The Born Again Life

2nd December

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.””

John 3:3

A Pharisee called Nicodemus came to Jesus late one night. As he approached Jesus, Nicodemus declared that the religious leaders knew that He was sent from God because of the evidence seen in His miracles, (although all were not be bold enough to say it; probably the reason why Nicodemus came at night). Yet Jesus’ reply was not one of gratitude but one of warning. Jesus said that ‘unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God’! Jesus was basically saying, ‘that it is no good to just know about Me through my miracles and believe I am sent from God. If you really want to see God and enter God’s Kingdom, you need to be born again.’

Of course Nicodemus was stomped by this and couldn’t understand how a human could be born again of his mother’s womb. Yet Jesus was not talking about physical re-birth but spiritual. He was talking about the death of our old sinful self and a new birth through the Holy Spirit, cleansed, forgiven and made whole as a new person.

Today as we read this story, we too are reminded that a belief in Jesus’ miracles or even in the supernatural is not enough to save you from your sins. In order to be saved we need to be born again by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew us, cleanse us and purify us. We need to die to our self and be born again in the Spirit. It is only then, we can know we are saved and that we live as part of God’s Kingdom and as part of His family.

The Temple Privilege

1st December

““All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and You can rebuild in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple” He meant His own body.”

John 2:19-21

After Jesus rose from the dead the disciples remembered His words from today’s passage. They too may have, at the time Jesus spoke these words, thought Jesus was mad for making such a bold declaration about destroying the temple and building it again. Of course they had witnessed some of Jesus’ miracles already, so no doubt they knew His power. But to destroy the temple that took so long to build and re-build it in three days? Surely that was a bit much right?! Yet three days after Jesus’ death, in His resurrection, they put the puzzle pieces together and realised that Jesus was not talking about a physical building, but of His own body.

This truth’s implication becomes personal for us, when we too realise that we are the temples and vessels of the Holy Spirit, of God Himself. We host the very presence of Jesus, the One who was raised and ‘re-built’ after three days. He lives in us. We are a temple for His presence. Isn’t that such a huge privilege and honour? Paul encourages the church in Corinth to remember this fact by saying ‘don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.’

Jesus knew that His own physical body was a holy vessel for the presence of God and we too share in that same privilege. We no longer are bound by four walls, but rather carry the presence of God with us wherever we go! May we honour God with our bodies and be fully aware of the divine privilege and responsibility of being temple of God, now and always.

The Angry Jesus….?

30th November

Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, He told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!””

John 2:15-16

Soon after the wedding in Cana, after Jesus had turned water into wine, Jesus headed toward Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. As He entered the temple, His heart was filled with anger towards what faced Him: He saw scheming and conniving people trying to profit from the large crowds that had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover; Money exchangers ripping off foreigners by most probably charging a ridiculous handling fee to change their own currency into money fit for the temple offering; Cattle and sheep probably being sold at extortionate prices for monetary gain; Holiness for God’s house non-existent.

Jesus was filled with anger and made a whip to drive out the defilers of His Father’s house. Jesus didn’t just want to give a lecture about what wrong with the situation. He got mad and wanted to drive them all out. He wanted purity and holiness in His Father’s house.

Sometimes we overlook this story and don’t see the personal reflection and application for our own lives. Jesus was angry because people abused and mocked His Father’s house. If we believe that Jesus lives in us and our bodies are the temple of God, then what do we think Jesus feels about our temple? This is not to say that Jesus will make a whip to beat the sin out of us when we stumble. But it does mean that God doesn’t tolerate sinful, disrespectful and God neglecting lifestyles. He wants our lives to be a reflection of Him in purity and holiness. If they’re areas of your life that are not that, then reach out to our loving, gracious Father and ask Him to help you deal with it. God’s grace is sufficient in our weakness. God is love and that is why He wants to make us holy!

Do Whatever He Tells You..

29th November

But His mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. . . Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”. . ”

John 2:5-6a, 7a

The wonderful miracle of Jesus turning water into wine is often noted to be Jesus’ first miracle on the earth as a human. Of course the fact that Jesus turned water into wine, and not just any wine, but into a fine wine, is in and of itself an amazing miracle. Yet it is the manner that Jesus did it, that intrigues commentators and readers a like.

Jesus’ mother Mary, a wedding guest or perhaps even one of the organisers of the wedding feast, noticed that the wine had run out and authoritatively told the servants of the wedding feast to ‘do whatever He (Jesus) tells you’. If Mary was just a mere guest at the wedding, then she probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the servants what to do. Perhaps she was so concerned the wine had run out and knew who her Son was, that she took matters into her own hands. Whatever the reasons, Mary knew there was a problem and she knew her Son, Jesus had the solution.

