For five days we plunged into the Gospel of John to answer two questions:
Who is the JESUS WHO IS? and
Why does the correct answer to that question matter?
As we moved deeper into JOHN—section by section and theme by theme—something began to happen to our perception of Jesus. And to our faith. And to our lives.
Everyone has some idea of who Jesus is. That perception of Jesus is the Jesus to whom we relate. But none of us has fully comprehended the JESUS WHO IS. Our faith and practice are thus limited to the caricature in our imagination.
As the week progressed, the JESUS WHO IS began to emerge out of the fog of our false and incomplete notions of Jesus.
After we went through the seven I AM sayings of Jesus—by which Jesus identifies himself
with the GOD of Moses and burning bush—one pastor blurted out, “I have known and preached Jesus as our healer and provider. Now I am seeing…he is my GOD!”
Like Thomas before him who actually walked with Jesus for 3 ½ years, there came that moment of brilliant revelation of the JESUS WHO IS:
- The Son of GOD who created the universe (John 1:1ff);
- The Son of Man whom the Ancient of Days entrusts His absolute authority & power over all (Dan 7:16ff);
- The Lamb of GOD who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29ff);
- The Messiah, GOD’s Anointed One, who only does what he sees the Father doing and only speaks the words the Father has given him to say. (John 7 – 8)
On and on goes the revelation of the JESUS WHO IS.
- I and the Father are one.
- Before Abraham was, I AM.
- My kingdom is not of this world.
- I AM the way, the truth and the life—no one can come to GOD without passing through me.
- I AM the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will never die.
- Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have life in you!
Each morning I asked the students, “Does Jesus look a little different today from yesterday?” Each morning the answer was, “Yes, he is getting BIGGER!”
On and on GOD’s Word enlarged and clarified our perception of the JESUS WHO IS. But something more was happening. The gradual transformation taking place was more than an intellectual upgrade.
On Friday one of the pastors testified, “When I came into class on Monday, I (was a bit surprised) to experience the presence of GOD. And each day as we have discovered more and more about the JESUS WHO IS, the presence of the Lord has become stronger and stronger. Until this room is now filled with the presence of GOD.”
We prayed as well as taught.
An older pastor reported that he had suffered a serious shoulder injury thirty years before that left his arm crippled. After several years he heard the Gospel and was born again, at which time GOD restored the use of his arm.
But, he reported, he still experienced considerable pain and was presently in pain.
So I ask if there were any students who could feel the mercy of GOD rising in them for this man’s healing? Three did. I asked them to come forward and pray quietly for his healing which they did.
Within five minutes the man reported the disappearance of his pain. Each day we would ask him how his shoulder was doing and he reported each day that he had full motion without any pain.
A church planter from Tanzania reported after class on Monday that his seven month old son was in the hospital in Eldoret in very serious condition.
The boy had been suffering for a month with a GI infection that had resisted all known treatments (tried in three different hospitals). The child was in danger of dying from the effects of chronic nausea and dysentery.
Three days before, the doctors had admitted defeat and told the mother that there was nothing remaining to be done medically. The minister asked me to go to the hospital with him to pray for his son.
But even as he asked me, the Holy Spirit told me, No. So, I explained that I was not supposed to go, but we should in our separate places that evening pray one more time for his son.
I did that, praying fervently at bedtime, awakening to pray during the night, and then again early before I rose.
At the mid-morning break on Tuesday, Patroba came to report to me that during the night the boy was healed and his mother was even then boarding a bus to return to their home in Tanzania. A check at the end of the week indicated the child was completely healed and doing well.
As the class rejoiced as GOD’s great mercy and power, we returned to our studies. The next lesson was the story of Jesus in John 4 refusing to go to the bed-side of a man’s dying son, saying there was no need to go because the boy was already healed.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher. But more, he is GOD with us.
As we are filled with him and submerged in his presence, he does the miraculous and transformative ministry of Jesus in our lives that marks the journey of those whom GOD has given to the Son.
There were moments of joy as the detailed handiwork of Jesus’ care for us was demonstrated.
One woman testified that she had recently been released from prison after two years.
While she was in prison one of GFE’s evangelistic teams visited and led her to Jesus. They also gave her a Gospel of John.
She and other inmates read and re-read JOHN and discussed the stories with each other, trying to decipher the message of the little book. But they had difficulty, so she began to pray, “GOD could you send someone to me to teach me the meaning of the Gospel of John.”
To her amazement, when she was released from prison, she was invited to come to the Bible School, only to discover that GOD had sent a man from America to explain to her the Gospel of John.
Now I understand the insistence of GOD that I come to Kenya to teach JOHN!
Hint: If you want to find GOD, he lives in prisons. A GFE team Thursday came back from a visit to a local prison where they had preached and prayed. They joyfully reported fourteen men had embraced Christ.
THE JESUS WHO IS.
You might want to check your Jesus.
- Is the One come down from heaven who is one with the Creator?
- Is the One who now holds the entire universe together by the power of his word?
- Is he GOD with us in his Spirit?
- Is he the Good Shepherd who daily speaks to his ‘sheep’ who hear his voice and follow him?
- Is he the One who will judge the nations and every individual who ever lived?
- Is the soon-to-appear King on whose shoulders will rest the government of the nations?
- Is the ONLY one who can take away the sin of the world?
- Is he truly your only hope for Resurrection and Life?
You might want to check your Jesus.
We just checked ours during the past week.
And we’re so glad we did.