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John 14

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

Wednesday, JULY 5

SCRIPTURE: John 14

As this chapter opens, we encounter some familiar and yet powerful words.  Jesus is reinforcing the fact that heaven is a real place not a figment of an overly active religious imagination.  Heaven is real!

Another thing we see as this chapter opens is heaven is not a place for the dead but for living.  Those in heaven have a specially prepared place for them to live.  There won’t be any death or dying or dead folk in heaven.  Heaven is a place for life in such quality and quantity that we cannot comprehend all of its magnificence.  

Christ followers should live with heaven in mind.  We should rest easy in the fact that Jesus has promised a prepared, personal place for us to spend eternity.  It is going to be off the cool chart.  

But if the Christian life is just about where we will spend eternity, our life on this earth would be most miserable. In other words, if heaven is all there is, then we would spend our days on earth moping around upset that we haven’t gone to heaven yet.

But if you will look at verse 16, we see that as glorious as heaven will be, there is more in the Christian life.  Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us.   It is really interesting how the different translations of the Bible translate this.  The King James calls the Holy Spirit our Comforter.  The New International Version calls Him our Counselor.  The English Standard Version calls Him our Helper.  The New Living Translation calls Him our Advocate.  And The Message calls Him our Friend.

The crazy thing about that is all of those descriptions are very accurate.  But what do they actually mean?  If we look at the original language of the New Testament we would discover the Greek word is Parakletos.  The “para” in the word means alongside of.  The “kletos” refers to being called.  So, the Parakletos is one who is “called alongside of us”.  By definition, He is called to be our Comforter, our Consolation, our Encourager.  The Holy Spirit is literally our Holy Encourager.

Jesus goes on at the end of verse 17 to tell us that the Holy Spirit will be in you.  This is an amazing first.  Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people to empower them to do certain things.  Often once that was accomplished or the person rebelled against God, the Holy Spirit was removed.  But now, the Holy Spirit comes to live in every Christ follower.  

Verse 16 says He will be with us forever.  In other words, once the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He takes up permanent residence in us.  

In verse 26, we find another role that the Holy Spirit plays.  He not only is our Holy Encourager but He is also our teacher.  Jesus said He would teach us all things and then enable us to remember those things that He taught us.  The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to teach us all things about the Way of God.  He opens the Scriptures to us so that we can learn and we can recall what we have learned.  

I wish we had more time to talk about the Holy Spirit but let me leave you with this.  Heaven is our home and we should look forward to spending forever there.  But in the meantime we have the Holy Spirit in us to make this life most abundant, incredibly fruitful, and divinely purposeful.  Go live out your days in the power of and under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 12

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
THURSDAY, JUNE 29

 
SCRIPTURE: John 12
 
As this chapter opens, Jesus is on a relentless journey to Jerusalem and ultimately to the cross.  Much of this chapter is actually about Jesus being back in Jerusalem facing the increasing hostility that will eventually lead to His crucifixion.  Jesus knew exactly what lay ahead of Him and He headed that way anyway.
 
The first scene occurs back in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  During the meal they shared, Mary anoints Jesus.  There are actually two annointings that seem very similar if not identical but are in fact, very different.  The one we read about here is also recounted in Matthew 26 and Mark 14.  The one in Luke 27 is a very different one.  That one happened in the home of Simon which appears to be in Galilee and the woman who anointed Jesus was a prostitute.
 
In the one that is before us, Mary pours some very expensive perfume (It would cost a year’s wages for a common laborer.) on the feet of Jesus.  She then lets down her hair which Jewish women would not do in public and wiped His feet with her hair.  According to 1 Corinthians 11:15, she laid down her “glory” when she let down her hair in front of Jesus.
 
Judas Iscariot was incensed by this.  His excuse was the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  His reality was he wanted that money for himself.  There are a couple of “by the ways” here.  The first is, by the way, as far as I can determine, this is the first time Judas speaks in the Gospels.  The second is, by the way, Jesus said in verse 8 that we will always have the poor among us.  In other words, we will never eradicate poverty in this fallen world.
 
The story moves then to Lazarus.  It seems the Pharisees decided that not only did they need to kill Jesus but they also needed to kill Lazarus.  It was really hard to deny that Jesus had the power and authority to raise someone from the dead, when the evidence of that resurrection was right there alive and well.
 
From this dinner in Bethlehem, we are dropped into the middle of a noisy parade in Jerusalem.  This event is called the Triumphal Entry.  This was actually a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9.  But from a Roman view, a triumphal entry was the honor bestowed upon military leaders who had accomplished a great victory for Rome.  They were honored with a Triumphal Entry into the city.
 
Jesus’ triumphal entry was not based upon a great military victory.  In fact, with the events that are about to unfold, it will look to many like an utter failure.  Nevertheless, the crowd is more than excited as Jesus heads into Jerusalem for Passover.  As we know, what is about to happen is anything but failure.  It is indeed the greatest victory of all time. 
 
Because I am out of space, I want to wrap up by calling your attention to the paradoxes that Jesus shares in verses 23-26.  He says that “fruit” or life comes only from death.  He says that the only way to have life is not to try to keep the life we have.  And He says that service is the pathway to being honored by God.
 
Here’s what I will leave you with.  The principles of the Kingdom of God are almost always different from the principles that we think govern our world.  Kingdom principles are actually almost always the opposite of the way the world operates.  But the benefit and blessing of operating by Kingdom principles always, always, always outweighs the cost.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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