Reflections on John 13: Having Loved His Own

This chapter is particularly touching to me. Especially when we consider who Jesus is. Jesus is God. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. Jesus is all knowing and all powerful. He knows everything within our hearts, and in this particular incident He knew what was in the heart of each of His disciples. But He took upon Himself the very nature of a servant. He loved His disciples VERY deeply, and He bowed before each of them one by one. He met the most humbling and basic need of a person of that time. He washed feet: Dirty feet that had walked dusty roads, calloused feet that had worked hard as fishermen, nasty feet few would desire to touch.

Verse 1 stands out to me today.

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1 ESV 

“Having loved His own…” Jesus does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He loves His own. I am one of His own, and He has met my greatest need. He has not cleansed just my feet. He has cleansed my heart, a hard and cold heart. It was a heart filled with anger, hatred, doubt, fear— sin. How grateful I am that Jesus has loved me, His own, as He loved His twelve disciples over 2000 years ago!

Take time today to let that truth sink into your heart today. Jesus loved His own. He loves us, His own, today!

Reflections on John 9: See Jesus!

In today’s reading Jesus heals a man born blind on the Sabbath. Once again the religious leaders of Jesus time, the Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus because He continued to challenge their man made traditions and threatened their power. They attacked the testimony of the man who was born blind by saying he was “born in utter sin.” They also claimed that Jesus was a sinner.

Jesus makes a statement in the midst of all this.

“Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”” John 9:39 ESV

The Pharisees thought they had the corner on the knowledge of God. They had studied the scripture, they thought they had God all figured out, but their hearts were far from Him. They were proud. They were spiritually blind.

The blind man was desperate. When he encountered Jesus, he obeyed His command. He received healing to his eyes. When he finally saw Jesus after being healed and spoke to Him, he “believed and worshipped.” In humility the man born blind believed Jesus and he was made whole both physically and spiritually.

We have the same choice. We may choose to do our own thing, following our own ways, the things that seem right to us, and we will die spiritually blind— never truly seeing Jesus! Or we may choose to obey Jesus no matter what and live our lives seeing His beauty and splendor!

Either way we must choose! May we choose to see Jesus for who He is—Lord, and believe!

Reflections on John 8: Who is Your Father?

In today’s reading, there is the account of Jesus forgiving the woman who was caught in adultery. After finding herself with no one to condemn her, Jesus tells her He does not condemn her either. Before she goes, Jesus says, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

““No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8‬:‭11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus then speaks to the Pharisees. He tells them the truth about the condition of their relationship to God. They were claiming that God was their Father. This is where Jesus says something profound:

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.” John 8:42 NIV

In our day and time it is a popular thing to say that we are all God’s children. Jesus narrows down who is truly a child of God, the one who can call God, Father. It is the one who loves Jesus. To define this even better we must know what it is to love Jesus. In John 14:15 Jesus defines who loves him even further. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Or simply said we will OBEY God’s word. One of the commandments Jesus gave is to “go and leave our life of sin.”

It is true our Heavenly Father loves us and longs for us to know Him, but we cannot experience the freedom of His forgiveness and simply go our own way once again. To truly be His child means a transformation within or being born again. This transformation will lead us to love our Heavenly Father giving evidence of our love for Him by our obedience.

Reflections on John 7: No One Ever Spoke Like Him!

When faced with Jesus people have so many reactions. This chapter illustrates them so well. Jesus’ half brothers found it hard to believe that Jesus was more than a man. They wanted Him to prove Himself. The religious leaders, who thought they had God all figured out, thought Jesus was a threat to the power they exercised over themselves and others. Others thought He was crazy, demon possessed. Some were curious. Others were offended. Some didn’t know what to do with Him. We are much like that today. People hear of Jesus and struggle to put Him in a convenient Box within their minds that could explain Him away. So they are conflicted as the people of Jesus time.

Verse 46 gives us the response of a temple guard that I think sums up the point where a person begins to see Jesus for who He is and accept Him as who He longs to be in our lives, Lord God.

When asked why the guard did not arrest Jesus. The guard said, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.”

When Jesus speaks to us, His voice is different than all the others around. When we truly hear Him, He is like no other. His word in our heart changes us. It causes us to see He isn’t all the things we thought He might be. He is God and He is Love and He is Lord. May we hear Him speak and recognize that no one speaks like Jesus does. His word is power and it changes our hearts!

