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What Do You Want from Jesus?

2nd Sunday after the Epiphany

What Do You Want from Jesus?

Text:  John 2:1-11

Intro

It would be a neat party trick, wouldn’t it?  You have a large gathering of friends and family at a Christmas party and you run out of drinks.  “Jesus, help me!  I only have milk!”  Shazam!  Eggnog on command!

You host a work-social at your house on Cinco De Mayo and you run dry again.  “Jesus, help me!  I only have a little lime juice!”  Shazam!  Margaritas in a flash!

You have a sophisticated soiree reading classic poetry and sipping classic wines.  Suddenly your cup runneth empty.  “Jesus, help me!  I only have water!”  Shazam!  Your cup runneth over.  Merlots and Pinots in the blink of an eye! 

Hey!  This is pretty handy, isn’t it?  Let’s see, what else can we do here?  “Jesus, help me!  I haven’t done laundry in two weeks and I have a mountain in my bedroom.”  Shazam!  Everything is clean, folded and in the drawers.  “Jesus, help me!  I have bills to pay.  All I have is this piggy bank left.”  Shazam!  Pennies become Benjamins as a few cents become thousands of dollars.  “Oh, and while you are at it Jesus, I need to go shopping.  I only have a little bread in the cupboard.”  Shazam!  Bread turns to dough (the kind you can spend) and a shopping spree follows. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on 1 John 1:1-2:2

Text: 1 John 1:1-2:2

If you were to die today, what lasting message would you want left behind? How would you want people to remember you? What would have been the purpose of your life?

Deep questions for a Tuesday morning, I know, but I can’t help but think them as I read this section from 1 John. John was writing to “make his joy complete.” John didn’t know when he would die, but before he did he wanted to make sure that the legacy he left was the right one.

This is the legacy of John: John saw Jesus Christ with his own eyes. All the miracles recorded in the Bible… he witnessed them. John watched the miracle of redemption take place before his very eyes. He stood at the foot of the cross and watched Jesus die… three days later he saw Jesus in the flesh, he heard him speak, he touched his warm, living flesh.

John heard from the mouth of God what all of this meant for the world. Though all of us have been contaminated with sin the blood of Jesus purifies us from this sin. When we sin we have forgiveness because of what Jesus did.

This was the legacy John wanted left behind. If his early readers remembered nothing else, John wanted them to remember this: Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. Knowing that others knew this would make John’s joy complete. Knowing that Jesus was being preached made John ready for death whenever it came.

This fact, that Jesus died for our sins, is the single most important thing in the world. The most important thing we Christians can do is to make sure that the next generation knows this truth. This is the Christian legacy; this is the purpose for our lives on this earth. This is the message we have heard from John, who heard it from Christ. This is the message we declare to the world that we may all enjoy fellowship with each other and with God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know that your Word will endure until the end of days. We also know that you have chosen to use us as your ambassadors to this world. Give us the strength to keep our eyes focused on Christ our sacrificial Lamb as we live out our time on this side of eternity. Open our eyes to the world so that we can see all the people who need to hear about Jesus. In your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

The Bible in a Year, Week 3: Luke

This is the third weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Luke. It should only take about 5-10 minutes a day, or about 4 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Luke.

Background: The apostle Paul identifies Luke as a doctor in Colossians 4:14. Luke was also traveling companion that went to many places with Paul on his journeys. There are many sections of Acts in which Luke uses the word “we” (16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16). One of the main reasons we know that Luke wrote both Acts and the gospel of Luke is that both are addressed to a man by the name of Theophilus. It seems that Luke wanted to give more instruction and information to him about Jesus Christ and the one true faith.

At the same time, Luke states another purpose in the introduction to his gospel. While Luke was not himself one of the 12 disciples, he took time to carefully investigate and interview those who were witnesses of Jesus. His intention was to write an orderly account of the things Jesus said and did–not just for Theophilus but for all the Gentiles (and especially the ones he had visited on his missionary journeys).

We are most thankful for the gospel of Luke. He includes many  famous and dearly loved stories of Scripture that others chose to leave out (the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, etc.). Also, as a doctor Luke wrote with great attention to detail.

Luke’s gospel account is just another reason to praise Jesus, who is revealed as the Savior of all–both Jew and Gentile! Read the rest of this entry

The Bible in a Year, Week 2: Mark

This is the second weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Mark. It should only take about 5-10 minutes a day, or about 2-3 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Mark

Background: Mark was written by Mark, who is also known as John. John Mark was not one of the 12 disciples. However, Mark was very active in the early Christian church. His mother’s house seemed to be a meeting place for Christian gatherings (Acts 12:12). He was the cousin of Barnabas and traveled with him on missionary journeys. Mark and Barnabas also went with Paul on his first missionary journey. However, for some reason Mark left in the middle of the trip–a great point of contention between Barnabas and Paul.

Later, Mark must have grown up and matured because Paul speaks of him favorably. It was also later on that Mark became very close to the apostle Peter. Peter speaks of him like a son (1 Peter 5:13) as they both send greetings from Rome. From this and other information, it seems like that Mark became somewhat of an interpreter or scribe for Peter. He may have gotten much of his information from Peter. He also may have written this gospel shortly after Peter died, around 64 A.D.

The Gospel of Mark is much different than the other three in style. Mark is not much for details. Rather, he relates actions and events at a rapid rate. It also seems quite clear that Mark had in mind a Gentile audience–perhaps even the Romans–as he quotes very little Old Testament Scripture and takes time to explain Hebrew or Aramaic customs and phrases.

Through reading this gospel, it becomes very clear that Mark is presenting to us exactly what he mentions in the first verse:  Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Read the rest of this entry

Sermon on John 2:1-11

2nd Sunday after Epiphany

Real Power Gives Real Proof

Text:  John 2:1-11

Intro

What’s that one thing everyone wants, but no one can attain?  What is that one thing that everyone strives for, but no one will ever achieve?  What is that one thing that so many think they have but really they never had at all?  Power.  Our world, and especially our country, seems to have an obsession with power.

Some seek after fame and fortune.  Others pursue recognition and glory.  Some try to build up a business empire.  Others attempt to become the top of their profession.  But doesn’t it all really come down to one thing—power?

Power is the reason Forbes creates lists—so that we can know Bill Gates is still the richest American with a net worth of $50 billion and that Oprah is the richest celebrity with a yearly net of about $250 million.  Power is why athletes and celebrities get shot, or why they overdose when they can’t achieve it.  Power is why many run for office.  Power is why countries go to war.

It would seem as though power—either by fame, by fortune, or by position—is the single most important thing in the world.  Everyone wants it.  Everyone tries to get it.  Everyone wants to prove they have it (whether they do have it or not!).

Isn’t it easy to be caught up in the quest for power?  Maybe we see what celebrities and athletes have and we think we too need to wear those Prada shoes, or drive that BMW, or have those toys and tools.  Maybe we get so into politics that we think certain elections or policies are the be all and end all.  Or maybe we just feel like nothings—insignificant little peons that get trampled on by the high class mucky-mucks of society.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had power?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some glory?  And it wouldn’t it be nice if we had proof of that power, too?  Well we do!  His name is Jesus Christ.  Today in John 2 we see Real Power That Gives Real Proof. Read the rest of this entry