Usurpers

I need to believe in Jesus, not seek to usurp Jesus.

Read: John 11

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (John 11:47-48)

Reflect:

Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. This is not just any “sign”, this is a giant neon broadway sign flashing “Messiah! Messiah! Come begin your Eternal Life Here!!!”

And yet, here are the Top 70 VIP Jews, the Sanhedrin, holding a committee meeting. This scene could have been right out of some present day professional development day (makes me think of that TV show, The Office…) where the HR rep tries to focus people’s attention: “What’s our vision? Are we on task and on track? What are we accomplishing here, people?”

The sad thing is, the chief priests have got their job roles and responsibilities completely mixed up. Instead of using their positions to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, like John the Baptist faithfully did, they’re worried about losing things that aren’t even theirs in the first place.

It’s not “our” temple, it’s the LORD’s, the place the LORD God chose as a dwelling place for his Name. (Check it out: Deuteronomy 12:3,5,11,21 etc and 1 Kings 5:5 and 8:29,35,43 etc.)

It’s not “our” nation, it is the nation the LORD made of Abraham’s descendants, a nation he chose to call his very own (Genesis 12:2, 18:18, 21:8, 46:3), a nation the LORD God calls “my people” over and over and over again (Exodus 3:7,10, 5:1, 7:4, 8:1,20-23, 9:1,13,17, 10:3 as well as Leviticus 26:12 and a gazillion other places).

Surely, what belongs to God cannot be lost by God’s people. Not to the Romans. Not to any pagan non-believers, no matter how strong they might seem in comparison to God’s people. My God is bigger, and he protects his own.

Crux:

I need to believe in Jesus, not seek to usurp Jesus.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

I acknowledge and honour you as God Most High, Sovereign Ruler over all creation and over the nation of your people most especially.

You chose to make your Name dwell in the temple in Jerusalem for a time, and you chose to dwell among your people as Immanuel, God with us, for a time. Now you dwell in the hearts of your people by your Spirit, for all time. I honour you with your current temple, my body, and seek for you to be honoured by the body of all believers, the church.

You chose to make a nation of your very own from Abraham’s descendants, and to expand your nation to all who believe in Jesus Christ. This is your new nation, your eternal nation, the church, won with the blood shed by Christ.

LORD, make me (and we, your church) a people who know exactly whom we belong to and do not let us try to usurp your position of sovereign headship. Help me to be a good citizen of your kingdom and not to desire the nonsense of dual citizenship with the nations of earth. May I represent Jesus my King well as an ambassador to those who do not believe in Jesus.

Amen.

Gods?

Jesus is God’s Son and I was created in God’s image

Read: John 10

“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ‘? If he called them ‘gods’ to whom the word of God came – and Scripture cannot be set aside – what about the one whom the Father sent as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” (John 10:34-36)

Reflect:

Jesus begins with one metaphor in this chapter, using imagery of shepherds and sheep, gates and thieves. This is fairly simple to understand, especially since I have had the pleasure of hand-rearing several lambs from birth, feeding them from bottles, taking them for walks through our town (tourists would stop and take photos as I led my lamb along by a leash, as one would do with a dog, and later, as the older lamb followed along behind me without a leash). I’ve rolled my eyes when my lambs knocked at our back door with their front hooves as soon as they heard me in the kitchen in the morning, seemingly demanding the milk they knew I was preparing. I’ve laughed at my lambs rollicking frolics and marvelled at the way they have indeed come to my call, recognising and responding to my voice.

I find it easy to understand the figurative language which describes a Christian knowing Jesus’s voice and following him in the same way a lamb knows and follows her shepherd.

The second metaphor in this chapter is much more opaque. Jesus refers to himself as God’s Son, and to those “to whom the word of God came” as “gods”. The psalm Jesus is quoting (Psalm 82) describes a scene of God’s judgement and rebuke of “gods” who are unjust fools, not like the One True God at all. They are described as “all sons of the Most High” who will still die, just as every mortal dies.

