ABIDE (LIVE ) IN ME!


“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”  -John 12:46

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I think the above verse has a double meaning.  First of all, the verse is speaking to the lost…those that have yet to find the Savior.

When Jesus came into the world, on that night so long ago in Bethlehem, a star shone over the place where He lay-to light the way…to show the path to all who would seek Him.

He lived among us, performing miracles and wonders-showing…proving that He was indeed the Son of God.

When He died on the cross, with the thunder rolling, and the lightening flashing-hanging there, between heaven and earth…He was a beacon…a lighthouse to all that saw Him.  There was no doubt then, that He was who He claimed to be!

But, I believe the verse has yet another meaning.  This verse is not just for the lost who seek Him, but also for the Believer.

How many times do we as Believers forget our standing with God?  I know for myself, I forget momentarily on a daily basis!  Things get out of hand…something bad, or unforeseen takes place, and I begin to panic.  Oh…don’t go looking at me like you’re holier than I am!  Even Peter panicked when he was walking on the water to meet Jesus.  As long as he kept his eyes on the Lord, he was fine…but when he looked at his circumstances-he began to sink.

When we take our eyes off of Jesus…we begin to walk in the darkness of this world.  The word, abide means, “to live in”.  How many of us live in fear?  Fear of not being able to pay our bills.  Fear of being a bad parent.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of sickness.  Fear of disease.  Fear of death.

I believe we all are guilty of fearing something in our lives, but Jesus said if we believe ON Him…we do not have to live in the darkness that fear brings!  You see, there is a difference in believing IN Jesus, and believing ON Jesus.  Many people believe IN Jesus.  The Bible says that the devil himself believes IN Jesus, and he knows His power, and it makes him tremble;  but when you believe ON Jesus, that means you put your full trust in Him.  You realize that He is the Light to illuminate your dark times and guide you down the dark path of life.

So today, if your going through something in your life, and your path seems dark and fearful…BELIEVE ON HIM, trust Him to guide you through the dark, keep a hold of His hand…and fear not!

“Oh God, thank you for salvation through Jesus Christ.  Draw me closer to you, and help me to trust you always, especially in times of trouble!”

Anita

John 12

3 thoughts on “ABIDE (LIVE ) IN ME!

  1. Anita,

    You have my juices flowing here.

    Here is one of my favorite passages of multi-dimensions: Mark 8:22-26.

    (In reality, Mark is full of double meaning, but this passage brings it into focus). Jesus heals a blind man twice.

    A lot of people don’t know that there was a blind man Jesus healed one day, and the healing affect did not take the first time and so he had to give it another go. This is uncharacteristic of Jesus’s healing power. When Jesus heals, it always works the first time. It always works in great power. And in fact, none of the other Gospels tell even this story. Mark is the only one who gives us THIS account.

    It raises the question: Was Jesus’s power just slipping a bit?

    And of course there is the bit from Mark 6:5 that says “He could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief” but in the next breath it says he went on to heal the sick though…

    That means that even when Jesus was seemingly limited in miraculous power, he was still able to heal. So we are back to square one with the question again. Can Jesus do it or not? And if not, then this is completely uncharacteristic. If he can, then why in two stages for this one???

    This is where it helps to start “doing theology”. Its not actually that hard to make sense of, but you have to search for those double meanings, which are there a-plenty.

    This blind man is a real historical figure, in my view. AND Jesus heals him in two stages in what LOOKS like a stubborn case of blindness. BUT the story is SYMBOLIC too. It is doing double duty. It is historic on the one hand AND symbolic on the other. It is BOTH. So, when I start talking theologically about the symbolism, I am NOT negating the historical nature of the story one bit. In fact, this is one of Jesus’ Proph-O-Dramas, in my estimation. He is acting out a prophecy.

    After Jesus calls his first disciples in chapter one and two, large crowds start taking interest in him and his healing. His message and mission will be upsetting to temple and royal authorities alike, so he must take the message and mission “under ground” so to speak. (Thus he tells people he heals not to tell anyone – which seems counterintuitive for the Gospel at first blush, but the time will come…) And as part of that package, Jesus starts preaching in parables, and from 4:34 until 8:32, Jesus does not speak plainly! The parables are hard to understand… evidenced by the fact that people have to ask what they mean and so forth. And the picture here is of a following of disciples who do not SEE what Jesus is telling them. They do not understand.

    Sight is a symbol for understanding.

    Jesus has to heal this blind man twice. The man sorta sees after the first touch, but things are not clear until after the second one. And sure enough, a few verses later, Peter confesses Jesus is Messiah, but fails to confess he is the Son of God. He sees Jesus like a tree walking around. But his understanding is due to deepen with a fateful Sunday morning yet to come!

