Did Jesus Ever Feel Obligated to Do Anything?

How do you feel when there is a sense of obligation tied to plans you have? Rarely is the word obligation associated with a positive sense of responsibility, although that is clearly one of its definitions. But I’d guess 96% of the time, when you feel obligated to make or keep plans, go somewhere or do something, instead of a right sense of duty and just weight you are honored to carry, there is a sense of… “I wish there was a way to get out of this.”  When telling others about these plans, you use words like “have to” “need to” or “should”.

I was processing this while on a walk a few days ago, and I began to compare this way of thinking to how Jesus would have thought.

I find myself doing that the more I study Him.

So the resounding question in my mind became, “would Jesus have ever felt obligated to do anything?” And I may be wrong, but I can’t see it happening his whole life long, according to the accounts of Mark, Luke, Matthew and His closest friend, John. Well, up until the night before He was crucified when he said “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  But in many accounts, He didn’t even finish his sentence before adding:  yet not my will, but Yours be done.

In adding that last part, he was essentially saying He had a will to survive (like every human being innately has), but He had another will – one greater: He wanted the Father’s will – even if that meant suffering. Even torture on a cross.

Because Jesus declared his own will to match his Father’s, the only sense of obligation I see in his life – even in the angst-filled hours in the garden, was in a just and right and responsible sense – a heavy weight He was honored to carry and carry through to completion. This obligation – in the right, just, responsible sense, actually refers to Him being bound.

Bound?! Jesus? The very embodiment of freedom?

Yes. Because He is Truth. You’ve heard the saying “My word is my bond” – well, the only human being who can say that and mean it is Jesus. He is bound by His own word. But His word is the only thing that could or did ever bind him.

He may be persuaded to change the course of a circumstance because of faith put on display, but He is not a man that He should lie.  He speaks peace or order over a thing, and it follows His command – from eyes to wind. Light to death. His words are power. He fulfilled every single prophecy spoken about Him from the beginning of creation.  Like it states in the first definition above, He is “legally bound” – or obligated – to complete, fulfill, follow through on his own word.

This should make us, his followers, sigh the biggest sigh of relief and rest peacefully every night, knowing and believing His promises will come to pass for us as a people – and as His individual friends.

In pretty much every other sense of the word, I think it is safe to say He never felt obligated to do anything.  We can also sigh in relief knowing we never have to feel obligated to do anything either! No wonder the feeling we get when we cancel plans we’ve been dreading is the feeling of freedom! Here’s why:

Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing.  The time He’d spend with the Father created a bond between them that afforded Him security, power, authority, and reassurance of His identity. If you continually walked in these things, would you ever feel obligated to do anything? Not in the negative sense. That kind infers bondage.

For if there is something we ought to do, the Holy Spirit will speak to us saying so, and cause a stirring in our heart to desire it because He desires it.  Now, the enemy may attempt to make us believe a lie and feel terrible or feel responsible for things we ought not. But let’s train our spiritual ears to hear our Shepherd’s voice. Let’s reject the imposter’s voice that would have us take on more than we should, resulting in heaviness, stress, co-dependency and more. That is not part of the abundant life He has. We are safe when we can pinpoint and embrace with confidence the things the Lord is telling us to commit to (and to let go of those things he is saying to let go of – to free yourself of the responsibility of – without feeling guilt or shame).

Our response of YES to his invitation, because of the bond we’ve created with Him over time, means, I WANT to do it – because YOU want me to, Abba Father.  Hmm… Sounds familiar. Kinda like, “…not my will, but YOURS be done.” This matching of the mortal will to the Father’s can only happen safe inside a deep-rooted, trust-filled relationship. Oh that we could all experience that!

One of my favorite lyrics by Hillsong United is, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am, for your Kingdom’s cause.” It shares this same sentiment.

This is my prayer – that my heart would break with His, and rejoice along with His. So that every action I take – every reaction I make throughout my days would come from a place of total trust and resulting obedience. And like Jesus, may my only sense of obligation – the only way I am bound – be to my word.


