Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. The Death of Jesus 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
“I am thirsty”
I’ve often wondered why this small detail was mentioned in the Bible. What does it mean? Especially since, in another account of Jesus’ crucifixion in Matthew 27:34, He tastes the vinegar/myrrh mixture (basically a sedative) and rejects it. I wonder if this was a different thirst that Jesus was experiencing.
The Holy Spirit is described as a flowing river of water for those who are thirsty (See John 7;37-39). Was that the thirst Jesus was missing?
The same verse in the passage above gives us a clue here – “later, knowing that EVERYTHING had now been finished”…v28.
All of my sin. All of my rebellion and rejection of God’s authority in my life. All the desperate dryness of my sin and my separation from God – that permeates my whole being – was heaped on Jesus. No wonder He was thirsty?
Are you thirsty? Are you dry inside? A dryness that comes when God is not in your life? You don’t need to be! Jesus has come to take that dryness for you. Just come to Him today and drink.
Jesus, my sin and rejection of you has made me dry and I don’t want to live like that anymore. Thanks for dying in my place and taking my everything onto yourself. Please pour the water of your presence into my life now. I need it.
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” 7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
At the time of writing today, I am in the middle of preparing for our church Good Friday and Easter Services. Each year at this time, we especially focus on what happened to Jesus leading up to His death on the cross.
In this passage, I see how fearless and powerful Jesus is in the face of His imminent trial and crucifixion. Pilate is challenging Jesus – “aren’t you afraid of me? I have the power to either free you or crucify you”
No, Jesus corrects Pilate, you do not have power over me, only what God has allowed – “you would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”
Do I experience this same fearlessness in my own life? Do I say in the face of the enemy that nothing can come against me unless it’s part of God’s plan?
Today I face my fears with renewed confidence in my position before God. I am His, He is my defender and I have nothing to fear.
Written by Shelley Witt
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die. 33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” 40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.
In this passage, Pilate concludes Jesus is innocent and tells the crowd that he finds no charges. When he asks if he should free Jesus, the crowd shout back a giant ‘NO!’ and request for Barabbas instead. If this were me, I would feel so let down knowing that the governor believes I am not guilty but has chosen to follow the crowd. However, this is no surprise to Jesus as he knows this is exactly would what happen. He knows he needs to go through this penalty, so all of humanity can be saved.
When reading the passage again, I am also reminded of the way that Jesus informs Pilate that he is from another kingdom that is ‘not of this world’. This encourages me to always stay kingdom focused and reveal God’s truth in whatever way I can, even in the worst of situations. It reminds me that while living on earth, my life should reveal his truth everywhere I go and I should speak his truth to all that I can.
God, I thank you that you sent Jesus as a sacrifice not only for me, but for all. I pray that you continue to reveal your truth to us, so that we may live our best lives that honour you.
Written by Rachel Tomc
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. 19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
This is an uncomfortable passage. Our hero, Peter, the passionate disciple, suddenly turns his back on Jesus. I puzzled over this change of heart, given Simon Peter is one of his followers who stood by him in the garden, and v15 tells us, even followed behind when Jesus was arrested. This exposed Peter to being arrested himself.
However when confronted he caves.
I can identify with Peter. Why isn’t Jesus fighting back? Jesus has so much power he could easily escape. Doubts creep in, and steal away hope. His spirit fails him and he abandons what he knows is true. Could this stem from Simon Peter’s reliance on himself? He has relied on his strength, and his conviction. Now, under challenge, he cannot withstand the scrutiny, the disappointment, giving way to doubts.
Relying on myself rather than relying on the creator of the universe who knows me really does seem crazy. But it is so often my fall back position – call it human nature or whatever. But my gracious God is waiting for me no matter when I fail him.
The contrast between this Simon Peter and the Peter of Acts couldn’t be more dramatic (see Acts 2-4 for example). The 2 things Peter received are what transform me – hope and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, thank you for transforming me just as you did in Peter’s life. When doubts and feelings of hopelessness creep in, you are there for me.
Written by Claire Moore
18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him (verse 4) and yet, he went to a familiar place that his betrayer (Judas) knew (verse 2). Jesus did not hide. When they came near he asked them “Who is it you want?” They replied “Jesus” and he said “I am he”. Twice he asked them and twice he identified himself. No mix up of identity or communications here.
On the first occasion of him identifying himself, those coming to take him fell over backwards onto the ground. This is Jesus, “I am”, the all-powerful Son of God.
