Monday, January 30, 2017

John 13 – Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, predicts His betrayal, and predicts Peter’s denial

John 13:1-17 – Jesus Washes

Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him and He wanted to prepare His disciples for His death and resurrection.  He wanted them to know His love for them would never end.  He loves us the same way.  He came to earth and died for us because of His love for us.  Now, nothing can separate us from His love.

We all know that one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas betrayed Him.  The devil had already put into Judas’ heart the thought of betraying Jesus.  Yes, Satan can put thoughts into your head.  He can put thoughts of jealousy, greed, power, and the like.  But we have a choice and Judas had a choice.  He could have said, “No.  I will not betray Jesus.”  Then he could have asked God to help him not to submit to such evil thoughts.  But we know this was not God’s plan.

It was just before Passover and Jesus knew His time had come to leave this world.  He was going to prove how much He loved people.  Jesus already knew the devil prompted Judas to betray Him, but He knew God had put all things under His power and that He would be returning to God.  Jesus also knew that Peter would deny Him and all the disciples would desert Him. 

Jesus and the disciples were finishing their evening meal when Jesus began washing the disciples’ feet.  Peter didn’t understand and asked why Jesus was doing this.  I am pretty sure they were all shocked and Peter probably said what the others were thinking, but were afraid to say.  Jesus told him that he didn’t realized exactly what He was doing, but would later understand.  Peter said, “No, you shall never wash my feet.” John 13:8a.  Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”John 13:8b.    Then Peter told Jesus to wash not only his feet, but his hands and head as well.  Jesus said a person who has had a bath need only to wash his feet and you are clean though one of you is not.  The unclean one He was talking about was Judas.

Jesus told them He has set the example and they were now to wash one another’s feet.  He was showing them how to behave.  “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”John 13:15-17.

The picture of needing to have their dirty feet washed shows the need of cleansing from sin.  We all have dirty feet and need Jesus to wash them.  It shows humility.  Washing someone’s feet was an act of the lowest slave in a household.  Jesus took this lowly place as a servant.  He wants us to serve each other.  We are to be humble and not proud of our service.

If we want to belong to Jesus, we must let Him take away our sins.  Sin makes us dirty inside and His blood removes that sin.  Only His blood can make us clean.  Christians still sin sometimes, because we are only human and certainly not perfect.  We need ongoing cleansing, because we walk in a sinful world and our feet get dirty.  We need Jesus to wash our dirty feet and remove sin.  So we should say we are sorry and ask for forgiveness. 

We all are guilty sinners in need of cleansing.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”Rom. 3:23.

Do you consistently follow Christ’s example of humble service?
Do you consistently come to Him for cleansing from sins?

Principle:  Humility recognizes that no task is beneath us to do for Christ’s sake.

John 13:18-30 – Jesus Predicts

Jesus told the disciples that one of them was going to betray Him.  He used words from Ps. 41:9 – “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”    

The disciples looked at one another in wonder of who He meant.  John, the one Jesus loved asked Jesus if it was him.  Jesus said, “It is the one whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”John 13:26.  Then Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas.  When He did this, Satan entered Judas.  Jesus told Judas whatever you are going to do, do it quickly.  Judas took the bread and left.

Satan knew Jesus was the Son of God and he wanted to kill Him.  He thought he could stop God’s plan, but of course he could not. 

Judas heard Jesus preach and teach.  He saw His miracles.  He saw Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead.  It was money and greed that clouded Judas’s judgment.  His heart became hardened.  The devil put in his heart to betray Jesus and Judas gave in.  Later Judas felt remorse, but did not repent.  He threw away his betrayal money and hanged himself.

How and when have you betrayed Jesus?
How has Satan tempted you to doubt Christ?
What are some ways you can fight temptation?

John 13:31-38 – Peter Denies

When Judas had gone, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.”John 13:31.  Jesus knew Judas was going to the Jewish leaders and that He would die soon and be made alive again.  This would bring glory to God.  The disciples didn’t understand this.  Jesus would go to heaven and they could not follow at that time.  He knew this would make them sad.  Later Jesus explained how they would have the Holy Spirit to help them.

Jesus told the disciples to love each other another as He had loved them.  He showed just how much He loved them by His death.  He became a sacrifice on our behalf.  He willingly suffered the punishment that we deserve.

