Reflection on John 14:1-14

Scripture

“There is more than enough room in my Father’s house. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?”

Observation

Jesus encourages the disciples not to be troubled. He will come back when He has prepared a place for them in the Father’s house.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him.

Philip says, “Show us the Father.” Jesus says that anyone who have seen Jesus has seen the Father.

Anyone who believes in Jesus will do even greater things, and anyone who asks for anything in His name will receive what they ask for.

Application

The gospel of salvation is available to every person who puts their faith in Jesus. There is plenty of room in the Father’s house.

Salvation is not limited to a certain group or nationality or the 144,000 of Revelation.

God desires that all people should be able to receive salvation. There is plenty of room in heaven.

The reference to going and preparing a place and then returning is part of the Jewish wedding process. After the engagement, the groom- to- be would prepare an extension at his father’s house. When all was ready, the marriage itself would take place, and the bride would be taken to the place prepared for her.

Jesus is using the analogy to compare the way of discipleship to the covenant of marriage- an intimate, life-long relationship.

His love for us is never ending. He loves us passionately and eternally, and He will never let us go.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank you for your great love for all people, especially for me. Thank you for the assurance that you will never let me go or abandon me. Amen.

Reflection on John 13:18-38

Scripture

“A new command give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples.”

Observation

Jesus reveals that one of the Twelve will betray Him. He hands the bread to Judas and tells him to do quickly what he is planning to do.

Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that He will shortly leave them. Peter asks Him where He is going, but Jesus tells him he cannot follow Him there. Peter says, “I will lay down my life for you,” but Jesus warns him that Peter will disown Jesus that very night.

Application

The new commandment, the new ethic for the christian community is to love one another in the same way that Jesus loves us.

That’s easy- love God and love people.

We make christianity so complicated at times. This church believes different things about the Holy Spirit than we do. Those people worship differently.

If they are Jesus followers we have to love them sacrificially. We can agree to disagree on some issues, but never let those things become a barrier to love.

Jesus goes on to say that by our love, all people will see that we are His disciples. It is said that the reason that the church became dominant across the Roman Empire after only a few generations is that they loved one another, cared for their widows and the sick, and rescued abandoned babies.

They literally loved the Empire into faith.

In a hostile, unbelieving culture, the church needs to rediscover real love- the love of Christ for His people. This is not Government- funded programs, but one- on- one love that shows the world what Jesus really looks like.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you command us to love one another. Please fill my heart with your love so that I can give it to others. Amen.

Reflection on John 12:20-36

Scripture

“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Observation

Some Greek Jews ask Philip to take them to Jesus which, along with Andrew, he does.

Jesus says that His time to be glorified has arrived. A seed must die in the ground to multiply. A person who loves his life will lose his life.

Jesus calls out, “Father glorify your name.” A voice from heaven answers Him. Some of the onlookers hear it as thunder, while others say that an angel spoke to Jesus.

Jesus goes on to say that they have their light with them for just a short time. He urges them to put their trust in the light so they may become sons of light.

Application

The person who lives as though this life is all there is will ultimately lose their life. The person who lives for eternity will gain eternal life.

Many people, even christians, are consumed with the things of the world- career, marriage, family, housing. These things are important, but must not be the focus of our attention.

Many people talk about work- life balance. What is the point about juggling career and family when all of it will pass away so quickly?

We need to put God’s will at the centre of all our thinking. If you are to be a doctor or engineer, electrician or mechanic, do it all for God’s glory.

If God calls us to move to another town or another country, let’s do it because it is God directing us not our personal ambition or the directive of some boss.

Jesus tells us to “hate” our life in this world. He doesn’t mean that literally, but He is saying that what we do for Him must be more important than the concerns and worries of this life.

He also promises that if we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, then He will provide all the other things for us.

Prayer

Lord it is so easy to be captivated by the things of this world. Please help me to let go of these things and let you direct every part of my life. Amen.

Reflection on John 12:11-19

Scripture

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.

Observation

Jesus enters Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. The great crowd that had gathered for the Festival meet Him, take up palm branches and shout “Hosanna!”

Jesus rides through the crowd on a donkey to fulfil Zechariah’s prophecy.

The crowd that had seen Lazarus raised form the dead continue to spread the word about Jesus, but the Pharisees be come more desperate as they say, “the whole world has gone after him!”

Application

The ongoing reaction of people to the miracle of Jesus being raised from the dead is a thorn in the flesh for the Pharisees. They claim that “the whole world” is following Jesus because of the witness of these people.

One of the the themes of John’s gospel is the power of testimony. Here we see it again as people are wanting to follow Jesus because others have told them what they saw.

