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My God is…Opening the eyes of the blind Psalm 146:8

Psalm 146:8a – The Lord opens the eyes of the blind

Have you ever been blind?white-cane

I have MS, and often times people ask me if I went blind in one eye (Optic Neuritis) as one of my symptoms. I didn’t. Over 55% of people with MS experience blindness from Optic Neuritis and often as their first symptom, but I didn’t have that at all. And I’m grateful. I think not being able to see with my eyes would be a major adjustment and extremely scary.

Full Definition of BLIND

1 a (1) :  sightless (2) :  having less than 110 of normal vision in the more efficient eye when refractive defects are fully corrected by lenses
   :  of or relating to sightless persons
2 a :  unable or unwilling to discern or judge <blind to a lover’s faults>
   :  unquestioning <blind loyalty>
3 a :  having no regard to rational discrimination, guidance, or restriction <blind choice>
   :  lacking a directing or controlling consciousness <blind chance>
   :  drunk 1a
4 a :  made or done without sight of certain objects or knowledge of certain facts that could serve for guidance or cause bias <a blind taste test> — compare double-blind,single-blind
   :  having no knowledge of information that may cause bias during the course of an experiment or test <physicians blind to whether the test drug is administered>
5:  defective: as
 :  lacking a growing point or producing leaves instead of flowers
 :  lacking a complete or legible address <blind mail>
6 a :  difficult to discern, make out, or discover
   :  hidden from sight :  covered <blind seam>
7:  having but one opening or outlet <blind sockets>
8:  having no opening for light or passage :  blank <blind wall>
God opens the eyes of the blind
In the New Testament, we can find many instances where Jesus heals the blind. In those days to be blind meant you were at great risk. Everywhere you turned there were dangers. Even in your own house you would be in danger of touching an open flame. Jesus knew that being blind was an awful thing for these people. He had compassion on them and healed them. Those healed were grateful. They couldn’t help themselves from telling people they met. A lot of times the blind were also beggars at the gate of the city, so many would even recognize them and marvel at their healing.
Blind Bart
I enjoy reading about the healing of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). Bartimaeus was not going to let Jesus pass by the gate without healing him. Bartimaeus was so sure that Jesus was who He said He was, that he was positive Jesus could and would heal him. He yelled out. He made a scene. He even got scolded, the scriptures even say “sternly”. He was so persistent and unwilling to be ignored or passed by that Jesus turned and told His disciples to call Bartimaeus over. I love what happens next. Bartimaeus throws off his coat and runs to where Jesus is. He can’t wait to see Jesus. Bartimaeus asks Jesus to make him see again. Jesus says to Bartimaeus that his faith had made him well, and Bartimaeus could see. But this story doesn’t end there. There is one more line in his story. When Bartimaeus was healed, he followed Jesus.
Unable or unwilling to discern or judge
Even though the closest I have come to being blind was being blindfolded, I do understand the second definition to blind. Sometimes we’re blind to the truth. We are unable or unwilling to discern or judge what is right in a certain situation. Sometimes our stubborn is because we are unable to see (blind) to the other persons situation. Is there someone you can’t or won’t try to see their perspective. It’s hard to fight this kind of blindness. It’s hard to get past old pain. God can heal this blindness too, and then our relationships have a chance to heal (even if you’re not in them anymore).
Having no opening for light or passage
There is an even more dangerous kind of blindness. Many people are blind to the love of the Lord. They can’t or won’t receive God’s love for what it is. They can’t see the light. They won’t let in the Holy Spirit and even try hard to keep all things about God far from them. Sometimes we allow things to blind us from the relationship the Lord wants to have with us. We allow our busy lives, self-centered ways and laziness pull us away from the Lord. We know that if we are in relationship with the Lord. If we open our eyes and see Jesus, our lives will change. Change can be scary. But Bartimaeus gives us a great example of how we should respond to the opening of our eyes. We need to run to Jesus and follow Him.
Ask God to heal your blindness
 Dear Lord, Open our eyes Lord. We want to see Jesus. Help us to see Him in our lives and grow our relationship with Him. Help us to not get distracted, blinded by the insignificant things of this world that occupy our minds. Help us instead, with clear eyes, to look on you and know you as our Lord and Savior. Help us to throw off our coats and follow you. Amen
Are you blind to God?
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My God is…desiring mercy, not sacrifices Matthew 9:10-13

Matthew 9:10-13 – And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were mercy sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Jesus is hanging with the “wrong crowd”