A New Default for Problem-Solving

How often do you find yourself in a situation where you’re at a loss of what to do – or how to react?

Maybe you’ve already tried 6 ways of dealing with a specific child, and have run out of the energy and even the will to come up with one more thing that could solve their current problem. It seems that whatever group of children I have in my care, there is usually at least one who, for a season, makes me truly at a loss. So if I’m not conscious about its spiritual aspect, I will let it go on for days or even weeks – trying to come up with solutions using human logic and reasoning.

I forget sometimes, that I serve a God who solves problems all the time, and his solutions often bypass logic and reasoning. He was showing me this week that the road to discovering a divine solution (revelation) is paved with relationship. It is not in his nature to always come right out and tell us what the answer is, or see us trying different things and then suddenly download a wisdom file about the issue at hand. Instead, he waits for us to make the first move. Kind of like he did with Jeremiah:  “The Lord gave him this second message… ‘ask me and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here’.” (33:1-3)


This week, my challenge was to stop making my own ways of problem-solving – my default ways. And to make going to Him for his thoughts – my new default setting.  If there is emotional or relational chaos, frustration, anxiety, confusion, academic setbacks, depression, rage or other behavioral stress, He is reminding me that I can ask him what his solution is. And then wait. Expect him to answer. This is where I can go off-track too. I can pray…and even expect him to answer me, but then forget to listen for the answer.

Listening for an answer is a discipline that takes focus and intention. It takes turning down the noise of the everyday activities…and getting quiet. Last night, I prayed for a solution for a child, and the Lord literally woke me up at 2:30 with one. Even then, as I pondered it in bed, my natural first thought was not to thank him for doing this. It was, “Why am I thinking about this in the middle of the night? I should be sleeping!” And then it hit me. “Ohhh… that’s right. I prayed for this. God, this isn’t me, it’s you. You’re answering me. Thank you.”

See, this is the point where I have been deceived so often. The enemy has convinced me that it’s just my own voice, when God Himself has spoken. And sometimes because I don’t hear Him audibly, and all I get is that whisper still and small, the enemy comes in, lies to me saying it’s just me (minimizing or discrediting the voice of God like he did to Eve) and that’s all that I need to hear, to dismiss it – forgetting that the closer I grow with the Father, the more my voice sounds like His voice. For the Word of God through Paul says (“But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes].” –1 Corinthians 2:16).

Why did He reply to me in the night? It’s when I’m most at peace, and when it is most quiet in my home.

I believe the more we realize we can come to Him and ask “Can you tell me your thoughts about this?”, the more of a space it creates for intimacy to grow between us and the Father. And that intimate space is perfect for kingdom-secret-telling. It is a natural space that has actually been ours to share with Him since the day we said YES to following Jesus and everything in Him became our inheritance. We just don’t realize or utilize fully the access we’ve inherited. 

Here are some scriptures I found on getting closer with God and how He can hide and reveal wonderful things to his kids:

Daniel 2:22 (NKJV) says:  “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.”

In John 15:15 (NIV) Jesus talks about abiding in him (referring to ongoing connection and intimacy) and says the sweetest thing: “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  

So could this mean that what qualifies someone as a friend of Jesus, is the passing along of revelation He’s gotten from his Father? Solutions – new names – purposes – concepts – words of wisdom and knowledge – bold and creative ideas – He feels comfortable sharing these with us. And this three-way communication between Father, Son and us – His adopted and beloved, means we’re friends. How humbling this is to accept.

Proverbs 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”  To me, this is referring to God – as the King of kings – and us being the lower-case kings. It’s saying he loves to bring glory to himself by keeping things from us for a season, because he knows that the experience we have in searching out his answers and finding them at just the right time – is a glorious adventure, for us!

Ephesians 1:9  “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ”

Proverbs 4:18 “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  What a vision that is. We are declared righteous…and our path in life – or perhaps in a season of life – is meant to grow lighter and more clear – like a pathway illuminates with the sunrise. I love this so much.

