The Light Of Love

 

Some Greek people were among those who had gone to Jerusalem to worship during the festival (204). They went to Philip, one of the twelve witnesses, and said, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” Philip went & told Andrew, and the two of them went & told Jesus.

But, instead of responding directly to their information,  Jesus took Philip & Andrew in a different direction.  “The hour has now come for me to receive great glory.  A grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain, unless it’s planted in the ground & dies. When it dies, it becomes a plant that produces many more grains.

wheat

“Anyone who loves his life in this world will lose it.  But anyone who doesn’t love his life in this world will experience new life that will continue in heaven forever, even after physical death.

“Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me.  My servants must be with me wherever I am. God will honor anyone who serves me with such dedication.

“I admit, my heart is troubled, but does that mean I should ask God, not to make me go through this hour of suffering?  No, I came among you for this exact purpose – to go through this hour of suffering.  My prayer is that God will bring glory to his name.”

Then a voice was heard speaking from heaven, “I will bring glory to my name.” Some in the crowd who heard the voice said it was thunder, while others said, “An angel spoke to him!”  But Jesus said to them all, “This voice was God speaking to you.  When I am lifted up on the cross –in order to draw people to God — that’s when Satan is going down.”

boy-and-cross-of-jesus

Jesus was referring to his impending execution.  Some in the crowd vaguely got this &  questioned Jesus: “Our law says the Messiah will live forever. How, then, can you say that you will be lifted up on a cross? Who do you think you are?”

Jesus replied, “My light will be with you a while longer. Continue in this light, so darkness will not overcome you, because if you’re in the dark, you’re lost.  Trust in my light while you have it, and always be people who share my light.”

After this, Jesus went off by himself for a while.

Jesus, please help us to love sharing Your living light with others.

(204) John 12:20-36

Master

 

Moments later, Jesus asked some Pharisees this question (190): “Whose descendant is the Messiah?”

“He is King David’s descendant,” they answered, as Jesus knew they would.

So Jesus asked, “Why, then, did the Spirit inspire David to refer to his descendant as his Master?

“You remember in the inspired scriptures where David wrote, ‘God said to my Master: Sit here at my right side until I put your enemies under your feet.’

serpent

crushed

“So if David referred to the Messiah as his Master, how can the Messiah be David’s descendant?”

The Pharisees realized the only possible answer was to agree that Jesus himself was the descendant whom King David had called his LORD, a thousand years earlier.  But those Pharisees refused to consider that Jesus really was who he claimed to be:  the promised Messiah, the son of God, & their true Master.

So the Pharisees gave Jesus no answer, and from that day on, they didn’t dare ask Jesus any more questions, about anything.

Master, please help us to love serving You above all.

(190) Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44

Another Lazarus Dies

 

A friend of Jesus, named Lazarus, became very sick (167). Lazarus lived in Bethany, with his sisters, Martha & Mary, and Jesus loved them all dearly. The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Master, your dear friend is sick.” To this news, Jesus responded: “Lazarus will not die, but he will be used to bring glory to God.”

Jesus delayed going to Bethany for two more days. Then he told his students it was time to go back to Bethany in the region of Judea.  The students questioned Jesus: “Teacher, there are people in Judea who want to stone you to death!  Why go back now?”  Jesus replied, “Because the people need the light I bring.  Anyone who walks in the light doesn’t stumble, but if he walks in the darkness he will definitely stumble.”

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Then Jesus added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I must go & wake him up.” The students answered, “If he’s only asleep, Master, he’ll be alright.” They thought he meant natural sleep, so then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I’m glad that I wasn’t with him when he died.  When we go to him, your faith will be strengthened.”

Thomas said to his fellow students, “Let’s go with the teacher.  Even if we die, it’s better to stay with him!”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days earlier. The town of Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem; many Judeans had come from Jerusalem to see Martha & Mary and to comfort them about their brother’s death.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went outside the town to meet him.

Lazarus Martha

She said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Master, my brother wouldn’t have died! But I know that God will raise him, if you ask him.” “Yes, Lazarus will rise to life,” Jesus said.

Martha replied, “I know that he will rise to life on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “That’s not exactly what I mean.  I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who lives in me will live forever, even after his body dies.  Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Master,” she answered. “I believe that you are the promised Messiah who has come into the world.”  After Martha said this, she went back home and told her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he is asking for you.”

When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried outside the town to meet him. Friends who were comforting Mary followed her when they saw her get up & hurry out; they thought she was going to the grave to weep there.

