Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy week #5 - Good Friday - John 18 and 19

"Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."
"But we have no right to execute anyone," they objected.
This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death He was going to die." 
(John 18:31-32)

"Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross.  
(John 19:19)

(Read John 18 and 19)

Today is Good Friday.  Not a lot of words should be spoken on Good Friday.  What is said is not nearly important as what is done; the accomplishing of the salvation of all who believe. 

Earlier, Jesus had said in John 12:32, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John continues the thought in verse 33 with this explanation, "He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."  Jesus' crucifixion accomplished not just atonement for our sins, but Jesus' crucifixion (the type of death He died) also accomplished the purpose of lifting Jesus up (exalting Him) for all to see that He is the true King of the Jews.  And in being lifted up Jesus was then, is now, and will always be drawing all people to Himself.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Week #4 - March 28, 2013

"Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  ... And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."  (John 17:1, 5)

(Read John 17:1-26)

This is called "Jesus' High Priestly Prayer".  So it is important to note what Jesus prays for.  He prays for glory (a revelation of the truth that He is the great "I AM") and He prays for unity (that they may be one), and He links the glory to the unity.

So what should we make of this?  If Jesus as our High Priest is praying this prayer, then what should be our greatest concern as God's children?  What other things is Jesus praying, and how can we begin to pray those same prayers today?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week #3 - March 27, 2013

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

(Read John 15 and 16)

At the end of John 16, Jesus recaps all He has has said from the beginning of chapter 15 by giving the reason why He has told us "these things".  He has told us so that in Him we might have peace.  Peace is what Jesus has come to bring, and the peace He brings will come by way of a whole heap of worldly trouble.  Still He says, "But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

What things do you see in chapters 15 and 16 that bring peace simply because Jesus told them?  What consistent theme or themes do you see running through chapters 13-16?  What is Jesus' command, and how should we obey that command in this world full of trouble?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Week #2 - March 26, 2013

"Do not let your hearts be troubled."

(Read John 14:1-31)

I find it interesting in John 12:27, Jesus said, "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?  Father save me from this hour?  No, it was for this very reason, I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!"  Yet in John 14 Jesus tells His disciples to not let their hearts be troubled, and he says it twice. (see 14:1 and 27)

In order to understand the admonition "Do not let your hearts be troubled" it is important for us to look at what comes after it in verse 1 and before it in verse 27.

In verse 1, the admonition "Do not let your hearts be troubled" is followed by another admonition, "Trust in God; trust also in me."  Jesus has been revealing His glory by declaring Himself to be God.
In chapter 14 that revelation and declaration continues.  This is the hour for Jesus to be glorified.  This is God's plan, and Jesus faces the horror of what is to come with confident trust in God (recall John 12:27).  So He admonishes us to do the same: "Trust in God".

In verse 27, Jesus promises to bring peace.  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  Jesus came to bring peace, and that peace is accomplished through His humiliation and death so that in resurrection He can bring peace.

So what do you see in chapter 14?  What do you think it means when Jesus says, "If you love me, you will obey what I command? (see verse 15)  Do you think the verses that precede this statement inform our understanding of Jesus words?  Let's share our thoughts as we journey with Jesus along the way ...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy week post #1

"A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this all men (people) will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35)

During holy week we are reading through the second part of John's gospel together.  Today we begin in John 13 (Read John 13:1-38).  Here Jesus shows the extent of His love to His disciples by serving them.

What stands out to you in this reading?  How do you see Jesus revealing more of His glory?  Why do you think Jesus gives "a new command"?  What does this "new command" mean for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus?  How can we obey this "new command" today?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blog post for the week of March 17, 2013

Think about the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  (Read John 11:1-44)

It is a truly remarkable story, and in this miracle Jesus reveals His greater glory!  He reveals that He truly is the Christ, and more than that is the Son of the Living God who came to bring life to all who believe!

And that is the challenge we all have to face.  Do we really believe Jesus is WHO He says He is?  And if so, how can that belief make a difference in our lives?

Certainly that belief has changed our eternity ("I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." - John 5:24), but what about our everyday lives?  How can this belief change our everyday lives?

I am anxious to hear your thoughts, as I too am wrestling with this question along the way ...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts for the week of March 10, 2013

Last week I asked if we shine the light of Jesus more through what we say and do, or through who we are?  I also said I had my own ideas about that, but before I shared them I wanted to know your thoughts.  So what do you think?

In my humble opinion, I believe it is more important that we shine the light of Jesus through who we are than by what we say and do.   Of course, who we are will shape what we say and do, and I think that is why I believe who we are is more important.

For example, Paul says in I Corinthians 13:1-3, "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal ... If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."  So what we say and what we do mean little if our motivation is anything other than love; true, self-giving love.

And that kind of love comes from a character that is being formed by the Holy Spirit so that we look more and more like every Jesus every day along the way ....

Monday, March 4, 2013

Thoughts for the week of March 3, 2013

In our journey along the way ... we are called to shine the light of Jesus in this world.  He is the light of the world, and by His Holy Spirit at work in us so are we.  (See Matthew 5:14-16)

So my question is this?  How do we shine that light?  Do we shine it most clearly by what we say and do, or by who we are?  Or is there a combination of these?  What are your thoughts?  I have my opinion, but I will reserve it for later this week.  For now, let's discuss, as we journey together along the way ....