Day 31 (March 27), John 11:1-16

John 11:1-16

Context:  While teaching and ministering east of the Jordan, Jesus gets word from two sisters he dearly loves (Martha and Mary) that their brother, Lazarus, is ill.  This Mary is the one who would soon anoint the Lord with ointment and wipe his feet with her hair.  They lived in Bethany (Bethphage) about two miles from Jerusalem.  They knew he dearly loved Lazarus, too.  Jesus is moved by their request, yet tarries two days until Lazarus dies, then tells his disciples he is glad for it so that they might see the glory of God at work.  They are very concerned about Jesus’ safety and their safety (the Jews in Jerusalem had tried to stone him the last visit) and Thomas even tells the disciples, ‘Let us also go (to Jerusalem with Jesus), that we may die with him.’

Observations:   If Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters so dearly, why didn’t he go immediately to heal him?  How do you think the sisters felt?  To press further, why did Jesus allow such a close friend to become ill in the first place?  What was pre-eminent in Jesus’ thinking?  In the disciples thinking?  Jesus is now entering a ‘place of no return’ since his claims and miracles are forcing the hand of the Jewish leaders.  Btw, the answer to yesterday’s quote about danger and opportunity is General Douglas MacArthur who headed the Pacific operations for Allied powers in WWII. 

Application:  Consider a time in your past where your timing was not God’s timing, especially when it felt like God ‘showed up late.’  Could there be disappointments and timing issues in your world right now stemming from COVID-19 and all its ripple effects?  Do you really TRUST in God’s timing?  Try to see what good is coming from altered plans.

Prayer:  Jesus, we do believe, but help us in our unbelief!! Amen.

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Day 30 (March 26), John 10:31-42

John 10:31-42

Context:  Once again, a verbal prize fight between Jesus and the religious leaders culminates in a potential stoning.  This time the Jews switch from claiming ‘Jesus heals on the Sabbath, thereby breaking the law,’ to ‘blasphemy, because he makes himself out to be God.’    Once again, Jesus confirms that his miraculous works are a ‘witness’ of his divinity and that he and the Father are one.  He escapes his arrest and then returns to the land across the Jordan where John baptized and now many people believed.    

Observations:   How does verse 33 fit the narrative some people have that Jesus never claimed to be God?  What do you think Jesus felt like when they picked up the stones?  Why was there such divisiveness with respect to Jesus in Jerusalem, but when he returned to the place John was baptizing earlier many people believed in Jesus?  Jesus had different adversaries than we do … but how does his boldness, faith and resolve relate to our COVID-19 circumstances today?

Application:  Glean every ounce of hope you can from Jesus today.  Though close to arrest (and death) multiple times, his hour had not yet come.  And, with respect to the sheep, we can hear his voice and no one can snatch us from the Father’s hand.  Meditate on these truths as you face uncertainties about your job, school and business closings, COVID-19 screening and infection/mortality rates.  Do you really believe God KNOWS all about your circumstances?!

Prayer:  Cast all your anxiety on the Lord, because He cares for you.  Think of a fisherman ‘casting’ and then do this in an even more real way.  Look at people and situations through the eyes of Jesus and remember this quote, ‘There is no such thing as danger, only opportunity.’  Do you know who said it?  Revealed tomorrow!

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