Reading About Jesus (as Recorded by John)

'I AM' statements of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel account of John.

During 2014 I decided to reacquaint myself with Jesus by reading the Gospel accounts. Interspersed were topical readings of the Gospels: parables told by Jesus, prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, and miracles performed by Jesus. I ended the year reading John's Gospel account. John's account differs greatly from the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke both in style and in content. It seems like John delves deeper into the nature of Christ, focusing more on who he was/is rather than what he did while here on earth. John records various “I am” statements made by Jesus which help us understand even more his importance in our lives.

  • In John 6, Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the bread of life,” indicating Jesus is our spiritual sustenance.
  • In John 8, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” casting out darkness so that we are able to see and discern where we should go.
  • In John 10, Jesus states, “I am the door of the sheep,” who lets his fold into good pasture. In this passage Jesus also says, “I am the Good Shepherd,” a leader who excels in his role in taking care of those who follow him.
  • In John 11, Jesus boldly claims, “I am the resurrection and the life,” able to overcome the power of death by transforming the dead into the living.
  • In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is the path that leads to God. He is all truth and no deception. And he, once again, emphasizes that he embodies life.
  • In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the vine,” explaining how he is the living structure that supports us, the branches.

Finally, returning to John 8, Jesus echoes the words his Father spoke to Moses so long ago. When commanding Moses to return to Egypt and lead his people out of captivity, God identified himself as “I AM” (Ex 3:14). When unbelievers once again scoffed at Jesus, mocking him for his wild claim that Abraham looked forward to the time when Jesus would appear, Jesus responds, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

I don't know that I will ever reach an understanding of the complexities of Christ's nature. How can Jesus be the son of God and also be God? Maybe I will get to ask him that myself one day. For now, I am glad to have access to the accounts laid down by early followers of Jesus, the first generation of Christians. As 2015 begins in just a few seconds, I pray that we all will take the time to remember Christ in this new year and draw ever closer to him in faith.

Scripture in the image and text is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. The KJV is public domain in the United States. See version information here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/King-James-Version-KJV-Bible/#vinfo.


Reading About Jesus (as Recorded by Luke)

Jesus's encounters with women in the Gospel account of Luke.

If you're like me, a girl (or woman, if you prefer), you might sometimes find it hard to relate to some of the accounts in the Bible because a lot of them involve men. This tends to be the case throughout both the Old Testament and the New: Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Peter, John, James, Paul, Silas, Timothy, etc. Lots and lots of male figures.

One thing I appreciate about the Gospel account of Luke is his diligence in recording Jesus's interactions with and observations of women and girls he encountered during his life here on earth. These accounts sometimes hit closer to home on an emotional level because, having been a girl all the live-long day, I can more easily identify with women and girls. Luke records for us the compassion Jesus felt and showed for a bereaved woman. He records Jesus's affirmation that Mary, in taking time off from household chores to listen to and be taught by him, was doing a good thing. He records the mercy Jesus extended to a notoriously sinful woman who wept at his feet.

And these are messages I need to hear. I need to know that Jesus sees the grieving woman and has great compassion for her. I need to know that Jesus encourages busy women to take time out from the seemingly endless day-to-day tasks and learn from him. And, absolutely, I need to know that Jesus extends great mercy to the sinful woman who falls in tears at his feet.

Scripture in the image is quoted from the World English Bible. The World English Bible is in the Public Domain. That means that it is not copyrighted. See copyright information here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/World-English-Bible-WEB/#copy.


The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Part 3)

In the last few verses of The Parable of the Prodigal Son, the older son and the father speak about the younger (and “prodigal”) son who has just returned home.

Now his elder son was in the field. As he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants to him, and asked what was going on. He said to him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and healthy.” But he was angry, and would not go in. Therefore his father came out, and begged him. But he answered his father, “Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.”

He said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:25–32)

As a child do you remember taking the position that you were being treated unfairly? That a bratty younger sibling or maybe a bratty classmate was receiving the treatment you felt you deserved? Or maybe as an adult you've experienced something similar, a lazy coworker received accolades while you went unnoticed for all your steady hard work. How did these situations make you feel? A world-famous artist captured this perfectly, I think, in the masterpiece below. [NOTE: By “A world-famous artist,” “captured this perfectly,” and “masterpiece” I actually just mean “I,” “tried to draw this,” and “doodle,” respectively.]

Simple cartoon of the Prodigal Son's older brother.