Let’s trust that He’s never ever stumped – He knows with omniscient wisdom the solution to every single problem we face – at school, in relationships, at home – everywhere! He’s just waiting for us to switch our default setting to “ASK…LISTEN…WAIT…and TRUST”. So lean in. He will speak to you, passing on what you need from the Father – because believe it or not, he calls you His friend.

Let Him Interrupt

His boy was finally home. The lost son had appeared around the bend. The dead – was now alive. It was celebration time! What a scandalous story of mercy, the Prodigal Son. This son as-good-as spit in his father’s face, asking for his inheritance early, left home and spent it in no time – frittering away his portion of what his father worked hard to earn. It wasn’t his remorse, actually, but his hunger pangs that drew him back home. Jesus tells the story with precision and purpose recorded in the gospel of Luke.

I am focusing today, on just a couple of moments in it, where he is sitting in shame and pig slop, considering the worst case scenario vs. the best. What to do. Do I dare return? If so, what would I have to say for myself? I’ll pick up the scripture in verse 18 of Luke 15, where the young man is thinking and planning it out:

“I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”

This is human reasoning. First admission. Confession. “I have sinned against God and against you.” And then there is an equating of that sin with a real felt unworthiness to continue as being counted a son, or heir. “I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” And his third statement is one of working to be accepted and to earn his keep at his father’s estate. He begs to be allowed to work there. “Please take me on as a hired servant”. Our equivalent of “Will Work For Food”.

It’s human nature to think you are unworthy of his goodness, his mercy, his love. Especially just after you’ve royally messed up. I urge you, let him interrupt you as you pray and reason. Let him stop you mid-sentence. Right there. And not allow you to finish your thoughts  – your “Please take me back, but only use me to serve you.” Your… “I will do all I can to please you God.” Your “I will read my Bible every day, now.” “I will volunteer at church consistently from now on.” “I will keep my promises to you.” “I will pray more.” “I will stop wasting time, money – my life.” “I will…”

What have you prayed?

Let’s pick back up in the story where he finally comes home – in his dirt and stench, with nothing left but poor reasoning and plans:

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

And that is as far as he got. Because his compassion-filled father interrupted before he had the chance to say what he’d rehearsed in his mind – before getting to the big pull – what he thought would be the kicker – the deciding factor: “Let me work for you as a hired servant.”

But the good father interrupted – to speak to his servants, actually. The option, the plan his son had to work – to perform for a wage for his provision – was never even voiced, and certainly never considered:

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

May I suggest, that the Father – our Father in heaven – longs to interrupt your “I will…”‘s with his, “Quick!…” Notice in the passage above, where he interrupted. His son’s plan was:

1. confession 

2. declaration of unworthiness of son-ship 

3. proposition to earn his wage in order to eat

The father in the parable interrupts after #2. But make no mistake. It’s not because he agrees with #2 and just cuts him off before he gets to #3. He addresses the unchanging of his boy’s status as son first thing, when he says, bring the finest robe and get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. These were signs of this time, of dignity, wealth, authority and family identity. Of belonging, and the position of son, restored. And if that wasn’t implication enough, I see him (yelling excitedly over his shoulder), “this son of mine was dead and now has returned to life!” “This son of mine.” Well, that settles that. The father would never disown his son. No matter what. Nothing would change the relationship at least on the part of Dad. His love and bond were too strong. Even stronger than before!

So that leaves one element in the speech of the squanderer left unaddressed by his dad, #1, the confession of sin.

I believe that was intentional too. No need to bring up the sin and betrayal. To say, “I can’t believe you even bought prostitutes.” No need to talk about it at all. His son brought it up. That was all that needed to be said. Nothing more, nothing less on that. Perhaps because there really should be a humble admission – an honest confession.  But when that happens, it is usually evidence of a heart and mind already changed. Repentance. And that is the starting point for all renewal. All restoration. No need to take him by the arm, walk him back to the pig pen and rub his nose in the nasty pods. There was already repentance.

I know as a parent, I’ve been guilty of doing just that – bringing up the past – dragging my child through the details, even amidst an obvious broken and contrite heart. Why? Many times, I’ve even implemented some made-up punishment vaguely related to the wrong. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s my attempt at making sure they know the “depth” of wrong done so they aren’t tempted to go there again. But God is changing me. He’s softening my heart to be more like his. To reflect more mercy, more empathy. More like the father in this parable. It’s been slow, but I see some change.

