Today’s Gospel John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the lace of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. – Luke 3:16 Reflection John the Baptist was the one who paved the way for the Lord. He baptized people of that time and preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. He only baptized them with water, but he couldn’t do the work Jesus was going to do. Only the Lord Jesus could do the work of redeeming mankind through crucifixion. I saw such a passage in a spiritual book, “The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike as well as of different natures. It is from this that one determines whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to initiate, to continue, to conclude, and to bring to fruition. He carried out each of these steps, whereas the work of John was no more than making a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, and then went on to baptize man, heal the sick, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He also went about in every place, preaching to man and spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. In this regard He and John were alike, the difference being that Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the Age of Grace to man. From His mouth came the word on what man should practice and the way that man should follow in the Age of Grace, and in the end, He finished the work of redemption. John could never have carried out this work. And so it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself, and who directly represents God” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)”). It can be seen that to distinguish God’s work from man’s work, the key is to see whether it can bring to us the way of life rather than how long one has worked. » Baptism is an important ceremony, representing that we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior. The Lord Jesus is Christ, but why was He also baptized? What is the significance of His baptism? » Read more on our Knowing Jesus Christ page, or click on the related articles below: • What Is the Meaning of the Lord Jesus Being Tempted? • God Is Almighty, but Why Did Jesus Redeem Us by Crucifixion • How Did God Show His Love to Us Through the Lord Jesus’ Words?
Today’s Gospel For with God nothing shall be impossible. – Luke 1:37 Reflection It is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, when the angel told Mary that she would bring forth a son and should call His name Jesus. Mary said to the angel that she didn’t marry and how this could happen. The angel answered her: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” From this verse, we know that there is power and authority in God’s words. Just as the Bible recorded that in the beginning, God used words to create the heavens and earth and all things and prepare the environments that we depend upon for survival. During Noah’s time, God said He would destroy the world with a flood. In the end all things that breathe were dead. Only Noah and the seven members of his family survived the destruction, as well as the varieties of living creatures in the ark. In addition, when Abraham was a hundred years old, God promised to give him a son. At that time, Sarah laughed within herself, and Abraham didn’t believe that, but in the end God’s promise was accomplished, and God gave them a son, Isaac. Another example is: God predicted that the Virgin Mary would bring forth a son, the coming Messiah. Later, God became flesh and did the work of redeeming all mankind. … There are still many similar things recorded in the Bible. From these facts, we can see that God is faithful and He will accomplish what He says. Many times, we all have such experience: When we are weak, God’s words can strengthen our faith and give us the way to practice. One day in my devotional, I saw these words, “The heavens and earth and all things are established and made complete by the words of My mouth and with Me anything can be accomplished” (“Chapter 60” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning). “Any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). When we experience God’s words, we will find that His words can solve all our problems. » Read more on our Knowing God page about God’s Authority, or in the recommended articles below: • Only God, Who Has the Identity of the Creator, Possesses the Unique Authority • The Creator’s Authority Is Not Constrained by Time, Space, or Geography, and the Creator’s Authority Is Inestimable • The Unique Manner and Characteristics of the Creator’s Utterances Are a Symbol of the Unique Identity and Authority of the Creator
Today’s Gospel And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. – John 21:25 Reflection God is the source of the truth. And His utterances is sufficient. God’s word says, “The way of life is not something that can be possessed by just anyone, nor is it easily obtainable by all. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life.” The Lord Jesus had worked for three and a half years, and He said countless words and gave many sermons. Compared with the Lord Jesus’ work and preaching in the three and a half years, the Lord’s words recorded in the Bible are only a drop in the ocean. This makes me remember the Lord’s word, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:12-13). So we can see that the Lord Jesus’ words recorded in the Bible are so limited, He has not finished speaking His words and will tell us when He comes again in the last days. Thus it’s impossible to find these words in the Bible. If we say that all of God’s word is in the Bible and there is no word of God outside the Bible, it is incompatible with the Lord’s words. Then how should we seek the new words of God? Recommended for you: • Is All of God’s Word Really in the Bible • How to Hear the Voice of God – 2 Key Principles • Heated Debate: Are There Any Words of God Outside the Bible? » You may be interested: Christian Movie “The Bible and God” Clip: Are All of God’s Work and Words in the Bible?