My testimony is powerful because nobody can contradict it. It happened to me. I was there. My life since I met with Christ testifies to the transforming. power of salvation.

We can argue about theology, spirituality or philosophy. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Nobody can argue with my testimony.

The reason why the gospel spreads so rapidly and continues to impact lives is simple. It is true experientially. Countless millions of people around the world agree. Jesus is alive. He was dead but now He is alive.

Prayer

Thank you God for the reality of the gospel. Thank you for this relationship I have with you that changes everything. Amen.

Reflection on John 12:1-10

Scripture

Mary took a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she wiped it on Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Observation

Lazarus, Mary and Martha hold a feast in honour of Jesus. During the meal, Mary takes a pint of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus’ feet. The fragrance fills the house.

Judas asks why the perfume wasn’t sold to give to the poor. Jesus tells him to leave Mary alone.

Meanwhile a large crowd gathers to see both Jesus and Lazarus. The chief priest make plans to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus.

Application

In a sacrificial act of worship, Mary poured out expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, and the fragrance of it filled the house.

True worship will always be costly. It may carry a financial cost as we sow into God’s kingdom. A bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages is an extravagant act of worship.

Mary’s worship was costly in terms of her reputation and people’s opinions of her. She didn’t care about that. She poured out her love for Jesus in a way that seemed excessive to all who did not have a heart for worship.

Worship is about honouring Jesus. The whole feast was about Jesus, not the quality of the food or the living standards of the hosts. When we allow our adoration of Jesus to be side-stepped by the choice of songs or the noise of children, we have missed the point. We must focus on Jesus.

There is a fragrance about sincere, heart-felt worship. It fills the house, even the city, and it transform the neighbourhood. It can do nothing less.

Judas was not impressed. He didn’t see that Jesus, the Son of God, was worthy of honour. He found self-righteous reasons to justify his lack of worship, but he missed the point because his heart was not right.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to worship you extravagantly all my life. Amen.

Reflection on John 10:22-42

Scripture

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Observation

At the Feast of Dedication, the Jewish leaders again confront Jesus. They demand that Jesus tell them plainly that He is the Christ.

Jesus replies that He has already said plainly that He is the Christ, and that His miracles confirm this. The problem is that they do not hear His voice because they are not His sheep.

The Jews try to seize Jesus to stone Him, but He evades them and goes back to the Jordan, where many believe in Him.

Application

To be a follower or a sheep of Jesus means that we recognise His voice. There are several ways of doing this:

1. Through the Bible. The Bible is God’s word to us. It reveals His nature, His desire to set us free from sin, and His will for the way we should live.

2. Through the preaching of the Word and the worship of the community of faith. The local church is a great focal point for seeing how God’s people live, and also for pointing out the blind spots in our understanding.

3. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every true believer. He is the voice of Christ inside us, guiding us into righteousness, convicting us of sin, and raising our consciousness of our ability and opportunities to serve Christ.

4. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy and words of knowledge. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in the “still, small voice”, speaking directly into specific situations. Sometimes other people will bring to us a word that confirms what God has already been saying to us, or perhaps sparking something new about the direction we should take.

In all of these ways, the Lord never contradicts Himself, and our main check should be the Scriptures. God will never tell you to commit adultery or to steal; but He will give you insights into loving Him and the people around you more.

Prayer

Thank you Lord that you speak often to us. Help me to recognise your voice. Amen

Reflection on John 10:1-21

Scripture

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”

Observation

Jesus says that anyone who climbs into the sheep pen is a thief and a robber. The person who enters through the gate is the shepherd. The sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Jesus is the gate for the sheep. Whoever comes through Him will be saved. The thief comes to steal and destroy, but Jesus came so that we can have life to the full.

Jesus is the good shepherd. He lays down His life for the sheep. No one can take His life from Him, but He chooses to lay it down because of the Father’s command.

Application

Jesus is the gate. He is the way to salvation.

Jesus paints a picture here of a sheep fold. The true shepherd is the one who lies across the entrance to protect the sheep. Others may come to steal or kill the sheep, but they will come in over the walls and not through the gate.

Jesus promises that if we go through Him we will be saved.

There is no other way to be saved, no other name that can bring salvation. We cannot go through Mohamed or Buddha, through philosophy or atheism, through acts of kindness or acts of valour. Only Jesus will save us from our sins.

This is not just about eternity, important as that is. Jesus says that the sheep come in and go out through Him to find pasture. This is talking about provision and abundance in this life.

When we are with Jesus, we must not fret about where our next meal or our next pay cheque is coming from. We trust Him and follow Him, like good sheep, and He leads us to the good pastures.

Prayer

Lord, you meet my every need in this life and in eternity. You are the gate and I choose to come in through you. Amen.