1347.) John 21

July 1, 2014

“The Second Miraculous Draught of Fish” by James Tissot, 1886 (Brooklyn Museum, New York)

John 21   (NRSV)

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?”

They answered him, “No.”

6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.

They cast their nets in Galilee
just off the hills of brown;
such happy, simple fisherfolk,
before the Lord came down.

Contented, peaceful fishermen,
before they ever knew
the peace of God that filled their hearts
brimful, and broke them too.

Young John who trimmed
the flapping sail,
homeless in Patmos died,
Peter, who hauled the teeming net,
head-down was crucified.

The peace of God, it is no peace,
but strife closed in the sod,
Yet let us pray for but one thing—
the marvelous peace of God.

–William A. Percy

7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.

10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them;

Why 153 fish?

This number has been a field day for speculative interpretations of the Bible since the early church.

153 is the sum of numbers 1 to 17. Some (like Augustine) say that it is a number representing the number of commandments (10) added to the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.

153 is the added numerical value of the Greek words “Peter” and “fish.”

Some ancient writers (such as Jerome) held that there were 153 different types of fish in the world; this represents a “full harvest” of all of the world.

Some (like Cyril of Alexandria) say that 100 stands for the Gentiles, 50 for Israel and 3 for the Trinity.

The truth is that all we know for certain is that 153 stands for the number of fish that they caught! We must always be careful of manufacturing “hidden meanings” in the Word of God.

–David Guzik

and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

Revelation 3:20 (King James Version)

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus and Peter

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

RESOLUTIONS

Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him!  He does not humiliate us.  He does not criticize us.  He does not ask us to make a resolution to try harder.  Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him.

Peter miserably failed his Lord when he fled with the other disciples from the Garden of Gethsemane.  Later, he publicly denied that he even knew Jesus.  Peter must have wondered if he was even capable of being Jesus’ disciple when he was unfaithful to Jesus in His most crucial hour.

You may be painfully aware that you have failed your Lord in many ways.  Perhaps you were not faithful.  Perhaps you disobeyed His word to you.  Perhaps you denied Him by the way you lived.  Jesus will not berate you.  He will not humiliate you.  He will ask you to examine your love for Him.  He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?”  If your answer, like Peter’s, is “Yes, Lord,” He will reaffirm His will for you.  If you truly love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:15).  Jesus does not need your resolutions, your re-commitments, your promises to try harder.  Jesus asks for your love.  Then your service to Him will be what He desires.

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.)

Peter remained faithful to the Lord and was crucified upside down during the reign of Nero.

After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus and the Beloved Disciple

20Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”

21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

22Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

How easily we get distracted from our own responsibilities and calling by wondering about the details of someone else’s walk with the Lord.  We critique, we second-guess, we opine.  Jesus says to us what he said to Peter:  “What is that to you?”  Let us serve others, but mind our own business! 

23So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.

25But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

_________________________

Music:

This song is, I think, a good one to hear as we close our reading of the Gospel of John.  Here is MercyMe and “The Love of God.”  Frederick M. Lehman wrote this hymn in 1917 in Pasadena, California.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   What can you learn from Peter and Christ’s exchange?  How can you “Feed my sheep”?

2)   At the close of our DWELLING in John’s Gospel, how has your understanding of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus been changed?

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Tissot.  http://www.atsvirtual.org/Websites/atsvirtual/Images/tissot-second-miraculous-catch-of-fish.jpg
catch of fish.  http://www.virtualpreacher.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/033_03_0332_Turkey.png
fish plate.  http://www.englishcountrypottery.net/catalog/images/fishplate.JPG
Do you love me?    http://www.mytinyphone.com/uploads/users/sexy_boy/420277.jpg
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1346.) John 20

June 30, 2014

“Easter Morning” by Maurice Denis

John 20   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved,

John, the author, humbly does not refer to himself directly.

and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.

The disciples Peter and John running to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection — by Eugene Burnand, 1898 (Musee d’Orsay, Paris)

4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

“The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene” by Alexander Ivanov, 1834 (State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg)

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

16Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

One Bible scholar has written:  “Never was a one-word utterance more charged with emotion than this.”

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

The fact that Jesus makes a woman the first witness of His resurrection is significant. The law courts of that day would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did.  This also argues for the historic truth of this account. If someone fabricated this story, would they make the first witnesses to the resurrection women, who were commonly (if unfairly) regarded as unreliable witnesses?

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

“Christ Appearing to His Disciples after the Resurrection,” by William Blake, 1795 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

The disciples were full of fear when Jesus came to them.  After their cowardly desertion of Jesus on Friday, they may have been expecting a rebuke from him.  But our kindly Lord knows our weaknesses, and instead “stood among them” and offered peace.  He does the same for us today.   Peace be with you!

