The Manifestation of Christ

John 14:21-24

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

I want us to take some time and focus on this manifestation that is promised to all those who have and keep Jesus’ Word – the manifestation that is given only to those who love Christ and not to the world.

There are two simple questions:

What does it mean that Christ will manifest Himself to those that love Him?

What must we do in order for Christ to manifest Himself to us?

Let’s look at the first one:

What does it mean that Christ will manifest Himself to those that love Him?

This is a manifestation of Christ – a revealing of Christ that is special and given only to those who are Christ’s – not to the world – we see that in the question that Judas poses, it is not to the world – it is only to the ones who love Christ, and keep His commandments and be in God’s loving favor and to whom Christ will manifest Himself.

But what type of manifestation is it? Does it mean that Jesus will come in person, in the flesh and visit these chosen ones?

It is not that Christ will come in person – for He no longer lives among us. He no longer says what He said to Doubting Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27)

For in that same passage it is clear that there are those who will not have the benefit of sight or touch and we are blessed for it, Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29). Beyond that, we know that while Jesus was on the earth, many saw Him who did not love Him – in fact the ones who killed Him saw Him – therefore this manifestation that Jesus is talking about is not one of Him coming in the flesh, face to face – but something else.

If not in the flesh – what of visions and dreams? It is clear that this manifestation is not one of mere dreams or visions. For we know that even those who do not love God at times receive visions and dreams from God. Laban was warned by God in a dream not to say anything good or bad to his nephew Jacob (Gen. 3:24) – and yet there is no indication that He even was trying to follow God, quite the opposite – it seems that he was consumed by greed and did everything he could to gain the upper-hand. Another, even more clear example is that of Balaam. God came and spoke with Balaam (Num. 22:9), and yet we know he was, “a man who loved gain from wrongdoing” (2 Pet. 2:15) and, “one who practiced divination” (Jos. 13:22). Visions and dreams, while, extraordinary are not exclusive to believers – but when God wills, are given to the unbeliever. Therefore visions and dreams cannot be the manifestation spoken of by Jesus in this passage, for this manifestation is exclusive – given only to those who love Christ.

I believe this manifestation is one that is given in the heart of those who love Christ. For seeing Jesus with your physical eyes, or having a dream, vision or hearing the voice of God do not necessarily change you – for many saw Jesus, many have had dreams, many have heard the voice of God – and yet they still remain in darkness – many are in hell who have had those privileges.

But there is a manifestation of Christ that is special, and given only to those who believe.

I read of a man who lived in the late 1800’s named Mr. Tennant. One evening he was about to go to a small church to preach but thought he would take a short walk in the woods before he headed over. As he walked along in the woods he felt the overwhelming power of the presence of Christ, so much so that he knelt down. The time came for him to preach at the church and when he didn’t show up some of the church members in the small town went looking for him. They did not find him until a few hours later, and when they did find him – he looked like a man who had been with Jesus – his face shining with joy. Mr. Tennant said, even to his dying day, that he should never forget that communion he had with Christ – for though he could not see Christ, Christ was there, in fellowship with him, heart to heart in such a sweet way.

What a wonderful thing fellowship with Christ is in our hearts when we love Him. And you must know something of it, if you do in fact love Him.

It is a manifestation as the one Job experienced – Though there is no indication that Job saw God with his physical eyes – he says in Job 42

Job 42:5

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;

This “sight” is unexplainable to the unregenerate – to those who are yet dead in their sins. Trying to explain it is as trying to explain what a rainbow looks like to a blind man. And yet, all who have seen and experienced the rainbow themselves can easily talk to each other and relate to one another for they have experienced the same manifestation.

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

In what other ways is this manifestation unique and separate from other manifestations? It is unique in that it since it is a manifestation to the heart it changes the one who has received it. It produces humility. If someone says, “I have had such high communion with God – I am a great man!” that person has never had any communion with God at all. For God does not come close to the proud, He does not reveal Himself to them,

Psalms 138:6

“Though the LORD is exalted, He takes note of the humble; but He knows the haughty [or the proud] from afar.”

It produce holiness in the life of the recipient. A person who is not holy has never taken part in this special manifestation. Some people talk a lot about their experiences and their enlightenment – but do not believe them unless their lives mirror what they say. God is not mocked – He will not show favor to the wicked – He will not respect and evil doer.

This manifestation causes us to see the surpassing beauty and glory of Christ – causing us to lay aside all else, so as to better take in the beauty of Christ – it causes us to lay down all hindrances all sins that entangle, so that we can just behold Him.

So we see that this manifestation is special – given only to those who love Christ and that it is a inward manifestation – heart to heart.

But what must we do in order for Christ to manifest Himself to us?

