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Those who saw Jesus’ signs went and told others about him and who he might be. Jesus is full of compassion and utterly courageous. When it comes to following Jesus we should not be cautious but utterly courageous.
Will we respond to Jesus with worship as Elizabeth and John did? Will we be like the shepherds, realising that we are welcomed in and sharing the good news with others? Will we constantly seek God as Anna did? Or will we be proud and want to keep our positions like Herod did?
We can trust that God can heal supernaturally, but we shouldn’t rest our hope on this as he doesn’t always heal. Jesus doesn’t want to satisfy our desire to see miracles for their own sake. But we can always take Jesus at his word.
Jesus is the Saviour of the world because the world needs a saviour. We need food for energy, but Jesus is fueled and energised by doing the will of his Father. In initiating a conversation with a Samaritan woman, Jesus breaks down barriers. If we try to pretend to be better than we really are then we don’t appreciate how good Jesus is.
Jesus is not on a par with John the Baptist, but he is the Word made flesh. John is not jealous of Jesus but is pleased that his own disciples are leaving him to follow Jesus. John has an important role as the Best Man at the wedding, but it is not the Best Man’s role to end up with the bride at the end of the day.
Jesus won’t fit into Nicodemus’ existing system as a Pharisee - instead, he tells Nicodemus that he needs a new start. Nicodemus may have had just one conversation with Jesus yet he became a disciple. What can God do with just one conversation?
Jesus demonstrates his divinity by clearing the courts, by architectural arguments and by obvious omniscience. The animals in the temple courts were being sold at inflated prices and were taking up the only space where gentiles were allowed to worship God. The real temple is Jesus’ body, the place where God dwells, and this is why he has authority.
Jesus attended social events. He wants to be involved in the whole of our lives, whether good or bad. He knew that his first miracle would start the ball rolling and that it would lead inevitably to Calvary, and perhaps this is why he doesn’t want to be pressurised by his mother. Running out of wine would have been a social embarrassment, but Jesus takes away the shame of the host, just as he takes away the shame of us all.
John the Baptist is like a sign-post. He has great humility and points away from himself to Jesus. Jesus is the one who takes away the sin of the world. It doesn’t bother John that his disciples leave him to follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t point to anyone - he is the one to be followed, and the invitation today is to come and know him.
Proverbs is a leadership book, a probability book and a thinking book. The wise person will listen to advice. We should use our understanding but not lean on it. To acknowledge God is to submit to his ways.
Like the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, we need clarity on who Jesus was and what he has done. Jesus proves who he is from the Old Testament - he’s not just a prophet but the Mighty God, God With Us, whose suffering was prophesied. Nothing went wrong with God’s plan - the cross was part of the plan.
Rejoicing doesn’t mean always feeling joyful, but tuning in to what is really there. Paul rejoices even though he’s in prison, because Christ is being preached, because the Philippians are like-minded and because they’re in Christ.
It is good to praise the Lord - it benefits us and causes us to flourish, as it is what we are designed for. Praising God gladdens the heart and stretches the mind. It is good to consider what God has done.