May 10

John 3:1-21

John 3:16 is a popular verse that often gets quoted on its own. As we look at it in context, it is part of a discussion Jesus has with Nicodemus, a Pharisee. In context, Jesus is talking to an educated Jew, a religious leader. Nicodemus is part of a group that is mostly against Christ, which is probably why they met at night. Jesus acknowledges Nicodemus’ Scriptural knowledge saying to the Pharisee, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” Nicodemus knew the Scripture, but he didn’t have REVELATION of the spiritual meaning of many of those Scriptures; however, Nicodemus wanted to know. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have had this private meeting in darkness. In verse 2, this Pharisee says to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him.” The miracles confirmed Jesus’ ministry. Most Pharisees agreed that something supernatural was happening, but they made the accusation that the power was from Satan. Nicodemus believed he was witnessing something very special in his lifetime.

Jew to Jew, teacher to teacher, the Messiah uncovers truth to a humble, inquisitive temple leader. How does Jesus take this opportunity to speak to a leader about His purpose?

Jesus takes something natural to attempt to describe something supernatural. Jesus compares the birth of a baby to the rebirth of a dead spirit with new life. He didn’t stop explaining when Nicodemus didn’t understand. Jesus continued.

He spoke of the Son of Man coming down from heaven. Speaking of Himself, Jesus lets Nicodemus know He came from heaven. Saying He is the Son of Man, is saying that He became a man. Then He gives the reason why He became a man – to become sin, be sacrificed and die on a pole, so others could live. Jesus recalls the illustration from Numbers 21 of the serpent Moses put on a pole, giving life to those bitten by a poisonous snake. Jesus describes a rescue, saving people from death.

Then we read verse 16 about God sending His Son to save us from death and offering us life.

Jesus isn’t done. In speaking to a Pharisee, someone whose entire life is dedicated to the Mosaic Law, Jesus says, “God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved.” Not only would they have this glorious rescue, but the world would also have the opportunity to choose to leave the kingdom of darkness to experience His light. Jesus exposes His heart, showing that He understands that for some all they know is darkness. They were born into it, they have only known life in darkness, and He knew His light could be offensive to many. However, in speaking with Nicodemus, His heart was for this Pharisee to understand a ministry of light, of compassion, of rescue.

Let’s shine the light of love with others!

1 Kings 21-22

The spirit of Jezebel is out to control through an authority figure. The spirit is also out to take what belongs to someone else. When this spirit is at work in God’s kingdom, you will see people trying to rise up to take away from someone else’s vineyard. You see pastors taking other people’s sheep through manipulation and slander. You see ministries trying to pull people away from another ministry.

Naboth did not want to sell or exchange his property because it was his inheritance. It was what belonged to him and his family. It was their lot, their portion. God allots churches and ministries their territory, a portion that belongs to them as a responsibility and a blessing. That assignment takes their investment, maintenance, protection, and a large part of their livelihood. Their inheritance takes time, talent, treasure, and their touch. It is not only theirs, but they are establishing something for their country and their God. It is highly meaningful to the owner of that land- spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. If someone leaves a church or ministry, it has an impact on the leader of that ministry.

There is such a dishonor in action, word, or attitude that would take away from a church or ministry. When someone takes people away from someone else’s ministry, he or she takes part of their heart in the people they have loved, cared for, protected, taught, trained, fed, and led. Ouch. When someone takes away people they also steal away hands that serve and finance that resource and connections that expand. It’s wrong.

Jezebel didn’t care about Naboth. She wanted Ahab to increase so SHE could increase. She had Naboth killed and told Ahab to take possession. He did. This reveals Ahab’s nature. He could rebuked Jezebel for killing a just man over property. He could have given that property to Naboth’s children. However, Ahab willingly embrace Jezebel because she wanted to increase him. He was greedy. He was unfeeling. He was unjust.

God sends Elijah to Ahab. Ahab describes Elijah, the man of God, as an enemy. Wow. This man who reverences God, put his life on the line to obey God, and served Israel is called an “enemy” by the king of the nation. Oh, Ahab was a wicked man.

Elijah says, “I found you because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord.” God sent Elijah to find Ahab. He declared God’s word of calamity to Ahab and Jezebel, and Ahab humbles himself, so God relents from taking Ahab’s life.

Ahab dies in battle. Ahaziah reigns next over Israel. Jehoshaphat reigns in Judah.

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