Since this account is going to continue for the next couple of days, let's just focus on the first question asked by Jesus' disciples.  They saw a man born blind and asked if the blindness was a consequence of his sin or of his parent's.  Jesus' answer was that the blindness was given to the man so that God could show his mighty works!

So often when storms come in our lives we can be tempted to think that God is punishing us for something we have done.  But this is not possible!  Jesus took all of our punishment on the cross!

Here are three possible reasons for storms in our lives:
1. Discipline (Nehemiah 9:26-27): Discipline is very different from punishment.  Discipline is always for the purpose of training and growth.  It is never for the sole purpose of retribution or final judgment.  God chastens those whom he loves and he uses storms sometimes to help us to see sins in our lives that are keeping us from living with true joy and obedience to him.
2.  Faithfulness (Job 1:8-22):  God allowed storms in Job's life to display his servant's faithfulness and to grow and increase it in Job's life.  This testimony of faithfulness in Job's life was a testimony to God's greatness and glorified him.
3.  Patience (Romans 5:3):  God can use storms in our lives to help us to learn patience, along with many other virtues.

This list is not exhaustive, but hopefully will give some ideas for why God would allow a storm to come.  It is not ever because of punishment...but we should be careful to ask ourselves when storms do come, "God, is there any sin in my life that I need to confess and forsake?"  Sometime there will be...sometimes there won't.  But, we can always be sure that whatever storm comes our way, it will be for our good and ultimately for the glory of our great God!
 
True Christianity is a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Jews in this passage and many today have a false understanding.

1.  Pedigree - Being a Christian is not passed down through physical genes or automatic because of nationality.  For the Jews this was showing they were a descendent of Abraham.
2.  Performance - Salvation is not obtained by keeping certain religious rituals or practices.  For the Jews this was keeping the Law as well as their extra man-made traditions.
3.  Principles - Right relationship to God does not come by agreeing with a creed or mentally assenting to certain facts.  The Jews believed in only one God and that that God was Jehovah.

Christianity is about personally accepting a person (Jesus Christ).  I must personally put my trust for salvation (forgiveness of sin and eternal life) in the personal work that Jesus did for me.  This personal faith in the person of Jesus Christ establishes  a relationship through spiritual birth that can never be broken.  Once I am born again, I continue to walk in fellowship with God through my personal relationship each day with Jesus Christ!

Is your relationship with God personal?  If we are not careful we can substitute pedigree (my parents are Christians, my grandpa was a preacher) or performance (I go to church, I serve in a ministry, I am a good neighbor) or principles (I believe in God, I believe Jesus died on the cross).  True Christianity is a personal relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ!

Walk with the Lord and make it personal!!!

 
Up to this point, Jesus has been speaking in a way that the believers have been able to understand and in a way that the unbelievers have not.  Of course he has also been speaking about spiritual blindness and light, slavery and freedom, so this kind of speaking makes perfect sense.  However, in today's passage, Jesus begins to speak very directly to those who are blind.  Lines are drawn.  Jesus corrects the unbelieving Jews' misunderstanding about who their father is.  He tells them that God is NOT their Father.  And, that Abraham is NOT their father.  God and Abraham are the fathers of those who believe.  Instead, the unbelieving Jews are told that their father is the devil!  The devil is the chief of all liars (there is no truth in him) and has been a murderer from the beginning.  

There is a vacuum of truth inside of all unbelievers.  They cannot discern truth.  What should be right is considered to be wrong and what is wrong is considered to be right.  This is why they wanted to kill Jesus.  

It is why the world is the way it is still today.

When we watch the news and hear about the latest court cases or the latest organization calling sin "righteousness," we should remember that the world does not spiritually discern truth.  They do not have enlightened eyes to see the truth...they are of their father the devil.  We need to pray and ask God to open their eyes and be faithful ourselves to proclaim the truth.  Only after someone receives the Son can they begin to accurately discern the truth.


 
I want to emphasize a two letter word in verse 31.  That is the word "if".  The phrase is if you continue in my word, you are my disciples of Christ?  The word continues is a very importatnt word in the vocabulary of the Bible.  We can call ourselves Christians but not know where we really are.  Then we have a beautiful word of Jesus.  "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."  Whe I was a boy a man from a well known false cult came often and talked with my father.  He brought a magazine and on it was the words, "The truth shall set you free."  Then Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the Truth".  There is freedom in knowing the One who personifies the Truth. 
These verses bring out the true fact that there are two families of people on the earth.  The family of God, belonging to and being set free by Jesus Christ.  Then there is the family of the devil consisting of those who do not know Him at all.
We have another phrase by Jesus worth looking at.  That is verse 36.  "If the Son (Jesus) shall make you free, Ye shall be free indeed."  This is another "if" in the words of Jesus.  I am thankful I can call myself a free man in Christ.
 
Jesus plainly stated that His goal on earth was to always please the Father!  This should be my goal as well.

1.  Demand - God is my creator and my redeemer.  I belong to Him twice and He has the right for me to do His will and not my own.
2.  Display - Jesus Christ is my example of living to please the Father.
3.  Description - Living to please God means doing His will, in His way, for His glory, even if it means physical death.

