Category Archives: Teach them Everything

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When the last of the number is brought into the Kingdom, I imagine Abraham will gaze across the oceans of people in glory and marvel: just as God promised from his one son Isaac, their descendants outnumber the stars and sands.

By faith, Abraham believed God.

I want to have the faith that believes God will take the meager that I see with physical eyes and do the immeasurably more.  I want to have the spiritual eyes while on this earth to see the reality behind that kind of faith.

Jesus’ hometown people saw Him only as the carpenter son of Mary and Joseph.  Nicodemus saw only a young Rabbi who spoke of impossible things.  The woman at the well saw a Jewish prophet without a cup to draw water and drink.

We see only those things that our brains have past associations.  We live by sight.  That’s why we ask such silly questions and pray such weak prayers.

Nicodemus asked if a man could reenter his mother’s womb while the woman in John 4 asked how Jesus was going to draw living water when He didn’t even have a jug.  Later His disciples asked if someone else had brought him food cause He didn’t seem to need what they were offering.  All man has to offer in response to an encounter with God is ridiculous nonsense.

We live on planet earth and are satisfied with the atmosphere we see around us while we marvel at the sun, moon, and stars.  When we want an awe boost, we watch a documentary on the vastness of the universe or the intricacies of the human body.  We’re wowed by what we have already discovered.   Still that’s faith by sight.

There is so much more to behold.  Everything God gives is abundantly more than we could ever imagine.  That tells me that we have yet to see the smallest glimpse of the glory of His creation.  Our impressive discoveries of the universe are nothing compared to what is out there all around us in the spirit realm concealed because we refuse to live by spiritual faith.

We would worship in spirit if we ever saw the Truth.  We’re no better than the generation who saw the incarnate God walking among them and not recognize Him.

Their feeble minds couldn’t conceive of Yahweh humbly walking among them willing to die for their sins.  We now know that was reality.  Do you ever wonder what other realities should be evident to us today?  What would happen if we lived as spiritual beings instead of living immersed in the natural, consumed by the temporal, and diseased by the flesh?

I believe we’d never cease to worship.

We’d be daily astounded by wonder upon wonder.

We’d boldly go where no man has gone before.

We’d live like Jesus lived…just like He promised we could.

Here’s my plan.  It’s simple but with God all things are possible.

I plan to make a list of all I see around me in the natural life.  Next, I’ll ask God to give me faith to see with spiritual eyes.  Finally, I’ll pray to walk in this revealed reality.

Care to join me?  Maybe then we’ll be added to Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith.

By faith, Shelia believed God and jumped…

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Shhhh, listen!

When is too much knowledge too much?

The Samaritans were limited in their understanding of the coming Messiah.  They read only the Torah consisting of the first five books of the Bible.  Genesis 3 announced that a coming victor would crush the head of the serpent that bruised His heel.  But other than that, most of the details of Messianic prophecies were contained in the books of the prophets, all unknown by the Samaritans.

Contrast their lack of knowledge with the Pharisees and Sadducees who knew the writings of their forefathers by memory.  They debated and analyzed scripture as a hobby.  Their existence was based on the strict following of the Law.  They searched the scriptures but missed their God.

Then you have the average layperson of Jesus’ time.  They were taught about the coming Messiah by their teachers yet they were still considered unschooled.  They had just enough knowledge to question the details of His birthplace and His mission.  The masses followed Jesus more for His miracles than for His truths.

Could it be the lack of preconceived ideals of the Messiah allowed the Samaritans to see Jesus as the Savior of the world, when His own people received Him not?  There are no recordings of Him performing authenticating miracles among them.  He simply told the woman at the well who He was, she told the townspeople, they spent a couple days with Jesus, and well, they all believed Him.

The simple things in life are often the most profound.  I wonder what would’ve happened if the Sanhedrin had simply spent a few days with Jesus and just listened to Him.  Isn’t that what God wants of us?  He did say, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”

Listen to Him pray and marvel at His intimacy with the Father.

Listen to Him teach and tremble at His authority.

Listen to His compassion as He touches the lepers, hugs the children, and weeps with the brokenhearted.

Listen to His majesty as He commands the seas, raises the dead, and casts out demons.

Listen to His joy as He reveals His Father’s glory.

Listen to His suffering and know His amazing grace.

Take the time to just listen.  Be still and you will know that He is God.

We fail, but He gives anyway

Did Jesus ever get His drink of water?

In John 4, Jesus asked the Samarian woman for two things and as far as recorded scripture goes, He didn’t receive either.  He didn’t get a drink nor was He introduced to the current man in her life.

