Bible Top 1000

A Faithful, Devoted, Passionate Follower
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When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Dear woman, here is your son." and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
(John 19:26-27)

What an honor! John, the great disciple of God, was asked to care for the mother of Jesus. Do you think Jesus would have been careful in the selection of this person?

John was perhaps closer to Jesus than any other disciple. Probably an early follower of John the Baptist, John affectionately refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved". I don't think John was stuck on himself; actually to the contrary. Throughout the book of John, John refuses to name himself, even when he has done something great.

One thing we can be sure of with John, and with his brother James as well, there was a fire in their heart for Jesus! In fact, you can be sure that whatever John was involved in, he would display passion for. Jesus nicknamed he and his brother James "Sons of Thunder", most likely for their quick-tempered spirit. I think Jesus was also referring to the great devotion and energy of their lives.

John was in the inner circle of Christ. He accompanied Jesus to the high mountain, where they met Moses and Elijah. No doubt, John was never the same again. John was perhaps the sole disciple at the crucifixion; maybe being the only one who had the courage to stay in spite of the danger.

In my mind, however, John is best noted for his tremendous contribution to the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The last of the gospels to be written, the book of John is packed full of inspiring truths. John alone tells of the reappearing of Christ to the disciples, how Christ fed them breakfast, and of the moving reinstatement of Peter to the Lord.

As we strive to be like Christ, we can look favorably to the example of John, a faithful, devoted, passionate follower whom Jesus Loved. May it be said of you and me!

Hearing And Doing

Romans 2:12-13
(12) For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (13) (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Why is this term, "law," so repulsive? Law implies authority, and human nature likes no authority over it, even if the law expresses the authority of God and defines love. It is especially interesting that Paul says we will be judged according to what we actually know. Know of what? The law of God. The good works he mentions earlier include the works of keeping the law. Obviously, it is God's will that we live moral lives. Morality must have standards, or there is no such thing as morality. Laws define morality. We will be judged against what we know of the laws of God. Thus, he says in verse 13 that the doers of the law will be justified.

Despite what these verses say, theologians attempt to justify their "no-law" theology by claiming that Paul writes here of the natural man, not converted people. While partially true, it avoids the fact that this epistle was written to a church of God congregation (Romans 1:1-7) and that Paul repeatedly uses the personal pronoun "you"—as in "you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge" (Romans 2:1). This usage, combined with the fact that it is written to a church of God congregation, easily catches the converted in its purview.

In addition, it also avoids the fact that one reason God gives His Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). This includes the truth regarding morality, lawkeeping, and good works. As God leads us to greater depths of knowledge and understanding of His truth, it builds in us a more responsible knowledge of God's will. This raises the stakes in judgment because "to whom much is given, from him much more will be required" (Luke 12:48). Growth results in closer scrutiny against a higher standard of morality.

In the broader context of Romans, it becomes clear that each person—Jew or Gentile, converted or unconverted—is judged against what he knows, and God holds him responsible for working to produce obedience at that level. This is similar to what teachers expect of school children. They hold children in the higher grades more responsible for knowing and doing than those in lower grades. Courts use the same general system, holding adults more responsible for their crimes than children. Thus, for the same crime, an adult will receive a sterner punishment.

The called must realize that, because of their calling, the requirements—and thus the judgments—are much stiffer since they know so much more. This is why Paul says in Romans 3:31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." Faith upholds law or makes it firm because the law points out what righteousness, love, and sin are, and guides us in how faith is to be used.

"...Why Have I Found Such Favor In Your Eyes?..."

"So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled. At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, ‘WHY HAVE I FOUND SUCH FAVOR IN YOUR EYES THAT YOU NOTICE ME—A FOREIGNER?’" (Ruth 2:8-10)

There are many correlations to be found between the story of Boaz and Ruth and the story of each human being and Jesus. In fact, we all represent Ruth, for just like Ruth was a foreigner in Israel, the fact that we have all been born under sin makes each of us foreigners to God’s world. Each of the statements Boaz makes in this passage is repeated as advice for us in God’s Word. Let’s take a look!

Boaz told Ruth to NOT go and glean in other fields, to stay with him. God tells us the same thing: Stay with God! Don’t go into the world! (1 Jn 2:15: "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.")

Boaz told Ruth that his men wouldn’t harm her, thus implying that she might have been in danger from the field workers in another man’s field. Even so, when we choose to live in the world, we are in serious danger of every trap the evil one has set. (1 Pe 5:8: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.")

Boaz told Ruth to go and get a drink from the water jars his men had filled any time she was thirsty, Jesus has the same message for us: "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’" (John 7:37,38).

Ruth suddenly finds herself supplied with everything she needs: A livelihood, food, water, even protection. Is it any wonder she would choose to stay in Boaz’s fields to glean grain? We, too, are given everything we need, for the Bible tells us: "My God will supply ALL of your needs!" Why, then, as human beings, would we ever choose to live our lives outside of God?

Ruth didn’t refuse Boaz’s offer. But she DID have a question for him: "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me-a foreigner?" This is a question we can all ask of God! He has also provided us with everything we need. All we have to do is choose to stay with Him. So the only question is, "Why have I found such favor in Your eyes?" The answer to this question can be found in Boaz’s answer to Ruth: "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband---HOW YOU LEFT YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER AND YOUR HOMELAND AND CAME TO LIVE WITH A PEOPLE YOU DID NOT KNOW BEFORE." (Ruth 2:11) When we choose to leave our lives in the world and become one with Jesus Christ, this is exactly what we do to! We leave our "homeland" of sin and come to live with Jesus, Someone, who until that time was a total stranger!

Is there a reward for leaving your home to come and live in a place foreign to you? There was for Ruth! Boaz said, "May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." (Ruth 2:12) Besides being able to provide for herself and her mother-in-law, Ruth would become Boaz’s wife; Boaz would become Naomi’s Kinsman Redeemer; and Ruth would become the great-grandmother of King David.

There's reward in this for each of us, too, friend! "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.’" (Rev. 22:12-14)

What do you think, friend? With an offer like this, who can say no? Just like Ruth accepted Boaz’s offer, accept Jesus’ offer today!