Category Archives: John

John 21:18-23 — Keeping our eyes on Jesus

It must be disconcerting to hear about how you’re going to die.  And so after Jesus told Peter exactly how he was going to die, there probably was an awkward silence.  Peter then suddenly realized that John was walking not … Continue reading

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John 21 — A God who believes in us

This is another of my favorite stories in the Bible.  Here we have Peter.  Brash Peter.  Bold Peter.  But because of his failure in denying Jesus three times, a lot of that has been stripped away, leaving a man not … Continue reading

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John 20:24-31 — Though we have not seen him

Seeing is believing. At least sometimes it is.  The Pharisees and teachers of the law saw all the miracles Jesus performed and they still didn’t believe.  They saw Lazarus alive after he had died and they plotted to kill him because … Continue reading

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Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23 — Filled and sent out

It seems like there was quite a bit of confusion and disbelief among the 11 and the others gathered in the upper room that Sunday.  Here was Mary, the women, the two followers of Jesus, and Peter himself saying that … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18 — The One who is always with us

A couple of notes on the resurrection.  I think I will be cutting out Mark 16:9-20 from my commentary since it is considered by most scholars to not be in the original text.  It was apparently added on to Mark … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:32-61; Mark 15:24-47; Luke 23:32-56; John 19:18-42 — That scripture would be fulfilled

One thing that becomes crystal clear as we look at these passages is that Christ’s death was no accident.  It was no mistake on the part of God.  Rather, he had planned it from the beginning of time for our … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-30 — Paid in full

If there is one thing I hate to do, it’s pay taxes.  Every year, I have to go down to the tax office to declare my income, and then a month later, I collect my refund…only to have to give … Continue reading

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John 19:25-27 — Seeing beyond our misery

I suppose one of the biggest tests of how selfish we are is how we respond in times of misery.  When we are suffering, when we are going through trials, where is our focus?  Is it on us?  That would … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:38, 44; Mark 15:27, 32; Luke 23:32-33, 39-43; John 19:18 — Railing at God, humbling ourselves before him

This is one of the most famous stories from the cross.  Along with Jesus, two robbers were crucified by his side.  And at first, both mocked him.  In the ESV, it says One of the criminals who were hanged railed … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:33-37; Mark 15:22-26; Luke 23:38; John 19:18-22 — What has been written

The interaction between Pilate and the chief priests is very interesting.  Pilate put up the “charge” against Jesus, calling him the “King of the Jews.” The priests immediately went up to Pilate, asking him to change it to, “He claimed … Continue reading

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John 19:14-15 — Who is your king?

As we look at the interaction between Pilate and the chief priests, we see one of the great ironies of scripture.  On one hand, we have this pagan governor who has little or no concept of who God really is, … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-25; John 18-19 — When we have nothing to stand on

I will start by saying that it’s a bit hard to harmonize these passages.  Here’s how I see it, but I encourage you to look at it yourself, and come to your own conclusions. The priests and council members bring … Continue reading

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John 18:12-14, 19-24 – Striking those who tell us the truth

We now go to the first hearing Jesus had, this one before Annas.  Annas had been the high priest before Caiaphas but had been deposed from his position by the Roman government.  Nevertheless, he was still held in high regard … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12 — Power and authority, mercy and grace

In this passage, there are three things I see in Jesus. 1.  His power and authority.  Though surrounded by his enemies, he was in total command of the situation.  Standing to face his enemies, he asked them, “Who are you … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1 — Weak

Nobody ever said Satan fights fair.  And he doesn’t.  When he sees us in our weakness, whether it be physically or emotionally, he will attack. You see this in these passages.  When Jesus and his disciples arrived at the Garden … Continue reading

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John 17:20-23 — Jesus’ desire for us

I wonder just how much people in the church really know the deepest desires of Jesus?  We saw one of those desires a few days ago, that he really desired an intimate relationship with us.  That eternal life is all … Continue reading

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John 17:16-19 — Sanctified, being sanctified

Sanctification. It’s one of those words that could best be described as “Christianese.”  A word that has meaning in the church, and very little outside of it.  It’s a word you often see in scripture, and one that you might … Continue reading

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John 17:11-15 — Prayed for in the midst of a hostile world

If there’s one thing I see in this passage, it’s the tender care that Jesus has for us as he prays for us. And he does pray for us. So often we pray for others.  But Jesus, as our high … Continue reading

