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John 14:1-15

DAILY DEVOTION
 
FOR
 
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12

 
 
SCRIPTURE: John 14:1-15
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt

Have you ever eaten at Texas de Brazil?  It is one of my favorite places to eat because they give you a flood of meat options.  You can get overwhelmed at all the options there are, and they just keep coming at you.  This chapter is this with spiritual meat.  There is so much here in chapter 14 and also 15 I do not know if I can cover it adequately in our space, but let’s dig in. 

John 14 is a continuation of the conversation from Luke 13:31 after Judas left.  It is called by theologians as the “Farewell Discourse.”  This is common in Judaism in an attempt to comfort close friends and family.  Jesus is trying to prepare them for what it is to come, but it is more than their brains can fathom.  Jesus speaks of His death which they could not accept, He speaks of the coming Holy Spirit which is unknown to them, and He speaks of His departure and then His return.  It was more than they could take at the moment, but after the Resurrection, those words brought comfort and hope.  As we read, the disciples ask questions (some spoken and some unspoken).  Peter asked the first question in John 13:36.  Thomas asked the second in 14:5, and Philip asked the next one in John 14:8, and Judas (not Iscariot) asked the final question in John 14:22.  Needless to say, they had questions about what Jesus was saying. 

“Let not your heart be troubled.”  That is one of those things that is easier said than done, isn’t it!  Jesus’ heart was troubled when Lazarus died in 11:33 and as He faced the cross in 12:27 and even upon Judas’ betrayal in 13:21 we see that Jesus’ heart was troubled.  So how did Jesus do this?  He focused upon the Father.  The Greek here has two meanings included.  Imperative which is a command and the indicative as to what you already doing.  So we can read this as such.  You already believe in God, then believe in God.  You already believe in Me so believe or trust in Me.  It is both a command but also an encouragement to keep doing what you are doing.  The encouragement would be from Jesus by them knowing that His heart has been troubled, but He made it through by trusting in the Father.  The command comes in those moments when we doubt or question.  “Then just do what I am telling you to do!”  I might borrow the phrase from that one shoe company and say, “Just do it even if you have questions.” 

14:2-4 is Jesus referring to His ascension back to the Father, but also the preparations for the disciples who believed in Him.  Thomas’ question comes at the perfect time to help us to get what Jesus was saying.  If the disciples got confused, then surely others will get confused.  Jesus makes it simple.  If you want to get to God, go through Me.  Our world is confused.  Man has confused one another.  When we throw the lies/temptations/confusion from Satan into the mix, we get this idea of “all ways lead to God.”  God who knows all, sees all, made it simple for a people who need simple.  One way leads to Him, and that is only through Jesus.  The problem is that some of the lies of Satan, the misinterpretations of man and their “religion” that claim to be the only way to make this issue more complex than God intended.  God’s design was for humanity to be in the right relationship with Him was through faith and belief in Jesus Christ alone.  This simple way should help our hearts not to be troubled.

But our sinful, finite brains cannot comprehend it well.  So Jesus further explains and Philip’s question showed that they still were not getting it.  Jesus made it simple again.  Read verses 9-15.  Now in Jeremy’s translation:  “Philip, if you have seen Me, you have seen God.  Don’t you believe in Me and what you have seen Me do?  Just believe in me, Philip and do the things that I have taught you to do.  If you do that and if you love me, follow what I have taught you.”  Maybe you had a stubborn son or daughter like I have.  As a parent, we have to speak slowly at times, sit them down, and make it simple.  “Do what I told you.  You don’t have to understand it all, just trust me and do what I have told you and showed you.”  I hope you only have to do this with your son or daughter once, but since my kids have my DNA, they have tended to need this “simple”  talk more than once.  Just like the Father has had to do with me multiple times. 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

John 13

DAILY DEVOTION
 
FOR
 
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11

 
 
SCRIPTURE: John 13
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt

Do you remember how the Gospel of John started?  It started in eternity past at the earth’s creation with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” in John 1:1.  Jesus, the Word, is the focus of this Gospel to show Jesus as the Son of God and His humanity and ministry.  We are midweek of the Holy Week leading up to the Cross and Resurrection Sunday. 

