TINY BUT MIGHTY A single snowflake is just a tiny, beautiful six-sided ice crystal. It is so light and insignificant it will melt in your hand. Alone it’s not much. But when you put trillions of them together like in some of the blizzards up north, they can shut down a major city and an entire region.
Alone, we’re not much, but with the unity of the Spirit and the passion to show God’s love, our message can transform an entire region for Christ. Matthew 22:34-40.
THE REST OF THE STORY Jesus has been performing marvelous deeds since the beginning of the beginning. He told the Jews that “before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus has been performing trillions of miracles in this vast universe that we don’t even realize. One of the joys of Heaven will be for us to learn about all the other marvelous miracles that Jesus performed. Final message in the John: Believe and Live! series. John 20:30-31; 21:24-25.
SECOND CHANCES God is the God of the second chance—He’s the God of the third fourth and hundredth chance. If you have failed the Lord in the past, remember that Jesus can restore you. The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He’s the great destroyer. But Jesus is the great restorer. He took a murderer like Moses and used him. He took an adulterer like David and used him. He took Christ-hating Jewish terrorist by the named Saul and gave him a new name, Paul, and used him mightily. And God can use you. He is the great restorer. John 21:15-23.
We can accomplish anything in this world. We can receive the greatest accolades, have the highest education, make the most money, have the best position—do all of these things. But never will it equate to fullness in your life or true satisfaction because it’s just a moment in time. John 21:1-14.
There are two forces at work in the Christian life, and you have to keep these two in perfect balance. There is union and communion. Union occurs when we first come to Christ and He moves into our life. That’s union. We are in Christ and Christ is in us. It is a relationship that can never be severed. But there is also communion in which we staying close fellowship with Jesus. John 21:1-14.
ST. THOMAS OF INDIA History is full of seekers like Thomas who investigated and became believers. Church history reports that Thomas went to current day India to spread the Gospel. He preached for twenty years until he was martyred. Today, the patron saint of India is St. Thomas. And when the Dutch Trading Company landed on an island in the Caribbean, they named it Saint Thomas and established the St. Thomas Church there. So Honest Thomas had a great impact on God’s Kingdom. John 20:19-29.
Mary thought Jesus was the gardener so she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, please show me where you put him and I will get him.” That’s love. Maybe Mary weighed 110 pounds. Let’s assume Jesus weighed 180, and John tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph had wrapped His body in 75 additional pounds of aloe and spices. So this little woman was willing to heft a corpse weighing over 250 pounds on her shoulder and carry it back inside the tomb. That’s love. Her hope was shattered, and her faith was absent, but her love was still there. John 20:1-18.
GET IN THE BOAT Do not let us be a church that rows away into eternity covering our eyes and ears so we can’t hear the screams of the people who are lost and dying around us. Let’s be a church that pursues them, that loves our neighbor in such a way that we can look at them and say, “There is plenty of room for you. Get in the boat.” Matthew 13:1-9.
WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? It is hard to find authenticity in this world. It’s hard to know what is true, it is hard to know what’s genuine. It seems as if that all of us are expecting some sort of angle. Even the way that you watch the news, even the way that you deal with others. At times we like we have some sort of guard up against our neighbor, against those around us, because we are assuming that they are working with some type of angle in mind. Mark 10:35-45.
JESUS’ REMOVAL FROM THE CROSS The Bible tells us that Jesus had two unlikely undertakers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. You might expect family members or disciples to step forward and claim the body, but instead these two respected members of the Jewish Sanhedrin collected the body of Jesus from the cross. It was not an easy or a pretty job. First, they had to climb up and either remove the nails or removed Jesus hands and feet from the nails embedded in the cross. Then they had to lower His mangled body. Jesus’ back had been ripped apart with a whip, Water and blood had flowed from the wound in His side. Then they had to remove the razor-sharp crown of thorns. John 19:38-42.
DEATH BY INCONVENIENCE To me it is the height of hypocrisy that the Jewish leaders were so concerned about sunset messing with their religious holiday that they appealed to Pilate to hasten the death of the three men being crucified. They didn’t want a bloody body to inconvenience them from their religious acts. John 19:28-37.
KNOWING Can you imagine living your whole life anticipating the most horrible death possible? No doubt Jesus saw hundreds of Roman crucifixions as He was growing up. He must have thought, “That’s me someday.” Every time Joseph planed a rough piece of wood, Jesus probably thought about the cross. Every time Joseph pounded nails in wood, Jesus surely thought of the last time His human ears would hear that sound. John 19:28-30.
Are you going to be like the first thief or are you going to be like the second? Are you going to be like the soldiers who are just gambling for their eternity? Or are you going to be like the first thief who says, “Listen, I just need you to get me through this.” John 19:17-27.
With that act of symbolically washing his hands, Pilate thought he would be vindicated. He thought that he would never be associated with the death of Jesus. But let me show you what is tragically ironic. The one man who wanted to be absolved of any guilt is the name that has been spoken millions of times connecting him to the death of Jesus. I’m referring to the Apostle’s Creed. This creed has been recited millions of times, and is being recited today in Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and many other churches. John 19:5-16.
THE PATH We see two completely different stories between Judas and Peter. Both men failed. Both slipped into sin. But Judas hid and went into the shadows of the night to end his life. Peter ran toward the light in order to have life. Which path are you on? John 18:15-18; 25-27
FALLING BEHIND Peter followed Jesus at a distance to the courtyard of Caiaphas’ house. That’s an indication that we find ourselves in trouble when we don’t follow the Lord closely. If you followed the Lord closely at one time, but you have hung back and now you follow the Lord at a distance, before long you find yourself hanging out with the wrong crowd. And soon you find yourself doing the wrong thing. John 18:15-18; 25-27