Jesus wanted no violence. He was not hiding. He clearly identified himself and he handed himself over to his accusers.
In John 10:11 Jesus said, I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.
Jesus, the all-powerful Son of God, knew all that was going to happen to him, and he willingly gave up his life for all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
What a prophetic statement, the Jewish leader Caiaphas unknowingly made, “Better that one should die for all” (verse 14).
Jesus thank you for giving up your life for me. I am so grateful, forever indebted, that you choose to die so that I may have eternal life. Help me to live my life for you each and every day.
Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[a] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
This is Jesus praying directly for you and me (and all who have believed because of his disciples’ message). This is significant. This is personal.
His prayer for us focuses on two related things: glory and unity.
Glory is not a word I use often, so I looked it up. With reference to God, it is the revelation of who he is: his appearance in thunder and lightning, in a cloud and a pillar of fire, in his tabernacle and his temple and sometimes in person; in his character; through what he does: in creation and in miracles; and in the person of Jesus.
He prays that we would
(By implication disunity goes with a damaged relationship with Jesus and his glory being hidden. That’s serious!)
I’m challenged in three things:
Jesus, I want to see your glory revealed today.
Written by David Cornell
17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
What Jesus prays grows out of the fact that He is going away. He is entrusting the disciples to the Father He has known and loved throughout His own earthly life, the Father who, He knows, will care for them every bit as much as He has done Himself. He is aware that the disciples are at risk. The world, which hates them as it hated Him, will threaten and abuse them. They don’t belong to it, but they are to be sent into it, and they need protecting. That’s what the prayer is about. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
A sense of opposition, persecution and suffering are part and parcel of the Christian faith – not because we do the wrong things (we should live righteous, pure, blameless lives) or believe wrong concepts (we follow the One who is the Truth) – but because we are followers of Jesus – who Himself was opposed, persecuted, and suffered. We have an adversary, the devil, and we should never be surprised by these opposing forces. So join James and count it all joy when various trials come upon you – James 1:2
Father help me to live in such a manner that you are truly glorified by my lifestyle. Help me to endure hardship, opposition, suffering and persecution as a good soldier of Christ (2 Tim. 2:3)!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In this chapter Jesus is preparing his disciples for his coming departure, how they will react & then be treated. He is also telling them something radical, they no longer need to go to a priest for prayer requests but can pray & ask the Father directly in Jesus name because they believe in Jesus (v26-27). This is still a radical concept for many, that we actually have direct access to God through Jesus Christ.
Verse 33 speaks the loudest to me, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace”. Peace not turmoil, peace not fear, peace in the midst of grief. Praying to our Heavenly Father in Jesus name giving him my burdens & anxieties, joys & dreams gives me peace knowing that He has this, He has me.
Thank you Heavenly Father that you care so deeply for me that Jesus came & died for me, my sin forgiven, access directly to you restored & your peace comforting me. Thank you for your great grace toward me. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson
16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” 19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Jesus promises his followers that one day (soon) all the troubles and confusion they are experiencing will be swept aside. Like a woman who has just birthed a baby and now holds the newborn for the first time, all the momentary pain is forgotten and they are carried into a new realm of joy. With this as context, Jesus proposes a radical new way to talk to God. The disciples are to use his name when asking God for what they want and it’s as good as done. Surely this is way too radical to take at face value? Jesus’s bold invitation seems to open the gates to excess or abuse. Consider: what were the disciples of Jesus likely to insert into this invitation?
* ‘overthrow the Romans’, or
* ‘give us our nation and land back’, or
* ‘re-fill the temple with God’s glory’, or
* ‘expel the foreigners from amongst our midst’
Via this shift in focus and with the confidence that Jesus is true to his word ‘Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete’ was fulfilled to the disciples just as it is fulfilled to us, today. Jesus answered their prayers and delivered on their concerns, but via the resurrection. Are not our requests basically connected to exactly the same human aches, desire for significance, place to belong, need for daily bread, need for family, an identity. Jesus will give us all that we need and more!
Jesus, thank you for hearing my prayers and thank you for allowing me to ask you directly for what I want. Thank you that you always answer, always keep your promises and satisfy my hearts desire.
Till we meet face to face, Amen.
Written by Sam Stewart
16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Jesus is not physically present with me. I can read of him, I can know how he acted, behaved and believed in a wide variety of circumstances. I can read of his power, wisdom and love. I can make note of his recorded teachings. But it is not quite the same as having him with me, daily. The physical Jesus would provide advice and perspective in the very moment I need it, he would see when I am discouraged and speak the words I need to rise up again. He would rebuke me when I was headed down a destructive and evil path.
