Jesus on … Jesus: part 13

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He says this about Himself in John 11. He has entered into the death of a friend. Jesus makes a claim that assigns Him either to the land of the ludicrous… or to the Worthy of Worship Honor of the Most Sublime. We stand aside, there, and watch, concluding…

There are many reasons to believe in Jesus. The reason He gives us, in word and deed, in John 11 will prove itself in wonder someday to each of us. We do well to apply that assurance that He is life to our day-to-day decisions. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ took a necessary, frightening, wonderful, amazing, humbling, game-changing turn when he walked into the scene of mourning for Lazarus. We have met Lazarus’ sisters before, the redoubtable Mary and Martha. When we examine their personalities, we see bits of ourselves in their responses to Jesus. I hope we can see ourselves in this scenario, in this crowd of mourners who have assembled to comfort each other and to recognize the finality of his death. Enter Jesus. He has been taught by the Father that He can overcome that which seems most essentially un- conquerable: death. Yet, it is in this scenario we see Him in the very essence of vulnerability when he weeps. Simple question: why would He weep if He knew that He was about to reverse the curse on Lazarus? Shouldn’t He start to clap and dance and get everyone worked into a frenzy of anticipation? I can’t say that my theory here is any more than a theory, but I do think it is plausible: I believe that Jesus wept because He created life and saw that it was very good. Death was not part of the original creation. The Fall had besmirched all things, made them decay, made them ugly. This hurts the Artist. He hates death, especially. So he cried when He experienced it with folks He knew and loved well. But, He wasn’t done. Not at all. He exhibited the Power of His Word. Believe it.

News & Announcements

  • PRAYER GATHERING @ 7:00 p.m., Wednesday @ church Our prayers touch needs near and far. We study a Psalm and call on God in humble adoration.
  • Women’s Bible Study – Coffeehouse, Uptown Normal, Tuesday mornings at 7:00 Just starting I Timothy
  • 2014 J.R.R. Tolkien Conference Sponsored by Urbana Theological Seminary Meets Saturday, September 20 at Jacob’s Well Ask Melody Green for details.
  • The church needs repair work done on the soffits outside. If you have a recommendation for someone to do the work, please tell Nathan Frailey.
  • C.S. Lewis Book Club new season Tuesday night @ 7:00, IWU chapel basement with “That Hideous Strength.”
  • Men’s Bible Study Just Beginning Monday evenings at 6:00, a group of guys gathers at Dave Park’s place to study, pray, and encourage. The group is just starting to study the Book of Daniel, a profoundly prophetic and pertinent book.
  • Fall Festival – October 26th at the Irion’s Farm Every year, we take one evening to celebrate that year, its “harvest,” and prepare our hearts for the rest that is winter. This has always been so much fun, building upon the fellow- ship, fun, and food. From 4:00 until the last embers die…
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Jesus on … Jesus: part 12

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He says this about Himself in John 10. His sheep and Shepherd teaching continues. Jesus was challenged to prove His Messiahship. His proof: the works of the Father are His.

We will all see Jesus face-to-face someday. Interesting, isn’t it, that life on this planet offers one degree of sufficient revelations of God, while life after this life offers an even greater revelation: face-to-face, one-on-one. When that happens, so much of what we valued in this life will have faded away; those things which Jesus teaches us are eternal – faith, hope, and love – will live forever, those things and people. People – created in the image of the Creator – live forever because we have an eternal nature, our souls. When Jesus is teaching the Pharisees about His unity with the Father, He is instructing on a different level and to a deeper degree than they had heard before. For century after century, the children of Israel had embraced an understanding of Yahweh, to one degree or another, without paying attention to His most embraceable attribute, His Faithfulness. Because He is mysterious, many different groups “defined” Him in different ways that embraced mystery more than revelation. They still do – we still do – which is why we must listen so intently and learn so legitimately to the words of Jesus when He connects Himself to The Father. And, yes, there is mystery here, but the mystery is instructed by the revelation, so that we must not let what we don’t understand about Jesus/Father/Spirit sidetrack us. Jesus teaches in parable and in metaphor. And we should take His Shepherd/sheep teaching as telling us that if we are His, NOTHING can make us “lost” again. Sure, we will have times and seasons when the Shepherd may seem distant, but He is not distant. He is right in the fold with us, He is close and working, and He is God. Believe Jesus’ words. Believe His voice.

News & Announcements

  • PRAYER GATHERING @ 7:00 p.m., Wednesday @ church Our prayers touch needs near and far. We study a Psalm and call on God in humble adoration.
  • Women’s Bible Study – Coffeehouse, Uptown Normal, Tuesday mornings at 7:00 Just starting I Timothy
  • 2014 J.R.R. Tolkien Conference Sponsored by Urbana Theological Seminary Meets Saturday, September 20 at Jacob’s Well Ask Melody Green for details.
  • The church needs repair work done on the soffits outside. If you have a recommendation for someone to do the work, please tell Nathan Frailey.
  • C.S. Lewis Book Club new season Tuesday night @ 7:00, IWU chapel basement with “That Hideous Strength.”
  • A special fall season at The Jake We are hosting an international conference on J.R.R. Tolkien on Sat., September 20. (still need host families) Missionary to the Basque Country, Courtney Mosier, will speak to us in October. She’s one of the Lord’s finest!
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Jesus on … Jesus: part 11

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He observes that His “shepherding” is uniquely distinguished by this one thing: “I lay down my life for the sheep.” His sheep live because He dies. He is not a hired hand who flees the danger. He is the One Who cares for all the sheep, Jew and Gentile. There is none like Him. Think of Psalm 23 as you study John 10.

The Lord is my shepherd, therefore… It is an opinion, an unsupportable opinion, but it is my opinion, nonetheless, that the most wonderful literary work of all time is Psalm 23. Its poetic beauty – in any language – is sublime; but, its meaning and the experience of claiming its promises transcend life’s troubles and give those who believe it much peace. John 10 is surpassingly rich on its own, but even more rich because we are able to connect it so readily to Psalm 23. In this vein, I want us to consider a truth that is both transcendent and immanent: that Jesus walked around this world “gathering sheep” for whom He was (and is) the Great Shepherd. The overarching message of the entire Bible is codified so clearly, so richly, in Psalm 23 and John 10: we are not alone; rather, we are loved beyond our understanding by a Keeper, a Guard, a Caregiver. Therefore, because of His self-sufficient greatness, we should not “want” for anything; the Shepherd provides us with all we need. Sometimes – and this “admission” is the beginning of deeper love and understanding – this means that our best, really our only alternative is to trust the Shepherd. Think about this truth from Old Testament prophet Isaiah: “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” That passage is absolutely speaking to us about ourselves, about Him, our wandering, and His seeking and securing His flock… and costing Himself life, for LIFE in Himself. The Lord IS our Shepherd.

News & Announcements

  • Wow! Today is our 500th Sunday Service!!!
  • PRAYER GATHERING @ 7:00 p.m., Wednesday @ church Our prayers touch needs near and far. We study a Psalm and call on God in humble adoration.
  • Women’s Bible Study – Coffeehouse, Uptown Normal, Tuesday mornings at 7:00 Just starting I Timothy
  • 2014 J.R.R. Tolkien Conference Sponsored by Urbana Theological Seminary Meets Saturday, September 20 at Jacob’s Well
  • The church needs repair work done on the soffits outside. If you have a recommendation for someone to do the work, please tell Nathan Frailey.
  • C.S. Lewis Book Club starts new season Tuesday night @ 7:00, IWU chapel basement with “That Hideous Strength.”
Read More