So Jesus, encouraged by His mother, told the servants to fill the stone jars with water. What is worth noting, is the fact that these jars were used for ceremonial cleaning, a fact that John purposefully tells his readers. The stone jars that were used for ‘ceremonial cleaning’ would soon become vessels for Jesus’ first miracle and a miracle that led many of the disciples to put their trust in Him. The significance of the stone jars being used, symbolises that Jesus didn’t work in the ‘religious’ way people expected. He broke church customs and religious practices to reach greater needs and show people who He really was.

Sometimes Jesus doesn’t always work in the ways we expect Him to, but our hope in Jesus’ miracles in our lives, should be approached in the same manner as Mary did, ‘do whatever He tells you’. Trust Jesus, trust His miracles and watch Him work powerfully in your life.

The Stairway To Heaven

28th November

Then He said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the One who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

John 1:51

Jesus is our stairway to heaven.

If we just stopped this devotion there, that would be enough to fill us for the day right?! What a powerful and deep statement. Yet what elevates this passage to an even deeper and surreal understanding, is that Jesus said it about Himself. It is such a clear demonstration of Jesus’ role in our salvation and our relationship with the Father, that it cannot be denied. Moreover Jesus Himself spoke this truth. When Jesus says, ‘I tell you the truth’, we can pretty much guarantee that what He is about to say is 100% the truth. He plainly and clearly told His disciples that they will all see angels ascending and descending into heaven from earth, on a heavenly stairway, which was HIMSELF.

It is Jesus Himself, who is the connection, the link and the stairway for not only the angels to ascend and descend into heaven, but for us too. It is through Jesus that we pray to the Father. It is through His sacrificial ransom for us that we stand before God forgiven and free. It is through Jesus that we can enter the Holy of Holies. It is Jesus that stands before the Father as our representative and on our behalf. He is the One that allows us access to a Holy God, regardless of how we see ourselves. Friends, Jesus is your access to Heaven. It is only through Him. He is your stairway to Heaven. Believe in Him, put your trust in Him and walk into God’s throne room through Jesus. It is the truth. Jesus said it Himself.

Behold… The Lamb Of God

26th – 27th November

Weekend Edition

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward Him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the One I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for He existed long before me.’”

John 1:29-30

John’s two fold prophetic statement are words which echo throughout eternity. John’s statement not only implied that somehow Jesus would forgive the sins of the world, but also that Jesus was greater than John because He existed long before him. We know both to be true and both are foundational in our belief and our salvation.

Firstly, Jesus truly was the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. He humbly went to the cross, knowing what awaited Him, knowing the pain and suffering, and gladly become the unblemished sacrifice for us, taking our sins upon Him, forgiving us and showering His love upon us. That is foundational to our re-connection with God, as it is through Jesus, that we can commune and have fellowship with the Father. He is the bond that sets us free.

Secondly, is the knowledge that Jesus existed long before humanity. John’s terminology may have simply been to imply that Jesus’ ministry started before his, yet the underlying truth is that Jesus truly was around longer than John. In fact Jesus was around longer than the earth itself. He created the world. He was there from the beginning and will be there at the end. He is beyond time. It is this fact that shows us that Jesus and God are ONE; an absolute truth that cannot be comprised on. It too is foundational for our faith and salvation.

This is why John’s words still ring true today. They are a prophetic picture of salvation in the King of Kings and the Creator of all things. Do you echo John’s words in your heart? Can you stand in agreement with John and welcome the Lamb of God into your life?

Your Way

25th November

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.”

Psalm 24:4-5

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth1

The Psalmist often spoke of the necessity of God’s guidance throughout his life because he knew that without it, he would be lost. Moreover, there was no plan B for his life. It was God’s way or nothing. He knew the importance of being led by an all seeing and all powerful God. If we too could just trust God more, imagine how much more at peace we would feel in our lives; the release that we don’t have to have all the answers or know every step we have to take in our lives because we are being led by our God whose ways are higher than ours.

Isn’t interesting when you view things from a higher perspective it changes your perception of those things. For example when you go to the top of a high rise building or climb up a tall mountain, everything beneath you seems so small and even toy-like. God has the same perspective over not just a period in our lives, but all of it. He knows our beginning and our end. He knows the next step and one hundred steps from now.

Today, just take a step back from your worries, concerns and stresses for the future and trust in God’s way. Not just for ‘life’ but in order that we might live for the Lord in all we do; as the Psalmist says, to live in God’s truth for all of our lives. May we too, all day long, put our trust in Him.

1Psalms 86:11a