The answer is quite simple – if you desire Christ to manifest Himself to you, you must love Him.

Christ asked Peter, after being raised from the dead, “Do you love me”.

What is your answer? Do you love Christ?

If you do not, than these verses and the privileges that are contained in them are not for you.

Do you love Christ? Do not just gloss over this question – but seek to answer honestly in your heart before the Lord. It is not enough to say you Love Christ – for some make their profession loudly, and yet they are hypocrites for their conduct tells everyone that in fact they are haters of Christ. Do you love Jesus with your whole heart?

If there is any question in your mind – do not pass over this question – but seek until you have a definite answer.

But remember this – if you do love Him, he loved you first.

John 17:6

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

All those who belong to Christ keep God’s Word – all who belong to Christ love Him.

But He loved you first for He knew you were His before even the world was created. You were created to be His, you were created for Him.

Before time began you were loved by him. Even though you are a sinner, though you were an enemy and a worker of evil – He loved and still loves you. And think of Christ – who stripped Himself of all His glory, descended from a throne of infinite glory to a manger made to feed animals – will you not love Him who became flesh for you? He lived a life of poverty – no where to lay His head, a life of rejection, for even His own countrymen did not receive Him – a life of pain, for He bore all ours – a life of dishonor, for the world hated Him.

Think of the tears He cried in the garden – will you not love Him whose tears fell to the ground like blood, and who groaned, pleading with God in His final hour? What of the blood that flowed as they beat Him and whipped Him – tearing and cutting into His flesh. What of the jeering of the crowds as they mocked Him while He hung on the cross. Do you see Him suffer? Do you see Him hanging on the cross – and all this for you?

Do you love Him? He loved you first.

Beyond his death – Now He is risen, and He is in heaven with the Father – and there what is He doing? He pleads your case before the throne, He is preparing a place there in heaven for you – and He will come again a second time, to take you with Him.

Think on all these things and love Him! Love Him with all that you are.

Do you love Christ?

Do you know and keep His Word? That really is the same question – for all who love Him keep His Word and all who keep His Word love Him.

Do you treasure His Word? Are His words worth more than gold? Do you treasure His Word above all earthly things?

Do you try and know His Word – do you diligently study – searching the Scriptures – is His Word your daily bread? Do you live by it?

Is your life different from the world? Are you like Christ? Do you live as He lived?

Do you seek to keep His word in your hearts?

To keep means to obey. Obedience flows from the heart. In every Christian there is an passionate, and steady longing to do what God wants – to walk as He tells us to walk in His Word. Some might have this longing stronger than others, but it is there!

Think of Peter – He denied Christ – and not just denied Him once, but three times. Not with a sword to his throat, but to the question of a servant girl!

Christ is risen, and He meets the disciples on the beach – let’s read it together: John 21:1

John 21:1-17

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.
Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”
He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.
That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.
This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Three times Peter answers, but the last time there is something different about his plea.

Each time before Peter said, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

But the third time – he says, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

When I read some of the passages in the Psalms that say things like, “Search me O God and know my heart…see if there be any grievous way in me…test my heart and my mind…I walk in faithfulness” I quiver – Do I really want God to look into my heart? There is so much evil there! I am so far from perfect!

But listen to what Peter says – listen to how he pleads with Christ

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

It is as if Peter is saying, “I know my denial of you contradicts me love; my fellow-disciples have good reason to wonder if I really do love you. But you know my heart, you know that I do love you and that I desire to do what you command with all of my heart!”

He pleads before Christ – “Look into my heart, though there is sin there, though I am imperfect, look to my heart, for deep down my whole being groans within me with longing to do Your will”

When we love Christ – there is sorrow when we disobey. When we know that we have grieved Christ – we can not help but mourn as Peter did. But following that sorrow, there will be repentance and earnest pleading with God for the grace to enable us to do what He has asked us to do. There will be a pleading from the bottom of our heart – “Lord! You know that I love you!”

Do you desire for Christ to show Himself to you? Then love Him – do what He has commanded – and by the Grace of God, though you fail, He will manifest Himself to you.

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“Do not let your heart be troubled”

John 14:1-11

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
“And you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’?
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

What must have been going through the minds of the disciples on this night – this last supper with the Master. It all began with a call, “Follow me”. They had followed – they had left everything behind to follow this man – they had seen the extraordinary signs and wonders – they had seen Jesus feed thousands, heal every sickness and disease, cast out demons, walk on water, calm a raging sea – and even raise the dead to life. They started their journey with someone they thought was a great man, a great teacher – and now, on this night – they knew – they believed with all their heart, that this man, this great teacher, this prophet, was the Son of God, God in flesh – the Christ – the Messiah – the Anointed One that had been promised so long ago.