As Jesus stated, this Scripture cannot be set aside. So how do I understand it and what do I do with it?

I can’t accept that it is right to think that those who receive the word of God (people who read or hear the Bible’s message, generally) are literally gods in the same sense the Father, Son and Spirit are God. This understanding would be completely at odds with the rest of the entire Bible, starting with Genesis 1, which related the creation of people by an uncreated God. And this understanding is also at odds with Psalm 82 itself, which is clearly portraying these so-called “gods” in contrast to the One True God who sits in judgement on them and disciplines them.

So I have to understand that this use of the word “gods” by the psalmist Asaph and by Jesus in quoting the psalm, is a metaphor. It is a use of figurative language, just like the use of the word sheep to describe God’s people in other parts of John 10.

One way the imagery can be understood is to say that the people to whom the word of God has come are idolaters who worship themselves, just like each and every person does a little bit of self-worship at some time of their lives or another. If Jesus is using the passage this way, then he is condemning his hearers for their religious hypocrisy in condemning him as a blasphemer when he proclaims himself as God, while at the same time they are acting as if they are their own little self-proclaimed gods. This makes sense with the passage.

Another way the imagery can be understood is as a reference to the fact that when God created people, he made us in his own image (Genesis 1:26-27). We are, in some senses, replica gods, image-bearers of God himself, like God but not God. So why should we (or Jesus’ hearers), who are made in God’s image, be surprised when we meet the One who bears the image of God perfectly? This too makes sense with the passage.

I am convicted of my sinfulness and convinced of my need for Jesus and my potential for glory.

Crux:

Jesus is God’s Son and I was created in God’s image.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are perfect and I am far, far less than that. Your Scripture says that I was made in your image, yet I frequently do a very bad job of making your glory known.

You are love, You constantly had compassion on others during your Immanuel years. You care for your sheep, of whom I am one. I frequently am not loving, compassionate or caring. I’m not gregarious or extraverted, which isn’t a fault in itself, but my selfish ignoring of others is a problem. I know if I push myself to hard to be friendly and chatty I will melt down or burn out. Please help me find balance, especially with my church family at Camp this weekend.

Please help me to know you and respond to you just as a good sheep does her shepherd. Please help me to follow in your steps as a good sheep follows her shepherd. May I bring you glory as I show your image clearly to the world.

Amen.

Suffering

God’s grace and glory are displayed in me when I suffer.

Read: John 9

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:1-3)

Reflect:

There is a clash of ideologies between the disciples’ question and Jesus’ answer. The disciples are looking for a cause to explain the man’s disability, whereas Jesus reveals a purpose to his suffering. The question of suffering is not primarily one of cause and effect, rather, it is one of purpose and plan.

The important thing is not what circumstances led to the suffering. Within the Christian world view, all suffering originated with the Fall, with the first sin and the consequent curse, so all suffering is caused by sin either directly or indirectly. There’s no value in dwelling on who sinned, or what sin led to which consequence, because ultimately, the problem of sin has already been solved.

The solution to sin was and always is Jesus’ sacrifice of himself. However, this sacrifice has not (yet) achieved an alleviation of suffering. The reason any person suffers, whether it is me, my loved ones, you or a man born blind some 2000 years ago, is for the ongoing purpose of showing off the works of God, displaying God’s glory.

This ideology allows Christians to suffer joyfully, to persevere when persecuted, to die with dignity, to mourn hopefully. We can do all this because we know that God is at work within us and within our situation, to bring about our good and his glory, whether or not our wounds are healed in the short term.

Crux:

God’s grace and glory are displayed in me when I suffer.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

I truly believe you are a God of loving-kindness, compassion, mercy and grace. You care for your people with tender-heartedness, generosity, patience, gentleness and wisdom.

I see your character at work in this story of Jesus healing a blind man and then speaking to him several times to ensure that he was not just physically healed, but also spiritually nurtured.

When I think of my own past suffering, I am forced to conclude and confess that I have not always glorified you in my responses, particularly my immediate, automatic responses. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Please change my heart so that what I know to be true will be evident from my first response as well as from my more thoughtful and informed responses later on.

