Vs. 7, “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” Some biblical scholars point out that Peter and the rest of the disciples had been disobedient by going back to fishing. They compare the failure of that night’s fishing as reverting back to their old lifestyle (vs. 1-3). I don’t have an opinion either way, but we do know Jesus came to them in their hour of need in more ways than meets the eye. As they obeyed Jesus, they caught so many fish the nets should have broke (vs. 5-11). As the morning sun was rising, John recognized who this man on the shore actually was. Leave it to Peter to be the one exuberant and reactionary to responding to Jesus! And what a beautiful picture we have as Jesus prepared both a physical and spiritual meal for his beloved (vs. 12-25). This is such an important chapter in the Gospel of John for in this we see Jesus restore Peter and give him the reminder of Peter’s true purpose.
Regarding application…Do You Love Jesus? Vs. 17, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” This is a very poignant and fair question that Jesus poses to Peter. But don’t misunderstand, Jesus is asking you the same question. Each of us has made our own mistakes when it comes to living up to our faith. Sometimes we feel like our failures are too difficult to overcome. So, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter for all of us. Despite our failures, deep down in our hearts when we put our faith in Jesus, we realized we were made to love. Of course, we love Jesus. But, just believing it and saying it is just the starting point. We must live it…we must follow Jesus (vs. 19). When I was 16 years old, I put my faith in the Lord. But at the age of 20, I followed Jesus. And while this road isn’t easy (vs. 18), it is nothing compared to eternity with our Lord! Question: Do you love Jesus? Trust and follow Him today!
Vs. 1, “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” It is early Sunday morning and some women with Mary Magdalene (healed of seven evil spirits) come to the tomb. Question: What were they doing that morning? The women came to honor Jesus by finishing anointing the body more completely. It must have been quite alarming and disturbing to find the stone rolled away to the entrance of the tomb. She and the women run and tell Peter and John (vs. 2). We then see Jesus appear at different times to encourage the disciples who were living in fear of the wrath of the Jews. First, we see Jesus appear to Mary Magdalene (vs. 10-18) to encourage her in her grief and to instruct her to tell the others! Second, Jesus appears to the disciples (vs. 19-23) and breathes the Holy Spirit on them (vs. 22). And lastly, we see the love and patience of Jesus with doubting Thomas (vs. 24-31).
Regarding application…Dealing with Doubt. Vs. 25, “So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Notice how Thomas had missed the first meeting when Jesus appeared to the others (vs. 24). It is not a sin to question our faith. God gave us minds to be able to have the reason and ability to think about why we believe in Him. It’s important to be mindful of Jesus’ loving response to Thomas. Jesus knows we will have times of doubt, but I love how we are reminded we are very blessed for believing all the more (vs. 29). Question: Are you dealing with doubt? Don’t despair, some of us just need more time to connect the dots of this life. I had a student year’s ago ask many numerous questions for two years about Christianity. He grew up in the church and was quite knowledgeable about the Bible. One night, he called me with a slew of questions and I was surprised when he asked me to pray with him. That night over the phone, he accepted the Lord Jesus!
Vs. 30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” It is finished. It is said that Pilate had Jesus flogged so severely so that when he presented a beaten down and nearly dead Jesus to the Jewish mob, they would have compassion on Jesus and not choose to crucify Him (vs. 1-6). But the crowds still cried out crucify, crucify! There was so much pressure on Pilate to appease them and in his cowardice, Pilate buckled under the pressure (vs. 6-16). The best thing Pilate could do was have a sign of Jesus, King of Jews above his cross, but this did not make the Jews happy (vs. 19-22). So sad to see the hatred and anger the Jews had. They got what they wanted to see Jesus crucified, and yet they still complained. Once again, we see Jesus caring for others (in Mary), as He himself was dying on the cross for our sins (vs. 26). We also are reminded of the prophecies of Jesus being fulfilled in spearing his side, rather than breaking his legs (vs. 33-34). And lastly, we see Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus come out of the shadows of hiding their faith and make the request not to have Jesus’ body so they could do the right thing in a proper burial (vs. 38-42)
Regarding application…Taking the Risk. Vs. 38, “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.” Question: What is so significant here? Joseph of Arimathea as well as Nicodemus witnessed something as they saw Jesus crucified on the cross. It is here that Nicodemus realized what it means to be born again (John 3). Both men took a tremendous risk as Pharisee’s to now take care of the body of Jesus. I suppose, the saying, “Better late than never” is very true! It didn’t matter what the Sanhedrin would say, what their fellow Pharisees would say…they were going to do this for Jesus. It was their way of honoring Jesus for they themselves would witness the sacrifice on the cross. Question: What are you willing risk? If you believe in Jesus, don’t fear the opinion of others. Stand up for Him! Share His love and reach out to others in the name of Jesus. This first day of the week is a start of making this week a “Super” week for Jesus!
