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Showing posts from April, 2019

“TETELESTAI”

BIBLE READING: John 19
I have never been one to wear jewelry. Although, I do wear my wedding ring on the third finger of my left hand.I also wear my apple watch that allows me to keep up with my steps, answer my texts, talk on the phone and oh yeah…it tells me the time.I also wear a bracelet on my wrist on my right arm.It isn’t made of gold, silver or titanium, but on rubber.It is brown in color and contains one word written in all caps in white letters that says, “TETELESTAI”.I can’t tell you how many people have asked me about this bracelet and its meaning.The word “Tetelestai” is the perfect tense of the Greek verb “teleo” which is derived from telos (a goal achieved, a consummation, a result attained) and means to bring something to a successful end to or to its intended or destined goal. It does not mean just to complete a task but to carry it out fully, to bring it to the finish or to perfection. It is only one word, but in our English, it is translated into three very important …

“Pilate”

BIBLE READING: John 18                 Talk about being between a rock and a hard place; Pilate was stuck right in the middle of T-R-O-U-B-L-E. On one side, he has an uprising of the Jews in the making, just waiting on Him to decide concerning Jesus.  On the other side, he has his wife. Matthew 27.19 tells us that she is highly encouraging him to do nothing with Jesus because He is innocent.  Now I don’t know about you, but I would rather face an uprising of the Jews instead of having my wife upset with me.  As Pilate investigates and then deliberates, one might get the impression that Jesus was having an effect on him.  In John 18.38, Pilate says to the crowd of the Jews, “I find no guilt in Him…”. The word guilt means “cause” or “logical accusation”.  It must have been very difficult for Him to understand why these Jews were so adamant about getting rid of this man.  I am not suggesting that Pilate’s time spent with Jesus was what one might consider pleasant, but I do feel as though …

“Dual Residence”

BIBLE READING: John 13-17
In John 16.20, Jesus said to His Disciples, “Truly, truly I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy”.We already know specifically the context about what Jesus is telling His disciples.He knows that by being placed on the cross, the world will rejoice because they will not understand what is truly happening.Yet, for the eleven (the Twelve, minus Judas), they will be in mourning due to the death of their friend, their Rabbi, their Master.However, the sorrow that they will experience will be very short lived because of the resurrection that will take place in a matter of days.Although Jesus is being very specific to the context of what is about to happen, I believe these words offer hope to us today as well.As residents of this physical world, we have to deal with many negative stimuli; sickness, pain, rejection, depression, death, anxiety and I could go on and on. Yet for the bel…

“The Unselfishness of Jesus”

BIBLE READING: John 17
Matthew records Jesus saying, “My soul is very sorrowful…” (Matthew 26.38).Mark adds that Jesus was “greatly distressed and troubled” (Mark 14.33).Luke takes it a step farther and says He was “in agony…and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22.44).However, as Jesus is at possibly the weakest point of His ministry, He begins to beg the Father to let this cup of anguish pass from Him.John… says nothing; he makes no mention of any sorrow, distress or agony.Yet what John does record should be viewed as priceless to us today.Where Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the events that led up to Jesus praying in the Garden, John records some of the words of the prayer.As you read this portion of Scripture, remember these were the words that Jesus Christ uttered to the Father just moments before He was arrested and led away to be crucified.The most interesting thing about this prayer is that while He was in agony and greatly troubled…

“Overcoming the World”

BIBLE READING: John 16
As Jesus prepares to leave the upper room with His disciples, He leaves them with some very challenging, yet comforting news.“I have said these things to you that in Me you shall have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the word” (John 16.33).Jesus was correct; every one of these Disciples will face a great deal of tribulation in their lives as they live for the sake of the cross.According to tradition, ten men in that room will die a cruel death for the sake of Jesus.The only one that is with them that does not die under persecution is John, however, He does endure tribulation.Jesus knows that all this world holds for them is pain, suffering and tribulation.However, if they remain in His love, it doesn’t matter what this world can do to them because in Him, they will have peace.Furthermore, Jesus reminds them that in the end…if He was able to overcome all the tribulation and persecution that the world had for Him, then…

“Our Basic Needs”

BIBLE READING: John 15
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating a chart that defined a hierarchy of human needs.At his foundational level were those physiological needs that must be met for survival, such as food, water and shelter.However, as you progressed on his charts, you found other basic needs that human beings must have to survive, like comfort, safety and stability.These levels progress until we reach the final level he calls, “Self Actualization”.It is at this point of Self-actualization that we realize our personal potential, our self-fulfillment, and as Maslow said, to desire “to become everything one is capable of becoming.”In the middle of this hierarchy is our need to love and be loved, which doesn’t come as a surprise to any of us, nor is it a surprise to Jesus.Jesus was well aware of the unknown that His disciples are facing in John 15.These are the final moments that Jesus will have with His disciples before His departure and we alre…

