This Thursday May 4th is the national day of prayer. In this turbulent time we can run away from our fears and hide or we can run to our God in prayer. Together let’s choose to put our trust in God.
Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” John 1:50
Believing connects us first to knowing that He knows our hearts. This only recorded conversation between Nathanael and Jesus in the Bible is intriguing both because of its smallness and its bigness. Nathanael was astonished to discover that Jesus knew one of the smallest details of His day. That smallest detail led to the biggest decision of his life!
In the movie “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen, the elf named Judy says, “Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing!” That is one of the best descriptions of the miracle of faith in a believer’s life. At the moment that we believe we begin to see who Jesus for who He truly is. As we begin to see Him as He truly is then we begin to follow where He leads. When we follow where Jesus is leading, then we discover that He is going to some astonishing places!
Be prepared for astonishing places along the way as you follow Jesus. Buckle your seat belts and hold on tight. He has promised to show us greater things, if we only believe!
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:44
While Jesus first calls us to simply come and see, He also extends a second invitation to those who have come, “Come and follow!” Our seeing is tested by our following!
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). John 1:41
When we discover a new ice cream we can’t wait to tell our friends about how good it is. We have tasted something great and want others to know. In the same way if we have really seen how wonderful, awesome and loving Jesus is, then we will call others to see as well. What is the first thing we are chomping at the bit to do today? Does it seem like the eagerness you once felt to share the good news has dimmed? Do you feel like you are just stumbling along the way trying to be a Christian? We might need to put on the brakes, come to a complete stop and reset our GPS system for today. Have we seen Jesus as we began our day? If not, then this is the best time to simply come to Him by grace and start over. Feel like you don’t know where you are headed in His call on your life? That’s okay! Following Jesus can be like following a big rig through a thick fog. Keep his lights in sight and trust Him because only He knows where we are going!
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” John 1:38-39a
Jesus had a way of dealing with new followers which was a lot different than ours. He didn’t say, “Come and do” or “Come and give.” In fact Jesus began the conversation with a question, “What do you want?”
Whether at the door of the church or alone on a mountain trail, God asks us every morning, “What do you want?” Am I following just because someone told me to or do I really want to for myself? His test is not about our ability to serve Him but our desire to know Him.
When we go looking for Jesus we will find Him. He knows us but He waits for us to long to know Him. Then Jesus extends the invitation, “Come and see!” Jesus wants us to get to know Him because He isn’t afraid of what we will find. Every day is an opportunity for a new discovery of His character, His will and His heart. Maybe you have received an invitation that says: RSVP. That stands for the French “Répondez s’il vous plait” – “Respond if you please. “We have received an invitation to come to know Jesus. Jesus waits to see if we will respond. Do we really want to know where He lives? He calls out, “Come and see!”
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nation’s. I will be exalted in all the earth Psalm 46:20
When peace like a river
attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Never forget that we can say it is well with my soul because His soul was sorrowful unto death. The price of our great peace was paid by one who was forsaken for the sake of our son!
…Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. John 11:31b-34a
We often think of Mary as the ideal believer since she had chosen the good part listening at the feet of Jesus. But at the feet of Jesus is a place to learn, not a place to pose for pictures. Mary was in the good place but she soon faced the ultimate test just like we do. Lazarus, her brother died and he had died while Jesus had purposely delayed his coming. “If you had been here Lord!” , her heart broke trying to fit together the puzzle pieces of the harsh finality of death with the loving promises of the master. Mary could not see beyond her tears, yet Jesus was touched by her weakness just as He is today by ours.
We do not need to reach some ideal level of always joyfully believing the best when the worst has fallen in on our world. Our Savior is touched by the feeling of our infirmities, our hopeless state and our tears. He is not a demanding master but a master who takes the terrible demanding circumstances upon his shoulders and carries them to the cross.
What is your greatest sorrow? How heavy is the weight of your load? How long is your night that never ends? Jesus at your most vulnerable moment weeps and asks, “Where have you laid him?” No matter our darkening the horizon of our world our Jesus sees beyond!
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering his seed, some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:3-8
When we were looking at those seed catalogue it is interesting to remember that each variety in the book was accompanied by a photograph but it was not of the seed, it was always of luscious melons, red ripe tomatoes or deep green broccoli. No one was ever much wanted to see shriveled up corn kernels, dried beans or tiny carrot seeds. In the same way the heavenly Father sends people out to our hearts to plant the seeds, But it doesn’t really matter much how the sermon looks or how the hymn sounds because it is only the seed. What God is looking for is a harvest.
Of all people perhaps the farmer’s work requires the most faith. He begins his plans in winter when snow drifts are still filling his fields. He plows in early spring never knowing when the weather will be warm enough for planting. He plants his seed in the soil and waits because he has one all he can do. Unless God sends the right amount of rain, warmth and sunshine his crops will never grow. Then each summer as the Lord permits the farmer harvests goes to market to get the best price he can for purchasing all his family’s needs for the year plus new tools and seed so he can start it all over again next year!
God chooses to do the work of the farmer in our own lives. He sees us when we are as cold and hard as a snow filled field. Then He sends workers day after day, month after month and sometimes year after year to break up the field of our hearts for planting. Last He sent His son to die on the cross and fall like a grain of wheat into the ground of our hearts. And God does all that He does in hope that the most precious of all seeds which He has planted in us will grow strong and pure in our hearts to yield an eternal harvest of life!