You felt angry, right? I know I did. It also made me feel small and unappreciated and like I wasn't special. Unfortunately for parents, it's hard to respond to a child who feels slighted and approaches the subject angrily, especially when the child blames the parent; the natural reaction to being blamed for doing something you don't believe is wrong is to become defensive. Maybe you've heard some of these responses before:

  1. “Well, I've got news for you: Life isn't fair.”
  2. “I don't want to hear another word. Go to your room!”
  3. “Why you ungrateful little….”

Do these responses really assuage your anger? Do they help you understand the situation a little better, help you come out of yourself enough to see the situation for what it is and not only how it makes you feel? The first response suggests that, Guess what, kid, you'll be feeling this way all your life. So deal with it. Perhaps life isn't fair, but does that proverb comfort the child and help him understand that he is still wanted and accepted? Does it teach him that others are also wanted and accepted? Probably not. The second response outright dismisses the child's feelings, leaving him to work them out on his own. The takeaway from this would probably be It doesn't matter what I feel because no one listens to me. Also not very helpful. The third response is a case of fighting fire with fire. The child approaches the situation angrily and the parent snaps back angrily. Accusations fly: The parent is being unfair and the child is being ungrateful. This response only makes the child feel worse about the whole situation.

The Father in Jesus's parable handles the interaction with his older son thoughtfully. He listens to his son as he expresses how the situation makes him feel. Instead of being caught up in his own emotional reaction, the Father does not condemn the older son's feelings, but he affirms his relationship with his older son. The Father acknowledges that this son will always be with him and all that he has belongs to him also. To me this is an image of comfort as he quiets the anger of his older child. There is a lesson for the older son to learn in this experience too. It was good for the Father to celebrate and be glad that his younger son had returned home. The Father's reaction was not about which son he liked more; it only had to do with the safe return of his younger son. Without dismissing his older son's feelings, the Father tried to help the older son understand the situation for what it was and not only how it made him feel. What an understanding, patient, and sensitive heavenly Father we have! For in the intensity of our feelings, whether they are just or not, he holds us close to him and will not dismiss us.

Scripture quoted from the World English Bible. The World English Bible is in the Public Domain. That means that it is not copyrighted. See copyright information here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/World-English-Bible-WEB/#copy.


The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Part 2)

When last we saw the Prodigal Son, he was watching covetously as the pigs in his charge ate. We're in the middle portion of the parable now, with the Prodigal Son experiencing a moment of self-realization. The parable continues,

But when he came to himself he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.’”

He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and celebrate; for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.” They began to celebrate. (Luke 15:17–24)

Have you ever had a moment of self-realization like this? All of a sudden some barrier in your mind is removed or some veil lifted and you truly see your condition or your circumstances. You realize how silly it is for you to continue on in your current state and that you want out. Whether the question in your mind is “Why am I doing this?”, “What am I doing?”, or any other variation on this theme, I think we all can relate. The realization is this: “I have sinned.”

It's hard to admit when we have done something wrong. Depending on how much time we have spent entrenched in sin far away from our heavenly Father, it could be one long and difficult journey. But I think Jesus tells this story to illustrate that we will never take that journey in vain.

Even though we may deliberately set out in sin and distance ourselves from our Father, we can still come home. We can return home starved and gaunt because our Father will recognize us and will prepare a feast to fill our empty bellies. We can return home dirty and clothed in filthy rags because our Father has clean and fine clothing to cover us. We can return home in humility, ashamed of the sins we have committed and with a sincere desire to work for our Father. But though we confess our sin and our unworthiness to him, acknowledging that the way we have lived is not suitable for a child of God and that we are only fit to work for him as hired servants, he will throw his arms around us and rejoice that we have come home. Our relationship with God is not based on the work we do for him. He is always willing to accept us back into his family as his very own children.

Artist James Tissot's painting of 'The Return of the Prodigal Son.'
A rendering of the return of the Prodigal Son [cropped]:
Caption: James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Return of the Prodigal Son (Le retour de l'enfant prodigue), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 11/16 x 5 1/2 in. (22.1 x 14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.185

Scripture quoted from the World English Bible. The World English Bible is in the Public Domain. That means that it is not copyrighted. See copyright information here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/World-English-Bible-WEB/#copy.

The image of the Prodigal Son was downloaded from the Brooklyn Museum website. As of 9/16/2014, it is believed that this work is in the Public Domain. You may review the image and related text here: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/4538/The_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_Le_retour_de_lenfant_prodigue


The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Part 1)

Luke 15:11–16 reads,

And [Jesus] said, “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that is coming to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. And after not many days, the younger son gathered everything and went on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his wealth by living wastefully. And after he had spent everything, there was a severe famine throughout that country, and he began to be in need. And he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to tend pigs. And he was longing to fill his stomach with the carob pods that the pigs were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.”

