Thomas

 

Thomas, one of the twelve chosen witnesses, was not there when Jesus came (242). When he joined them later the other witnesses told him, “We have seen Jesus!”

Thomas said to them, “Unless I touch the scars on his hands & the wound in his side, I cannot believe that!”

A week later the witnesses were together again behind locked doors; this time Thomas was with them. Again, Jesus appeared suddenly among them & said, “Be filled with peace.”

Jesus turned to Thomas & said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then put your hand in my side. Stop doubting & believe.” Then Thomas did believe & exclaimed, “My Master & my God!”

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Jesus replied with this promise: “Do you believe because you see me? Many people will believe without seeing me & they will be blessed by God for their faith.”

John the Witness wrote down many accounts of events in the life & ministry of Jesus.  He wanted his readers to believe that Jesus is the Messiah of God.  He wanted you to have new life by believing in Jesus.

At the end of his account of the life & ministry of Jesus, John also testified that Jesus did many other miracles which were not written down.

LORD, thank You for sending Jesus to give us new life.

(242) John 20:24-31

The Way: Living With God

 

Jesus challenged his friends to embrace living with God (219).

“Up till now, I have often used figures of speech to tell you things about God. But the time has come for me to speak to you plainly about God.  It’s time for you to go on living with God.   It’s time for each of you to have your own very direct & very personal relationship with God.  God loves each one of you very much.

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“God loves you  — because you love me & because you have believed that I came from God. I did come from God into the world, and now it’s time for me to leave the world & return to God.”

His friends replied to Jesus, “But now you are speaking plainly, without using figures of speech; now we understand you.  We really do believe that you came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Remember, the time has come for all of you to be scattered, and for me to be left alone. But I’m never really alone, because God is always with me.

“I have been telling you all these things so that, whenever you feel all alone, you can have the same powerful peace that God gives to me.  God will always be with you, too.

“In the tribulation of this world, you will experience suffering.

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“But you can be peaceful through it all, knowing that I have overcome the world.”

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God, please help us to love living all of life with You.

(219) John 16:25-33

The Way: The Only Way

 

Then Jesus asked his chosen witnesses a question (211).  “When I sent you out that time without money or clothes, did you lack anything?” “Not a thing,” they answered.

“But now the situation is different,” Jesus said. “Any of you who has money must take it.  And you should also take a sword this time. The inspired scriptures, which say, ‘He shared the fate of criminals,’ will now come true about me.” Some of the witnesses said, “Here are two swords, Master.” “Your obedience is sufficient,” Jesus replied.

“I don’t want you to worry about any of the coming challenges. Just keep believing in God & in me.  In God’s house there are many rooms; I’m going there to prepare a place for you. You know I wouldn’t tell you this, if it wasn’t true.

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“After all is prepared, I’ll come back for you.  Then I’ll take you with me & we’ll be together again. You already know the narrow way that leads to where I’m going.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus chided him gently, “After all this time, don’t you get it, Thomas?  I am the way, the truth, and the life; the only way to God is with me. Because you know me, you know God.”

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But Philip still didn’t quite get it, so he asked, “Master, won’t you please show God to us?” Jesus simply replied, “I am in God and God is in me, so if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen God!”

LORD, please help us to love following Jesus to You, forever.

(211) Luke 22:35-38, John 14:1-14

The Promise Of New Life

 

Even though Jesus had performed many miracles among them, many people still were not inclined to trust Jesus (205).

Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had been given visions of Jesus’ glory. But he had also been inspired to see that many people would not trust Jesus.  This was distressing to Isaiah, so he asked: “God, has anyone believed our report? Has your power been revealed to anyone?”

Then God revealed to Isaiah the reason many people were not able to believe.  God told Isaiah: “I blinded their eyes & closed their minds, so their eyes wouldn’t see, and their minds wouldn’t understand, and they wouldn’t turn to me to be healed.”

Nevertheless, some Jewish authorities were inclined to trust Jesus.  But most of these were not willing to talk about Jesus openly — because they feared the Pharisees & didn’t want to be kicked out of the synagogue. So, basically, they wanted the approval of men more than the approval of God.

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Then Jesus said for all to hear: “Anyone who believes in me also believes in God. Anyone who sees me also sees God.

“At this time, I have not come into the world to judge people.  Anyone who rejects me & does not obey me will ultimately be judged by my words on the last day.  All my words have been spoken on the authority of God.

“At this time, I have come into the world as light, to save from darkness anyone who believes in me.

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“At this time, God has sent me so you can begin to experience new life now — new life that will continue in heaven forever, even after your physical death.”