21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

He showed them His hands and His side: Jesus gives assurance to the disciples about who He is and that He really has risen from the dead.

As the Father has sent Me, I also send you: Jesus gives His disciples a mission, to continue His work on this earth.

Receive the Holy Spirit: Jesus gives His disciples the Holy Spirit, bringing new life and the ability to carry out their mission. Many people see the connection between this breathing on the disciples and when God created man, and breathed the breathe of life in him. This is a work of re-creation, even as God breathed life into the first man. This is where the disciples are born again.

If you forgive the sins of any: Jesus gives His disciples authority to announce forgiveness and to warn of guilt, as authorized by the Holy Spirit.

–David Guzik

Jesus and Thomas

“The Incredulity of Thomas” by Peter Paul Rubens, 1615 (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp)

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Thomas is a good example for us in many ways.  He refused to say he understood when he didn’t, he refused to pretend to believe when he didn’t.  And when he did understand and believe, he went all the way and properly called Jesus Lord and God.

AND THE GLORY
by Ann Weems

The silence breaks into morning.
The One Star lights the world.
The lily springs to life and
      not even Solomon . . .

Let it begin with singing
      and never end!
Oh, angels, quit your lamenting!
Oh, pilgrims,
      upon your knees in tearful prayer,
           rise up
                and take your hearts
                     and run!
We who were no people
      are named anew
           God’s people,
for he who was no more
      is forevermore.

The Purpose of This Book

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

_________________________

Music:

This song tells the story of the resurrection from the point of view of Peter.  HERE  is “He’s Alive” sung by Dolly Parton.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   The resurrection can seem incredible, if not impossible, to our scientific minds.  What are some images you can use to explain resurrection to someone who is not familiar with John’s Gospel?

2)  Lift up your hearts!  We lift them up unto the Lord!  Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God!  Thank God for Christ’s resurrection!
_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Denis.   http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-28,01_Women_Resurrection_Femmes/17th_21th_Siecle/20%20DENIS%20MATIN%20DE%20PAQUES%20ST%20GERMAIN%20EN%20LAYE%20M.jpg
Burnand.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BurnandJeanPierre.jpg
Ivanov.  http://www.abcgallery.com/I/ivanov/ivanov3.html
Blake.  http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/timage_f?object=11502.0&oimage=0&c=
Rubens.  http://www.wga.hu/art/r/rubens/10religi/12religi.jpg
Easter lilies.    http://www.viabellaflowers.com/images/easter-lily.jpg

1345.) John 19

June 27, 2014

John 19   (NRSV)

Jesus Sentenced to Death

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.

Scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt.  In regard to crucifixion, the goal of the scourging was to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse and death. As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive the cross.

–David Guzik

2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face.

4Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.”

7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

8Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”

11Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!”

15They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!”

Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Actions speak louder than words.  Funny — they wanted a Messiah to save them from the Romans, yet now they embrace Caesar as their king.

16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Actions speak louder than words.  After declaring several times that he could find no guilt in Jesus, Pilate yields to the crowds and lets them kill an innocent man.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”

22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.

24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.”

Jesus’ final word (tetelestai in the ancient Greek) is the cry of a winner. Jesus had finished the eternal purpose of the cross. It stands today as a finished work, the foundation of all Christian peace and faith, paying in full the debt we righteously owe to God.

–David Guzik

Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (New International Version)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

Jesus’ side is pierced with a spear, Fra Angelico (c. 1440), Dominican monastery of San Marco, Florence.

31Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

The Burial of Jesus

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

A Roman period tomb with a rolling stone, discovered near Mount Carmel in Israel.

With thanks to Joseph of Arimathea for the provision of a tomb — Jesus won’t be needing it long!

_________________________

FRIDAY
by Ann Weems

The sky peels back to purple
      and thunder slaps the thighs of heaven,
and all the tears of those who grieve
      fly up to the clouds and are released
and drench the earth.
The ones who see and hear
           know
      that all is lost.
The only One named Savior
           died
      upon a cross.
The ones who believed and loved
      huddle together
           stunned.
All night long
      the angels weep.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Were You There?” by the Annie Moses Band — sorrowful but with a joyful closing!  Annie Moses Band is a musical ensemble known for their virtuosic strings and creative re-imaginings of American classics. Their style spans classical crossover, Americana, folk, and jazz influences. And — they are siblings!

_________________________

Reflections:

1)  John records Jesus saying three things:  giving his mother into John’s care and keeping, expressing his thirst, and announcing his completion of his work.  What do these three statements tell you about Christ?

