Then they were willing to take him onto the boat, and immediately the
boat reached the shore where they were heading.
At evening time the disciples cross the lake in a boat. A storm rises
up and they have to strain to row.
After some time, Jesus comes to them walking on the water. At first
they are terrified, but Jesus tells them not to be afraid. They let
Him on board, and immediately they arrive at their destination.
The next morning, the crowds discover that Jesus and the disciples
are missing, and so they head off to Capernaum by boat.
The disciples find themselves on a boat on the water without Jesus at
night. In John’s gospel the night time represents the world that is
not surrendered to God, that is satan’s realm.
When Jesus comes on to the boat, He immediately calms the storm and
the boat arrives at its destination.
When I try to control my “boat”, that is my life, it all gets
very chaotic. Like the disciples rowing, I can work hard and not make
much progress. Satan will resist me at every turn.
When Christ is on board, my life has purpose and direction, and
satan’s resistance starts to be overcome.
It is not always effortless, even when Christ is steering my boat.
Sometimes it seems that satanic efforts to impede me just increase.
Even so, I need to obey Christ’s command, “Do not be afraid.”
The storm will subside. The boat will arrive at its destination. As
long as Christ is the captain of my life.
Thank you Lord for the knowledge that you are in control. Even in the
greatest storm I can know your peace. Help me to surrender control to
you so that I can know your direction and your assurance. Amen.
When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he
slipped away to the hills by himself.
Jesus goes across the lake, and he climbs a hill in order to teach
His disciples. A crowd starts to gather, and Jesus asks His disciples
where they might buy bread to feed them all.
Philip says it would take months of wages to feed them.
Andrew brings a young boy and his lunch. Jesus takes the lunch, gives
thanks to God, and then everyone has enough to eat. The leftovers are
enough to fill twelve baskets.
The people are amazed and try to force Jesus to be their king. He
leaves and goes alone to the hills.
Jesus will not be hijacked for human political programs.
wanted to make Him king, but an earthly kingdom is not what He
intended; at least, not yet.
“My kingdom is not of this world,” He would later say to Roman
governor Pontius Pilate.
The name of Jesus gets dragged into all kinds of causes- some of them
good, but others not so good.
Whether it is climate change or refugees, or as a tool in a political
campaign, the name of Jesus is often appropriated by activists and
will not be co-opted by any human political project. He refuses to be
a King in that kind of way.
kingship of Jesus is the opposite of political power. He seeks to
change hearts, one at a time. He looks for people who will surrender
everything to Him.
Out of that surrender, some people will be moved to work for
political change. It will not be by appealing to Jesus as a political
weapon. The weapons of the follower of Jesus are faith, compassion,
prayer and persistence.
King Jesus reign in my heart and mind. May my life be transformed by
“You read the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal
life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to
receive eternal life.”
is telling the Jewish leaders that He is not testifying on His own
behalf. John the
Baptist testified about Him.
The Father also testifies concerning Jesus. Only those whose hearts
are open to Him can hear His testimony.
Moses also testified about Jesus through the (Old Testament)
Scriptures. The Scriptures testify about Jesus, and by rejecting Him
they reject the Scriptures and therefore reject Moses.
The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, testify to Jesus as
the Messiah or Son of God.
All scripture is breathed by God, and is interpreted to us by the
Holy Spirit. Because it is God’s word, it all points to Jesus.
The Bible is not a magic guidebook t the afterlife . Reading it,
learning it, and quoting it do not make you holy or bring you to
The Bible is God’s love letter to us, and as such, it is meant to
draw us to Him. If my thoughts and affections do not turn to God when
I read the Bible then I am not doing it right.
a passage or a devotional book to tick off our daily “To Do” list
will not point us to Christ. Studying it for secret codes and
messages will not bring us to eternal life.
Every time we read God’s word, our hearts should be raised in
praise and worship to our glorious heavenly Father.
Thank you Lord for the Holy Scriptures that bring us to you, the
source of eternal life. May I never be tempted to read your word as a
religious ritual or academic exercise, but always find you in its
gave them his answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing
by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because
whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
The Jews are trying to find reasons to have Jesus killed, and they
are offended by His references to God as His Father.
Jesus tells them He can only do what the Father does. Just as the
Father raises people from the dead, the Son will do this too.
Whoever hears Jesus’ words and believes Him has crossed from death
to eternal life. The time is coming when all who are in graves will
come out- the righteous to eternal life, the wicked to be condemned.
In Jesus we have a perfect representation of God. He and the Father
are one, totally united in love.
Jesus only does what He sees the Father is doing. The deeds of Jesus
are the deeds of the Father.
In Jesus we see a God who heals the sick, raises the dead,forgives
sinners who repent, has compassion on the poor, loves everyone
(especially the outcasts), and speaks out against all forms of evil.
As followers of Jesus- imitators of Christ- we should do the same
kinds of things.
can’t be like Jesus unless the Holy Spirit teaches us and empowers
us to do
the things Jesus did. Of course everyone who is a true disciple has
the Holy Spirit living in them, transforming them to be like Jesus.
does the work of the Father. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us
to imitate Christ and so to do the deeds God has called us to do.
Lord, you are awesome! You show us in Christ what it means to live a
life in communion with you, and you give us your Holy Spirit to
enable us to do this. Thank you. Amen.
The Jewish leaders said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work
on the Sabbath! The law does not allow you to carry that sleeping
goes to the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem where scores of people wait
for the water to bubble up so they can be healed. He meets a man who
has been sick for 38 years. He has no
hope of being healed because he has nobody to
help him get into the water.
tells the man to get up, pick up his may and walk. The man is
he walks away, the Jewish leaders rebuke the man for carrying his
mat on the Sabbath. He tells them that the man who healed him had
told him to do this, but he didn’t know who he was.