In this verse, we meet up with Jesus as He is eating with the tax collectors and sinners. He has just called Matthew to follow Him, and Matthew did. Now the Pharisees were freaking out because of the company Jesus was keeping. They didn’t like the idea that someone who spoke with such authority, who was teaching and leading people would spend His time with people who clearly had not been living well. They thought they should be getting a nod for their good behavior. Hadn’t they always tried to do what is right? Hadn’t they always given what they should to the Lord? Hadn’t they always gone and worshiped when it was required, and even when it wasn’t? Why would Jesus, if He was such an important religious figure hang out with people who were known to rip people off? People who had cheated on their spouses? People who hadn’t made it to the synagogue in quite a while? They asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

What the pharisees didn’t get was that God came to save the lost. He came to help those who are helpless. He came to save the sinner from their sin. That each of us (because we all have fallen short of the Glory of God), each sinner, might be forgiven for their sins, and instead of spending an eternity in hell, we would be forgiven and be able to have everlasting life with Him in Heaven.

Here’s the crux of the problem. The Pharisees didn’t think they needed a savior. They felt they had done enough to secure their fate with God. After all, they had done all that was expected of them. They went to church, gave to the church, supported their family, stayed away from drugs and alcohol, didn’t have wandering eyes. Basically they were stand up guys. They weren’t used to having their self-worth questioned. So what was the problem? What was standing between them and God?

Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’

Jesus quotes His Father (Hosea 6:6). God was telling the people of Judah and Ephraim that He desired mercy, not sacrifice. The people of that time had been constantly distracted from their relationship with God. They were concerned about themselves and nothing else. They ignored the warning signs God had given them through prophets. They ignored God’s wishes. They would attack people, murder and other sins. They completely disregarded God. The pharisees in Jesus day would have known these stories well. They had done a lot of study of the Bible. They were the one’s teaching everyone else what the words of scripture meant. For Jesus to tell them to go and learn what is meant by “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”, means they clearly weren’t demonstrating it’s meaning. The pharisees were concerned with fulfilling the letter of the law, but not the intent behind it. God’s intent was not about the law, but that the people He loved (and loves) would be able to have the best relationship with Him as possible. His laws were intended to keep people safe, point them back to Him and to bless them. They weren’t intended as check boxes to be marked off. They have value, but when they are used to measure one’s salvation, they are misused.

For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners

The truth is we are all sinners. Should we be striving to be more like Christ? Yes, of course. The problem is, many of us think that what we do is what is going to get us into heaven. We think that our good has to outweigh our bad and then we’re set. I have heard many people say, “I’m a good person, I’m sure I’ll get into heaven.” Sadly that’s not going to work. Being a good person is not a requirement. Believing that Jesus died to save us from not being a good person is what is required. Faith in Jesus’ saving grace is the only way to get into heaven. It’s not only unbelievers who cling to this idea, those who profess to believe in Jesus also struggle (just like the pharisees). They are working themselves to death, trying to do the “right thing”. They help at church, give a lot of money to charities, sit on boards they hate, why? Often it’s because they feel it’s their duty. God isn’t interested in our duty. He only wants us to do these good things (very good things) if the reason we’re doing them is because we are so grateful for what He’s done for us. We’re not supposed to do them in some misguided attempt to earn our way to heaven. God has done everything necessary for us to get to heaven. We need only believe in Him and trust that He’s got us covered in His redemptive blood. So don’t worry if you make mistakes. God knows you. Instead of putting your faith in your actions, put your faith in Him.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Matthew, not sacrifices

 

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My God is…to whom I submit James 4:7-8

James 4:7-8 –  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to White flagGod, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Submit yourselves therefore to God