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John 17 — What eternal life truly is

A lot of times, we think of eternal life as simply living forever in heavenly bliss.  Certainly we will experience that, but to many people, strangely enough, it’s a life devoid of God. Oh, they have some concept that God … Continue reading

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John 16:16-33 — Finding peace and joy

It’s very clear from this passage that all that Jesus was saying was weighing heavily on the disciples, mostly because they were so focused on the idea that Jesus was leaving.  As a result, it overshadowed everything else he was saying. … Continue reading

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John 16:5-15 — The work of the Spirit

Who is the Holy Spirit?  Even today, many Christians are confused as to who he is. And that’s one thing to remember.  The Holy Spirit is a “he”, not that he’s literally of the male gender although God chooses to … Continue reading

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John 15:18-16:4 — An occupational hazard

I remember one time working for a church here in Japan, and the pastor’s daughter was working at a Christian pre-school.  But one day, she complained that one of her students stabbed her hand with a pair of scissors (fortunately, … Continue reading

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John 15:12-17 — The command of love

I wonder if we really understand the implications of Jesus’ command that we love one another. One of the clear implications is that love is not merely a feeling but a choice. No one can command a feeling, not even God … Continue reading

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John 15:7-17 — Asking that we might bear fruit

In this passage, Jesus makes a very powerful promise. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  (7) A lot of people take these kinds of words to … Continue reading

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John 15:1-11 — The need to abide

Yesterday I talked about the Father’s work in our lives.  That our righteousness, our fruit, does not come from our own efforts but through his work in us.  He cleans us through his Word (verse 3), he lifts us up … Continue reading

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John 15:1-2 — Lifted up and pruned

One of the biggest differences between Christianity and every other religion is that our righteousness does not depend on our own efforts.  Rather, it comes from God’s work in us, changing us from the inside out. God first introduces that concept in … Continue reading

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John 15:1-17 — Chosen to be fruitful

This is one of the most famous passages in the Gospels in which Jesus shows us a beautiful illustration of our relationship with God. Here he calls himself the vine.  In the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as a vine. … Continue reading

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John 14:15-31 — Never alone

One thing my five year old daughter used to do quite often, and even does now from time to time is to crawl into my wife’s and my bed and snuggle in between us.  And when we ask why, she’ll … Continue reading

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John 14:15-31 — If we truly love Jesus

This is one of those passages that would probably make many people turn their heads if they really thought about it. Jesus says to start off, If you love me, you will obey what I command.  (15) Think about that a … Continue reading

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John 14:12-14 — Powerful promises

Jesus made some pretty amazing promises here.  The type that make you say, “Really?  Are you serious?” Jesus said, I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even … Continue reading

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John 14:7-11 — To see and know God

How can we possibly know God?  How can we know what he is like? Obviously, when we’re talking about an invisible God, there can only be one answer:  if he chooses to reveal himself. God first revealed himself through direct contact, … Continue reading

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John 14:4-6 — The Way

This is the one passage that provides such a stumbling block to so many people in the world today.  Many people simply refuse to believe it because the implications of what Jesus said are so deep, and they are simply … Continue reading

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John 14:1-3 — What’s waiting for us

As I said in my last blog, the disciples were both stunned and troubled by what Jesus had just told them.  First he told them he was leaving and they could not follow, and then he told them that they … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38 — A God who knows our weakness, and accepts us anyway

When Jesus told the disciples that he was leaving for a place they could not follow, it must have really troubled them.  He was their teacher, and they couldn’t imagine life without him. As usual, it was Peter who spoke … Continue reading

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John 13:31-35 — That the world may know

With Judas now gone, Jesus begins his final address to his disciples before the cross.  And to this bickering, prideful group, he said, A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:20-25; Mark 14:17-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:18-30 — Betrayal

As I’ve mentioned before, harmonizing these passages is a little tough.  One question is whether Judas participated in the first communion.  Luke seems to imply so, while the other gospel writers seem to say Judas didn’t.  It’s just my opinion, … Continue reading

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John 13:6-11 — Getting our feet cleaned

One more point from this story before I go on. As Jesus went to wash Peter’s feet, Peter exclaimed, No…you shall never wash my feet.  (8) When Jesus replied that Peter would have no part with him if he refused, Peter then went … Continue reading

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John 13:1-17 — The ultimate servant

