SUNDAY APRIL 18, 2021
Scripture To Consider:
“Then the Jews [Jewish religious leaders] answered and said to Jesus, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon: but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My Word he shall never see death.’”
“Then the Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My Word he shall never taste death!’ Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?’”
“Jesus answered, ‘If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His Word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and saw it and was glad.’”
“Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8.48-59
Something To Consider:
These frustrated Jewish leaders had no real condemning case against Jesus, so they resorted to personal insults. The leader or leader in training who can remain calm under fiery attacks and cruel insults from the enemy brings glory and honor to those he or she serves. Jesus honored His Father. They in turn dishonored God by dishonoring Jesus.
Let us learn this lesson of a lifetime, by staying clear of dishonoring anyone out of frustration, bitterness, or anger. It simply does not pay dividends in the long run! In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared in Luke 6.22, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.”
Jesus followed up by explaining, “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers [the religious leader’s ancestors] did to the prophets.” In other words, when we are dealt with harshly for Christ’s sake, we are in very good company!
Something Else To Consider:
Jesus stated, “If anyone keeps My Word he [or she] shall never see death.” When quoted by the Jewish leaders, they understood Him as saying, “If anyone keeps My Word he shall never taste death.” Without the intervention of God, we will all experience death. And as said before, it is an integral part of life.
Jesus claimed that those who keep His Word will not see or possibly taste the bitterness of death. Therefore, what is it that Jesus knows about death, that we do not? He knows what the Word of God proclaims concerning death. Psalm 49.15 instructs, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.”
Psalm 116.15 declares loud and clear, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” And Solomon realized the final destination of the righteous dead of who he spoke in Ecclesiastes 12.7, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
Something More To Consider:
But what angered the enemies of Jesus to the point of picking up stones, was that He declared Himself to be the “I AM”, of the Old Testament. At His declaration these leaders chose the cruel method of stoning to further prove their desire to dishonor Jesus. But it was not yet His time to die!
Therefore, Jesus defied death once again at the hands of religious want to be murderers. If we as true end time believers keep the Word of God, we too will defy the frightening awareness of the sting of death, according to Jesus.
So, is there anything to fear concerning death? According to Jesus in Matthew 10.28; “And do not fear those who kill the body [that which returns to dust due to decay] but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him [God] who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 15, declared in verse 53; “For this corruptible [physical body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [physical existence] must put on immortality.” Paul continued by stating, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”
A Few Final Words:
The bottom line is, are we honoring Jesus or are we dishonoring Him with our daily lives? Are we defying death and the grave by our believing the Word of God? Or are we guilty of joining the deceived by gathering stones to cast at Christ? Death can come at the most inconvenient and surprising moment for any of us. Are we properly prepared?
For the obedient Christian believer, according to Jesus, death is a quiet closing of the eyes on this side of life, and a wide opening of awestruck eyes to an eternity of new life in Christ. For according to Jesus, “Most assuredly. I say to you, if anyone keeps My Words he [or she] shall never see death.”
Our Father in heaven, help us in honoring You and Your Son Jesus, by our keeping the Word of God daily upon the monitor of our minds and hearts. In Him Always, Amen!