Month: April 2013

Jesus’ Final Words on the Cross

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. A Word of Mercy: The prayer for forgiveness to the Father – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34). Think of a family member, friend, or co-worker that has wronged you. Take practical steps to either pray, write a letter, or sit down and show them the mercy that Christ has shown you.

2. A Word of Grace: The promise to the criminal confessing sin – “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). This example reminds us that the most vile of criminals can be saved from God’s wrath. Don’t grow weary sharing your faith because in due time, God may convict and save the hardened individual you are witnessing to. This statement also gives us hope that the sufferings of this present world will not be worthy to compare with the glory that is to come.

3. A Word of Compassion: The conversation with His mother – “Woman, behold your Son! Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!” (Jn. 19:26-27). Jesus demonstrated His love towards His biological mother, reassuring her that everything is okay. As Christians, it’s our privilege to inform and comfort others, reminding them that God works together for good to those who are called according to His purposes.

4. A Word of Anguish: The cry of separation from the Father – “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mk. 15:34). The mystery of this separation communicates the vileness of sin. When Christ died in our place, The Father turned His back on the Son and unleashed the wrath of God. However, it pleased Yahweh to do this because it was the only way for mankind to be reconciled to a Holy God; for Christ to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins.  Meditate on this truth for a moment. God was willing to separate Himself from the greatest love, His own Father, to redeem sinful men and women like ourselves. This should resort in singing praise to His great name!

5. A Word of Need: The acknowledgement of thirst to the soldiers – “I thirst!” (Jn. 19:28). This specific reference indicates that Jesus was not only fully God, but He was fully Man. He had the need to drink something because of the agony He was experiencing was real. How does this theological truth help you understand the nature of Jesus Christ, the God-Man?

6. A Word of Victory: The cry of victory to the world – “It is finished!” (Jn. 19:30). The Lord promised shortly after the fall in Genesis 3 that He would crush the head of the serpent. He pronounced the truth that the Kingdom of Heaven has overcome the domain of darkness. Since we are on the winning side, what should our attitude in life be?

7. A Word of Trust – The cry of deliverance to the Father – “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit” (Lk. 23:46). The last sentence that Jesus uttered showed the unwavering trust He had with His Father. He knew that the Father would rescue Him and highly exalt Him. When your final breath comes, are you confident that your spirit will enter the presence of God? I hope so!

Reference: John MacArthur The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Nelson Publishers, 2005), p.1260.

What are the 7 Deadly Sins?

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7 (Photo credit: mag3737)

The seven deadly sins have been depicted by writers, artists, and pop-culture throughout history, from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy to the 1995 thriller movie Seven starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. These works claim the following as the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.

Though these sins are grievous to the Lord, are they the same as the ones mentioned in the Bible? No. While there are seven mentioned in the Bible, the list is considerably different. Proverbs 6:16-19 regards seven things that are detestable to the Lord. Notice that each of them are associated with a specific body part.

Before we discuss the specific sins in Proverbs, its important to know that the Bible says “all” of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3). Every sin that we commit leads to death, and none of us are righteous enough to go to heaven. That is why Jesus died in our place so that we could have the righteousness of God. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all of our sins, and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Praise be to God for his glorious grace.

1. A proud Look – Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 6:23: “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.” If we are arrogant, boastful, and self-centered, our whole character will be corrupted. Instead, Paul informs us to boast in the Lord because He is perfect in wisdom, might, love, justice, and righteousness. As Christians, we are commanded to put off pride and put on humility (2 Cor. 5:17), always considering others better than ourselves (Philip. 2:3). What are some ways that you can produce humility in your own life? 