Today’s Gospel He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep. – John 21:16 Reflection Every time when I read these verses, I would mull: Why did the Lord Jesus ask Peter three times in a row, “Love you me?” What did He want to tell us through these questions? Later, I found the answer in a spiritual book and became somewhat clear about God’s will. It says in the book, “In this conversation, the Lord Jesus repeatedly asked Peter one thing: ‘Peter, love you me?’ This is a higher standard the Lord Jesus required from people like Peter after His resurrection, who truly believe in Christ and strive to love the Lord. This question was a sort of investigation, and a sort of interrogation, but even more, it was a requirement and an expectation of people like Peter. He used this method of questioning so that people would reflect on themselves and look into themselves: What are the Lord Jesus’ requirements for people? Do I love the Lord? Am I a person who loves God? How should I love God? Even though the Lord Jesus only asked this question of Peter, the truth is that in His heart, He wanted to use this opportunity of asking Peter to ask this type of question of more people who seek to love God. It is only that Peter was blessed to act as the representative of this type of person, to receive questioning from the Lord Jesus’ own mouth. … This was a thought-provoking, meaningful question that can’t help but make every follower of Christ feel remorse, and fear, but also feel the Lord Jesus’ anxious, sorrowful mood. And when they are in great pain and suffering, they are more able to understand the Lord Jesus Christ’s concern and His care; they realize His earnest teaching and strict requirements of pure, honest people. The Lord Jesus’ question allows people to feel that the Lord’s expectations of people revealed in these simple words are not merely to believe in and follow Him, but to achieve having love, loving your Lord, loving your God. This kind of love is caring and obeying. It is humans living for God, dying for God, dedicating everything to God, and expending and giving everything for God. This kind of love is also giving God comfort, allowing Him to enjoy witness, and allowing Him to be at rest. It is mankind’s repayment to God, their responsibility, obligation and duty, and it is a way that mankind must follow for their entire lives. These three questions were a requirement and an exhortation the Lord Jesus made of Peter and all people who would be made perfect. It was these three questions that led and motivated Peter to complete his path in life, and it was the questions at the Lord Jesus’ parting that led Peter to start on his path of being made perfect, that led him, because of his love for the Lord, to care for the Lord’s heart, to obey the Lord, to offer comfort to the Lord, and to offer up his whole life and his whole being because of this love.” After reading these words, I knew the word “Love you me?” that the Lord Jesus asked Peter three times is too meaningful. It contains God’s expectations of man: In God’s heart, He doesn’t only want to gain people who believe in and follow God but expects to get man’s love of Him and man’s heart that truly loves Him. In God’s eyes, it is the most precious that man has a God-loving heart. So, God asked Peter three times, “Love you me?” God’s will is that He hopes all those who truly follow Him can pursue to be a person like Peter and can achieve to love God. I couldn’t help considering: Do I have love for God? Many times I said I would seek to love God, but in reality I usually made deals with God for the sake of my own interests, and demanded God’s blessings for my small sacrifices, and so on. Compared to God’s requirements, I have a long way to go. But I’m willing to come before God to pray, read more of His words, seeking the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and understanding the requirements and will of God, and practice according to His words in my life and work. Hope that one day I can satisfy Him and comfort His heart. » Read more on our The Gospel of Jesus Christ page about Knowing Jesus Christ, or in the recommended articles below: • Why Did the Lord Jesus Approve of Peter’s Faith? • What Is the Significance of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus? • Gospel Reflection on the Lord Jesus’ Appearance to Thomas the Apostle
Today’s Gospel Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. – John 20:29 Reflection In the past, when I saw this verse, I only thought these were the Lord’s words to Thomas. But several days ago, I saw a passage on the Internet, which made me realize that Thomas represents a type of person and the words spoken by the Lord are also a caution and a warning for us. Share this passage with you: “Thomas represents a type of person who believes in God yet doubts God. They are of a suspicious nature, have sinister hearts, are treacherous, and do not believe in the things that God can complete. They do not believe in God’s omnipotence and His rule, and they don’t believe in God incarnate. However, the Lord Jesus’ resurrection was a slap in the face to them, and it also provided them with an opportunity to discover their own doubt, to recognize their own doubt, and to acknowledge their own treachery, thus truly believing in the existence and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. What happened with Thomas was a warning and a caution for later generations so that more people could warn themselves not to be doubting like Thomas, and if they were, they would sink into the darkness. If you follow God, but just like Thomas, you always want to touch the Lord’s rib and