Imagine yourself going about your life, the life God has given you. You decide to leave your Father's house; you have a life plan of your own. You are excited. You have so much life to live, so much energy, so many resources to spend on anything you choose. You take a trip. You visit places you've never been, do things you've never done, and see things you've never seen. Maybe you get a little too excited or too absorbed in what you are doing. Before you know it, you're spent. You have nothing left. You have used up all your energy and all your resources. And, as luck would have it, now there is a widespread famine. Your environment is just as wasted and wanting as you are. So now what? Well, you do the only thing you can do. You join yourself to a citizen of this wasteland. This man sends you to do one of the dirtiest, smelliest jobs around: you become a swineherd.

Living in sin is like being far away from home, destitute in a famine. You have nothing to sustain yourself. And the places and people around you don't provide you with much either, except an offer to tend someone's pigs. And that's what you have to do in order to survive, right? Imagine your daily life, the things you see and smell and hear. Instead of seeing the faces of acquaintances, family, and friends, you see a herd of hungry pigs rummaging about for food. Instead of hearing the voices and laughter of others, you hear a herd of hungry pigs rummaging about for food. Instead of smelling savory food prepared for people, you smell a herd of hungry pigs rummaging about for food. And why can't you stop thinking about food?! Oh look, it's feeding time. Food is brought out for the pigs but none for you. You yearn for what the pigs eat as you watch them devour their food, as you hear their grunting and squealing and snorting and smacking. The food and dirt is caked onto their snouts as the flies swarm around. It makes you hungry. And you long to get down on all fours among the pigs and fill the emptiness inside you.

That is our state when we live in sin. Thank God that is not the end of the story….

The video below contains a slideshow of at least mildly charming pig pictures. However, the point of the video is not to show how cute pigs can be but to demonstrate how disturbing they sound. Listen attentively. Try to imagine yourself in the prodigal son's place: envious of and desiring to eat with pigs.

Scripture quotations from Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.

See http://lexhamenglishbible.com/license/ for license information.


Bible Verses in Song: “My Savior My God

About 3 years ago I changed the radio station in my car to K-LOVE for the first time. One of the first songs I heard was Aaron Shust's “My Savior My God.” The words were simple yet profound. And the melody seemed to match the feeling behind the words perfectly. That song affects me every time I hear it. You can listen to a performance of the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvBG-FVbGFs.

Aaron Shust's song “My Savior My God” borrows most of its lyrics from an old hymn. This hymn, entitled “My Savior” in the 1885 song book Songs of Joy and Gladness, was composed by Wm. J. Kirkpatrick. However, the words were written by a woman named Dora Greenwell and published (sans music) in 1873 in a slim volume of poetry, Songs of Salvation. Her poem was entitled “Redemption.”

  • You can view Kirkpatrick's song “My Saviour” from Songs of Joy and Gladness by clicking here. You'll notice that Aaron Shust's song contains lyrics from stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 6 and omits stanzas 3 and 5.
  • You can view Greenwell's poem “Redemption” from Songs of Salvation by clicking here. Shust and Kirkpatrick both omit several stanzas from Greenwell's original poem. Only stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 10 appear in both songs.

Isn't it interesting that the thoughts of Greenwell were first set to music almost 150 years ago and then set to music again not even 10 years ago? I must not be the only one who finds great meaning in the words. And you know what? I think that may be because they express truths that are at once universal and deeply personal to everyone who believes in Jesus as their Savior. These truths come from the Bible.

Below are the lyrics from Greenwell's (public domain) poem that are used in Kirkpatrick's and Shust's songs. Accompanying them are corresponding verses from various books of the New Testament. If you come across applicable verses I did not mention, please feel free to share them in a comment. [NOTE: While preparing to write this blog, I stumbled across a post on another blog that is very similar to what I planned to write here. I'll share it in case anyone out there wants to see what other verses were paired up with the lyrics from this song/poem: https://scriptureand.blogspot.com/2012/06/i-am-not-skilled-to-understand.html.]

I am not skilled to understand
What God hath willed; what God hath planned;
I only know at His right hand1
Stands One Who is my Saviour.

1Acts 7:56—And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.

I take God at His word and deed;
Christ died to save me,”2 this I read,
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my Saviour.

2Rom 5:8–9—[B]ut 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.

That He should leave His place on high,3
And come for sinful man to die,4
You count it strange?—so do not I,
Since I have known my Saviour.