But it was different than they had expected it. They had originally thought that Jesus would conquer the Romans and free their nation from bondage and that they would reign with Him in a great kingdom after having put down all their foes. But it was different – death was in the air. Jesus had mentioned on several occasions that He would suffer and be killed, but they always pushed it to the back of their minds – I mean, Jesus couldn’t die – could He? He’s the Messiah! He’s God!

But this night – it was becoming clear – all the other times that Jesus had mentioned His soon coming death were coming to a point. Worse than that, one of their group – one of the closest followers – one of His friends will betray Him – will give Him over to the enemy to be killed.

Jesus was going to be leaving them – was this it? Was this the end? Was Jesus truly God in flesh? Was He truly the Messiah that they had all been waiting for?

Peter raises his voice:

John 13:36-38
“Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”
Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

What do you think Peter felt when these Words left the lips of the Master? He was willing to die for Jesus – and Jesus replies, Really? Would you die for me? Actually, you will cower like a little girl and deny me, not once, not twice, but three times – three times you will say that you do not even know me.

The impact these words must have had on Peter – the crushing feeling that must have overtaken him! The aching that he must have felt in his heart! The sorrow, and the shame…

But now, listen to the Words of Jesus, “Do not let your heart be troubled”

Life is filled with troubles – filled with things that we can worry about – things that scare us, things that depress us, things that make us want to cry, pain that causes us to want to be alone.

What is your trouble this morning? Is something outside of your control – is there something that you’re just not sure how to deal with?

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

There is but one solution to a troubled heart. And Jesus tells that way in this passage. There is only one way to overcome a heart wrought with the pain and disappointment of this life.

The world whispers in our ear that it has the answer – just believe in yourself, they say – you can do it! You don’t need anyone else, you have the power within yourself to overcome any problem – don’t put yourself down – you are the solution! You have the power!

But the world has been deceived by the lord of lies – their solution is no solution at all but leads only to death.

As it says in Jeremiah 17:5
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.

But the words of Jesus, the Words of Truth give us the true solution to a troubled heart.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Belief in God and in His Son Jesus Christ is the one and only solution to a troubled heart. Are you troubled this morning? Believe in God, believe also in Jesus.

Psalms 42:11
Why are you cast down [Why are you depressed], O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me [Why are you upset?]? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God [For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention].

Jesus then gave us three reasons why we should be comforted – three reasons why we should hope in God and give thanks to Him for his saving intervention in our lives.

1. He was going to His Father’s house before them

2. He was going there to prepare a place for them

3. He would come back in person to bring them to heaven

1. He was going to His Father’s house before them

Even though they would see Him beaten, whipped, mocked, bleeding, hung on a cross – even though they would see Him die and laid in a tomb – believe! For after all of this He was going to His Father’s house. To a place where He would be honored above all – where His power is above all – never to suffer and die again – to be clothed in glory with the Father. He says later in chapter 14, If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

Be not troubled – for Jesus is King! He reigns in heaven – there is nothing outside of His control! He is above all things – nothing can put a stop to His plans.

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

2. He was going there to prepare a place for them

Not only is Jesus in heaven – but He is there preparing a place for all those who believe in Him – for all His chosen people. If you are afraid that there is no place for you – believe in Him and be troubled no more!

Jesus went to heaven as the forerunner – as the first of many to follow. He made the way clear – He took out all obstacles – not only is the way prepared, but the places for us in heaven – when we arrive, when we die, there is a place for us – specifically for me, just for you! Think of the care of Christ – that He would prepare a mansion just for you, His child. It is enough that we even get to be in the place where He is, but that He is building a mansion for us! He is saving a special place for us! That is beyond comprehension!

He is getting everything ready for you!

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

3. He would come back in person to bring them to heaven

“I will come again” If nothing else – this should wisp all of the troubles in our hearts away. In the end, He will come and personally take us up. Can you even imagine. He will not send his angels, Jesus – the Son of God – God Himself will come and gather us up and take us to be with Him.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
(
1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
(
Revelation 19:11-16)

This is our King – This is our God – This is our Savior – and He will come for us – NOTHING can get in His way, though the whole world go against Him, He will prevail. He will come – He will come for His own.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

There is never a reason for us to be troubled in our heart – if you are – examine yourself – who are you looking to – where is your hope? Seek to believe in God and in Christ – with your whole being – then, as you believe, your heart will be filled with peace because you know what the future holds – for God has spoken and you believe – even though the troubles remain, you will stand un-buffered, your heart will be filled with praise, for you are standing on the Rock – and regardless of how big a storm you encounter in this life – you will be secure – the Rock will save you and secure you.

Our Lord is coming – “Do not let your heart be troubled” – So come Lord Jesus! Amen.

