Jesus Contact 16

Living Off Of Jesus

In the spring of 29 A.D., Jesus and His disciples were finishing their ministerial preaching for the day, when the apostles told Jesus to send away the crowd who had gathered about them (numbering 5000). Instead, Jesus told them to feed the gathering.

The apostles freaked out, telling Jesus that they only possessed 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Christ broke the bread, blessed it, placed it in a basket and as it was passed around, it fed the 5000 with enough left over to fill 12 additional baskets!

There were some converts made on that night! Later, Jesus and His retinue would journey to the city of Capernaum, whereupon He encountered another crowd who had heard of His miracle of feeding the 5000. They were looking to get their bellies filled as well.

Jesus uses this opportunity to try to get the crowd to transcend their flesh:

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because the Father has set His seal on Him.” Jn. 6:27 NKJV

What Jesus is saying is that God has placed His own authority upon His Son. Furthermore, Christ is teaching that through His Father’s authority, He is speaking the gospel – which is the key to eternal sustenance.

The crowd doesn’t get it. The Pharisees have told them previously that one must earn their way into heaven. So, they ask Him what kind of work it is that they must do. Jesus responds:

This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]. Jn. 6:29 AMP

The crowd lets that go right over their head and instead asks Jesus to perform a miracle similar to how God sent manna from heaven during the Jew’s exodus from Egypt. However, Christ is not deterred:

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jn. 6:31 – 33. NKJV

Christ couldn’t be clearer, but the crowd can’t get their collective selves off of their flesh. They ask Him to literally give them some of this ‘bread.’ Our Lord of infinite patience, love and mercy continues:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:35 – 40. NKJV

Jesus is calling them, inviting them to heaven. He’s telling them that He is their ticket to eternity – the walking, talking plan and method of God’s redemption for all of mankind. All they have to do is have faith in who He is and what He came for. Still, He’s facing a tough crowd who are unwilling to part with their doubts regarding His claim to be their Savior.

Christ loves us so much; He remains undaunted and persevering in His quest to save mankind:

“Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught by God.’ (Is. 54:13) Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:43 – 51. NKJV

This is the complete picture of our God-connection! When we seek God, He leads us to Christ. Jesus in turn, when we accept Him as our Savior, connects us to God through Himself.

Jesus willingly vacated His seat next to His Father in heaven to inhabit flesh on earth, so that we could relate to Him and to the redemption that God offers through Him, which is accomplished through the sacrificial gift of Christ’s flesh and blood.

This crowd of hardened hearts and blinded eyes cannot get past their literal take on Jesus’ allegories. They become angry and horrified at the notion of eating Jesus’ flesh. Thank God Christ doesn’t back down:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” Jn. 6:53 – 57. NKJV

Jesus is attempting to break through the Pharisaic conditioning that binds and blinds them, so that they can comprehend the spiritual implications of His death and resurrection. He’s planting seeds of faith – the faith that will be required to hold onto the hope of salvation when those events take place.

Christ is trying to get them to see that His flesh is in reality the ‘spiritual food’ found in His gospel – that they must ‘eat’ (bind to their hearts) in order to walk a godly path towards their salvation. In addition, He wants them to understand that His blood (life) that He is going to shed for them must be ‘drunk’ (believed in) so that them can receive God’s atonement for their sins to pave the way for their reception of that same salvation.

In order to live in eternity, they must start living off of Jesus during their life on earth!

Unfortunately, most of the crowd (including some of His followers) began to abandon Him because of their misunderstanding of this teaching. He entreats them one more time:

“Does this offend you?…It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” Jn. 6:61 & 63. NKJV

God gives us life through the Holy Spirit. Christ maintains that life on earth. If we want our piece of the blessed hereafter, we need to start living off of Him now. We do that, when we make contact…

Goodnight and God bless.

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Jesus Contact 15

Are You With Jesus?

During Jesus’ ministry, he brought a widow’s dead son back to life.