I acknowledge that you have always been at work, displaying your care for me as I have suffered. You’ve provided for my needs even before I thought to ask. You’ve comforted me as I cried aloud to you. You’ve encouraged me when I sought your strength. You’ve brought me to the place where I could rejoice with singing where previously I was wailing with grief.

O LORD, continue to magnify your glory in my suffering.

Amen.

PS LORD, even as I pray this, I tremble at the thought of what suffering you might yet allow into my life. Please continue to walk beside me and uphold me, all the days of my life.

The LORD

Jesus is the LORD, the One True God.

Read: John 8

“I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father taught me.” (John 8:28)

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, your are really my disciples.” (John 8:31)

Reflect:

Just what was Jesus claiming when he declared, “I am he”?

From John 8:58-59, I can see that the Jews considered this statement to be blasphemy worthy of death by stoning. Jesus was claiming God’s identity, the name “I AM WHO I AM” (first revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Exodus 3:14-15), for himself. In effect, Jesus was saying, “I, Jesus, am the LORD; I, Jesus, am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the flesh.”

It doesn’t surprise me that the Law-abiding Jews freaked out and tried to stone Jesus. According to Jesus, my eternal future hinges on my response to this statement. If I don’t believe it, I will die with the burden of my sins, guilty forever with no hope of parole.

But Jesus also said that those who know that Jesus is God are able to know this because Jesus has been lifted up, crucified. I know Jesus is the LORD, because Jesus was crucified.

But more than that, I know Jesus is God because I lifted him up. In a very real way, I have crucified Jesus: my sins brought Jesus to the cross; my forgiveness was sought by Jesus on the cross.

So, because I am guilty of the death of Jesus, I have been given grace to cling to Jesus’ teaching, to know that Jesus is the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because I am guilty of causing Jesus’ death, I am extended mercy to be Jesus’ disciple, and I will be raised up to eternal life.

This is heavy, hard teaching. No wonder so few had the faith to become God’s disciples.

Crux:

Jesus is the LORD, the One True God.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

When I begin my prayers to you with these words, I always consider I’m praying to God the Father, the first person of the Trinitarian Godhead. Yet today I acknowledge that Jesus Christ, God the Son, second person of the Trinity is also inescapably the LORD God Almighty.

And I humbly acknowledge that I can’t get my thoughts to comprehend how this might be possible:

That you, LORD God, sent your Son – and you, LORD God, are the Son who was sent;
You, LORD God, sent the Spirit – and you, LORD God, are the Spirit who was sent.

You are Trinity and Unity, the only True God, God alone, the one and only God – and you are Father, Son and Spirit.

You died because my sins made your death necessary. I’m so sorry for my sins that did this, yet so thankful for your mercy that dealt with my sins. LORD God, Jesus, who is the LORD and my Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Amen.

Skeptic

In order to either believe or deny Jesus, it is first necessary to know Jesus.

Read: John 7

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” (John 7:50-51)

Reflect:

Over the course of Jesus’ ministry, Nicodemus came to be a supporter and possibly even a follower of Jesus. At first, Nicodemus visited Jesus at night, in secret. But by the time of Jesus’ death, Nicodemus was confident enough to openly assist with Jesus’ burial.

So Nicodemus was not entirely unbiased when it came to Jesus. Yet his question for his fellow chief priests and Pharisees was valid, and remains so today.

Is it fair to judge Jesus without first hearing him or (in our case) reading his words, recorded by the gospel writers?

Is it just to draw conclusions about Jesus without first finding out what he did, by reading the gospel accounts?

Of course it is not fair or just! It would not be right for either a skeptic or a believer to make assumptions about Jesus without examining the evidence. That’s why I am reading John’s gospel. I want to hear Jesus’ words and find out what Jesus did, for myself. Only then can I be sure that my beliefs about Jesus are based  soundly in truth.