3John 6:38—For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

4Rom 5:6—For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Yea, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring,5
That He who lives to be my King,6
Once died to be my Saviour!7

5John 4:13–14—Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

6Rev 1:5–6—…Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

71 Thess 5:9–10—For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV* Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version*), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In the acknowledgment above, fair use constitutes permission. See https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/ for information on copyright and permissions.


Reading About Jesus (as Recorded by Mark)

Right now I am reading the gospel account of Mark, one chapter a day. I have only read the first half of the book so far, but I've noticed a couple trends.

I noticed that Jesus faced opposition often. It wasn't just something that all of a sudden happened right before His crucifixion. I picture Jesus's opponents sort of like schoolyard bullies bent on harassing, making fun of, and criticizing Jesus who is just going about His work. It seems that they were always hanging around, publicly questioning and doubting Him, His authority, or His motives.

The other thing I noticed, because honestly it's hard not to, is how much Jesus did in such a short time here on earth. Mark mostly limits his account to Jesus's ministry years, death, and resurrection. And yet, even though Mark's scope is limited compared to that of Matthew's and Luke's, he doesn't pause long on any one event. The book of Mark, divided into only 16 chapters, reads at a fast clip and is packed with accounts of Jesus healing various diseases and handicaps.

Two miraculous healings popped out to me in the first few books of Mark.

Mark 2:1–12 tells of the paralyzed man whose four friends carried his bed to the house where Jesus was teaching. Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “[R]ise, pick up your bed, and go home.” The paralyzed man did as Jesus said: “he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all” (vs. 11–12).

Mark 3:3–5 tells of a man with a withered hand in the synagogue. Jesus arrived at the synagogue, spotted this man, and said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” The man did as Jesus said and “his hand was restored” (vs. 5).

What if these men, the paralyzed man and the man with the withered hand, had the same attitude toward Jesus as His opponents? What if they doubted His power and authority? What if they labeled Him presumptuous?

What if the paralyzed man hadn't tried to stand up when Jesus told him to? What if he said, either out loud or in his heart, “Jesus, I can't do it. I have never been able to sit up, let alone stand! Why are you asking me to do something I obviously can't do? Who do you think you are?”

What if the man with the withered hand hadn't attempted to stretch out his arm when Jesus told him to? What if he admitted, “Jesus, I just don't believe that I can. My hand is what it is and that is how it will stay. Please don't taunt me; it offends me.”

I have said “I can't” plenty of times recently. In fact, just the other day, I texted a friend this message: “I don't think I can get better.” What if Jesus said to me, “Believe in Me, and I will heal your hurt”? And what if I believed?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV* Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version*), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In the acknowledgment above, fair use constitutes permission. See https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/ for information on copyright and permissions.


Untitled 2

Help! I am fallen down where
Emotions press me sore.
Loosen these chains. “Oh,
Please!” I cry out softly.

Mend my brokenness, and
End my hopeless thoughts.

Overcome this vile and sinful
Heart, for it hurts itself and others.

Lord, help me be yours,
Only and faithfully yours.
Remove from me fears and
Doubts that pull me from you.

To the extent possible under law, J has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work. This work is published from: United States.


Psalm 56:3

Sometimes I get stuck…. OK, a lot of times I get stuck. Especially when it comes to emotions. I get stuck feeling anxious, sad, scared, or numb. Right now I'm picturing myself in a large(ish) automobile, traveling down a dusty road somewhere in the Outback. Not sure why I'm in Australia, but I am. My tires are whipping up dust clouds and kicking up clods of dry mud and chunks of gravel. It's not a smooth ride, but I'm moving along fine enough. Then, in the amount of time it takes for me to blink, KERTHUNK! My tires have gotten themselves stuck in a giant rut. About 2 minutes later, it's dark outside and I am all alone with my stuck little self in this stuck large(ish) car, and I have no idea how to get out of this predicament.

This current rut is a fear rut. A few weeks ago, I had a casual conversation with a friend that triggered a whole lot of fear. I panicked. I made some poor and frantic decisions. And I ratted myself out to my therapist. She suggested we use the experience as a target for EMDR. (Feel free to Google “EMDR.” It is actually pretty cool.) Even though I have made some pretty substantial progress with EMDR before, I am scared. I am scared because the target is a scary thing for me, and I am scared because I have experienced overwhelming emotions during EMDR in the past.

About 6 months ago, my therapist responded to a rambling email from me. The subject line of that email was “Stuck.” She said,

Just keep moving. The scary won't hurt you, as much as it seems it can. You are OK even when you don't feel that way.

Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust you.”

Keep your mind focused on our God who is faithful, good, and ever present in times of trouble.

