Category Archives: Wednesday

Wednesday with John – Truth Confirmed

John 7:45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Pharisee [separated ones] was not a title these pietistic men had chosen for themselves.  It was a somewhat disparaging name others outside their ranks had chosen for them.  The Pharisees motivation lay in their belief that what Moses had written could be adapted by reason and conscience to include unwritten oral law of current Jewish tradition. That’s what separated them.  It was one thing to debate those points with the Sadducees or the crowd BUT this man, Jesus, claimed He was speaking God’s own words!  They didn’t like the words He spoke AND even worse they saw there was power behind them. That was all the proof they needed that Jesus must be stopped!  Nothing reveals the Pharisee’s misuse of reason and conscience more clearly than calling the crowd they were dedicated to teach, “accursed.” 

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus spoke to confirm God’s own heart was to save people, not to give Pharisees a debate forum based on reason and conscience.

What does it say about people?
God uses even flawed reason and conscience.  He gave mankind those gifts and is still in charge of them!  The Pharisees unknowingly were speaking God’s own truth when they asked “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?” OR said “No one ever spoke like this man!”…”search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Is there truth here for me?
Truth has become like soap bubbles in the wind.  It catches our eye with it’s prism-like brilliance for a moment and then bursts and disappears. “Make up your own mind” is easier and takes less time than struggling to figure out how to deal with God’s list of moral truth, or Moses’ explanation of the ceremonial working out of that list, or our own mistrust that man is even capable of establishing judicial truth.  But beyond man’s reason and conscience there is God’s truth confirmed that even a Pharisee can reveal: No one ever spoke like Jesus…search and see…the truth of God is God Himself…revealed in Jesus!

Wednesday with John – More

John 7:25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?
26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?
27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.”
28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know.
29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.”
30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus speaks openly in the Temple to identify Himself. The people know about the hostility of the authorities toward Him.  Jesus’s openness in the presence of real danger to His life has caused people to wonder whether the fact that “no one laid a hand on him” is evidence that maybe “the authorities really know that this is the Christ.” Jesus is asking them to believe He is the link God has sent them to be visible proof of a relationship between themselves and the true God.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s identity is widely known because of the miraculous signs He has done.  Jesus now identifies Himself as having come from, and being sent by God to teach them there is more to “He who sent me…and him you do not know.”  Jesus is in mortal danger  because of that.

What does it say about people?
People have questions.
“Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?
Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?
When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

Is there truth here for me?
It’s easy to place my confidence in what I already know.  What I know is evidence I have seen what Jesus can do!  But what I already know can become a barrier that distracts me from recognizing Jesus when He shows up in unexpected places with unfamiliar truth.  The real “sign” of  faith is not how much I know but recognizing it’s His identity that’s the “more”  Jesus wants me to see.  That’s the my own personal miraculous sign!  

Wednesday with John – Yet

  • John 7:1 After this, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. 4 For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his brothers did not believe in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the feast yourselves; I am not[other ancient authorities add yet here] going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 So saying, he remained in Galilee. 10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. RSV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The end is near.  Jesus is guarding His time and activity.  He’s under pressure from those that are closest to Him to be more aggressive about his ministry, probably because of mixed motives.  They want Him to be protected by recognition and they have their own doubts about why He continues to withhold Himself from that protection which seems so obvious to them.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus knows the fallacy of the Feast is the fickle heart of people having decided the public display of worship is what pleases God. 

What does it say about people?
The fickle heart of people demands evidence and then decides what that evidence is supposed to be. 

Is there truth here for me?
Three words are the truth here — After this and yet are almost all that needs to be said about this passage: “After this,” is like “moving right along” and Yet,” is like “pause to take note.”  Chapter 6 ends with “After this.”  Moving right along, Jesus spoke hard words to what was left of His disciples, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”  He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.” 

Moving right along in Chapter 7 John writes  “For even his brothers did not believe in him.”   That’s a shocking statement. The brothers knew what Jesus had done and like everyone else they believed in that!  Still they wanted Jesus to give more evidence to validate His time…and theirs!  That would certainly be evidence of a fickle heart I could recognize…deciding how Jesus should use His time and what He should do to prove Himself.  

When Jesus says “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here” was He gently chiding them because they were trying to manage His time and not making use of theirs?  Was that somehow the subtle evidence John saw of their unbelief?  After all their intimate experiences with Jesus…after what they knew to be true from their own time walking, working and watching Jesus…After this…they still wanted Jesus to do more.  

The truth for believers to ponder about unbelief being subtle,
“Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.”  

Wednesday with John – 3R’s

John 6:53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”  MSG

What is the general theme of the passage? 
Jesus compares His own body to the bread the crowd sees as necessary nourishment to improve their  life.  His revelation to them is they need more than physical bread.  Their responsibility is to cho0se to believe Jesus when He says “the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me.”  It’s a relationship that requires  remembering only two things — “Bread from Heaven” nourishes life AND that blood of Life establishes a two-way relationship; “you enter into me and I into you” to regenerate life, now, so living beyond beyond life later is a reality.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Being in the presence of Jesus, God the man and God the Son, is the source of nourishment that will completely regenerate life.