2. A Lying Tongue – Lying is a false statement made with a deliberate intent to deceive. Why do you think we are tempted to practice deceit? Is it for popularity, exaggeration to make yourself look better, or bending the truth to avoid trouble? If you remember, Delilah deceived Samson because of her lust for wealth and David lied about his adultery with Bathsheba because He was more concerned about his reputation than his relationship with God. What idol of the heart tempts you to lie? The desire of a Christian should be to put off deceit and put on honesty. Let’s not follow the “father of lies” but Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

3. Hands that Shed Innocent Blood – Anger is the sin that leads to extreme aversion or hostility, resulting in shedding innocent blood. The first person of the human race to shed blood was Cain because of his jealousy toward his brother Abel. Jonah was tempted toward anger because of God’s compassion towards the Ninevites. Jezebel was hostile towards Elijah because his holiness proved that the deities she loved were worthless. King Herod despised the coming Messiah because He was jealous that others saw him more as a king than himself. To repent of anger, you need to first identify the heart issue: What motivates you toward anger?  The cure to repenting of anger is to put on love. Jesus told us that the two greatest commands are to love God and love neighbor; these are the fulfillments of the law. What are some practical steps that you can take today to love more?   

4. A heart that devises wicked plots – The Scripture tells us that every thought of the human heart is only evil continually. We know that the human heart is prone to carry out schemes to cheat, lie, or inflict harm on others. All we have to do is turn on the news and watch the horrific tragedies that take place on a daily basis. The gospel calls us to put off evil schemes and put on making plans with wisdom and humility. When we set our goals, it should lead to profit (Prov. 21:5) and the benefit of God and others. What are some practical steps that you can take to plan your future for the sake of God and others? 

5. Feet that are swift to run to mischief – The phrase here suggests someone who has a disposition or bent, especially in the mind or will, to practice mischief. This evil inclination has been likened to a moth being drawn to a flame. It’s an attractive sin that compels us to it, but the end results in destruction. There are different temptations that lure us more than others. What specific sin do you struggle with and how are you going to overcome it’s power in your life? The prophet Jeremiah said: “His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot (Jer. 20:9). Therefore, instead of allowing sin to consume you, how will you replace it with the passion to see others saved? 

6. A deceitful witness that pours out falsehood – This is one who is malicious, false, and makes defamatory statements or slanders their neighbors. God hates lying, but especially when someone gossips about others that isn’t even true. To let the blame fall on the innocent is not only a sin against the person, but against God because it defies his attribute of justice. Do you remember what happened to Joseph in Egypt, how he was falsely accused of a crime against Potiphar’s wife? As Christians, let’s put off slander and put on praise. Praise is edifying to the body and builds people up for the glory of God.

7. A person who sows discord among people – This example illustrates one who creates dissension or discord for the purpose of provoking argumentation. In the epistles, Paul warns Titus to avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, arguments, and quarrels about the law since they are unprofitable and useless (Tit. 3:9-11). Put off divisiveness and put on unity. Ephesians 4:3 says “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Are you making the effort to keep this unity with your church, brother, or sister in Christ? 

 

What is the Kingdom of God?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Kingdom of God is a key theme Jesus taught in the New Testament. The word Kingdom appears 162 times and is predominant in the synoptic gospel of Matthew. Oxford scholar R.T. France states: “Some scholars see it as a Christian lifestyle, some as a method of world evangelization, some as the rediscovery of charismatic gifts, others relate it to no present or future situation, but the world to come.” I believe the Kingdom of God is a phrase used to describe both the present state in believers and the future state. In theology, scholars call this “the already not yet.”

The “already not yet” concept was first proposed in the 1950s by George Ladd, professor of biblical theology at Fuller Seminary. He argued for two meanings concerning the Kingdom of God. First, he said the kingdom of God is “God’s authority and right to rule.” Second, he reasoned that God exercises authority, both in the present and as one which will be entered in the future. This is where the phrase “already not yet” came from. God’s Kingdom is being lived out now by those who follow His Kingship, and one day the whole world will be confronted with this Kingdom that will reign indefinitely.