Vs. 3, “So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.” This is very difficult passage to read as we come face to face with Jesus’ last night before the crucifixion. It touched my heart to be reminded how Jesus cared for the disciples (vs. 8 ) and was looking out for them. The soldier’s take Jesus to Annas, who used to be the high priest years earlier. He is the father-in-law of Caiaphas who is the current high priest. They illegally arrest and interrogate Jesus. They want Jesus dead so they take Him to Pilate, a Roman leader who had the authority to have Jesus crucified. Part of Pilate’s role was to govern the Jews and keep peace, so there was definite pressure to appease the Jews. Yet, Pilate could not find a reasonable reason that Jesus be crucified. Mixed in this chapter, we see Jesus’ words come true with Peter’s denial of Jesus three times. As Jesus was put on trial, Peter also had his own trials before him this night. My heart goes out to Peter for this would be very bitter and sad moment for him. But, in Peter’s failure, we will soon be reminded of God’s grace in dealing with second chances.
Regarding application…What is Truth? Vs. 38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” A question posed by Pilate himself! It’s one of those questions that mankind has been asking throughout the ages. The truth Pilate asked was in the context of just who was Jesus? Was He this false savior the Jews accused Him of? Was this kingdom a real place? Was Jesus a true king? Pilate asks this question on behalf of all of us. Question: Is Jesus telling the truth? C.S. Lewis challenges us in his book Mere Christianity, that we must either decide Jesus was truly the Son of God or believe he was a madman or worse. We can’t believe in half-truths and just say, Jesus was a good man or a good teacher. The truth is will set us free. Jesus is that truth (John 14:6)!
Vs. 1, “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” Jesus lifted his eyes up to the Father in surrender. We are upon one of the most beautiful chapters of prayer! It is a prayer in which Jesus prays for Himself as He faces the cross (vs. 1-5). He also prays for the disciples knowing their life was going to very difficult and that the enemy would attack them (vs. 6-19). And Jesus also prays for us (the church) that through our unity the world would see Jesus in us (vs. 20-26). We see the heart of Christ in this prayer as He soon would be obedient to death on a cross.
Regarding application…Prayer for Unity. Vs. 23, “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Question: What is unity? Jesus isn’t talking about doing away with denominations or different churches. What Jesus is referring here is that when people come to the church or when the church reaches out to the world…they would see something vastly different. They would see a people unified through the love of Christ Jesus! When we look at the world and it’s organizations (schools, workplace, etc) we realize that there is probably gossip, slander, hatred, bitterness, etc. Jesus looked to His future church and prayed earnestly for us that we would not fall into the ways of the world. When a parent see’s their children loving each other and getting along, I’m sure their heart is filled with joy! This is what Jesus is praying that we too would love each other so richly that the world would see something so different. Question: What can you do to help unify your church?
Vs. 18, “They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” I can’t help but feel for the sad and confused disciples at this time. After spending over three years with Jesus intimately, He is now telling them He will be leaving them (vs. 5-16). Jesus does His best to encourage them and remind them that though He is leaving, the promised Holy Spirit is coming (vs. 7). And in this chapter, we see Jesus lay out the type of ministry the Holy Spirit will have. I’ll expand on this in the application section below. Jesus also reassures the disciples that joy is just around the corner (vs. 17-33). It’s going to be painful at the present time, but the future is going to be filled with joy. What a promise in our own time! We live in a chaotic world. Just last night, 74 people died in Egypt after a soccer game with the opposing team wielding knives, clubs, and stones. Indeed there is much mourning in this world, and that is why Jesus encouraged His disciples to bring joy and salvation to this world!
Regarding application…Are You Convicted? Vs. 8, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” One of the main ministries of the Holy Spirit is to convict our hearts. Question: Convict us of what? Sin. Oh yes, that horrible three letter word we shudder when we think about it. It’s easy to think that we are in this constant state of just feeling guilty and worthless. But this conviction that comes to our heart isn’t created to condemn us, it is created to draw us closer to our Father! Because of conviction, we realize that we can’t achieve eternal life on our own merit! Being convicted helps us go towards what God has purposed for us all along. We were created to have a relationship with our Father. Upon finding salvation, our purpose now is to go and share it! Brothers & sisters in Christ, conviction is a good thing! We are convicted not out of guilt, but out of the love of Christ which compels us to share that joy of forgiveness to a world in chaos. Question: Are you convicted? Then do something about it!
Vs. 17, “This is my command: Love each other.” As Jesus and the disciples are leaving the Upper Room and heading over to the Garden of Gethsemane, He continues to teach them as they walk. As they are walking, they probably walked past the temple and were reminded of the doors engraved with vines. It is here that Jesus reminds the disciples of the picture of the vine as a symbol of our relationship with the Father (vs. 1-11). Question: What happens when we remain in Jesus? We grow into loving each other more (vs. 12-17). But, this wasn’t going to be an easy road. Just as Jesus had the mixture of Pharisee’s, scribes & Sadducees conspiring together through the Sanhedrin to arrest Jesus and kill him, we too have a world that is not going to be tolerant of this faith (vs. 18-27).
