Daily Readings & Thought for April 13th. “HIS WORD ABIDING ….”
Today’s 5th chapter of John includes the words of Jesus to the religious leaders who were jealous of his popularity: these men were not of the same calibre as Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. Jesus tells them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life” [v.39] Their motive in searching God’s word was self-centred, they would gain prestige in the eyes of others – and – they took it for granted – prestige in the eyes of God. In contrast Jesus said, “I do not receive glory from people” [v.41] He then said, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you.” They had too much self-love! We need to meditate carefully on Jesus’ words – what is it to love God – as distinct from knowing he exists and reading about him in his word?
Love arises from a relationship; Jesus asks them, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” [v.44] Glory? Another word would be praise – patting one another on the back over achievements – this is constantly happening in sports. But God does not pat us on the back! Some words Paul addressed to the Romans have application, “ … a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man, but from God.” [2 v.29]
The jealous Jewish leaders condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and “even calling God his own Father.” [v.18] Jesus had said, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” [v.19] He tells them, “His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you.” [v.38]
God’s word has to come ‘alive’ in the minds of those who read it. The result will be an overwhelming sense of humility – greatly beyond human comprehension. It includes an awed contemplation from the depth of our hearts – what the Creator of all things must be like
When his word really abides in a human heart it lays the foundation for a true and wonderful relationship with God. The end result is an even more awesome contemplation – for the Master said, initially to his disciples, – “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” But totally committed disciples know what to ask for! Contemplate what Jesus asked for! When we come to ch. 17 v.20 we will read, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word …” And the result of that belief? Read what Jesus goes on to say.