Jesus described the Kingdom of God as being in the world but not of the world (John 18:36). Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, and Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say ‘Here it is’ or ‘There it is,’ because the Kingdom of God is in your midst (Luke 17:20-21). Jesus commanded that the religious leader Nicodemus must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. This is not a physical birth but a spiritual one, (John 3:5) marked by repentance and faith. Once a believer repents and believes in the gospel (Rom. 8:16), He is commissioned to herald the news about the Kingdom of God to every tribe, tongue, and nation.

What is the message? All humans have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3). Because of our rebellion against the Creator, we deserve His just judgment of eternal condemnation (Rev. 20). But through God’s infinite mercy and grace, he sent his Son (John 3:16) to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10). If we confess our sins, trust in the righteousness of Christ, recognizing that it is a free gift that can’t be earned (Eph 2:8-9), we become adopted into His Kingdom and reign with him forevermore.

Not only are believers to herald the message concerning the Kingdom of God (2 Cor. 5:20), but they are to do so with love and action. James states that “faith without works is dead (James 2:14).” When Jesus brought the Kingdom of God, He not only taught theological truths through parables but He put faith into practice, healing the lepers, giving eyesight to the blind, and caring for those who had been abused or rejected by society (Matt. 8:2-4; Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12-14). As Christians, our mission is to cultivate the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:20) and be the light of the world, a city on top of a hill, performing acts of justice to the people of the Earth (James 1:27; 2 peter 3:11-18). The Kingdom of God is a present reality for those who have been born again and is an eschatological hope—when Jesus comes back and destroys evil forevermore.

When Jesus comes back, He will establish a Kingdom made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron (Isa. 60:15-22). This implies security and stability. No longer will wars breakout because it is everlasting. In Revelation the city is described as being made of precious gems (Rev. 21:18-21), which implies it’s permanence. The sun and the moon will not be necessary because God’s presence in the city is all the light needs (Rev. 21:23).

This city will also possess restored shalom (peace) and righteousness. There will be no violence, ruin, or destruction from neighboring enemies. All of the enemies will be destroyed at the Great White Throne Judgment and cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20). The city will thrive by honest gain and not through political or ethical corruption. No longer will there be quarrels among the diversity of people, but every tribe, tongue, and nation will agree in unison to follow God’s commands as the Sovereign Ruler of this eternal nation.

Are you living for God’s kingdom or yours, storing up treasures in heaven or on the Earth? What can you do today to live for God’s Kingdom? Does it excite you that God’s Kingdom will establish righteousness and justice for all the nations? Let us pray that His Kingdom come, His will be done, in Earth as it is in Heaven–Come quickly, Lord Jesus! 

References

Ladd, George Eldon The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (Eerdmans Publishing, 1959).

Stanley Granz, Theology for the Community of God 

David Turner, Matthew (Baker Academic Press, 2008), p. 37

Godly Sorrow Leads to Healthy Transformation

The Israelites understood that the state of their relationship with the Lord was contingent upon the covenant they had with Him. If they rebelled against God by refusing to keep His commandments and served false gods, they were judged (Num. 32:15; Deut 28:36, 2 Chr. 7:19; Jer. 9:13). These judgments consisted of God sending plagues and diseases (Num. 16:46; Hab. 3:5) or allowing them to be defeated by surrounding nations (Lev. 26:17; 1 Ki. 8:33 Ezek. 15:7). However, if the Israelites repented, God would restore their land, defeat their enemies, and forgive all of their iniquities (Ex. 34:7; 2 Chr. 30:9; Mic. 7:18).

In the New Testament, after Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty days, He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea to begin His ministry. From this point forward, Jesus continually preached on repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15). The most common Greek verb that Jesus and the disciples used for repentance was metanoeo: a change of mind that leads to a change of lifestyle.

In the epistles, Paul addressed many issues that the Corinthian church struggled with concerning repentance. These issues included divisions, immaturity, immoral church members, lawsuits, and warning against idolatry (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:1; 5:1-5; 6:1-11; 10:14).  In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul continues to exhort them in the Lord by discussing with them the difference between worldly and godly sorrow.

