Who is Jesus? – Day 20

Deeper Devotional for Saturday, June 20, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John 8:31-59.

The dialogue today is intense and dramatic. Jesus speaks to those “who had believed Him.” Up until this point John has used belief as a statement of those who had by faith trusted in Christ. But this passage today is not the same, for Christ Himself makes the important distinction between those who believe what He has said as true and those who actually “abide” in all that He teaches (v. 31). To know that what Christ has said is true and yet not respond to Christ and His teaching puts a person in very dangerous company. (Read James 2:19.) To be trapped in the middle between knowing and yet not living a life in Christ is real bondage. Jesus speaks of it as bondage to sin.

Yet the audience protests. What a strange claim they make as descendants of Abraham. In life do they not know the bondage and oppression they are under to Rome, let alone spiritual bondage? Will Abraham save them?

Their second defense is that they are children of God. (The reference here to fornication comes from the Old Testament imagery of turning from God and seeking other gods as an act of adultery.) This Jesus refutes because He knew their true hearts and their attitudes toward Him.

In the end the people ask Him, “Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham?” He and the prophets died. How can you (Jesus) deliver people from death?

Jesus then “drops the bomb” with the words of God the Father Himself (Ex. 3:14). “Before Abraham was born, ‘I am.’” Jesus says, “I am,” not “I was.” He speaks an eternity of being, not merely a being which has lasted through several centuries.

It was clear; it could not be understood otherwise; Jesus was claiming to be God, and the people picked up stones to stone Him.

It has been said that at this point Jesus leaves the temple and symbolically abandons His own people and goes out to humanity and the man born blind (Chapter 9).

As you go through your day, pray that the Lord would reveal to you any sin in your life that you have not allowed Him to deal with. Don’t put it off. Don’t live under bondage.

Deeper Devotional for Saturday, June 20, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John 8:31-59.

The dialogue today is intense and dramatic. Jesus speaks to those “who had believed Him.” Up until this point John has used belief as a statement of those who had by faith trusted in Christ. But this passage today is not the same, for Christ Himself makes the important distinction between those who believe what He has said as true and those who actually “abide” in all that He teaches (v. 31). To know that what Christ has said is true and yet not respond to Christ and His teaching puts a person in very dangerous company. (Read James 2:19.) To be trapped in the middle between knowing and yet not living a life in Christ is real bondage. Jesus speaks of it as bondage to sin.

Yet the audience protests. What a strange claim they make as descendants of Abraham. In life do they not know the bondage and oppression they are under to Rome, let alone spiritual bondage? Will Abraham save them?

Their second defense is that they are children of God. (The reference here to fornication comes from the Old Testament imagery of turning from God and seeking other gods as an act of adultery.) This Jesus refutes because He knew their true hearts and their attitudes toward Him.

In the end the people ask Him, “Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham?” He and the prophets died. How can you (Jesus) deliver people from death?

Jesus then “drops the bomb” with the words of God the Father Himself (Ex. 3:14). “Before Abraham was born, ‘I am.’” Jesus says, “I am,” not “I was.” He speaks an eternity of being, not merely a being which has lasted through several centuries.

It was clear; it could not be understood otherwise; Jesus was claiming to be God, and the people picked up stones to stone Him.

It has been said that at this point Jesus leaves the temple and symbolically abandons His own people and goes out to humanity and the man born blind (Chapter 9).

As you go through your day, pray that the Lord would reveal to you any sin in your life that you have not allowed Him to deal with. Don’t put it off. Don’t live under bondage.

Who is Jesus? – Day 19

Deeper Devotional for Friday, June 19, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John 8:12-30.

In our reading today, we see the Pharisees asking the critical question of Jesus, which is the theme for this month’s series of devotionals. They ask Jesus, “Who are you?” It is the question that people have been asking as they meet Jesus. It is a question that the Apostle John has been answering throughout his narrative with his account of a number of “signs” and “testimonies.”

John has given us the preamble of this dialogue (John 1:4-5.) Jesus calls Himself the Light of the world (v.12). What kind of light is He talking about here? Those who have light can see. Those who have Him have life. How about the ability to see meaning and purpose in life? How could having a deeper relationship with Jesus give meaning and purpose to your life? Pray for the Lord to speak to you about this. Write down what ideas come to mind.

The Pharisees try to discount His words by accusing Him of being self-serving in His testimony. Yet Jesus uses the standards of their own law to support His statements and, at the same time, to validate His relationship with God the Father. It is also at this point that Jesus begins to introduce the fact that He will die on the cross for the sins of all who believe in Him and have put their faith in Him (v. 28). And “as Jesus spoke these things” the people believed.