If you read the rest of Luke 15, you’ll notice his son never bringing up the proposal again. Never bringing up the betrayal committed, the dishonor or the unworthy feeling he had still being considered a son. Because what his father said when he interrupted – this was the new narrative. This was truth. Identity. Significance. Purpose.

Whenever the voice of guilt turns to condemnation, or when your inner voice is declaring unworthiness of being a child of God, but only worthy to serve…

Whenever you feel like you need to perform for His approval, or work for a perceived view of your right standing, or keep doing more, more, more for His provision and sustenance, I implore you ~ repent. Change the way you think about Him.

Let Him Interrupt.

Chase Him Down or Chase Him Away

I don’t remember the last time I met a man who was so radical in his beliefs, claims and actions, that people would either flock to him and become totally transformed or get so upset that he was disrupting their current way of doing things that they forced him out of the city.  It’s safe to say, probably never.  When it came to Jesus and those he ran into, it seems they either chased him down, or they chased him away.

But when it came to Jesus and those he ran into, it seems they either chased him down, or they chased him away. He’s an extremist. For sure. His presence tends to make people buckle and embrace his power in humility or resist it completely in furious pride. There’s no middle ground with him. That’s been our territory for two millennia. Not his.

Chased Him Down

After Jesus was baptized, and after he returned from the wilderness completely emptied and completely filled, he began his ministry in that region – a ministry of constant outpouring of both power and love. His presence meant miracles. His name conjured images in the people’s minds, of real healing and real hope. Thirty-four times it is written in the gospels, how crowds were gathered all around him.  There was no denying what he could do.  And none of them knew who this man was, except perhaps that he came from a little nearby town called Nazareth.  What they knew, is what they witnessed him doing. And what they heard him saying. Even though the sayings were filled with mystery and profundity, and even though they seemed up-side-down and void of reason, they didn’t keep the people from filling the space around this man who claimed to be God. The words of Jesus were life-giving. As was the touch of his hand. He restored. So they came. Do you think they came for him? No. They had no idea. They didn’t see him like we see him. They flocked to him, and they chased him down really, for what he could give them. What he provided. He was the means to the end – wholeness. The means to the end – health. Forgiveness. Peace. Life. And even life eternal. I’d be pressing in, too.

I’d be pressing in, too. I hope. I mean, as much as the drinking of his blood and eating of his body would creep me out, I think…I hope I would be nodding along with Peter as he replied to Jesus moments later, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6)

I can think of a few who “chased him down”:

  • Nicodemus (John 3) who went in the night to the home where Jesus was staying,
  • The Gerasene man filled with demons came running out to meet him from the grave caves (Mark 5),
  • Even women took the chance of approaching him like the one who suffered from a blood disease for twelve years,
  • Jairus the desperate father whose daughter had just died but was “only sleeping” according to Jesus (Mark 5),
  • There was a Roman Centurion who found Jesus and took the extra step of faith to believe he’d heal his servant, who lay paralyzed, miles away
  • And the leper who found Jesus and plead with him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Matthew 8)

Those in the crowds were the ones whose eyes were beginning to open to the truth he’d pour out. Some got it. They were normal villagers, hungry for both truth and nourishment, frustrated in their sin and discord, sick, possessed or oppressed by evil spirits. They seemed used to the decay of the human condition, and this prophesied Messiah, if it really was Him, would be their only hope. But his confusing parables and extreme teachings, many were simply not ready for.  And if that didn’t keep them from gathering around, it was his miraculous power that actually scared some, causing them to force Jesus out of their city limits.

Chased Him Away

In two instances I can think of off hand, where Jesus was chased away, one was by his own hometown folk when he went to visit Nazareth.  They allowed their familiarity with his family (“isn’t this the son of Joseph the carpenter? How can this be?”) to build unbelief and even violent resistance in their hearts. Some translations call it a deep offense. After Jesus told them that prophets are not accepted in their hometown, and gave some examples of minor prophets who were sent to outside regions to perform miracles because miracles are directly correlated to belief, Luke reports what happens next:

“the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.”

