Thursday 28 February, 2019

John 5:16-30

16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 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. 20 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. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come 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 he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

This is one of the great passages of Scripture that confirms Jesus position as the human who reveals God himself. This is not just a man who is living the kind of life God would want a man to live. This is a man who has power and authority that only God has. This is a man who shows me what a righteous life looks like, but also demands the honour due to the creator of the universe! This man is God!

But God the man, Jesus, doesn’t live to please himself. Jesus lives to please his Father. Within God’s own identity is love, honour and the willingness to put the other first. Also we see here that the Father, freely shares truth, revelation and meaning with the Son. Jesus ‘sees the Father at work’. That’s hard to get my head around, but in the way it was lived out by Jesus, I can at least understand its implications.

Lord Jesus, just as you lived for the honour and love of your Father, so I live for the honour and love of you. I am not my own. Lord, sweep me up in the love of God. May I gladly do your will above my own. And Lord, help me see the work you are doing that I may join where you are calling me to join. Help me jump in and trust you.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Wednesday 27 February, 2019

John 5:1-15

5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” 11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Jesus heals a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. At the time he was healed he had no idea who Jesus was. Jesus simply told the man to get up, walk and take your mat with you. The miracle was performed on the Sabbath which angered the Jewish leaders. Jesus referred to God as his Father thereby equating himself with God and this further infuriated the Jewish leaders.

Jesus was happy to see the man made whole but he also warned him to stop leading a sinful life because something far worse may happen. The guy was probably thinking what could be worse than lying here paralysed for 38 years and had no concept of an eternity in hell.

Jesus authority is clearly on display here. The paralysed man had no idea who Jesus was yet at his command he got up and walked. He did this without hesitation. There was no questioning who Jesus was and why should obey. He just did it and his obedience paid off. There must have been something so compelling about Jesus that this man took him at his word. It encourages me to take God at his word especially where I feel unable to move in the right direction or make any kind of move at all.

It is interesting that Jesus asked the man what he wanted – wasn’t it obvious! God so wants to relate to us – to chat. He wanted to hear this poor man explain why life wasn’t working for him. The hopelessness of never making it to that pool in his own strength. When Jesus tells the man to get up and walk it’s like he’s saying, “Enough of this life, no more, be healed!” It’s said in direct response to the man’s explanation.

Thank Lord thank you for the authority that Jesus has in my life to make me whole. Amen

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Tuesday 26 February, 2019

John 4:43-54

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. 46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” 53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. 54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

This passage is one that reveals motives of the heart.  A man makes a straightforward request of Jesus – heal my son.  Jesus response seems strange – “You people will never believe unless you see miraculous signs and wonders.”   What is it we want of Jesus?  Will we only believe if He does what we want?  Is it wrong to ask Jesus for things?  Jesus encourages in other places in the Gospels to ask Him for things so we are sure that the prayer of petition will be answered.  But here is the rub – if all we are looking for is signs and wonders Jesus is calling us to a deeper experience of Him.  Yes signs and wonders matter – but Jesus matters more.  If our faith is more in the signs and wonders and what He does for us than in Him, Jesus is saying our faith has some growing to do.  And so we need to walk forward with “both and” – a desire to ask the Lord for things and a desire for Him.

Father help us to ask with boldness for that which we and others need and also to go deeper into our relationship with you!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Monday 25 February, 2019

John 4:27-42

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Many Samaritans Believe 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

We learn some of the details of this woman’s history from the previous section of John. A sorry summary of shame and shadow. A woman whose lot is such that she avoids the community well gathering by enduring the midday heat to gather her water. We know how her world tells this story. But Jesus enters that story and this passage follows the aftermath. When Jesus reframes and retells her story not only does her world come alive with new hope and shameless enthusiasm but she becomes the catalyst for eternal transformation in her community. Not only does Jesus embolden her to go back to her neighbours, those neighbours are awakened to Jesus and their deepest most wonderful dreams of salvation come alive.

Let Jesus retell your story. All failures and regrets; alienation and shadow, get overwhelmed by living friendship with Jesus. Old burdens get replaced by the deep revelation that you matter to God, the realisation that you haven’t been forgotten and that you truly have a place to belong.

Dear Jesus, thank you for sitting with me by the well. Invigorate me and send me to my community. Help me to tell your story – your story in me and through me. Awaken the eternal hope of Jesus amongst my friends, family and neighbours. Amen!

Written by Sam Stewart

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Sunday 24 February, 2019

John 4:16-26

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The first thing that struck me when I read this passage was that this question about where to worship the Lord was not the one I would have asked if I had a conversation with Jesus face to face. I am guessing this issue was a big one in the life of this woman. For this to be the first thing on her mind she must have really felt it when people said she was doing worship wrong. She wanted to know how to worship the Lord correctly or why what she was doing was not correct. This passage reminds me I can ask Jesus whatever is on my mind – whenever I am confused, I can come to him and ask.

Jesus then responded by addressing the confusion – from the Passion Translation verse 23 reads “From here on, worshipping the father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart.” Jesus came to help us connect with the Father – in life, in worship, in freedom, in salvation. Amazing.