The 11th Commandment

John 13:34-35

(34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
(35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In the early days of Christianity, a deadly sickness broke out in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The sickness spread so easily that being in the same room with one of the sick meant you too would probably become ill, touching a victim meant almost certain death. Everyone in Alexandria was so afraid of the sickness that if someone in their house showed even the slightest signs of the sickness, they threw them out on the street to die – they didn’t even bury the dead for fear that they too would contract the disease.

But when a Christian became sick, the other Christians in the city would come and visit and care for their brother or sister who was sick. No Christian died without a fellow Christian being by their side caring for them. Even though the Christians knew that because they were in contact with those who were sick, that they too would most likely become sick, they continued to care for their sick and dying. So well did the Christians in Alexandria care for each other that outside the city were all the dead were being thrown, not one dead Christian could be found, for their fellow Christians took care of them even in their death, burying them, exposing themselves to the disease, rather than just throwing them in with the piles of other human corpses.

All the non-Christians in the city who had seen what these “Christians” were doing started asking each other – “What is the meaning of this?”

The answer went throughout all of Egypt, “They are of the Religion of Jesus of Nazareth, for these Christians love each other”

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The love that the Christians in Alexandria had so many years ago – that is the love that Christ commands us to have – and by it, the world will know that we follow Christ.

This is the clearest way to know whether you are a disciple of Christ – if you love as He loved. Are you in Christ this morning? Do you love your Christian brothers and sisters as Christ loved you? Think on that as we look more closely at this new command together.

Jesus says, that this is a new commandment – that it is not the same as what had been given in the law before He came. But is it really all that different?

We know the ten commandments:

I am the Lord thy God and you shall not have other gods besides me.

You shall not make for yourself any graven images.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Honor your Father and Mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet.

 

And the greatest commandment, what is that?

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

And the second?

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

But, on the night Jesus has His last supper with the disciples, as a parents on their death bead gives their last words to their children, He gives them this new commandment – a commandment that is different in at least three ways from the Old Testament law.

It is different in degree, different in motive, and different in example.

It is different in degree – we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ loved us – which is way more than any of us love ourselves. The love of Christ surpasses all knowledge – it is a love that is so great that we cannot even comprehend it. It is a love that suffers everything for the sake of the one it loves. It is a love that dies, that the beloved might live.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

It is different in motive – the command in the Old Testament is backed by the statement, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exo. 20:2). Israelites were to follow the commandments of God because God had freed them from bondage in Egypt, but we are to follow this new command because Christ has redeemed us from eternal punishment in hell. The salvation granted to the people of Israel at the Red Sea did not continue after they died, it was a temporal salvation – but the salvation that Christ has brought us is eternal. Nothing can separate us from the love of God for we have been saved by Christ, once for all time.

It is different in example – the commandment in the Old Testament told us to look at how we love ourselves as the example of how we should love our neighbor, but this new command tells us to look Christ as the example of how to love our brothers and sisters.

There is no longer any excuse, for the example of Christ is clear – there is no room for, “But so and so is so hard to love!” or, “They don’t love me back, so why should I continue to love them?”.

Romans 5:6-10

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Before I close I want to show you a simple application from Scripture. It happened the same night that Jesus gave this command, but is not mentioned in the Gospel of John. Turn with me to Matthew 26 verses 21 and 22.

Matthew 26:21-22
And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

They thought they were all brothers in that room that night. No one pointed a finger at anyone, but automatically assumed that it must be themselves because they believed with all their heart that one of the other twelve would never do such a thing.

No one suggested, “Ah, it must be Peter, he’s always been hot headed and not thinking about what he does before he does it.” Or “It must be Judas, he’s always been a little sneaky with the money bag, in fact, I think I saw him stealing money out of it the other day!”

No, there was none of that.

There was only, “It couldn’t be me – could it? Could it be? Surely it is not me – Lord, is it?”

They expected evil more from themselves than from others. They believed the word of Christ, that one of them would betray Him, and so, one by one, they asked, “Lord, is it I?”

Then Judas, trying to keep up his deception says almost exactly the same thing, but exchanges the word “Lord” for Rabbi or Teacher – giving himself away as the betrayer and hypocrite –for the word “Lord” he could not bear to say can only be said in truth of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3).

But even after all this – the disciples still suspected no one. Even after Jesus ordered Judas “to do what he was going to do quickly” they did not know.

Being with Jesus they had learned to love one another. And soon the whole world would “recognize that they had been with Jesus”.

So where are you this morning? How’s your love? Do you love your brothers and sisters as Christ loved you?

This is the love that the Spirit of Christ grants all those who believe, to those who are His own:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

At the beginning of Chapter 13, there is a perfect summation to all of this – a summation of the example of Christ that He is calling us to follow:

“Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)

Do you believe?