Peter asked where Jesus was going and wanted to follow, but Jesus told him he couldn’t until later.  Peter said he would lay down his life for Jesus.  But Jesus said Peter would disown Him 3 times before the rooster crows.  Peter thought he was fully committed to Jesus, which he was in many ways.  Jesus knew all the disciple would flee for their lives when He was arrested.  Still Jesus loved them and restored them and used them after His resurrection.

When have you run from Christ?

It’s easy to make promises to God when we don’t have trouble in our lives.  God knows our hearts and whether we are sincere.  We don’t really know what we’ll do in a difficult situation.  But if we do mess up, He will forgive us.To truly remain loyal to Him we need to stay in His Word and trust Him to guide us.  We must stay faithful in the small things as well as the large ones.  We must live our lives to please God.

When have you broken a promise to God?

Jesus loved His disciples.  He was committed to Peter and the other disciples in spite of their failure.  He didn’t reject them because of it.  He showed His love by restoring them and using them after His resurrection. 

Love can be costly.  It can mean we have to sacrifice our selfishness for others.  We are to see others as Christ sees them and become more like Him.  You don’t have to like a person to love them.  You don’t have to be their best friend and spend all your time with them.  Even Jesus spent more time with Peter, James and John than the other disciples.  But He loved them all the same.  Jesus loved His enemies even though they were constantly trying to kill Him.  “Love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt. 5:44.  This kind of love requires effort.

Who do you need to show the love of Christ?

Principle:  Jesus showed His love through service and sacrifice.

Next week we will study John 14.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

John 12

 John 12:1-11 – Jesus’ Anointing

Jesus knew His time was coming to an end so He spent time with His friends at the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.  (Remember last time Lazarus had died and Jesus raised him from the dead.)  While they were reclining at a dinner, Mary took a pint of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet.  She then wiped His feet with her hair.  Somehow she realized His end was near and she wanted to honor Him.  She wanted to show her gratitude and love in the midst of all the rejection and hatred He faced.  She poured this precious and costly ointment on Him as a token of honor and worship.

Mary loved Jesus and wanted to spend time with Him.  She was in awe and had deep gratitude for Him raising her brother to life.  She showed unselfish love and worship of Him when she poured the expensive perfume on His feet.  We can show our love and gratitude to Jesus by spending more time with Him in prayer and in His Word.  We can be less selfish and think more of others than ourselves.

When have you done something extravagant not thinking of yourself, but thinking of another?
Do you treasure Jesus more than your stuff?

One of the disciples, Judas Iscariot was there along with all the other disciples.  He was the accountant of the group and was in charge of the money.  When Mary used this expensive perfume on Jesus, Judas became very angry.  He spoke up and said she could have used this money for the poor instead of wasting it on Jesus.  He really didn’t care about the poor.  He just loved money.  I think he was planning on betraying Jesus all along and this was all he could take.  His greed finally showed through.  This perfume costs as much as a year’s wages and he could have used it for his own pocket.

Jesus told him to “Leave her alone.  It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12:7-8.  Perfume was poured over a dead body before the body was put in the grave.  When she did this she was prophesying about Jesus’ death, even though she may have not realized it.  Jesus acknowledged Mary’s actions and her faith.  She knew Jesus was worthy of worship.

The Jews found out where Jesus was so the chief priest made plans to kill not only Jesus, but Lazarus as well.  With Lazarus’s testimony that Jesus raised him from the dead, many people would put their faith in Jesus and they surely didn’t want that.

Principle:  A life spent in selfless devotion to Jesus is not wasted.

John 12:12-19 – Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

Many people had seen Lazarus come out of the grave and the news quickly spread.  A large crown followed Jesus as He entered Jerusalem for the Passover.  They greeted Him as their Messiah and shouted “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the King of Israel!!”John 12:13.  His disciples didn’t understand this until after Jesus was glorified. 

This is a good lesson and an encouragement for us.  The disciples didn’t understand until later.  We don’t always get it either until later. 

Jesus rode into the city on a young donkey as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Jesus came in peace.  He came on a donkey, which is a symbol of peace.  He came to give eternal peace to you and me.  The second time He comes will not be in peace.  He will come on a white horse to judge and defeat evil.

Many people who greeted Him didn’t remain loyal to Him and later didn’t try to prevent His death.  They would even shout, “Crucify him!” John 19:15.  The Pharisees were very worried that He was so popular.

