“In a commendable concern to do justice to the reality of the satanic order, and the seriousness of the Christian calling, we need to be alert to appearing to undermine Christ’s universal creative sovereignty and Easter victory. ‘Never forget’, as Luther said, ‘the devil is God’s devil.’ All authority in heaven and earth now belongs to the crucified and risen one (Mt. 28: 18), in vindication of his primeval creative mastery. The full demonstration of his rule awaits his appearing, but its reality is already proclaimed in both creation and redemption.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 (ESV)
As I go further down the road as a Christian, I find that I cling more & more to the Gospel of John. I think it gives the clearest picture in the Bible of who Jesus was and why He came. I’m about halfway through John in my Bible reading plan and read through John 10 yesterday. Verse 10 of course is very familiar to all Christians. Sometimes a verse gets you and sometimes it’s just a word. Here it’s ‘abundantly’.
I just finished reading a little book by Matt Redmond called The God of the Mundane. I wouldn’t characterize it simply as an answer to the ‘radical’ type books that have come out in recent years. However, it does offer a counter-perspective for those of us who find themselves in everyday America with normal jobs, daily childcare responsibilities, unending household chores, and the like. Redmond asks, “In the economy of God, do only the times when we are doing something life-changing have any spiritual cache with Him?” I wonder that myself sometimes. I see tweets and blog posts about saints who are doing work in “hard soil” as one of my pastors once called it and often feel small by comparison. Some days the agenda is just reading my Bible, getting out the door, working a full day, coming home to spend time with my wife and son, and then it’s bedtime. Those days kind of run together. I wonder in light of reading Redmond’s book, and spending some time on John 10:10, if Jesus had this in mind when he talked about abundance. God calls us to be faithful right where we are, I really believe that. And just as sure, sometimes He calls us out of where we are and to other areas where He feels we can best serve. Sometimes though I wonder if Jesus sees an ‘abundance’ in my life. Are others living on a higher plane as Christians? Is there such a thing?
There is a bit of rambling here, as there is in most of my posts. If you have read this far, what do you think? When Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” what does He mean? What does this look like in your own life?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27 (ESV)
I’ve been visiting different churches since arriving here in Ohio and yesterday the pastor preached on John 14:15-31. They are doing a series on the Gospel of John and it’s been helpful to me to go through this book again in this way. On a side note I would say that I find more and more in the Gospel of John each time I go through it. John Piper once remarked that you don’t start with John’s gospel and then just move on to Romans for more meat. There’s enough in John’s account to last you a lifetime.
The pastor did not spend a lot of time on John 14:27, but as I was reading and thinking about this verse during and after the sermon, I kept coming back to Jesus’ words – ‘Not as the world gives do I give to you.’ We hear a lot about ‘peace’ in our world and the word is tossed around quite freely by all of us – “I’m at peace with it” is a term we often hear. But what does that mean? What does that kind of peace give us? Is it just peace until the next crisis or conflict, which we endure and then in our own minds and judgment come to a point where we’ve put it aside and then can say we have ‘peace’? Does it really last?
Jesus has given His disciples some difficult things to grasp in John 14. Philip and Thomas especially seem to be confused about the full meaning of His words. He has also just promised them that they will not be left alone when He leaves the world, and that the Holy Spirit will be sent to comfort them then and going forward. I would guess that when the disciples talked amongst themselves in those days they were not at peace. Jesus was again saying hard things (as in John 6) and worry and doubt were probably keeping them up at night. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul gives his audience a prescription for their worry in ch.4 and then concludes “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (v. 7)
We talk a lot about “having peace” and “being at peace” but what does that really mean? How do we fully grasp what Jesus is saying in John 14:27? What does that really look like?