It intrigues me that neither denial hampered His work in her life.  Hmmm, why He asked in the first place?

Maybe to prove He is approachable and desires intimate conversation.  Asking for a drink would be a logical lead in since the midday heat would quickly parch a throat.

I don’t hear Him simply asking for a drink.  I see Him saying something like this,

“Shalom, I am not like all the Jewish men you know.  You can approach me without fear. Will you trust Me enough to give Me your firstfruit?”

Drawing water in the midday heat was hard work.  Her parched throat was ready for a cool relief.  Therefore, Jesus was asking her to meet His need before her own.

He asks us to do the same.  Everyday as we approach Him in prayer, He desires for us to give Him the first and the best of all we are and all we have.

“Will you give Me the first hour of your day?”

“Will you turn off the TV and focus only on me?”

“Will you love Me more than anything else?”

“Will you give Me everything you own?”

“Will you give Me …”

How does He most often start this conversation with you?  (I hope you’ll share your answers with me.)

Either this woman was incredibly bold or Jesus was entirely approachable.  She ignores His request and begins an argument.  I smile because I see myself in her.

Instead of giving up what she had, she demands more from Him.   Ouch, now that is the most common error we make in prayer.  Can’t we hear ourselves praying for living water or anything else He’ll give just to make our lives more comfortable?

We spend most of our side of the prayer conversation with the demands of our hearts until He interrupts us with something like this,

“Not only do I wish to know you but I want to give to you all I that I have.  I’ll take the water from your defiled cup then offer you living water that will cleanse your life.  All you have to do is bring that defiled life here to Me.”

The second request far exceeds the first.  Having our sinful ways brought into the light of day is painful.  Can’t you just see her head drop in shame as she cringes out her answer?

What is the one thing you never want anyone to ask you about? What is the one thing that would make you cringe?

Let’s you and I make a pact that the next time Jesus interrupts our day with a request, we’ll just do it.  We’ll walk down the steps into that well and give Him everything He asks of us.

And then while we’re enjoying His presence, when He brings up our sin, we’ll immediately repent in humble adoration of His grace.   For grace is what He offered this woman.

She refused Him what He asked yet He did not refuse to reveal Himself to her anyway.  I know He is good, all the time.  But I just once want to see His face when I respond to Him in obedience to everything He asks.

“Yes, Lord.  You are God, I am not.  That’s all I need to say.”

Live Abundantly

The desert is what happens when you remove water from a rainforest.  Without water, life dies.  The same is true of humans.

Our bodies are about 60 percent water.  Water regulates our body temperature, moves nutrients through our cells, keeps our mucous membranes moist and flushes waste from our bodies. Our lungs are 90 percent water, our brains are 70 percent water and our blood is more than 80 percent water. Simply put, we can’t function without it

Arizonans know the value of water. I greet my out-of-town guests with a bottle of water and tube of Chap Stick.  They laugh until they step out of the airport into 120-degree temperatures.

As precious as natural water is, it’s nothing compared to the living water offered by Jesus in John 4.

There are a few conclusions to be made from this conversation.

  1. We have to ask for the living water.
  2. Only God can give it.
  3. He will give it when asked.
  4. God gives in abundance.  His well of living water makes Niagara Falls look like a drippy faucet.

Let’s combine verses 10 and 26 of John 4 with John 3:16 and read it like this:

If you knew the gift of God

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son

and who it is that asks you for a drink;

I who speak to you am He,

you would have asked him

whoever believes in him

and he would have given you living water.

shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus spoke the same truth to this Samaritan woman that He spoke to Nicodemus.  His message is always the same.  Life comes only through Jesus.

The pious law-keeper was told he had to be born again.  His sin was pride and unbelief in the LawGiver.   The immoral Samaritan woman was told to call her husband and come back here.  Both learned that His gift comes with holiness.

They had to give up their old lives and believe in the LifeGiver.

It’s an offer that can’t be refused when staring in the face of the Son of God.  Once you see Jesus, you will savor Him.

His presence causes an unquenchable thirst in our bodies.  Then He does the impossible.   He crushes every pretense, prejudice, lie, and deceit.  He quenches our dry and parched souls with a flood of His grace.

He washes us clean as snow.

I love to visit Niagara Falls and ride the Maid of Mist.  The immense power of tons of water plummeting over that cliff is overwhelming and terrifying.  Very few things compare to this force of nature.

