Clipping away the dead growth on a grapevine is hard work. But any gardener can tell you, pruning is an essential step if you want the vine to flourish! Chuck Swindoll describes how God prunes His children…so we can be healthy and produce spiritual fruit!
One thing quickly becomes apparent to anyone who reads the gospels, the pages of Scripture that contain Jesus' words and actions: no one who heard His words failed to react. Some who listened shook their fists at Him. Others marvelled at a depth of wisdom they'd never heard before. And some believed His words, choosing to follow Him. Whatever the reaction, no one left His presence unaffected by the encounter.
Jesus easily stands as the most influential person in history. Even today, millions call Him Saviour. Why? What was it about His short time on earth that shook the world so? What did He say to grab people's hearts the way He did? Why do so many believe in Him as the Son of God?
Embark on an eye-opening journey into the life and times of this carpenter from Nazareth. Just don't expect to be unstirred after your encounter with Jesus.
Jesus urged His disciples, who were still shaken by His talk of death, to overcome their fear by depending on the Holy Spirit, claiming Christ’s peace, accepting God’s plan for the future, and following His pattern of obedience to the Father.
So far, Jesus has served up sombre topics of death, trials, and Peter’s denials. To calm troubled hearts, He taught His disciples about personal faith, preparation for heaven, God’s sovereign hand, and answered prayer.
Jesus loved others to the utmost and mandated His disciples to love each other as He did. Not knowledge but our authentic agape-love marks us as Christ followers. This love seeks the highest good for others; it is unconditional, unselfish, and unlimited.
Jesus revealed a high Acceptance Quotient with Judas, His betrayer. Even though Jesus knew Judas’ evil plan, He gave Judas the seat of honour and loved him. Acceptance doesn’t nullify discernment or deny depravity but seeks peace. To accept others without partiality or prejudice is the highest form of love.
Jesus took the role of a servant and washed the disciples’ feet. He who displayed the highest form of humility was not self-exalting but always seeking the best for others.
Jesus’ final week began with Mary anointing Him with costly perfume. He entered Jerusalem as the Messiah, riding on a donkey as throngs of His followers welcomed Him as their Prince of Peace. Responses to His teaching varied. Some clung to His side, but in the end, all fled. How should we respond to Jesus, our suffering Saviour?
To those who weep from loss, Jesus offers hope—a future resurrection and eternal life to all who believe. When God delays answering our prayers, remember that He has a better time and way. When facing our old enemy death, remember that Jesus has charted a redemptive plan that leads us to eternal life.
Jesus claimed to be the Door. Only through Him can people enter the door of salvation, just as only through the gate of the sheepfold can sheep enter the safety of their pen.
When Jesus, the Light, healed a man born blind, the Pharisees condemned Him for breaking the Sabbath. They were the real blind men who live in the darkness of their spiritual pride and wouldn’t admit their need for Jesus.