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Day 19 – Jesus Lays Down His Life for His Own

Day 19 – Jesus Lays Down His Life for His Own.  March 24, 2019

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”  John 10:7-18

Jesus continues His Journey to the Cross, by telling the people that He is the “gate” by which all who enter may be “saved.”  He also said that He was the “good shepherd,” one that “lays down his life for the sheep.”  A man only hired to look after sheep will run away when wolves come and attack, because he has no real investment in the sheep — they are not his.  But Jesus said as the good shepherd, He would give up His life defending His own — the sheep belong to Him.  He would even go so far as to sacrifice Himself, His very own life, for His sheep.  The Cross is once again in view and Jesus is trying to make it clear that He intends to do exactly what He says, lay His life down — die on the Cross — for the sheep.

Lord Jesus, I am humbled that You would give Your own life for mine.  I am so undeserving, and yet You find me worth dying for.  Thank You, Lord for Your sacrifice.  I receive it.  I only hope to live a life worthy of it, and I want to remain in Your pasture, with You as my Lord, me Savior and my God, forever. Amen.

Day 18 – Jesus’ Defender Expelled

Day 18 – Jesus’ Defender Expelled. March 23, 2019

We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. John 9:29-41

I’m always amazed when people choose to remain ignorant. When they insist that not knowing the truth, or believing lie is better than rejecting lies and knowing the truth. As this transformed blind man defends Jesus, pointing out their flawed logic and simply stating the truth that only God could heal the blind, and therefore Jesus must be telling the truth about Who He is, he is violently expelled from the synagogue (church) by these religious people. You too will be rejected by many who choose blindness over sight, lies over truth, the world over God. Many people think they see clearly, but their own unwillingness to admit their blindness is the very thing that keeps them from getting well. Have you admitted your need for Jesus? If so, do not be afraid to share your testimony, no matter the cost.

Lord Jesus, I am blind without You. I am sick and in need of Your healing touch. My mind needs to be washed clean and my thinking transformed into Your thinking. Help me to stand up and tell my story, even if I am thrown out of church! I want to know You better and I want to see Your truth more clearly. Open my eyes to Your truth and help me always stand on the side of truth with You. Amen.

Day 17 – Jesus Defended By Testimony

Day 17 – Jesus Defended By Testimony. March 22, 2019

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! John 9:24-28

Jesus’ first defender is a man who has never seen Him, but his life was changed dramatically by Jesus…for he was born blind and Jesus healed him. When we follow Jesus as Lord, we defend Him by giving our testimony to others. For there are many who do not believe that Jesus really is God, that He existed, or that He died and rose from the grave. But to Jesus’ defense He doesn’t call theologians or scholars, He calls people who have been transformed by His power! The testimony is so simple and so pure…“Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.” When you share your story, your testimony with others…just stick with what you know. What has Jesus done for you?

Lord Jesus, thank You for the story You have written in my life. Help me to just stick with the facts, simply telling the truth about what You have done in transforming me with Your power. Lord, if I am unclear or not sure about what You have done, may I right now, in this moment, welcome You into my life and let You transform me and write a new story in my life. I do want to be Your disciple so start changing the world by changing me! Amen.

Day 16 – Jesus Claims to be God

Day 16 – Jesus Claims to be God. March 21, 2019

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” “I am not possessed by a demon, said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. John 8:48-59

After being accused of being demon-possessed, Jesus at this point seems to have been pushed to the point of no return! And yet, we know that He does not leave himself at the mercy of men, and all things are in His timing. But it seems like Jesus is ready to burst with this new information: that all who obey His word will never see death. The people are even more incredulous at this statement and they point out that Jesus is claiming to be more powerful than Abraham and the prophets. Jesus answers them, “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!” There is no mistaking that Jesus from His own mouth claimed to be God — the great I am! If the Jews had understood this phrase another way, they would not have picked up stones to stone him for blasphemy. Jesus made it clear that He and the Father are One…they are both God. Jesus is more than just a good teacher, or merely a man, He has not left us that option. Jesus claims to be God…and He is.

Lord Jesus, I sometimes have a hard time understanding how You and the Father and the Holy Spirit are all One and the Same. But it is clear that You meant for us to understand that You are God. So help me to treat You with the honor, glory and praise that are due You. May I never lessen Your words or Your teaching. Likewise never let me try to get out of living as You did. I am amazed that You loved me so much, that You died for me and humbled Yourself to experience life as a man. Thank You, Lord. You are awesome…Amen.

Day 15 – Jesus Confronts the Jews

Day 15 – Jesus Confronts the Jews. March 20, 2019.

“Abraham is our father,” they answered.“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you?

Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:39-47

The people answered Jesus that they were children of Abraham. But Jesus confronted them with the astonishing idea, that if they were Abraham’s children they would do as Abraham did. They continued to protest and say the only Father they had was God (even though they had just claimed Abraham as father).

Jesus presses back that if God were their Father and Jesus had come from God, then they would listen to what He said. He then claims that they are children, not of God, but rather of their true father, the devil.

When we cannot hear God, Jesus says it is because we have an illegitimate father. When we belong to God, we not only hear Him, but we also do what He says. To get in right alignment with God as our Father, we must be born again…we need a new Father.

Lord Jesus, thank You for confronting me with truth. If You are from God and He is Your Father, then in order for me to also have God as Father I must listen to You and do as You did. No longer let me be swayed by my father, the devil, who taught me to lie, deceive and kill. But let me be born again, new and fresh, to my Father God. Teach me to listen to His voice, and may I always be ready to be about His business. Amen.