What does it say about people?
“The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day.”

Is there truth here for me?
I would like to know what those people must have thought about what Jesus was teaching them.  Even a shadowy idea of living beyond the life they had would have some appeal right up to “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”  My logical reference point when I read those Words is Communion, so I share the treasure of my heart’s awareness of three things Jesus has given me to remember about the mystery of that truth.

3R’s of Communion
— Responsibility — Revelation — Regeneration—
Responsibility — Choice is my Responsibility. If I give Him the gift of my will and trust in this one small act that lasts just a few moments, He will live up to His responsibility, the promise to continue and complete His work in me.
Revelation — That’s the whole point of those two simple elements of communion. They are physical reminders of the body of Christ in my own body. That little bit of bread or wafer on the tongue is meant to remind me He will nourish His life in me. That small sip of wine or juice is how I remember it’s His life that lets me see my own need through His eyes.
Regeneration — The purpose of these few conscious moments is that Grace is being served with these elements. This is not just a beautiful ritual but a very real connection to the power of Christ to remind me of these things: I’ve chosen to give Him my gift, He will reveal Himself to me, and in me,
and these moments can nudge me one step closer
to what He has promised I will be.

3Rs of Communion 4_25_2022

 

Wednesday with John – Do Not Be Afraid

John 6:
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,
17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.
20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 
21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
It had been a labor intensive day organizing a massive crowd miraculously fed as Jesus spoke and taught.  The day had excited the crowd.  Jesus’s power must mean He was the King they’d been waiting for.  It had surely exhausted the disciples and Jesus.  Matthew and Mark both mention Jesus giving instructions to His disciples to cross the sea while He stays behind to dismiss the crowd before going off alone to pray.  Their Master had given them instructions.  I can imagine there was a debate there by the sea about waiting or going, because “Jesus had not yet come to them.”  What was supposed to be a short journey to meet Jesus was soon to become an hour’s-long battle of tired men, trying to get to where they had been told to go, as they physically struggled to control their small boat being tossed around by the strong wind, waves and the tides.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit)?
Jesus does come to them in the midst of their struggle.  He recognizes His presence is needed for both their emotional and physical assurance for a safe landing.

What does it say about people?
Fear is a natural response that makes it hard to recognize Jesus when situations are out of control.

Is there truth here for me?
Even a Jesus-directed journey is not a guarantee of an easy one.  Struggle and fear are real but if you can recognize Jesus walking with you in the storm and accept His personal assurance “It is I; do not be afraid” He will give you the courage to “take him into the boat” and you will get to the “the land to which [you are] going.”

Wednesday with John – God Living Up to His Word

John 6:1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.
2 And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased.
3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.
4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”
6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.”
13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.
14 When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!”
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

•What is the general theme of the passage?
After this?  Jesus had told these same people just a chapter ago “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”  After this…the crowd is still following.  They probably were on their own journey into Jerusalem because “Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.” They “followed” the custom of worship and they “followed” the shiny object of miracles.  Jesus had no illusions about the crowd or their needs. They needed food and He could do that.  They wanted a sign and He could do that too.

• What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus did not assume His authority. He was the miracle worker but He included His disciples in the process of questions and answers because the goal was revealing that God was living up to His word through Jesus.  That was the Miracle they needed to see.

What does it say about people?
It seems unlikely that out of this huge crowd, only “one lad” came prepared with food.  It also seems likely that while many of them had provision they were guarding for their own journey, they weren’t interested in sharing.  These people might not even have realized they were part of a miracle at the moment they reached into that one basket for their share of “five barley  loaves and two fish.”  But by the time that one basket had been passed hand to hand to feed five thousand people, there was a miracle some of them would never forget, there were 12 baskets left over!

• Is there truth here for me?
Sometimes miracles happen in the most basic ways.  I don’t want to miss the historical fact that this miracle was not just for that one moment — because there were leftovers!  Many have already eaten their share before me but Jesus continually refills the miraculous nourishment of His Word.  There’s plenty, take some and pass it on!

Wednesday with John – Daily

John 5
34 Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved.
35 John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message.
36 But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me.
37 And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face,
38 and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. NLT

What is the general theme of the passage?
This is Jesus’s harsh indictment of apathy. Avoiding the witness of His life and the evidence of His teachings and miracles while searching for alternatives is going to end badly; they’ll miss life altogether. The negative response of human nature to judgment and authority is unbelief.  The error of that plan is the two-sided mystery of faith; you don’t believe because you don’t have God’s message in your heart and you don’t have God’s message in your heart because you don’t believe. 

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
God has testified about Jesus.  Jesus has accomplished the work God has given Him.  His teachings and miracles are proof of God’s own witness that He has sent Jesus for a specific purpose, “so you might be saved.”

What does it say about people?
V37 & 38 from The Message says it so clearly: The Father who sent me, confirmed me. And you missed it. You never heard his voice, you never saw his appearance. There is nothing left in your memory of his Message because you do not take his Messenger seriously.

