He calls his own . . . by name . . . —John 10:3*
When I have sadly misunderstood Him? (see John 20:11-18*). It is possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine meant no more to her than the grass under her feet. In fact, any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could never ridicule was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (see Luke 8:2*); yet His blessings were nothing to her in comparison with knowing Jesus Himself. “. . . she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. . . . Jesus said to her, ’Mary!’ ” (John 20:14, 16*). Once He called Mary by her name, she immediately knew that she had a personal history with the One who spoke. “She turned and said to Him, ’Rabboni!’ ” (John 20:16*).
When I have stubbornly doubted? (see John 20:24-29*). Have I been doubting something about Jesus— maybe an experience to which others testify, but which I have not yet experienced? The other disciples said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25). But Thomas doubted, saying, “Unless I see . . . I will not believe” (John 20:25*). Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When His touches will come we never know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious. “Thomas . . . said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ ” (John 20:28*).
When I have selfishly denied Him? (see John 21:15-17*). Peter denied Jesus Christ with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75*), and yet after His resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter alone. Jesus restored Peter in private, and then He restored him publicly before the others. And Peter said to Him, “Lord . . . You know that I love You” (John 21:17*).
Do I have a personal history with Jesus Christ? The one true sign of discipleship is intimate oneness with Him— a knowledge of Jesus that nothing can shake.
from My Utmost for His Highest
*John 10:1-5: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
*John 20:11-29: But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
*Luke 8:1-3: Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.
*Matthew 26:69:75: Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
*John 21: 15-18: So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
On Paragraph One: What good is a pastor, who spends his day locked up in his office, reading his Bible, but never goes about either witnessing or guiding his flock? Reading the Bible, knowing our theology through and through—these things are good, but what good does it do if we never use the knowledge gained from it? Where is the fruit?
On Paragraph Two: Chambers’ look into the supposed ‘doubting Thomas,’ is something unique that I have never heard of before. Most I know of take Thomas as an example of what not to do. ‘How foolish he was, for doubting God!’ Chambers argues that it was not in fact the sight of Jesus that Thomas needed (which is what Thomas himself believed he needed), but rather for the touch of Jesus. Jesus had to move in him first. While today, this comes in the form of the Holy Spirit; our eyes have little to do with the transformation. But Thomas is part of the last remnant of a former age, where Jesus’ physical presence was still required.
On Paragraph Three: I have wondered myself why Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. And from the passage, it seems like no one was more plagued by this question then Peter himself. Chambers has all but pointed it out: Peter had denied Jesus three times, so Jesus had Peter restate his faith three times.
This devotional has an unusually heavy amount of verses, and it’s easy to lose Chambers’ overarching connection between them. His questions are still asked: Where do we misunderstand God? Where do we doubt the Holy Spirit? Where do we deny Jesus?
In particular, on the last question, I think we would be wise to do just apply the thought to times when it is easier to keep quiet about our faith to other people, but to also apply it to our individual life. What parts of our lives to we still refuse to let Jesus have His way?