feel His nail marks to confirm, to verify, to speculate on whether or not God exists, God will forsake you. So, the Lord Jesus requires people to not be like Thomas, only believing what they can see with their own eyes, but to be a pure, honest person, to not harbor doubts toward God, but only believe in and follow Him. This type of person is blessed. This is a very small requirement the Lord Jesus has for people, and a warning for His followers.” After reading these words, I understand the reason why the people such as Thomas have failed. It is because that their hearts are too deceitful. They always assess the authenticity and reason of things with their own eyes, clinging to the view “seeing is believing,” and do not have the eagerness to seek the truth, this kind of people finally are ruined by their deceitfulness. Now we all yearn for the second coming of Jesus, but many people believe that the Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ. No matter who testify that the Lord has returned, they do not believe and cling to their own conceptions and only believe when they see the Lord come openly on clouds with their own eyes. Don’t they have the same viewpoint as Thomas? If we hear someone preaches the Lord has come, we don’t put aside our imaginations and conceptions, or follow the masses, waiting and seeing, or hesitate to seek and investigate the true way, we are surely unable to see the Lord’s appearance, thus we’ll lose the opportunity to gain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” These words are just the Lord’s reminders of us so that we won’t follow in the footsteps of those who had failed. » Read more on our Commentaries on Proverbs page, or click on the related articles below: • 3 Truths About the Resurrection of Jesus Christ We Should Know • Lessons From the Lord Jesus’ Appearance to Thomas the Apostle • Jesus Appeared to Thomas: What Is the Significance
Today’s Gospel Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the middle, and said to them, Peace be to you. Reflection Whenever I read this verse, I cannot help but ponder: Though it happened thousand years ago, what was the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? Why did He appear to people after His resurrection? From a spiritual book, I have read one passage: “And when He walked out from the grave, and appeared to the people one by one, the majority of people who had seen Him with their own eyes or heard the news of His resurrection gradually shifted from denial to skepticism. By the time the Lord Jesus had Thomas put his hand into His side, by the time the Lord Jesus broke bread and ate it in front of the crowd after His resurrection, and after that ate broiled fish in front of them, only then did they truly accept the fact that the Lord Jesus is Christ in the flesh. … This brief reunion made the people who saw the Lord Jesus feel as if a lifetime had passed. Their lost, confused, afraid, anxious, yearning and numb hearts found comfort. They were no longer doubtful or disappointed because they felt that now there was hope and something to rely on. The Son of man standing in front of them would be behind them for eternity, He would be their strong tower, their refuge for all time.” God examines the innermost heart of man. Jesus knew that His disciples followed Him, but they didn’t believe that He was the incarnate God, much less the fact of His resurrection. Thomas was the classical example. After he touched Jesus’ wound in His rib and nail marks in His hands, Thomas’ doubt of God disappeared. Hence, Jesus’ appearance to people was to make those who followed Him truly believe that He is the incarnate God and is the Lord who created the heavens and earth and all things. Although He was nailed to the cross, He had the power of resurrection. From these, we can see God’s authority, strengthen our faith, and truly rely on Him on our path of following God. » Read more in these articles: • 3 Aspects to Unravel Mystery of Incarnation of Jesus • What’s the Significance of the Lord Becoming Man’s Sin Offering? • 3 Truths About the Resurrection of Jesus Christ We Should Know » Most people also watch: The Lord Jesus’ Words to His Disciples After His Resurrection
Today’s Gospel I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. – John 17:15 Reflection The above verse is the prayer of the Lord Jesus. Jesus did not ask the Heavenly Father to take the disciples out of the world, but asked Him to keep these disciples. God’s words is faithful. If we want to triumph over Satan’s temptations and attacks in real life, we should pray and rely on God, then we can obtain His care and protection. It’s also mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer that “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Therefore, on our path of believing in God, it’s so important to obtain God’s care and protection. Share with you a passage of words, and hope you can find the way of practice from these words when being tempted and attacked by Satan. “After God created mankind and gave them spirits, He enjoined them that if they didn’t call out to God, then they would not be able to connect with His Spirit and thus the ‘satellite television’ from heaven would not be received on earth. When God is no longer in people’s spirits there is an empty seat left open for other things, and that’s how Satan seizes the opportunity to get in. When people contact God with their hearts, Satan immediately goes into a panic and rushes to escape. Through mankind’s cries God gives them what they need, but He does not ‘reside’ within them at first. He just constantly gives them aid because of their cries and people gain hardiness from that internal strength so that Satan dare not come here to ‘play’ at its will. This way, if people constantly connect with God’s Spirit, Satan dare not come to disrupt.” » Read more on our Overcome Temptation page, or click on the related articles below: • The Power of Prayer • 3 Effective Ways to Overcome Satan’s Temptations • How She Resists Temptation When She Bumps Into Her First Boyfriend Again • How Do Christians Resist Temptation in the Workplace? She Did It This Way » Recommended for You: Christian Prayer Song – Call Out to God to Gain His Presence