Day 14 – Jesus Comes from the Father

Day 14 – Jesus Comes from the Father. March 19, 2019

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” it. John 8:12-19

Jesus told the people that He was the “light of the world” and He came so that we would “have the light of life.” Jesus did not come to speak on His own, but rather to speak what the Father had told Him to speak. Jesus came from the Father in order to let all men know that “God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him might have everlasting life.” The Father has a message for you today: I love you, and I want you to have everlasting life. Jesus came from the Father to complete the work of redemption in order that we might be fully restored to Him. When’s the last time you realized just how much God loves you?

Lord Jesus, thank You for bringing the Father’s message of love and hope. Thank You for confronting those who did not recognize the Father or His message. Help me to realize just how much You love me, and let me truly understand what You have done in bringing eternal life through Your work on the Cross. During this season of Lent, give me a greater sense of Your love, light, and life. Amen.

Day 13 – Jesus is Not On Our Time

Day 13 – Jesus is Not On Our Time. March 18, 2019

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders. John 7:1-13

Jesus has His own timing for everything. His brothers, who did not believe in Him, tried to coerce Him to revealing Himself publicly at the Festival of Tabernacles. Jesus however, pointed out that for them “any time” would do. We are often ready for and pushing for Jesus to show up and show out for us in our timing. We want Him to accomplish things on our schedule. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to men, because He knew what was in a man. Man’s timing is not God’s timing. Jesus ends up going to the festival on His schedule, but He remains hidden, listening to what they are saying about Him. Are we ready to adjust our schedule to His?

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your timing. Your timing is perfect. Forgive me when I try to push my schedule and my timing upon You. Lord, so many times I have tried to force Your hand and try to get You to do something for me right now…for me any time will do. Help me to wait upon You, and to wait for Your timing. I want to let You reveal Yourself when You are ready. Lord help me synchronize my heart watch to Your time zone. Amen.

Day 12 – Jesus Brings Resurrection Life

Day 12 – Jesus Brings Resurrection Life. March 17, 2019

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:35-40

I don’t know if you’ve ever given much thought to dying. If you haven’t, try it now. Think of that moment in time — your heart will no longer beat, your thoughts will cease, your lungs no longer fill with air, everything begins to get colder…fade to black. But now imagine this — as the light goes out and you are in complete nothingness, all of a sudden a bright light explodes, warmth fills every part of your body, your lungs feel the welcome rush of oxygen, and your heart begins to pump blood to every part of your body, your mind jolts unexpectedly back into consciousness and you come immediately back to life…that’s resurrection life. When we are wandering around in this world without hope, bleakness and death hang over us like a thick veil, but then the hope of Jesus Christ brings a newness and a lightness, conscious presence of hope and an expectation of eternal life…life that keeps going forever. We can live either in the old way of ordinary death life or we can embrace right now the amazing and supernatural resurrection life!

Lord Jesus, thank You for bringing resurrection life! I want to live a life in Your resurrection power. I no longer want to live in the way of death and walking around without purpose, without hope, without truth…I want to live with the full hope and assurance that only You can give through Your resurrection power. Fill me with this resurrection life, and let me no longer remain in the way of death and despair, but always in Your way of truth and hope. Amen.

Day 11 – Jesus Gives Eternal Life

Day 11 – Jesus Gives Eternal Life. March 16, 2019

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:25-29

Jesus gives life, but He also gives eternal life. Jesus encouraged those who had eaten and had their fill to no longer work for earthly food — food that spoils. But rather, “work for food that endures to eternal life.” The people ask the next logical question “What must we do?” All of us have an innate sense that we should do something to earn our way back to God, or to earn eternal life from Him. We know we’re in the wrong, and our gut tells us we should do something to make things right. But Jesus tells them the “work” they must do — “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” That’s it? Just believe in Him? It doesn’t sound right, it can’t be that easy…can it? Jesus says the food that endures to eternal life is given by the Son of Man. Paul echoes this to the Ephesian church as he writes: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9) Eternal life is a gift, and Jesus gives it.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of eternal life. Forgive me for trying to buy my way into Your grace, favor and heaven. Help me to do the work of simply believing, trusting in You — the One the Father has sent to bring eternal life. Your are mighty and awesome, and I praise You for Your unfailing love and Your good gifts. I love You. Amen.

Day 10 – Jesus Gives Life

Day 10 – Jesus Gives Life. March 15, 2019

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” John 5:16-17, 21, 24-25

Jesus breaks with tradition again (are you noticing a pattern here?), healing on the Sabbath, and this time he is persecuted by the Jewish leaders. His defense? His Father (God) is always working, even on the Sabbath, so I am too. If we are to be about the Father’s work, we must be ever ready to perform it…even if it breaks with tradition. What work does God perform, He “raises the dead and gives them life.” Jesus, being about the Father’s business, gives life. And we too, as followers of Jesus, should be givers of life. Not takers of life, not withholders of life, but givers of life! The time is coming and has now come for all who are dead in their sins and separated from God, to hear the voice of the Son of God and live. We are to be that voice, so that all who hear may live.

Lord Jesus, thank You for including us in Your plan of redemption. When we break with tradition, may it not be for the sake of novelty or something different, but because we are about the Father’s business. Help us to say the right words at the right time that may bring healing and life to all who hear. And let us be patient with those who do not hear or understand, but continue to offer salvation and life just like You did. Amen.