In verse one, there are some important details to notice.  First, Jesus knew that His hour had come.  He is near the end.  Because Jesus is one with Father, He knows this.  Notice also in verse one that Jesus loved His disciples to the very end.  He knew their betrayal, denial, and even flight in fear that would take place YET He loved them to the end.  Despite knowing that He would be alone, despite knowing that He would be denied three times by Peter, despite knowing that they would leave them in fear, and despite their lack of faith, He loved them to the end.  Why is this so important for them and for us?  Jesus knows our failures.  Jesus knows our lack of faith, Jesus knows when we have denied Him.  Jesus knows our fear.  He knows and yet He loves us.  Despite my worst moments, He loves me.  That is an amazing thing, and if you know me, that is a miraculous thing.  I cannot fathom that He loves me despite me!  And it applies to us all.  Our world needs to hear this truth and to dispel the religious myth that we have to be “right” or “perfect” before we can come to the LORD

Then Jesus does the unthinkable.  The Son of God bends over and serves these men who will leave Him in a few short hours.  He washes their nasty, stinking, disgusting feet!  I am not a foot person.  In my opinion, one of the nastiest parts of the human body, and we see the Holy One washing their filth away.  The perfect, sinless, and eventual sacrificial Lamb of God takes on human nastiness upon Himself, and He serves these men, including His betrayer!!!!!  What kind of love is that? 

As we continue reading in 6-20, we read of Peter and his response to Jesus.  I like Peter.  I relate to him because he is the type of guy that doesn’t have much of a “filter.”  If you ask his opinion, he will tell you.  He wears his feelings on his sleeves.  He was not about to let Jesus wash his nasty feet.  But when Jesus replies in verse 8, Peter immediately changes his tune by saying, “not just my feet but my hands and head as well.”  This leads Jesus into verses 10-20 where He tells the disciples to do this and to lead by serving others.  (Insert shameless plug to help this Saturday serve others in the Christmas store.  Training Friday night at 6 pm and serve 9 am – 1 pm.  Contact our student pastor, Jesse to get involved. 580-658-5413. One more plug, give financially to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to fund missionaries in international places share the Gospel to people who have yet to discover hope, healing, and spiritual life in Jesus.)

When we come to the actual Last Supper in verses 21-30, there is one detail I want to point out.  Before we go there, you can read this event in Matthew 26:20-30; Mark 14:17-26; and Luke 22:14-30 as well.  Read verses 21-22.  Jesus tells them that one of the disciples will betray Him.  How do they respond?  They look at each other and wonder who it could be.  Hold your place in John but go to Mark 14:19.  Depending on your translation the question was, “Is it me?  Could it be I? Am I the one?” 

What does that show us about the disciples?  If every one of them asked that question as Mark indicates to us, that means that they had doubts, fears, uncertainty, etc.  The only difference between Judas and the others was that Judas acted upon his doubts.  Some scholars believe that Judas, who was a zealot (the political party who was trying to overthrow the Romans and regain Israel to being an independent nation again), who was simply trying to push Jesus into fulfilling the role of the Messiah as they understood what the Messiah would do.  When Jesus was arrested and crucified, that is when Judas realized that his actions were wrong and he hung himself. 

Whether this interpretation is correct or not is not my point here.  My point is that we can fall into the same trap when we think God is doing to do _____________ and we try to get God to do blank by taking matters into our own hands.  Or we are like Judas when we profess to believe in Jesus and to be committed followers of His but we deny Him by our actions or lack of faith in trusting Him.  When my words say one thing, but my actions say another, I am just like Judas.  When I fail to trust Him and His Word and do my own thing, I am just like Judas. 

If we notice in Mark’s account, the other disciples questioned themselves.  They would run in fear in a few hours and desert Jesus.  It was not until Jesus appeared to them after the Resurrection, do we see a real change in these disciples.  They will go from living in fear to living by faith.  They will be willing to speak boldly and to die in some horrific ways after the Resurrection.  The change in these people is so dramatic because of what Jesus did in their lives.  The real question for us is this:  Has Jesus made a dramatic change in our life?  Are we living in faith or in fear?  Peter went from denying Jesus because of fear of proclaiming the hope of Jesus to thousands in Acts 2.  There was a change in Peter that changed his life forever.  Can we say the same thing? 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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