December 23 – The Only Way

“ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 (ESV)

If we know a verse really well and have heard it and seen it posted many times, it becomes easy to let its power and meaning fade a bit. Let’s not do this with this verse. This is the sixth of seven occasion that John records Jesus using the “I AM” in his proclamations regarding who He is and what He has to give to all who believe. Thomas asks what all thought, “Where are you going? How do we follow you there?” One of the 12, Thomas and all the others had a ways to go to understand fully the mission and purpose that brought Jesus to earth. Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God* and the life of God*. In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach, the only door, the only way to the Father is emphatic. Jesus emphasized that salvation, contrary to what many people think, is not obtainable through many ways. Only one Way exists*. Jesus is the only access to the Father because He is the only One from the Father.

*(cf. John 1:14; John 3:15; 11:25; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy. 2:5)

198

December 22 – Even Dying, Not Ever Dead

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” John 11:25-26 (NASB)

Of the seven significant and purposeful uses of the phrase “I AM” by Jesus that John recorded, this is the fifth one. It’s context is very important. Lazarus had died. Along with his sisters Martha and Mary, Lazarus was a dear friend of Jesus. Martha had an abstract belief in the resurrection that will happen “on the last day.” But Jesus wants Martha to know Him as the only one who can bring the dead back to life. Jesus is the resurrection and the life which a dead person is resurrected to. Jesus abides in us and He has, because who He is, life to give for He created all life in the first place. Jesus asked Martha, “Do you Believe this?” Martha confesses her belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of God incarnate. Dwelling in all who believe, He is the resurrection and life to all who also dwell in Him. We live, we die, but since we have been born again by God’s Spirit we have the Son of God, who is our life and we will never die. Our life is Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life eternally living in us.

198

December 18 – Expelling the Darkness

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” –  John 8:12 (NASB)

The story we remember and celebrate at this time of the year is the birth of Jesus on Earth when he emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men. He did so in order to offer redemption and salvation to all who believed in Him. Today’s promise comes from another of Jesus’ “I AM” statements recorded by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of the Apostle John. Those who do like darkness do so to hide their actions. True darkness is the absence of light. Remove the light and what remains is darkness. We all understand this. If we want to expel the darkness from a room, we turn on the light switch that we have faith will cause energy to flow to a light source. In the same way Jesus says to us to follow Him because He is eternal light. In Him there is no darkness and from Him we have the Light of life, eternal life. Following is an act of faith and the Light is an act of Grace and the ability to do so, it a gift promised from God.

192

 November 9 – Here, There, Everywhere.

“If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.” – Psalm 139:9-10 (NASB)

Just as it is impossible to hide any thought or deed from our omniscience God, it is impossible to find a place to hide ourselves from Him. There is nowhere our omnipresent God is not. We wish to be totally alone sometimes and we can do that for a season but not from God. Even those who live a self-sufficient life eventually have contact with others. But, if our desire is to be apart from God, that will not happen. Wherever we go, God is there, His presence is in every place we can possibly go. The highest heavens above or the depths of the realm of the dead below, are used as extreme contrasts of locations from one another in this psalm. If we could ride the ‘chariot of the breaking light of dawn,’ which comes rabidly from the utmost reaches of the seas’ eastern horizons, even then we will cannot escape the presence of our Lord God Almighty. Perhaps, it’s good to know that those who reject the work of Christ for salvation through their life and death will live in total darkness and separation from all others and without God for God will accommodate them afterlife.

198

 October 27 – A Different Life-Giving Bread

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” – John 6:47-48 (NASB)

When the Apostle John wrote the Gospel bearing his name, it had been nearly 30 years since the last Gospel According to Luke had been written and circulated among the towns and cities through the established churches. “Twenty-three times in all we find our Lord’s meaningful “I AM” (ego eimi, Gr.) in the Greek text of this gospel*. He joins His “I AM” with seven tremendous metaphors which are expressive of His saving relationship toward the world.**” Let’s take notice of Christ’s use of this metaphor “I am the Bread of Life” follows immediately His statement that those who believe already have eternal life. Jesus says “I most solemnly assure you…” As the Bread of Life Jesus is telling those listening, and now reading, that this bread does what no other bread does. It is more than even the daily manna God sent from heaven when they were wandering in the wilderness. It imparts and sustains spiritual life; it banishes spiritual death. However, it even affects the body, raising it up in the last day so that it may be conformed to the glorious body of him who is the bread of life (cf. Phil. 3:21).