On the way to the land of Canaan, Moses sent the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel to spy out the land of Canaan. Seeing the people living there were burly, strong, big, and strapping, except Joshua and Caleb, the other ten were very scared…
Editor’s Notes: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The Lord Jesus taught us to be people who are pure of heart, because only such people can recognize God’s voice and follow God’s work. From the examples of a blind man and the Pharisees recorded in the Bible, Jack, a Christian, has deeply felt that being pure of heart is more important than being sighted! Jack, who had just returned from evangelizing London, arrived at the door of a coffee shop around the corner at 2 p.m. as usual. Perhaps because the owner of this coffee shop was a Christian, there were free copies of the Bible there for every Christian friend to read. For Jack, this place was of course his first choice, because the quiet environment there enabled him to have more closeness with the Lord. As soon as Jack walked in, a skillful barista saw him. This barista had known Jack for a long time, therefore he knew Jack’s habits—an espresso and a Bible would be quite enough. Jack walked to his usual table next to shelves of copies of the Bible. He gently took one from a shelf, then opened it, and began to read in earnest. He saw these verses, “And it came to pass, that as He was come near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, You Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, You Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought to Him: and when he was come near, He asked him, Saying, What will you that I shall do to you? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said to him, Receive your sight: your faith has saved you. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God” (Luke 18:35–43). Jack carefully pray-read these verses, and thought to himself, “In order to make people confess and repent, the Lord Jesus did many miracles, such as curing the blind man who begged Him to do so. Before performing this miracle, the Lord said, ‘Your faith has saved you.’ The Lord Jesus observed the depths of people’s hearts, and could look upon anyone’s deeds and thoughts. Because of the blind man’s faith in the Lord Jesus and also because of the Lord’s great power, the blind man could see.” “Sir, it’s your espresso. Please enjoy it.” A waiter’s words interrupted Jack’s thoughts. Jack politely nodded his thanks. Then, lifting his coffee cup, he once again fell into deep thought: The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Yes! Only people who are pure of heart are able to recognize God’s voice, follow God, and gain God’s salvation. Though the blind man couldn’t see, his heart was not blind. Instead, he had a clear heart and believed in the Lord Jesus, so he gained the Lord’s mercy and grace. Jack took a sip of his coffee, tasting its bitter flavor. Then, he read another verse, “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils” (Mark 3:22). After reading it, he remembered that when the Lord Jesus came to work, He healed lepers, made the crippled walk, used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people, and even raised the dead; moreover, His preaching had authority and power, and many people followed Him. However, though the religious leaders, Pharisees, chief priests, scribes of the time saw all of this, they didn’t accept the fact that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah; they simply did not seek or investigate whether what the Lord Jesus expressed was the truth, the way and the life, whether His expression was beneficial to them, or whether the Lord Jesus came from God. On the contrary, they stubbornly clung to their own conceptions, condemned the Lord Jesus, blasphemed against Him and said that He relied on Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, to cast out demons. They tempted the Lord Jesus whenever they could, and even incited the Jewish people to reject Him. In the end, they conspired with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus, committing the most heinous of sins. Jack realized this, “Though these people’s eyes could see, their hearts were blind. They didn’t recognize that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah or that the Lord Jesus’ authority to perform miracles came from God. Their eyes were worse than the blind man’s eyes, because they resisted God though being sighted. No wonder the Lord Jesus said, ‘And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive’ (Matthew 13:14).” After understanding this, Jack sighed with emotion, and thought, “Being pure of heart is really more important than being sighted! A blind man can be cured by the Lord, but if one’s heart is blind, then he can’t be cured. Seeking the true way does not depend on eyes, but rather hearts. Only when the eyes of our hearts are open and we have a sober and clear mind can we recognize God’s voice and know God’s work.” At the thought of this, Jack remembered what it says in the Bible, “Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). The Pharisees were blind and ignorant, and their…
