drink FROM people outside of covenant (though the water was created by Father).  But this time, on the Cross, He received drink OF a people outside covenant (a drink prepared by the hands of man).  In Samaria, He used His thirst to save a life.  At Calvary, He used His thirst to make salvation available to the whole world.  Early in His ministry, Jesus had declared, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”  Jesus knew what it was to hunger and thirst after righteousness; that was His way of life.  I am so glad that He chose to become sin for us, that He chose to drink of a cup He preferred to NOT drink because He loved us.  I am so glad Jesus took our place, being tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  I am so glad His thirst for righteousness was not just for His own righteousness, but for ours as well.  I am so glad He took His thirst for righteousness BEYOND Samaria. 

Manna for Today – John 19:28-30; John 4:1-26

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The Moment He Became Sin

Our future in Christ was sealed from before the foundation of the world.  This was a part of that work.

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John 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

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Take a moment to re-read our Text for Today again.  The phrase, “After this” is a key to understanding Jesus’ thinking.  Having seen to the well-being of His mother, His earthly responsibilities were ended.  He was fulfilling the commandment to “honor one’s father and mother.”  Obedience to the Word is always a preface to stepping into the deeper plans of God.  Having done that, He then said, “I thirst.”

Upon hearing this, the Romans soldiers filled a sponge with vinegar, a bitter taste, and offered it to Jesus, and He drank it.  Earlier that day, before the crucifixion, He was offered the same drink – vinegar, or soured wine, but refused it.  So, why would He drink it when it was offered the second time?  What had changed?  The answer is found in the words He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  There He prayed three times for the cup of sin and death to pass from Him, but each time He re-affirmed His obedience to Father’s will.  He would NOT, therefore, drink of the bitter dregs of sin’s cup BEFORE He was crucified.  But after He was nailed to the Cross, having completed ALL Father’s will, having lived sinlessly, and having perfectly kept the law, He yielded to Father’s will.  His drinking of the vinegar sponge symbolized that that transition in which the “only begotten Son” would become sin, and thereby shows us the moment that He became sin on the Cross.

Jesus used symbolism throughout His life and ministry, and it was seen even in His birth and childhood.  Everything we read about Jesus in the Scriptures holds great significance; the three different gifts brought by the wise men, His baptism by John Baptist, His miracles, and His sufferings.  Each element of His life, not just His Words, offer deep revelation of the heart of Father God.  And the elements surrounding His arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection are not less magnificent deposits of revelation gold for us to miner from our reading, study, search, and meditation of the Word of God.  Father is NOT seeking to hide His will and knowledge FROM us through some mystery in His Word, but has rather hidden the eternal riches of revelation knowledge FOR us in the pages of our Bible.  Join me in mining as deeply and as often as you can from the life of God we find in the Scriptures. 

Manna for Today – John 19:28-30; John 4:1-26; Matthew 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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It’s All About Love – Part Two

Love trusts because love is trustworthy.  The highest trust always arises out of love.

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John 19:26 – When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, who He loved, He saith unto His mother, behold thy son!

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Again today we consider the love and heroism of Jesus on the Cross.  He hung there, knowing He was about to go where no man had ever gone and returned.  Others had gone there, but none had returned.  But He would.  In all His suffering and torment, it was what He knew that sustained Him, NOT what He felt.

Looking down from the Cross, Jesus saw three women and one man He clearly recognized.  He saw Mary Magdalene, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary, His mother.  He also saw John, His disciple, Peter’s brother.  In that moment, He did two things.  He committed the care of His mother to John, and He laid the responsibility for it on John.  In is keenly interesting here that He committed His mother into the hands of the man who was called, “the disciple Jesus loved.”  Obviously, Jesus loved all His disciples, so why would John be so labeled?

First of all, who wrote these words?  Who was it that labeled John “the disciple Jesus loved?”  It was John himself.  Can you imagine what was going on in John’s heart and mind?  He KNEW Jesus loved him.  you could not convince him otherwise.  Judas forgot it and hung himself.  Peter forgot it and denied Jesus three times.  Others forgot it and fled from His presence in the heat of the battles.  But John KNEW. 

He loved Jesus because Jesus first loved him.  And it was to that love that Jesus, in His great love, committed the care of His mother.  Of course, that is Who Jesus was.  He was all about love.  And what He did was about love.  And what He said was all about love.  And that, my friend, is what makes Him the greatest hero.  For Jesus, it’s all about love.  Without faith you cannot please God, but since faith works by love, it’s all about love.  The love of God is to keep Him commandments, so for faith to work, we must keep His commandments.  It’s all about love.  And we love Him because He first loved us.  So, so one more time I commit this statement; IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE! 

Manna for Today – John 19:16-27; John 20:2; John 21:7; John13:23; 1 Corinthians 13; John 14:15-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 5:3

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It’s All About Love – Part One

God is love.  Faith works by love.  The love of God is keeping His commandments.  It’s all about love.

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John 19:26 – When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, who He loved, He saith unto His mother, behold thy son!

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What I am about to describe, I have witnessed or heard it reported in various ways.   It is what one witnesses in the actions of a true hero.  It can be seen when one who is hurting or suffering in a battle (the specifics of the battles are not so important), but their concerns are for those they lead and love.  They continue in their labor, love, and leadership while many or most of their followers or friends have no idea what they truly face.  Intentional heroes are all about love.

Consider Jesus on the Cross.  No human being in history, before or after the Cross has endured what Jesus did.   It was His body that was broken, scarred, bruised, and bleeding in the most heinous ways imaginable; beaten in the face while blind-folded, lashed by the Roman flagrum, struck with rods, spat upon, His clothes ripped from His body, thus reopening wounds from coagulated blood, forced to carry a 200 pound wooden beam on His shoulders, a crown of thorns, spikes in His hands and feet, and hours of untold agony on the Cross.  That was all on Him.  it was HIS mind that was tormented, knowing what He faced, carrying the chastisement of our peace, and suffering, not only the anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane, but the emotional torment of being cut off from the Father God.

And yet, suffering all that as no other person ever has or will, when He saw His mother standing at the foot of the Cross, where was His focus?  On her.  He was concerned for her care, her well-being, and her future.  Oh what love!  Oh what a hero!  But don’t miss this.  One can only love, serve, and be truly heroic in such circumstances when he/she already knows the outcome.  Jesus endured “for the joy that was set before Him.”  Therefore I ask you, “What joy is set before you?”

I can assure you that any real joy that is before you is there because of the price Jesus paid for you, your life, and your future.  The joy set before Jesus had you in the picture.  The joy that is set before us has Jesus in the picture.  The “YOU” in the joy set before Jesus was the potential that all men could be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  Live in such a manner that Jesus will not be saddened in any way at your outcome.  He suffered and died so you could have life and have it more abundantly.  Live in that manner, enjoying abundant life, fulfilling the joy of His heart.  If you love Him, you will.  Remember, it’s all about love. 

Manna for Today – John 19:16-27; John 20:2; John 21:7; John13:23; 1 Corinthians 13; John 14:15-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 5:3

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