Jesus, please help us to love Your decisions about when & how to display Your power.

(167) John 11:1-31

My Sheep Follow Me

 

In the winter, the festival of the dedication of the temple was being celebrated in Jerusalem (154). Jesus had come into town for this festival, and he was walking in Solomon’s porch in the temple.

Some religious people gathered around & challenged him: “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? Just tell us the truth.  Are you the Messiah?”

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am, but you wouldn’t believe me. I do many good deeds at God’s direction, but you still won’t believe me.

“The problem is that you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice & they follow me. I give them new life that will continue forever; this is the greatest gift of God. No one can take my sheep away from me, and no one can take them away from God, because God & I are one.”

sheep-following

Some people picked up stones to throw at him, so Jesus said to them, “I have done many good deeds among you, as directed by God.  For which of these do you want to stone me?”

They answered, “You deserve to be stoned because of your blasphemy against God! You’re only a man, but you claim to be God!”

Jesus answered, “It is written in the inspired scriptures that God said, ‘You are gods.’  God said this of the people who received his message, and we all know that what the scriptures say is true. So it is not blasphemy to say that I am God’s son.

blasphemy

(The diagram simply indicates that God has revealed himself to us in three distinct persons — Father, Son & Holy Spirit — to make it easier for us to get to know him.)

Jesus continued, “But if you won’t believe my words, then you should believe my deeds; because of them, you should know that God & I are one.”

To some of the people there, this was still blasphemy.  They wanted to seize Jesus, but he simply slipped away.

Jesus, please help us to love & serve You as God.

(154) John 10:22-39

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?”

Pharisees question parents of formerly blind man

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

Living Water

 

On the last and most important day of the Festival of Booths, Jesus stood up in the temple (128).  He proclaimed boldly, “Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink. The inspired scriptures say that if you believe in me, streams of life-giving water will pour out from your heart & into the lives of other people.”

livingwater211

Jesus was speaking of God’s Spirit, which those who believed in Jesus would receive after he returned to heaven. But, at that specific time, the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet returned to heaven.

More people in the crowd began to say, “This man really is the promised prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” But others said, “The Messiah won’t come from Galilee. The inspired scriptures say that the Messiah will be a descendant of King David & will be born in Bethlehem, the town where David lived.”  So the opinion of the crowd about Jesus was divided. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

When the guards reported back, the Jewish religious leaders asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” The guards answered, “Nobody has ever talked the way this man does!”

“Did he fool you, too?” the Pharisees asked them. “Have you ever known one of the authorities or one Pharisee to believe in him? It makes no difference what that crowd thinks about him; those cursed people don’t know the law of Moses!”

But one of the Pharisees there was Nicodemus, the man who had previously met with Jesus under cover of night. He said to the others, “According to our law we can’t condemn a man before we have a hearing to find out what he has done.”

nicodemus

“Well,” the others answered sarcastically, “are you also from Galilee? Study the inspired scriptures and you will learn that no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

LORD, please help us to love Your Spirit flowing through us.

(128) John 7:37-52

From God, To God

 

Some of the people of Jerusalem were confused about Jesus (127).   “Isn’t this the man the authorities want to kill? But here he is talking in public, and they’re saying nothing against him. Do you think they believe that he’s the Messiah?  But that can’t be, because when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he comes from.  And we all know where this man comes from.”

Jesus responded boldly to the people at the temple, saying, “Do you really know me and where I’m from? I’m not here on my own authority. God sent me, and God is truthful. You don’t really know God, but I know him because he sent me.”

Jerusalem

Some of the people in the crowd were offended & tried to seize Jesus.  But they couldn’t lay a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

Other people in the crowd believed in Jesus and said, “This man’s miracles have convinced us that he is the Messiah.”

When the Pharisees learned that more people were acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, they petitioned the chief priests to send guards to the temple to arrest him.

But when the Jewish authorities arrived at the temple with the guards, Jesus simply continued teaching: “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I shall return to God who sent me. You will look for me, but you won’t find me, because you cannot go where I will be.”

This completely confused the Jewish authorities — supposedly the wisest & most godly men in Jerusalem.  They said among themselves: “Where is he going that we won’t be able to find him? Will he go to teach Jewish people living in far-off Greek cities?

confuse 1

“And when he says that we’ll look for him but won’t find him, and that we can’t go where he will be, what does he mean by that?”

confuse 2

LORD, please help us to love You, even when we do not understand You.

(127) John 7:25-36