His Name, Our Unity

John 17:11   (KJV)   11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

The Father has given His wonderful Name to the Son. It’s His very same Name that keeps or protects us. And one of the reasons His Name is keeping us is the oneness of His John 17.11 - His Name, Our Unitypeople—the church. The kind of oneness or unity he desires for us is that which is very intimate—as close as the oneness of the Father and the Son.

The unity of the church is very important to our Lord Jesus. It’s something I personally treasure, pray for, and pursue. Churches, preachers, and teachers talk about this, support and uphold this truth. But many of the actions I see seem to be very different.

An attack against the unity of the church is an attack against the Name of the Father. Our Father loves the Son, the Son loves His church—it’s His body. The Lord told us He will destroy those who destroy His temple. That’s completely understandable; we take that seriously. We pray that others humble themselves and honor the Name that protects them. As for us, we’re committed to it. We may not be as numerous as the needed voices, but we’re not silent.

The Father and the Son

John 14:9   (KJV)   Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

Because of His amazing love and intense desire to have a loving relationship with us, our great God revealed Himself in the best and most personal way so far; He did this by sending His beloved Son—our precious Lord Jesus. Through our dear Jesus, God—His john-14-9-the-father-and-the-sonwonderful being, His astonishing ways, and His awesome power is now understood inestimably more. Yes, there were and are other ways God reveals Himself. We who genuinely seek for truth, we see that incontrovertible proofs of God’s reality abound; they’re all around us.

The greatest and the clearest of all these undeniable evidences is our Lord Jesus. He is the exact and perfect representation of our Father—so close that seeing Jesus is seeing the Father. Of course, here lies many of the reasonable questions and dangerous misunderstandings, confusions, and even doubts and disbeliefs. But I humbly caution: our lack of understanding about the truth isn’t the same as non-existence of truth. And my earnest encouragement: our trivial differences ought to not trump our much needed love for each other.

Remember: it’s by our clear and unpretentious love for each other as His children that we are known by the unbelieving world as our Lord Jesus’ true disciples, not necessarily because of our uniformity in understanding all the great truths about our infinite God. Here’s my humble understanding about the relationship of our heavenly Father and His dear Son—our Lord Jesus. The Father and the Son are two different entities: the Father doesn’t transform into the Son; the Son doesn’t transform into the Father. The Father is a spirit, and the Son is the fullness of the Godhead bodily—that is, the Father lives in Him. The Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father. Clearly, they’re two different entities, but it’s no problem seeing them as one.

Allow me just to echo and express a joyful and reverent praise: “Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD God Almighty—God in three ‘Persons’—blessed Trinity.”

Jesus – Son of God

Luke 22:70  (KJV)   70 Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.

The ruling council interrogating Jesus had already made up their minds. It didn’t matter what Jesus could have said and done; they were determined to put Him down – to kill Him. They were just waiting for a viable excuse to justify their intentions and actions. Of all their efforts, nothing has worked so far – until this question. Should Jesus stay silent knowing that the truth will lead to unimaginable pain?Jesus didn’t cower; He gave His unwavering answer: He is the Son of God.

To proclaim the truth that Jesus is the Son of God is to mean hatred and rejection from the world. The world doesn’t like Him; it doesn’t like His teachings; His teachings show so much of righteousness, sin, and judgment. No, the world wants to do whatever it wants to do – good or evil without being seen as bad and without regard for possible consequences. It wants to dictate and define what’s good and what’s bad – in ways that will cater to its wild and wicked lifestyle. The world is a majority. To stand for Jesus is sure rejection, shame, embarrassment, and even pain. But this is a  no-brainer; it isn’t a matter of struggle or negotiation for true followers. Our Master declared the truth, He suffered much; we as followers ought to declare Him as He is, and suffer much if need be. Just remember: His interrogation, suffering and death wasn’t the end of His story; He rose again and now reigns. After our steadfast stand for the truth that He is the Son of God, after all the sufferings we will experience, we too will reign with Him.

Dear God, thank You for this glorious experience of knowing You – the only true God, and Jesus – the only begotten Son of God. Please give us the boldness and the courage to proclaim Him without compromise or fear of the possible painful consequences. After all, what awaits us is in exchange is worth gloriously and immeasurably more.

