He knows how to get things done. The King of the universe. He’s fast. Rapid. Precise. Boom boom pow it’s done. Executed. He’s a highly productive individual. A God, in fact. Nothing is too challenging for Him. Nothing is too complex for Him to figure out. He knows how to analyze. Solve. Do.
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Do you believe what He said?
“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23
I believe you, God… so everything is possible for me. Always has been. Always will be. With Jesus, we can accomplish anything.
When Jesus walked the earth, He knew He had only so much time to accomplish His mission, so He made the most of every moment and led with tremendous authority. The kind of authority that rattled the religious folks.
“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Matthew 7:28-29
Why didn’t the scribes teach with authority? If that was their role, it would seem to me they would. But throughout scripture in the gospels the scribes are described as ones without power and impact, and its the common people who end up carrying the power and impact.
Whomever carries the Holy Spirit of God, carries influence and impact.
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” Galatians 5:18
The scribes and religious people followed the Law and thus it gave them no life. The Law of Moses was not meant to fuel the human heart, it was meant to reveal the human heart and expose the need for a Savior: Jesus Christ. To follow the Law as if its the means for living will only undercut your joy and flourishing. Jesus came that the Law would be fulfilled in His one sacrifice, so that we don’t have to follow the Law, but we follow Jesus and become connected to God through His Holy Spirit.
Freedom to live rises when you follow Jesus recklessly.
“Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” 2 Timothy 1:14
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
God is a good Father who delights to impart life into His children! He does not intend to impart condemnation. Jesus said in John 3:17 that God did not send Him into the world to condemn the world but in order for the world to be saved through Him. This rescue mission has always been Jesus’ purpose. Death was never His vision nor His end goal. Death is a product of Satan. Life is a product of God. Choose whom you want to serve, because you can only serve one. Either life or death. Either your flesh or your spirit. Either good or evil. When Jesus ministered, He prompted this polarizing response from the crowds. The people either loved Him or hated Him. Because the Spirit of God was in Him and it provokes every single living thing around Him for better or worse.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and religious folks did not like Jesus. Because He shook up their traditions. He defied their authority with His own. He provoked the people to think with their minds and hearts, instead of be led aimlessly by the religious people who sought to regurgitate heartless anthems and loveless phrases. If you love God, you experience the freedom of God. If you don’t love God, there is no life inside.
The Pharisees only revealed their lack of intimacy with Yahweh, their God, when they reacted with disdain towards Jesus.
Jesus calls them “white washed tombs” because of their inner hollowness.
They were not life givers. They were life depleters.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:27-28
Don’t ever join yourself with a dead man. Don’t ever join yourself with a person who says they believe in God, but on the inside they hate God. The hypocrisy Jesus is talking about here is the hypocrisy of heresy and unbelief. They had the Messiah right in front of their eyes but they could not see Him. Thus, Jesus rebuked them harshly. But if John 3:17 says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save, why would he rebuke them so harshly and not love them? God said… they wouldn’t yield to be saved. Jesus offered His salvation to Him, but they chose to deny it and keep on babbling with their traditions of the Law which could not save them. If they truly wanted to fulfill the Law, then they would have accepted Jesus who was the very answer they needed.
Hollowness and lifelessness derives from the lack of a relationship with Jesus Christ. It dries up a soul on the inside, just like Jesus describes here. It prevents a person from growing. It blocks a person from being aware of their inner self. It obstructs a person from being able to see and hear truth, and so be changed by it. Without Jesus Christ, we cannot come alive.
With Jesus, we spring to life and blossom with gardens on the inside no matter what we’ve have gone thorugh. Jesus is there to renew and recreate if we want Him to.
“The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11
We need Jesus’ living water!
Jesus is a life giver.
“Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” John 4:10
Learn from Jesus… don’t learn from anyone who has a parched spirit. Be careful who you learn from. Not everyone has substance to give you. Jesus said you will know them by their fruit. What are they prodicing? How do they love? How do they get things done? How do they strive to heal other people?
The disciples of Jesus produced good fruit. They made mistakes at times, wondered what was going on, what would happen, and even doubted, but they kept following Jesus step by step. Thus, they kept being empowered and producing results right alongside Him. Soon, they would produce even greater results than Jesus when they went out into Jerusalem and asia minor the preach about Jesus’ resurrection. Something Jesus foretold when He told them, “You will do even greater things than me!” in John 14:12. Jesus loves to empower His people. But Jesus will not empower those who are against Him.
The religious folks thought they had power but without the Holy Spirit, they had none. This was not Jesus’ wish. He would have wanted them to lead with lovingkindness and power from His own heart! But they just could not bring themselves to admit Jesus was the Messiah and give up their own ways. They were blind and obstinate. Instead, they contiually provoked Jesus and fought against Him.