Deeper Devotional for Friday, June 19, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John 8:12-30.

In our reading today, we see the Pharisees asking the critical question of Jesus, which is the theme for this month’s series of devotionals.  They ask Jesus, “Who are you?” It is the question that people have been asking as they meet Jesus. It is a question that the Apostle John has been answering throughout his narrative with his account of a number of “signs” and “testimonies.”

John has given us the preamble of this dialogue (John 1:4-5.) Jesus calls Himself the Light of the world (v.12). What kind of light is He talking about here? Those who have light can see. Those who have Him have life. How about the ability to see meaning and purpose in life? How could having a deeper relationship with Jesus give meaning and purpose to your life? Pray for the Lord to speak to you about this. Write down what ideas come to mind.

The Pharisees try to discount His words by accusing Him of being self-serving in His testimony. Yet Jesus uses the standards of their own law to support His statements and, at the same time, to validate His relationship with God the Father. It is also at this point that Jesus begins to introduce the fact that He will die on the cross for the sins of all who believe in Him and have put their faith in Him (v. 28). And “as Jesus spoke these things” the people believed.

Who is Jesus? – Day 18

Deeper Devotional for Thursday, June 18, 2009

This is one of the most amazing stories of God’s justice, grace and mercy. For God in Christ did not compromise His law, but equally showed mercy and grace to save the life of a woman. People were amazed at the wisdom that Jesus showed on a daily basis. He was always one step ahead of those who tried to trap Him. He knew the law better than they did. But most of all He knew the very heart of God.

Jesus changed the attention of the scribes (lawyers) and Pharisees from the women to themselves. “First examine yourself,” He says. It has been speculated that the woman was a prostitute and that Jesus began writing the names of her clients in the dirt on the ground. One-by-one the accusers all left.

Is Jesus’ response surprising to you? It shouldn’t be. The Apostle John had already told us why in John 3:17.

Do you have anything in your life that you believe God cannot forgive? That is simply not true. Jesus tells us otherwise in the story you read today.

Deeper Devotional for Thursday, June 18, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

The Apostle Paul makes a profound statement in Romans 3:23. It was a subtle, if  not secret, message that Jesus gave in today’s passage that saved the life of a woman. It is only secret because we, the readers, are not told what the message was.

Read John 8:1-11.

This is one of the most amazing stories of God’s justice, grace and mercy. For God in Christ did not compromise His law, but equally showed mercy and grace to save the life of a woman. People were amazed at the wisdom that Jesus showed on a daily basis. He was always one step ahead of those who tried to trap Him. He knew the law better than they did. But most of all He knew the very heart of God.

Jesus changed the attention of the scribes (lawyers) and Pharisees from the women to themselves. “First examine yourself,” He says. It has been speculated that the woman was a prostitute and that Jesus began writing the names of her clients in the dirt on the ground. One-by-one the accusers all left.

Is Jesus’ response surprising to you? It shouldn’t be. The Apostle John had already told us why in John 3:17.

Do you have anything in your life that you believe God cannot forgive? That is simply not true.  Jesus tells us otherwise in the story you read today.

Who is Jesus? – Day 17

Deeper Devotional for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John Chapter 7 to understand the debate that raged among the people as to who Jesus was. Note that even Jesus’ own brothers did not believe Him. What other famous character in the Old Testament do we know who had difficulty getting his brothers to believe that he was special in the eyes of God?

Hint:
This person also saved his people and the future of the nation of Israel.

What was confusing to the people about the cities of origin from which the
Messiah would come?

Again we see Nicodemus, in a cautious sort of way, attempt to defend Jesus without showing his hand.

If you had to defend Jesus (as an attorney in a court of law), how would you do it? Why was it so hard for the people to believe? Why is it hard for people today to believe in Jesus? Was it easier then or now to believe?

Deeper Devotional for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John Chapter 7 to understand the debate that raged among the people as to who Jesus was. Note that even Jesus’ own brothers did not believe Him. What other famous character in the Old Testament do we know who had difficulty getting his brothers to believe that he was special in the eyes of God?

Hint:
This person also saved his people and the future of the nation of Israel.

What was confusing to the people about the cities of origin from which the
Messiah would come?

Again we see Nicodemus, in a cautious sort of way, attempt to defend Jesus without showing his hand.

If you had to defend Jesus (as an attorney in a court of law), how would you do it?  Why was it so hard for the people to believe?  Why is it hard for people today to believe in Jesus?  Was it easier then or now to believe?

