The paradox of truth in our lives

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: John 11:1-54; Proverbs 4:14-19

READ (Verse/s chosen for reflection)
John 11:47-48: “So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, √¨What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.

The Apostle John stated in chapter 20 verses 30-31 that the purpose of his Gospel was that readers would come to believe that Jesus is the Christ and in believing may come to have life in Him. The council of chief priests and Pharisees, while well informed of the many signs of God as given in the Old Testament, refused to believe. Or rather, the truth about God, even as revealed through powerful signs, were difficult to believe in. Why? Not because they were not of God; but because there were a lot to lose if they believe.

For the Pharisees, they could lose their status as unchallenged teachers and being the sole authority of the interpretation of Scripture. For the chief priests, they could lose their power to rule and much wealth due to the corrupt relationships they were having with their Roman superiors. For Jesus had declared to them a version of discipleship, if followed, would shake the very roots of what they used to hold dear.

Have i ever found God’s truth to be difficult to accept and obey? Yes i had. Often, this is not because I have found God’s truth to be ridiculous; but because I know the consequences of obeying the truth. For example, I found it difficult to obey His word when i was persecuted by fellow Christians for wanting to heed the call to be a pastor. I found it difficult to obey His word when i was challenged to work with someone I had deep misgivings of. I found it difficult to obey His word when I wanted to hold on to something which i knew wasn’t right but provided a sense of security; no matter how false it was.

Have you found it difficult to obey because you know that by obedience, you will lose much in this world? Take heart. For our Lord has overcome the world. The chief priests and Pharisees were right to say that they will lose much by allowing more people to believe that Jesus is the Christ; or that they themselves follow Christ. But they did not understand, that it was only by losing these things, that we can gain what is the most precious in Him who is the truth, the way and the life.

Lord, give us grace to obey and empower us to shake loose the things we held dear; even as we know that these things cannot be compared to what You have offered as life. Amen.


Day 218

by Rev Joel Yong

Ezekiel 6:7
And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.

When God speaks of His intention to punish Israel, He ends His judgment by saying “..and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

He does this repeatedly, varying the words at times but always declaring its about showing the people that He is the Lord.

Divine punishment happens not because God is bloodthirsty.
But because God desires that we live life knowing He is God instead of pursuing worthless idols that promise much and deliver nothing.

That is, why He punishes Israel here in the text- to bring them to the realization of what really matters.
God alone.