Thank you so much Lord for understanding how confused we get and that Jesus came to build our connections with You in the midst of our confusion. Help us to remember we can come and ask You anything. Thank You for reaching out to us all day, every day.

Written by Therese Manning

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Saturday 23 February, 2019

John 4:1-15

4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

This passage is so awesome, I was blessed to spend time mediating on it.

The subject of the passage is what Jesus calls the gift of ‘living water’. This imagery can be found in both the Old & New Testament, but John 7:39 reveals it as a reference to the Holy Spirit. Living water implies flow, the presence of God and the power to bring new life. It is important to understand the Holy Spirit flows into us from God and out from us in service to other people.

Jesus experienced the Spirit without limitations (John 3:34) but how do we really know if we are experiencing any measure of the Holy Spirit in our own regular daily lives?

The answer is, there are many indicators of the presence of ‘living water’ in a person’s life but here are two you may have not considered. 1. You experience increasing level of self-disciple (Titus 2:11). 2. You experience increasing levels of desire and opportunity to serve others (which can be seen in this passage where Jesus ministers to a person nobody else would consider speaking with).

So, take the opportunity today to consider ‘how well is the ‘living water’ flowing in your life?’

Lord, today, I ask we would receive a greater measure of ‘living water’ from you and that others may benefit from the overflow. Amen!

Written by David Newton

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Friday 22 February, 2019

John 3:31-36

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[a] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

In a courtroom it is the testimony of the witness – the person who saw and experienced something directly, that is believed. This is the person who brings validation and authenticity to the situation. There are certainly times in every life where we are confounded by the wisdom of God. Jesus is my expert witness.  Jesus knew God and could testify to his nature. Jesus has spent eternity with God, he has seen all, knows all. My life has been pretty short by comparison. This passage doesn’t once mention ‘understanding’- just knowing and believing. It doesn’t matter if I understand what God is doing. My faith is based in knowing God and his character, and believing in him. But in times where my experience of God falls short Jesus is my witness to tell me what God is like. He fills the gaps. My choice is to believe.

Heavenly Father thank you for sending your son to show us more who you are. Help me today to put my trust in you. Thank you for your great love.  In Jesus Name. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

2 replies
  1. John Tomc says:

    Learning to appreciate that, in our Faith walk, Knowling and Believing is more important than Understanding….
    Thank you for this insight.

  2. Claire Moore says:

    Yes Jesus shows us God because he is God. In Jesus we can see clearly God’s love, justice, compassion. There is no name above, there is no substitute for Him

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Thursday 21 February, 2019

John 3:22-30

22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”

As I read this I am pretty impressed and also quite challenged by John’s humility. We see here that John’s followers have come to him with a complaint that people are following Jesus and being baptised by Him rather than by John.

What a temptation for John to follow pride and ego, and to get on board with these guys to vie for status and recognition as a premier prophet of the day.

Instead John chooses the opposite spirit – “He must become greater; I must become less.”  This statement must be one of the most succinct and profound statements uttered by someone other than Jesus in the whole of the Bible.

How often do I vie for personal status and recognition as a deep motivation rather than seeking to give the glory to the One who deserves it?

Today I remember – He must become greater and I must become less.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Wednesday 20 February, 2019

John 3:16-21

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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 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. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 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.

How is it that I have come to believe in these heavenly things? This news of God’s Kingdom, of a new world that I can be part of. This new way of life, in relationship with God and free from condemnation and slavery to sin. How is it that I could believe any of this is possible?

Divine grace compels me to believe. It bids me to come into a glorious light, despite the fact that all my sins and filth will be exposed. It makes me fall on my face before God in hope, not terror. I don’t know how my heart has been softened to my God, but I know that I now see the poison of my sin and look to God’s only provision for my rescue, Jesus Christ, high and lifted up as the salvation for all humanity who would look to him.

O Lord my God, you came into the world to woo me. You come again to rule in peace over your redeemed. I believe in these heavenly things,, for you have revealed them to me. Thank you eternally!

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Tuesday 19 February, 2019

John 3:1-15

3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

Nicodemus answers and responds to Jesus just like any of us would, ‘how can someone be born again when they are old, and already been birthed? This is not physically possible!’.

However, Nicodemus has missed the point. What Jesus is saying here is that it is one thing to be born of flesh in the physical, but another to be born with the Spirit of God. When we are born again, we see things the way Jesus sees them. Our eyes are open to see his kingdom, our ears are listening to hear his voice, and our hearts becomes a heart after his. This is why the Holy Spirit is crucial in our lives as Christians, He opens our lives for God to move in us and through us. The Holy Spirit allows us to be born again, and receive God’s spirit afresh.

Lord, teach me to be more like you every day. Help me to see things the way you see them. Help me to have a heart after yours and your people. Fill me each day with your spirit and let me never miss what you’re saying to me.

Written by Rachel Tomc

1 (reply)
  1. Kim says:

    Amen to that Rachel, even though I feel a bit scared to hear & see the things He feels & sees its whatI need to do.

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