Sunday 31 March, 2019

John 12:27-36

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

As I read this section of scripture, the glaring theme here is also one of the most important concepts that can ever be answered – What did Christ really come to earth for?

I have myself explored this question at various stages in my life. Was it to give us an example of how to live, or to teach us wisdom from heaven? He certainly did those things, but was it the main reason?

Did he come to perform miracles; to get the lame to walk, and to bring sight to the blind?

Did he come to bring about repentance amongst the generations who lived in his time?

Was he a man, or God, or bits of each, or somehow fully both? This passage suggests that he prayed that he would bring glory to the Father, but how?

If you are reading this, you will likely know that the answer, the true answer is that Christ died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved for our sin. In doing this, we who trust and believe in Christ can be in a place of right standing with God.

This passage, and others in the gospels, suggest that Christ knew that this was his mission – to die for the sins of the world. He certainly executed it perfectly and he positioned himself along the way to ensure that his mission would not just be a moment in time, but that the news of his success – vital for the salvation of the world – would spread across the entire earth.

But all of this, while wonderful to think about and understand is only part of the deal for me. Yes, God loves me for who I am and in spite of my sin, but he also, out of that love calls me into a responsibility to be part of Christ’s mission!

It isn’t always clear to me how I am to act day-to-day, how much sleep I should get and how many hours I need to be spending doing certain tasks etc, but one thing is clear – I have a responsibility to make sure that the successful mission of Christ reaches further and further into the lives of everyone around me, so that this world can be truly changed by His amazing grace.

Father, help me to never lose sight of the mission that we are on together.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Saturday 30 March, 2019

John 12:20-26

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

These Greeks wanted to see the man who raised Lazarus back to life. So did everyone else. But Jesus had gone way beyond that.

Raising one man from death to life is a wonderful thing. But Jesus didn’t come to bring life to just one man, or even to just bring physical life. He came to bring eternal life to everyone. But for that to happen, he had to do the reverse of Lazarus: he had to go from life to death.

And this swap is for Philip and Andrew too: if they love their life they’ll lose it; if they lose their life they’ll gain it. And for me too.

I don’t think this was the conversation they were expecting. I don’t think they understood what he was saying … yet.

I know how they felt. My expectations rarely keep up with where God is going. He’s always one step (at least) ahead. I think that’s a very healthy thing. I have to trust him. Definitely not easy, but better than me (foolishly) thinking I can do it myself.

Giving up my life – also not easy – until I really understand that I’m giving it someone who knows me better than I know myself, who loves me more than I could possibly deserve, and who’ll bring me through to a much better place than I get ever do myself.

Like Philip and Andrew, I’m still on a journey growing into that understanding. Sometimes I get it, but often not. And by the time I get there, God will be taking me on to something else more wonderful and more challenging.

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 29 March, 2019

John 12:9-19

9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King 12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

The news of the miracle of Lazarus spread like wildfire! The Pharisees were shocked by the huge crowd which greeted Jesus when he came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. In v.19 [TPT] they said, “We won’t be able to stop this! The whole world is going to run after Him”.

If we look at Zechariah 9:9 we learn that the victorious kings would ride on a war horse through the city streets. So, Jesus moved to reassure the crowd by declaring, “People of Zion have no fear! Look – it’s your king coming to you….!” [v.13]

As observers of this remarkable event, the disciples didn’t fully understand its significance until afterwards when they realised that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about him.

Traditionally we now observe this event as Palm Sunday. Then, it was the high point of the popularity of Jesus after the resurrection of Lazarus.

The more significant aspect of this pivotal event was that Jesus referred to Himself as their king. His kingdom was to be established through his mission on earth. Every person who is born again of the Spirit enters into this royal kingdom and takes on a royal status in Christ. Let us take up the excitement of the crowd in Jerusalem and sing his praises daily. He is our King, we are his royal subjects! So enjoy your royal status!

We acknowledge your kingdom Jesus, and desire to spend our days in praise and worship of our King. How majestic is he who came in the name of the Father.

Written by Keith Bennett

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Thursday 28 March, 2019

John 12:1-8

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

My first thought in reading this passage is how amazing it would be to sit at the table with someone who had been raised from the dead. There Lazarus is, among those reclining at the table with Jesus, just days before having been dead in the grave.

This is the possibility of the power of God. When you imagine this, it is no wonder that Mary pours out perfume all over Jesus feet. Such was her gratitude for His power, worked in her brothers life. What is a large outpouring of expensive perfume when your brother has been brought back from the dead?

The call of the Spirit to me through this passage is – how much am I asking for the power of Jesus to be working in my life, and those I am called to serve and love? And upon experiencing Jesus’ power, does my heart overflow in gratitude like Mary’s does here?

Lord, I seek you that you would move powerfully in answer to my prayers, and am grateful for all you have already done in response to prayers I’ve prayed!

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Wednesday 27 March, 2019

John 11:45-57

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” 49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. 55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

Over January we have been learning and hearing from God about the Holy Spirit.  How incredible to think that Jesus says in this passage “anyone who is thirsty can come”; however those who believe “can come and drink”.   Every person is invited to COME to Jesus; but only those who believe can COME and DRINK.  “the scriptures declare that ‘rivers of living water will flow from His heart.”

In this hot weather over summer it has reminded me afresh that people become dry and thirsty in tough conditions.  People in our community are dry and thirsty for truth, for honesty, for integrity, for freedom, for purity, for grace, for a message that brings life, hope and a future.

