Archive for the ‘John’ Category

In the Absence of Life

John 5


It was the only hope they had—waiting by the pool for the water to stir—waiting for the healing these stirrings could bring.  If the leaders of the day had been properly focused, there wouldn’t have been any waiting by the pool.  In fact, by the time John writes this, they had already quit waiting by it.  John says, “Here a great number of disabled people used to lie”. A new leader had come to town; the waiting was over.


It seems today, in many cases, we have gone back to waiting.  We wait in our churches for the water to stir—waiting for the healing these stirrings can bring.  The man in this story had waited for 38 years.  How many today have done the same thing? 


How many of today’s leaders are guilty of the same thing the leaders in this story were guilty of.  John writes in 5:39-40, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”


Is it possible, even today, to study and know the Scriptures and yet miss the life of which they speak?  Are we somehow coming to the Scriptures, yet not coming to Christ?  Do those who wait continue to do so because there is none to help them? 


In the absence of life, a great number of disabled people are waiting.



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John 21


What do you do when you have encountered Christ and He has yet to make it clear what His plans for you are?  Peter and the other disciples had seen Jesus since the resurrection.  It was exciting and all, but what did it mean to them personally.  So far, they didn’t know. 


When that is the case, what do you do?  You do what you’ve always done.  In Peter’s case, he said, “I’m going out to fish,” and a few of the other disciples went with him.  I’ve wondered at times if the Lord has something for me other than what I have always done.  But until He makes it clear, I do what I’ve always done.


Jesus could have called them in as soon as He showed up.  It says they had fished all night and caught nothing.  At this low point in their business venture, He could have called them.  Instead, to the men He would use to change the world, He first allows them to experience the benefit of following Him.


Who wouldn’t be ready for something else at a low point, but Jesus waits till they’ve had their highest.  At Peter’s highest, Jesus tells him what He wants him to do.  As many would be willing to follow at low point, Peter demonstrates that even when a business is at its highest point, it does not outweigh an invitation to do the Kingdom’s business.

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Where No Man Has Gone

John 20


John 20:1-8

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  She came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple,” whom I will call John.  John “outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.  Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.


It took Peter, who had more guts than brains to go where no man had gone in order to discover the details of the truth, which in turn made it easy for John to discover and believe the same.  On account of Peter, John saw and believed.  On account of John, and his written description of what he saw, we too are able to see and believe.


John 20:31

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

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The Cost of Living

John 19


“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.”  The guards made fun of Him saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”  “And they struck him in the face.”  He was made to carry His cross to Golgotha.  “Here they crucified him.”


Just days or perhaps only hours earlier, Jesus made the excruciating decision to follow through with what was required of Him.  The record of that decision is found in John 12, in which He says, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?  ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason that I came to this hour.”


Later He would say, “I know that his command leads to eternal life”.  The decision would cost Him more than any decision He had ever made, but He had learned through life that the way to life is to follow His Father’s commands. 


It would do us well to have a fresh understanding that though the cross entitles us to life, it is Jesus’ demonstration of obedience before the cross that leads to life.  At any point in our walk with God, this is true.  Whether it is something God says we shouldn’t do, or something He says we should do; whether it is easy or hard; whether it seems fair or unfair; whether it seems to make sense or not – we have to “know that his command leads to eternal life”.  It is the price we must pay for the life that is rightfully ours.  It is the cost of living.

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To Whom It May Concern

John 18


When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king, Jesus said, “You are right in saying I am a king.  In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify of the truth”.


At a certain point in history, when the whole world was missing the truth, Jesus steps in to declare it—to right the world again.  Very few got it, and those that did were a little slow in doing so.  Anyone besides me, a little slow in getting it?


It is not really until you see and understand the truth that you become so aware of the lies from every source imaginable that keep us from it.  Until you see and understand the truth, you are persuaded to believe that lies are the truth.  


Exactly ‘how’ I am not yet sure, but the ‘what’ I believe I am becoming more sure of.  Somehow, by any means afforded, I will testify of the truth.  I will expose the lies that keep us from the life that Jesus came to proclaim we could have.  For this reason, I believe that we have been permitted to remain in the world.    


A personal note:

To the few who regularly read what I write, I will take this opportunity to say what an encouragement you are to me by the things you write.  We may not be reaching the multitude here, but we are hopefully an encouragement to each other.  As we see the day approaching, I believe we are doing what the writer of Hebrews encouraged us to do. 


Heb 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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Lesson from the Walleye

John 17


I recently heard Dobson speak on an experiment with a walleye.  The walleye was placed in a glass tank.  Minnows were released into the tank, and soon, the minnows were gone. 


Then a sheet of glass was slipped into the tank—dividing it in two sections.  Minnows were released into the section opposite the walleye.  In spite of repeated efforts, the walleye, of course, could not get to the minnows and eventually quit trying. 


Then the sheet of glass was removed.  Even as the minnows swam all around the walleye, he would not go for the minnows.  Dobson’s following comment struck me.  Discouraged by repeated unsuccessful efforts, the walleye would end up starving in a tank filled with what it needed to survive.