The Bible is full of pictures concerning Jesus and his work on the cross, starting from God’s promise of someone to come stomp on the serpent’s head even while getting his heel struck in the process, to Abraham’s sacrifice of … Continue reading

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Luke 22:24-30; John 13:1-17 — True leadership

Trying to harmonize the gospel accounts at this point is a little sticky.  I get the impression that things were not always told in chronological order and that there were little asides thrown in.  This passage in Luke, in my … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:1-16; Mark 14:1-11; John 12:1-11 — True love, false love

Here we see a stark contrast in love.  One person’s love came from the heart.  The other’s came only for what profited him. Jesus was in Bethany having dinner at the house of a man named Simon.  Lazarus, Mary, and … Continue reading

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John 12:44-50 — When we see and hear Jesus

So many people say, “I believe in God,” but refuse to put their faith in Jesus. But if you truly believe in God, that is exactly what you cannot do.  Jesus says here, Whoever believes in me does not believe … Continue reading

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John 12:42-43 — From whom we seek praise

One of the saddest comments you’ll ever read in the Bible comes from these two verses. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith … Continue reading

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John 12:27-41 — Before it’s too late

Sometime people put off following Christ thinking they can always do it later.  But in this passage, we see the danger of that. Jesus in thinking about the cross and his determination to follow the Father’s plan cried out, Father, … Continue reading

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John 12:20-26 — In order to serve

With all the buzz surrounding Jesus, both with his spectacular entry into Jerusalem, and his just as spectacular cleansing of the temple, it’s little wonder that first time visitors would wish to see him.  In this case, it was some … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19 — What would bring us peace

Lots going on in these passages, and as you look at all four gospels, you really get an idea of the frenzy going on due to Jesus’ entrance in Jerusalem.  People are shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David!”  “Blessed is … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-16 — The Lord needs it

We have now reached the home stretch of the life of Jesus, his final week. As I read this passage, one phrase struck me.  Jesus was instructing his disciples to do something very unusual, to go into the village, and … Continue reading

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Luke 19:28; John 11:55-57 — A cleansing that goes beyond the surface

Right after Jesus’ parable about those who were determined to reject him as king, we see the actual people whom Jesus was speaking of. Jesus was fast approaching Jerusalem, and a lot of people were already there to celebrate the Passover. … Continue reading

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John 11:45-57; 12:9-11 — Recognizing truth when we see it

I’ve mentioned the problem the Pharisees and the priests had where they saw all that Jesus said and did, and still did not believe.  It all comes to a head here.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and there was absolutely … Continue reading

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John 11:23-44 — The one who calls forth the dead

Yes, we will eventually finish this chapter.  But not today.  It’s a passage that is so totally rich in truth. When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she said, I know he will rise again in the … Continue reading

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John 11:17-44 — Uncovering our pain before Jesus

So often in our lives, we go through pain and hurt, but instead of dealing with it, we bury it.  We try to ignore the pain.  Or we cover it over with other things, busyness, food, pleasure, or whatever else we can … Continue reading

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John 10:22-42 — When seeing is not believing

A lot of times, people say, “I’ll believe in God if he appears to me and talks to me.”  There is a fatal flaw with this line of reasoning.  God did appear.  He did talk to us.  He walked among … Continue reading

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John 10:1-21 — The good shepherd

Here we see a beautiful picture of Jesus’ relationship with us.  And he paints the picture with the imagery of a shepherd  and his sheep. He said, The sheep listen to [the shepherd’s] voice.  He calls his own sheep by … Continue reading

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John 10:1-10 — The Gate

Many people wonder, “Why does Jesus have to be the only way to God?” The short answer:  because he said so. Jesus told the people, I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by … Continue reading

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John 9:39-42 — When you think you know it all

The irony in this passage is very thick. The man who had been blind could see who Christ really was and worshiped him.  The people who could see all their lives, couldn’t recognize who Jesus was though he was standing right in front … Continue reading

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John 9 — A picture of salvation

After Jesus healed this man blind from birth, it caused quite a stir as we see in this chapter.  But through this story, we see a beautiful picture of salvation. We see, first of all, that this man was blind from … Continue reading

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John 9:1-5 — Why did this happen to me?

Sometimes, bad things happen to people, and they wonder, “Why did this happen to me?  Is God punishing me for something I did?” There are times when God will let us go through suffering because of our sin.  But I … Continue reading

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John 8:37-47 — Whose child are you?

