Day 13 (March 9), John 5:30-47

John 5:30-47

Context:  Jesus concludes His discourse with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem by referring to 4 things that bear witness to and authenticate Jesus’ messianic identity and divinity:  John the Baptist, His own works and miracles, God the Father and even the Scriptures and Moses (as author of the Pentateuch).  What we are seeing here is a form of Jewish trial playing itself out in real time.  This didactic dialogue continues between Jesus and the Jewish leaders all the way up to and including his trial after his arrest.  Note that he calls John the Baptist a burning and shining lamp, whereas he refers to himself as the ‘true light.’  He also refers to him in the past tense, perhaps because John had just been beheaded or at least was in prison with his public witness practically ended. 

Observations:  Why were the 4 witnesses mentioned above critical to authenticating Jesus’ messianic claims?  Why were some people convinced and others were not?  Was it for lack of ‘witnesses’ or ‘evidence’ or for their heart condition?  Note the personal flavor of Jesus’ comments about John the Baptist.  Couldn’t Jesus have intervened and either prevented John’s arrest or miraculously saved him from his death?  Why didn’t he?  How can a person be totally familiar with Scripture but miss Jesus?

Application:  As you read the Scriptures and the Gospel of John this week, ask the Father and the Spirit to ‘lead you’ to Jesus!  Ask for illumination on how to make Jesus’ words real, personable and relevant in the circumstances you find yourself in each day.   Take notes, start a journal or at least review or meditate on what you read at some point during the day. 

Prayer:  Ask God for a sign or ‘witness’ of His presence in your life today, without demanding ‘how’ he will do it.  And ask him for the humility and eyes of faith to actually see it!!  Ask the Lord to help Evergreen be an ever-increasing witness of Christ in a world that desperately NEEDS Him!

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Day 12 (March 8), John 5:19-29

John 5:19-29

Context:  Jesus uses the reality of the healing of the disabled man at the Pools of Bethesda on the Sabbath as a platform to teach on His identify, purpose and gift of eternal life that He brings to mankind.  The Jewish leaders are incensed that Jesus calls God his Father and claims he is the Son.  He talks about passing from death to life when you hear the words of Jesus and believe in the One who sent him.  ‘A time is coming, and is now hear,’ Jesus remarks, ‘when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.’ In this discourse He also describes Himself as the Son of Man.

Observations:  The Jews wanted to kill Jesus not only because He was healing on the Sabbath, but that He made himself equal with God by calling God his Father.  So why do you think Jesus pressed further into this point instead of redirecting to another topic?  How can ‘the dead’ hear the ‘voice of God’ and live?  Is Jesus talking about a physical resurrection from the dead or a spiritual one involving our soul?  What else stirred in you from these verses? 

Application:  If you do not know Jesus yet you can start by believing in Him and his sacrifice on the cross to bear (and pay) the penalty for your sins.  When you do you will not come into judgment but have passed from death to life.  If you already have been saved or born-again do you realize passing from spiritual death to life is a once-and-for-all time event?  If you want a complementary passage read Ephesians 2:1-10 

Prayer:  Ask God for humility and faith … the ability to receive His Word (including his corrections, reproof and honest disruptions to our thinking and life) and put it into practice each day.  Pray that we as a Church would choose to experience the life of Christ in us and go beyond the checklist of attending meetings or fulfilling only the daily disciplines without a unique, personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

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