Thoughts on John 4- If You only Knew The Gift…

“Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10 NLT

In today’s chapter, Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan Woman at the well. She had a sinful past and had come to the well at an hour that signified her life of shame. Jesus asks her for a drink of water and she is surprised that a Jewish man would talk to her. Let along ask her for a drink. Jesus responds to her surprise. I love the NLT’s wording of this response. “Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

Oh how I have run from God. I do anything at times to avoid being where He is and what He has for me. I guess it’s because I want what I want, when and how I want it. Surrender to Him goes against my “me centric” life. Maybe you have been where I have been too?

But Jesus stands there offering what He offered the Woman at the well over 2000 years ago. “The gift God has for you…”. If we only knew what that gift would be when we simply yield our way to His and ask. Jesus offers us “living water” that satisfies us forever. We never thirst again when we finally take a drink of His life He offers.

“If you only knew the gift of God…”. May you and I thirst for that gift more than all the other things that are temporary and futile. He offers us Himself in abundance. May we thirst for Him alone!

Christmas in Luke (Day 20)

Today’s reading is Luke 20.

I love taking the month of December and focusing on the most blessed event of human history, Jesus’ Birth and reading Luke. All the warmth and tenderness of the moment in the Bethlehem stable has been remembered over and over as we have focused on all the details surrounding His arrival and shortly after.
Then there have been each account of all the miracles Jesus performed while here walking the earth, and the truth He spoke in all the parables, as we have been reading a chapter a day.

With each miracle and each word, we have read how He was being closely watched by a group who wanted for Him to go away- to kill Him. Today’s reading includes a parable Jesus told to expose the hearts of those people. The parable of the evil farmers, tenants who wanted nothing to do with the landowner. The landowner tried desperately to receive some fruit from the vineyard He had planted. His tenants beat the servants the landowner had sent to communicate with them. Finally the landowner appealed to them by sending his son, who he loved. These tenants threw the son out of the vineyard and killed him. Jesus finished this parable with the words,”The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Verse 17)

With all that Jesus did that was good, kind, and miraculous, He was still rejected. But the very person they rejected, Jesus, was the person that God had sent to save.

We also have a choice when faced with the person Jesus. We can accept Him and His lordship over our lives, or we can reject Him.
May we examine our hearts this Christmas season. As we celebrate the tenderness of our God who has come to us as a baby to be with us, Jesus- Emmanuel, may we not reject His desire to become God within us. He longs to do good and to fill our lives with Himself. May our hearts be opened to receive Him!

Christmas in Luke (Day 18)

Today’s reading is Luke 18.

There are no neutral encounters with Jesus. Everyone who comes in contact with Him will be faced with a decision.

Today’s chapter records the account of a rich ruler who came to Jesus asking the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Verse 18) Jesus’ reply was a mirror reflecting what was really in this man’s heart: “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”” (Verse 22)

This man had done all the rituals required by the law. He had obeyed all the commandments since he was a child. But one thing was more important to him than following God with all he heart, His wealth.

In our hearts there is room for only one King, Jesus. When we come to Him, we are faced with a choice— our way or His. This choice is not so we have more rules and regulations to follow. His way is the only way we can experience His heavenly treasures. (Verse 22) His way is the only way we can experience Him. His way is only and always perfect.

As we have reflected each day this month on the Christmas story we see this truth as well. Each and every detail of Jesus’ birth fulfilled prophecies of times long before and the obedience of each person who God used in the story brought about the most important event of history, Jesus our Heavenly King coming to us.

The obedience displayed in Mary’s words in Luke 1:38 at the announcement that she would be the mother of Jesus reflected a heart obedient to God. “I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled.”
This word the Angel proclaimed had a price. It would cost her her reputation, her plans, her way. Yet she obeyed and she participated in God’s awesome plan!

The rich ruler had an opportunity as well, but he left Jesus’ presence with sadness. Because in His encounter with Jesus, the man chose to not “love the Lord His God (Jesus) with all His heart, with all his soul and all his strength.” The young ruler loved his ways more than Jesus’.

We also face our own personal encounter with Jesus. We have a choice that has no neutrality. Will we follow His way or ours? May our response be as Mary responded to the Angel months before the first Christmas. “I am the Lord’s servant… may your word to me be fulfilled.”

Christmas in Luke (Day 16)

Today’s reading is Luke 16.

From the moment Jesus stepped onto the scene over 2000 years ago the division between light and darkness was very apparent. Truth became known. Lies were exposed.

In today’s reading Jesus tells two parables. Both magnifying the consequences of our earthly choices.

