Monday Morning: 11 Feb 2019 – John 11:45-57 ~ Miracles and Unbelief

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (Collect for Purity)

Almighty God: to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of my heart through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ my Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – John 11:45-57 (NLT)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this [Lazarus raised from the dead] happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”

Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.

So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.

It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.
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Morning Reflection:

Miracles and Unbelief

Seeing is not always believing, as we discover in today’s reading. The religious leaders acknowledged that Jesus was performing “many miraculous signs.” But saw these signs as a threat to their authority, rather than a manifestation of the “glory of God.”

“The glory of God is when we know what He is.”
“We never truly glory in Him until we have utterly discarded our own glory…
whoso glories in himself glories against God.”
– John Calvin (“Institutes”)

Let’s follow Calvin’s line of reasoning –

If we believe Jesus to be the Word of God, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, our Savior and our Lord, we will then recognize Jesus’ signs and wonders as an affirmation of his identity and a manifestation of God’s glory. And, like John the Baptist declare: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  – John 3:30

However, if we’re intent on maintaining our power, or wealth, or position, or fame, we will then see Jesus’ signs and wonders as a threat to our self-importance, and deny Jesus’ identity and any manifestations of God’s glory that draw attention away from us. And so the religious leaders declare: “If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him.” – John 11:48

So what is the root of unbelief? It’s our human propensity for self-aggrandizing – making ourselves look good, and attempting to draw attention to ourselves , e.g. “What can I do to get more followers on Twitter, or Facebook?” “Who will tell me how wonderful I am today?” “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

But in the end there is only One who is the fairest of them all, and the only thing left for self-aggrandizing unbelievers to do, is to kill him.

Questions for consideration:

  • Can you think of people in the news who you would describe as “self-aggrandizing unbelievers?” Please explain.
  • How do they affect your culture? How do they affect believers? How do they affect you? Please explain.
  • Can you think of a way that you can decrease, so that Christ can increase? How would that manifest God’s glory? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

God of Wonders: Transform us by the power of your Word and Spirit – that Christ might increase in us, and our propensity for self-aggrandizing might decrease – so that you alone might receive the glory due your name. Amen.
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“Fairest Lord Jesus” – New Life Worship

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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