Why do you follow Jesus?
Do you follow Him because of what He can do for you or because He is who is says He is – God’s Anointed One?
How are you making Him Lord and King of your life?

Principle:  Fulfilled prophecies prove that Jesus is the Messiah.

John 12:20-36 – Jesus’ Hour

Some Greeks came to Philip asked to see Jesus.  They wanted to know Him.  Philip told Andrew and they told Jesus.  Jesus knew He would suffer and they would kill Him in the cruelest way.

Jesus spoke of “the hour”.  What did He mean by “the hour”?
The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (John 12:23)
His hour of personal suffering had come (John 12:27-30). 
It was the hour of the world’s judgment and the world’s prince will be driven out (John 12:31) – This is speaking of the ruler of the world, the devil who was defeated by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
At this hour He will be lifted up to draw all men to Him (John 12:32-33). 

Jesus said, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor and the one who serves me.” – John 12:25-26.  To lose your life is to give up your selfish desires and put your lives to death.  Not physical death, but allow Christ to grow in you.  This doesn’t mean you are not to enjoy life, but live to serve God and not live for your own pleasures.  We should want what Jesus wants and let Him control our lives.

Why should you hate your life?  To follow Jesus, you must not love your life in this world.  People who are without Jesus in this world live for material things.  They want power and are greedy and want more and more stuff.  They want anything that they think will make them happy.  Their goals and desires are focused on self.  To hate your live is the same thing as denying yourself and taking up your cross daily to follow Jesus.  It means living for God’s glory and His purposes.  We submit our thoughts, our words, and our deeds to Jesus.  Our motivation is to serve Jesus.

Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him, but He always gave God the glory.  “Father, glorify your name!”John 12:28a.  “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’”John 12:28b.  When the crowd heard this, some said it had thundered while others said it was an angel speaking.

This was the 2nd  time God spoke.  1st He spoke when Jesus was baptized saying, “This is my So, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”Matt. 4:17.  The 3rd  time was at His transfiguration in Matt. 17:5.

Jesus told His disciple that they would have Him only a little longer.  Soon His time on earth as a man would end.  Jesus told us in chapter 9 that He was the Light.  He told them to put their trust in the Light while He was here.

Principle:  To see Jesus and His glory, look to the cross.

John 12:37-50 – Continued Unbelief

Jesus had done all these miracles, but still many didn’t believe in Him.  They couldn’t believe because, “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn – and I would heal them.”John 12:40.  In Isaiah’s day people were hardened because knew God’s laws, but refused to life right.

People today refused the truth and it becomes impossible for them to believe.  Their hearts and minds are closed and God allows these people to remain this way which is a result of their own choice.  To reject the truth is to reject God.  There were leaders who did believe in Jesus, but because of the Pharisees they wouldn’t confess their faith.  They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.  Some Christians today also like the praises of men and they think if they talk about Jesus and tell others, people will reject them.

Are you shamed of your belief in the gospel?
Do you fear the opinions of other?
Are you embarrassed by your faith?

Jesus repeated the most important parts of His message.  God sent Him to earth and He is the Light.  He gave them a choice to believe in Him.  He said if you reject Him, the Word of God will be your judge.  When the end comes, there will not be any excuse for rejecting Jesus.  The Word will judge and condemn all who reject Him.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.”Acts 16:31.

Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but the one who sent me.  When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”John 21:44-45.  Jesus crying out shows He is strongly appealing to the people.  He wants them to pay attention to these truths.  He and the Father are one.  To deny Jesus is to deny the one true God.  A world without Christ is in spiritual and moral darkness.  Jesus is the Light and has come to save the world.

“There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him on the last day.” John 12:48.  There will be a last day and it will be a day of judgment.  Jesus wants all who reject Him to be aware of that day.  He gives a final notice of the coming judgment and is appealing to those who don’t believe.  Don’t ignore Jesus’ final notice!

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
Do you know where you will spend eternity?

Principle:  Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved for all eternity.