“So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” (John 11:3)

“Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

Put yourself in their shoes. “You and your brothers and sisters know Jesus really well – He comes over to stay at your house whenever He is in town. And now one of your brothers is sick. What would you be thinking?”

“Jesus should know, He should be here. We shouldn’t have to tell Him about this! Where is He?”

If something bad was happening to your brothers or sisters, to your children, how far would you go in order to make that problem go away? Would you put yourself in harm’s way? Would you die in order to save them?

You would do anything it took, wouldn’t you? Why? Because you love them!

When Mary and Martha sent the message to Jesus, they didn’t say, “Our brother Lazarus is sick”. Why did they phrase their message as they did? – it’s almost like that when they sent someone to tell Jesus they wanted to know what Jesus was thinking, as if to ask,

“You do love him right? And yet, he is sick – you could make him better with a touch, with one little command, and yet the one you love is still sick, almost to the point of death!”

We see this thought expressed by both Martha and Mary in verse 21 and 32 – after Lazarus had died when Jesus goes to meet them in Bethany.

Saying, “”Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

These words are so full of emotion – so full of grief ! Jesus, if only You were there – it would not have happened like this! Where were You?? You said that it would not end in death – but my brother is dead!!

When something bad happens to you – what is your first reaction? What is my first reaction? Are we not like Mary and Martha – “Lord, You love me – why is this happening? Are you aware of what is going on here? Can’t you see that I am in pain!?”

But we see that the reaction of Jesus to the news that Lazarus was sick is quite different than the way we would react.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.”

(John 11:5-6)

That doesn’t make sense – “Jesus loved them, and so He waited two days before going to them.”

Why did Jesus wait? – why did He wait two full days before going to see Mary and Martha? Why did He wait, when He could have prevented all of this?

Did He do it without purpose – did He put them through this pain and suffering for no apparent reason? No!

He did not go to them because He loved them.

To us it does not make sense.

We hate suffering, and will do anything to prevent it and protect those we love from it.

And yet to Jesus, it makes perfect sense.

He says to His disciples, right before they start the journey to see, the now dead Lazarus:

“I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe;”
(John 11:15)

As I was thinking and meditating over this passage – how far I am from the perspective that Jesus has! Have I ever been glad that something painful occurred, in the midst of that painful experience? Here Jesus is, one of His closest friends has died, and the sisters, who are very close to Him are broken with grief over the death of their brother – and yet He says, “I am glad, for your sakes”

When the winds of trials and the storms of suffering are upon me,

am I glad? Can I truthfully say, “I am glad”?

“When I’m carrying Tia into SOS, blood all over, and scared that he might not make it to see tomorrow – do I say, “I am glad”?”

“When I’m in the bathroom barfing my guts out, wishing I would pass out so I could have some peace, do I say, “I’m glad”?”

I don’t want us to miss this – Right after Jesus arrived in Bethany, and He speaks to Martha, He said something to her – let’s read it starting in verse 21:

“Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

(John 11:21-27)

This I believe shows us something beautiful – this shows us why Jesus was glad that He was not there to heal Lazarus. It was not because He wished his friends to be sad – or because He wanted them to suffer. Rather it was for this – it was for the answer to this question:

“Do you believe?”

In life or death – there is only ONE that has any worth. If I live or if I die, I do not care – only do not take this ONE from me. As the psalmist says:

“Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better than spending a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather stand at the entrance to the temple of my God than live in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is our sovereign protector.
The LORD bestows favor and honor; he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. O LORD who rules over all, how blessed are those who trust in you!”

(Psalms 84:10-12)

“Do you believe?”

This is the love of Christ. Not that everything will be perfect in our lives.

Being loved by Christ doesn’t mean you get some certificate of exemption from ever being sick ever again or some guarantee that you will never have another problem in this life!

Rather – if Christ loves you – it means that He will do all things so that you will believe. He will cause the sun to stand still, He will part the sea, He will cause a shadow to go backwards ten steps – He will do everything it takes – He will allow you to get sick – He will allow someone close to you to fall – He will allow someone you love to die – He will make you wander in the wilderness for 40 years, He will allow you to deny Him – He will do it – He will do it for His own name-sake – that you would believe.

This is His love – that He will do all – whatever it takes – with the final result – that you say with Martha, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

But what kind of love is this? It seems so harsh. But is it really? What is true love – a thing that allows you to do whatever you want – or a person who guides you, knowing what is best for you, and making sure that whatever is best comes about – even though in the process pain and suffering come – this love looks to the outcome and wills the suffering and the pain, so that the one it loves can be perfect and pure.

Is it harsh – it is love? Is love “glad” when we suffer?