Who is Jesus? – Day 16

Deeper Devotional for Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:16-21.

These are the accounts of Jesus coming to the disciples, walking on the water. Again we see the power of Jesus over the created order of things. In each account the disciples are frightened, not of the wind and water but of Jesus. The image of Jesus walking across the water toward them seemed like a ghost. Only in Matthew’s account do we see the response of Peter.

What are your thoughts about Peter’s actions? What are your thoughts about Jesus and his responses to Peter? Was Peter’s doubt in Jesus or in himself?

When we doubt Christ, who do we doubt, him or ourselves? How far are we willing to walk with him? Pray that He would show you the areas of your life where you need to trust Him.

Write down what you observe.

Deeper Devotional for Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:16-21.

These are the accounts of Jesus coming to the disciples, walking on the water.  Again we see the power of Jesus over the created order of things.  In each account the disciples are frightened, not of the wind and water but of Jesus.  The image of Jesus walking across the water toward them seemed like a ghost.  Only in Matthew’s account do we see the response of Peter.

What are your thoughts about Peter’s actions?  What are your thoughts about Jesus and his responses to Peter?  Was Peter’s doubt in Jesus or in himself?

When we doubt Christ, who do we doubt, him or ourselves?  How far are we willing to walk with him? Pray that He would show you the areas of your life where you need to trust Him.

Write down what you observe.

Who is Jesus? – Day 15

Deeper Devotional for Monday, June 15, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John 6:1-15

Here again we read that Jesus provides another sign as to who He is. It is the well-known story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.
Imagine what it would be like as a part of this crowd.

Why are you here?

What do you seek?

The description here actually says that the crowd “kept on following Him” and that they wanted to see the next miracle that He would perform.

We are told that Jesus tests Philip by asking him how they are going to feed all these people. It quickly becomes apparent that there is not enough food. Andrew brings a young boy to Jesus with the loaves and fishes. The bread is barley, a coarse bread, the bread of the poor.

What Old Testament accounts come to mind as you read this?

(How about God feeding the Israelites manna in the wilderness?)

Some writers have tried to explain away this miracle by saying that the people shared what they had or everyone just took a little (like taking communion).

What do you see in the text that would tell you they are wrong and this truly is a miracle? Consider the following: the loaves and fishes are divided and given out after Jesus prays; the people are all actually filled; what about all the leftovers?

Jesus wants to teach His disciples (and us) something. Jump ahead and read 6:25-58. Can we really believe all that He says here? Can He provide for all our needs? Can we take Him at His word? Because of Him will we actually live forever as He says?

The sad thing is that the people of Jesus’ time missed the point of what was happening. Go back and read 6:14-15. It has been said that the irony of this passage is that He who is already King has come to open His kingdom to men; but in their blindness men try to force Him to be the kind of king they want; thus they fail to get the king they want and also lose the kingdom He offers.

Is this a danger for us as well? Spend some time praying about this. What does He say to you?

Deeper Devotional for Monday, June 15, 2009

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Read John 6:1-15

Here again we read that Jesus provides another sign as to who He is. It is the well-known story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

the place where Jesus fed the 5000
The place where Jesus fed the 5000

Imagine what it would be like as a part of this crowd.

Why are you here?

What do you seek?

The description here actually says that the crowd “kept on following Him” and that they wanted to see the next miracle that He would perform.

We are told that Jesus tests Philip by asking him how they are going to feed all these people.  It quickly becomes apparent that there is not enough food.  Andrew brings a young boy to Jesus with the loaves and fishes. The bread is barley, a coarse bread, the bread of the poor.

What Old Testament accounts come to mind as you read this?

(How about God feeding the Israelites manna in the wilderness?)

Some writers have tried to explain away this miracle by saying that the people shared what they had or everyone just took a little (like taking communion).

What do you see in the text that would tell you they are wrong and this truly is a miracle? Consider the following: the loaves and fishes are divided and given out after Jesus prays; the people are all actually filled; what about all the leftovers?

Jesus wants to teach His disciples (and us) something. Jump ahead and read 6:25-58. Can we really believe all that He says here? Can He provide for all our needs? Can we take Him at His word? Because of Him will we actually live forever as He says?

The sad thing is that the people of Jesus’ time missed the point of what was happening. Go back and read 6:14-15. It has been said that the irony of this passage is that He who is already King has come to open His kingdom to men; but in their blindness men try to force Him to be the kind of king they want; thus they fail to get the king they want and also lose the kingdom He offers.

Is this a danger for us as well?   Spend some time praying about this. What does He say to you?