“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter (2 Corinthians 7:8-11).”

Paul knew that the sorrow the Corinthians experienced was not out of self-pity, pride, or despair as a result of getting caught. He gives two examples. First, they were not defensive toward Paul when he rebuked them for their immoral behavior.  On the contrary, they were angry over their own sin because it had brought shame to their community and offended Paul. This is an example of holy anger that gives glory to Him (Jam. 1:20). Second, the Corinthian believers did not justify their sinful behavior or view themselves as victims. Their sorrow produced sincerity and helped restore their broken relationship with Paul. They were quick to ask for forgiveness. This is the opposite of a victim mentality and the way that Christians should react in conflicting situations.  Only the Holy Spirit can produce such humility in a person to admit their own wrongdoing and work diligently to change it (Matt. 11:29).

Practical Guide that leads to Transformation

  1. Read Luke 22:54-60 and Matthew 27:3-5. Compare and contrast Peter’s biblical repentance versus Judas’ temporary regret. Does your repentance look more like Peter or Judas? Be specific. What do you need to change to have godly repentance?
  • Find a friend or personal loved one (parent, spouse, sibling, etc) who can keep you accountable to repent in a godly manner. Commit a time, preferably in the morning, of confessing your sins before God and asking for forgiveness. Meditate on these verses (Ex. 15:26, Ps. 86:5; 103:3, Isa. 43:25; Jer. 30:17; Matt. 9:2-6; Eph. 1:7).
  • Repentance is not only a turning from sin but also changing more into the image of God (sanctification). Biblical counselors call this “putting off” and “putting on.” Here is an example: If I am complaining, I need to repent of this sin by forsaking the thoughts and the actions that contribute to it. Next, I need to put on a characteristic that is comparable to the Lord, such as “having joy and thanksgiving.”
  • List at least 3 sins that you are currently struggling with. Write them out in order from the least to the most tempting.
  • Pick out the sin you struggle with most and work on the process of putting off and putting on. Make sure that this repentance is both a change of mind as well as a change of action. Keep a journal of your progress.

The First Christian Martyr

The Stoning of St Stephen

The Stoning of St Stephen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Stoning of Stephen Acts 7:8-60

I. Strong argument v. 8-10  What are some godly characteristics we can gather from Stephen in these two chapters that indicate he was relying on the power of God? Trusting in God, wise, bold, forgiving: similar to Gal. 5 fruits of the spirit. Are there any godly attributes that you are either cultivating now or would like to focus doing a better job on? 

II. False Accusations v. 11-12 Who were the Freedmen? The Synagogue of the Freedmen were Cyrene Jews from North Africa who were freed from slavery and part of the dispersion. What happened when Stephen interacted with the Synagogue of the Freedman and why did they dispute with him? He debated with them concerning who Jesus was and they were unable to cope with the wisdom (Luke 21:15). Scholars believe he may have been taught under a famous Jewish scholar Gamaliel.

What exactly was the accusation against Stephen? That he was incessantly speaking against the Holy place and the law; for he said that Jesus would destroy the temple and alter the customs which Moses handed down. However, Jesus was speaking about his own body, not the temple. As for the law, Jesus did not come to abolish it but to fulfill it. Can anyone think of other stories from the Bible where a godly man or woman was falsely accused? Read Joseph’s account (Gen. 37).

Do you ever feel wrongly accused or misunderstood? 

III. Eager Response v. 15-7:53 It was common for judges to observe the countenance of the prisoner, which can sometimes be an indication of innocence or guilt. They looked and saw that Stephen’s face was like an angel. What do you think the writer was trying to express about Stephen’s demeanor or countenance? Cheerful, no fear or anger towards his accusers, pleased to suffer for Christ, undaunted courage, that of Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai. What does Stephen begin to tell the high priest and the Council? Explains the OT in light of Christ and accuses them that they have resisted the Holy Spirit and persecuted those who are standing up for the righteous One.

