Today’s readings.. (2 Chronicles 1,2), (Ezekiel 39), (John 5)
We may read God’s word every day, we may find it interesting and helpful as a guide to living a satisfying life, but is that enough? What did Jesus mean when he spoke about God’s word abiding, that is, living in a person? Who was Jesus talking to on this occasion?
Today’s reading of John Ch. 5 is about the increasing confrontation of Jesus with many of his hearers (v.18). The challenge for them had begun with the preaching of John Baptist and Jesus says of him,, “He was a burning and a shining lamp and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.” [v.35] They listened and there was a time of much interest, even of rejoicing, but then it suddenly became too hard to accept the message, especially when Jesus forcefully endorsed John’s criticism challenging their vested interests.
What a great lesson is there here for us. The words of God which Jesus conveyed to human beings have to be accepted into the minds of those who hear and made part of the principles by which they live. . If it is not genuinely accepted it cannot live in them. When it lives in them, it becomes an integral part of their thinking. It is the “living water” that Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria about – as we read yesterday (4 v.10) noting how Jesus went on to explain, “The water that I will give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” [v.14]
Water is a cleansing agent and the “living water” that Jesus provides is his cleansing word. But for it to do its work it has to abide in us. The Jews who rejoiced for a while at hearing John the Baptist failed to let his words abide in them. The same, very sadly, has been true of every generation since and is even more true of our generation..
Human nature is such that all too often we only hear what we want to hear. On another occasion Jesus said, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear … “ [Luke 8 v.17,18] There is no point in listening to Jesus and his message from God if we do not let his words live in us and change our thinking, and therefore, the priorities in our lives become re-directed.
Jesus also said, as we also read today, “whoever hears my word and believes on him who sent me has eternal life” [v.24], surely this means that their names are now in “the book of life” as we read last week in Philippians 4 v.3. Let us be fully willing to live so that we “rejoice” day by day, week by week and year by year, so that our names remain “in the book of life” (see Rev. 3 v.5)