2)  What does a picture of Jesus on the cross say to you?  If you could be there then, what would you say to Jesus while he is hanging on the cross?

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
John 3:16.  http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/john3-16.jpg
Jesus before Pilate.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/jesusandpilate.jpg
stained glass – nailed hand.  http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/jcpjr/jcpjr0908/jcpjr090800001/5299375-stained-glass-window-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus.jpg
Fra Angelico.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/angelico.jpg
tomb.   http://ferrelljenkins.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/tomb_153-t.jpg
crucified Jesus, face.   http://newparadigmthinkers.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/crucified_jesus__the_face_by_devcager.jpg

1344.) John 18

June 26, 2014

Very old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.

John 18   (NRSV)

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”

5They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

7Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”

Two gardens.

The entrance of Christ into the Garden at once reminds us of Eden.  The contrasts between them are indeed striking.

In Eden, all was delightful; in Gethsemane, all was terrible.

In Eden, Adam and Eve parlayed with Satan; in Gethsemane, the last Adam sought the face of His Father.

In Eden, Adam sinned; in Gethsemane, the Savior suffered.

In Eden, Adam fell; in Gethsemane, the Redeemer conquered.

The conflict in Eden took place by day; the conflict in Gethsemane was waged at night.

In the one, Adam fell before Satan; in the other, the soldiers fell before Christ.

In Eden the race was lost; in Gethsemane Christ announced, “Of them whom thou givest me have I lost none” (John 18:9).

In Eden, Adam took the fruit from Eve’s hand; in Gethsemane, Christ received the cup from His Father’s hand.

In Eden, Adam hid himself; in Gethsemane, Christ boldly showed Himself.

In Eden, God sought Adam; in Gethsemane, the last Adam sought God!

From Eden Adam was “driven”; from Gethsemane Christ was “led.”

In Eden the “sword” was drawn (Gen. 3:24); in Gethsemane the “Sword” was sheathed (John 18:11).

–Arthur W. Pink

10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus before the High Priest

12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.

“The Taking of Christ” — alabaster, from the early 1300’s (Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp)

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

CAN MAN SEIZE GOD?

On the night of Jesus’ arrest, what was it that bound the Lord to those Roman soldiers?  Surely the ropes and cords were not strong enough to hold the Creator of the universe.  If Sampson could break the ropes of the Philistines, certainly the Son of God could do the same.  No, Christ was not bound by the soldiers; he was bound by his own compassionate, divine, loving heart that caused him to give himself to them.  It was Christ’s love for you and me that caused him to go with those soldiers who eventually nailed his body to the cross.

Can man seize God?  Never!  God gave himself away that night.  Jesus was in perfect control all throughout his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

God will never let you get into a situation in which he is not in perfect control.  When you find yourself in circumstances that seem to be full of chaos and confusion, look to Christ.  If you belong to him, you will find him there in perfect control of your situation.

It was Jesus, the One in whom all things exist, who sustained the Roman soldier’s life while he roughly placed the Son of God on the cross, and it was Jesus who gave that soldier the physical strength to drive the spikes into his hands.

14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Peter Denies Jesus

How is it, Lord, that we are cowards in everything save in opposing Thee?

– Teresa of Avila

15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.

17The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

23Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

In saying this, Jesus wasn’t being uncooperative, only asserting His legal right. There was to be no formal charge until witnesses had been heard and been found to be truthful.   And there is the problem, since it was the High Priest’s duty to call forth the witnesses first, beginning with those for the defense. These basic legal protections for the accused under Jewish law were not observed in the trial of Jesus.

–David Guzik

Peter Denies Jesus Again

“Peter’s Betrayal” by Carl Heinrich Bloch

25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not.”

26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”

27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Jesus before Pilate

28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”

30They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

31Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”

The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

The Jews would have killed him by stoning; Jesus said he would be “lifted up” on a cross.

33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”

35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”

36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Augustine observed from this verse that earthly kingdoms are based upon force, pride, the love of human praise, the desire for domination, and self interest — all displayed by Pilate and the Roman Empire.

The heavenly kingdom, exemplified by Jesus and the cross, is based on love, sacrifice, humility, and righteousness.

–David Guzik

37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

38Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

Jesus Sentenced to Death

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”

40They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

_________________________

Music:

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” — one of the most poignant, moving hymns ever written.  Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs, 1707.  Charles Wes­ley re­port­ed­ly said he would give up all his other hymns to have writ­ten this one.  Here it is sung by Kathryn Scott.  I ask you to pray this hymn as you listen.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   “What is truth?”  Suppose Pilate asked you the same question he asked of Jesus — how would you answer it?

