Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’ 19 I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I Am the Messiah. 20 I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”
21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”
22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
This is one of those passages that makes sense to the disciples after the fact. Jesus foretells them something that is about to happen to him but none of them understands what he means by ‘betray’. So, Jesus then responds to the question of who is going to do this and still they do not twig when Judas leaves the group.
Being a ‘Judas’ has now become part of our language when referring to betrayal. But where betrayal is unexpected, devastating and destroying of trust and relationship, this is not the reaction of Jesus. He is aware of the eternal plan of the Father. Even though we do not know of the emotional impact this had on Jesus having one of his closest betray him, we do know this was also part of his human experience.
Unfortunately, like me, many of us have experienced betrayal, therefore I encourage you to allow Jesus to minister to you in the midst of the pain and shock, knowing He too has an eternal plan for you of hope and a future, Jerimiah 29:11.
Lord Jesus, I come to you today trusting. Thank you that you have gone before us for our future hope and joy.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
The foot washing that is central to today’s reading is really quite hard to understand in a shoe and sock wearing society like we live in. We may remove our shoes if they are muddy as we come in from the garden – but shoes, socks and then wash our feet…
So how do I make sense of this passage that had clear cultural significance for dusty sandal wearing feet as you entered someone’s clean house? I think this gesture is linked to Jesus’ teaching on servanthood and that He is a servant who embraces the otherwise ‘unacceptable’ role of being a servant. The humility we see in the foot washing can be seen through the lens of Jesus’ ultimate “washing,” namely, His sacrificial death, which cleanses us of our sins (Acts 22:16).
The surprising extension of this foot washing is that Jesus not only says that we must be washed, but that we must “wash one another’s feet”. How do we do this? There is a long tradition in the church that has taken this literally. In some ancient liturgical traditions, foot washing became part of Maundy Thursday rituals. Benedictine monasteries practiced foot washing as a part of their hospitality to guests. Of course for some, it is a general command to humility and service. At the very least the command of Jesus is that we take on a role that is similar to His: If He has washed our feet, we ought to do something similar.
Father, help me to take on the attitude of servanthood in all I do to bring Your light and love to those who surround me.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
You may also find The Bible Project’s animated overview of the second half of John helpful: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/john-13-21/
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. 42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
In this passage, Jesus’ public ministry is coming to an end. He has performed many signs and wonders and done much teaching and preaching. The signs presented in John’s gospel are specifically chosen by him to point the way to belief in Jesus and to receiving eternal life in Jesus’ name. Now John discusses belief – probably to spur his readers on to listen and receive.
This quote from Isaiah seems hard to us. Is God preventing some from believing in him and therefore preventing them from receiving eternal life? As parents, we often feel the need to warn our young adults of potential dangers when they go out. “Drive safely, don’t drink too much, don’t be home too late….” But the more we say these things, the less impact our warnings have. They lead to a response of “Yeah, yeah” or “whatever”. I think the hardening of hearts in this passage is a bit like that. The more Isaiah preached, the more hardened Israel became. The more signs Jesus performed, the more ‘commonplace’ they appeared and the less impact they had.
But to Jesus, it wasn’t ho hum. He “SHOUTED to the crowds” to believe in Him, trust Him, receive light in the darkness, and receive eternal life. He SHOUTED that he came to save the world, not to judge it.
Lord, please help keep my heart soft. Please don’t let my belief in you and what you’ve done become tired and commonplace, but let me rejoice in you every day. Thank you that you didn’t come into the world to judge it but to save it.
Written by Megan Cornell
I am aware from other passages that I should hear the Word from Jesus and do it.
But here in John 12:47 the compassion of Jesus is so on display.
“47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me,…….48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged “
Thank you Jesus I hear you and I don’t reject you.
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
There is such a tension between Worldly logic and Godly logic- the world says put yourself first, do what is necessary to live your best life, there is no absolute truth so live your own truth!! Jesus says put God’s will first even if the cost is high, we are here it bring Glory to God not ourselves and that in God all truth is found and is absolute! For Jesus this meant submission to the point of a humiliating and painful death, but it also meant victory over death and salvation for those who chose to accept it. Am I every day prepared to do the things that I must to bring Glory to God. This doesn’t mean I have to be the world’s best-known preacher or evangelist. It means I need to walk humbly (in the footsteps of Jesus) and love deeply (the lovely and the unlovely). Staying committed to this is no easy task. For Jesus, just like us the struggle was real- he needed his disciples (even though they did not always understand) and he needed time out to strengthen his resolve (vs 36). We need to be prepared to do what it takes to hold onto our faith. We need Godly friends and support. We need time with God. Too many fall by the wayside- I want to stay true to my last breath!