“The Impressive Patience of Jesus”

BIBLE READING: John 14
                The more I look at the life of Christ, I am in awe of His Power, His Deity and how He handled going through with this His sacrifice.  Yet as I continue to study, I continue to be impressed by His patience.  Let me explain what I mean by using a personal story.  My two boys love to play X-box with their friends.  Unlike when I was a kid, when all you needed was a console, a game and a controller, now you have to have a console, game, controller, a high speed internet service and a fancy headset that allows you to talk and listen to you fellow gamers as you play.  These headsets usually cost anywhere from $20-$200, so it is imperative that you take care of them, so they don’t break.  Even though these things are expensive, they are impressive due to all their bells and whistles that are included.  One of the hidden amenities of the headset that we purchase, is the fact that somewhere in the production process of these headsets, they marinate the pie…

“A Night That They Will Never Forget”

BIBLE READING: John 13    They had participated in Passover their entire life.  Ever since they were young boys, they could recall the events that took place with their families as they recounted the events of the Passover Meal in Exodus 13.  Little did they know that this Passover meal would be one that they would carry with them the rest of their lives.  What made it so different you might ask; well for starters this would be the last Passover they would get to share with Jesus.  As they began that evening, they could tell that something was different about Jesus.  It was obvious that He had a lot on His mind; in just a few hours He would be arrested in the Garden and carried away to be crucified.  There was so much that Jesus wanted to tell them before his hour arrived. Yet, what He did may have been the image that was burned within their minds.  After supper, Jesus stood up, took off His outer garments, girded Himself with a towel and began to pour water in basin. He then knelt and…

“The Cross”

BIBLE READING: John 8-12
In John 12 as His hour is quickly approaching, Jesus said “Now is the judgement of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.And I, when I am lifted from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to show by what kind of death He was to die.” (John 12.31-33.)This is by no means the first time Jesus alluded to His being placed on a cross. In John 3, as He is speaking with Nicodemus, He compares His being lifted on the cross to the bronze serpent in the wilderness.Of all deaths to endure, crucifixion seems to be the most humiliating for a criminal. Intended to be used to make a statement and public mockery of the one on the cross.Why? Why of the things that a Christian could hold dear to, do we hold the cross in high regard?In his book “The Jesus I Never Knew”, Phillip Yancy notes that other world religions are known for their brightly painted images and statues. Yet at the center of Christianity, rests this cross – simple, stark, and…

“Maintaining Purpose”

BIBLE READING: John 12
I have always wondered how Jesus could be willing to endure all the suffering that He had to face in His life.It must have been difficult to endure, knowing all that had to take place for the will of God to be accomplished.He certainly had to be driven to not just throw up His hands and quit.Where did He find the strength?Where did He find the encouragement and motivation to endure so much?Someone once said, “Motivation is found when purpose is discovered”.If that statement is true, then John 12.27 records for us where Jesus received His motivation.It reads “Now is my soul troubled.And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. (John 12.27) The same can be said of us today. When we find our purpose, the motivations take care of itself.Christ’s purpose was to submit to the will of the Father, what is yours?Find it, use it and “glorify” Him as you fulfill what your destiny will be.


“Raising the Dead”

BIBLE READING: John 11
The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead has always been one of the most exciting of Jesus’ miracles.Just imagine what it must have been like to hear Jesus say “Lazarus, come out.”I bet there was utter silence as the crowd waited to see if Lazarus would rise.Afterall, he had been dead for four days and as the King James Versions noted “Behold, he stinketh.” When I was a kid, I can remember an old minster preaching a sermon about Lazarus’ resurrection.He said that the words of Jesus were so powerful that if Jesus had not specifically called Lazarus by name, all the tombs would have opened.That may very well be true.However, we do have assurance that when He returns in His second coming, all the dead will rise.On that day every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord of all.If you thought those standing by in Bethany that day were unprepared, just imagine how many will be unprepared on Judgement Day.Let’s make sure His second coming …

“More Abundantly”