Regarding application…Remain in Jesus. Vs. 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Question: What exactly is this fruit? The fruit that we bear is from the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, fruits of the Spirit) and also the fruit we bear when we share Christ (John 4, woman at the well). Question What does it mean to remain? Another word used by translators is “abide”, which gives us a picture of being in constant fellowship with Jesus. When we are connected to Jesus, we will naturally produce fruit. In my own life, there have been many times when I tried to do this fruit bearing on my own strength. But the more I learn about the Lord, the more I realize that in our weakness we are made strong. Let Jesus take this heart of ours and begin to change it from the inside out. Don’t get discouraged in this walk when it doesn’t seem to be working. Just keep your heart plugged into the vine!
Vs. 6, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This was a troubling night (vs. 1), but Jesus would offer them hope! He was paving a way for all of us to one day find our home (vs. 2-4) with our Father in Heaven. Many scoff to this day on Jesus’ claim that He is the only way. I’ve even seen believers adhere to Universalism (belief that all religions are similar and can lead to divine good). That is false teaching. Philip seems to be excited at the prospect to see the Father one day, but little did he realize the Father is in Jesus (vs. 8-14). Question: Jesus is leaving, what will they do? They might feel like orphans (vs. 18), but we know now that we are not left on our own. There is a peace (shalom) that will come (vs. 15-31). And to top it off, Jesus promises us He will be coming back (vs. 28).
Regarding application…Promised Holy Spirit. Vs. 16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” We are not alone. This peace that will come is the Holy Spirit. Think of the picture we are given in Scripture when it comes to the Holy Spirit; the dove which is a picture of purity and peace. Question: Do you trust promises made by others? Too often we have a hard time grasping the promises of God when we have been let down by those we love hear on earth. Our parents, teachers, pastor’s, friends have not always been able to keep promises. It’s a bit understandable why the hesitation on being able to trust in the promises of God. In the storms of our lives, we know that we are not abandoned. When we put our faith in Jesus, the promised Holy Spirit now dwells in us and keeps us sealed until eternity! Let that be your encouragement as you go about this week! Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is with us each step of the way!
Vs. 1, “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” The timing is impeccable, as Jesus would become the Passover lamb whose blood was shed for the salvation of God’s people. Jesus goes on to display a part of this love by washing His disciple’s feet (vs. 1-17). Question: What was the significance of this? Only servants washed feet, what was Jesus doing? The washing also served as a sign of their spiritual lives being washed by the Living Water in Jesus. Jesus then quotes Psalm 41:9, as reference that prophecies concerning Judas Iscariot (vs. 18-30). The disciples didn’t completely realize the significance of the revealing of the traitor, but Judas has now made his decision. After Judas’s departure, Jesus begins to encourage the apostles for their road would also become very difficult (vs. 31-38)
Regarding application…Love One Another. Vs. 34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Question: What made this a new commandment? God gave this commandment previously to Moses. What gives? The old commandment was based on the law, but this new commandment to love is based on grace. This love would now be demonstrated on the cross. This is why we are now given a new definition of loving one another. Yesterday, I preached a message from John 4 with the topic of considering “our purpose.” The woman at the well couldn’t help but share this message of hope to the people in her town. She was once rejected, but now she understood her purpose. But this purpose must have a very important ingredient in it. Love must be mixed in with all that we do. Question: Are you loving as Jesus loved you?
Vs. 23, “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” It’s always difficult to come upon these passages of the last week before Jesus was crucified. Yet, in these accounts, we are reminded of beautiful faith. Mary’s anointing of Jesus is an incredible picture of understanding what it means to sacrifice (vs. 1-8). But the enemy was on the move and with Passover week just around the corner, the Jews were looking for Jesus coming to their trap in Jerusalem (vs. 10). After the Triumphant Entry (vs. 12-19), we see Jesus continue to minister to the lost. Yet, the lost sheep of Israel were hardening their hearts as prophesied by Isaiah (vs. 37-50). What’s striking to me is that some of the leaders believed, but would not put their faith into action due to fear of men (vs. 42-43). I wonder how often this transpires in our own lives.
Regarding application…Following Jesus. Vs. 26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Question: What does this look like? Does it mean sell everything and live a transient lifestyle proclaiming Jesus with nothing but the clothes on your back? God has called each of us to a unique life and way that is specially made for us. The prophet Daniel at a young age was deported to Babylon, but following God meant he must acclimate to a new culture. In the last prophet before Jesus, John the Baptist, following Jesus was shown by living out in the desert. Following Jesus is going to look different for each person. I believe that prayer, bible and the church are wonderful tools and road signs to guide us down the path less traveled. Let the peace of God work in your heart to determine the path in which you follow Jesus. Have a blessed start of your week as you take the step of faith and dine at the table of our King each day!