Before Abraham, I AM

John 8:42-59

  With Megan’s pregnancy has come a great wave of sickness. I know many ladies experience morning sickness, but for Meg the sickness last all day. It was this way with Ivy (and not with the miscarriage, so in some ways it is a blessing…), but having Ivy around changes everything. Now if Meg gets sick there is little Ivy patting her on the back. When Meg is done Ivy will spit into the toilet, just for solidarity sake… It is strange to me that women get sick. Literally since before middle school every month ladies bodies prepare to have a child. Really all of society is built to procreate (of course as Kay shouted, NOT NOW! in the case of any middle school student). Yet now that Meg is finally pregnant, the same body trying to have children is now trying to puke the baby out…

  In some ways this defines our world. Desperate for salvation. Without a clue how to live life. Unable to even discern the direction EAST (to use the illustration from the past couple of weeks). Yet when salvation show up on the scene. When true life arrives, the people rejected him and tried to kill (eventually did kill him!).

  In this passage everything comes to head. The religious Jews are demanding answers and confindent in their own position. But Jesus declares there are children of the devil! I love Jesus in this scene. So often we make Jesus out to be our friend and probably a little weak. But he rises against the angry crowd and proclaims the truth. More, he does not back away, but put it black and white. Put yourself in his shoes, this was brave (check out the last verse, they are about to stone him!).

  Of course the Jew were religious. They worshipped on the sabbath, memorized scripture, and lived lives of purity. They were far better than us! Yet Jesus calls them the devil’s children. Why? Because Christianity is not about rules or laws. It is not about how we dress…

  To illustrate, growing up things were not always financially secure. In a changing industry my dad lost his job more than once. So in middle school with me growing quickly I found myself with only a two dress shirts and one pair of dress pants. So I would reverse the shirts every week and always wear the pants. Of course – as is the case with middle school (though I would love for our students to rise above) – people joked about what I would wear the next week. Somewhere allow the line I started to wear blue jeans and to dress down… but in this – why it is so easy to fall in love with Jesus, with God – I was affirmed by Him. My clothes did not matter to Him, He was concerned with the heart.

  For us, the amount of Sundays and Wednesdays we attend are not important. We can still easily be children of the devil. Even if we were the right clothes or know all the answers to the bible study… but what matters is the heart. Have you embraced Jesus as your brother? Have you made God your Father? Have you fallen in love?… Jesus is concerned with your heart. And your life will be marked by that love. In love with God you will come to services and read the Bible. More you will love your neighbor, not just when it benefits you. But always.

  On a side note. To this day I hate dressing up for church and until I came on staff with a church I never would. Being here in Augusta I debated why and literally all things point to that moment in middle school. In part it was the exclusion I felt from others, but also the inclusion I felt from God. I write this to illustrate the power of “harmless” teasing and to help the students see the choices they make now have lasting effects. If you choose to meet God He will mark your life with his love!

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