Half a year later, I find myself in a similar emotional state. Stuck in scared mode, anticipating tomorrow when we begin another course of EMDR. This time, I am making the words of Psalm 56:3 my own: On my scared days, I will trust God. He is able to help me through.

Scripture quoted in the image above taken from the World English Bible. The World English Bible is in the Public Domain. That means that it is not copyrighted. See copyright information here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/World-English-Bible-WEB/#copy.


Reading About Jesus (as Recorded by Matthew)

My first post this year was about Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. And no one—NO ONE!—comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). I'm not sure when I decided this biblical truth did not apply to me, but I did. Of course, this is not a subject to be taken lightly, but I can't help but write this with a bit of humor because of how silly (in a foolish sort of way) I have been.

Recently, this happened [internal dialogue begins here]:

J1: If you desire a relationship with the Father, J, then you need a relationship with the Son. You can't just use His name at the end of your prayers and expect that to constitute having a relationship with Him.
J2: But, but… but. Yeah. *hangs head in defeat*

This year I have mapped out a Bible reading plan that consists entirely of the four gospel accounts because I need to get reacquainted with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am currently reading Matthew's account and I truly enjoy it. A friend and I have been sending facebook messages back and forth about our daily Bible readings, and I thought I'd share some of mine here. I hope you gain some enjoyment from my enjoyment as well!

I am cutting these chapters in half so that I can focus more on what the words are really saying… .1 = first part of a chapter and .2 = last part of a chapter.

Matt 8.1: Jesus wrapped up his sermon and came down from the mountain. Now he is going to work healing many. What struck me this time was how much of a people person Christ must have been while here on earth (and still is in heaven?). If I had crowds following me around and constantly asking me to do this or that for them, I would lose my cool for sure. But it seems that Jesus welcomed and encouraged the masses to come to him and ask him to heal them or others they knew. Just blows me away.

Matt 9.2: Wow did Christ exhibit patience and kindness when he was on earth! The last half of Matt 9 records several accounts of Christ being approached by people who believed he could heal them or someone they knew. Everywhere he went it seems he was surrounded by a crowd of people! How annoying! But if he ever got tired of constantly being followed around by people who wanted him to do stuff for them, it seems that he didn't show it. This makes me think of a mom who has a bunch of kids who are following her around because they need her to do something for them because they are hungry or tired or thirsty or sick or need a diaper change, etc. The last few verses give us Christ's emotional response to the crowd that followed him: he had compassion! He was not annoyed or angry or disgusted. He saw them as helpless and in need of a caretaker, guide, and protector (ie, they were sheep w/o a shepherd). Wow! I would probably just be annoyed by the whole situation. Christ was and is amazing.

I got Matt 14.2 here for us: Jesus has just learned of John the Baptist's death, so he goes out to a desolate place for some alone time. But the crowds follow him. Instead of being irritated that they are encroaching on his desired solitude, he has compassion on them and heals the sick who came after him. At the end of the day, Christ performs yet another miracle and feeds this huge crowd of thousands of people. [C]an you imagine being followed by thousands of people when you just want to be alone? Christ is so patient, kind, and compassionate! After he feeds the thousands he sends the disciples away on a boat but he stays to dismiss the crowd. Finally, after a long day of healing the sick, feeding thousands of people, and whatever else he did that is not recorded, he was able to spend time alone… alone but with his father. He prayed alone there in the middle of the night. Next we see him taking a stroll across the stormy seas to catch up with his disciples. At the close of the chapter he once again heals many sick. Jam packed full of Christ's miracles!

See a theme running through all of these recaps? I do. Jesus is approachable.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I haven't done my reading yet for the day.


The Way, the Truth, the Life

John 14:6, according to the KJV translation, contains the following words of Jesus:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Here are some interesting passages to consider in relation to Jesus's words:

The Holy [Spirit] this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing…. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…. (Heb 9:8, 10:19–22) [Note: Read Hebrews 9 and 10 highlighting Heb 9:1–3, 6–9, 11–14, 24, and 10:19–22.]
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:18, 20–24)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1–3)

Those passages provide a fuller description of what it means for Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life. Christ paved the way to God when he died on the cross for our sins, so that we are able to approach God as only the high priest was able to under the old covenant. Christ corrects our vision, enabling us to see the truth, to recognize the corrupt condition of the old self that was driven by deceitful desires and to constantly renew our mind, keeping us focused on the new self we are meant to be. Christ embodied life and only through him and his life can we live in fellowship with God.

Scripture quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. The KJV is public domain in the United States. See version information here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/King-James-Version-KJV-Bible/#vinfo.