The other instance of him being chased away was by those who witnessed the deliverance of the madman. This man who’d been living naked, insane, howling, and breaking every chain that attempted to secure him. He was delivered of Legion, a mob of thousands of demons. Aside from raising the dead, this was the impossible case, if there ever was one. Yet, after the awe wore off, and word spread, the miracle witnesses became upset and offended because their pigs had drowned.

 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

That’s a lot of bacon. But I wondered earlier this week if the downturn of their meat market was the only reason they made him leave. I honestly think that having someone so close with so much power immediately available to him was a frightening reality to consider. What if he were to use his power for evil? What if he would threaten their way of life and teach repentance? Changing the way one thinks was as hard then, as it is now. To stay the same undisruptable way,  and to keep from losing more livestock, they forfeited the freedom of many of their fellow men by making the Miracle Worker leave. Of course, he respected their wishes, as he still does. For the will of man will not be violated by the Creator of man.


One more instance where Jesus wasn’t necessarily chased away, but had to leave a place pretty urgently, it was because he had infuriated religious leaders there. He did that a lot. They literally picked up rocks to stone him to death, and he not only talked his way out of a stoning, he walked right through the group of angry accusers:

 So they tried again to seize Him, but He eluded their grasp. (John 10)

I love that, don’t you?

He eluded their grasp. Like a stealth lead actor in 007, only wearing sandals, I want to be like him, that way. Not the sandals part. But when accusers come at me, I want to elude their grasp every single time.

I wonder if I’ll ever be as bold as Jesus, looking over my shoulder at people chasing me down for a miraculous healing or chasing me away because of unbelief or offense. Maybe it’s just way less obvious now, in our digital world where they can simply hide me from their newsfeed, block my messages, “Unfollow” me or ignore my calls because I’ve become so literal or extreme. Yeah, now that I type the words…I realize that’s actually happened. And as much as it hurt, I can say this: me and Jesus…we can kind of relate better now. He’s been through all of it. I’m getting to be a little more like him.


On the other hand, I’ve healed people solely by the power of God, from headaches to evil spirits, to a whiplashed neck (to anyone who may be caught off guard by the phrase “I’ve healed…”, I understand, and I’m working on a new blog post about those two words, already. Please stay tuned).

I’m not quite sure how to put it into words, but there is something like a slow unifying of spirits taking place inside of me, through experience… of both the rejection of a certain group of people and the restoring of brokenness of another demographic altogether.

Revelation by revelation. Step by step…of faith, and year by year. Isn’t that the goal? To be transformed into his likeness – to look like him more and more by getting to know him?

Richness To The More

Yet I feel like there’s so much more ground to cover. There is so much more truth to uncover and teach and preach…divine revelation that will undoubtedly offend those who just have a hard time unlearning what they believed was “the gospel truth” for decades. Like I have had to do. I have a great assurance though, that with deep digging and insight from the Holy Spirit alone, void of media or pastor or commentary interpretation, there is more. And such richness to the more.

I am reading the Word like I’ve never read it before. Old verses and entire concepts are being redefined and mean new, exciting, controversial and palpable things to me! I’m being drawn to strangers with fearless urgency nearly every week. I think there will always be more. There are so many who are sick or in chronic pain that should’ve been well long, long ago. Had they been living by the Sea of Galilee and encountered him in that day, they most definitely would be made well.  There is so much more peace and comfort on standby, ready to behold from a word of wisdom or knowledge for those who have stopped believing God is close or that he cares.  I want to be “Jesus” to them. Do what he would do. Say what he would say. Regardless of the backlash. I am convinced now, that is the purpose of everyone who loves Jesus and lives for him, complete with power and love made possible only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


I want to draw crowds around me to make his unearthly power and love evident and seen – even contagious.  So that the glory of him who killed sin by being killed, himself – who conquered death by rising to life, who overcame loss with selfless sacrifice and repaved destruction by handing restored health and relationship to every human being – the glory of this one man – will be made known.