As He continued His ministry, crowds begin to surround Him. He addressed one such crowd and said:

“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal to Him.” Mt. 11:27 NKJV

We’ve seen that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and that He can heal the sick and raise the dead. Now we see that in addition, God has given over all of His authority to Christ, to be expressed by His Son. Furthermore, we see that we cannot even connect to God unless we first receive the grace of Jesus.

Jesus’ intent here is not to impress, but to get them to understand that whatever comes out of His mouth is an unquestionable imperative. Yet at the core of that immeasurable power, comes limitless love – which Jesus immediately demonstrates as He changes His tone and humbles Himself as He invites us into His arms:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:28 – 30. NKJV

Jesus knows we carry the trouble of the world and the pain of our mistakes in our hearts. This all-powerful God-Man wants to lighten our load and shine the Light in our lives. He’s making Himself available. Are you with Jesus?

Christ and His apostles are going from town to town to preach the gospel. During that time, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Well, those pesky Pharisees were lurking in the background at this miracle event and accused Him of casting out demons with the power of Satan. Jesus came right back at them and told them the devil wouldn’t be so stupid as to work against himself. (Mt. 12:25, 26.)

He then drew a ‘red line in the sand:’

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Therefore I say to you, every sin will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Mt. 12:30 – 32. NKJV

There is no middle ground! You are either with Jesus or you are not. You’re either promoting the kingdom or obstructing it.

(By the way, this sin that Jesus is referring to is commonly called the ‘unpardonable sin.’ You can’t get forgiveness for that one? Why is that? It seems to run against the gospel.

The reason is that the Holy Spirit is only available to those who willingly make the choice to embrace Jesus as their Savior. The Holy Spirit’s primary purpose is to bring revelation to the gospel and to further illuminate the nature of Christ to God’s children. Thus, a committed child of God could never commit the ‘unpardonable sin’ because, by definition, they’ve accepted Christ.

Who can commit that sin are those who turn their back on God and continually and unrepentantly refute who Jesus is and why He came. So, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit would be to deny His purpose, which is to glorify the Father through Son and to bring God’s truth.

At the end of this encounter, someone comes to Jesus and tells Him that His brothers and mother are nearby, waiting to speak to Him. Jesus, who never let’s a teaching moment go by, answers for the whole crowd to hear:

“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Mt. 12:50 NKJV

Are you with Jesus?

Jesus decided to magnify His efforts to expand His Father’s kingdom by sending out the apostles to teach and preach, empowering them for their efforts:

He gave them power over unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Mt. 10:1 NKJV

He also gave them distinct instructions:

“And as you go, preach, saying ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give…” Mt. 10:7, 8. NKJV

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city!” Mk. 6:11 NKJV

[The Jews believed that only the land of Israel was holy. So, if they ever left Israel, upon their return, they would shake the ‘unholy’ dirt from their sandals. Jesus is intimating that those who refuse the gospel are ‘unholy.’ (Are they not committing the unpardonable sin?)]

…everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me], I will also acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven and confess [that I am abiding in] him. But whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I will also deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven. Mt. 10:32, 33. AMP

Are you with Jesus?

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and however loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mt. 10:37 – 39. ESV

Christ, the Son of God, the representative of God, our Savior, must reside at the summit of the hierarchy of what’s important in our lives. God is asking us to set our will aside and follow His, through Jesus:

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Mt. 10:40 NKJV

Let’s go be with Jesus. Make that contact…

Goodnight and God bless.

Jesus Contact 14

Building Your Foundation

Jesus wraps up His Sermon on the Mount by telling us to build ourselves a firm foundation upon the word of God. When we persistently do that, God makes Himself available:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” Mt. 7:7, 8. NKJV

We ‘knock’ by remaining tenacious in prayer – confident in our faith that if our prayers align with God’s will, they will be granted.