Definition of SUBMIT

transitive verb
1 a: to yield to governance or authority
   b: to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation <the metal was submitted to analysis>
2: to present or propose to another for review, consideration, or decision; also : to deliver formally <submitted my resignation>
3: to put forward as an opinion or contention <we submit that the charge is not proved>
intransitive verb
1 a : to yield oneself to the authority or will of another :surrender
   : to permit oneself to be subjected to something <had to submit to surgery>
2: to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another
What do you think of when you hear the word submit? Is it a positive or negative thing for you? Take a moment to read the definition of submit above. Does it mean what you thought it did?
To yield oneself to the authority or will of another
Do you have a problem with authority? As Americans, we can kind of have a “you’re not going to tell me what to do” kind of attitude. We like to think of ourselves as independent beings. We don’t need anyone’s permission to do anything. As long as we’re not hurting anyone we should be able to do what we want. Do you like it when someone exerts their authority over you? It’s not always enjoyable. Maybe the reason we have such a hard time with those in authority over us is because we think we’re just as good as them, and we want to be the one’s with the authority.
We want to do what we want and not have to worry about what other people want or expect from us. We often put ourselves first, but that’s not what we’re called to do in the verse above from James. We are called to submit ourselves to God.
Surrender!
To some people surrendering means you’ve lost. To others surrendering means to give up. Some might say it means to stop fighting. I want to submit myself to God. I want to surrender to God. I don’t think of it as losing or giving up, but mostly I think of it as stop fighting. I need to stop fighting God. Often I feel myself pulled in one direction or another, like I’m being encouraged by God or other trustworthy Christians to do something. But I often try to ignore such promptings. These moments almost always bring discomfort. They make me afraid that I will not be good at what they’re encouraging me to do. I let fear keep me from doing what God would have me do. I fight Him at every turn. I ignore Him. I need to stop fighting and surrender. I need God to be the one to whom I submit.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
How am I to submit to God? The verse goes on to give some examples of what a life submitted to God, surrendered to God might look like. First it says, “Resist the devil.” I don’t always want to resist the devil. Sometimes it looks like a lot more fun to give in to the devil (though I can’t think of a time I felt good after giving in). We fight God and His promptings to do what is right and give in to the devil all the time. We take the opportunity to say something snotty or crude. We drink a little too much. We gossip. We do so many things, and often we never even try to resist the urge. There is a promise at the end of the statement. If we resist the devil (the opposite of surrendering) the devil will flee from us. I don’t know about you, but I may not want to resist the devil, but I also don’t really want the devil hanging around. The more we resist the devil, the easier it becomes to resist the devil (because he is fleeing from us).
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Here is another part of the advice given in James about how to submit to God. We need to draw near to God. We need to seek Him out at every opportunity. Go to God in prayer, read His word and seek out those who know Him as their savior when you have decisions or questions to discuss. Draw near to Him. Put Him at the front of your mind, and you will not be disappointed. He will draw near to you as well. What a blessed promise that is!
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Keep your hands out of trouble. Don’t take what isn’t yours. Don’t dirty your hands with unkind deeds. though we are sinners we need to always be working with the Holy Spirit’s help to purify our minds. To become increasingly more like the one we submit to. We need to stop saying we believe one thing on Sunday and do something completely contrary the rest of the week. We need to stop being double minded. We need to be focused on God. We need to submit to Him and His authority. We need to stop fighting what we know is right.
Have you stopped fighting?
 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in James, My God is to whom I submit

 

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My God is…able to guard what I have entrusted to Him 2 Timothy 1:11-14

2 Timothy 1:11-14 – For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason Iarmor-guard suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

I know the one in whom I have put my trust

Who do you trust? I have a few people I feel like I can trust. I have my husband, my parents, my sister and some really good friends that I feel I can trust to have my back and to always have the best intentions for everything they do in regard to me. I know that they are sinners though, so the amount of trust I truly give them is still limited. Not so with God. God is trustworthy. He is the one we can count on to always have our best interests at heart. He knows better than I do what I need and when. I know, like Paul who wrote 2nd Timothy, in whom I put my trust, my full and utter trust.

I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him

I love the witness that Paul is being. He says, even though he had suffered much and was still suffering on behalf of the gospel, that he knows he can trust God to follow through and keep guard over Paul spiritually and physically. Paul went through so much, but we can learn to be encouraged through the faith in God he is displaying here. He says he is sure that God will guard His faith and trust until the day Paul meets God in heaven.

Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus

Paul encourages those reading his letter (at the time and now) to believe what he is saying and trust him as he trusts in God. They can hold to the teachings he has given them, because they are based on the scriptures and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus is who he trusts, and because He uses scripture and Jesus’ own words, Paul is telling us that we can trust the teachings he has put forth. We must always check what we believe against the scriptures so that we are not mislead.

Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

As we go forward in our lives, we need to guard our faith. We need to keep away from situations that nick at our faith and try to tear it down. Maybe you need to stay away from a friend who berates you for your faith. We all could spend more time in scripture. The more we are in the word of God, the stronger we are to keep the faith. It is one of the way we guard our faith. We also need to surround ourselves with others who believe as we do. We need to reach out to those who know more than us about our Lord and to continue to grow in our faith so that it does not wither and starve like one who is not fed. The Holy Spirit is within us, and throughout your day, you may feel the Holy Spirit calling you toward things that bolster your faith and away from things that could harm your faith or lead you astray. Please hold dear the teachings of the Holy Spirit. Don’t ignore His promptings. How do you know it is from God? I don’t know for sure, but I do know it’s not from God if it contradicts the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. How do we learn what is from the Holy Spirit? Spend more time in the word. Protect yourself from the devil and his minions. Put on the full armor of God:

Ephesians 6:10-18  The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our[a] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these,[b] take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

 

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My God is…Listening Psalm 66:16

Psalm 66:16-20

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.praying
I cried aloud to him,and he was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.