If that means facing rejection, anger, avoidance, defensiveness or even ostracism, Lord, help me to stand my ground and take it just like you did. Thank you for making me more…like you.

Why do we Need the Holy Spirit?

Here are some thoughts I wrote down this week, on what the GLORY of God is, and Understanding the Holy Spirit  – inspirations from Piper, Munroe, with a little bit of my own, sprinkled in:
Glory – what is it? John Piper says it is the public display of the infinite beauty and worth of God (based on Is. 6 – where the angels sing, Holy Holy Holy Holy is…, the whole earth is filled with his glory). They are describing his goodness, perfection, love, radiance – made manifest for all of us to bear witness to it.
We will behold – we will see, feel, be changed by – his glory – His Godly attributes in fullness, on display.

Understanding the Holy Spirit – according to one of our favorite (now late) preachers of deep faith, Dr. Myles Munroe:
Acts 1:1-6 (written by Luke) John baptized you in water but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus calls the HS “the promise of the Father” – relating to the 1st promise the Father made in Gen. 3:15 What Adam lost when he first sinned was the Holy Spirit. He lost the Kingdom of God – The King’s dominion. The dominion of the rulership of God. When you lose the Holy Spirit, you lose the kingdom. When Adam lost the kingdom, he lost the dominion over the earth. So He made a promise.
Matthew 4:17 Jesus, right after his own baptism, was baptized by the HS (it descended upon him in bodily form like a dove and a voice came from heaven, saying, You are my Son, My Beloved! In you I am well pleased and find delight!” – Luke 3:22). In his first sermon preached after his 40 days in the wilderness, he declared – Repent, for the Kingdom of God has come near (is at hand). He was speaking of himself, for he was the only carrier of the fulness of the Holy Spirit. All of the Kingdom was IN him. He was FILLED with it without measure. And his primary message was on the Holy Spirit – the Kingdom of God.
Man’s #1 need, he communicated, is the Kingdom.
The Spirit of God – all of the Holy Spirit and his fruit.
Law enforcement are equipped to handle broken laws. Crimes committed. But the only person equipped to handle SIN, is the Holy Spirit. We may have information, or news of sin and the affects of sin in this world, but our solution is not in simply enforcing laws, or in behavior modification. It is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. To have his Spirit inside of our bodies.
Spirit is invisible. It cannot contain blood. A physical body must be the agent or carrier of blood. Since blood is the only thing that can truly free and forgive us of sin, according to the way God established covenant from the beginning of time. We’ve either got to shed the blood of animals, or accept the blood of Jesus as our new and improved sacrifice for sin – of our past, present and future.
*(My view: there is another sacrifice of blood and that is in the act of suicide…in essence, a physical declaration that Christ’s blood was insufficient to free you from your sin or pain. His sacrifice did not fully do its work, and therefore the sin and shame and pain inside became so overwhelming that a lie was believed – the lie that spoke, not even Jesus and his blood and his resurrection power is enough to bring hope for a new start, forgiveness, or relief. This is also the lie believed by those who cut themselves. They are deceived. The blood cutters release out of their body releases only temporary relief. It is a counterfeit, and a distortion or perversion of the truth that is found in the shedding of Jesus’ truly cleansing blood). 
Jesus said it’s better that I go, so that the Holy Spirit in me can come out of me when I leave, and go – or be released – into YOUR bodies. But he cannot fill an unholy body. So Jesus imparted the Spirit to US, but not until His work was finished – that is, until his body was used by the Holy Spirit until the job was completed in Him. He had to let the work be finished in Him and leave his earthly body before the Holy Spirit was let out of him and able to enter into OUR bodies.  Jesus was saying – you need MY body to prepare YOUR body. My blood to completely cleanse your sin, your body of its weakness, sickness and sin.
So, the promise of the Father from Gen.3:15 was fulfilled – that He would restore what was lost – the Spirit of God. The baby came through a woman and he was spotless, he shed his blood unto death. And now we have His blood that cleansed us (past tense).
Why was blood necessary to cleanse us? By Moses’ law, nearly everything was made pure by blood. The tabernacle and all the things in it were mere copies of the things of heaven and had to be purified by blood. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. (Heb.9:22). He entered into heaven, and appeared before God on our behalf. Not to offer himself over and over and over, like Priests used to do w/animals.  vs. 26 – but now ONCE for ALL time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.
*Jesus tells us about his Kingdom & says that it will begin when we receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We are living in the Kingdom of God now – the power of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God will BEGIN when you rec’v the power of the HS.  To exercise the power available in the Kingdom of God, we must release the power of the HS.