Things get pretty acrimonious in this exchange between Jesus and the Jews.  And it came down to this question, “Whose child are you?” It was a question that swirled around Jesus, and it’s possible that when the Jews protested, “We … Continue reading

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John 8:31-35 — The truth that sets free

Many times, people look at the “rules of Christianity,” and feel that they are so binding.  That they couldn’t enjoy life if they followed them. But when Jesus tells us how we should live, he doesn’t do so to bind us … Continue reading

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John 8:12-58 — The one who brings light and life

A lot of people in this world are lost.  They seek a good life.  A good marriage.  A good job.  And most of all, joy and peace.  And yet, somehow, these things elude them.  People have been like this ever … Continue reading

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John 8:1-11 — You are not condemned…so go

This is probably my favorite story in the Bible. Jesus is teaching in the temple courts early in the morning, and a huge crowd of people are surrounding him, listening to him teach. But all of a sudden, there’s a … Continue reading

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John 7:37-39 — The waters of salvation

Yes, we will eventually get past this chapter.  In fact, this will be our last look at it as we look at verses 37-39. On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus probably watched as the priests took … Continue reading

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John 7:24 — Judging scripture rightly

We looked yesterday at how Jesus warned the Jews against judging against appearances.  The first reason was that they were judging him by his education, and as a result, many blew off his teaching. But the second reason Jesus warned … Continue reading

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John 7:24 — Judging people rightly

It’s a little unusual that I linger on a passage very long in this blog, but there just seem to be a number of little nuggets here that I think are worth thinking about. In this verse, Jesus told the … Continue reading

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John 7:16-18 — Who are we serving?

As I was reading through this passage yesterday, these verses really struck me, particularly as a teacher of God’s Word. My teaching is not my own.  It comes from him who sent me.  If anyone chooses to do God’s will, … Continue reading

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John 7:11-53 — Who is this Jesus?

The question the disciples faced in Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13), the rest of the Jews now faced in Jerusalem. There was certainly no shortage of ideas. Some thought he was just a good man.  Others thought he was a prophet. … Continue reading

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John 7:10; Luke 9:51-56 — A time for judgment, a time for mercy

I mentioned in the last blog that there will be people that hate us because of the truth that we represent. I also said it’s important how consider how we say it, and the spirit with which we talk to … Continue reading

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John 7:1-9 — When you tell the truth

As I look at this passage, there is one more thing that strikes me, and so we’ll stay here one more day.  When you tell God’s truth, people will not always take it well.  Often times, they respond with disbelief, … Continue reading

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John 7:1-9 — Following the Father’s agenda

Jesus had been avoiding Jerusalem and Judea for some time after the feeding of the 5000, and the falling away of many of his “disciples” in John chapter 6.  But the time of one of the great Jewish feasts, the … Continue reading

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John 6:60-71 — The One who gives offense

I wonder what it is exactly that gave the Jews offense as they listened to Jesus.  It’s very possible that they simply didn’t understand what Jesus was saying and were taking his words literally, instead of figuratively as he meant … Continue reading

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John 6:22-65 — “Working” for true bread

This is one of the more powerful passages in scripture, but it is also a somewhat difficult one. After Jesus fed the 5000, they wanted Jesus to become their king, and so he left.  When they found him, Jesus admonished … Continue reading

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Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:16-21 — Doubting Jesus

As I was looking through the three gospel accounts of this story, there are a lot of things that struck me. First, the balance that Jesus kept in his life.  That though he would often sacrifice his needs to meet the … Continue reading

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Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:5-13 — Though we may have little…

I have probably read or heard this passage a billion times, so it’s always exciting when God gives me a new way of looking at a passage. Jesus’ disciples had just come back from their mission trip, and were probably … Continue reading

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John 5:31-47 — When we seek the praise of man

When you think about Jesus’ life, the thing that would probably surprise you if you never heard the story before is that the religious leaders, the people that should have been the quickest to embrace him, didn’t.  Instead, they rejected … Continue reading

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John 5:19-30 — The one who judges…and gives life

Here we catch a glimpse of the relationship between the Father and the Son.  One thing we cannot say, as some cults do, is that the Father is the Son.  They are clearly distinct from each other, though they are … Continue reading

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John 5:16-18 — Who Jesus is

Who is this Jesus?  That is the question that every single person who encountered him had to face. It’s the question that people to this day must face in encountering Jesus. The Jews came face to face with this question … Continue reading

