Category Archives: Sunday

Nourishment

John 21:12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. NIV

What caught my attention in this last chapter were these three verses. I recognized in them both the devotion of these disciples and their humanity. Even when they had trouble recognizing Jesus out of context, not looking their “Sunday” best and not daring to admit they might have any questions, Jesus was waiting to provide His nourishment for their devotion AND their humanity.

Truth

John 19:10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin. 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free.”
…19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.  20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” NIV

Some power is real and some is illusion.  Mostly human nature seems to respond more to the power of illusion because it makes us think we are able to control life and circumstances.  The illusion of power was clearly behind Pilate’s question: “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answers Pilate in two sentences that tell him his  power is only an illusion, that he has no real power at all, AND at the same time offers him something that seems designed to ease his guilty conscience.  Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

And look at Pilate’s response to Jesus!  “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free”…and finally his response to the chief priests and Jews when they complained about his notice posted to the cross –  “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.”

Something real happened in that interchange with Jesus that affected Pilate.  Isn’t that just like Jesus to clearly remind where the source of real power lies AND then to create a small grace space in a reprimand so that truth would be revealed even without faith when “Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Glory

In John 17:6
Jesus said
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.“  NIV

Can you believe this?  Jesus saw past the limitations of time and the  human imperfections of those whom God gave him “out of the world.”  He could see the days yet to come of every person who “knew with certainty” that Jesus did come from God “and they believed.”  Long before your days even began, in ages past, Jesus recognized the glory that would come to Him through…

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV

Get the Message?

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.  NIV
“I am the true vine,
Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
remain in the vine.
Remain in me.
I am the vine;
remain in me
remain in me,
remain in me and my words remain in you
remain in my love.
remain in my love,
remain in his love.
Love each other as I have loved you.
I no longer call you servants, because
a servant 
does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends,
I chose you
This is my command: Love each other.”
❤️

3-Point Model

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

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us. NLT

1. Simulation: a model used to teach something
2. Imitation: clearly and accurately duplicating something
3. Participation: physically expressing your agreement with something
❤️

Purification

John 11:54 As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.  55 It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” NLT 

The Jews carved out a convenient and workable system of government for themselves even though they were actually under Roman rule.  It’s a system dependent on being able to exercise their authority by maintaining a low profile.  People are coming into Jerusalem from “all over the country” to ceremonially purify themselves before Passover begins.  The stories of Jesus and his miracles are being repeated and many believe.  Jesus has become an inconvenient attention-getting detail that has too many people talking.  

They gather because this preparation is a necessary prerequisite to their eligibility to participate in the week of Passover.  There are ceremonial washings in small pools filled by “living waters” fed by a nearby spring or well.  In a land of dust and heat that baptismal-type of cleansing has become both a sign of their repentance from ceremonial pollution and an official pardon for their separation from God.  They have evidence from their own Scripture that God has acted on their behalf.  They have awareness of needing purity.  They have the desire for holiness. They have firsthand stories of miracles people have seen Jesus do with their own eyes.  They have the right question: “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?”  Only one right response is missing in all their devoted preparation …Come, Lord Jesus!

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

Purpose

John 9:1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” NLT

Real life is less than a perfect display place but
The purpose of Jesus was not limited by “dis-ability”
so the power of God could be seen.”
“But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world”
[And Now]
“You are the light of the world.
—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden…
 so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”a

aMatthew 5:14

 

Shelter

John 7:10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.  14 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. NLT

Why didn’t Jesus go to the Feast of Shelters with his brothers?  This feast was one of three required pilgrimages for all Jews.  It was their remembrance of the temporary dwellings they lived in for all those years in the desert.  Why did He change his mind and go?

Shelter:
Noun: A place providing food and accommodations for the homeless.
Verb: To protect or shield from something harmful

Jesus WAS the Shelter!  The miracles were a mixed blessing that could lead people to the Shelter or keep them from Him.  For some miracles were signs of power that verified Jesus’s claim that He was sent from God, but for others they were signs of power that threatened their own reputation.  “Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach.”  Jesus chose to go public at this important festival, not with miraclesa  but with teaching.  A miracle was an improbable display of power in a given moment to direct the focus of those who saw and heard.  Jesus chose to teach them something even more extraordinary; the provision of God that would shelter His people for all time.  

Jesus IS the Shelter that transitions our life into eternity.  He has chosen to “teach” us by His Word that reaches through the ages and redirects our focus to provide nourishment for us that is more than food and to be our Shelter for the circumstances of daily life so we might “honor the one who sent him.”  That’s a miracle!

a John Piper

Works

John 6:28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Every person of faith is told we should read the Bible, pray, love, serve and meet together.  We’ve prioritized those more tangible expressions of our faith as requirements God has given that will lead us to Jesus. Many of us could truthfully confess at times we’ve experienced those foundations of faith as the burden of works, the “shoulds.”  Even the faith that is a gift of God does not make us immune to the flaws of a human nature that wants an answer to the wrong question; “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

It’s entirely possible the purpose of the struggle we have with those foundational parts of our faith is to help us recognize we are unable to do the work God requires.  The right question for us to ask is: WHO must do “the works God requires?”  And the answer is right there for us…”The work of God is this: to believe in [Jesus] the one he has sent.”

In Himself

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

Is this one verse saying God granted a self-contained life to Jesus similar to what He did for Adam?  OR Is this verse saying Jesus’s life was “God in himself?” That is a bigger truth worth pondering.

The repetition of “in himself” slips by so quickly it’s easy to read it without questioning if there might be something more.  It’s easy to accept Jesus being the living example of the perfection of God, His emissary if you will, sent to be like an extension cord that would connect us to the power of God.  That is the truth of experience but words are gifts I believe God uses to direct devotional thoughts. The idea of “in himself” identifying Jesus as both the extension cord and the power made me think about Jesus as the sacrifice God made for our life on earth even before His sacrifice on the cross.

God “in himself” as Jesus was sacrificed on a cross to assure us there was a  connection that would lead to eternity.  Heaven is surely a blessing to look forward to but we live life our life on earth.  The first sacrifice of God “in Himself” was Jesus living on earth to become the connection of this life and eternity.  God “in himself” as Jesus on earth could teach us by example how to experience a connection to God that would turn every day of life, here and now, into the beginning of an eternity to come.