One tells of the dangers of giving our lives only in pursuit of worldly wealth and power. Our allegiance must be to our Heavenly Father and giving our all to Him as we go through our daily lives, not in pursuit of worldly wealth alone or man’s approval.

The second tells of two men who stepped into eternity, who had died. One was a poor man who was a beggar in this life, but he was rich towards God. He died and was “carried to Abraham’s side.” The second was a rich man who had not been rich towards God. He died and went to hell. Where he begged to have a drop of water to be brought to his tongue to alleviate a tiny portion of his torment. Once again the division of light and darkness was defined.

Years before Jesus spoke the words of these parables, the old prophet Simeon held the baby Jesus at the time of His dedication and spoke these words to Mary: “…This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭34‬-‭35‬ ‭NIV‬‬
In the past few days we have looked for Christmas in each chapter of Luke. This day is no exception. The first Christmas, the arrival of Christ was beautiful. But it also marks a moment of choice for all who encountered it then and who gaze upon it intently now. Jesus came to break the power of darkness in our world and in our lives, but we must chose.

We cannot serve two masters. We cannot appreciate the tenderness of Christmas night over 2000 years ago fully until we have decided we no longer want to follow after other masters- the love of money, the desire for power, our own way, our own sins. The Baby born was born a King. The King who came to deliver us from not only our own personal hell we have created for ourselves through our bad choices and sinful desires here on earth, but from an eternal and literal hell far away from all the goodness and joy of the heavenly home Jesus has went to prepare for us. He came to reveal to us our hearts, so a choice could be made.

May we choose King Jesus, our Salvation, as King/ Lord over our lives!

Christmas in Luke (Day 12)

Today’s reading is Luke 12.

Today’s chapter is a record of Jesus speaking to His disciples and the crowds around Him. He explained the importance of finding God as the treasure of our lives and acknowledging- admitting we belong to Him- before others. He also warned of the dangers of disowning Him, not remaining faithful to Him when the pressure of this world or the outright attacks of the enemy, Satan, occur.

Jesus values us. He treasures us. He knows how important it is that we are connected to Him, not having sin separating us from Himself. He knows we NEED to be totally submitted to His Kingship over our lives, totally obedient to His commands, and totally dependent on His provision in our daily lives. Simply put, He knows we cannot make it without Him. Without Him, our lives are destined for the death, darkness, and destruction of the enemy. That is why he speaks of having Him as our treasure. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Verse 34). He knows our hearts need to be His in order for our lives to prosper and go well.

In the midst of His warnings, He once again points to the tender heartedness of God towards us. He speaks of how God treasures us. He values us. He knows intimate details about our lives. (Verses 6-7).
He ends up saying that God is pleased to give us the kingdom- His rule and reign in our lives. (Verse 32). This is the very Kingdom that the Angel spoke to Mary about all those years before when the Angel told her she would give birth to Jesus, the King of Kings. His Kingdom “will never end.” (Luke 1:33)

The same Jesus who was the Newborn King of Christmas, longs to be the newly born King within our hearts! May we accept the invitation He has given to us to be a part of His everlasting Kingdom!

Christmas in Luke (Day 6)

Today’s reading is Luke chapter 6.
Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus- His coming to us, is described this way in John’s gospel: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The scene is set in today’s chapter. A large crowd had come: to hear, to be healed, to be set free from evil spirits. Power came out from Jesus as people tried to be able to just touch Him. Then He speaks. “The Word”, Jesus, who had come from God speaks words of hope to the crowd of poor, hungry, sorrowful, and hated. Jesus, the Word, spoke blessings, spiritual happiness and the favor of God, “Blessed.” His words confirmed what the angels spoke to the shepherds at His birth, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and in earth peace to those on whom his favor (delight, kindness) rests.” Jesus described His Father as “kind to the ungrateful and wicked”(vrs35), “merciful”(vrs36), and “giving” (vrs37). All the crowd needed to do was to truly HEAR the Word, Jesus, speak, take Him into their heart, and live a life constantly listening to Him and obeying. They would then live a life unshakable when life’s storms came to them (vrs48).
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is still declaring blessings and favor over us. All we must do is truly listen to the Word, Jesus, as He speaks, and Obey! We will find, just as the crowds did so many years ago that as we listen and reach out for Him hoping to touch Him we will experience His power in our lives through the Holy Spirit.
Healing from our dis ease, freedom from the oppression of the evil one, are there as we “come” for He has come to us! First as a baby, then as a sacrifice on the cross, now as a risen Savior!