I often feel like I deserve to be one of those rocks at the base of the falls.  Only that enormous crushing force could flush away the filth of my life.  But that’s not God’s way.

His way is for sinners to stand at the foot of His cross and look up.  One drop of blood from His brow is all it takes.  Our sins are washed away.

Amazing isn’t it?  A drop of His blood is more powerful than all the waterfalls on this globe.  Yet, He offers something far more astounding.

The power of that drop of blood can multiply until it becomes the force of mighty rushing water flowing out of a believer.  A drop of grace from God grows into Niagara Falls grace to others.

Now that’s what I call living water.

Prejudice is a Cancer

Prejudice is a cancer.

I have first hand accounts with both.  Like cancer, prejudice begins with a small defected entity but quickly grows until it kills every healthy living cell in its path.  Cancer kills the very life Jesus gives.  Prejudice kills all the goodness of life.

The story of the Woman at the Well in John 4 is a story about prejudice.  We have two main characters.  One is without sin.  Therefore the prejudice is found only in the woman.

The woman (I want to give her a name but the only name I feel appropriate is my own and that’s too painful) is a victim of prejudice.  Most scholars place the time of this story to be noon, the sixth hour of Hebrew time.  If this were true, then she would be considered an outcast among women by not being allowed or feeling comfortable to draw water at the normal early morning time.  Instead she was forced to venture out in the heat of the day.

Women of ill repute are often scorned.   The underlying force is the same within all prejudices.  Fear.  Fear that we will become like them.  If we hate them enough, our hatred will provide a dividing wall between them and us.  Prejudice provides that sense of false safety.

I was raised immersed in a culture of prejudice.  I prided myself on not being like those prejudice people who hate others for the color of their skin, social status, or religion.  But like cancer, prejudice creeps in where we least expect.  I had become prejudice against the prejudiced.   So had this woman.

She instantly noticed Jesus was Jewish.  She addressed Him with ‘you Jews’ and ‘our prophets’.  Sinless Jesus was breaking down barriers but she wasn’t making it easy.  Her comfort zone was on her side of the wall.  How can you even think to ask me for a drink?  You stay on your side and I’ll stay on mine.

Prejudice people are often highly defensive and steeped in their religious traditions.

Her argument could sound like this today, “You think you’re more Jewish than me, well look, we own Jacob’s well.  You can’t get more Jewish than having the life-giving water for the 12 tribes of Israel.  And by the way, you’re not any more religious than me just because you have a temple in Jerusalem.  We worship just fine on our mountain.”

This sounds very similar to the arguments of today: hymns vs. choruses, cathedrals vs. shopping malls, KJV vs. NIV.  When we’re pushed, we come out fighting about anything and everything.

But you have to admire her boldness.  She didn’t hesitate to talk to a stranger.  If you compare, she’s nearly equal to Jesus in word count.  Is that because she’s a woman?   Maybe it has something to do with it.  But I think it’s more because she’s a fighter.  Prejudice breeds angry warriors.

So here we have a bold, prejudice, defensive, woman warrior who doesn’t quite know how to handle Jesus or His words.

  • How are you going to give me this living water if you don’t even have a jar?
  • If this water will keep me from having to come here again, then I’ll take it.  If not, then what’s the use?
  • You’re confusing me, I know one thing for sure, someday a Messiah will come and when He does He will explain everything.
  • He must be a prophet since He knew my secrets, but could this man really be the Messiah?

The woman saw Jesus as a Jewish prophet without a cup to drink from.

Could there be deep-seated prejudice in your own heart keeping you from seeing the fullness of Jesus?

He Had to do it

The one and only time I heard Billy Graham in person was June 4, 1993 in Pittsburgh, PA.  I remember the sweet spirit surrounding that stadium.  I remember the scores of people making their way to the altar.  I remember only one thing about the message.

His message was based on one obscure verse, John 4:4.  Dr. Graham read these words, “Now he had to go through Samaria.”  From there, he built his message.

Jesus had to be at that well, at that time, for that woman.

That’s all I remember.

It was enough to impact the rest of my life.  Jesus knew where He had to be and He was there.  I want to live like that.  I want to know where God wants me to be and I want to be there.  That’s where wow things happen.