Jesus, I thank you for all you have done for me. Give me the determination to stay the marathon which is my life of Faith in you. Thank you that you died and rose again so that I could be right with God. Help me to love those around me today and be your witness. In your name I pray. Amen
Written by Christine Knight
Great encouragement to live my life to bring Him glory. I am also heeding the warning of Jesus to walk in the light of his love and life of sacrifice while I still have the chance. His light dispels or at least dims the darkness of the world and grows my faithReply
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. 18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”
We see Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey as the people shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” This triumphant entry into the city marks the beginning of the Passion Week, a time when Jesus would suffer and die for the sins of the world. This account of the triumphal entry is also one of the few incidents in Jesus’ life that is reported in all four gospels.
As we reflect on this passage, we are reminded of the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He willingly gave up His life so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God. It is a humbling and awe-inspiring truth that should fill us with gratitude and joy.
But this passage also challenges us to examine our own hearts. Are we to be like the crowds who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, but later turned on Him and called for his crucifixion? Or are we like the few who remained faithful to Him, even in the face of persecution and death?
Let us remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and let us renew our commitment to follow Him. May we be faithful disciples who proclaim His name and His kingdom to a world that desperately needs it. Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for us. Thank You that You sent Your Son, our King and chief priest, to die on that cross. We pray our hearts remain steadfast on You in the best and worst of times. Renew our convictions for You, Lord, our saviour and redeemer!
In Your loving name, Jesus, Amen
Written by Sven Bessesen
1 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
The use of money towards God’s kingdom is something that interests me a great deal, since I am someone who holds a key responsibility for the church’s money!
In the media recently, I have heard criticism of other churches and the way they have spent their money, and we read here that contentions regarding budgets and priorities amongst Jesus’ followers is not new!
As I reflect on the passage in John’s gospel, I’m brought back to the priorities that God has called his church to: To worship Him, to be His witnesses and to make disciples. I believe that the way that money is invested in His Kingdom should follow these priorities.
Lord, help us to be beyond reproach in the way that we handle money, and help us to keep our priorities focused on your kingdom.
Written by Ps Justin Ware
45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. 54 As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.
55 It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” 57 Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.
Oh, the human heart! What mixed-up creatures we are! We are capable of great acts of love and selflessness, and in the next moment acts of hatred and evil (see Jeremiah 17:9). In this passage everyone in the crowd witnessed the same miracle. One half saw the beauty of it – the stunning power of Jesus raising the dead, the tears of joy in the eyes of Mary and Martha and all their friends, the radiance of Jesus’ face as he embraced His now alive friend, the gasps, then cheers as death was cheated and broken. These people, “saw and believed.” But there were others – in the very same crowd and who saw the very same thing – who were offended. They were the cynics, the haters, the “dobbers” (to use a school-yard phrase). These people, blind to the miracle, couldn’t wait to share the scandal of what Jesus had “done” with the jealous Pharisees. What a miserable lot! These people, clearly, did not believe.
While I hope I live my life in the first camp, I must confess the I still have camp 2 tendencies lurking in my heart. We all do. But please read verse 51 – 52 again – and see the massive love and grace that Jesus has for us. Even with our mixed-up hearts He loves us, endured the cross in order to heal us, and rescue us once and for all. This staggering love is worth believing in.
Jesus, please forgive me for my mixed-up heart – please heal me. Help me live in camp number 1 and believe.
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him.
30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”
There are so many emotions in this passage. Mary and Martha are disappointed that Jesus didn’t come earlier to heal Lazarus their brother and His friend. Then all the people who have come along to grieve with this family. Jesus is angry, deeply troubled and then weeps. You have the disappointed friends, who know what Jesus can do, but He wasn’t here!!
Yet despite all the emotions of all the people present, Jesus tells people to roll the stone away from the cave’s entrance, despite the protests of Mary, they do it. They obey. “Didn’t I tell you, you would see God’s glory, if you believe?”
Jesus asks His Father, to hear Him and to do this for the sake of these people here, that they will believe in Him. Jesus delivers us from death. The death of our lives caused by sin. Jesus is the one who brings us to life, however it is our friends and Church family that need to unwrap us from what has held us captive.