Though his application involved kids and school, I couldn’t help but to think of how many adults are discouraged by repeated unsuccessful efforts of trying to experience God.  What is needed to survive is all around, but the will to pursue it is gone—discouraged by repeated unsuccessful efforts.


What is it that is all around?  Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is the truth”.  In His word is everything we need for survival.  But we are discouraged by repeated unsuccessful efforts to understand it—to live it, and so, we have laid it down.


In John 17, while Jesus was praying for His disciples, twice He prayed for their protection.  17:11 ‘Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name.’  17:15 ‘Protect them from the evil one’.


If we have laid our Bibles down, ‘the evil one’ has gotten the upper hand.  Maybe in the past, he was able to slip a glass between us and the truth and we have given up trying.  Now we starve while truth is all around us.


The father of lies twists it, snatches it . . . anything to keep us from it.  But, it is there nonetheless.  There is no beating around the bush here, we must go after it.  If we do not, ‘the evil one’ wins. 


There is a line in a song that says, “Love is not a fight, but it’s worth fighting for”.  Jesus is fighting for us and waits on us to join in.

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John 15, 16


When Jesus finished the things He talked about in John 15, He concluded with this, “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.”  After everything He said in John 16, He concluded this way, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.”  


In the combination of the two things He told them and in light of the fact that He was getting ready to go away, He gives them the key to the life He lived while He was with them, so that they would be able to live the same after He was gone.  


In 15, it is all about abiding, remaining, or staying connected to Him.  This staying connected is the key to our not going astray.  The going astray is not so much the dark paths of sin, but subtle deception that will lead us away from the truth.  As we stay connected, we are maintaining the channel through which truth can flow.


So important for them to live the life He lived is this connection to the truth.  So important to Him that they have it, in 16 He tells them of the Counselor—the Spirit of truth—that He will send to guide them in it. 


Critical that we stay connected to establish that steady flow of truth.  If we do, we will have peace.  If we don’t, “In the world you will have trouble.”  “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  As our enemy tries to sway us with lies, the truth overcomes it.


Paul puts it this way; “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

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John 15


At the end of all that Jesus says in chapter 15, He concludes with “all this I have told you that you will not go astray”.  If you could know something that would keep you from ‘going astray’, wouldn’t you want to know it?  


In the first 10 verses of John 15, 10 times Jesus uses the word ‘remain’ (‘abide’ in some translations).  I usually perk up when He says something twice, but 10 times; it must be pretty important.


Verse 4 makes the general point that a branch cannot bear fruit unless it remains on the vine.  That makes sense.  It has to remain connected to its source for nutrients or it will wither and die.  If the branch remains connected, it will naturally bear fruit.  Separated, it can’t bear fruit no matter how hard it tries.    


 John 15:4 says “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”. 


John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.


It is frustrating to try to bear fruit.  It is easy to read these verses and focus on the bearing fruit part to prove to ourselves and others that we are remaining.  It is just simply backwards.  We must first learn to remain, the fruit will then come.


It is interesting to realize this is probably hours before Peter’s denial.  So, though he heard ‘all this’, still, it did not keep him from ‘going astray’.  It is one thing to hear it, but when Peter did it, it transformed his life.  When Peter and others were told to go to Jerusalem and wait, while they waited they were remaining.  His life was never the same afterwards.


There is no substitute for remaining; taking the time to learn from Him.  It is where His life flows into ours.  It is the thing that will keep us from ‘going astray’.

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John 14


The greatest truth in all the Bible is that God loves us.  Is it any wonder that the greatest lie would be Satan’s attempt to convince us that He doesn’t? 


John 14:21 says, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  Satan is a master of twisting truth.  He can heap so many commands on us (twisted versions of God’s commands) that there is no way we can obey them all.  As hard as we may try, we can’t do it and he knows it.


It is the perfect setup to use against us to convince us that God does not love us.  That is the way he works.  He will take truth and twist it.  As he feeds us his twisted version of the truth, his goal of course is to get us to go for it instead of what is really true.  If he can get us to focus our efforts on the importance of obeying, knowing he will feed us more than we can obey, we’re done.


From personal experience, I believe to focus first on obeying is getting the cart before the horse.  John 15 will get into this more, but for now I will say that we must first know Him, and then we must learn to abide in Him.  As we take the time to abide, we learn to distinguish the difference between His truth and Satan’s lies. 


All too fitting is Matthew 11:28, 29 which says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  We must come to Him that we might learn from Him what He requires.  If we do not, we will hear Satan’s version of what God requires.  The greatest truth will meet the greatest lie.

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Levels of Belief

John 12, 13



Some believe but fear what others will think.

John 12:42

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;


Some believe but sell out for personal gain.

John 13:30

30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.


Some believe but fold under pressure.

John 13:38

38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!


Some believe but are distracted by duties.

John 12:2

2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served. . .


Some believe but are content to just be in the vicinity of Jesus.

John 12:2

2 Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.


And then there are some who are not afraid, who will not sell out, who will not fold, who are not distracted, who are not content; some press through all the way to God Himself.

John 12:3

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

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