But in order to be obedient, Jesus had to do a few other things:

  • Had to go through a town that no one else wanted to visit.  Jews would walk miles out of their way to avoid the ‘half-breed’ Samaritans.  Jesus knew walking this route would add more ammunition to His enemies.  He went anyway.
  • Had to get tired.  Think about it.  God wanted Him to be so tired that He would require rest.  Not only that, He had to be obedient to the spiritual call while physically drained.  That’s not what I would call an ideal ministry scenario.
  • Had to sit and wait.  Scripture doesn’t tell us how long He waited but we can suppose it was at the hottest time of the day.  There He sat, risking heatstroke, until His divine appointment arrived.
  • Had to get rid of his friends and do this alone.  I’ve often wondered why Jesus sent His disciples away.  Food is John’s reasoning.  I’m guessing it might have something to do with them scaring away the desired encounter.  Think about it.  These Jewish men despised Samaritans.  They also were never allowed to speak to a woman in public.  Jesus’ mission was to break all their sacred traditions.  I can only assume their rejections would have created a wall of resistance to the Spirit’s work.
  • Had to have a conversation with a defiled woman and defile Himself even more by drinking from her water jar.
  • Had to say some tough things to her face.  He had to risk alienating the very one He was sent to give witness.
  • Had to reveal himself as the Messiah.  His first revelation with His hometown friends resulted in them trying to kill him.  He didn’t let a possible second rejection stop Him.

It’s easy to say, “I want to be where God wants me, doing what God wants of me.”  It’s harder to live in that reality.  Why? Because God will always ask us to leave our comfort zone, exhaust our own strength, wait patiently on Him alone, and then boldly tell a ‘hard-to-love’ person about the Lord who changed our lives.

Given any one of these obstacles and most believers quit.  I’m tired of being a quitter.

The secret to living like Jesus is in that one little word ‘had’.  Had is past tense of have and the synonyms include:  must, need, obligate, require.   Try saying it this way:

I must know where God wants me to be.

I need to be doing what God wants me to do.

I’m obligated to my Master and Lord.

I’m required to live out His life in me.

Somehow when put that way, I find it easier to endure the hardships

Face-to-Face

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to face a superior.  Most people study and strive to never reach this place.  It’s humbling and vulnerable and we will avoid it at all cost.  So we educate and promote ourselves to higher degrees of efficiency until we are assured that in our sphere of influence we are the most influential.

“In my world, I am in control.  I reign supreme.”

This of course is the mindset of every lost person from the publically esteemed to the scum of society.  They have one thing in common; they bend their knee to no one.

Nicodemus was a highly educated aristocrat of his society.  He comes to Jesus with one purpose.  He seeks to gain the knowledge necessary in order to quench the nagging uncertainties threatening his superior status.  The kingdom he had built wass in jeopardy if Jesus is who He claims to be.

Nicodemus moves first, “I will call you Rabbi even though you are young and uneducated.  I will credit your miracles to God for my studies assure me that only God can do what has been credited to you.  Now, I need you to give me a reasonable explanation for why I am doing this.”

 

Jesus counters with, “Your mouth spouts flattery and your mind seeks answers but your soul is lost.  I will address the soul for that is why I am here.”

Checkmate.  The teacher becomes the student under the Master Teacher.  It doesn’t matter what Nicodemus and his friends know (verse 2) Jesus is about to tell them the Truth.  (verses 3,5)

Set back and listen Nic, cause from this point on you will only be able to utter, “How can this be?”

Only God can cause a person to make the journey from darkness to seek the truth in the Light.   Therefore Jesus doesn’t bend His knee to the agenda of Nicodemus, He obeys what He sees His Father is doing.  The kingdom of God is at hand.

To be able to see the Kingdom, you must be born from above.  In order to enter the Kingdom, you must be born of water and the Spirit. 

The world is forever indebted to Nicodemus for asking, “How?”

1.  Jesus makes certain His true identity is understood.

You call Me a Rabbi, your equal.  I tell you I am the One-of-a-kind Son sent from Yahweh to be lifted up as the salvation for the world.   You know the Son of Man Daniel saw?  I AM.  You know Moses’ snake of salvation in the desert?  I AM

2. Jesus clarifies that the Spirit does the work of salvation.

The power to be reborn comes from God alone.  You have as little control over His work as you could control the wind that blows. 

 

3. You must believe Me.

Just as the snake venom poisoned the Israelites, sin has poisoned and condemned you to death.  The simple act of lifting their eyes to gaze upon the snake proved their faith in the One who heals.  Your believing in Me proves your faith in the One who Redeems.

 

Lift up your eyes and look into the face of your Savior.

Did one of the wisest of the wise men of his time become a believer?  He was drawn out of the darkness by the wind of the Spirit, he had a face-to-face encounter with the Savior, he had only to believe in the death, burial and resurrection he soon witnessed.  I hope his bold and tender act of preparing Jesus’ body for burial showed his heart had indeed been torn from top to bottom.