196

*(4:26; 6:20, 35, 41, 48, 51; 8:12, 18, 24, 28, 58; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1, 5; 18:5, 6, 8)

**John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Jn 6:35.

 October 23 – Testimonies of His Mouth

“In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.” – Psalm 119:88 (ESV)

Is your world pressing in on you and keeping from you the peace that surpasses all comprehension? It happens. We may wish for our lives to be easy all the time – if it ever is at all. Everything in our lives may, for a season, seem to be rolling along in a positive direction and then BLAM! From out of nowhere comes something we do not expect and would never choose. Sometimes it is a loss from a natural disaster – we’re thinking of the many who lose their homes in hurricanes, tornados, flooding and fires. Or is it a sudden illness, a diagnosis we can’t bear hear? But there it is, and we’re just not ready. And the most difficult might be the unthinkable loss of someone dear and near; a husband, a wife, a child, a close friend. The sudden loss of a life partner way too soon certainly is a really difficult circumstance to cope with. Look at the verse now. God’s love for us is steadfast, even when our loss is greater than ever imagined. His lovingkindness will give us hope and his testimonies from His word are good to keep in mind and heart. 

198

July 11 – Important Practice


“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)

Today our passage has a rather different promise than we are most used to considering. It is a promise about the effect and outcome of choices we make. This passage is part of the Sermon on the Mount which was the first recorded extensive discourse Jesus gave his disciples and those following Him. If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, it is important to remember that all moral things are difficult. Our lives as Christians are gloriously difficult, by the grace of God the difficulty doesn’t make us faint. Rather the difficulty strengthens us and gives us what is necessary to overcome. The promise we have is that facing the way that is hard takes practice. Our strength comes through the practice of doing what is right, that is righteous. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it. When we fail, it is because we have not practiced. Oswald Chambers said about this; “Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing.”*

194

  • Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year, (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).

May 11 – The Power Dwelling Within


“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11 (ESV)

If we were to look back two verses we find that the Apostle Paul was confirming that all who have God’s Spirit dwelling in them are no longer bound like a slave to their old life of desires and actions of the flesh (the natural man). We know that when Jesus Christ rose from the dead it was a marvelous miracle. It was something that only God could do. It was the very action that gives us new and eternal life. Our verse today reminds us that God’s power is available to us even while we’re living here on earth in our earthly bodies. Yes, God has made this power available to us through the Holy Spirit. The things that we could never do in our own strength we can do by His Holy Spirit power. So when we find it difficult to do God’s will in specific instances we can trust God through His indwelling Holy Spirit to enable us to do it. God does this for us using the same marvelous power that raised Christ from the dead. Since we have the Spirit dwelling in us we are assured us of this promise.

195


April 8 – It’s There In the Word


“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” – John 5:39-40 (NASB)

When think about it, the Bible we have in our home has an important purpose. It is more important than what many realize. Our verse for today records the words of Jesus as He was challenging the “experts” of the time. They fancied themselves as proficient in the Holy Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish religious leaders studied the Old Testament with great diligence. They believed that by comprehending the words of the text, one would gain a share in the world to come. Knowing the Law was knowing eternal life with God. Jesus says, not so much if you reject what the Scriptures say about Me. Many people today also think Bible study is an end in itself rather than a way to understand the knowledge of God. Today, much like in that time, a veil is over the minds of those who presume to be Biblical scholars and experts in theology. Preferring their own way by means of their “reasoning” they fail to understand what God’s Word says. Our promise today is: Our Bible lacks nothing as it contains all God wants us to know about Him, His will, and His eternal plan for us.

199

March 30 – I AM the Way, Truth, Life


“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7 (ESV)

Our promise today is pure, and powerful. For all who hope to live in heaven after our time on earth is over, Jesus is the only Way there. There are no options to having faith in Jesus the Christ. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about His death and departure and they still do not understand. Jesus tells them He is going to be leaving them but one day He will return for them. “You know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:4) But Thomas says, “No, Lord we don’t know where you are going, how do you expect us to know the way?” Thomas needed to understand that “The Way” was not a pathway or route to heaven but the means to receive eternal life and a reservation e in heaven, then these words make sense. Jesus the Son of God and God the Father; – to know one, is to know the other and The Way. No pretense, no self-effort, no good enough, no buying our way; it is only in believing Jesus, His sacrifice and resurrection. If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, you know God the Father, you know The Way.

197