I always remember a message from Ps Annette many years ago. The job of the Church is to unwrap those who come out of “death” (their life before they were a Christian) and help them to fulfil their God given purpose on earth.
Jesus, thank you that we all have a job to do in your Kingdom. To call those out from death to life and to help unwrap them from the world. Lord, give us wisdom and direction as we follow your path and wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”
25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”
Martha has some truly extraordinary insights into who Jesus is. Martha had always believed what was revealed to Peter (Matthew 16:16): that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Yet, as extraordinary as these insights are, Jesus goes well beyond her expectations.
Yes, Jesus could have asked God to heal Lazarus and he would not have died. But Jesus can go much further and restore dead Lazarus back to life. Yes, Jesus is the Messiah, the one they expected God to send to defeat their enemies. But he’s much more. Here is God himself defeating humanity’s greatest enemies: sin and death. Yes, God will raise all his people back to life at the last day. But that last day resurrection happens because Jesus returns in his full glory as God amongst us. He doesn’t just bring the resurrection. He is the resurrection and the life.
God never ceases to exceed my expectations. I should expect it! Instead of thinking, like Martha, “if only you’d done what I wanted,” I should be looking with expectation to the better thing that he will do.
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’ (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Jesus, please expand my mind to understand a bit more of your infinite love and grace and power and glory. Fill my imagination with expectation of the wonderful life-giving surprises you have for us all. Amen.
Written by David Cornell
1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”
4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
This is one of many examples we read in the gospels where people are trying to convince Jesus to fit into their agenda, but he simply will not conform.
Mary and Martha want Him to come immediately to heal their brother. Jesus waits two days.
His disciples think it’s too dangerous for Jesus to go to Judea. He goes anyway. Jesus was in control and knew exactly the right plan for this situation.
So, what about my situation here and now? It seems that I am often mistakenly trying to convince God to fit in with my agenda, and follow my timeline.
We all need regular reminders that God is so much wiser than we are and that we can trust Him to get it right- even when we don’t understand what’s going on.
Thank you, Jesus for the peace that You offer us when we trust in Your timing and in Your wisdom.
Written by Shelley Witt
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me 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 will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
What strikes me about this passage is that the Jews around Jesus, learned though they were in the scripture, did not hear Jesus for what He was actually saying because they did not believe He really was who He says He was. You see in verses like verse 33 that the Jews around Jesus were plainly blinkered by their zeal for God’s law in the way they understood it to be true and right. They were unable to accept a new way that God could be working in the world.
Clearly prejudices, personal preferences, and personal assumptions can get in the way of me seeing Jesus for who He really is, and what He really does do in my life, and in the world around me. How do I keep my heart from being blinded by these? 4 times Jesus mentions the works that he had been doing in their midst. For me, this means looking out for God’s work in my life – provisions from God, people sent from God to me, miraculous answers to prayers. God’s works demonstrate who God is and what God is doing, and help confirm His word is true and trustworthy.
God, I actually need you to be working in my world, and in the world. Not because I need to see your works in order to believe in you, but because your works in the world help confirm what you are doing, and what your will is in the world. More importantly, they keep my heart free from prejudices, personal preferences and assumptions that can get in the way of me seeing you for who you really are. Thank you that you are so willing to point us to yourself through your works as well as your word! Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, 7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Verse 10 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 (9:2) and an existence governed by rules (9:14-16). 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 verse 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.
Written by Claire Moore
35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
Don’t resist Jesus! To all of us that see what Jesus is doing, hear what Jesus is doing, feel and know what Jesus is doing: let us believe in him and worship him! This passage is a strong warning to anyone claiming to be “in the know” and a warning to those who should know better. The Pharisee’s should know better! The Pharisee’s are the teachers of the law, they claim authority to know “what is what”. But despite being experts in Israel’s Scriptures and witnessing firsthand what Jesus is doing, the Pharisees resist Jesus. Unlike the Pharisees, when we read Scripture and observe Jesus we look, listen closely and believe. When we see, hear, or feel Jesus doing something in our midst, let us absorb it into our own testimony and praise the Father for his goodness. The pride, cynicism and hardness in the Pharisee’s hearts caused them to miss the Messiah when he came calling!
Jesus, I open my heart and my eyes to receive and see your goodness anew today. I want to hear and believe whenever you call. You are good and everything you do is good. Amen.