The actual words ‘born again’ describe a garment torn from top to bottom.  I have no doubt that when the Nicodemus saw the curtain to the Holy of Holies ripped from top to bottom, that he remembered His conversation on that dark night.  A vivid memory relived before his stunned eyes.  But was his heart torn?

Has your heart been torn from above and made new?

Nic at Nite

Two men, an esteemed religious elderly statesman and a young carpenter turned preacher miracle worker meet in the cover of darkness.

That’s as likely as the Pope meeting with my pastor husband.  The first century paparazzi would have swarmed that meeting.

One was Nicodemus; a member of the elite Jewish order of the Sanhedrin and the other wasn’t just any young upstart preacher; it was Jesus, the Son of Man.

There are no coincidences in the Bible, the meeting had to be at night.  The Almighty Father orchestrated every word and divine appointment in Jesus’ life. Was it to avoid a media storm?  But whose reputation was being protected?

Before we examine the characters, let’s focus on why the meeting had to be at night.  As the two sat face-to-face in the lamp light, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter with this verdict.

 

 Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Jesus has a way of cutting through the pretense and nailing the truth to your heart.  It’s painful but effective.   Allow me to paraphrase how He has made this personal to me.

Jesus said, “I AM the laser beam sent for heaven to cut through the façade of your life.  You hide in the muck and mire of this world because you are afraid to let me burn away your sin and lies.  But if you will stop hiding in the darkness and stand boldly in my Light, I will burn away the filth and make you new.”

 

The Sovereign God of the universe caused Nicodemus to walk the night streets, to feel the fear of the darkness, to sit opposite the blinding Light from Heaven.  He knows we need to face the truth of ourselves before we will allow Him to perform the necessary surgery.

But be assured of this, whatever God brings to the Light, He is ready to Lasik.

What you are hiding in the dark?

Who are you afraid will see the real you?

If you believe, why are you ashamed to come into the Light?

Does God have you in a situation where your emotions are frayed and your nerves are frazzled?

Run into the Light.  It is best for your soul to sit under the interrogating Light of His Truth.  Nicodemus learned this and it changed his heart.

The next two times Nicodemus is mentioned in scripture, he is no longer hiding in the darkness.  You find him defending Jesus to his peers (John 7:50-52) then unashamedly defiling himself as he prepares the body of his Lord for burial (John 19: 31, 38-42).  Please don’t miss the amount of myrrh and aloes given to the Lord by Nicodemus.  It was fit for royalty.  I propose Nicodemus no longer saw Jesus as just a Rabbi.

No more hiding in darkness once you’ve been exposed to the True Light of the World.  You want to be born from above then you need to stop slipping around in the dark and take a stand in Light.

The Fault is Not in the Message

Do you ever wonder how the people of Jesus’ day could not recognize Him as God?  Everything about His life from birth to death was miraculous.  No wonder He declared a harsh judgment on that generation. (Luke 11:51)  But what would you or I do if we had been these firsthand witnesses?

Surely if I had seen the sky filled with a host of angels singing praises, directing me by a never-before-seen star to the Christ child, I would never cease to tell His story.  I think I would have become the first stalking paparazzi.

I am baffled as to why the shepherds who saw the angels, the star and the babe lost the thrill of their testimony.  Maybe they, like Zachariah and Elizabeth had already passed away by time He started His ministry 30 years later.  But still, I would think someone would remember the miracles surrounding Jesus’ and John’s births…and still be seeking Him.

Assuming they are dead either physically or spiritually, God announced once again from Heaven at the baptism, “This is My Son.” His booming voice should’ve revived a few dead hearts.

The proclamations continue with John proclaiming he was NOT the Messiah while he pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Jesus declared Himself the Messiah to His hometown, His people, and to the outcasts.  (He later tells us to do the same in Acts 1:8)

Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah of Isaiah 61 to His hometown. (Luke 4)  He offered them good news, healing, and freedom.   He asked only that they accept Him.  They not only did NOT believe Him, they became enraged and tried to kill Him.

He then went to Jerusalem for Passover.  After clearing the temple (John 2), a representative of the Pharisees came calling at night.  (John 3)  Jesus revealed Himself as the Son of Man who was sent to save the world.  He offered eternal life.  We don’t see here how Nicodemus responded but it is obvious from reading the Gospels how the Pharisees felt about Jesus.  His own people received Him not.