LORD, please help us to love living the new life You graciously give.

(205) John 12:37-50

Jesus Helps Us All See God

 

When Jesus heard that the Pharisees had expelled from the temple the man whose blindness he had healed, he went to find the man (137).

“Do you believe in the Messiah?” Jesus asked him.  The man answered, “Tell me who he is, sir, so that I can believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “I am the Messiah.” “I believe, Master!” the man said, and he knelt down before Jesus.

Blind Man Worships

Jesus then told the man, “All people will be judged in response to my coming into the world.  Some, who have been blind to God, will now be able to see God.

“But some, who thought they were seeing God clearly, will have their blindness about God exposed.”

Some Pharisees who were nearby heard him say this and asked him, “Surely you don’t mean that we are blind, too?”

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Jesus answered the Pharisees: “If you had admitted that you were blind to God before I came among you, then you would be innocent in God’s eyes now.

“But since you still claim to see God clearly apart from me, you remain guilty in God’s eyes.”

LORD, please help us to love seeing You in Jesus.

(137) John 9:35-41

Knowing Is Obeying

 

The Pharisees were increasingly desperate to discredit Jesus, because he kept questioning their relationship with God (133).

Still speaking with some Pharisees in the temple, Jesus encouraged them to be more open to the truth about God: “It’s actually because I tell you the truth about God that you have chosen not to believe me. Yet you cannot prove that I’m guilty of any sin.  So if I tell you the truth about God, then why not believe me?”

But knowing the stubborn hearts of the Pharisees, Jesus added: “Anyone who comes from God pays close attention to God’s words. But you won’t pay attention to God, because you are not from God.”

Angry Pharisees lashed back at Jesus, “We always knew that you have an evil spirit in you!”

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“I have no evil spirit,” Jesus insisted. “I simply honor God, but you dishonor me. I’m not seeking honor for myself. But God wants you to honor me and God is pleased when you honor me.”

Then Jesus added, “Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die.”

Again the Pharisees lashed back: “That proves you have an evil spirit! Abraham died, and the prophets died, yet you say that whoever obeys your teaching will never die. Our father Abraham died; do you claim to be greater than Abraham? And the prophets also died; do you claim to be greater than them?  Who do you think you are?”

Again Jesus answered, “If I honored myself, that honor would be worth nothing. The one who honors me is God — the very God you claim to honor. You do not really know God, but I do know God. If I said I didn’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I know God, and I obey God.

Jesus then declared, “Your father Abraham rejoiced when he saw me coming into the world.”

The Pharisees responded indignantly, “You are not even fifty years old — and you say you’ve seen Abraham?”

To which Jesus replied. “Before Abraham was born, ‘I Am’.”

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In mounting frustration & anger, some Pharisees picked up stones to throw at Jesus; they wanted him  dead!  But Jesus simply slipped away from the temple through the crowd that had gathered there.

LORD, please help us to love obeying You.

(133) John 8:45-59

Who’s Your Daddy?

 

Some of the Pharisees who heard Jesus teaching began to believe in him (132).  But then Jesus said to them, “You are really my friends, only if you obey my teaching.  The more you know the truth about God, the more you will be set free.”

Those who had been inclined to believe Jesus missed the point & were offended by this statement. “We’re descendants of Abraham,” they said indignantly. “We’ve never been anyone’s slaves. What do you mean when you tell us we’ll be set free?”

Jesus answered, “Good question.  I understand that you are Abraham’s descendants. But you must understand that Anyone-Who-Sins is a slave of sin.

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“A slave isn’t really part of a family, but a son belongs to a family forever. Since I am God’s son, if I set you free from your slavery to sin, then you will be truly free forever.”

Then Jesus turned the tables: “Because you do not accept my teaching, you have decided to kill me. I teach you what God has shown me, but you do what your father has shown you.”

“Our father is Abraham,” the Pharisees replied. “If you really were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “you would do the same things that he did. All I have ever done is to tell you the truth I received from God, yet you are trying to kill me. Abraham never did anything like this. You are doing what your father did.”

“God himself is the only father we have,” the Pharisees answered, “and we are his true sons.” Jesus said to them, “If God really was your father, you would love me, because I came from God to be here with you. I didn’t come just because I wanted to; God sent me.

“You don’t understand me because you don’t want to understand me. You are the children of your father, Satan, and you want to do whatever he commands. But Satan has always been a murderer and a liar; there is no truth in him.

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“When Satan tells a lie, he’s only doing what comes natural, because he is a liar by nature.  What’s more, Satan is the source of all lies.”

Heavenly Father, help us to love living as Your children.

(132) John 8:30-44