All you who fear God, that’s an interesting caveat to put on a phrase. Why was the Psalmist wanting to talk to those who fear God, and not others? David was about to witness to them about what the Lord had done for him. That isn’t something that those who don’t trust God readily accept, encourage or understand. They see the work of the Lord’s hand as coincidence or fate. But as Christians, we are free to share, called to witness to the mighty acts of God and give Him the glory in our lives. Usually telling someone about God would come before talking about what He’s done for you. Though sometimes your story might be so compelling that it makes the perfect opportunity to start the conversation about who God is and that He came to save all who would believe in Him.

I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.

David cried out to God. What did he say? The second half of that sentence says he extolled God with his tongue. Do you know what extolled means (I looked it up just to be sure)? It means “to praise highly”. Here David is giving us a good example of how to pray. I know many people who say they don’t know how to pray, so here is a tip from David. Praise God for who He is. Basically that’s what I’m trying to do with this blog. I focus on one attribute of God and I praise Him for who He is. In this post it is that I have a God who listens. My prayer may start like this “Dear God, I praise you for being a God who listens, who hears me when I call.”

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

David is giving another example of what we should do in prayer, confession. When we pray, it’s important to get everything that will distract you from God out-of-the-way. Everything that is blocking your relationship with Him should be confessed (don’t worry you don’t have to list them all by name). In my prayers, the next thing I would do is say something like, “Lord, please forgive me for being self-focused and not putting you first while loving others as I love myself.” If you have specific sins you want to confess, of course the Lord wants you to bring those to Him so that He can forgive you so you no longer have to be distracted when you talk with Him. He doesn’t want you thinking about that when you and He have so much more to talk about.

But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

What a beautiful thing to be able to approach our God with our prayers. We are able to talk to the one in charge of everything. We went to Washington D.C., and when we got back the other kids asked my boys if they got to meet the president. Of course we didn’t. But we have something even better. We’re able to talk to the creator of the universe, the one who truly holds my life in His hands, our Lord and Savior. In my prayers, after I praise God and confess my sins, I talk to Him about what is on my mind. Sometimes I focus on a specific verse, but other times I just tell Him what’s troubling me or doesn’t seem to be going the way I think it should. It might sound something like this, “Lord, I’m really struggling with my relationships right now. I know that because it is in more than one relationship it likely has to do with me. Lord help me to see where I need to make changes and how I can be a blessing to those you have put in my life.”

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.

David has given us such a great example of prayer here, and I don’t think he’s even praying (though he may have used his poetry and songs as prayers). After praising God, Confessing my sins and making supplication (asking Him for His aid in my life or someone else’s), I try to thank God for answered prayers, blessings etc. Here David Thanks God for not rejecting his prayer and for continuing to love him no matter what David had done (and if you think your sins are bad, you should read about David in 1 and 2 Samuel). For me this part of the prayer might sound like this, “Thank you Lord for all you have done for me and my family. Thank you for providing my boys with opportunities for education and development of their faith life. Thank you for continually providing for our needs even when it seems impossible. Amen.”

God is not rejecting your prayer

Sometimes people think they’ll pray wrong. While I told you that I often like to include Praise, confession, requests and thanks, I just as often leave out parts (maybe everything but my requests). God doesn’t reject our prayers. When we come to Him trusting Him in all things, He will be listening. He will hear your prayer, and He will never remove His steadfast love for you.

 

 

 

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My God is…our instructor Matthew 23:10

Matthew 23:10 – Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.

They can't put it on the internet if it isn't true

They can’t put it on the internet if it isn’t true

Definition of INSTRUCT

1: to give knowledge to : teachtrain
2: to provide with authoritative information or advice <the judge instructed the jury>
3: to give an order or command to : direct

To give knowledge to : teachtrain
There is a lot of information out there that people want to instruct you on. There are books on nearly every topic known to man. Ever heard the phrase – “Everyone’s an expert”? The thought is that everyone knows a lot about something. Knowledge is a very important thing for us. We need information to work, live and provide for our families. We educate ourselves in numerous ways (computer, school, reading, tv and more). In the verse above, Jesus is reading the pharisees the riot act. He’s giving them a piece of His mind.