Blood: The Sign of a Bond

It’s important to keep your promise. That’s why a long time ago, I stopped making them. I knew I was that unreliable. I didn’t want to be held accountable because, well, I couldn’t be held accountable.  I know my own tendency to follow through was shotty at best, so I would avoid the commitment that a promise ensures.


Clubhouse Pact

Picture two boys in their hidden clubhouse, with crooked slats and rope swing. They promise that neither one will tell about their secret place. And more importantly, that neither would let a girl come between them. And then they offer more than a promise. They take a piece of broken glass found in the school parking lot and cut themselves. One tiny slit in the tip of their middle finger. A dramatic sound of inhales through clenched teeth was all that could be heard for that moment. And then, it was created: a blood bond. Each sticky red fingertip was pressed to the other, just hard enough to make it sting even more – the best way to make it memorable and manly.

The boys looked down to see that their DNA’s had mixed now, and could not be separated. They had made a pact…or as God puts it, a covenant.

Isaiah 55:3  Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David.

Two Innocent Lambs

When David reigned, the covenant was sealed with the blood of innocent lambs and goats. Their blood came from innocent life, but it was a temporary fix. It worked to atone for sins, but had an expiration date of one year.  Jesus came and tossed the need for that.  He, being the only truly innocent man that ever lived, shed his God-blood on Calvary. His blood was never mixed with human blood, even in Mary’s womb.  Its DNA was human yet of Deity.

Blood on the Wedding Night

Another example of God’s intended use of blood to mark a life-long covenant is marriage between man and woman.  Centuries ago, a marriage ceremony and celebration would last for days. The couple would lay a white sheet down and consummate their commitment to each other inside a tent as their friends and family continued with the festivities. Her virginity would be given, the skin of her hymen would be broken inside of her, and blood would stain the sheet. As awkward as it seems to us in this culture, this was even more reason to celebrate. They would raise up the sheet in praise to God and all would join in congratulation. Their lifelong commitment to each other, their covenant had been sealed.

God not only will not, but CANNOT break his Word.

God’s thoughts are completely different from ours. His ways far beyond our ways.  And what is comforting to me is that unlike me, He is unafraid to commit.  His Word is His bond. Hebrews 6:16-17 says, When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee – God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. – MSG

but even more so, His blood is His bond.  There truly is no need to punish ourselves for any sin.  Jesus is the new Lamb – sacrificed once and for all.

Ephesians 2:13 But now you belong to Christ Jesus, and though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought very near to him because of what Jesus Christ has done for you with his blood.

The Invitation

We, his adopted children are invited to meet with him in his secret place. And we, in our wavering minds and uncommitted ways, get to accept his invitation to return again and again, to press our fingertip to his in that awkward and peaceful tradition called communion.  Before drinking the juice or wine, we tell of our weakness – our pain – our missing of the mark. We recognize our desolate state without his blood. We clench our teeth, we spill our heart and we hopefully drink in his grace. Why? Because we believe the Word in Hebrews 9:22, that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. And the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood. ” The reminder of his grace, our own sin, and our connection to him through communion is crucial for us sons and daughters. We can be so prone to wander from the truth.

Ironic, isn’t it, that this deep red liquid-life cleanses each one of us white?  But it doesn’t stop with cleansing.

It forgives.

It offers intimacy.

It signifies His faithfulness.

It is the proof of our identity.

And it binds us to Him.

The Someone Else

The kids are out of school all week – Thanksgiving week.