BIBLE READING: John 10
So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”(John 10:7-10) A thief is the epitome of selfishness.They take whatever they want with no consideration for those that they are taking from.Jesus tells us very simply “That’s not Me!” The entire time that Christ spent on this earth, He spent as a giver.He gave…in just leaving His home in heaven to come down to live as a man.He gave His time on earth to accomplish the purpose that His Father had given Him to do.Finally, He gave the ultimate gift by sacrificing His own life for us to be able to have access to the Father.Yet for His greatest gift, He saved it for last in His promise of eterna…

“True Blindness”

BIBLE READING: John 9
The Word of God is so rich in the lessons, it can teach us even when we are not expecting it.In the reading for today, Jesus heals a man that has been blind since birth.This man had never been able to experience the gift of sight that we so often take for granted.The miracle gets the attention of the Jews as they notice the man who had formerly been a blind beggar, now walking around being able to experience sight. This miracle also faced a great deal of criticism because Jesus had healed this man on the Sabbath day, which according to the religious leaders was a blatant disregard for the Law of Moses.As the Council sought to understand how this man had received his sight, they had decided that if anyone had attributed this miracle to Jesus, they would be kicked out of the synagogue.After much deliberation, they label the former blind man a sinner and expel him from the synagogue.Realizing what had happened, Jesus sought out the man and introduces Himself to him a…

“Memory Loss”

BIBLE READING: John 8
It amazes me how quickly people forget some things.As Jesus is educating the Jews about Him being the “Light of the World”, He reminds those who had believed Him that if they abide in His word that “they will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” (John 8.31-32).Freedom is not really something that we can appreciate until we understand what it means to be enslaved.Maybe that is why the Jew’s response has somewhat troubled me, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, you will become free?” (John 8.33) How can they be serious?I understand that their inheritance from being a child of Abraham carried an awful lot of weight and prestige, but the children of Abraham have been enslaved many times.First, how could a devout Jew have forgotten about their bondage in Egypt?Next, how could they have overlooked their captivity by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.Then, as they were all looking for the promised Messi…

“CANNIBAL CHRISTIANITY?”

BIBLE READING: John 3-7 Did you know that the one of the earliest criticisms of the early church was that Christians were cannibals?It was so rampant among unbelievers in the second century that men like Justin Martyr in 150 A.D. had to refute it publicly.Then a few decades later Tertullian had to address it as well.The criticism was rooted in what Jesus said in John 6 concerning those people that had followed him over to Capernaum following the miracle of loaves and fish.These people had followed in hopes of receiving another free meal. Yet Jesus rebukes them by telling them that the true food they need to eat is His flesh, and the true drink is His blood.This just isn’t something Jesus said in passing either, in fact He repeats this John 6.51,53,54,55,56 and 58.Jesus is so adamant about it because He wants them to grasp the true concept of who and what He is in relation to Moses and the prophets.What does Jesus mean here?Is Jesus alluding to communion?It could be…because the saved do…

“WE CAN’T AFFORD TO GIVE UP”

BIBLE READING: John 7
No one likes to be accused of doing something that they didn’t do.In the case of Jesus, He is no different.From the moment He began His ministry till the moment He ascended back into heaven, all He had done was good.He had never defrauded anyone, never taking advantage of anyone, He had not even committed one sin.Yet, the people that should have recognized who He was, are the very people that are accusing Him of breaking the Law.If Jesus did anything, it was upset the religious leaders of the day.Because of all the attention He was getting, there were some that were accusing Him of leading the people astray.Can you believe that, accusing Jesus of leading people away from God?Not only did He not lead them astray, it would have been impossible for Him to do so since He Himself was God.Of all the people to be accusing Jesus, these people had no right.In the reading for today, Jesus had been accused of breaking the law of the Sabbath day by healing the lame man from t…

“That Look in His Eyes…”

BIBLE READING: John 6
It had all the makings of nice quiet time in the mountains.Jesus sits down with His disciples with the back drop of the beautiful cascading mountains on one side of them, and the peaceful scenery of the Sea of Galilee on the other.One might have thought this would be a great opportunity to sit down and enjoy a nice quiet afternoon with Jesus, however “quiet” was not something on God’s agenda.You see it isn’t just Jesus and His disciples, but a multitude of people that had begun following Him after seeing the miracles He was preforming.Our text reveals that there were about five thousand men in number.Some scholars add that if the word “men” refers only to males, that it is possible that there could have been close to twenty thousand people.Having that many people in attendance, all looking to see and hear Jesus makes me think that it was anything but quiet.Adding insult to injury it seems to be close to dinner time as well.Jesus turns to Phillip and says, “Where a…

“DO YOU WISH TO BE WELL?”

