Nick Poindexter

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Tag: John (page 1 of 2)

Stop Speaking About Jesus

So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
-Acts 4:15-20 (NLT)

Stop speaking about Jesus. I’m serious. Stop it. Never again. No more talking to your next-door neighbor about your love for Christ. No more morning chat with your co-workers about what you learned about him while reading your Bible. No more dinner table discussion with your family about your thankfulness of Jesus’ grace. So that’s it. Got it? Please give the Jesus thing a rest.

Quick self-evaluation… If I were serious, would you have any trouble complying?

During the early church’s history in the book of Acts, we find people like Peter and John being told just that — to not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus ever again. And their response shows how absurd of a request it truly was… It was almost as if they were thinking, “Let me get this straight… You want Christians to not talk about Jesus? Ha! Good luck!” They viewed it as an impossibility! Testifying about what they had witnessed was simply something they had to do, no questions asked.

Did you catch that? Christians being told to shut up about Jesus, and Christians responding that they cannot shut up about Jesus. I hate to say it, I’m not sure many in the church today would have much difficultly acquiescing to that request. As silly as it sounds, Christians not speaking of Christ has pretty much become acceptable behavior. And even worse, many believers justify their quietness under the guise of meekness, humility or peacefulness. And while those are certainly good, virtuous qualities to have, they aren’t a license for disobedience!

Let’s just be honest… You can’t make the modern church speak about Jesus. And you couldn’t make the New Testament church stop speaking about Jesus.

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting Christians must stand on street corners and blast passersby with scripture and condemnation. That’s just annoying. There’s a big difference between obnoxiousness and obedience.

But what I am suggesting is that one would think the greatest event to ever occur in your life would at least pop up some of the time in normal, day-to-day conversation. That’s it. I don’t think that’s too much to expect. But unfortunately for many Christians, the topic of Jesus is more or less nonexistant.

If that’s the case, then honestly who are you trying to please? Clearly, not speaking about Christ is what the world wants. And it’s definitely what Satan, the ruler of the world, wants. But what about what God wants? In the words of Peter and John, do you think God wants us to obey people rather than him? Submission to God must always supersede all else.

Really, there’s no choice. So share boldly, courageously, and confidently about Jesus. Tell everyone that will listen about what you have seen and what you have heard.

And please, don’t fall for the lie that silence is okay. To Christians, the mere suggestion of that action should be ludicrous.

No matter what, we cannot stop.

The Lion And The Lamb

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.
-Revelation 5:5-6a (NIV)

In Revelation 5, the exiled apostle John is given a glimpse into the throne room of heaven. One of the things he sees is a scroll, which contains a written account of God’s future plans for the world. There is a problem, however — no one is worthy to open it. That thought bothers John so much that be begins to weep uncontrollably. An elder quickly calms his fears by saying that the Lion of the tribe of Judah (another name for Jesus) has authority to open, read and execute the contents of the scroll.

John is expecting a lion, but instead sees a lamb. I’m sure he was very confused…  A quiet, peaceful lamb couldn’t be further from a mighty, ferocious lion. They are complete polar opposites!

But it’s clear that Jesus is described as a lion and he’s described as a lamb. And that mere fact from Revelation is vital if we are to have a true understanding of Jesus’ character. Any other view where one side is overemphasized at the expense of the other is completely unbalanced and extremely dangerous.

For example, people who want Jesus to simply be a lion will say things like, “Jesus is coming! He’s going to judge the immoral, he’s going to pounce on my enemies, and destroy those who are just plain different than me! He’ll protect me, but not everyone else. So watch out… If you’re not just like I am, then the lion is gonna get you!”

Others who are only attracted to Jesus’ lamb qualities will make comments like, “Jesus died for everyone! He’s safe and forgiving. So of course he’d never harm anyone. Correction? Punishment? Discipline? Hell? Those words aren’t in his vocabulary! So sin all you’d like… The gentle lamb won’t hurt you!”

Is there some truth there in both of those statements? Sure. Jesus is the lion. Lions symbolize power, strength and royalty. Jesus is the lamb. Lambs symbolize obedience, purity and sacrifice.

But he’s not one over the other. Jesus is both.

As a lamb is how Jesus entered into the world, glorifying the Father for his mercy and forgiveness. But, as a lion is how Jesus will return into the world, glorifying the Father for his justice and authority.

To fully understand and worship Christ for who he is now, we must see him in his entirety.

