VIDEO Does He Know Me?

He calls his own…by name… —John 10:3

When I have sadly misunderstood Him? (see John 20:11-18). It is possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine meant no more to her than the grass under her feet. In fact, any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could never ridicule was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (see Luke 8:2); yet His blessings were nothing to her in comparison with knowing Jesus Himself. “…she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus….Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ ” (John 20:14, 16). Once He called Mary by her name, she immediately knew that she had a personal history with the One who spoke. “She turned and said to Him, ‘Rabboni!’ ” (John 20:16).

When I have stubbornly doubted? (see John 20:24-29). Have I been doubting something about Jesus— maybe an experience to which others testify, but which I have not yet experienced? The other disciples said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25). But Thomas doubted, saying, “Unless I see…I will not believe” (John 20:25). Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When His touches will come we never know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious. “Thomas…said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ ” (John 20:28).

When I have selfishly denied Him? (see John 21:15-17). Peter denied Jesus Christ with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75), and yet after His resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter alone. Jesus restored Peter in private, and then He restored him publicly before the others. And Peter said to Him, “Lord…You know that I love You” (John 21:17).

Do I have a personal history with Jesus Christ? The one true sign of discipleship is intimate oneness with Him— a knowledge of Jesus that nothing can shake.


I Am the Door (John 10:1–10)

Extending Grace to Others

God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. Acts 4:33–34

Our son spent the early years of his life in a children’s home prior to our adopting him. Before leaving the cinderblock building together to go home, we asked to collect his belongings. Sadly, he had none. We exchanged the clothes he was wearing for the new items we’d brought for him and also left some clothing for the other children. Even though I was grieved by how little he had, I rejoiced that we could now help meet his physical and emotional needs.

A few years later, we saw a person asking for donations for families in need. My son was eager to donate his stuffed animals and a few coins to help them. Given his background, he might have (understandably) been more inclined to hold tightly to his belongings.

I’d like to think the reason for his generous response was the same as that of the early church: “God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” that nobody in their midst had need (Acts 4:33–34). The people willingly sold their own possessions to provide for one another’s needs.

When we become aware of the needs of others, whether material or intangible, may God’s grace be so powerfully at work in us that we respond as they did, willingly giving from our hearts to those in need. This makes us vessels of God’s grace as fellow believers in Jesus, “one in heart and mind” (v. 32). 

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How’s God’s grace at work in you? What could you share with others as a manifestation of His grace?

Thank you, God, for all You’ve given to me, including Your grace. Help me to extend Your grace to others.

Learn more about grace at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0613.

Sunday Reflection: To Everything a Season

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Many plants and trees go dormant during the cold winter months, but did you know indoor plants also take a rest? This happens because, like all living things, they have a biological clock. They stop growing outwardly in order to return stronger in the spring.

Like them, we go through different seasons—plenty and want, joy and sorrow, gain and loss. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven.” Thankfully, we serve a God who holds all things in perfect balance, a God of order and perfection. (See Col. 1:16-17.)

Right now, the world outside is in full bloom. Perhaps the same can be said of you. But if the opposite is true of your life right now, take heart because “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Whatever season you’re in, God’s there, too—ready to delight in your sunny times of growth or hold you close till the dark days end.

Think about it
• What might God want you to take away from your current season? Could someone benefit from the things you’re learning?

Bewitched

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Galatians 3:1)

The Greek word for “bewitched” is used only this once in the New Testament and does not necessarily refer to witchcraft as such. The connotation is “fascinated” or “deceived.” Unlike most of his other epistles, the book of Galatians includes no commendations from Paul, nor even any prayer requests. Paul evidently was very disappointed in this church and its ministry.

He had clearly preached the gospel to them, setting forth “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2) among them, and they had apparently believed and started out well. They seemed to understand the great doctrines of salvation by grace and of liberty in Christ, and it was hard for Paul to understand how they had been so quickly led astray.

If anything, this is even a greater problem today than in Paul’s day. Professing Christians are being “tossed to and fro… with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14)—not only with legalism (as in Galatia) but also with evolutionism, hedonism, emotionalism, materialism, and many other unscriptural heresies. Many who profess to be Christians have, like the Galatians, been “bewitched” by clever persuasion and peer pressure into such deceptions.