The Value of You

Luke 15:4  (KJV)   What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Even though one seems to be insignificant and unnoticeable in the company of a hundred, this isn’t the case when it comes to sheep – at least those referred to in the story. To the shepherd, each sheep is of very high value. That’s the reason why he knows the number of the sheep to the detail. He knows when one is lost – even only one. And one lost sheep is enough reason for the shepherd to do an all-out search – and an unceasing search that will only find satisfaction when the lost sheep is finally found.

Every soul is valuable before God. It’s often been stated that if we we’re the only person on earth, God would have still sent His Son to die on the cross just to save us. There sadly are lost souls. Sadder still: there will be souls lost for eternity. But not because the Great Shepherd lacked to show sufficient care and action;  He has shown us that He was willing to go to great lengths and spare no expense for our salvation. He went all-out, crossing the borders of the eternal and gave us the “Darling of heaven” – the greatest Treasure we can find in heaven and on earth and anywhere else – His Son. Every one of us is that important to Him. Let us see others, and ourselves the same way and do nothing less than our best in going after those who are lost.

Precious Father, thank you for valuing each of us as much as you do. May we see each other the same way. May we also humbly and gratefully value You for Who You are. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Children of Peace

Luke 10:6  (KJV)   And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

In sending His disciples out to minister, Jesus gave them very important instructions. The instructions were very specific; some were challenging; some were comforting. One of them was to lift the often daunting and unproductive burden of convincing those unwilling to accept the Good News they were bringing. There will be sons of peace. There were people who will accept them and support them; they were to stay with them, work with them and share the blessings with them. There were those who weren’t. There were people who will reject them and/or the Gospel; they were not to force them.

Man and women of peace – they are people who have peace with God and who have the peace of God, or are about to have them; they will have peace with us. We gloriously share the same God, the same experience, the same purpose. They’re saved, or are being saved and will be saved. They will naturally and joyfully receive us and the precious message we bear. They’re the ones we need to diligently work with, to willingly invest time and energy with. Our task with them will be surprisingly easy. Although we’re called to present the Gospel to everyone, we’re not cruelly tasked with the unnecessary burden of trying to convince the close-minded and hardhearted. Time is short; Jesus will come back – maybe very soon; the harvest is plentiful; there are multitudes waiting and ripe to be harvested unto salvation. Let’s figure out who they are and work on them – these sons and daughters of peace.

Dear Lord of the harvest, please help us to go into the harvest field with enthusiasm and wisdom. Lead our paths to the sons and daughters of peace.

Saving Conviction

Luke 9:20 (KJV)   20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

After Jesus pointedly asked His disciples who the crowds generally perceive Him as, He quickly directed that very same question towards them. It wasn’t enough that others had a favorable impression of Who He was; It wasn’t enough that the disciples correctly knew what others believed; what’s important was their own conviction. And not just any conviction, it needed to be the right conviction. Praise God, they got it correctly. That was predictable. They’ve walked with Him; They’ve seen His unquestionable integrity. They’ve listened to Him; they’ve heard the purity and authority in His teachings. They’ve seen His miracles; they knew the beyond-humanly uniqueness of His works.

There are many people in the world who see Jesus as a good person Who has done a lot of good for mankind. He has left us great teachings; He has shown us great examples; He has become a great Inspiration that led to myriads of humanitarian efforts and beautiful expressions in the arts. Those are all wonderful. But He challenges us to adjust our focus – from the crowd to our own personal conviction. Is He to us Who He is? From being a Person we know about, has He become a Person we know. Do we really share in the conviction that He is the Son of God Who came to save us? Have we gone from understanding Him as the Lord and the Savior to being our personal Lord and our personal Savior? This indispensable relationship with Him is forged in an individual level. Aside from our Lord’s finished substitutionary work on the cross, there’s no such thing as sponsored salvation – before and after death. Let’s make sure that we have gotten a sure grip of that which He has gotten hold of us for.

Dear God our Savior, may our eyes be opened to see You and Your Son for Who You really are. Help us not to be satisfied with just knowing how others are doing in their perception of, connection with, and walk with you. Help us to orderly put first things first. May we perceive, believe, and receive You in our very own lives as Who You really are – Lord and Savior. Upon doing so, may we be faithful instruments of bringing this same saving knowledge and experience to the crowd. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.