No wonder his disciples grieved at the thought of losing him. How wondrous and incomprehensible it must have been to hear Jesus talk of this ‘helper’, this ‘Spirit of truth’, that would step into their lives as he seemed to depart.
I have the advantage of standing on the other side of two thousand years of the Church’s existence testifying that Jesus was not lying or using hyperbole. Truly, it was good for Jesus to leave and send us this Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit). He is now with every disciple of Jesus, and if I learn to listen to him he is just as much present as the physical Jesus was with his disciples and he is just as trustworthy, speaking to us only what is passed on to him from the Son, who in turn received it only from the Father. Even more, he can do a work on the inside of us that turns my hard heart into an obedient and responsive heart.
Lord, I am living in the days of your Spirit poured out, your Kingdom is alive in our souls and is being revealed to the world in our lives. Truly I am not alone, you are with me, speaking to me and working thorough me to the ends of the age! Amen!
Written by Andrew Mellor
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Reading this passage I am filled with both hope but also dread. No one wants to be hated, suffer and struggle in life through judgment because of his or her faith. Jesus is sharing this right before he goes to the cross. He knows what is coming, Judas has already left to betray him, he knows that it is just a matter of time before Peter denies him and God, the Father, turns from him on the cross. Jesus knows what is coming but uses this opportunity to encourage his disciples and now us, that we will suffer for our faith just as he did but that we can take heart because he is with us.
The passage just before discusses that Jesus is the True Vine and that when we remain and abide in him we bear much fruit however it is well known that the best grapes for wine are from plants that have suffered in life. It is often the oldest vines, the ones who have gone through droughts, fires etc that produce the tastiest wine. We as Christ followers will suffer for our faith however it is through this suffering that what is inside of us comes out and fruit is produced. Jesus in verse 26 talks about the Advocate who he is sending to help us and who will testify about Jesus through us. I love this. That Jesus knew we weren’t ever going to be able to walk through the suffering and the hatred of this world alone so he sent the Holy Spirit to be the advocate. The one who will support us throughout our afflictions.
Lord, I thank you that whatever I walk through, you understand it because you walked far greater suffering. Help me to surrender to you and allow you to use me in great ways for your kingdom. Help me remember that you have sent the advocate to live in me to represent you to this world. In Jesus name! Amen
Written by Ps. Annique Botta
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
In this passage, Jesus says that if we remain in Him, we will find ourselves living fruitful lives. He also says in verse 10, that our obedience will keep us in His love and will also lead to joy.
So we could say that obedience to the commands of Jesus will lead to fruitfulness and joy. That sounds like a good deal to me! And what does obedience look like? Loving each other, just as God has loved us.
It’s easy to gloss over love, as if it’s cliché, trite, or we’ve “heard it all before”. Yet God is love. His love is endless, abounding, persistent and true. If anything, love is the imperative of the gospel, and we shouldn’t treat it like a known quantity. Indeed, a world filled with love would look very different to this world we know now. We have a lot to learn.
Jesus, please help me to love you with all my heart, and love my neighbour as myself. Help me to obey this command, so that I may glorify You with my life, and find fruitfulness and joy abound. Amen.
Written by Ps. Matt Samperi
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.
What is striking to me in this passage is how Jesus frames His and the Father’s works in the world. Jesus foretells His going to be with the Father that we, His disciples, may believe. The prince of the world (the devil) comes so that the world may learn about Jesus’ loving devotion to the Father.
Jesus is declaring here that no matter whether it’s His own activity or the enemies activity, God can and does use it all to help us believe in and know Him. God truly does make everything work together for our good, especially the good of our faith in Him. It’s quite humbling really – God is constantly at work to help us believe Him.
Praise you Jesus, that as Lord, you are at work to help us know you and understand you, even when it is evil coming into the picture!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
It should come as no surprise to me that God knew there are times in every one of our lives when we feel very, very alone. Not only does God know and understand this but he has a plan. I know that I may feel alone at times – facing big decisions I am not sure how to make or circumstances that are far beyond my control. But my feelings and the reality and constancy of relationship with God are two different things. Jesus says the Holy Spirit is in me, God in me, leading guiding and comforting me. Knowing this takes me beyond being trapped by feelings. The feelings are real but so is the presence of God in my life. Thank you Jesus that I can trust in you and know you are always with me.
