pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Personal

Reading: Acts 2: 14a and 36

Verse 36: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”.

Just prior to our reading today the Holy Spirit has come upon the believers and they have spoken in tongues, sharing the story of Jesus Christ in the languages of those gathered from afar. Peter stands to address the bewildered crowd that has gathered around the believers. We pick up Peter’s sermon in verse 36 today, where Peter says, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. In the original context the “you” was the Jews. Following their leader’s guidance, the Jews were the voice that drove Pilate to give the orders for crucifixion.

This morning, as I read that verse, it struck me as a first-person “you” – as in “whom you crucified John”. It is as if Jesus was crucified for me and for me alone. My sin is the driving force that placed Jesus on the cross. It is a penetrating thought. Of course, anyone’s name could go in the place of mine. Even your name could. Try reading verse 36 a few times, inserting your name after “crucified”, just as I did. As you read it over and over, allow yourself to feel the weight of it. You crucified Jesus. I crucified Jesus. We all had a hand that held a nail or swung the hammer. The one that came as God in the flesh, the one we identify as Lord and Christ, was crucified for each of us. Not “all of us” but each of us. We need to own this part of the crucifixion.

It is important to do so because then we can own our own part of the resurrection too. In dying for each of us, Jesus opened the way for each of us to live with him now and to one day claim our place in the heavenly realms. Just as these first disciples were each empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life of faith, so too are we each empowered. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us. We do not share it. The Spirit is the personal, indwelling presence of Jesus inside each of us. Tomorrow’s reading will unpack what that means for us.

Remembering that the risen Christ is personal, may we each live today as children of the resurrection, seeking to share our Lord and Savior with a broken and fallen world. May it be so for each of us.

Prayer: Father God, considering the crucifixion from such a personal space causes me to look within. I wonder what I still hold onto that crucifies your son yet again today. Guide me to search out the roots and to die to that part of myself, making me more fully yours. Amen.


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Loved That Much

“For God so loved the world…”  Just by prompting you with those six words, you probably can finish the verse.  For those that have even just a few years of church, these are familiar words.  But not to everybody.  After Tim Tebow wore ‘John 3:16’ on his eye black in the national championship game a few years back, over 90 million people googled it.

It is a powerful verse.  It is the gospel message in a nutshell.  On a communal level, sometimes the message is hard to fathom.  When one sees all of the violence, hatred, abuse, prejudice, injustice… in the world, it is hard to understand how God could love this world so much as to send His only Son into it.  But that is just how much He loves this broken world.

Then I think about this verse on a personal level.  When I consider how long I have known and been in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and look hard at my life some days, I think, ‘Even me?’  In spite of all the times I fail to do what you lead me to and all of the times I sin, You still love me?  Yes He does.  God loves all of us this way.  Wow!

The reality is that God would send His Son to die for just one of us.  He loves each of us that much.  But God sent Jesus to all of us – for each and every person who lives or has lived from the time Jesus walked the earth until the time He returns in glory.  For God so loved this broken, hurting, fallen world so much that He sent His one and only Son to save this world.  He loves the world that much.  He loves you and me that much.  Thanks be to God for His great love!!

Scripture reference: John 3: 16-17