Written by Sam Stewart
24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”
25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”
26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”
27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”
34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
The kindness and power of Jesus, and the callousness of the Pharisees, is what stands out to me in this passage. Jesus healed this man to display the power of God and to restore him, not just physically but socially as well. From what we see in this passage, this man didn’t ask or beg or persuade Jesus to heal him. He didn’t do anything to convince Jesus that he was worthy of a miracle. Jesus simply made it happen to bring glory to God and out of deep compassion for this man.
When the Pharisees become aware, they are only concerned with the why, how and who. Why was this man, who they deemed entirely unworthy, why was he healed? How did it happen? Who did this? They aren’t happy that this man could now see, they are angry that it has happened in the first place. The Pharisees were used to being in a position of control, and seemed completely flummoxed that such a thing could happen without their permission or knowledge.
I hope that my heart is never so cynical or cold that I am concerned with such details when Jesus moves in the lives of those around me. My prayer is that I would never be so insecure or controlling that I limit what God wants to do. I’m so glad that the power and kindness of Jesus is unfathomable.
Thank you, Jesus, that we don’t have to earn your kindness, and that you still move in power in our lives and the lives of those around us. Help us to be surrendered to you, remove our need for control and may our hearts would be open to all that you are doing. Amen.
Written by Madelaine Tarasenko
13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, 14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. 15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.
17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”
The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”
18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”
20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”
The healing of the blind man on the Sabbath caused a deep division among the Jewish leaders. Who is this Jesus? People were already starting to say that he was the Messiah. Some of the leaders now appeared to be asking, “Could this be true?”
Those who were starting to believe focused on the fact that -if this miracle is real then Jesus must, according to Jewish belief, be a man sent from God. A prophet at the very least. Perhaps even the long-awaited Messiah. They were starting to have faith.
Those who stubbornly held to the belief that Jesus was a sinner and a menace trying to unstablise their leadership argued – how can a miracle be done on the Sabbath day? This is a Holy day and a day for rest.
To investigate the validity of this healing claim the leaders go to speak to the parents of the blind man. The parents confirm this is their son who was blind at birth and can now see. The son himself has also testified to the miracle that has occurred. This is the clear evidence of Jesus being the Son of God. Neither the man nor his parents say outrightly “Jesus is the Messiah” because this is a punishable offense, but they don’t need to (not at this stage) they have presented the clear evidence as they know it – – he was blind but now can see.
Jesus, you are the Son of God and a miracle worker. And you are still performing miracles in this world, through the power of the Holy Spirit, today. Jesus, please help me to follow you and your ways. May I have faith to ask for you to do miracles in my life and in the life of others. And may I have the courage to share what you have done and are doing in my life, so that others too may believe.
Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”
But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”
10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”
11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”
12 “Where is he now?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
In this passage, Jesus demonstrates his power over sin and its effects. Just as Jesus saw the man, Jesus sees our suffering, and he has authority to bring healing, freedom, and salvation. We don’t learn much about the man in the passage, except that he listened to Jesus and followed his instructions. Might we choose to have the same attitude when Jesus speaks to us.
Lord, thank you that you are God with us, who sees us in our struggles and suffering. Thank you for your power and authority that brings healing and salvation from sin. Help us to trust in you and your word as you speak to us, may we walk each day knowing your power over sin. Amen.
Written by Ps. Andrea Molteno
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
We can see here that the Jewish people didn’t recognise or know who Jesus truly was. Nor did they know where he was from. Jesus didn’t shy away from the fact that he always has been but the Jewish people continued to look upon him as some crazy, possessed man. They did not see his deity. Jesus also stated that he brought his heavenly father honour and promised that those who obeyed him would not see death. These claims outraged the onlookers, they could not fathom Jesus as both man and God and tried to kill him.
Application: Having God in the form of a man, Jesus walking in your midst must have really messed with people’s heads! Indeed believers today wrestle with that same truth that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. The Jewish people were trying to work out where Jesus fitted in – was he greater than Abraham or the prophets, yet he was less than 50 years old. They asked Jesus who he was but they couldn’t accept what he was saying. It’s good to revisit who we think Jesus is from time to time and acknowledge that he is both God and man in equal measure. Completely sovereign, all powerful, eternal yet lived as a man with a human body and its limitations. It is mind blowing!
Dear Lord, help me to understand better who Jesus is and may I honour and obey you like he did. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”
39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared.