IV. Harsh Reaction v. 54-55 We have the death of the first martyr (witness). Stephen was never found guilty by the council but only his accusers. Matthew Henry said this about the passage: “Here is hell in its fire and darkness and heaven in its light and brightness.” Do you think this statement is an accurate depiction of the text? As they gnash their teeth, Stephen sees the glory of God (heaven). When they heard these things, they were cut to their hearts (Heb. 11:37). Gnashing their teeth indicates the way they acted, not as human, but as brute beasts. Also it is used to describe the torments of the damned.  Do you think that rejecters of the gospel and those who are opposed against Christ are really tormentors to themselves? 

V. End Result v. 55-56; 59-60 They tried to drown out Stephen’s voice when he said; “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” In Stephen’s speech, it’s interesting that he makes the point that these people are uncircumcised in their heart and ears. Why do you think they were trying to drown this sound out? What are some “noises” in our culture that try to silence the truth of the Scriptures?In the preceding verses, it states that the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. Do you know why? Possible answer: That the upper garments might not get in their way as they threw the stones at Stephen. At the end of the verses, we see that the witnesses were full of evil (murderers) and Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. The same words were spoken as Jesus was on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Does this Scripture reference give you the confidence not to have bitter and anger stored up against someone who may righteously deserve it? Stephen had every right to be angry with his persecutors, but instead he chose to forgive them and not allow this sin to be against them. Who do you need to forgive today? 

 

 

Hudson Taylor – Missionary to China

English: Hudson Taylor.

Hudson Taylor was a man after God’s own heart. His primary goal was to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to China regardless of the trials he faced with his own family and the opposition from the native people. The story of Taylor is encouraging to me because he was obedient to where God placed him, was confident in prayer, and had an unwavering commitment to share the good news to lost sinners. In his biography, there were two aspects that I found interesting about his character.

First, he broke with the tradition of most missionaries and adopted Chinese culture. When he visited Zhangjiasi, a city where no foreigner had ever been seen before, the people were astonished that Taylor had learned the language. Some were still skeptical because he had a watch that they considered a devilish telescope. Taylor realized his western attire was a stumbling block so he embraced traditional Chinese outfits. In the end, Taylor conformed to Chinese customs without surrendering his convictions. He became all things to all people, finding common ground so that some might be saved through his ministry (1 Cor. 9:22).

Second, Hudson Taylor patiently endured the most difficult trials any human could face. When he was in Yangzhou, a riot broke out, and his team was attacked and their facilities were burned. In 1868, the Taylor family decided to send their three oldest children back to England because of the dangers they faced. Around the same time, another child was born, but he died of malnutrition.  During the same year, Taylor’s wife Maria died of cholera. In 1878, Taylor was almost paralyzed because of a fall he had taken on a river boat in China. When he left China to go to Switzerland for retirement, his second wife Jennie died of cancer. Despite all these trials, Hudson Taylor returned to China for the eleventh and final time. Throughout his life, he was inflicted with bad health and lost many of his closest family members, but miraculously continued to persevere through his trials for the sake of the gospel. He was a man who knew that his present sufferings were unworthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed at the end of the age (Rom. 8:11).

Hudson Taylor’s ability to integrate with Chinese culture is convicting and it should be for Americans. In the United States, where cultural diversity is commonplace, there is still racial segregation in churches. According to the Pew Center, only 7 percent of American churches are racially integrated. This is contrary to the Word of God, which tells us that every tribe, tongue, and nation will glorify God (Rev. 7:9). If we are worshipping the same God, then why is there still segregation in our churches? Let’s be like Hudson Taylor, who embraced cultural diversity and wasn’t prejudice because he rightly understood that “all men and women are created equal by their Creator.”