Jesus is the lion and the lamb.

Do You Want To Be Healed?

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
-John 5:2-9 (ESV)

Here in John’s gospel, Jesus meets up with a sick man at the pool of Bethesda and asks him an obvious question: “Do you want to be healed?”

You have a disabled man who has not been able to do anything for himself for 38 years, and Jesus has the audacity to ask him if he wants to get well. Well, duh! Of course! That’s like asking someone who has been lost in the desert for days if they would like a drink of water.

On the surface, Jesus’ question even sounds slightly inappropriate and insensitive. It’s almost as if he is teasing the man. However, Jesus, of course, knew his heart.

So you would think the sick man would give the obvious response… “Yes, thank you! Those are the exact words I’ve been praying to hear for 38 years! Finally, I can be healed!” But no, instead the man gives rehashed reasons as to why it will never happen.

It’s sad, really. The one person who can truly heal the man is standing right in front of him and he’s completely oblivious to the fact because he is wrapped up in his excuses. And that’s where the problem lies. The sick man is only focused on his own failed efforts and inadequacies, and not on Jesus.

I think it’s terribly tragic how many people today are suffering from the exact same condition as this man. And I’m not talking about his illness… I’m talking about his excuses!

The explanations are endless…  “It’s just the way that I was made… It doesn’t come naturally to me… My parents were this way, so I will always be this way.” There’s always an excuse! And some people would actually prefer it that way. Their brokenness gives them an out. They really don’t want to be restored.

How many many times have you heard others say that they can’t change the way they are? And how many times have you said it yourself?

Are there things outside your control that affect who you are? Sure. But those things do not make you who you are. Who you are is defined in Christ and in Christ alone. And by his power you can be healed.

So it’s time to can the excuses. Jesus can help you. Jesus can change you. Jesus can free you. But the ball is in your court. Just like the sick man, the question remains the same…

Do you want to be healed?

It Is Finished

A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
-John 19:29-30 (NIV)

Many people read Jesus’ final words on the cross, “It is finished,” as a straightforward reference to his death. To a modern-day reader, that’s an easy mistake to make.

However, I think it’s a tragedy that the most important words in the history of mankind are so terribly misunderstood.

What Jesus said was way more than three little words. He actually used a Greek phrase from their day and culture that was packed with meaning: tetelestai. This verbiage was used on receipts and invoices once a debt had been repaid. It literally meant, “Paid in full.” The expression was also terminology used in the Roman prison system. When a criminal was found guilty, their sentence was written down and nailed to their cell door. When they were released, “tetelestai” was written on the paper. That way, if someone was suspicious of seeing the criminal freely walking the streets, they could easily present the paper and say, “See, it’s paid for… I’m free!”

So when Jesus shouts this Greek accounting and prison term from the cross, the crowd that was gathered around would have instantly got it. The Roman soldiers performing the execution especially would have got it. And we too should get it.

Jesus is not defeated, nor is he relieved that the punishment is over.

Jesus’ last words are a victory cry setting the record straight once and for all… The removal of the penalty for your wrongs is complete. The debt has been paid in full. The sentence has been served.

Your sins are gone. You are free.

It is finished, indeed.

In Jesus’ Name

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
-John 14:13-14 (NIV)

Your head is bowed, your eyes are closed, and you are listening as someone leads in prayer. And then you hear the usual closing words: “We ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.” The prayer is officially complete.

But why do we close our audible prayers to God in this way?

The idea is taught in these verses from the Gospel of John. At first glance it might seem that you can simply tag this line to the end of any prayer and get what you want, but that’s not the case at all. Does Jesus want to do whatever we ask of him? Yes, but with a caveat… He will do anything we ask that brings glory to God.

In Jesus’ day, a person’s name embodied what they were like. So to pray in the name of Jesus simply meant you were asking for something consistent with his character. Jesus will gladly answer those requests because through them his Father will be glorified.

Many people unfortunately view prayer as a magic formula where we list our selfish cravings. But if what we ask for clearly isn’t in line with God’s will, then those words are vain and meaningless.

Using “in Jesus’ name” in a prayer isn’t necessarily right nor wrong. But it is absolutely not a secret password that gets you an all-access pass to God. It’s not about the words we use; it’s about our intent.

So ask yourself this question: If all your prayers were answered, who would get the credit? You, someone else, or God the Father?

Ask Jesus for anything that brings God glory and he will do it.

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