Am I willing to lay down my life and yield all rights in order to please God?  It is pleasing to God to love Him and others.  Show God my love today through giving, serving, yielding, caring for others.  Share God's love through me today by giving, serving, yielding and caring for others.

Walk with the Lord and live to please God!!!

 
Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  To receive Jesus by faith is to come out of darkness and into the light!  We must leave the darkness of:

1.  Dishonesty - The Pharisees were not honest with themselves or others.
2.  Doubt - It was not that they could not but that they would not believe.
3.  Denial - The Pharisees would not see their need of Jesus.  They would not admit that they were in the darkness of sin.

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness we lie and do not the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

Walk with the Lord and please turn on the Light!!!

 
Jesus has been teaching his disciples, among many other things, that no one can come to Him unless it is granted to them by the Father.  This truth is borne out again in the first paragraph of today's quiet time.  Verses 40-44 give us an example of several people hearing the same message and responding in several different ways.  Notice also that the division was not a kind one.  There were some who acknowledged Him as the Christ and others who wanted to arrest Him.  Not much neutral ground there...and there is still not much neutral ground today.

So we should expect two things when we share the Gospel with others:
1.) They will not receive Christ just because of your eloquence and cunning.  Do not let fear of not knowing "all the right things to say" stop you from sharing the truth of the Gospel!  Your willingness to share is a tool that God uses to get His Word to lost people.  Let Him do the miracles, we just need to be faithful and obey.
2.)  People who do not receive Christ will not remain neutral.  You cannot reject Christ and be neutral.  You are either for Him or against Him.  This means that people who do not receive Him will respond with mocking, belittling, some other false religious response, or many other possibilities.  We need to expect that, and keep in mind that we are being rejected because Jesus is being rejected.  We are IN the Body of Christ.  We signed up for this.  And...we are accepted by God.

In verses 45-53, the Pharisees rebuke the officers and Nicodemus with what is called "cavalier arguments."  This basically means that instead of teaching the men why they should not believe and instead obey them, they just yell at them and say things to intimidate them into submission.  How many of us are guilty of having using this method to coerce obedience a time or two...? (My hand is raised...my poor children)  They even potentially error in their statement.  They asked Nicodemus to search for any prophet that would ever come out of Galilee.  They were either speaking of future prophets (like the people earlier had questioned Jesus not coming from Bethlehem, although he had and they did not know it) or they were forgetting about the prophet Jonah.  Jonah was from a small village called Gath-Hepher which was just a few miles north of Nazareth...in Galilee.  See 2 Kings 14:25.

Let's be faithful to study and know the Word of God so that people's intimidation or rejection will never keep us from proclaiming it to the world!
 
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that  the sacrifices and feasts of the Jews were designed to point to and picture for the people.  Sadly over the years the Jews looked to the sacrifices and feasts themselves as religious works for salvation. Jesus stood and cried out that He was the fulfillment of living water that would bring eternal life.

1.  Implication - Every person has "thirst"
2.  Investigation - Every person seeks to find what will "satisfy" their thirst
3.  Invitation - Every person can only find full satisfaction and eternal life through Jesus Christ

Every person wakes up with "thirst" or desires and pursues what they think will satisfy the desires of their heart.  Jesus Christ invites all to come to Him as the water of life. If we will receive Jesus Christ, He will fill us with His Spirit and we will be satisfied and also become a channel to share the water of life with others!

Walk with the Lord and let the water flow!!!



 
Probably the understatement of all time is in verse 15. "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned."  He is the Creator of the Universe in Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1. He was probably responsible for separating the languages at the Tower of Babel.  Could we say He invented languages? Then Jesus said, "My doctrine is not mine but His that sent me."  That brings us back to the Divine mystery that God could come to this world as a baby and be what He is here and now be seated at the right hand of the Father.
Next, we have the phrase, "If any man wills to do His (God's) will he shall know the doctrine."  My question is, "Do you have a will to know about the will of God?"  Get busy and you will know enough of what God is all about to say.  I know what the will of God is.  It is written in His Word the Bible.
Then there was the argument about healing a man on the Sabbath.  It  is enough that they wanted to kill Jesus, but  my question is whether healing a man who had something wrong for 38 years would be anti-Sabattical.  That was not in Moses law.  It was made a modern rule by the Jews.  I wouldn't mind if someone cleaned out the hospitals and nursing homes and mental institutions on the Sabbath Day.  By the way that is Saturday not Sunday.  But the biggest thing is that Jesus is something to me.  And what is He to you?
 
The human family of the Lord Jesus (brothers and sisters) did not believe on Him as Messiah. Instead they either were embarrassed or jealous of Him.  They refused to be committed to Him and instead continued to ask Him to prove Himself.

1.  Family Problems - every family faces problems
2.  Family Pressure - problems create internal pressure
3.  Family Priorities - we must operate in our earthly family using our heavenly principles and priorities.
    1. Is my response pleasing to God?
    2. Am I responding in the works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit?
    3. Do I sacrificially love others in my physical family and in the family of God?

My family life on earth should reflect my heavenly family relationship!


Walk with the Lord and demonstrate family ties!!!