Is there truth here for me?
Many years of hearing “read your Bible every day” seems like a good esample of just what Jesus is saying.  It’s easy to believe that reading Scripture is a good alternative. It’s also easy to avoid it because it’s hard to force my mind to accept that daily reading isn’t just an exercise of faith but is meant to challenge it. “Daily” is part of that two-sided mystery of how difficult, AND how infinitely valuable it is to allow Scripture to transform “what I believe I know” into personal evidence of “what I know I believe.”

Wednesday with John – Life Now!

John 5:19 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 he does, that the Son does likewise.
20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel.
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who 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.  25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself,
27 and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.

What is the general theme of the passage? Jesus loves His Father and only does what He is asking of Him.  Together they have a purpose; to give life that begins in this hour, now, and into eternity!  God has given Jesus His own power of judgment over life and death so that we might see in Jesus the deity of God lived out in the humanity of man.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
The Father loves the Son, and shows him all that He is doing.  Jesus does only what he sees the Father doing. The Father raises the dead and gives them life.  The Father has given all authority and judgment to the Son to give life “to whom He will.” The Father has life in  himself. The Son also has life in himself.

What does it say about people?
People honor a judge because they recognize He has the power to decide their fate.  What people hear from Jesus, now, will decide their final judgment later. Read verses 25 – 27 with a small rearrangement in the two phrases “Son of God,” and Son of Man . Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and NOW is, when the dead will hear the voice of [GOD THE SON], and those who hear will live.  Got has done HIs power handoff to Jesus “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is [GOD THE MAN.]

Is there truth here for me?
GOD THE SON is GOD THE MAN
who’s come to reveal He’s the identity of God’s life IN us “who do not walk according to the flesh but according the Spirit,” NOW.

Wednesday with John – Some Thing More

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. ESV 

What is the general theme of the passage?
The name Bethesda means either house of mercy or house of grace but it seems improbable that pool has any religious connection to the God of the Jews OR that the people there, were waiting for Israel’s God to heal them, especially on this Sabbath day.  Some versions have added to the ending of verse 3 and all of verse 4.  In many versions this addition is only a footnote a because the ancient manuscripts do not make that connection.  This pool would likely have always been a place of uncleanness to the Jews because “a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed were there.” The mystery of this water is healing happens only when the water is “stirred up.”  

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus chooses to go to this pool to find this man. It seems so similar to what He chose to do when he offered “living” water to the outcast woman at the well.  Jesus’s assurance is “My Father is working until now, and I am working” even on the Sabbath.

What does it say about people?
Here are some questions to read and ponder: Why did the crippled man not just say “yes” when Jesus asked him “Do you want to be healed?”  If he IS a Jew, what’s he doing there on the Sabbath?  If he’s NOT a Jew, why did he go to the Temple after his healing?  This invalid man may be yet another story of someone who is not necessarily Godless, but not Godly either.  He knows some of the essentials: the water in this pool is identified with the grace and mercy of some mysterious power.  He knows there is some miraculous healing possible. He knows he needs some thing more, some one who can get him to that “stirred up” water.

Is there truth here for me?
How many times has this man been taken to this same pool and been disappointed?  Jesus is not just the some one who will put that invalid into the pool to be healed.  HE IS the “stirred up” water”  that man cannot reach on his own.  Jesus has given that invalid man the one  thing that pool could never offer, a healing that is something more — a connection to Him.  Jesus is the missing verse 4! 

a “waiting for a certain movement of the water, for an angel of the Lord came from time to time and stirred up the water. And the first person to step in after the water was stirred was healed of whatever disease he had.”

Wednesday with John – Advantage Takers

32 DAYS TO EASTER!

John 4:43 After the two days [in Samaria]  he [Jesus] departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus has narrowed the scope of his influence by moving from the big city of Jerusalem, through the in-between place of Samaria, to zero in on His home territory.  Jesus isn’t fooled into assuming the basis of the welcome in Galilee is prompted by anything more than the “actions speak louder than words” stories of His time in Jerusalem.  Those miracle-working realities are meant to be actions that emphasize the Words of truth behind them.  His recent time in Samaria shows us the stark contrast of the “Samaritans welcoming Jesus because of His Words and the people of Galilee focused on the signs and wonders.”a

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?) Jesus has come to His home for one prophetic purpose: to help those who could not see past the power His actions to hear and recognize the truth of His Words. 

What does it say about people?
People are advantage-takers and Jesus has come home for the express purpose to give the people in His home territory the opportunity to take advantage of Him.

Is there truth here for me?
I wrote that line above about Jesus giving the opportunity to take advantage of Him as a play on words before it actually dawned on me how true those words were. Jesus is just 32 days from this year’s reminder that He has overcome a desperately broken and negative sin of humanity – to be users of each other and God.  Easter is the action He took to speak the reality of His Words and His Spirit into my past, my present and my future so that I might recognize His purpose for me is to take full advantage of Him and never be satisfied with anything less.

a https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/go-your-son-will-live