I met with a new friend who is interested in spreading awareness about sex trafficking. So the kids had to come along to Starbucks, but were patient and colored and read and played quietly for over an hour. Before we went there, we noticed an older gentleman by the exit, asking for food on a cardboard sign. It read, “Just Hungry”. The kids and I discussed that we’d see about buying him lunch if he was still there later.

After my meeting, I was hungry too, and in my search for food as I drove through Tualatin, I noticed that man was no longer standing there. But a young man was…also holding up a sign, and stood on the other side, toward I5 north. I rolled my window down and asked him if he’d let me read his sign. It said, “Clean and sober over 1 yr. Anything helps.” I yelled “would you want lunch?” to which he replied happily, “Yes!” and off I drove through my green light, still looking for a place to buy food. I ended up at Subway. As I told the Sandwich-Artist my order and how one was for a homeless man, he asked me what the man looked like and where he was. I told him, and his reply kind of took me off guard, “Yeah, he’s not homeless”, he said with a smirk. “You know him? I presumed he was homeless” “His name is Wade. He’s actually got a nice home and a nice vehicle too”. Well, I didn’t change my mind. I still bought my two subs and left, and said a little prayer as I drove off. What should I do, Lord? I then shot the same text to Ricky. He quickly replied, “Drive around looking for another one”. So we headed south on Boones Ferry. Perhaps there would be someone at the Wilsonville exit. Braylon was swift to ask, “Uh, mom? Where are you going? You promised that one guy lunch.” “Well, I don’t know if you heard the man in Subway, but he knows that guy…and it seems as if he’s not really in need. Me and Daddy think we should look for someone else to give the sandwich to.” And a few minutes later, we came to the Wilsonville exit.

And there he was. The someone else.  We turned around and parked in a perfect spot nearby where he stood. As we approached, the sound of the freeway drowned us out, so when we said hello, and he saw Braylon and I, it shook him a bit. Bray didn’t ask him his name like I suggested, but asked him if he’d like a sub sandwich, and handed it to him. He was very thankful.  I got his name, “Raymond Woods”. Before either of us could then ask him what his story was (because we all have one, don’t we?) Raymond told us he has been battling cancer. Colon Cancer. He’s been ok for the last 7 months, but needs to see a doctor to make sure it hasn’t returned. He said he’s travelling from WA to CA., in an old van, but it only gets 8 mpg, so he tries not to drive too much.

His skin was leathery and wrinkled, probably 50-60 years old. Most of his teeth seemed to be missing, and his eyes were a soothing baby-blue hue which off-set his unshaven cheeks and chin dotted with unruly salt-n-pepper hair.

Angel was in the front seat of our van, watching, as I asked Raymond if he minded if we prayed for him. I’d never done that before, not like this. It was surprisingly easy and comfortable. And I was glad it wasn’t raining at the moment. I took his cold hand in mine, noticing his long, dirty nails. Braylon followed suit, later telling me he didn’t want to hold it tight, so he held it loosely, but also noticed how cold it was. I knew that serving the homeless last Thursday with Bridgetown Inc. prepared Braylon’s heart for this moment.

I prayed for a minute, in Jesus’ name, for Raymond’s health, healing, fulfillment in this life, and provision as he travels to California.

He thanked us again and off we went. As we turned the car around again to head home, Braylon was filled with excitement. He said to me, “Let’s go to the Dollar Tree and buy a bunch of stuff, and go around looking for homeless people to give stuff out to, all the rest of the day! And we can get a few things for me too, there at the Dollar Tree.” How could a mom not smile at that? What a incredible, kind, and honest little 10-year old I have. Angel chimed in, “Me too! I want to too!”

It was a beautiful opportunity God gave us, to be a small part of His story, and be used to possibly make some kind of impact on him. And he on us.  On the way home, I told Braylon and Angel how what had just happened ties into scripture…as  Jesus said, “when you did this to the least of these, you did it to me.”..and conversely, “when you didn’t do it to the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.”

 Today, Raymond was Jesus. And in a strange way, we got to be, as well.

Who knows… one day we may be the someone else.