He’s giving them a piece of His mind. 
Jesus was warning the disciples and the people listening that the teachings of the Pharisees was true, but that their actions didn’t match what they taught. People looked up to them and followed how they were leading. Check out the preceding verses:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

A lot of what we’re taught is true, but not all of the actions of those teaching us are right. Many of the books we read, the schools we attend, and the self help books we read speak some truths. Some of the information is useful and necessary, but often they draw our focus away from what we’re really supposed to learn. It reminds me of classic parenting phrase, “Do what I say, not what I do.” Obviously that’s not a fantastic way to parent, instruct or teach. Just because someone calls themselves a guru, doesn’t make them one.

Bonjour

Have you seen this commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DZbSlkFoSU? It’s the commercial from State farm where the man is showing the girl some apps, and she says she didn’t think State Farm had apps? She says she read it on the internet. Then she says she’s meeting her date – a french model – a man (clearly not a french model) walks up and says “Bonjour”. She says in the commercial, “they can’t put it on the internet if it isn’t true”. We are bombarded with untruths all around us. It is sometimes hard for us to discern fact from fiction, but for the Christian, there is hope.  

For you have one instructor, the Messiah
We don’t have to look to others to see what is true and good. The Messiah, Jesus Christ is the Truth. When we compare the things of this world to what we’re taught by Jesus through His word, we can find truth. This world cleverly disguises truth, but we know the source of all truth. When we’re able to keep our focus on our Lord, spending time in His word each day, we’re less likely to end up with a french model we met on the internet. There are some useful things in this world that are outside the Bible. I’m not saying that the Lord has not blessed some with true wisdom, but as Christians we need to check it against the Truth of Jesus Christ. If it flies blatantly in the face of that Truth, we need to consider ignoring that advice, that instruction. In the end we have one instructor: The Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 

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My God is…Washing John 13:7-9

John 13:7-9 – Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter Regular or Decaf Coffeesaid to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 

Story of my life! Have you ever felt that way? That you don’t know what God is doing, but in retrospect you can see His hand at every turn? Some of you might still be waiting for later to arrive. Waiting can be hard. Even when God explains it to us, sometimes we still don’t get it. Kind of like Peter in these verses.

You will never wash my feet

At first Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. He felt it wasn’t Jesus’ place. Being the most honored guest, someone should have offered to wash Jesus’ feet. Peter was sort of saying, “I’m good, I don’t need you to do that for me Jesus.” Peter’s intentions were good (not wanting to put Jesus out and all), but Peter wasn’t quite getting the point. Sometimes we’re put in situations like that too, aren’t we. We think we know what is the good and proper thing to do. We don’t like it when people rock the boat. Imagine sitting at restaurant, and you’ve been seated near the waiting staff’s station. Your waiter or waitress is swamped and hasn’t been able to refill your cup. Someone at your table gets up and grabs the coffee pot and pours some into the first cup. You might say, “I’m good”, because you don’t like how the normal way of doing things has been changed up. We don’t like when things go differently than we expect or is “normal”. We’re not always willing to “go with the flow” as my mother would say.

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

I know my coffee analogy has some holes, but work with me for a minute. Suppose you’ve just refused the cup of coffee poured by your friend. Your friend says to you, “Unless you let me serve you this coffee, you won’t get any.” That’s sort of what Jesus was saying to Peter. If you don’t let me serve you (not just coffee, but offering up His life), you’re not going to share in this salvation. If we want to do things the “normal” way or “our” way, we may find that we’ve missed the whole point. What is the point? To give glory to God. If we keep trying to do things the same way over and over again, we’re going to get the same results. When we trust God, we can be sure to be pushed out of our comfort zone, but we will also be enriched by a life spent focused on the Lord, and bask in the glory of our promised eternal life.

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

So your friend with the coffee said you might not get another chance to get more coffee. If we responded like Peter, we might get out our thermos and say, “not only in the cup, but fill up my thermos too”. Again, not a perfect analogy, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say. Peter was vacillating between not wanting God to do anything and not believing what God was going to do was enough. At first Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet, but to prove how much he was part of Jesus, he wanted Jesus to wash all of him. What God does for us is enough. Sometimes we try to augment our salvation, what Jesus did for us on the cross. We think yeah, that’s good and all, but I’m pretty sure it comes down to me being a good person too. We don’t like it when things don’t go the way we’re used to. In the world, it does often come down to being a good person. But fortunately for us our salvation is not based on that. We don’t have to do more to earn our salvation. Jesus died on the cross, and that was enough. Even the martyrs who gave up their life to tell people about Jesus didn’t up their chances of being saved by their immense sacrifice. It was only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that has provided us with our sharing in His kingdom.

Sometimes we just go over the top.

 

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