Worship Message: May 9, 2021
Title: Jesus, What Kind of Person Are You?
“Both Philip and Thomas had been with Jesus for a long time, but they didn't understand Him. And we are the same, I think. Even people who have been attending church for a long time have a hard time understanding Jesus.... It's not that we don't have the ability to understand, but rather that we live according to our own thoughts. That part of us has been ingrained in us. Right now, I am in a fog! I feel like I am in a fog. I am thinking somewhat narrowly and clinging to my own thoughts. Maybe that's why people call it a "fog" because we get lost without knowing it.”
This is an article by Rev. Kiyoshi Ibata, a pastor of Ishidou Church in Japan, broadcast on May 9 on FEBC Christ Broadcasting Station. Today is the 8th, so I cannot listen to the broadcast. However, I received this article, and I would like to give my own message regarding John14:1-9.
This is the story of Jesus at the Last Supper, before He was hung on the cross. When the disciples heard what Jesus told them, they became very anxious. They had believed in Jesus and followed Him for three and a half years. But they were worried about what would happen to them in the future.
We also feel anxious when we can't see the future. This is something that we all experience in our daily lives. How do you deal with such situations? Here are suggestions for such times:
- Talk to your family.
- Consult a teacher or friend whom you trust.
- Look for various life quotes.
- Ask a professional for help.
- Pray and wait.
Here's what Jesus said: "Believe in God, and you will believe in me.” (Verse 1) What was the reaction of his disciples? They were afraid that Jesus was going to go away. Jesus’ answer was, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (Verse 6) But, the disciples did not understand a word of what Jesus said.
Philip was so upset that he didn’t know who Jesus was. He had learned from Jesus, believed in Jesus, and sacrificed his life for Jesus, but now he is in despair. It seems to me that even Jesus is sighing. Jesus said, ”Philip, I have been with you such a long time, and you do not understand me. People who see me, see the Father.” (Verse 9)
Not only Thomas and Philip, but all of the disciples, and even we are the same! In other words, no matter how much we think we believe in Jesus, when we face problems in our daily lives, we don’t utilize our faith and we get upset, don't we? To them and to us, the Lord says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in me.” (Verse 1) And again, " Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” (Verse 11) He even encouraged His disciples who were weak in faith. It is important for us to go back to this starting point. I believe that this is the secret to solving all problems.
Even so, how much do we really know about Jesus, a man we have never seen, a man who has been around for more than 2,000 years, but who we have only heard about in the Bible, books, and church messages? Even though we have seen, heard, and talked with our family members, friends, and neighbors, we sometimes make new discoveries or are stunned by our misunderstandings. We might say that we have a good eye for people, but it doesn't mean that our guesses and thoughts are always right.
How can I know Jesus better and not be disturbed by every difficulty? It is wonderful to testify that you had been changed by your faith at some point in the past, but isn't the more important testimony about "now"?
God helps us every day, as we walk with Him by faith. One day Michio said, "I had this problem yesterday, and Jesus helped me. God is alive and working with me. It was more than my prayers!” He also said, "It was very encouraging to meet such an angelic person today. God must have sent that person for me. How grateful I am that Jesus is so close to me! I want to tell this story to everyone!”
What was the story, and who was that angelic person? One day, Michio and I drove to a village to deliver flyers to residents regarding my mayoral candidacy. While we were there, we found a disability support facility where we thought our mutual friend worked, and went there to meet him. When I walked to the front door, a tall handsome young man approached me, grabbed my hands and held them. He had no facial expression. He might have been twenty-five, but it seemed like he was four years old. I smiled and said, "Hello."
The young man said nothing, but he walked outside to Michio, who was sitting in the car. He took Michio's hands, led him to me, and drew our hands together, helping us to shake hands. The young man never said a word, but we knew that he liked us and was pleased to meet us. We met the young man’s care supporter, and we asked her if our friend was there, but, actually, he was not working there.
Afterwards, Michio told me that the young man might have been an angel. He seemed to know that we were not happy at the time. We had had a small quarrel before we met him. He knew it and told us to get along by drawing our hands together. I was very moved by what Michio told me. I thanked him, and thanked our Lord.
We can realize that “we are known by God", not a conceptual image of God, but a real being; God, who is close to us and walking with us. I don't think we can fully grasp the depth, height, and breadth of Jesus in our lifetime. And as I reflect on this, I am reminded of how important it is for us to take a break from our self-centered lives and remember Jesus when we plan our day.