Monday June 26
So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing.
Up until modern times in our society, many sons would follow in the footsteps of their father’s livelihood. When a son would do this he might be called an “apprentice.” But, mainly, in our culture, the passing down of occupation from father to son is a thing of the past. But, both sons and daughters do follow this same tradition in another way. From both fathers and mothers to a significant degree, we do what we see our fathers and mothers doing. Family traits, whatever the language, we see this in our own lives.
What family traits have you carried forward? Remember these can be helpful or unhelpful!
Tuesday June 27
In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants.
This gives us insight into what Jesus is saying. The essence of who God is, is seen in the behavior of Jesus. What’s God like? Look at Jesus. In fact, Jesus claims God is showing him everything. And notice this is Jesus as a human being. His followers can see what he is doing. Jesus is saying there are things he will be able to do on his father’s behalf, like raising people from the dead!
Jesus already has given us a hint of this earlier from John 2.
All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.
Jesus is connecting God giving new life, to his own work of following God and he, Jesus, giving new life.
If God comes to us as Jesus, why would we not want to learn everything possible from him? What can you do this week to learn more?
Wednesday June 28
In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
When we see the word “judges” or “judgment,” the root of these words has to do with decisions. When you are judged or judging, it is about deciding what will be your outcome. “Consequences” would be an equivalent word today. To receive judgment is to receive consequences for your action. and out of this same root word, krisis, comes the English word, “crisis.”
The crisis everyone faces is that Jesus and our relationship with him become the measure of our honoring or dishonoring God. We honor God’s ways by honoring the ways of Jesus. The consequences of not following Jesus and his way leads to spiritual death. Separation from God.
We also dishonor Jesus by denying what he has done for us. It looks like this. If it is true that he died for my sins and made it possible for me to live eternally with God, but I don’t acknowledge this, I don’t thank him, I ignore him, it would be like not acknowledging someone who risked his own life to enter a burning building to get me out. I purposefully ignore the hero who saved me.
There are consequences for not honoring Jesus. If you don’t want Jesus in your life, you don’t want God, and he will honor that request. Separation from God forever is the end result. This is hell, and hell is the best God can do with someone who doesn’t want him.
But, aren’t there exceptions?
It is not my place to do God’s thinking for him and come up with exceptions of my own that are going to deny there is a hell. Some theory that attempts to show how non-Christians are saved.
Here are two common examples of Christians trying to find a loophole for non-Christians:
“Jesus works for me, but I’m sure there are other ways.”
“In the end, a God of love will save everyone.”
To the first example, you may be sure there are other ways, but I don’t trust you. Jesus said, “I am the way.” I trust Jesus more than I trust you.
The second example doesn’t describe a God of love. Think about it. God allows people to reject him now, and he doesn’t force himself on anyone. People who don’t want God in their life are left alone. But when that person dies, they are the same person. In the afterlife, if God then forces them to live with him forever, this is not love. This is kidnapping. To force your affections on someone else is assault. Abuse.
Now, God will do whatever he will do, and he will be exactly right in what he is doing. But, I have no biblical basis to follow or teach any other way but Jesus. And, even trying to use logic, those views, “I’m sure there are other ways,” and “Everyone will be saved,” don’t make sense.
We don’t worship a predator, we worship a kind and gracious protector. What does this mean to you?
Thursday June 29
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”
Wait a minute, there is my loophole! ”Those who listen to my message…”
What if I have never heard the message of Jesus? What if I come from a country that forbids the Bible and outlaws the teaching of Christianity, officially, if not in practice? What if my parents are atheists and teach me from a very early age that God and Jesus are fairy tales?
OK, so let’s say you are an adult and you have never heard of Jesus and have no way of finding out about him in any way. This is extremely unlikely in this age of information, but let’s say you don’t know anything about him. Then the Bible does address this.
If a person cannot reasonably trust in Jesus because there is no way to know about him, then according to the Bible, there is a way.
When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman.
But, instead of considering those who don’t know Jesus let’s consider those of us who do know him. Jesus is amazing! His special love for us changes everything!
If we trust in Jesus as our Lord and respond to him as our Savior, then we will live forever from that point on with him! We have been born into the new creation when we Jesus takes us into God’s family. Through Jesus we are dead to the old creation and the old ways, and now we are living in the new creation. Already. Our physical bodies don’t last forever but we do. We will never die out. And when Jesus raises us from the dead, when he comes again at the end of time, on that day we will continue to live out our lives, only at that time we will be given a new body that lasts forever.
What was your view of heaven when you were a child? How has this changed?
Friday June 30
“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.
Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment (crisis).
Here Jesus is speaking of being spiritually dead and being born again through trust in him. Just like Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3,
The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. Don’t be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born again.’
When we are filled with the Spirit of God, when we are born again, this is not just a spiritual experience. We are moving from death to life. The miracle of resurrection is already taking place. Later, when we finally die physically it will be irrelevant to the new life we already have. The power of his resurrection is already given to us, and when our present resurrection is completed in the future, we will receive the new bodily resurrection that Jesus has already experienced.
There we have it. Some day, we will die to this physical life and be at peace with Jesus. Then on that glorious day when Jesus comes again, he will raise us from our sleep and we will receive our new bodies and we will continue our eternal life active and alive in the new creation when heaven and earth become one.
In the meantime, those who are not honoring Jesus though they know about him, are continuing in evil. This doesn’t mean doing bad acts against other people, though this might also be true. But, when Jesus is talking about evil here, he is talking about not trusting in him. Not honoring what God has done through him. Jesus is calling this evil. And when you think about it, what could be more evil?
We are all passed out in a burning house. Our hero, Jesus, breaks through the door, moves through the fires, grabs us and takes us to safety. We are alive, though we were dead. But we won’t accept it. We won’t acknowledge the one who saves us. We choose to go back into the burning house. We will take our chances.
Who is someone who doesn’t trust in Jesus whom you think may be ready? Focus on them. Pray.