Reflection on John 6:1-15

Scripture

When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away to the hills by himself.

Observation

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.

Application

Jesus will not be hijacked for human political programs.

The people 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 politicians.

Jesus will not be co-opted by any human political project. He refuses to be a King in that kind of way.

The 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.

Prayer

King Jesus reign in my heart and mind. May my life be transformed by you. Amen.

Reflection on John 5:31-45

Scripture

“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.”

Observation

Jesus 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.

Application

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 eternal life.

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.

Reading 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.

Prayer

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 message. Amen.

Reflection on John 5:16-30

Scripture

Jesus 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.”

Observation

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.

Application

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.

We 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.

So 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.

Prayer

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.

Reflection on John 5:1-15

Scripture

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 mat.”

Observation

Jesus 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.

Jesus tells the man to get up, pick up his may and walk. The man is instantly healed.

As 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.

Application

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.

Christians 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 Spirit.

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.

Prayer

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.

Reflection on John 4:43-54

Scripture

Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen what he did there.

Observation

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 Passover celebration.

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.

Application

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?

True 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.

I pray and some people are healed. I pray and others are not. My faith in Jesus does not depend on whether people are healed.

God 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.

Prayer

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.

Reflection on John 4:1-18

Scripture

“Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh bubbling spring within them, giving eternal life.

Observation

Returning from Judea to Galilee, Jesus passes through the Samaritan village of Sychar. He stops to rest at Jacob’s well. A Samaritan woman comes to draw water.

Jesus tells the woman about the living water He has which can become a spring that bubbles up within and gives eternal life.

Application

Jesus is the water of life, the source of eternal life.

The water He offers is not just a refreshing drink on a hot day- a drink that is soon forgotten.

Jesus’ water is eternal life. When we drink deeply from Him, He refreshes our soul. He gives us resilience , the strength to live with joy through the trials of life.

The water that Jesus gives enables us to live forever. This water cleanses us from sin and restores our relationship with God.

This eternal life, sustained by dwelling in Him, becomes a source of life for others. A spring bubbles up within us.

That living water must flow out to others. The life that Christ gives to me is meant to be shared. A spring that is blocked up is no longer a spring.

We share the living water by bringing Christ to others through our testimony. We are called to witness to others about the powerful change Christ has brought to us.

We also share Christ by sharing the incredible love He has for all people. Acts of love, deeds of kindness, reconciliation of relationships, bring life to other people and point them to Christ.

Prayer

Thank you Jesus for being living water to me. Show me who to share your life with today and every day. Amen.

Reflection on John 3:16-21

Scripture

There is no judgement against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him had already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

Observation

God loved the world so much that He sent His one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Jesus came into the world to save us not to judge us.

Anyone who trusts in Jesus is saved, and there is no judgement against them. The judgement is this- God’s light came into the world and people preferred the darkness.

Application

No judgement against believers!

I talked to a distressed pastor the other day who said something like, “I’m afraid that God will say to me ‘You should have pushed harder, got more people saved.’” Even among pastors (especially among pastors!) there is a fear of God’s judgement because we are not good enough or not doing enough.

There is no judgement for those who trust in Jesus. God will not confront us for our sins. That is all dealt with in the blood of Jesus.

The judgement christians face is the sheep and goats judgement, the division between believers and unbelievers.

We already have our “boarding pass”! We have already been judged as sinless because it’s all covered by the cross.

What about the verses that say things like “You will be judged for every idle word”? The judgement is on unbelievers not the believers. Every sin will be accounted for, but every sin that christians commit is covered by the blood of Christ.

Does this mean that we should be complacent or lazy or just live according to what we want to do? Of course not! Having received such love from our Holy Father God, how can we trample it on the ground or take it for granted? To believe Jesus is to follow Him in a life of holiness.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the blood of Jesus that covers every sin. Amen.