The Messiah

In my last Bible study, Who Do You Say That I Am, we explored who Christ is by examining his own statements about his identity.

I went to the well in the heat of the day to avoid my neighbors. Some of them look right through me as if I am not there. If they do look at me, they don't even try to hide their disgust.

A man was sitting next to the well. He asked me for a drink of water. A Jew! I couldn't believe he would speak to me. So I asked him how he could ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink. He said that if I knew him, I would have asked him for living water!

I asked him, "how are you going to reach this living water? This is a deep well and you don't have anything to draw water. Are you greater than our father Jacob?"

He said, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never get thirsty. Indeed, the water I give them will become a spring of water that wells up to eternal life.”

Wow, that would be amazing! I said, "Sir, give me this water so I don't have to keep coming to this well!"

He told me to go get my husband. "I don't have one, Sir" He said to me, "I know. The truth is, you have had five husbands and are not married to the man you're with."

There was no condemnation in his eyes. But he was a Jew and a Jew has never been a friend of mine.

I said, "It's obvious you're a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that we must worship in Jerusalem."

He said, "Believe me, a time is coming when you won't worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans don't know who you worship. We Jews do know. Salvation comes from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and is here already, when true worshipers will worship God in the Spirit and in truth. These are the kind of worshipers the Father wants. God is Spirit and his people must worship in the Spirit and in truth."

I didn't come to the well to argue with a stranger and I wasn't about to argue with a prophet. So I said, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." He said, "I, the one you're talking to, "I am he."

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was stunned. I ran into town and told the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?"

The prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of the Messiah more than 700 years before Jesus was born!

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

The woman at the well would have known about this prophesy.

Who do you say that I am?

Lord Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Annointed One. You are Almighty God, the Everlasting Father. You are my Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace. You are Immanuel, God With Me.

Who do you say that I am?

My Bible study group just finished Becky Harling’s study Who Do You Say That I Am? Harling experienced a crisis of faith that led her to read the gospels with fresh eyes. She had been asking herself, where is Jesus? Why can’t I feel him? The study explores what she learned about who Jesus is based on what He said about himself. “Nothing describes Jesus’ identity as profoundly as His I Am statements.”

Harling noted that Jesus asked profound questions. He asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13). After the disciples responded, Jesus asked an important follow-up question: “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”

What is so significant about Jesus’ I AM statements? When Moses asked God, what should I say to the people when they ask your name, God replied, I am.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Exodus 3:13-14

I remember feeling out of touch with Jesus many years ago and I also read the gospels with fresh eyes. I asked myself, why wasn’t Jesus more present in my thoughts? I wanted a deeper connection with Him.

Most of the I Am statements are recorded in the gospel of John.

I AM the Messiah. John 4:26
I AM the Bread of Life. John 6:35
I AM the Light of the world. John 8:12
I AM the Good Shepherd. John 10:11
I AM the resurrection and the life. John 11:25
I AM the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
I AM the true vine. John 15:1
I AM the first and the last. Revelation 1:17

One of my favorite I Am statements is “I am the good shepherd.” The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Jesus is my good shepherd. I lack nothing. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul! He guides me along the right paths. He is with me; his rod and his staff, they comfort me.

What about you? Who do you say that Jesus is?

The Fullness of God

At the same time that my church began a sermon series on the Holy Spirit, my small group began to study Becky Harling’s Who Do You Say I Am? The pastor based a sermon on the Holy Spirit on Ephesians 3:16-19 and gave us copies of the verses to take home. Becky Harling told us to memorize these verses as we study who Jesus is.

I get the feeling that God trying to tell me something: write this prayer on your heart.

Paul’s prayer packs quite a punch. He prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith and that we may have power to grasp how huge Christ’s love is so that we may be filled with the fullness of God.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

My psstor noted that Paul did not pray that the Ephesians would have the intelligence or cleverness to grasp Christ’s love. His love surpasses our knowledge!

When Christ dwells in our hearts, we are rooted and established in love.

The love of Jesus grounds me. His love is an anchor in the storms of life. When the world tries to tell me who I am or who I should be, his love establishes my true identity and my true purpose. I am a beloved child of God. I am to love others as he loves me.

Christ’s love is deep and wide, like a fountain flowing, deep and wide.

When I really get this, when I feel the power of God’s love deep down in my innermost being, I may be filled with all the fullness of God.

What is this fullness of God? A commentator described this fullness (or pleroma) as God’s controlling influence on your thoughts, emotions, desires, words, and actions. It is to be aware of God’s presence and to yield to his Spiritual authority and character (his holiness, righteousness, and love). It is to continually walk in the Spirit.

Lord, you put these words on my heart for a reason. I pray that I will be constantly aware of your presence and your guidance. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you. Amen.

The Gift the Father Promised

One day, Jesus told his disciples to stay in the city because “I am going to send you what my Father has promised.” The gift God promised is the Holy Spirit, the person of the Trinity that seems to get the least attention in scripture and worship.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

Acts 1:4

In a sermon on the Holy Spirit, my pastor shared a verse that made me think about why it is for our good that Jesus is not here in the flesh. How could it be good for the disciples that Jesus was leaving them? They were so blessed to see God in the flesh and to learn from him! Oh, how I want to be with my friend Jesus!

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you

John 16:7

Jesus had to go away because he had to die to atone for the sins of mankind once and for all.

I am thankful that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, to guide us, and to be our Advocate. The Spirit empowers us. Lord, let us become more aware of your presence! You are welcome here.

Holy Spirit (Francesca Battistelli)

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord

*******

Photo by 卡晨 on Unsplash

Be still and wait on the Lord

Waiting for God to answer your most fervent prayers is hard. I have learned not to expect an immediate answer because I know that God’s timing is not the same as mine. But when you have been waiting on the Lord for months or even years, you may wonder why he isn’t answering your prayers.

In my last Bible study on The Extraordinary Power of Praise, Becky Harling offered excellent advice on what to do while you wait: worship! Thank God for what he is doing in the background.

Even when I can’t see how God is working in my life and in the lives of others, I know that he is working things out for my good. He is accomplishing extraordinary things that I know nothing about (yet).

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

When I praise God, I soften my heart to his will. As I wait, God is shaping my heart and my character. He is refining me, making me humble, ridding me of my imperfections and impurities.

Becky Harling said to direct your thoughts to the character of God instead of worrying about the what-ifs. I know that God is good and I know that his intentions towards me are good! I know that he is merciful. I know that he is faithful and he has been good to me!

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13:5-6

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him to give you the desires of your heart.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Be still. Listen. Stop questioning. Stop doubting. Have faith! God is in control. God is good. God is loving and merciful. He is my ever-present help in times of trouble.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Photo credit: Mindful Christanity Facebook page.