They may consider themselves especially enlightened in some way, or intellectual, or just up-to-date, but Paul would call them “foolish” just as he did the Galatians. In Christ alone—our Creator, Redeemer, and Lord—are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). As Paul concluded his letter to the Galatians: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). HMM

“The Good Shepherd”

John 10:1-21

OUR Lord’s discourse about Himself as the Good Shepherd has been a favorite portion of the Word through the ages. Here (John 10:1-21) He declares that only those spiritual leaders who come in by the Door, which is Himself, are authorized to lead the sheep. He speaks first of undershepherds. The church is the sheepfold, believers are the sheep.

He then declares Himself to be the Door. Those who enter in by Him are saved, thus setting forth the certainty of the gospel. They shall go in and out, signifying the liberty of the gospel. They shall find pasture, showing the satisfaction of the gospel.

All the false prophets who came before Jesus, He declares to be thieves and robbers who came to kill and destroy. He came that men might have life, and not a narrowed and restricted life but life more abundantly—life rich and full, and plentiful and overflowing.

Then the Lord passes on to another figure and speaks of Himself as the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. He knows His own—and what a strengthening thought is that! His own know Him. He also declared that He had other sheep not of this fold, meaning the Gentiles who are to be (and now are) brought into the fold through Him who broke down the middle wall of partition.

Our Lord’s statement, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again,” contains a claim which no mere man ever could make. It declares the voluntariness of our Lord’s death and also the stupendous fact that He could take up His life again, which He did at the resurrection. However, this laying down His life and taking it up again was by the commandment of God so that, although the power was His, He died and rose in obedience—and He declares that He was always subject to God. If He must obey, how much more must we! We try to substitute many things for obedience and devise numberless detours to dodge the practical keeping of His commandments. Many Christians “consecrate” and “dedicate” and “pray for blessings,” and waste years seeking strange experiences, when they will not take the next step of doing what the Lord commands.

Enter in at the Door, for there is no other entrance, and no man cometh to the Father but by Him. Let Him be your Shepherd, for all others lead into the wilderness and will lose you. And remember that He leaves the ninety and nine to seek the one that is lost, that He might bear it back to the fold rejoicing.

God’s One Great Goal

For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.—Romans 8:29

What is God’s great goal in the universe to which His energies are devoted? We have it in our text for today. The Living Bible puts this best, and I have no hesitation in saying that although it is not regarded as a true translation (it is, rather, a paraphrase), its rendering of Romans 8:29 is one of the most exciting things I have ever read. This is what it says: “For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him … should become like his Son.” God’s great energy and wisdom, working on behalf of all Christians, is directed to making us like His Son Jesus Christ. Of course this purpose will only be fully realized in the world to come, but while we are here, He is pursuing this same purpose nevertheless.

It is only when we comprehend this that we will be able to understand the purpose that lies behind all our trials and difficulties. Romans 8:28—”We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God”—must be read in connection with Romans 8:29. Because God is committed to making us like His Son, His wisdom goes to work on every trial that comes our way in order to bring from it something that will enrich our character and make us more like Jesus Christ.

Infinite power is ruled by infinite wisdom. He could deliver us and make our lives comfortable, but in a fallen world this is not the best purpose. Understanding this is crucial if we are to live our lives the way God desires.

Prayer

Father, forgive me that so often my goals are diametrically opposed to Yours. Help me bring my goals in line with Your goals. I shall need Your help to adjust. Whatever happens, keep me ever moving toward becoming more and more like Jesus. Amen.

Further Study

1Co 1:1-31; Col 2:3

How does Paul describe the foolishness of God?

What is hidden in Christ?

All That I Am

Matthew 13:44-46

All that I am, All I can be

All that I have, All that is me,

Accept and use, Lord, As You would choose, Lord,

Right now, today.

Take every passion, every skill,

Take all my dreams and bend them to Your will.

My all I give, Lord, for You I’ll live, Lord,

Come what may.

Often I come with my problems and cares,

Running to You when distressed;

But I must bring you the whole of my life,

Lord, I must give you my best.

All that I am, All I can be

All that I have, All that is me,

Accept and use, Lord, As You would choose, Lord,

Right now, today.

Take every passion, every skill,

Take all my dreams and bend them to Your will.

My all I give, Lord, for You I’ll live, Lord,

Come what may.

Life has no purpose unless it is Yours

Life without You has no goal;

All that fulfills me is doing Your will,

Lord, I must give You my best.

All that I am, All I can be

All that I have, All that is me,

Accept and use, Lord, As You would choose, Lord,

Right now, today.

Take every passion, every skill,

Take all my dreams and bend them to Your will.

My all I give, Lord, for You I’ll live, Lord,

Come what may.

William Himes, Sing to the Lord, Vol. 1, Part 2