Friday, January 13, 2023
By Lauren Wood, Journey Member
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” – John 5:24
John 5 tells the story of Jesus quietly healing a man on the Sabbath who had been crippled for 38 years. Without knowing who the healer was, the religious leaders demanded to know who broke the Sabbath, never mind that a miracle was performed! Once they were alerted that it was Jesus who broke the Sabbath, they confronted him. Jesus was quick to compare himself to God, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (5:17) As a result of two broken laws (healing on the Sabbath and blasphemy), they wished to persecute Jesus.
Jesus continues, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (5:24) Continuing to explain who He is, Jesus reflects: “And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. …and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. …but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves…when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God.” (5:38-44)
When I engage in social media, I often see clips of protests, ranting, accusations, and hatred geared toward people who do not give into the modern day influence and cultural beliefs. Persecution spews at those of us who believe in and try to live our lives in reflection of our Heavenly Father. We live in a world ruled by the descendants of Jesus’ persecutors who buff and shine their mirrored glass only to reflect their self-importance. They desire to be revered by society and thrive in their own autonomy, completely detached from God. As in John 5, these people seek to glorify the law of man defined by influences of our culture that are contrary to the Bible.
It saddens me to think this is the path being laid down for our future generations. A future that teaches us to rely on government and societal expectations instead of believing in, and whole-heartedly yearning for a relationship with Jesus. It starts within our homes, and openly, with or without fear of persecution, admitting our conviction to Christ to justify our Christian beliefs.
John 5 teaches us that those who love Jesus and believe in Him will have life everlasting. Let us offer ourselves as a model of Jesus to those who persecute us.
“Dear Father, thank you for the favor and blessings you have so graciously shown my family. Help me daily, to live with the intention to follow and praise you and not give into social pressure. May your reflection be seen through the eyes of everyone I encounter so they too, may feel your abundant love. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.