“Well,” you might say, “Jesus knew what was going to happen, that’s why He was glad – He wasn’t sad – because He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.”

After Jesus arrives in Bethany – something amazing happens.

Let’s look back at the text:

· Jesus waits two days until He goes to Bethany, knowing that Lazarus has died

· His disciples question Him – reminding Him that the Jews had just tried to stone Him in Jerusalem, and now He was going back again?

· Then Jesus arrives in Bethany when Lazarus has been in the grave for four days.

What happens next is something that I cannot comprehend.

Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was [129] troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35)

Jesus – who knows all things, who knew the outcome of this event – who knew that Lazarus would rise from the dead – wept.

He wept.

He did not call them foolish. He did not call them faithless. He did not say, “Cheer up, it’s going to be alright! Didn’t you hear what I said? I’m going to raise Lazarus from the dead!”

Jesus did not rebuke them.

Jesus cried softly. He wept.

He was intensely moved – groaning in spirit. Seeing the trouble of His friends. Mary, Martha – feeling their loss – seeing how sin had corrupted the world, filling the world with unbelief. For Jesus loved them – and it pained Him to see them in this state and yet, He was glad that it was this way – for it would result in the salvation of those He loved, it would result in belief.

His tears and His groaning expressed how much He loved the ones who were suffering because of Lazarus’s death.

What love is this – that The Savior of the world would cry, because the ones He loves are hurting.

“Your love oh Lord reaches to the heavens

Your faithfulness stretches to the sky

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountain

And Your justice flows like the oceans tides”

Our redeemer is not far away – He is here with us, and He knows our pain.

If you have ever wondered if Christ loves you – look around – where are you? What has occurred in your life – how is it that you came to be sitting in your chair listening to His Word this morning? How is that possible? There are millions who have never heard – and yet you, you this morning you are here. Do you still wonder if He loves you?

When the people watching saw Jesus cry they said, “See how He loved him!”
(John 11:36)

Just with that one small act, Jesus caught the attention of everyone around Him – He cried a few tears and they said, “Wow, Jesus must have really loved Lazarus.”

But I tell you, Jesus does not only weep for those He loves. There is no greater love than this – that a man lay down his life for his friends. He did not just shed a tear for those He loves, but He shed His blood – the ultimate price, He paid, for those He loved.

THERE IS ONLY ONE QUESTION THAT SUMS UP ALL OF

THESE THINGS: DO YOU BELIEVE?

DO YOU TRULY BELIEVE?

When things are going right, do you believe? Sure, that is easy.

But what about when everything is going wrong, do you believe?

When you enter into the fiery trial – do not be afraid – for the One who loves you could put out the flames in an instant – He could send more than twelve legions of angels to rescue you. But what is this – are you still burning in the flames? Are you not protected from the heat?

Have you cried out to Him, “Lord! The one whom you love is suffering!”

And yet the only reply is a soft, “This suffering will not lead to death, but to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

And so then, in your pain and suffering – you quietly pray, “Lord, I believe”

And a peace that passes all understanding will be with you – for though you still suffer, yet, you know He is there, and He loves you.

The Mysterious Food and the Harvest

 

We move now from the Samaritan woman – who has gone back into town telling people about Jesus – to a private conversation between Jesus and His disciples. The disciples had gone into town in order to buy food and now are asking Jesus to eat – they had seen that Jesus was tired, and they are concerned for His well-being. But

 

(v32) He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

So Jesus introduces this Mysterious Food – and let’s look at two aspects of this food

I. The Source of this Foood
II. The Superiority of this Food


I. The Source of this Food

We see in verse 33 the disciples are a bit confused about this statement that Jesus makes – for as you remember, Samaritans and Jews didn’t get along well, and they were thinking – no one here would have given Him anything to eat, would they? They saw that Jesus no longer needed their food, but they couldn’t figure out why.

The disciples, as is normal for all of us, were thinking first about the physical, temporal things – but Jesus was speaking of this mysterious food that they have yet to learn about.

Where does this food come from? Where does it not come from?

 

(v32) He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

This food does not come from the world – the world doesn’t even know about it– nor can the world provide it.

(v34) Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

Jesus’ food has its source, not in the things of this earth, but rather in doing the will and accomplishing the work of the One who sent Him – it is a food that comes from God – the source of all good things.

Jesus has been sent, though the Son of God, He has been sent, humbling Himself, becoming a servant, doing the will and accomplishing the work of God the Father, the One who sent Him.

So what was the will of God? What was this work of God that Jesus was accomplishing?

John 6:38-39
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

The will of God was that Jesus save those whom God had given to Jesus – and the work of God, the work that God had already done was appoint those who were given to Jesus – appointing them unto salvation (1 Thess. 5:9) – and Jesus was accomplishing that work – finishing that work by saving those given to Him by God through His life and death and resurrection.