“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. 40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. 41 No, you are imitating your real father.”
They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
Such an interesting conversation outlined in this passage. The idea that we don’t hear what doesn’t fit with how we think the world works and the concept that we experience truth and that truth sets us free.
What does Jesus mean by the truth will set us free? I think when we believe what Jesus says is true then we are set free from fear and lack of trust and we can walk in love. I think the truth He is talking about is believing what He says and in who He says He is. How amazing that Jesus can free us from fear and shame. We can be confident that we are in God’s loving arms not alone, unnoticed, unloved. We can choose to love those around us regardless of the circumstances. To know (and to believe) that I am loved beyond imagining and that cannot be taken from me is wonderful.
The idea that we don’t hear or don’t believe what we hear when it is not in line with how we think the world works is also something we should pay attention too. We can miss entirely when God speaks to us or guides us along our lives, if we have not experienced God’s truth in Jesus. If we are distracted by the world and lulled into believing what it says about how we should think, then we miss the peace we can receive. Its good to regularly check our view of the world and how it works to see if it lines up with what Jesus says.
Dear Lord, thank You that Jesus painted such a good picture for us about Your truth. Help each of us to look again at what You say about how we should see the world and how we can walk in Your freedom. Help us to be filled with Your love and peace each and every day by reminding ourselves to believe what You have said about how much You love each of us and how You can help us to love ourselves and those around us. Help us to bring Your love into all we do. Amen.
Written by Therese Manning
21 Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.”
22 The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?”
23 Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. 24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
25 “Who are you?” they demanded.
Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” 27 But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I Am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.
Jesus’ words seem a bit harsh! He is speaking to Jews in the temple, including the religious leaders. People who thought they were in God’s good books. But Jesus tells them ‘You’re missing God in all this’ (MSG).
If Jesus were to come back today, how would He speak to us in our churches? Would He be pleased with our worship? Would He commend our treatment of the vulnerable? In the Bible Jesus is always firmest with the religious leaders, for they have the responsibility that comes with knowledge of God’s Word and leadership of His people. We as the church are Jesus’ name here on earth, and that is a responsibility we need to take seriously.
Lord, we pray for your church here on earth. God help us to love as you love and to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Help us be above reproach in our management of your good gifts, and a safe community for the innocent and guilty alike. May every interaction people have with your church draw people to you Jesus, rather than away.
Written by Rhiannon Mellor
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”
14 Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
19 “Where is your father?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” 20 Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.
I appreciate the Pharisees challenging Jesus here. When someone makes a wild claim like: “make $100,000 in 6 weeks” or “use this vitamin to live 10 years longer” I am sceptical too.
Here Jesus essentially claims: “I am what it is all about! Everyone else is just confused, I am the Light in the darkness!”
That is an outrageous claim by anyone’s standards. That is why I appreciate that the Pharisees are asking for some evidence, a testimony from someone in authority to confirm this claim.
Jesus says that God himself is testifying for him. We see this in the miracles Jesus performs. We see it in the Scriptures that Jesus fulfils. But these Pharisees did not yet have the loudest of testimonies from God: the resurrection of the crucified Jesus.
This is the significance of the resurrection. It shows us that Jesus really did know where he comes from and where he is going. It shows us that he really is the light of the world, and the one we can completely build our lives on.
Lord, in a world where I am easily deceived, it is you I can trust. I want to build my life on your teaching and your promises, you will not deceive me and you will keep me forever in your light and life. Amen.
Written by Andrew Mellor
1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
What freedom Jesus brings!
This woman was trapped by the judgment of the religious elite. She was also a pawn in their pursuit of Jesus, and in both senses she was not seen for the person she was.
I find it hard to comprehend her panic.
Again Jesus sees into the hearts of those present. The hearts full of deceit especially those of the religious leaders. They weren’t actually so much interested in upholding Mosaic law as in trapping Jesus into contradicting it.
In upholding the law, Jesus was preserving God’s view of relationships- that they should be characterised by integrity and loyalty. God is a god of relationship and cares deeply about how we treat one another.
Of course Jesus was the only person at this scene who could have thrown a stone. However his focus is restoration not condemnation, on forgiveness not judgment.
Jesus saw into the heart of this lady. When Jesus forgave her, he set the woman free to be different from what she was before. God does not define my future by my past. Jesus did not condemn her, but gave her the opportunity to start over, just as he did for so many others- Peter, Nicodemus, Paul, me.
