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!

Thoughts on John 12: My Way or His?

“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:42-43 ESV

The Pharisees had it out for Jesus. He was a threat to their power and their long list of rules they enforced. They looked continually for a way to arrest Him so they could put Him to death.

After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Pharisees wanted to kill him too. The crowds were increasingly turning to Jesus, worshipping Him and believing in Him. This increased the resolve of the Pharisees that Jesus must die.

Not only the crowds believed, the authorities began to believe as well. However, these authorities that believed did not openly confess that they believed. They were afraid of the Pharisees and they “loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” Simply put, they loved their ways above God’s.

I have lived my life at times as the authorities of Jesus time did. I have seen Him do miraculous things in the lives of those around me and could not help but believe that Jesus did them. Yet, I wanted my way above His. So I held back on confessing what I knew to be true. As I’ve often said, “I like to be liked.” Sometimes openly confessing the truth of Jesus and obeying Him fully makes those around us uncomfortable, even angry. So the easier path is to love our own ways above the ways of Jesus and not say the truth. Jesus tells us in verses 25-26:

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

May we love Jesus wholeheartedly and serve Him first not cower in fear as the authorities did! Jesus’ way above our own! That is the only way to live life to the fullest!

Reflections on John 10: Follow His Voice!

At the height of the struggle I had with anxiety, verses 4-5 spoke to me.

“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.””
‭‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭3‬-‭5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Anxiety, among many other voices, cry out for our attention, but Jesus assures us that as His sheep we know HIS voice! If we really stop and listen, we can hear that voice. All the other voices shouting at us for His attention are only thieves and strangers. We as His sheep follow His voice alone.

Do not be distracted by all the shouting of lies in your ears! The truth is, when you are in Jesus, you know His voice. If you listen, you will hear it. Follow that voice! It leads to the one who tenderly cares for all our needs, our Good Shepherd.

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 6 – Hungry for the Bread if Life!

In John chapter 6, Jesus met the physical needs of the people when He fed the 5,000 with five small barley loaves and two small fish, a boys lunch. These people followed Him from that place the next morning to the other side of the lake. It is there that Jesus addressed our real need, His spiritual food. He told them He was the bread that came down from Heaven.

“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭6‬:‭48‬-‭51‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Often I have lived my life as if I did not really need this “spiritual bread.” I have heard His word read, but I didn’t really take it into me as my very life. Jesus’ word is full of the Spirit and life! I need it desperately!

We all do! May we hunger and thirst for Him, the Word of God! He is all that satisfies!

Thoughts on John 5 – That is What Our Heavenly Father Does!

“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5‬:‭19‬-‭20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Gospels (Matthew, Mark,Luke, and John) are the accounts of Jesus’ life on earth. They are so important for us to get into our hearts and our minds. The reason is that Jesus came to show us the way to God the Father. He came so we could have relationship with the Father. When we look at Jesus we see the Father because as John 5:19-20 says Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing. Jesus and the Father are one. That can be hard to wrap your mind around, but it is a wonderful truth.

So many times our view of God is skewed by the worlds opinion, bad experiences with religious people, or even the actions of our own earthly fathers. But God the Father wants us to know Him as He is. When we see Jesus reach out to an outcast, that is what our Heavenly Father does. When we see Jesus heal the broken, that is what our Heavenly Father does. When we see Jesus give out of His great love, that is what our Heavenly Father does!

“In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.””
‭‭John‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus did so many amazing things as He walked the earth 2000 years ago and He has assured us that we will see greater things than these. That is because our Heavenly Father is still at work! (Verse 17) We can have hope, a confident expectation of good because Jesus has shown us the Father! As Jesus ways are alway loving and good towards us, we know that is exactly what our Heavenly Father does!

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!

Thoughts on John 3 – Come into the Light

Awesome chapter! Well worth reading the entire chapter. There are some very famous words that start in verse 16.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬-‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The words that are standing out to me today are in verses 19-21.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭19‬-‭21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In Jesus, there is no reason to hide in the darkness of shame. We are free to come out into the light so that all we have done can be exposed to it. Shame makes that a scary thing. God wants us to have it out in the open so that we can repent of the wrongs we have done and be healed and set free.

There is no fear in letting God’s light shine into the hidden parts of us. His light is full of love and healing. He is our Good and Loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us, Freedom!