God’s intention in creating man is not to simply let mankind live on the earth and manage all things, but to hope that we mankind can be His companion……
Today’s Gospel As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. – John 15:9 Reflection In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus came among man to do the work of redemption. During that time, He healed the sick and cast out demons, performed many signs and wonders, and gave man grace in abundance. In the end, He was nailed to the cross as a sin offering to redeem mankind from sin. So that we have the opportunity to come before God and enjoy His grace and blessings. This is God’s boundless love for us. Just as God says, “Jesus was the God who saved man. What He had and was was grace, love, compassion, forbearance, patience, humility, care, and tolerance, and so much of the work that He did was the redemption of man. As for His disposition, it was one of compassion and love, and because He was compassionate and loving, He had to be nailed to the cross for man, in order to show that God loved man as Himself, so much so that He offered up Himself in His entirety. Satan said, ‘Since You love man, You must then love him to the ultimate extreme: You must be nailed to the cross, to deliver man from the cross, from sin, and You shall offer up Yourself in exchange for all of mankind.’ Satan made the following wager: ‘Since You are a loving and compassionate God, You must love man to the ultimate extreme: You should then offer Yourself up to the cross.’ Jesus replied, ‘As long as it is for mankind, I am willing to lay down My all.’ And then He went up onto the cross without the slightest self-regard, and redeemed the whole of mankind.” » Read more on our The Gospel of Jesus Christ page about Knowing Jesus Christ, or click on the related articles below: • What’s the Significance of the Lord Becoming Man’s Sin Offering? • Good Friday Message: God Is Almighty, but Why Did Jesus Redeem Us by Crucifixion? • Why Did the Resurrected Jesus Christ Appear to His Disciples Many Times?
Today’s Gospel I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5 Reflection The Lord compared us to the branches and compared Himself to the vine. Our relationship with the Lord is like the relationship between the vine branches and the vine. Away from the vine, the branches will lose the supply of life and then wither and die. From this we can see that the Lord is the source of our life and that it is very important to maintain a proper relationship with God. Only by constantly living before God to have a normal relationship with God can we gain the supply of God’s life and bear the fruit of life. Conversely, if we often stray far from God, cling to the world, and live in the enjoyment of the flesh and material benefits, but seldom read God’s words or pray to Him, then we will have no proper relationship with Him, nor will we have the work of the Holy Spirit. Our life will wither. This is equivalent to the branches withering after being away from the vine. So, how can we establish a proper relationship with God? I read two passages from a spiritual book, “People believe in God, love God, and satisfy God by touching the Spirit of God with their heart, thereby obtaining His satisfaction; when engaging with God’s words with their heart, they are therefore moved by the Spirit of God. If you wish to achieve a proper spiritual life and establish a proper relationship with God, you must first give your heart to Him, and quiet your heart before Him. Only after you have poured your whole heart into God can you gradually develop a proper spiritual life. “If you want to have a proper relationship with God, your heart must turn to God…. When one does not give his heart to God, his spirit becomes obtuse, it becomes numb and unconscious. This kind of person will never understand God’s words and will never have a proper relationship with God; this kind of person will never change their disposition. … When you are able to give your heart to God, you will be able to perceive every subtle moving within your spirit, and you will know every enlightenment and illumination received from God. Hold onto this, and you will gradually enter into the path of being perfected by the Holy Spirit. The quieter your heart can be before God, the more sensitive and delicate your spirit will be, and the more your spirit will be able to perceive the moving of the Holy Spirit, and then your relationship with God will become more and more proper.” From these words we can see: If we want to establish a proper relationship with God, we must give our hearts to Him and often quiet our hearts before Him. Of our whole beings, it is our heart that God places great stock in. Just as the Bible says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). God is a Spirit. Only with our hearts can we connect with His Spirit and establish a proper relationship with Him. If we want to give our hearts to God, first we should often come before God and have real prayer with God: speaking our hearts’ words to Him, truly entrusting our difficulties to God, and asking for His guidance and arrangements, instead of making prayers that are not sincere or prayers of a religious ritual. This is what it means to have a normal relationship with God. » You may be interested in reading more on our The Parables of Jesus page, or in the articles below: • Why Did Jesus Use Parables When He Did His Work? • The Profound Meaning Behind the Parable of the Vineyard • Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important