Crux:

In order to either believe or deny Jesus, it is first necessary to get to know Jesus.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are reasonable and orderly. Your law is just and sensible. You made it easy for people to believe in Jesus, yet some people find it very, very hard.

I admit that I was once a skeptic, refusing to believe that Jesus was indeed sent by you to save me from my sins. I didn’t even want to believe in the concept of sin itself. I made assumptions about Jesus. I listened to the allegations of atheists, skeptics, unbelievers and deniers. I didn’t go to the source texts, as a good scholar would. I was blind to the truth and rejected Jesus without giving his claims a fair trial.

So I thank you, LORD, for forgiving my my past rejection of Jesus. Thank you for opening my eyes, softening my heart and drawing me into the kingdom of your Son.

Please keep me questioning, seeking, searching, asking. I need Jesus and I need to know him so much better than I do. Keep me looking for truth in all the right places. Guard my heart and renew my mind.

Amen.

Given

I am a gift from God the Father to Jesus his Son.

Read: John 6

And this is the will of him who sent me: that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. (John 6:39-40)

“You do not want to leave to, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)

Reflect:

These verses explain several fundamental Christian doctrines in Jesus’ own words, using the standard Jewish poetical form of parallelism*. The will of God is mentioned twice in the beginning of each of the parallel statements.

What is the will of God?

According to the first statement, that Jesus shall have, keep and never lose all of those whom God the Father has given to him. All of these people are given to Jesus and will never be lost by Jesus. This is the Calvinist doctrines of unconditional election and perseverance of the saints.

According to the second statement and taking into account the parallelism of the statements, all those who are given to Jesus shall look to Jesus and believe in him, and thereby have eternal life. This is the Reformation doctrine of Salvation by Faith Alone.

According to both statements, that Jesus will “raise up” all these people at the last day. This is the second century doctrine expressed in the Apostle’s Creed as “the resurrection of the body”.

Crux:

I am a gift from God the Father to Jesus his Son. Verily, this truth strikes me with awe.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Whom have I in heaven besides you? You are Unity and Trinity, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, just and merciful, compassionate and holy. I bow in awe of your majestic magnificence and in gratitude for your gracious and precious will for me.

Thank you, Father, for giving me to Jesus, your Son, so that I would believe in him whom you sent, so that I would have eternal life.

You have the words of eternal life, the ways by which all your will for me has been and shall be accomplished. Jesus is the Holy One, Christ, Messiah, King, Lord, Saviour, Sacrifice.

Thank you for giving me to Jesus so that I, like Simon Peter, may believe and know all this.

Please help me to tell others the truth about Jesus, today and as part of my everyday ordinary life that I live for your everlasting glory.

Amen.

* Rhetorical Ramble:

Parallelism is a rhetorical scheme of balance, a poetical figure of equality. (See what I did there?) It’s a bit like a written echo.

According to my Oxford Dictionary of English, parallelism is “the use of successive verbal constructions in poetry or prose which correspond in grammatical structure, sound, metre, meaning etc.” The base word parallel comes from Greek words meaning “alongside one another”.

So in parallelism, two (or more) successive words or phrases or sentences follow the same pattern, either in their form or in their meaning.

Both these forms of parallelism may be seen in the first sentence of this rhetorical ramble, highlighted by the repetition of the words a and of. The word rhetorical matches poeticalscheme has the same meaning as figure and balance corresponds to equality. That last sentence provides another example of parallelism, in this case with three parallel sections of text, rather than the more common two.

Parallelism was common in Hebrew and Jewish writing. A plethora of examples can be found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs, such as these from Proverbs 1:8-9:

A: Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
A’: and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
B: They are a garland to grace your head
B’: and a chain to adorn your neck.

Whenever we observe parallelism of sentence structure in the Bible, we should ask ourselves whether there is also an implied equality of meaning.

But be warned! Be wise! The Bible’s authors also used antithesis, where the parallel structure is used to juxtapose contrasting ideas rather than matching ones (Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, Corbett & Connors). Proverbs 10:1 includes an example:

The proverbs of Solomon:
A: A wise son brings joy to his father,
A’: but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.