“But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” Matthew 12:14
They questioned Him. Threatened Him. Undermined Him. Even tried to kill Him. But when it came time to pull the trigger they couldn’t do it. So they went to the Romans.
Now the Romans knew how to execute. They were ravenous. Barbaric. Heartless. Ruthless. The kind of people the religious folk wanted to tag-team with on their vendetta to kill Jesus. That way they wouldn’t have His blood on their hands nor on their conscience.
It took the Pharisees 3 years to try to kill Jesus. It only took the Romans less than 24 hours. Now that’s an effective method of execution.
The Romans also knew something the religious people did not… Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
“When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “This man really was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39
Put your sword down. Lest you miss the Spirit of the living God right in front of you.
Life is not meant to be taken.
Life is meant to be given.
Life itself is a sacred blessing. Life is beautiful. Life is meaningful. Life is purposeful. Life is significant and every life counts! The God of the universe breathed life into you because He values your life. Value the sanctity of life.
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
Value the people around you.
Esteem the souls around you.
Love the hearts around you.
Death by human hands is never permissable.
We see the outraged reaction of God in Genesis chapter 4 at the moment of the first human killing ever recorded. It’s the story of Cain and Abel. Two brothers. One who loved God and one who did not love God. In this story, it came time to bring God a sacrifice. Cain and Able both bring their sacrifice to the Lord.
“In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also presented an offering—some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions.” Genesis 4:3-4
Able brough God the best of the best. His firstborn sheep. But Cain only brought God fruits and vegetables.
“The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering.” Genesis 4:5a
God accepts Abel’s gift because it cost Him something, but He does not accept Cain’s gift because it was half-hearted and cheap. He did not bring God the best.
Are you bringing God your best gifts?
Don’t give Him anything less than the best He deserves.
Cain had a choice in the aftermath of his gift being rejected by the Lord. Would he go and get a better gift or would He get angry?
“Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.” Genesis 4:5b
Why was he mad? He did not bring God his best. Surely he knew why it wasn’t accepted. But he does not seem to understand his own lack of love for God. He needs God… He needs connection with God… He needs to follow in His pathway, which would lead him in his next steps in order to please the Lord. But his own anger and pride paralyzes him from changing and doing what it takes to please God in this moment. So God responds…
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? 7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6-7
We must rule over the desires of our hearts and let God be the first desire. The first love. The highest love.
Instead of solving the problem right then and producing the results needed to get the job done, i.e. go get a sheep to sacrifice for the Lord, Cain decides to wallow in his own anger and refuses to change his course of action. This is the difference between Cain and Abel. One led with their best and one did not. One led with love and one led with bitterness. One was full of life and one was full of death. When you carry death on the inside, you seek to harm everyone around you.
“Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” Genesis 4:8
Those who refuse to honor God with their best allow the enemy of death enter their hearts, which leads to death for them and those around them. Cain kills his own brother. Because he would not choose to honor God with highest love and affection.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” Genesis 4:9
“I don’t know…” Cain says. But he knew exactly where Abel was. He knew exactly what he did to him. And now, he not only lies to God about it but he responds with an attitude of disrespect towards the Maker of the universe. This is pure evil. The first human death that ever entered the world. And it came through the hands of Abel’s own brother. Just like Jesus’ death came through the hands of His own people. Darkness penetrates the world with vile hatred and the only antidote to this infection is to crucify your sinful old nature and becomes a new creation in Jesus Christ, one who lives with love, joy, life and goodness towards others.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:19-20
The only crucifixion neccessary in the life of a human is at the moment of salvation, where you choose to begin an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as He died to sin, you die to sin in that moment and just as He was raised to life, you are raised to life in that moment (Romans 6:1-11). Forever. Immortal. Cleansed. Holy. Loved. Chosen. Empowered to walk in freedom that moment and every moment forward. To bear good fruit. To love yourself and love others. To love God and give your everything to Him no matter the cost.
Awaken to life in Jesus! He loves you…
Choose to uphold human life, not take it.
You are a life giver because you carry the holy living power of God inside of you! Share it with the world around you.
“A generous person will prosper; and whoever refreshes others will themeslves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
Life is from God.
Life is for God.
The act of killing is not a light matter. Nor is it a laughable matter. Humans were not created to end other human lives. No one has the right to take yours.
Your life was given by God. Preserved by God. Chosen by God… to be His Beloved.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
God loves to produce abundant life because He loves you.
Love with a passionate heart and a joyful spirit…
Be a life giver.
my life is a miracle
wrapped in the arms
of the King’s glory
who formed me
my life is a gift
by the light
of Heaven’s life
flowing freely all around
the King of majesty
my life is sacred
my life is holy
my life is secure
my life is lovely
and I belong
to the King who loves me
I belong the the King who loves me
‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness;
And Your care has preserved my spirit.”