Tag Archives: John

Words Are Important


Something really awesome happened on Sunday. We were reading from John 13 and one of the kids caught what seemed like a very little phrase… Here is what happened.

We were going along, reading a little at a time, and asking questions; Who are the characters? What is happening? What is the setting? We started at verse 21 and we were headed to chapter 14 verse 1, when one of the girls suddenly had a very perplexed look on her face.

“Wait!” She interjected, “Wasn’t it already night time? Aren’t they at dinner? Why does it say ‘and it was night?’ Why does it need to say that?”

Enter awesome moment!

“Well,” I said, “The writer is using his words on purpose, every word is trying to help us understand something. So what would ‘it was night’ help us understand about what is happening?”

This led us into a whole discussion about what “night” communicates to us…. Our basic conclusion: the things we are generally the most afraid of seem to happen at night, when it’s dark. We tend to be the most nervous and scared at night. DSCN5705.JPG

At this point of the story in scripture, we decided the author is trying to help us understand that this is one of the darkest, scariest moments for the disciples… Jesus is even described as “troubled.” Jesus knows what is happening next, but the disciples are still clueless! But they are getting nervous about things… they are headed into one of the scariest times of their lives. But that is what makes Jesus’ words in John 14:1 so amazing.

In the middle of the scariest moment, Jesus says this:

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

When we understand and really look at the words in the passage, I think it brings a new significance out for us. I’ve seen and heard John 14:1 a lot. But the time on Sunday really paying attention to the words around it was significant.

IMG_0530As we wrapped up on Sunday, I asked one last question, “What does this mean for us?” This is what we concluded: In the middle of the night, when everything seems to be the most threatening, the scariest, the darkest, we need to hear Jesus say, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” We don’t need to be overcome by fear; we can trust Jesus even in the darkest time.

It was a really good lesson in children’s church on Sunday…


God the Father


Here is a thoughts from our John reading today….

One of the things that is standing out to me as I read through John this season, is the relationship between Jesus and God. Jesus was very serious about doing only what his Father wanted. Jesus really did have a very deep Father-Son relationship with God.

Part of this relationship is described to us in John 14:8-14. Jesus, at one point, says to Philip, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” Jesus will not do anything without knowing that it is what his Father wants him to do! It’s an amazing relationship…

It makes me wonder what would be different for me if I worked on deepening my relationship with God…

John 14:8-14

English Standard Version (ESV)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.


John 13:26-14:7


26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”


Monday


Each week our congregation has avaliable to them a devotional titled “Walk and Talk.” It’s purpose is to give people an opportunity to go a little bit deeper with the lesson from Sunday’s sermon. The readings are generally built off of the core idea from the sermon and the questions, hopefully, guide us into integrating the concept into a life practice.

During the seasons of Lent, we are traveling through the book of John and Jesus’ last week before the crucifixion. The first passage this week is from John 13:21-35 and it contains, what I believe is, one of the most significant statements ever made by Jesus. It is one of those passages from scripture that has been a constant voice in my journey. Have you ever had a verse or passage like this?… That just always seems to challenge you and stand out as extremely important… That is what verses 34 and 35 are to me. They read:

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34, 35 NLT)

I have heard people say that when someone knows they are about to die, that tends to be when they say what is really important. Maybe that is part of why this statement seems so critical to me. It is one of the last instructions that Jesus emphasizes to his disciples before he dies.

I know one of the reasons it stands out to me is because I often wrestle with the question, how is following Jesus any different than just being a good person? How is my life different when I choose to follow Jesus?

This passage gives me an answer to those questions… The way I love other people (especially those who are also following Jesus) should be the difference. This constantly challenges me. It challenges me in both my actions and my attitudes. It is a challenge I cannot get away from and at the beginning of this Lenten week, I am reminded of it again….



One of the things that has been standing out to me during my readings through the book of John, is Jesus’ relationship with the Father. Jesus sincerely relied on God the Father. Here are a couple of passages where I see this. What do you think? What do you learn from them?

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:19-27 ESV)

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge;the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment— what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:44-50 ESV)


Deeper Issue


There are parts of learning that I really like. Sometimes the process of learning is very difficult, but for the most part, I enjoy it. I enjoy knowing intricacies and details. I think part of why is because learning more helps me feel better prepared to make decisions.  I also just really enjoy making a new discovery. This is one of the things I really appreciate about scripture. No matter how often I have read a passage, God will almost always teach me something new or show me a new detail.

Today I was reading in John 5 and part of the story recorded in this chapter stood out to me in a new way. The main story in the chapter is about Jesus healing a man who is described as an invalid for 38 years. Jesus heals him and then disappears in the crowd. Later, Jesus finds him in the temple and makes a very powerful statement. This is what stood out to me today. Jesus says, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”

What struck me about this statement was the truth of how powerful the effects sin are. It is nothing really new to me- it did not take me very long in life to realize the damage that sin causes- but there was a new comparison for me in this story that made the truth come alive. The impression left on me is that Jesus was saying to the man, “You thought being a lame, invalid for 38 years was bad… Sin is much more devastating.”

I know that “the wages of sin is death.” I know it destroys relationships and causes pain. But something about comparing the outcomes of sin to being worse than living an invalid… that connected to me. It would be really bad to be in that guy’s situation- an invalid with no help, no hope, continually being overlooked, and no one who cares. It’s a bad place to live. But Jesus says living in sin is worse…. There is a deeper issue than just being sick and invalid.

This has caused me to stop and think. During this season of Lent, part of the focus is to realize the gravity of our sin and what it cost Jesus to overcome it. This passage, in a new and fresh way, is helping me focus. I hope it maybe stands out to you as well.


Resurrection Sunday


Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

“Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

(John 20)