2)   Are you seeing more of what it cost Christ to be your Savior?

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
olive trees.    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/jcm/JC-olives.jpg
garden greenery.   http://www.greeninfluence.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/goeden.jpg
“The Taking of Christ.”    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/christ-arrested1.jpg
legal scales.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/legalscales5b15d.gif
Bloch.     http://www.painting-palace.com/files/173/17208_Peters_Betrayal_f.jpg

1343.) John 17

June 25, 2014

John 17   (NRSV)

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,

How does the cross glorify the Father?

“The Son glorified the Father by revealing in the act the sovereignty of God over evil, the compassion of God for men, and the finality of redemption for believers.”

–Dr. Merrill Tenney

2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Jesus says of them, “They have kept your word.”  When we think of all the failures and disappointments Christ experienced with the disciples, this is a kind assessment from Jesus. He generously judges His disciples.  And Christ generously judges us, for he is our Savior as well as our Judge.

How, then, ought I treat others?

7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11“And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

THE JOY OF CHRIST

If there is anything that ought to characterize the life of a Christian, it is joy!  Jesus spoke many times to his disciples about His joy being complete and full in them.  His disciples were filled with joy as they realized who they were:  children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).  They had been dead in their sins but were now made alive in Christ (Romans 6:4).  They had once been helpless victims of death, but now death had no hold over them (1 Corinthians 15:55-58).  With such a marvelous salvation experience with Christ, how could the disciples be anything less than joyful?

Don’t deny yourself that which is your birthright as a child of God.  Don’t be satisfied with a joyless life.  There ought to be in every Christian a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ that no circumstance of life can dispel.  This comes as you allow the Holy Spirit to express Himself in your life.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22).  This joy is unlike any happiness that is produced by the world.  It fills you and permeates everything you do.

Jesus did not pray that you would merely be happy or even that you would escape grief.  He prayed that you would have the same joy that the Father had given Him:  a divine joy, a joy that comes from a deep and unwavering relationship with the Father.  It is a joy that is grounded so firmly in a relationship with God that no change in circumstances could ever shake it.  This is the kind of joy that Christ is praying will be in you.

14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

17“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one.

This verse is one of the most wonderfully amazing verses in all the Bible, I think, for here Jesus prays for us!  We are among those who believe because of the word of the apostles as found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.  Jesus prayed then, and continues to intercede now, for you!

As you, Father, 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. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24“Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a simple song which grows out of our passage today as well as other Scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament:  “Glorify Thy Name.”  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

_________________________

Reflections:

1)  John writes at length about the oppositions to Jesus, as in John 15:18-25, John 16:29-33, and John 17:12-16.  Who/what might he see as Jesus’ opposition today?

2)  Verse 26 gives us the “secret” of a faithful Christian life:  God’s love, in Jesus Christ, in us.  How can you live that out today

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Sanctify them by the truth.   http://www.christian-comments.com/comments/john-17-17.jpg
“Be kind.”  Calligraphy by Michael Noyes.  http://www.cindyronzoni.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/be-kind.png
fruit of the spirit – joy.   http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u62/ParkcrestHSM/blogg/FruitoftheSpirit02JoyTitle.jpg
I pray for them.   http://revphil2011.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/iprayforthem.gif

1342.) John 16

June 24, 2014

John 16   (NRSV)

“I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

Yes, awful things are done in God’s name.  But Jesus answers the obvious question:  people can do such things “because they have not known the Father or me.”  A good tree will bear good fruit.

The Work of the Spirit

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths.”

–David Guzik

12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Jesus frankly admitted that His own teaching was incomplete, and anticipated the further instruction of the church by the Holy Spirit. This statement of Jesus leads us to anticipate the formation of the New Testament.

Jesus Himself refutes those who say “I’ll take what Jesus taught, but not what Paul or the others taught.” Paul and the other New Testament writers taught us the many things that Jesus spoke of.  Today, the Holy Spirit continues to personally lead us into truth, but never in opposition to the Scripture.

The Holy Spirit’s ministry is revealing Jesus to us. He has many different ways, and He uses many different gifts to accomplish this, but the purpose is always the same: to reveal Jesus.

–David Guzik

Sorrow Will Turn into Joy

16”A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.”

17Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.”

A LISTENING
by Ann Weems

Going through life
     is a listening.
When we listen
     to the word,
we hear
     where we are so
blatantly
     unliving.
If we listen to the word
     and hallow it
into our lives,
     we hear
how we can so
     abundantly
live again.

19Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? 20Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. 21When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.