Workers

God is always at his work and it is good for me to be working also.

Read: John 5

In his defence Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:17-18)

“I have testimony weightier than the of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish – the very works that I am doing – testify that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:36)

Reflect:

According to this passage, God is a worker. He didn’t stop work entirely on the seventh day of Creation, when he rested from his work of creating new things. Rather, God is living and active, at work accomplishing his purposes and achieving his goals, fulfilling his will and finishing his works.

The Father works. Jesus his Son works. The Spirit also works, giving new birth (John 3:6) and making true worshipers (John 4:23). God is good at his work! So it is entirely appropriate that I, who love God and seek to follow Jesus, living like him, should also work. And I should work hard and well until the work God gives me is finished.

What a brilliant encouragement from God to me as I head off to my first day back for another year of paid employment.

Crux:

God is always at his work and it is good for me to be actively working as well.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Thank you for your renewed words of encouragement to me this morning as I headed out to my job for the beginning of another year.

I am reassured to know that you are always at your work: you are not lazy, not a slacker, not asleep in charge of the universe. No! You are diligent, disciplined, powerful, strong, active, committed to your work. I honour you as the perfect worker.

Thank you for your work accomplishing my salvation, work which Jesus completed, which you, Father, sent him to do.

I ask your favour in my work for the coming term and year, for my students in their studies and for me as their teacher, tutor and trainer. May I be a hard-worker, showing them your love by my service to them. May I open their eyes to read words so they may read your Word. May I be successful in my work of teaching, and may they be blessed in their work of learning.

Amen.

True Worship

If I met Jesus face-to-face, would I be willing to ask for his advice?

Read: John 4

“The fact is, you have had five husbands…” (John 4:18)

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped God on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place we must worship is in Jerusalem.” (John 4:19-20)

Reflect:

This woman may have had a backstory littered with widowhood and broken marriages, and a reputation that left her an outcast drawing well-water in the hottest part of the day, but she blows me away with her spiritual perspicacity.

She meets a bloke at a well and he starts a conversation about being thirsty and drinking water… so far, so ordinary.

But then he tells her one thing about herself that he had no human way of knowing and BAM! she knows straight away he’s a prophet. And she’s got a religious question right on the tip of her tongue, on a topic of deep spiritual significance, and she just goes ahead and blurts it out.

Maybe all that social exclusion gave this woman time to think some deep religious thoughts, but it’s certain that her outcast status didn’t keep her from wanting to get right with God.

She knows she’s found a prophet and she knows what she doesn’t know. She’s determined to know the truth so she may live in obedience to that truth. Wow! That’s the kind of woman I want to be.

Crux:

If I met Jesus fact-to-face, would I be willing to ask for his advice on worshiping God rightly – and then act on his advice?

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

I delight in the irony of you sovereignly ordaining that I should meditate upon this story on a Sunday, the day on which I have gathered with other Christians to publicly worship you.

Even more, you foreknew that today would be a day when our church’s order of service was changed out of the ordinary routine, to help the little ones sit with the whole congregation through the whole service, including the sermon. And next Sunday we’ll be worshiping in a different place, as part of our Church Family Camp weekend.

How appropriate that I should read this today, and be shown that the necessary thing about my worship is not location nor order of service, but that I worship you in Spirit and Truth. And another delicious connection: this morning our Sunday School and sermon were on the Spirit of Truth who testifies about Jesus, as Jesus spoke of him in John 15:26-16:33.

O LORD, I love your ways!

Amen.

Light

Jesus is the Light of the world, come into the world.

Read: John 3

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world (John 3:19)

Reflect:

There’s a pretty clear chiasmus* in John’s writing here in John 3. It probably extends at least from John 3:2, where Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, to John 4:6-7, where the Samaritan woman meets Jesus at noon. The centre of this chiasmus is this statement: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world” (John 3:19a).

How has light come into the world?

Light has come with the coming of Jesus, who said of himself, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12). As John the Evangelist wrote, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). When Jesus came into the world, God incarnate as a man, Immanuel, he brought light into the world.