Dear Lord, thank you for liberating me from the judgment I deserve for my past wrongs. I confess them to you now. I want to live a life of freedom always by your Holy Spirit. Amen
Written by Claire Moore
45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”
53 Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.
Of all people to be in a position to hear the scriptures expanded day after day, it would have been the temple guards, standing and doing their job in the temple courts. So, to me, it’s not surprising that they respond, “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” v.46, speaking of Jesus back to the Pharisees, why would they arrest the best teacher they had ever heard!
In thinking of the two different reactions to Jesus in this passage, one of openness and the other of complete contempt, it strikes me that this is the way Jesus is universally approached. If we approach Him in openness, we will hear him speak to our hearts but if we are closed with minds made up, we will never hear him and our hearts will remain hard.
Lord, I pray today, that I will always be open to hear your word and hear you speak, even when there are opposing voices, I pray that my heart would remain soft and obedient towards you.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ ” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
40 When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” 43 So the crowd was divided about him. 44 Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.
At the festival of Tabernacles, all the people came together to remember how God had brought them through the wilderness during their exodus from Egypt. By Jesus’ time, a central part would be a ceremony where the priests would draw water from the pool of Siloam and lead a procession of all the people to the Temple. The water would be poured out at the base of the altar to flow down through the city.
It may recall when the people were thirsty in the desert and God made water gush out of a rock when Moses struck it with his staff (Exodus 17:1-7). They may also be thinking of Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing out of the Temple and becoming a huge river that brings life to the desert, and even to the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47:1-12).
Then Jesus says, “Are you thirsty? Come to me.” And the result of coming to Jesus, and his Spirit living in me, should be a river of living water flowing out of my heart. Not just a trickle, not even a stream, but a river too big to measure (like Ezekiel’s). And the Spirit’s river brings life to dead places.
Jesus, I’m coming to you and going with you today. Holy Spirit, become a river of life in me today. Transform my dry places. Flow out and touch the lives of others around me today. Bring life to dead places today.
Written by David Cornell
25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? 27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”
28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” 30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
31 Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus. 33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. 34 You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.”
35 The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! 36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”
Have you ever thought you were putting something sweet in your mouth only to find it salty? It tastes all wrong because it wasn’t what you were expecting.
In this passage, we see people’s preconceptions about the Messiah playing out. Some seemed to expect the Messiah to be a glorious warrior who appeared from nowhere and would rescue Israel from foreign rule. The Pharisees’ reaction shows that Jesus wasn’t what they expected the Messiah to look like. Knowing that he lived in Nazareth blinded them to the fact that he really came from heaven. They recognised his humanity but not his divinity. As a result of their preconceptions, most of the crowd dismissed Jesus, some tried to arrest him, and only a few believed in him.
It is easy for us to read this passage and judge those present for their misunderstandings and reactions. But I know that sometimes I have preconceptions that blind me too.
Many people today who dismiss Jesus still think they know all about him. How often have we heard of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” rather than someone who passionately cleared the temple? How many people believe that Christianity is all about rules, rather than relationship, and that “good people go to heaven”? There are many preconceptions and misconceptions in today’s society which cause a barrier to people finding Jesus.
Lord, please open my eyes to misunderstandings I may have about you. Please help me to explain you to others truly. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
14 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
As a follower of Jesus this passage is a reminder that we are not here to necessarily be popular. Jesus clearly knew what the people thought of him and even their intentions, but He did not let that sway him from God’s purpose. The wisdom of God in Him meant He could quickly cut thru the rhetoric and get to the heart of the matter- see verses 21-23. Even the crowd trying to add a spiritual tone (“you’re demon possessed”) did not deter Jesus. Jesus did not wait for the crowd to love him before He got down to business, He was more concerned about God the Father’s opinion of Him. I can be swift to make a decision about someone or their actions but verse 24 warns me to not make hasty judgements about people or their motives. I need to be like Jesus- sure of what God has called me to do, wise about the motives of others and undeterred by opinions of men.
Speak to me, Lord, and reveal your truth in my life. May all that I do and say bring Glory to your name. I ask for your wisdom and discernment in my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
Written by Christine Knight
1 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. 2 But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, 3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! 4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
6 Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. 7 The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. 8 You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” 9 After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.
Here we see Jesus being urged by His brothers to go to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. However, Jesus tells them that His time has not yet come. He knew that there were people who wanted to harm Him, and He did not want to risk going to Jerusalem too soon.