It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.
–Elinor Goulding Smith

Babies are such a nice way to start people.
–Don Herrold

Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.
–Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby

Children are a gift from the Lord.
–Psalm 127:3

22So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

Peace for the Disciples

25“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

“This is a remarkable passage, by which we are taught that we have the heart of God as soon as we place before Him the name of His Son.”

–John Calvin

28I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”

29His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”

31Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.

33“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.

peace-dove-with-flowers

  • Jesus made the way for peace with God:

Romans 5:1 (New Living Translation)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

  • Jesus made the way for peace with others:

Ephesians 2:14 (New Living Translation)

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

_________________________

Music:

Take courage!  “Be Not Afraid!”  by John Michael Talbot.  Lyrics follow.

1.
You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

R.
Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.

2.
If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side, know that
I am with you through it all.

3.
Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me, blessed, blessed are you!

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   Jesus says the Spirit of truth will “guide you into truth” and “glorify me.”  How do you experience the Spirit’s work in these respects in your own life?

2)  Are you facing any “persecution” now — are you encountering opposition as you serve God?  Thank the Lord now that all the details of your situation are already known to him, and that he will bring you through the hard times while teaching you more about who Christ is and your need of him.  The promise is sure:  God works ALL THINGS together for good to those who love him!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 Images courtesy of:
Be of good cheer.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/beofgoodcheer.jpg
books of the New Testament.  http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/supplies/supplyIMG.asp?p1=9780805406115
good listening.    http://iesbal3ctrabajando.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/marauz_good_listening.jpg
mom with newborn baby.  http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/2011/04/parenting/mom-with-newborn-baby.jpg
Jesus.  http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/weblog/Pohlman/JesusName.JPG
peace dove.    http://lisawallerrogers.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/image-9-peace-dove-with-flowers1.jpg

1341.) John 15

June 23, 2014

John 15   (NRSV)

Jesus the True Vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit.

Some scholars believe that the ancient Greek verb airo, translated here as “removes,” is more accurately translated “lifts up.”  The idea is that the Father lifts up unproductive vines off of the ground (as is common in vine-dressing), that they may get more sun and be more productive.

Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.

This word for prunes is the same word translated cleanse in other places.  Ancient Greek uses the same word for both meanings.

3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

5I AM THE VINE, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Question 1:  What is the chief end of man?

Answer:  Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

–The Westminster Shorter Catechism

9“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

john-15-13

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

John 15:13 (King James Version)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

1 John 3:16-18 (King James Version)

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

These verses are often quoted as referring to a death for others, but the first thought in our Lord’s mind must have been of a life laid down in loving service.  The life that does not shut up its compassion but loves in deed — in the doing of real things — this is first of all the life laid down.

The inspiration for that life is not only Calvary but all the years before.  Our Lord’s patience throughout those years, going on loving in spite of disappointments and ungratefulness, how that challenges us who find disappointment and ingratitude so trying.  Think of the courage that could trust heavenly matters to those poor human hands.  Even His nearest and dearest wrangled about who would be greatest during His very last meal with them.  And yet His love could overcome everything and say of such followers, They have kept Thy word (John 17:6).  He knew, as only Love can know, that in spite of all failures that was their heart’s desire.  And so He spoke of them at their highest, not their lowest.

Lord, evermore give us this love, that we may lay down our lives for the brethren.

14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

GOD’S GRAFFITI
by Ann Weems

We’ve splashed our rules
all over the sanctuary walls . . .
so many rules we don’t have time
      for dancing . . .
our graffiti
      defiling the house of God.
God’s graffiti is different:
      God writes LOVE
           upon our hearts.
Some night, let’s sneak into the sanctuary
      and paint over the rules
      and write God’s graffiti
all over the walls . . .
      LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE

_________________________

Music:

“I Am the Vine”  by  the inimitable Ken Medema.

_________________________

The World’s Hatred

18“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.

1 John 3:13-14 (New International Version)

Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

20Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.”

_________________________

Reflections:

1)   Put into your own words what Jesus means when he says, “I am the vine.” 

2)   What is required of his followers for them to “bear fruit”?  What fruit are you bearing (with the Spirit’s help, of course!) for the Lord now?

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
“I am the vine.”  http://sahajapower.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/i-am-the-vine.jpg
pruning.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/john-pruning1.gif
To God be the glory.      http://brookwoodcovenant.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Glorify-God.jpg
Greater love.    http://www.dailylifeverse.com/posts/images/2012/09/john-15-13.jpg?s=full
LOVE graffiti.    http://wallpaperalpha.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Love-Graffiti-Wallpaper.jpg
love-hate heart.   http://www.layoutsparks.com/1/60481/love-hate-red-broken.html