This is the food of Jesus – The life-blood, the thing that kept Jesus going, the reason Jesus woke up every morning – The food of Jesus: to do the will and accomplish the work of God – for in doing this, He is revitalized by God.

Men live to eat and drink – read and study, to work or play – some even live to pray and minister – but not Jesus.

And this moves us into our next thought.

II. The Superiority of this Food

If someone really smart or someone skilled in something says, “I do it this way” normally we try to do as they do, because it’s a better way – they know more than we do, so we follow.

And so I present to you this morning – Jesus Christ, the Man-God, all-knowing, all-powerful saying, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE”

We work and grow tired – we labor and want a vacation – but Jesus, who at the beginning of this story was wearied by His journey, stopping by a well to rest – He works, ministering to the Samaritan woman and now refuses the nourishment that His disciples offer Him, because He is refreshed and renewed.

This food that Jesus has is better than ours – for we eat and then grow hungry, and if we don’t eat we become weary, we live limited, and wanting – but this food overcomes all this – this food is better than any other food –

“Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
(Isaiah 40:30-31)

This food is superior simply in the fact that it is from God – it is food for those who God has sent, and in doing the will and work of God – in expending their lives for God, this work becomes true food, true strength and true renewal of body and spirit. You will know if you are doing the work of God if you are fed by it – “when toiling in the fields of heaven one needs no other refreshment.”

TRANSITION:

“Do you not say, `There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
(John 4:35)

As I was studying this past week and I came to this point in the text – Jesus flips right from talking about food to talking about the harvest – and I kept asking myself, “Why does Jesus talk about these things together, without really any transition? He talking, and He goes food food food, harvest!”

But I think there is a very good reason, and sheds even more light onto this lesson that Jesus was teaching to His disciples. So let’s look into this:

Jesus had just finished speaking with the Samaritan woman when the disciples came up – then she goes into town and starts telling people about Jesus – and while the woman is doing this, Jesus is speaking to His disciples – but what of the people that the woman has been talking to – what are they doing? They are on their way to see Jesus – and they come up to Him later on in this chapter, in verse 40 – so picture this in your mind: as Jesus is explaining to His disciples that, rather than their food being the most important thing, there is something superior to the food they are offering, then Jesus says – “You say there is about four months until harvest, but I say – Take a look right now! The fields are ready for harvest right now!” The disciples might have wondered what Jesus meant, because there truly were still four months until harvest, although the farmer’s fields had been planted, they were still green and not ready to be harvested. But in a few moments, if the disciples had not understood what Jesus said they would have – for right when Jesus finishes speaking the group of Samaritans that had been told of Jesus by the woman arrive to speak with Jesus, they were the field that was ready for harvesting – this was the work that Jesus came to do, to save men, this is the food that He was talking about – Jesus was here to do the will and accomplish the work of God and here were some of those appointed unto salvation by God, ready to be harvested, ready to be saved.

Now let’s look at three things in regard to this heavenly harvest

I. The Reward of the harvest

II. The Rejoicing in the harvest

III. The Reminder during the harvest

I. The Reward of the Harvest

Jesus was gladly willing to forfeit earthly food in order to work in this harvest – because in working this harvest there was greater reward!

Jesus was already received wages, benefits from working in the field of Samaria – He was receiving joy, that would last forever, and was gathering fruit for life eternal, meaning that people were being saved.

This is the lesson – it is better to give than to receive – because God is a rewarder of those who serve Him, of those who earnestly seek Him

And Jesus was receiving this reward but He is not the only one rejoicing over the harvest.

II. The Rejoicing in the Harvest

There are two parties involved – the ones who sowed the seed and the ones who reaped the fruit.

Jesus didn’t have to explain who the messiah was to the Samaritan woman, she knew about Him already.

And so Jesus says: “in this case the saying is true, `One sows and another reaps.’
(John 4:37)

The harvest that was taking place in Samaria was taking place based on the prior work of God’s servants. Others had sown seed and had not seen the results, but now the result of that sowing was coming in, through Jesus and both Jesus and those who had sown the seeds can rejoice together – for all their labor has resulted in salvation.

III. The Reminder During the Harvest

Then Jesus directs His attention to His disciples and in this I believe Jesus is referring to ministry that He had sent the disciples to do, either baptizing, or possibly when He had sent them to go into different cities and preach the good news:

(v38) Jesus says that He sent His disciples to reap that for which they had not labored – others have labored and you [the disciples] have entered their labor – “Their labor”, the word labor here tells of a toil to the point of exhaustion, long pains, troubles.