Heavenly Father thank you for the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank you that I am never alone. Thank you for your great love for me. Help me to always bring Glory to your name. In Jesus name, Amen
Written by Christine Knight
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I love the way Jesus begins and ends this passage with encouraging instructions, and in the middle tells us why we can believe in what He says.
I don’t think there is anyone in existence who has not been troubled by something or needed something that is beyond them – I know that I certainly have. And often I allow myself to be overwhelmed by these troubles and needs. It almost seems too good to be true to simply bring these troubles and needs to Jesus and expect Him to actually do anything about them. Yet Jesus explains that He carries the very authority and heart of God – He is not only able to help, but He is eager to.
So often my first response to fear, worry, trouble or need is to try and find a solution, when I could be bringing these to Jesus instead and trusting Him to sort them out on my behalf. While we have responsibility to do our best & take the steps we can – in the authority of God that He has given us – we can trust that when we bring what we need to Jesus, He is on the case. Admittedly His response may not look like what we have pictured, however we can trust that He is at work for our good. He is the way, truth and life for each of us – He will not leave us where we are but will meet us where we are at in order to bring glory to God.
Thank you Jesus that you are willing and able to hear our prayers & to meet our needs. Thank you that because you are in control and you are good, we can bring our troubles to you & trust that you are working on our behalf, bringing glory to God.
Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” 37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
How much better does Jesus know us than we know ourselves? We try and do what we think is the right thing, at least we say we do but when it comes to the crunch how connected are we to what God wants us to do. Jesus knew Peter’s fragility. He knows ours too. Even though we have moments where we do the wrong thing or the not helpful thing, God can still use us. Jesus was right, Peter had a moment of bad choice. It was a pretty big moment but still a moment. God still used Peter throughout his life. God wants us to know we have a chance with Him. He knows our fragility, He knows our distractions, He understands we don’t always react well to challenges. He is also willing to forgive us every time we return to Him.
Lord God, thank you that you forgave Peter even in the midst of a very poor choice and that you do that for us too. Help us to believe you when you say you give us second chance (or many chances). Thank you that you want us to be part of your plans, thank you that you place us in community and that you want us to bring your love to those around us. Help us do that every day. Amen
Written by Therese Manning
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I find this a challenging scripture: “For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you” I have heard this said – “Jesus died for you and for me; our role (as a Christian) is to lay our lives down for our community and for others”.
To demonstrate that WE love; like CHRIST loves us.
What it tells me is that my life is “on show” – my actions, my responses and my voice should look like Christ.
Sacrificial love is something that many of us find hard at times.
We are called to give up our time, sometimes our convenience, our personal desires, our money, and lay these down for others.
Which reminds me of the scripture “If anyone would come after me, let him/her deny himself/herself and take up your cross daily”. (Luke 9 v 23)
It is something that is not easy at times and is not commonly encouraged in the ‘world’. In a world that biases itself towards selfishness we have to be people who ‘swim’ in the other direction. In a world that biases itself towards hate, we have to be an expression of love. It is not easy to swim upstream; it requires effort.
Lord help me to demonstrate you better. Help me with my actions, my responses and my voice to reflect you. Lord at times I struggle, but you can give me strength in all things. Thank you for the opportunities you desire to bring across my path, to let me be a demonstration of your love and grace towards me.
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” 21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” 22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
To betray the Son of the living God is such an incredibly evil thing to do. To betray someone you have been following for years is cruel. Judas certainly gets a bad rap, and rightfully so!
This morning as I have reflected on this scripture, I put myself in the story. When I put myself in Judas’ shoes, I considered the notion of what it is to betray Jesus.
Now I am pretty confident that I have never betrayed anyone to persecution or death, but I do sin – through my thoughts, and through words I say, through things I do and even when I don’t do what I should. My reflection this morning reminded me of the seriousness of these sins.
It’s tempting for me to become self-righteous and feel like I have the “Christian Life” all together. After all, the sins I do commit aren’t that bad. Are they?
I feel like this passage has shown me that every one of those sins, as small as they might seem, is like me walking away from Christ to collect my 30 pieces of silver.
But there is hope! God has made a way! I don’t need to continue walking away, separating myself from Christ for eternity. No matter how regularly I fail, how serious my failures. Even though I have betrayal on my hands, He is ready to welcome me back with open arms.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
What a historically and eternally significant moment we read about here. Jesus and the disciples are looking back and celebrating how God saved the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Jesus is looking to the near future where He will be sacrificed to save all who believe in Him from sin and death.