Then on His return trip to Galilee, Jesus has a divine appointment with the woman at the well.  (John 4)  Here He reveals Himself as the Messiah.  The outcast woman believed Him and ran to tell the Samaritan community.  Interesting how two days with Jesus and they recognized Him as the Savior of the world when those most familiar with Him were blind.  Maybe familiarity really does cause blindness.

Jesus had a faultless witness but poor reception.

Why isn’t a prophet accepted in His hometown and among His own people?

Could it be the same reason why we don’t witness to those around us?

  • Fear that they will reject us and never speak to us again.
  • Embarrassment that they will laugh in our faces.
  • Terrified that they will not see the Christlikeness in us that gives credence to our testimony.
  • Ashamed of the gospel.

Jesus had none of these emotional hang-ups.  So we’ll have to go to the scriptures to find the answer to the question.  I propose we study John 5.

The problem is not in the messenger BUT in the listeners.

I’ll prove that in the coming weeks.  But until then let me pose another question.  Could we dare believe that with the baptism of the Spirit, a willing heart, and open mouth we too could be faultless in our witness?

With Jesus, it was not Him, it was them.

If we are filled with the Spirit, speaking the truth: then it’s not us, it’s them.

To Walk as He Walked

Jesus never allowed flattery to inflate His ego nor did He ever allow rejection to deflate Him.  My goal is to be like Jesus.

In Luke 4:14-30, I found three secrets.  Well, I suppose they are not really secrets. I’m just slow in discovering them.

Revealed secret #1:  Jesus walked in the power of the Spirit.  The baptism in the Holy Spirit immersed and empowered Him to fulfill His mission and glorify His Father.

I love the way Luke emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit.  The highly educated Gentile doctor meticulously researched before penning his two books.  In his Gospel and then in Acts, where the Holy Spirit blows in as the main character, he never missed an opportunity to give credit where credit is due.

It must have amazed Luke how the same Spirit that conceived the incarnate Lord, baptized Him for ministry, lead Him into conflict with Satan, caused Him to dance with joy, and anointed Him to preach good news, proclaim freedom and recovery to the oppressed, was also the same Spirit that empowered John the Baptist, equipped the Apostles and saved his own soul from eternal damnation.

A doctor knows the limits of the human body.  Luke knew only the divine power of the Spirit can make a man immortal until God calls him home. The Spirit’s anointing will protect us from harm, shield us from fear, guide us in His path, keep us from pride, and empower us to be His instruments to preform the supernatural will of God.  Wow!

Revealed secret #2:  Jesus stayed on mission.  He knew His Father’s will and He stayed focused.  Based on Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus was to preach, heal, and ultimately set mankind free from the captivity of the sin nature.

Jesus had been tempted by Satan to go to Jerusalem to do miracles.  He chose to stay in the countryside and minister to the needs of the average person.  The people were amazed at Him for no one had ever shown them such attention. The Hebrew culture required Jews to worship in Jerusalem.  In their local synagogues they were taught the law.  But the leaders never walked from town to town and loved them like Jesus did.  Certainly no one else had the power to perform miracles and teach with such authority.

So why did Jesus go home to Nazareth?  Knowing that He never failed His Father’s will, we can then assume, His purpose was to announce to Nazareth He wasn’t just Joseph’s son, He was the Messiah.  But they wanted more.  They wanted a show of miracles.

Jesus only did miracles when and where the Father was already at work. (John 5:19-20)  Applying this principle to this scene, their lack of faith proved the Father was not working in their lives for miracles.  Jesus moved on.  He had nothing to prove to them.  He had only to obey His father.

People pleasers like me need to study this carefully.  Jesus did not use any means to win back the crowd. He was so assured of His mission.  He simply went on to the next town and there He joined where the Father was at work. (Luke 4:43)  This faith walk eliminates all chances for pride and rejection.

Revealed secret #3:  We, like Jesus, will find our mission in His Word.

Notice when John the Baptist questioned the authenticity of Jesus as the Messiah, a restatement of Isaiah’s prophecy matched perfectly with the works Jesus was doing.  (Luke 7:18-35)  The Apostles were given their mission and the power to fulfill it.  (Acts 1:4-8)

Paul heard clearly his mission and under the anointing of the Spirit fulfilled it.  (Luke 9:1-19)

Can we not also reason that God will do the same for us?  Until you hear the specifics of His call on your life, stay focused in obedience to the general mission of all believers found in Matthew 28:18-20.  We certainly can’t go wrong if we devote our lives to this Word.