The disciples were probably elated that their going out had resulted in so much fruit, as are everyone when they lead a soul to the Lord, but Jesus here is reminding them, that they are reaping from a field in which they have not toiled long in, that they have not troubled and pained long years in that field. It is a call to humility, lest we boast and think our ways are higher than others, as Paul re-states:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
(1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

In the harvest, be reminded – you were sent, and praise God for the growth.

And then The Living Example of the Harvest

(v39-42) From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”
(John 4:39-42)

What a joyful thing to see such a harvest – and in such an unlikely field, beginning with such an unlikely sinner.

I want to close with this last thought.

As I was reading this passage, I was thinking about my own ministry. I am living in Cambodia – and how different this nation is than the nation of Israel during the time of Jesus.

Jesus tells His disciples: “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”
(John 4:38)

Israel had thousands of years of priming for the Gospel, the whole nation was waiting for the Messiah. So much labor had gone into that country, the seed had been laid, and now was the time for its reaping – and what a harvest there was! The first proclamation of the Gospel after Jesus ascending into heaven resulted in about 3,000 souls coming to Christ!

But what of here in Cambodia? A lot of times I feel like I am working with no result. I can count on one hand the people who have come to Christ, in whose lives I have been an influence. I labor, plant seeds, but rarely see any come into fruition.

But as we think of this whole passage:
The food of Jesus, coming from God, that is better than the food of this world

And then of the harvest – the great reward from it and the rejoicing of both the sower and reaper together, the reminder of humility – the encouragement for me, the message I want to give you is this:

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
(John 4:34)

The food is not in the result – for we are not sent out for results. In looking to result we will fall from exhaustion. Rather the food is in doing the will and accomplishing the work of the One who sent us.

Do not make your food the results of your labor – rather let it be in obeying your Lord and Master – it is in this that we are fed, that we find our encouragement, that we are serving God – and that He has sent us out to do His will and accomplish His work.

So go, and let us be refreshed in the labors our Master has called us to do.

“For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip; “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation, the God who gave me vengeance and brought down peoples under me, who brought me out from my enemies; “For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.”

(2 Samuel 22:30-51)

Had to

 

John 4:3-4


(3) He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.
(4) And He had to pass through Samaria.

As Jesus says later in John: Joh 10:16

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”

Do not come to the false conclusion that you need not do anything – for the call to repent goes out to all men – God gave each of us a moral facility with which we discern right from wrong. We know that we are sinners, that we have committed wrongs. And if we know that we are sinners, then we need a savior – The Savior is presented to you this morning – do not harden your heart. He will receive you, if you repent and believe. He turns away no man who comes in response to His call. The door of mercy is wide open to all who believe. Do not harden your hearts, for there is no other who can save you from the wrath to come. Do not harden your hearts.

The Woman at the Well

John 4:1-4

(1) Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
(2) (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),
(3) He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.
(4) And He had to pass through Samaria.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, `Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
(Joh 4:10)

Later on in the passage, the disciples urge Jesus to eat some food, but Jesus replies: “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
(Joh 4:32)

And so He says

“Give Me a drink, BUT “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, `Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
(Joh 4:10)

Jesus is opening the woman’s eyes to her need – she think she has what is needed to receive water – but in fact she does not, only Christ posses the ability to give the true water.

As it is written…you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” But you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, You must buy from Christ, gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
(Rev 3:17-18)

Open your eyes to the reality – you are helpless. As the woman, unable to give Jesus a true drink to refresh the spirit – she must first ask of Him – she had to receive before she herself could give.

The first lesson in the school of God – “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). This is what Christ is teaching this woman. And she begins to see her need – before of which she did not see – though she has not yet fully understood.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.”
(Joh 4:15)

Jesus then moves her even farther to see her real need – not physical, but a spiritual need, to be convicted of her sin – knowing her, knowing her heart He asks – “Go and get your husband, and then come back here”

The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
(Joh 4:17-18)

And she begins to see – perceiving Jesus as something more than just a normal man for He knew her.

“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
(Joh 4:20)

But this is not what is of first importance – As Martha, keeping herself busy preparing dinner for Jesus – angry that Mary is not helping, but is sitting at the feet of the Savior, listening to His every word – “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
(Luk 10:41-42)

Worship takes place in the heart of those who have been redeemed. Those who are not redeemed cannot worship – Israel could only groan, sigh, cry when they were in Egypt – but when God saved them, and parted the red sea, and when they had reached the other side, and pharaoh and his armies had been drowned

Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, (Exo 15:1)

There are three musts in the book of John

You MUST be born-again

The Son of Man MUST be lifted up

God MUST be worshiped in spirit and in truth

Only those who have been regenerated, re-born and justified by the atonement of Christ can worship God in spirit and in truth.

One must first know God, must first be saved before that person can worship.

“I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”
(Joh 4:25)