In this highly important moment, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. He cleanses them physically, when He’s about to cleanse them spiritually. But I love how everyday this is, how human the need to have our dirty feet washed. Jesus is not spouting lofty ideas, divorced from our skin and bone existence. No, He takes off His outer robe, wraps a towel around His waist and washes the dirty, smelly feet of those who follow Him.
As Jesus was preparing to face the agony of the cross, He was still focused on His mission of teaching His disciples God’s way of selfless love and servanthood. If Jesus could love others in this moment, then I am challenged to do the same, no matter what my circumstances are.
Jesus, please help me to receive your love for me, your willingness to wash my dirty feet and be near to those dirty parts of my inner world that need cleansing. Fill me with your love for others, that I too would folllow your example and wash the dirty feet of those around me. Amen.
Written by Ps. Beth Waugh
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
Peter objects to having his feet washed by His Master and Teacher Jesus because it was such a lowly job. Peter does not understand that Jesus was demonstrating His servant leadership and was asking His disciples to serve each other in this way also. So when Peter objects, Jesus explains that if not, then Peter shall have no part of Him. Peter doesn’t yet understand that Jesus is referring to holiness, not hygiene (Message Bible). So of course, Peter who is all in with Jesus says please wash all of me. Jesus said it is not necessary since Peter has already had a bath and only needs his feet washed. Is Jesus now talking about hygiene? Jesus seems to be talking on different levels all at once.
So while Jesus is demonstrating how he wants his disciples to love and serve one another, I think he is also referring to forgiveness. As David wrote in Psalm 51:7 “wash me and I will be clean”. After we have done the wrong thing, sin makes us feel dirty and unclean. As Christians, when we sin this can be a hard thing to deal with. Personally, when I have sinned, I feel that I have gone back to being fully immersed in sin, as though I was not a Christian anymore. That I am back to where I was before I received Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. But the truth is when I first received Christ, I have “had a bath” and have been made totally clean. When I sin as a Christian, I just need to come to Jesus again and have my “feet washed” and I am totally clean again.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you allow me to come and have my feet washed. You allow me to come whenever I need to, to be made clean. Thank you for demonstrating your love to me in this way.
Written by Gab Martin
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Verse 47 is just so good…
If I hear Jesus’ words, and don’t follow them, he doesn’t judge me. He’s come to save me – not judge me.
But He has every right to judge me. He made me. He made everything. I’ve destroyed His creation – I’ve rejected Him. I’ve said to Him “I’m the boss of me! I know what’s best for me! Get out!” Yet He still extends His hand of acceptance and forgiveness to me. Why? How can this be possible? This is mercy that I can’t wrap my head around.
The problem though, is time. The time is coming when there will be no more time. When that happens there is a Judge – His verdict will be based on what I’ve decided to do with Jesus’ words. Whether I’ve accepted them or rejected them.
The question is time. What will I do right now? Will I run the gauntlet of time and hope I’ll choose to follow Jesus at the very end? (And forfeit the amazing life He had planned for me all along?) Or will I soften my heart today (see Duet 30:19) and say “ok Jesus”?
Jesus, I’m done with rejecting you. I am amazed at your mercy and patience with me. I choose to follow you today.
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
Jesus performed many miracles, but this did not in itself make believers of the people who saw the miracles. Sometimes I’ve thought, if only people could only see a miracle surely then they would believe in Jesus. Clearly this is not the case both then and now.
It’s also possible to read this passage and come to the conclusion that it was God who blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they couldn’t believe.
But as we see throughout the whole bible, God gives people over to the hardness of their hearts – He is not the cause of it.
This is what stands out to me today: If I continually close my eyes to the truth in any one area, there comes a time when I become so closed off that I simply cannot see the truth.
I have experienced in my own life – sometimes it takes a huge ‘wake-up call’ event to open my eyes to my own hardness of heart and to face the truth about myself.
Pride, fear of what others think of me…”for they loved human praise more than praise from God”, these are the things that lead to hard hearts and blind eyes.
God, help us to humble ourselves this day to see your truth, free from the fear of man, and to live honestly before You.
Written by Shelley Witt
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
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
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
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
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
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
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
PO Box 2744,
Carlingford NSW 2118
7:00 PM Youth Service
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118
Service times 9:30am & 5:30pm
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118