Taylor’s unwavering faith and commitment to the Lord was encouraging. Despite all the trials, he continued to persevere through affliction for the sake of the gospel. It was not by his strength, but the Holy Spirit working in Taylor to bring the good news to the unreached territory of China. The early church Father Tertullian said “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Because of Taylor and other missionaries to China who risked their lives, the church growth in China is exponential today. Pastor Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council said: “One of the greatest challenges facing churches in China is training enough pastors to keep up with the booming Christian population.” Jesus told us that “this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt. 24:14). I want to encourage you to make every effort to spread the gospel and be the light to our dark world.

The 7 Miracles of Jesus

Ivan Aivazovsky's painting Walking on Water (1888)

Ivan Aivazovsky’s painting Walking on Water (1888) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Jesus turns water into wine (Jn 2:1-12). At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus alters the chemical composition from water to wine. This miracle reveals Jesus’ glory and power over creation. It also symbolizes a key component of His ministry: The replacement of the old order, the water of ceremonial cleansing and the temple, with the new wine of salvation and the risen Lamb as the new temple (Is. 25:6-9; Rev. 21:22). How does this truth change your perspective of God’s glory?

2. The Son of Man heals an official’s son without even going to see the body (Jn. 4:46-54). This miracle reveals that God is not limited by geography, but is present everywhere (omniscient). He was able to heal the Nobleman’s son at the exact hour the request was made. Moreover, this event reveals Jesus is not only reaching out to the Jewish people, but despised people who are less than kosher, including a Samaritan adulteress and here a Herodian official (Jn.4:1-54). Are you reaching out to the people who are despised by the world and offering them the Good News like Jesus, or are you afraid of what others might think?

3. The Christ heals a crippled man on the Sabbath (Jn. 5:1-17). The miracle shows that Jesus isn’t limited by time but is always working. He is all-powerful and never subject to growing weary or tired. The religious leaders were not happy that Jesus was healing on the Sabbath. They believed it conflicted with the law of Moses (Ex. 35:2) so they attempted to stop Jesus, but He responded to them: “My Father is still working, and I am too.” What does this passage teach us about the dangers of legalism?

4. The Messiah feeds 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (Jn. 6:1-14). This miracle once again demonstrates the power and authority Jesus has over creation. He is able to call down bread from heaven and give daily sustenance to thousands of people. More importantly, Jesus teaches His disciples by this event that He is the “bread of life” and the source of nourishment, both physical and spiritual.The Bible informs us that if we seek Him with all our heart, He will be found (Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13; Matt. 7:7). How often do you seek the Lord to receive nourishment?

5. The King of Kings walks on water (Jn. 6:16-21). This account communicates the importance of faith and the control of Jesus over nature.  He is not limited by physics, but was able to supernaturally defy the laws of gravity. Moreover, biblical scholars view this narrative as instrumental in asserting the divinity of Jesus to His disciples and the turning point for the remainder of the gospels. When Jesus got into the boat they worshiped and said: “It is true that You are the Son of God” (Matt. 14:33). At what point did you come to the realization that Jesus was more than a prophet, wise man, or good person; that He was God in the flesh?

6. The God-Man heals a man born blind (Jn. 9:1-41). This miracle is only reported in John’s gospel. This story exhibits that Jesus brings light into the world, both physical and spiritual. When Jesus spoke to the people, He said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). When the light of life comes into your life, it produces healthy fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Do you have the light of life or are you still walking in darkness, following the lusts of the flesh, the devil, and the world?

7. The Savior of the world raises Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:17-44). The miracle of raising Lazarus is the climax of John’s “signs.” It displays Jesus’ power over the greatest foe of mankind: death. All of us will inevitably face this giant, but the good news is that even death is no match for the Son of God. Are you looking forward to the second coming of Christ, when Jesus will come down from heaven, with a loud command and the trumpet call of God to resurrect our bodies from the dead? (1 Thess. 4:16) From that day forward, every sorrowful tear that we shed will be vanquished and the peace that surpasses all understanding will pervade throughout eternity. Praise Him!