John 5 & 6
The words of Jesus are not suggestions. What He says is mandatory. If we want to please Him we will do what He says, and what He says is not something that takes away our fun. His words, in fact, enhance our lives. Remember, fun and sin are not the same. Sin might seem fun, but only momentarily. Sin is designed by Satan to ruin your life. The joy of the Lord, however, gives you strength, and peace, and rejoicing!
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him (John 2:11).
When Jesus turned the water into wine, the Bible calls that the first manifestation of His glory. He and His disciples were having fun at a wedding celebration. What caused Him to do this? Obedience. His mother gave the best advice found in the Bible. “Whatever He says, do it.” Those servants didn’t question His orders. No asking “Why? Pull up all that water? Why? Tell the Master it’s wine? Why? It’s only water.” No, they just obeyed. Do you want Him to manifest His glory to you? What’s the key to encourage Him to do that? Obedience without question.
In John 5, Jesus goes to great lengths to explain His own obedience. He had set His Deity aside in order to become man, 100% man. His purpose was to show us how to operate like He did, working with the Holy Spirit. Because He put His Deity aside, Jesus could do nothing in His own spiritual strength, just like we can do nothing in our own spiritual strength, both He and we need the Holy Spirit to work with us. Therefore, we have no choice if we are going to be a blessing to our generation; surrender to the Holy Spirit and obey what we hear from God our Father and Jesus our Lord.
One of the stories I like best about Jesus is found in chapter 6 when He was walking on the water after a storm had blown up. Though frightened out of their wits, the disciples took Him on board, and immediately, they were at the place where they wanted to land. When things are happening that you cannot explain, when circumstances are threatening and you maybe fear for your life, if you’ll just take Jesus on board, He will make you arrive right away at the place you were headed for in the first place. Sometimes just calling out His name is enough to bring Him on board.
During a Screenwriter’s Colony (that being two weeks away with about a dozen other writers to write screenplays), I wanted to write something very evangelistic, so my screenplay was filled with the name of Jesus. Just about every line of dialogue included His name. While reading it to my fellow Colonists, one of them stopped me and said, “Marty, I’m sorry, but I just can’t take the name of Jesus being used so much. It’s overkill, and I feel like it is killing me. Please stop reading.” The rest agreed with him so the next person read theirs.
Distraught I went to the Lord and asked, “What do I do? I want to have your name in my scenario.”
He said, “Just use My name one time in your whole screenplay. My name carries all the power of the universe and you were blasting them out of the water.”
So I rewrote my screenplay, using the name of Jesus only one time. I felt I was being pathetic, but I obeyed. When I read it to the group again, no one moved a muscle during the reading and afterwards they asked me questions for about an hour. Some of them took me out to lunch to find out more and others took me out to dinner to also question me about this Jesus. Jesus is the Bread of Heaven. Whoever believes in Him has real life—a life that lasts for eternity. Jesus has the words of real life—eternal life. Jesus has the name of real life—a name that lasts forever.
More about John: he changed from being a volatile young man to an elder statesman of love. In his little epistles 1, 2, and 3 John, he refers to “love” twenty-five times. John was the disciple called the Lord’s beloved because John was probably the first cousin of Jesus. It is believed that John’s mother was named Salome, she was Zebedee’s wife, and she was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Salome followed Jesus and paid His way, having received the money from Zebedee. His fishing business seemed to flourish, even though four partners/workers left him to follow Jesus.
16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him (Mark 1:16–20).
God calls families, evidently. Many preachers today have come from a long line of preachers. This group was a close knit bunch; they were rough, tough laborers, and they became equally bold in their faith. When Salome approached Jesus about her sons being seated on His right and on His left, she felt, as the aunt of Jesus, she had a right to ask. Neither she nor her sons were reprimanded, even though the rest of the disciples got a little hot under the collar.
Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55)?
Jesus had four natural half-brothers and at least two sisters. Probably there were seven children in His family. The book of James was written by His brother James, who did not join the disciples until after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. James writes of practical obedience. He also pretty much ousted Peter from his leadership role in Jerusalem and took over that position. Peter then set out to travel, like Jesus did. The book of Jude was written by the brother of Jesus, Judas, and it is important for its spiritual information. The ministry of Jesus was very similar to the ministry of evangelists today—traveling, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, and presenting the Good News wherever He was welcome.
Remember to write out these two chapters, and then re-write them in your own words. Also, in a quiet time, ask the Lord if He has something for you to do for Him. Write it in your journal and then obey. Afterwards, write the consequences after you have obeyed. Another question you can ask is this: Is there anything about me that displeases You? If there is, ask for His help to change that situation.
Writing has been in my blood, so to speak, but when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and He told me to write, all my trepidations rolled away and I began in earnest! After all, if God Almighty says it was His idea that I be a writer, who am I to stand in His way? My hope is that you not only like what I write, but that your life is moved by it, and that your party to Jesus and with Jesus turns your life into days of Heaven on Earth.