Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012 … Liar … Lunatic … or … LORD? – We choose!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 297

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: John, Chapters 9-10 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: John 9: 1-3; 18-22; 35-38 : [NLT] … { Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath; and it causes varying reactions … from the blind man, from his family, from the Pharisees, and from the observers at the term. Reading John 9, note the way different people react to Jesus. And that’s the way it is today. When the world is confronted with Jesus, we must choose whom we believe He is … liar, lunatic, or LORD.} 1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?” … 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. … 
18 The Jewish leaders wouldn’t believe he had been blind, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he see?” … 20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.” 22 They said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. …  
{Jesus used the physical healing of the blind man to show the Pharisees and the people about spiritual blindness and how faith opens the spiritual eyes of those who reject Jesus as LORD. Note once again how clearly declares to the man that He is the “Son of God.” Then the man must choose to have faith and believe … or NOT.} 35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man [some manuscripts/translations call Jesus “Son of God” in this reference]?” … 36 The man answered, “Who is He, sir, because I would like to.” 37“You have seen Him,” Jesus said, “and He is speaking to you!” 38 “Yes, Lord,” the man said, “I believe!” And he worshiped Jesus.  
Highlight Passages: John 10: 8-14; 19-21; : [NLT] … {Jesus teaches about Himself, using the word picture of a “Good Shepherd.” The people hear Truth from Him and then must choose to believe in Him or NOT, just as we must do today when The Gospel truth is laid out before us.} [Jesus teaches … ] 8 “All others who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.  11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will leave the sheep because they aren’t his and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he is merely hired and has no real concern for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, …”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some of them said, “He has a demon, or he’s crazy. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” …

Reference Passage: Psalm 23 … To study this passage, go to this link 

My Journal for Today: CHOICES! … When we hear someone spouting ideas, opinions, or declarations of what they know or believe to be true, we must then CHOOSE whether we agree with or believe what we hear. Right now we’re going thru a Presidential campaign; and a lot of rhetoric is being bandied about by the candidates; and when we hear what they say or claim, we must then decide whether the candidates are telling the truth; and then we must decide for whom we will vote. That’s a tough enough choice; but what about the choice one must make when he/she hears about Jesus?

 I grew up hearing the gospel message about Jesus; but when I was challenged with a choice of my beliefs in college, I CHOSE to disbelieve, calling myself an “agnostic” (though it would have been more accurate to label myself an “atheist”). For years I heard from those who claimed Jesus as their “LORD and Savior;” and I just set them aside, wanting to live in my own selfish/sinful world. But then, at age 39, my inability to handle life confronted me just like the blind man who was given sight by Jesus in the John 9 reading today; and I was confronted with a choice of faith – OR NOT! And just as the healed blind man chose to believe Jesus and worship Him as LORD, so did I CHOOSE to seek and follow Christ as my LORD.

When we read about Jesus historically in the Bible, we’re confronted with the reality that He claimed to be the “Son of God.” And it is recorded in biblical history, by multiple authors, and also in extra-biblical history by other historians, that Jesus performed actual super-human miracles, … and that He died on a cross and was resurrected from the dead, and that He was seen by over 500 eye-witnesses after His resurrection. And so, being confronted by these historical facts, we have to choose. Is it all a lie? Is Jesus some lunatic, claiming to be God, through some self-imposed delusion? Or is the man, Jesus, actually the LORD?

Well, for years, I was like the blind man in my reading today; but finally my own personal brokenness forced me to seek strength in my life which I did not have; and Jesus showed Himself to me to be real; and through my faith, I came to Jesus – as I CHOSE to believe – and believed in Him as my own personal LORD. I finally was able to see Jesus as the “Good Shepherd” from John 10; and as my LORD, Jesus gave me the grace to follow Him as my Good Shepherd. And now, … I’m in His flock and He leads me just as the Shepherd of Psalm 23 (linked above) to that abundant life He promises in John 10: 10. And by following His voice, as my Good Shepherd, He also protects me from those who would steal life from me [also John 10:10].

 Jesus is as real as the One Who opened the eyes of the blind man; and He’s the Good Shepherd of John 10 or Psalm 23. But only those who confront Him can decide whether they truly believe Him as LORD and are willing to follow Him as their Good Shepherd. If you are reading here with me today, I pray that you’ve decided that Jesus was/is not a lunatic or a liar, … but rather, THE LORD.

My Prayer Today: … You are my Lord and Savior, Jesus … THE LORD! Amen

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