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John 5:1-16 — Blinded by rules

Rules are a good thing.  It tends to put order where there is disorder.  This is true in the classroom (where I teach), it’s true in our households, and it’s true in society. But rules can be harmful when people … Continue reading

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John 5:1-15 — Desiring wholeness

Sometimes I wonder if people really desire wholeness in their lives.  They often complain about their marriage or relationships, they complain about their jobs or their health, but they never seem to do anything about it.  They almost seem to … Continue reading

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John 4:43-54 — Taking Jesus at his word

In this passage, we see Jesus’ first miraculous healing, although one can guess that he had done other healings before this.  (John 2:23) But the thing that strikes me here is this royal official’s response to Jesus.  This royal official … Continue reading

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John 4:27-42 — Breaking down the barriers

The disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman is very interesting.  John writes, Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.  But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why … Continue reading

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John 4:19-24 — True worship

In the midst of the dialogue between Jesus and the woman at the well, we see an interesting sidelight into worship. The woman stung by the truth of her own life, tries to divert Jesus, saying,  “I see you’re a … Continue reading

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John 4:1-26 — Brutal honesty? Or truth in love?

Well, after two days in a sickbed, and a day of catching up with my work, I’m back blogging.  If you could throw some prayers my way, I’d appreciate it.  I’m not nearly at a 100% today. Someone once said … Continue reading

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John 3:22-35 — Who we want people to follow

Discipleship.  The more I think about it, the more important I realize it is.  But what is the goal of discipleship? Too often, people get wrapped up in making disciples of themselves.  They want others to look at them for … Continue reading

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John 3:19-21 — Stepping out into the light

I mentioned in my last blog that we are not in danger of being condemned if we reject Christ.  We are already condemned.  Judgment has already been passed. And in this passage, we see the verdict that was passed against … Continue reading

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John 3:16-18 — The other side of the gospel

The word “gospel,” as most people know, means “good news.”  But the good news can’t really be understood until you understand the bad news.  What is the bad news?  It’s found in verse 18 of this passage. Whoever does not … Continue reading

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John 3:9-16 — How to be born again

In my last blog, we saw Jesus explaining to Nicodemus the need to be born again.  That we can’t work our way into heaven any more than we can work our way into the physical world. In both cases, we … Continue reading

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John 3:1-8 — Born again

We now come to one of the most famous passages in scripture.  In the States and most Western countries, most people have at least heard the idea of being born again even if they don’t understand it.  But what does … Continue reading

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John 2:12-25 — Jesus’ zeal for his temple

Well, for those who have been praying for my computer, thank you.  It’s finally back up and running after hours of futile troubleshooting.  All of it actually sparked a thought for today’s blog. In this passage, Jesus comes to the … Continue reading

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John 2:1-11 — Wine or grape juice?

A long time ago, as a teenager I think, I glanced through a book called “Wine or Grape Juice?” or some such title. I can’t really remember all it said, but I got the impression through the book that when … Continue reading

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John 1:35-42 — To be where Jesus is

I almost feel like I’ve been rushing through the gospel passages at times, so I want to slow it down a bit and take a closer look at this passage. When John the Baptist’s disciples heard John tell them that … Continue reading

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John 1:19-51 — Pointing the way

A lot of times, Christians get scared about sharing Jesus with their family and friends.  Part of the reason is that they think they have to have certain qualifications to do so.  Or that they need special Bible knowledge to … Continue reading

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Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1 — Loved by the Father, Filled with the Spirit

During the time that John was baptizing multitudes of people, Jesus also came up to him to be baptized.  I wonder just how well John knew Jesus and exactly who he was when he did.  How much did his parents … Continue reading

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Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1 — Telling it like it is

Just a few notes.  First, as I’m on vacation and am staying at my in-laws’ house, my ability to get on the internet is a tad restricted, so I may or may not be able to blog every day this … Continue reading

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John 1:1-18 — Light in a darkened world

I once read about a young teenage girl in the United States.  She had perfect grades in high school.  She had a perfect score for the SAT.  She had a perfect score for the University of California acceptance exam.  She … Continue reading

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John 1:1-18 — When God became flesh

For those wondering how I’m going to tackle the Gospels, I’m going to do it as I did the Old Testament, that is, chronologically.  I’m going to use a harmony of the Gospels to do this, and weave between the … Continue reading

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