When God’s word is our foundation, it will show up in our behavior as well:

So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this (sums up) the Law and the Prophets. Mt. 7:12 AMP

This scripture is commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Rule.’ Jesus would later restate it, referring to it as the ‘second greatest commandment:’

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mt. 22:39 NKJV

God is love. And so, when we make Him our foundation, we are all about love. God left us a path (in His word) by which we can gain that foundation. Jesus tells us that path is clearly marked but often ignored:

“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.” Mt. 7:13, 14. ESV

Thus, standing in faith on our God foundation is a continuing imperative because we will be repeatedly attacked by the world for that faith – even by those who seem well-intentioned, who want to show us their better way, i.e. the way through the ‘wide’ gate. Jesus warns us of this very thing:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Mt. 7:15 – 17. NASB

Our job is to be one with our foundation, living out the will of God to the best of our ability. Jesus knows who we are, as well as He knows those who are only going through ‘religious motions’ to garner the favor of others. There will be a ‘day of reckoning’ for each:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” Mt. 7:21 – 23. NKJV

We have been given the blueprints. If we construct our foundation with the word of God, we stand upon the rock of His insurmountable strength:

“Therefore whoever hears these saying of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Mt. 7:24, 25. NKJV

That’s keeping your Jesus contact.

Those who do not, well, that’s a different story:

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Mt. 7:26, 27. NJKV

Stand on the Rock…

Goodnight and God bless.

Jesus Contact 13

Spiritual Focus

Continuing with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt. 6:19 – 21. NASB

Jesus in not prohibiting the saving of money or of having material possessions. What He’s saying is that these things are only temporal. They do require a good and responsible stewardship on our part, but Jesus is reminding us that our primary focus should be on things eternal (spiritual).

It’s all a part of us having our highest and best life. When our focus is on God, His focus is also placed upon us. We have complete control of our focus, and thus the outcome as well:

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.” Mt. 6:22 NKJV

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Mt. 6:24 ESV

Jesus is using money as an example of the material things that tend to worm their way into our central thoughts. He’s saying that there is always a fork in our path and He’s urging us to take the way that keeps us dependent upon our God:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil or do they spin, yet I say to you not even Solomon clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?” Mt. 6:25 – 30. NASB

In essence, Jesus is saying, ‘Don’t worry. Be happy!’ Why? Because God takes care of our every need – but only after we see to our spiritual needs first, in order to keep our God-connection intact:

“For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mt. 6:32, 33. NKJV

Seeing as how we are speaking of spiritual focus, understand that keeping it also applies to how we look at other people. We are all equal in God’s eyes. Yet there is a human aspect of each of us that indulges in judgment. Jesus warns against this practice in a big way:

“Judge not, that you not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and look a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Mt. 7:1 – 5. NKJV

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Lk. 6:37 NKJV

Jesus is saying that it is far better to judge no one. We must judge at times; e.g. when we perform jury duty. But even then we want to focus on our spiritual duty to apply the same fairness and mercy that God showers upon us, because His portion is directly proportional to what we measure out.

When we find ourselves indulging in judgment, we can stop, breathe and focus upon the roots of our judgment. Often they are a reflection of something we don’t like in ourselves. We can ask God to show it to us, and then we can give it up to Him for healing…

Another part of keeping our spiritual focus in place is shown when we share the word of God with everyone – to advance His kingdom by sowing His seeds into their hearts.

Some will willing accept it, some won’t. Others will even aggressively rebuke you, because indirectly you are exposing their conviction to live in the ways of the world, which stirs up their own spirit to rebuke their flesh.

You are only responsible to bring God’s message of salvation and expound upon it if they are willing to listen. What they do with that message is between them and God.

Jesus warns us about these stubbornly unrepentant aggressors. Sinners like to recruit others to join them in their sin in order to attempt to bring some external acceptance to their actions. In short, they will try to diminish your faith. Our Savior says to walk away:

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Mt. 7:6 NKJV

You are a wonderful child of God and you have a divine mission. Thank God for that spiritual focus in front of you to both use and to lean on…

Goodnight and God bless.