Category Archives: John

Entire Message of Jesus Spelled Out in The Message Translation of John 3:16-21

I love, love, love how The Message translation of the Bible phrases John 3:16-21! It tells the entire message of Jesus to people who don’t know him yet, as well as to people who do:

16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

19-21 “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

Life of Jesus 1

John 1:1-18

No parallel verses.

Pre-Existence of Jesus

Questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

Summary of reading

This passage packs a lot of significant revelation into a very small passage about the nature of Jesus and his purpose! It talks about Jesus being God, being involved in Creation of the universe, and sitting next to God the Father in heaven. Jesus is described as being the light which overpowers darkness, one who came into the world as a human, yet was rejected by the people he primarily came to save, though some believed and received him. We also learn that John the Baptist came to witness to who Jesus was.

Devotions based on reading

Omae-Zaki Light House at Sunrise
John 1:1-3 (The Word was God).

John 1:5,10-11 (The World Did Not Receive Him).

John 1:12 (It’s Easy to Become a Child of God).

John 1:14 (Full of Grace and Truth).

John 1:16 (Grace Upon Grace).

John 1:17 (Jesus Brings Grace and Truth).

This is part of a devotional on the Life of Jesus, based on a study using the Harmony of the Gospels. The full listing can be found under the menu 90 Days with Jesus.

Next in the Life of Jesus study.

Three Power Tools for Deeper Intimacy with God

doveSometimes mashups (mixing together of 2 ideas that normally don’t fit) can lead to important insights. The other day, I was reading one of my favorite passages, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). At the same time, I was thinking about a quote from Danny Silk’s book “Keep Your Love On.” In it, he was discussing how to maintain and build relationships without being controlling in those relationships.

Then the light came on for me. What if this short passage from 1 Thessalonians wasn’t written because God likes it when we acknowledge his greatness? What if the real purpose of this passage is to give us the secret of establishing and maintaining an intimate walk with God?!

Continue reading

You Can Do Greater Things than Jesus Did — My Verses for Sun, Jul 27 (John 14:12-13)

“‘I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.'” John 14:12-13 (NLT)

Don’t Stay Condemned, Believe, and Receive Salvation — My Verses for Sat, Jun 7 (John 3:17-18)

“‘God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.'” John 3:17-18 (NIV)

Following Jesus Requires Coloring Outside the Lines (John 4:35)

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” — John 4:35 (ESV)

straw-165106_640I’m sure a Samaritan village would not have looked like a harvest field to a bunch of good Jewish guys like the disciples! Even Jesus told them that he himself was called to reach Israel, and in fact told them to only preach to Jewish people when he sent them out two-by-two to practice. Yet here, Jesus is clearly saying that this Samaritan village is ripe for harvest — and by implication, they were going to harvest that field.

Life with Jesus involves coloring outside the lines! Rules were meant to be broken and boundaries were meant to be crossed — as long as one is following the heart of God. And the heart of God is for people to be saved and set free — to be able to enter into the glorious freedom of knowing God intimately and to worship freely.

Following Jesus often requires changing plans on a moment’s notice. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Galilee. This was at best a place to change planes, but not to have an extended layover. Yet Jesus noted how thirsty the people were and how receptive they were to him, and in such a place ripe for the picking, he knew the Father’s heart was for him to change plans and be about the Father’s business.

We must learn to sense both the Father’s heart and the spiritual ripeness of places, and be able to adjust based on what we see and hear. This is how amazing and miraculous things happen — but it requires laying down or at least postponing what it is we think we are doing for God-laden opportunities before us.

Changed People Change People (John 4:29,39)

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” — John 4:29,39 (ESV)

happy-286228_640_woman_India_cropI see repeated a theme throughout the stories of people who met Jesus, that those who were the biggest losers — the ones with the most demons, the ones with the most sins, the ones who were despised and rejected by others — it is those who, when they find hope and freedom in Jesus, become the biggest lovers of Jesus, the best witnesses for him, those who untiringly give all they have in gratitude.

This is the story we see played out here in these two verses. The woman is so taken by the words of Jesus that she has to go and tell others. Keep in mind that she was likely a social outcast, indicated by her visit to the well in the heat of the day, when no one else was around. You wouldn’t expect an outcast to have influence, unless there was something discernibly different about that person that would cause others to take notice. Maybe it was simply her subject matter. Maybe no one ever heard her say anything about God before — or maybe only negative things — and now she can’t keep quiet about God and the man at the well.

Note that some of the people didn’t even need to see Jesus for themselves. This woman’s testimony was so powerful that they believed in Jesus because of it. People want to share amazing blessings with others, but this woman perhaps was also expressing her gratitude for Jesus touching her life by sharing the love she received with others.

But for someone to believe in the Messiah, it takes more than a good sales pitch — people respond to what seems genuine to them, and there is no bigger testimony to something being genuine than your life being noticeably changed. Changed people change people. Firstly, because whatever caused the change in their life becomes their primary motivator for life. And secondly, because a visible change is the ultimate stamp of credibility.

We can be changed like that, but it entails understanding what we were without Jesus, then realizing what we are with Jesus, and finally letting that bubble up in gratitude and praise.

Jesus Claims to be the Messiah (John 4:25-26)

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” — John 4:25-26 (ESV)

well_at_cathedral-164322_640As Jesus and a Samaritan woman that he met at the town well discuss things about God, she speaks of her belief that one day the Messiah will come into the world. This is interesting of itself, because it is clear in other passages that the Jewish people were waiting for the Messiah, but here we see that at least one Samaritan (a mixed race people that had Jewish influence from centuries before) also believed that the Messiah would come.

There were multiple expectations for the Messiah at the time, but they included that he would be a king, would save people from their oppression, would be holy, and would be sent from God. In the words of the Samaritan woman, her expectation of the Messiah included him being a great prophet. She mentioned that aspect of the Messiah, probably not because the idea had entered her mind that Jesus was the Messiah, but as a conversation extender, since Jesus was clearly a prophet, having just revealed to her that she had already had five husbands, and was living with another guy — and that it was interesting to note that he shared a gift that the Messiah would have.

Now what is really startling here is that Jesus comes right out and tells her that he is the Messiah that she (and presumably the other Samaritan’s) had been waiting for. Around Jewish people, Jesus was a lot more careful what he would say about himself. But not here: he just comes right out and says it.

A lot of people today think that it is accurate to consider Jesus to be a great teacher or perhaps a great prophet. But in this particular passage, we see that it would be wrong to think of Jesus only in that way. Jesus himself claimed to be more than that — he claimed to be the Messiah, someone sent from God to be a king, to set people free.

Given that he was crucified without becoming a king on this earth and without setting people free, except for the ones that were healed by his prayer, he was clearly wrong… Unless the claims of his followers about him are correct: that he rose from the dead; that he remained in bodily form on the earth for several weeks; that he ascended to heaven; and that he rules and reigns from there.

Because if the claim that Jesus made about himself being the Messiah is not true, then we must think of Jesus — as C.S. Lewis has eloquently written — as a deluded person, or a liar, but in any case not as a great prophet or teacher or holy man. It is left, then, is for each person to decide. Which is he to you?