In what way did Jesus bring light into the world?

Light brings enlightenment. Jesus spoke to people and explained to them who God is; how God works and what God’s will for them is. Jesus said God had come from heaven – the “Son of Man”, Jesus himself. Jesus told people that God works to effect his plan of salvation rather than condemnation. He told them it is God’s free will and sovereign choice to give (certain) people new birth by his Spirit into a new life that is eternal.

Crux:

Jesus is the Light of the world, come into the world.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Jesus is the Light of the world. He enlightens me with he truth of your glory. He illuminates my life with your glory shining truly within me. Jesus’ light reveals the darkness of my hear and shows my bright hope of salvation instead of condemnation.

Jesus, you are the Light of my world. Please continue to shine into those dark and evil places in my heart so I may repent, confessing my sins to you and renouncing my past evil ways.

Please help me to see clearly the truth that Jesus’ light reveals about you: that you are the God who loves the world, including me. You are the God who sent Jesus to be Light to me.  You are the God who saves those who believe in you and does not condemn any who so believe. You are the God of new birth, fresh starts, eternal life, joy.

Amen.

* Rhetorical Ramble:

A chiasmus is my favourite literary structure. It is a rhetorical scheme “in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order.” It has its origin in the meaning “crosswise arrangement” from the Greek name of the letter chi, which looks a bit like the English letter X. (Oxford Dictionary of English)

John 1:1-2 is a short and sweet chiasmus :

A: In the beginning was the Word,
B: and the Word was with God
X: and the Word was God.
B’: He was with God
A’: in the beginning.

The centre of the chiasmus is the centre and most important point of the author’s argument. Hence, in John 1:1-2 above, John is using claims of Jesus’ eternal existence and presence with God to prove Jesus’ identity as God.

In the same way that a chiasmus is a crosswise arrangement of words or ideas used to highlight the central idea, this blog is about the crux: “the decisive or most important point at issue… the ‘cross’.” (Oxford Dictionary of English)

The crux of life at crux.live is Jesus Christ and the Cross, and the truths that I need Jesus, so I seek to know Jesus, so I may love Jesus and live in Jesus and live like Jesus.

Know to Grow

The more I know about Jesus, the more my faith can grow.

Read: John 2

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11)

After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:22)

Reflect:

Jesus’ disciples believed in him from his first miraculous sign. Then, after the fulfilment of Jesus’ prophetic words regarding his death, they believed the scripture (that had foretold of Jesus) and Jesus’ own words. This poses a conundrum. How could the discipled believe, and then believe again later? It seems as if belief is not solely a one-time event, but more of an ongoing series of events. The more Jesus revealed his glory, the more his disciples could believe in him.

Or perhaps another way of putting it is: the more the disciples saw of Jesus and got to know him, the more their belief was based in truth. So the disciples’ belief in Jesus became fuller, richer and deeper as they witnessed Jesus’ glory revealed in his life and ministry.

Belief expands with knowledge of the truth.

Crux:

The more I know about Jesus, the more my belief in him can grow.

Christology is necessary for Christianity.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

In his miraculous actions at the Cana wedding, I see Jesus having compassion for an awkward social situation and smoothing the way with the best wine possible. Please help me to believe in Jesus’ glory when I need him to cover my inadequacies, mistakes and insufficiencies (which, as you know, is all the time). It is great to know that Jesus cared enough to intervene at Cana and to know my life is in your loving hands.

I see Jesus’ righteous wrath and zealous passion for your holiness and glory in his abrupt, curt response to the challenge of the Jews at the Temple. Please keep me trembling in fear before your holiness. Please help me to believe in Jesus’ death for my sins and also in your gracious forgiveness. Please help me also to be deliberate in taking your glory seriously, so I do not dishonour you or your name, especially in those situations where I do the ‘right’ things in a completely wrong way, like shouting at the kids to get ready for church(!).

Please magnify your glory in me and through me in my everyday ordinary life.

Amen.