And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:44-50
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Today’s passage is an appeal by Christ to everyone. What he has to say is very serious business and he is very, very passionate about it. Notice the opening words, “And Jesus cried and said.” He really wants us to pay attention and get it. He wants us to get who he really is (light of the world) and why he came (so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness). It is absolutely essential that we hear his sayings and keep them because if we don’t we are rejecting the Light of the World and we will remain in darkness. There is a key word in our passage that will help us grasp one important difference between light and darkness. It is the word, “initiative.” When we live by our own initiative we are in darkness. When we live in response to the initiative of our Heavenly Father, we walk in the light. Through his life as the light of the world Jesus showed us how to live according to our Heavenly Father’s initiative and not our own. Through his death and resurrection Jesus made it possible for us to receive the forgiven of sins and to be made right with our Heavenly Father so that in real relationship with him we can surrender to him and sacrificially give up our claim on our own life. This is the true Gospel.
However, if our response to the message of the Gospel is primarily for what God does for us, then we will be prone to continue to look to God primarily for what He can do for us. When we recognize the forgiveness of sins which the Gospel offers as God’s means for reclaiming us for Himself and His purposes and desires, we will be prepared to suffer with Christ for the sake of the Gospel and all those who are yet to be brought back under the ownership and care of our Heavenly Father. How prone we are to want glory without sacrifice. Taking the steps of our own choosing is hard to resist, but we must give up on them. This is one of the greatest and most needed sacrifices we can make. It is the road less traveled but it makes all the difference every step of the way and in the end.
Ultimately, Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and yet He gave Himself as a ransom for us in the ultimate act of service. However, we get in trouble if we take the position of ones who are being served by Him. We must humble ourselves in absolute surrender to Him viewing His sacrifice as His means of reclaiming us. His sacrifice gives us the wondrous opportunity for us to sacrifice ourselves for Him. When we are empty of ourselves, our agendas, and what we want from God, we then become to Him vessels with room enough to be filled with His presence and loving benevolence and available for whatever use he has in mind for us. This alone is how we are able to genuinely follow in Christ’s footsteps.
Jesus knew who He was and why He was here. He came to serve and not be served. Jesus cared about both the physical and spiritual needs of people but their spiritual need for redemption was at the heart of who He was and why He was here. So, when we look at ourselves, we must seek to be the kind of person who desires to serve instead of being served. We need to care about and seek to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of people but always with a view toward their redemption in Christ. Here is a good way to think of it: I want to be one who exists to be a servant of God that He readily uses as a vessel to bless others in ways that contribute to the redemptive work He is bringing about in their lives. When we are so focused, then all the other aspects of being human beings who live life here on earth (family, work, community, friends, recreation, etc.) become the context for fulfilling our central calling and mission.
Quite a high calling. Perhaps it seems so high that it is out of reach. We have been restored to a relationship with God through redemption so that we can enjoy the blessing of God’s presence and so that we become vessels who bless the lives of others as God’s presence in us touches them in powerful ways. Gaining and maintaining the focus necessary for God’s calling and mission to be central in our lives requires that we really do become ones who exist to be true servants of God.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, help me to discern between my steps and your steps. May your steps become the steps I desire. I truly want your steps and not my own. Even so, I recognize that some of what I originally desired for myself will be included in what you desire for me. That is truly amazing but the difference will be that I am living for you and your will and not me and my will. May you be glorified, Lord. Amen!
Posted on Fri, January 25, 2019
by Ken Hart