I have thought about this – what can I do to help people see the “river of Christ’s hope in me”?  I can remove blockages, I can focus my heart and my mind on Christ, I can pray for release and freedom.  I can think less about myself and my circumstances and focus more about how God can use me.

Lord help me to see others better and clearer.  Give me the skill and ability to connect with others and help them to see you.  Help me to be a river of living water this year.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Tuesday 26 March, 2019

John 11:38-44

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Jesus was once more deeply moved. Other translations say “Jesus was still angry…” So, the question is, “what gets Jesus angry”? The answer is in V40 where Jesus tells Martha, “didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?”

Jesus had sent the message that Lazarus would not die. Yet all that Martha could see was that Lazarus did die. And because Lazarus died, he was fully prepared for the grave and sealed in a tomb. For Martha, Lazarus was dead and buried, and Jesus didn’t keep his promise.

The disappointment of “seeing” Lazarus die, meant that Martha no longer believed what Jesus said. It was unbelief that moved Jesus deeply, it even made him angry.

But this is what I love about God. Martha’s unbelief didn’t stop Jesus from keeping his promise. It doesn’t matter what we can “see”, what matters is that even in our struggle to believe, God still keeps his promises.


No matter how bad things might look, even if what we are hoping for dies, nothing is too difficult for God. All that matters, is what God has said. Jesus raised Lazarus to life, Jesus kept his word.

Father, I know that I have given up on some thing’s because of what I can see. Help me to keep believing. I choose again to keep believing and trusting in you and your promises.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Monday 25 March, 2019

John 11:17-37

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[a] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

I have witnessed and experienced miracles, but I have never seen a dead person come back to life.

I wonder what Lazarus experienced? I wonder if he had a taste of the eternal as Ian McCormack did when he was stung by a box jellyfish and died, before coming back to life? (he visited our church once- see his testimony here

But a bigger question for me is why did Jesus bring Lazarus back to life? There are probably many simple or pithy answers, but I wonder if I think longer on Christ, his purpose, his nature and character, if I might receive a fresh insight into the access that I have to eternal life really is.

Lord, your love for me is great and powerful, and expressed for me in the same way that your son Jesus expressed his love for Lazarus. You were sad and angry when I was in death, but now you have brought me in to eternal life.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Sunday 24 March, 2019

John 11:1-16

11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus knew Lazarus was going to die, but he stayed where he was. The NLT says in verse 5, ‘although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.’ Even though he loved them and even though he knew Lazarus was going to die, he waited. Finally, after the two days are up and Lazarus is dead, he returns to the family.

Meanwhile, Lazarus has died, his life ended, and his poor sisters and friends left to grieve. It seems cold and calculated that Jesus would let this happen, except that there was a bigger purpose. Jesus would do the impossible and raise Lazarus back to life.

For all the grief they endured for those few days, believing Lazarus was lost, how much joy did they experience when he was restored to them? And how many people in the years, centuries and millenia since have found hope in knowing that the God who raised Lazarus from the dead is with them. I am sure that Lazarus and his sisters could not have imagined the importance of their story.

Thank you God that you do nothing carelessly, and that you are a God of restoration and hope. No matter what I see or experience, please help me to trust in your wisdom, love and eternal perspective.

Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh

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Saturday 23 March, 2019

John 10:22-42

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. 40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

John has just recorded Jesus talking about himself as the good shepherd & his sheep (people) knowing his voice. Jesus now continues this as he is ambushed while walking in the Temple. The Jewish leaders want to know if he is the predicted Messiah, the Saviour. Jesus’s response shows them that they are not his sheep or they would recognise him & the miracles he’s done.

It seems as though these Jewish leaders already had their minds & hearts made up, they were ready to dismiss him either way. Jesus said plainly “you do not believe because you are not my sheep”.

I need to be careful to keep my heart following Jesus, so that I don’t miss what he’s doing or what he is speaking to me, lets not be like these leaders who because they didn’t like the answer, it wasn’t what they wanted to hear, they completely missed the salvation they had been waiting for. They walked away from eternity.

Jesus it’s my desire to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you for your promise of eternal life & for the security, care & love you show me as the Good Shepherd. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson


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Friday 22 March, 2019

John 10:1-21

10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” 19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” 21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

V10 contains such a wonderful promise – life to the full through Jesus. What a wonderful example of this is presented in the previous chapter with the restoration of the man who was born blind. Not just a physical restoration to wholeness, but freedom from a life of judgment (Ch 9v2) and an existence governed by rules (Ch 9 vv14-16). The man recognised Jesus’ voice (v4) as a man of God. Jesus is offering so much more – he is bringing eternal life with God to all who believe in him, who follow him (v4). It’s the offer of a restoration of God’s original plan for everyone one of us.

The image of the Shepherd reminds us of Psalm 23. Jesus is saying I am the Shepherd who will always be there, walking ahead, showing the way, providing and caring. There is something more though and to me one of the most powerful truths Jesus spoke is in v 14. We are each known by him. When you think about sheep, well really they do look a lot alike. But no, Jesus is saying each of us is known personally by him, because he is our loving God. There is an immensity in a God who can know every person, but at the same time loves and understands each individual. He is after all a God of relationship, which is at the heart of this fantastic passage.

Jesus I know your voice. Thank you for the conversation we will have today and for the life you have given me.    Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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