We may read God’s word every day, we may find it interesting and helpful as a guide to living a satisfying life, but is that enough?  What did Jesus mean when he spoke about God’s word abiding, that is, living in a person?  Who was Jesus talking to on this occasion?

Today’s reading of John Ch. 5 describes the increasing confrontation of Jesus with the Jews (v.18).  The challenge for them had begun with the preaching of John Baptist and Jesus says, “He was a burning and a shining lamp and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.” [v.35 ]

They listened and there was a time of interest, even of rejoicing, but then it suddenly became too hard to accept.  The divinely inspired message of Jesus, challenged their vested interests.

What a great lesson is there for us here.  The word of God which Jesus conveys to human beings has to be accepted into the minds of those who hear.  If it is not accepted in this way it cannot live in them.  When it lives in them, it becomes part of their thinking.

It is the “living water” – as Jesus told the woman of Samaria about – as we read yesterday (4 v.10). Remember how Jesus went on to explain, “The water that I will give … become(s) a spring of water welling up to eternal life” [v.14]

Water is a cleansing agent and the “living water” that Jesus provides is his cleansing word.  But for it to do its work it has to abide in us.  The Jews who rejoiced for a while at hearing John the Baptist failed to let his words abidein them.  Jesus sadly, but bluntly told them, “you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.

The same, very sadly, has been true of every generation.   Human nature is such that all too often we only hear what we want to hear.  Or – today – only read what we want to read!

On another occasion Jesus said, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear … “ [Luke 8 v.17,18] There is no point in reading God’s word, and of  Jesus and his message if we do not let his words live in us and change our thinking and our lives. Jesus also said, as we read today, “whoever hears my word and believes on him who sent me has eternal life” [v.24], surely that means their names are now in “the book of life” as we read last week in Philippians 4 v.3.

By Bro D.Caudery

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