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. 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. 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. 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.
Day 9 – Jesus Has a Work to Finish. March 14, 2019
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:31-38
Jesus was ever mindful of the teaching He must do at all times, even in casual conversation about food. Jesus said He fed off the mission of doing His Father’s will. He had a work to finish. Jesus’ gentle rebuke was for the disciples to “open your eyes and look at the fields!” “the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.” Jesus was pointing out that not all of us would be reapers, and not all of us would be sowers…or more clearly, none of us would be exclusively one or the other all the time. We all do the “hard work” of sowing the Seed (the Gospel) which takes time to cultivate and break up the soil of a hardened heart, fertilize it with the Word, and sink the Gospel in at just the right time. But then other times we will reap souls for heaven when one has already been prepared, sometimes long in advance for us! Jesus completed the work of Salvation by dying on the cross. His work is finished. We now have work to finish…the hard work of preparing people to hear and understand the Gospel. Let’s get to work!
Lord Jesus, thank You for completing the work of Salvation once and for all for all people of all time. Thank you for teaching us to feed off of the work the Father has given us. Help us to complete the work and to harvest as many souls for Your Kingdom as possible. Use us to complete Your redemptive plan for all mankind. Here I am, Lord…send me! Amen.
Day 8 – Jesus Offers Living Water. March 13, 2019
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:7-14
As Jesus continues His Journey to the Cross, we find Him shattering traditional racial and gender barriers in this amazing encounter at a well in Samaria. The woman is aghast when Jesus asks her for a drink of water for two reasons, she is a Samaritan and she is a woman. As John parenthetically describes, “Jews did not associate with Samaritans,” and Jesus (both as a rabbi and as a man) should not have been speaking to her alone, as they were since “His disciples had gone into town to buy food.” But Jesus was ready to step out against both of these traditions in order to present the gift of God. The woman asks if Jesus is “greater than our father Jacob,” for he was the patriarch who gave them the well and the traditions. With little fanfare, Jesus leaves her to decide whether He is greater or not by responding “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus announced that He had arrived to bring never-ending springs of living water, that would produce in us eternal life. Greater than Jacob? You better believe it!
Lord Jesus, thank You for bringing to us springs of living water that never cease! May we continually drink from these waters that flow from within, and share this water without regard to race, religion, gender, philosophy, creed, or anything else that may divide us. For as others taste of these sweet waters that You offer, it is certain that many will come to believe in You and experience these waters for themselves. May fear never hold us back from doing what is right, even if it bucks tradition. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
Day 7 – Jesus Predicts His Crucifixion. March 12, 2019
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:9-15
Not only did Jesus predict His death, but He also predicted the manner of His death…crucifixion. Jesus would replicate the miracle that Moses performed by lifting the snake up in the wilderness. When Moses lifted up the symbol of the serpent and people who had been bitten by poisonous vipers look to the snake, they were immediately healed. In the same way, when we look to Jesus Christ on the cross, we find immediate healing. But, unlike the people in the wilderness who were only saved in that moment, Jesus’ sacrifice saves everyone and anyone, throughout all time that will look unto Him for salvation!
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your salvation! Thank You for Your merciful sacrifice that paid for all of mankind’s redemption. I owe You all of my love and obedience. I owe You my present and my future, my whole life belongs to You. Help me to “understand these things” and recognize the heavenly gift You have given me. I love You. Amen.
Day 6 – Jesus Predicts His Death. March 11, 2019
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. John 2:18-22
Often times we cannot understand the meaning of things that happen to us until much later in our lives. We often need the perspective that only the passage of time can provide. Not unlike us, the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying to the Jews about destroying the temple. But after the events of the crucifixion and resurrection the disciples would recall that Jesus predicted His death in the very earliest stages of His ministry. Nothing took Him by surprise. He knew the cross was His fate. But He also knew that the resurrection was His fate! For in three days the temple of His body would be rebuilt and death would be forever destroyed by the power of His life! And now, through Jesus Christ, our lives have that same power. Awesome.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your intention to die for us without hesitation. Thank You for going to the cross, not avoiding the pain or the shame, but embracing it all that we too might live. Please help me to place all my faith, all my hope, and all my trust in Your finished work on the cross. Help me not avoid any pain or shame that may come from following the Way of Your cross, but rather embrace the same sacrificial life, that others might live. Amen.
Day 5 – Jesus Saves the Best for Last. March 10, 2019
When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:3-10
Undoubtedly, Jesus performed some amazing miracles. He healed the sick, He made the lame walk again, He gave sight to the blind, He knew other’s thoughts, He even raised the dead! But He began with a rather innocuous miracle…turning water into wine. Jesus protected the honor of the bridegroom by ensuring that the celebration continued, not just with some cheap knock off, but with the best of the best! Jesus was always aware that His “hour” was coming, and He would continue to march steadfastly toward that end. Jesus told us greater things were coming, but He also showed us that He saves the best for last.
Lord Jesus, thank You for saving the best for last. For waiting till just the right moment and then laying down Your life for all mankind. But, thank You that even that was not the last…You will one day come again for Your people and make all things right. Lord please come soon, but should You delay, give me the strength and courage to endure until the end. Your love is amazing and Your faithfulness endures forever. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Day 4 – Jesus Will Show Us Even Greater Things. March 9, 2019
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
On the heels of their encounter with Jesus, Philip immediately invites Nathanael to “Come and see” the “one Moses wrote about,” the Messiah — Jesus of Nazareth. When we have seen Jesus and spent time with Him, it is only natural to invite others to experience what we have. All too often the response may be similar to Nathanael’s sarcastic retort, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Jesus mercifully shows Himself to be worthy of following by showing just a little glimpse of His power…“I saw you under the fig tree…” Nathanael is suddenly impressed with Jesus’ ability and recognizes Him as the “Son of God.” Without missing a beat and in almost casual fashion, Jesus basically says: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! “You will see greater things than that.” The true follower of Jesus will never be left with a lack of amazement…there are always greater things to see from our Lord.
Lord Jesus, thank You for bearing with my need to see Your amazing acts of power in order to truly trust You and believe in You. Help me to trust You even when I don’t see the miracles I hope for. But, also Lord, please be true to Your Word and show me greater things than I can ever imagine in You. My I always be amazed in Your presence and by Your grace. Amen.