When your whole vision of being holy boils down to rules, you will
miss the amazing works of God when He steps out of the box you
constructed for Him.
The Jewish leaders could not see the miracle of healing because they
were obsessed with the man’s behaviour after the event.
can be like that sometimes. An evangelist can win thousands of people
to the Lord, but we get annoyed by his tattoos. Somebody is healed
miraculously, but some believers can’t see it because their
theology is that miracles don’t happen any more. A prostitute or
alcoholic is rejected by a church because they are afraid their past
sins might contaminate the congregation
We are not made holy by the outward observance of rules and
regulations. We are made holy by the indwelling presence of God’s
When people’s lives are changed by God in ways that run against our
understanding then it is we who need to change, not God.
Lord you save people when we least expect it. Your grace is wider
than we imagine. So Lord please expand my way of thinking to embrace
all that you want to do. Amen.
Here is my commentary on Ephesians 1:12. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site.
… we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory.
The “we” in this verse is widely believed to be the Jewish believers in Christ as opposed to the “you” in the next verse which refers to the Gentile believers in Ephesus. Some translations actually add the word “Jews” in this verse, even though it is not explicitly given in the original.
The first believers were Jewish, and it took some major revelations for Peter, Paul and the other apostles to realise that the gospel was for all people, and not just for the Jews.
These first believers put their hope in Christ. They realised that He was the Messiah long foretold by the prophets.
Their hope in Christ was firstly for salvation. They knew that they were sinners needing forgiveness because they could not keep the Law.
The Law as it was written was exacting enough, but Jesus made the heart of men the heart of the Law. Jesus said that an angry insult was like murder and a lascivious look was like adultery. Sin starts in the heart long before it comes out in an action.
They recognised that Jesus is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
The Jewish believers were also looking for the salvation of Israel. Every Jew at that time longed for God’s Messiah to come and redeem Israel, setting them free from Roman occupation. There were countless attempted insurrections, but they were all put down with ruthless efficiency.
Jesus talked often about the Kingdom of God. It wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit, that they realised that God’s Kingdom was not about a country on earth but something much bigger.
These first Jewish christians, according to Paul, were destined and appointed.
To be destined suggests that they were in a path or trajectory which they had no way of choosing. Before they were born, before the beginning of the world even, God set events in place that meant these people were on a particular path determined by Him. They were living in a kairos moment, and God had plans for them.
To be appointed suggests that they were chosen for a task and given authority to do it. Of all the christians and of all the Jews in history, these particular men and women have been chosen for a task and given authority by God Himself.
Their destiny, then, was not a blind force propelling them along the current of history. This is not “fate” or “karma” or “The Force” or any other term used by people to suggest an implacable, impersonal process that runs the universe. They were appointed by God the Father for this role.
That role is to live for God’s praise and glory. The phrase “to live for the praise of his glory” can be equally translated as “to live for his glory and praise.”
These Jewish believers, the first generation of believers, were assigned a task that is common to all believers in all time periods. We have been set apart to live for God’s glory.
In the Old Testament, the priests and Levites were set apart (or “appointed”) to live for God’s glory. They didn’t stop being priests when they left the Temple. Their whole life was appointed for God’s glory.
All christians are set apart- appointed- to give praise and glory to God. Our lives are meant to be a witness or a testimony of what God has done in our lives through Jesus Christ.
When I walk in humble obedience to God, I am living for His praise and glory. My every word and action should show people “This is what God looks like.” Jesus said, “Let your light shine before people that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). When we live for God, we bring glory and praise to Him.
These Jews who first hoped in Christ had a particular role. They were the first generation of disciples. They represented the redemption of Israel to the world and the redemption of the world to Israel.
Israel was established as a beach head for heaven’s invasion of earth. It was intended to be a light shining in a world corrupted by sin. It would show the world what it is like to live in holiness and in fellowship with God.
Israel failed in its purpose. Rather than being light in the darkness it became corrupted by sin. The Jewish christians were a sign to the world that in Christ the purpose of Israel was fulfilled.
Likewise, these same Jewish christians were a sign to Israel that its redemption had arrived and the salvation of the world, including Israel, was at hand.
Key points from this verse:
The first Jewish christians were chosen by God
Their role was to live for the praise and glory of God
Our role is exactly the same- to live for the praise and glory of God.
Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the
Passover celebration and had seen what he did there.
Jesus moves on to Galilee where He is welcomed because of the things
He had done in Jerusalem, where the Galileans had been for the
A government official comes to Jesus and pleads with Him to heal his
son who is near death. Jesus tells him his son will live, and at the
exact time Jesus says this, the son gets better.
There are two types of people who crop up repeatedly in the gospel-
those who see Jesus and believe, and those who demand some sort of
sign before they will believe.
The question I have to ask myself is this: Do I believe Jesus for who
He is or do I demand some kind of sign or answers to prayer to
validate my faith? In other words, is my faith about Jesus or about
what He can do for me?
followers of Jesus believe in Him, regardless of prayers that are
answered to our preferences. The truth is that God is not our servant
to direct our lives the way most comfortable or pleasant to us.
pray and some people are healed. I pray and others
are not. My faith in Jesus does not depend on whether people are
is God, and He is in control.
When people are healed, or miracles occur, that is grace. When people
are not healed, or the miracle does not happen, that is sad, but it
is for God to sort out not me.
My faith does not rest on a “sign” but on God’s faithfulness.
Lord you call us to trust in you alone. Help me to entrust my own
future and those of my family and friends to you. Amen.