Next week we will study John 13.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

John 11

John 11:1-44– Lazarus’ Death and Resurrection

Lazarus lived in Bethany with his sisters Mary and Martha.  The sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick.  Jesus said this sickness will not end in death, but it would show God’s glory so His son, Jesus would be glorified.  Jesus loved this family, but He delayed going to them for 2 days.  He knew there was a greater purpose for Lazarus’ sickness.  He told them Lazarus was dead and that they should all go there so they would believe.  Then after the 2 days Jesus went to Lazarus’s side even though the Jews were still trying to kill Him. (John 11:1-16)

Mary and Martha had strong faith in Jesus and had seen the miracles He had performed.  They knew He could help their brother.  However, Jesus didn’t do what they expected.  He didn’t go to them immediately as they had requested.  Jesus knew Lazarus would be dead and that He would perform another miracle and make him alive again.  This would show many people His power over life and death.

Sometimes we ask God to do something and it seems He does nothing.  We think our prayer wasn’t heard.  God doesn’t always answer our prayers immediately.  He knows what’s best for us and He knows when it’s the right time.  When He does act, it brings Him glory.

When have you waited for God to answer your prayer and then when He did, it was not what you expected?

When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead and in the tomb for 4 days.  Many people had come to comfort Mary and Martha.  Martha went to meet Jesus.  Martha told Jesus that if He had been there Lazarus would not have died.  Jesus told her that her brother will rise again.  She thought He was talking about the resurrection at the last day.  “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’” – John 11:25-26.

Jesus wants us to look through our grief and tears to Him as the resurrection and the life and answer the same question He asked Mary: “Do you believe this?”

Jesus was talking about the present as well as the future.  Anyone who believes in Jesus receives eternal life.  Martha had faith and she knew Jesus’ words were true.

Mary came out to meet Jesus and wept.  She told Him that if He had been there Lazarus would not have died.  Jesus saw her and the others weeping.  He experienced deep feelings and grief for them and He wept.  He knows that one day all our tears will be wiped away, but still He sympathizes with us in our sorrows. (John 11:32-35)

Do you come to Jesus and share your feelings with Him?

Jesus deals with each of us according to our personality to teach us what we need to grow in every trial.  As a parent we know that each of our children is different and we teach them individually and we do it in a way where they can best learn a lesson.  We should be sensitive to the unique personality of others.  Some may need words of encouragement and others may need us to just cry with them.  Jesus teaches us exactly how and what we need to learn. 

What trial has God used to teach you the most?

The people didn’t believe Jesus could do anything after Lazarus had died.  They knew about His other miracles, but didn’t believe He would bring Lazarus back to life.  Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus was and asked that the stone be taken away.  Martha said that he had been dead for 4 days and there would be a bad odor.  Jesus encouraged her to have faith.

Jesus prayed so the people could hear Him.  “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  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.”John 11:41-42  Then Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out!” John 11:43.  Lazarus, the dead man came out.  He was still wrapped with linens.  Jesus told him to take off the grave clothes.

Jesus delayed His visit proved His power and His promise of resurrection for us all.  Without the resurrection we have no hope.  With it we can have assurance that nothing is impossible for God.   With God all is subject to His timing.  He really did not delay.  It’s our timing that is wrong.  His timing is perfect.

How does this power comfort you as you wait for the resurrection?

When has Jesus done something for you that you did not expect?
Do you pray expecting Jesus to answer?

John 11:45-57 – The Plot the Kill Jesus

Some of the people who had come to visit Mary and Martha put their faith in Jesus.  Some went to the religious authorities and told them what He had done.  Maybe they thought this would prove to them that Jesus was the Messiah.  After all they were waiting for the Messiah who would free them from Roman oppression. 

But this caused the authorities to worry even more.  Jesus’ miracles were getting bigger and better and soon everyone would believe.  This might cause more trouble with the Roman government. 

Caiaphas, the high priest said it would be better for one man to die than for all the Jewish nation to be punished.  So they plotted to kill Jesus.  Caiaphas didn’t realize that he was speaking a prophecy that Jesus would die for the all people. (John 11:49-53)

We should learn that you cannot frustrate God or change His purpose.  You can oppose Him and it may seem that you are succeeding in your attempt.  They killed Jesus, but God is going to win and all who oppose Him will lose.  You can be opening hostile toward Him or just plain neutral, but to be neutral is to be unbelieving.

What are you doing about Jesus?
Do you oppose Him?
Are you neutral toward Him?
Do you believe in Him as Lord and Savior?

God lets us wait for His perfect timing.
Jesus leaves no doubt about His power.
No one can change God’s purposes.
Greater purpose in all things both good and bad is the glory of God.

Next week we will study John 12.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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