    This healing proph-O-drama has double meaning then. We see yet another man healed of his blindness (a surface level thing with all the power of God packed up in it) and then we see Jesus working beneath the surface on the hearts and minds of his disciples who are following him even now, but who will find ocean depths of understanding yet to come in the future which currently they do not have. And that too, speaks to me as a disciple even today.

    Another one of my favorite double-meaning passages is Psalm 88. Scholars call it the psalm of NO HOPE. Go read it. You will discover why almost immediately. It is awful in all the dark ways. It robs you soul of joy to sing it. The psalmist just goes silent in an exasperated whimper and in darkness after asking God a number of very strident and accusatory questions (verses lifted right out of Job, btw). The psalm actually carries the very sting of death in it. And it hurts my heart to imagine the person who wrote it (This one was not one of David’s). It is utter despair.

    The scholars are absolutely right about it – AT ONE LEVEL. And I think, I truly believe, that God wants you to read it AT THAT LEVEL and SIT WITH IT THERE in meditation for a while. Let this psalmist take you to depths of agony, despair and fear that most of us Americans don’t have much contact with, but which many people living in Rwanda, Bosnia, Aleppo, and such places do know all to well. Sit there and pray in that despair.

    AND THEN go read it again. Only this time when you get to those strident accusatory questions, LET JESUS ANSWER THEM and see what that does to the hopelessness of this dark psalm! Applying Jesus to it changes everything in the double meaning!

    Will the shades rise to praise you???

    YES!

    Will you work wonders for the dead???

    YES!!!

    And then with St. Paul ask, O Death, where is your sting… NOW???

    Yes, this is the way the Bible is meant to be read! And I love your post for opening it up. This is what I get all excited about when I open my Bible. And I promise you, I will go my whole life and never exhaust all the dimensions the word of God holds for me to explore!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Double meaning”… I love that!

    When you see double (sometimes triple) meaning in a verse, a story, a saying or whatever, you are finding the multiple dimensions of the Word of God. This is where theology catches a gear.

    Now… speaking to the mechanics of it all… (I am a guy, and its a guy thing, I think)

    These double meanings (or layers, or dimensions) do not nullify one another or cancel each other out. Nothing is lost by looking into one and then another. The only way something is lost is by not looking.

    It is possible to think you see something of great depth and then upon further exploration find that either your understanding is limited or it was a blind alley that led no where. But there is no sin in that. Exploring God’s word and world like that is exploring his love and grace.

    But there is a thrill … a joy in discovering that God’s word is so rich and multi textured, multi layered, multi dimensional. There are surface levels and deep levels. There is the historical fact AND the symbolic meaning etc.

    Then … speaking to the experience of it… God’s word is not arbitrary and flat. It can seem that way. And holding such a view is not WRONG, but limited. When I find a passage opening up, as you have done here, I find it touches me, guides me, convicts and inspires me as well as telling me something. Yes, it is for sinners to encounter the light! But it doesn’t just end there. That light is for believers too. It guides believers as well as unbelievers. Nothing is lost by holding either view. Nothing is negated. And in fact, then there is the added affect of surprise and joy as whole new creation opens up to be explored.

    This word… these words on a page… they are not just ink and paper. They are not just prearranged symbols with flat meaning. They have inside and outside. They have depth and height, richness and power. My heart is full and my world is full of color. And this is the word of God. In fact, all of creation is the word of God, the world spoken into being. And there are mountain heights and ocean depths, there are colors a plenty. I will never exhaust the exploration of it all.

    And in none of this have I suggested that ANYTHING GOES. I have not. There is freedom to explore, but there is divine love and wisdom to guide. And I tend to get really excited when this word opens up and invites me in!

    I remember a day when the word of God seemed a bit more like a club – a heavy stick – in the hand of people who wanted to beat me into submission to some arbitrary rules for how they thought I should behave. (I am sure they meant well, and in some of those cases, I probably had a limited view of them and their intentions.) But somehow, someway along the way, I discovered some double meanings that invited me in. That made sense to my life in rich ways that were not so flat or arbitrary. (And this does not negate that some parts still seem arbitrary, AND/OR that my submission to God in those places is still an act of obedience!) But I find, the more I explore, that God has real reasons and real love for me and his world that I need further exploration to understand. But I also find that in the exploration, the double meanings open up this way and that more and more every step of the way.

    I once was a sinner in darkness who dared to approach the light that came into the world. Now I am a believer who follows that light as it opens up the world to me in all its many layers and dimensions and makes me fit to live there.

    I love theology. I find this same kind of thing happens when I pray daily. Large parts of my daily prayers are repeated from day to day (some of them quoted right from the Bible). And each day as I utter the words, they open up new double meanings to me.

    I am so glad you posted this.

    X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the response! I love it when people get involved in what they are reading! I agree about God’s Word being multi-faceted! I think a lot of it has to do with were you are in your walk with God. If you are a new Christian-you will just see the verse as it is written-but if you’ve walked with God for a while, you will see much more…between the lines, if you will.

      Like

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