"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace


Personal Witness
1 Corinthians 13, James 1, Colossians 4, 1 Peter 4, 1 John 3

John 3:1-8 (Monday) – It’s a God Thing!
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (NIV)
1) Some come down pretty hard on Nicodemus for seeking Jesus out at night and, frankly, the symbolism is noteworthy—night could represent the darkness of a man’s or woman’s unsaved soul and Nicodemus was clearly walking in spiritual darkness, not in the saving light of Christ! However, Jesus never rebuked him for coming, regardless of the circumstances. Jesus knew the risk and the cost such a move could prove to be to Nicodemus. As a ruling member of the Jewish council and a respected Pharisee, Nicodemus could lose his honored standing in the synagogue and in the community. Nicodemus would be ostracized, treated as a leper, as one who had died to the Jewish faith! So, even at night, this was a bold step for Nicodemus to take. This should give us hope, too! No matter how we honestly approach Christ—that’s the place where He will meet us!
2) In his brief discourse, Nicodemus makes several “true” statements:
a) Nicodemus acknowledges Jesus as a teacher
b) Nicodemus acknowledges Jesus as a miracle worker
c) Nicodemus even acknowledges that Jesus had come from God and that God was with Jesus
i) What is it that Nicodemus failed to acknowledge?
3) Jesus wastes no time in responding Nicodemus’ niceties! In fact, Jesus seems to cut Nicodemus off, choosing instead to get right to the “heart” of the matter! Jesus knew that while Nicodemus was well versed in the law and Moses’ teachings, he couldn’t possibly begin to understand the “Who” of Jesus! Why is “religion” and “morality” never the way to God?
4) You really can’t blame Nicodemus for his stammering! All a “worldly” man or woman can see and/or understand is the physical—sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell! It is man’s natural bent! These are the truths we understand—that we cling to! That’s why miracles, by themselves, will never change a person’s heart. All we need to do is to read back over the book of Exodus to see how quickly miracles can be dismissed and forgotten! No, it is finally meeting the Miracle Maker—face to face, (just as Moses and, yes, Nicodemus did) that moves us pass the physical and plunges us headlong into the uncharted waters of the Spirit!
5) Jesus relates the Spirit’s “new birth” to the wind. We cannot see, touch, smell, or taste the wind. We can experience “evidences” of the wind, but not the wind itself. We can, of course, “hear” the wind if the force behind it is strong enough. Jesus alludes to this truth and brings it into direct correlation with the Christian’s life. How strong is the force or “evidence” following our own spiritual rebirth? Can, no, better, has the world experienced the mighty “wind” of your new birth in Christ Jesus?
6) Think back to your “rebirth”. Was yours like a mighty rushing wind, or a gentle quiet breeze? Both can be powerful and impact others in their own way! Please be willing to share.
Matthew 5:13-16 (Tuesday) – Open Your Life to Others!
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

“Let me tell you why are you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godlieness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in this world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Msg)
1) Scary thought that a Christian can lose his/her spiritual “saltiness”, or what we would probably call, Christian witness. Are you aware of someone who actually caused an unbeliever or even other believers to trample upon the name of Christ and/or His followers because of their ungodly lifestyles? How did this impact you? Others? Was this believer able to recover? Was it without repercussion? Did they personally feel trampled upon, too? Explain.
2) A lot of people are generous—giving millions, even billions of dollars for good, worthy causes. What makes Christian charity, generosity and good deeds different? Do you think the world can tell the difference? Why or why not?
3) Light-bearers—I like that! According to this passage, is our “light” supposed to point to our good deeds, or is our “light” supposed to point others to God? Good way to judge our motives!
4) Do you think it is true that if we are “open books” to the world, then the world will feel like they can open up to God? Explain your response.
5) Exactly what do you think being an “open book” means?
6) Are there any dangers to being an “open book”? Should that ever be a deterrent, or an excuse?
7) Kind of hard to keep an open house, when we all drive into our garages and shut the door on the world. Hey, I’m guilty of this one. What are some ways we can start to reach out to our neighbors and let the light of God shine upon them?
1 Corinthians 5:9:-13(Wednesday) – Got Any Unchurched Friends?
“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you.” (NIV)
1) Yes, we’d all have to jump off the planet if we couldn’t associate with sinners! This passage is speaking of professing believers—our brothers and sisters in Christ. What is it about Paul’s writing that seems to bring such a person’s true spiritual state into question?
2) Why does Paul specially mention “sexual” immorality, greed, slander, drunkenness, and stealing? Do these sins have anything in common?
3) What would happen if the church expelled everyone who sinned?
4) Are we supposed to judge the person, or the action?
5) Why is it important to disassociate from such a person?
6) What effect could it possibly have upon the church body as a whole if a person practicing gross immorality is allowed to continue in his or her sin and goes undisciplined?
7) Have you ever known someone who was excommunicated (expelled) from the church? Did they later repent? Were they joyfully welcomed back into fellowship? Was it difficult to rebuild trust?
Colossians 4:2-5 (Thursday) – Be Careful What You Say!
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (NIV)
1) We all understand the need for prayer and thankfulness. Why must we be watchful?
2) Do you pray for boldness? For yourself? For others? This is so important! Paul was perhaps the greatest of the apostles, yet, here, near the end of his life, he was asking that others pray that he continue to proclaim Christ boldly! Imagine! Oh, let’s all pray that we will be bold in our actions and in our words!
3) In what ways should we be wise toward others?
4) What does it mean to make the most of every opportunity?
Romans 15:1-3 (Friday) – Ready to Serve!
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” (NIV)

“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us asking ourselves, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for Himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “ I took on the troubles of the troubled.” Is the way Scripture puts it.” (Msg)
1) What do you think it means to take on someone else’ insults or troubles? Have you ever done so? What was your immediate response or feeling? After the fact, how did you feel? How did your friend respond? What was the outcome? Positive or negative? Will it always be positive?
2) None of us are strong all the time! At some point, someone will need to be there for you and, at some point, you will need to be there for someone else. Fact of life! Why is this so much more important for Christians to be available to one another?
3) Even if no one else takes on your insults and your troubles, Who will?
4) Come on! How often do we really ask ourselves, “How can I help?” What is wrong with us (me)? I worry that we have become such a part of this world—a world we are not really citizens of. We’re too fat and too comfortable (me)! Really, how much effort does it take to “see” with our spiritual eyes and help a brother or sister in need?

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