BIBLE READING: John 5 In John 5 we find a man that had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.In hopes of receiving some type of relief or healing, this man had been lying at the pool that was in Bethesda by the Sheep Gate for a long time.The reason he was there is because in this pool some believed that an angel would come and stir up the waters offering some type of healing.This healing however would only come to the first one who jumped in.Whether or not an angel of the Lord stirred the waters has been the subject of debate for centuries.In fact, many Bibles do not even include verse four in the text, but rather adds it as a footnote.The validity of the pool’s power is not the subject of this devotional, but it is necessary for us to mention.What is interesting about the story is the question Jesus asks the lame man, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5.6).It has often perplexed me as to why Jesus would ask such a question.Who would not want to be healed of an illness?One would suspe…

“THE FAITH OF THE OFFICIAL”

Reading - John 4

The faith of the Official whose son was sick to the point of death in John 4 has always intrigued me.Here is a man whose son is at the point of death, there seems to be nothing that anyone can do to help him.In my mind, I imagine this man trying to cope with what seems to the inevitable death of his son, while at the same time making every effort console his wife and family.The text said that he had heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, but what He had heard about Jesus is not mentioned in our text.Regardless of what he had known about Jesus was enough for Him to load up, leave his dying son, leave his family and travel a day’s journey to Cana to see Jesus.We are not told if he ever thought to himself, “Am I going to make it? What if I can’t find Him? What if He does nothing? What if there isn’t anything to do?”I really don’t think it possible for him to not have some doubts about what might happens if he doesn’t find Jesus, but there is no doubt in His mind…

“…SHOULD NOT PERISH…”

Reading- John 3
Out of all the Bible verses that we can read between Genesis to Revelation, few really stand out to be known by most people.  Whether it is in a pulpit, street corner or even a football stadium, one would not be shocked to see or hear John 3.16 being quoted.  I have often wondered, what makes that one verse standout above all the others.  I mean, I John 4.7-8 are very similar and maybe more even to the point, “…God is love…”.  Why hasn’t Ephesians 2.8, Acts 2:38 or even Psalm 23 gained anymore popularity? I guess the truth may never be known.  However, since John 3.16 has become so widely used, it does deserve our attention.  It reads “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  When you really think about it, John 3.16 does offer a great deal to us.  It reveals to us the great love that God has for humanity.   It also reminds us of what great lengths God was willing to go through to red…

“Jesus, the Master of Self Control”

BIBLE READING: Luke 22- John 2 DISCUSSION One of the hardest things to understand about Jesus, is that although He was God, He was human as well.This had to be the case for Jesus to become our Ultimate High Priest as the writer of Hebrews illustrates. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15).He had to be able to “sympathize” or “commiserate” and understand what life is like for humanity so He could become the sinless sacrifice.That means that Jesus as a human, was faced with temptation, just as we are faced with temptation.Jesus was able to endure those temptations because of His purpose and focus on what the Father had planned for Him to do.It could very well be that the greatest strength Jesus possessed on this earth wasn’t His miraculous power, but rather His ability to be a master at self-control.It also might be true that the greatest example of this a…

“Don’t Overlook the Miracle…”

BIBLE READING: John 2 DISCUSSION As Jesus completes this first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee, there is something interesting about the miracle that the text doesn’t reveal.When Jesus changes the water into wine, it says that the wine came from six stone water jars that were there for the Jewish rites of purification.Under normal conditions we read that wine was usually transported in wine skins and not jars, plus their jars are not just any jars; they were only used for water for the purpose of ceremonial cleansing.If Jesus would have had the men fill up the wine skins, there would have certainly had some old wine reside in them causing the water to be somewhat wine colored.Not to mention, it might even have the taste of a very diluted wine, that would have certainly caused some skeptics to doubt.However, to remove all doubt concerning the miracle, these jars would have never had anything but water in them.Also, this wasn’t just a little miracle either. Each water pot …

“In the Beginning…”

BIBLE READING: John 1 DISCUSSION Finish this statement from a Biblical perspective, “In the Beginning ….”.  Most people would immediately go to Genesis 1.1 and say, “In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Of course that would be a correct statement, but so would “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1.1).Both Genesis and the Gospel of John begin with the same introduction of, “In the Beginning…”.  However, the similarities end there, because the two books go in complete opposite directions.  The book of Genesis begins with the beginning of time as we know it, explaining to us what happened during the story of creation and moves forward.  Yet, the Gospel of John gives us some insight to what existed before time as we know it, before the creation of the world!  John seeks to help us understand that before time, as we measure it, existed, there was God and the Word.  This Word was with God, and at the same time the Word was…