This passage reminds us of the importance of waiting on God’s timing. Jesus knew that he had a specific purpose and mission to fulfill. He was not going to let the pressure or expectations of others rush Him into making a move before the time was right.
On reflection, we too must trust in God’s timing and plan for our lives. We may be tempted to compare ourselves to others and feel like we’re falling behind, or even feel like we’re not making enough progress. But just like Jesus, we must remember that God has a unique plan and purpose for each of us, and we can trust that He will guide us in the right direction.
Let us take comfort in the fact that God’s timing is always perfect, even if it doesn’t always match up with our own expectations. As we wait and trust in Him, may we continue to seek His will and allow Him to lead us on the path He has set before us.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the plans You have for our lives. Thank You that you know every major and minor detail, each significant and seemingly insignificant event, and author our lives for Your glory. May we come to trust in Your timing as Your Holy Spirit fills us with patience and joy.
In Your loving name, Jesus, Amen
Written by Sven Bessesen
60 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? 63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65 Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”
66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.
I was listening to the radio this morning to someone describe how they now called themselves an “ex-Christian.” It made me feel quite emotional to think that someone could follow Jesus for a time, and then make a very conscious and deliberate decision not to anymore.
The lady on the radio was explaining that, while the faith of her upbringing will always be part of her, she didn’t identify as being a Christian anymore.
Here in John’s gospel, it describes a group of people who were found following Jesus too hard. Some people found him hard to understand and others were offended by him. These people walked away.
But Peter rightly identifies that Jesus has the “words that give eternal life.”
My desire is for nobody to feel that they have to walk away from Jesus, so I find Jesus’ response interesting. He doesn’t go after those who walk away relentlessly, because he is called to go on to the cross. But what is my role? How much should I be like a shepherd chasing after the one lost sheep when someone I know walks away?
Lord, thank You that You have given me a revelation that I have nowhere else to go but to follow You, because You give eternal life. Lord, help me to be wise and discerning in how to respond when people walk away from following you, and to love them with the love of Christ, so that Your kindness might lead them to repentance.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
Thank you for highlighting in this passage that Jesus does not go after the folk that walk away. It was also a new idea to me.
Stephen Covey in 7 Habits & First Things First sets out his principles for time management. It is not a complex matrix or spreadsheet of priority ranking. Rather, the ability to say NO. If I have a burning passionate YES for my No.1 priority then I will say NO to all the good distractions.
Justin, thanks, here you show that Jesus has a clear No.1 priority for going forward to the cross.
Jesus also has an implied NO to chasing after the disciples that exit.
The other one that whacks me in the head is that Jesus has an implied NO to doing anything about Judas. This passage is clear. Jesus knows Judas will betray him. And Jesus decides to ….. not interfere with God’s plan — have another 50 (or 250) lunches with the guy that will betray you.
Jesus is God’s son. So can do stuff that I cannot comprehend.
41 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
52 Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Most of us, I suspect, have a tendency to soften our conversation once we realise we have offended someone. We may even clarify our words by saying things like, “I didn’t mean that” or “just kidding.” Not Jesus! When the people angrily reacted to His claim of being “the living bread that comes from heaven,” Jesus went into full ‘vampire mode’ and told them what He really meant! Jesus was, however, in true Jewish, hyperbolic, storytelling style, trying to make a point. Rather than exhorting His followers to practice cannibalism, Jesus was painting a vivid picture of where true life can be found – not just survival but fulfilled, purposeful, meaningful, joyful life. Jesus is saying that unless we are intentionally coming to Him for our life and sustenance, we will become anaemic and die – spiritually and, eventually, physically. How do we prevent that from happening? Believe, then feed. First, make sure your faith is in Him – not yourself. Next, spend time with him every day – even if it’s 5-10 minutes – and let Him “feed” you. He will pour into your aching heart the nourishment you’ve been craving all along.
Jesus, thanks for not holding back the truth. I need you – please feed my heart today.
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
C3 Church Global
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Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
PO Box 2744,
Carlingford NSW 2118
7.00PM - Fridays in school term,
for students in Years 6-12
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford 2120
9.30AM and 5.30PM
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford 2120
Best access for the 5.30pm service is via Roselea Way
We gather worship and work, on the lands of the Darug and Guringai people and wish to acknowledge them as the traditional custodians. We pay our respects to first nations elders past and present.
God bless you multiple. Amen