Week 44, Day 1
October 31, 2022
Scripture: John 11
“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”” (John 11:43)
By now, he stinks. The odor of death has fallen on Lazarus. There is good reason to leave well enough alone, to keep things as they were. Lazarus is dead, leave it that way.
But Jesus weeps and is moved by great compassion to open the grave and let the world see a glimpse of his true power. This Jesus has power over death!
Amid the mockery and ridicule, Jesus proves himself once again worthy of our worship and commitment. He opens with Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus is the way to life. He’s the only way to find true life.
Believe in Him!
Week 43, Day 5
October 28, 2022
Scripture: John 10
“Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus.” (John 10:39–42)
As we look at the reading so far in John as a whole, this particular passage becomes a bit of a parable for John. The Pharisees hear all about Jesus, see him perform miracles and hear now that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. They miss it. John indicts their ignorance here.
John says that Jesus, “escaped their grasp.” Not only their physical but also their intellectual and spiritual grasp.
There is a simple response to a text like John 10. It is to recognize that Jesus is the Shepherd, and I am his sheep. To grasp Jesus, is to live under his watchful care. We hear his voice and listen to him. Only in him is life.
To grasp Jesus is to trust in Him as the Shepherd of our lives.
Week 43, Day 4
October 27, 2022
Scripture: John 9
“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” (John 9:35–41)
A trial of sorts plays out surrounding the man born blind and who has the authority and power to heal. It wasn’t possible in some of the Pharisees and naysayers minds that Jesus had the power to heal. It had to be a ruse.
Assuredly, it was no ruse, but the whole scene is Jesus revealing himself as the Son of Man who came to heal and restore sight to the blind. For Jesus, it becomes a parable of sorts. Will people be restored of their spiritual blindness and see Jesus for who he is, the Son of Man? Or will those who arrogantly think they have it all and know all, remain in the dark? They think they can see, but they are blind.
Jesus states the clearest of explanations of his identity. Often times he skirts around who the Son of Man is, and what he will do. It’s a bit of a mystery. But here he says, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
The man believed and worshiped.
What do we do when we come to see Jesus as the Lord and Savior, the Son of Man?
We believe and worship!
Find a place today to worship and celebrate Jesus today!
Week 43, Day 3
October 26, 2022
Scripture: John 8
““Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”” (John 8:58)
For good reason, there was no greater person of importance for the Jews, than their Father Abraham. It was God’s covenant Promise given him in Genesis 12, 15 and 17 that played the incredible important and foundational purpose of their very identity.
The reason why the Jews were a distinct people, with a purpose of being a blessing to the nations is because of Abraham. The reason they have the special blessing of being God’s people is because of God’s faithfulness towards Abraham.
So, the very foundation of their heritage, their identity, their purpose is rooted in Abraham.
So, you can imagine their saltiness when Jesus says, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”
To be clear, Jesus is saying, “I was with God in the beginning and all things were made in me and through me.” In using the name, “I am.” He is even furthering his connection to God the Father and making himself very importantly as a part of the Trinity. He is God in the flesh, living among them.
What’s the importance for us today?
“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”” (John 8:51)
They were upset about this, before they were upset about Jesus’ supremacy over Abraham. Why should they listen to him? Why should they obey?
Well as we will see, there is life in Jesus. He is the hope of the world, and in him, obeying his word, leads us to life. He is greater than Abraham. They listen to him wholeheartedly. His point bringing Abraham into is that,”Hey, I’m before your hero, listen up!”
When we trust in him, when we obey his word, we will never see death.
What a great hope we have in Jesus today, the one who was with God in the beginning. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In Him is Life!
Week 43, Day 1 and 2
October 24 and 25
Scripture: John 6 and 7
“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”” (John 6:68–69)
“Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the Festival. I am not going up to this Festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”” (John 7:6–8)
John 6 presents Jesus as the Living Bread and the Messiah. Peter answers appropriately, when so many are leaving Jesus behind, Peter holds on and stays along for the ride.
“Where would I go? You’re the one!”
But for many, they are struggling to see Jesus as the Messiah and the Savior of the world. He doesn’t meet their expectations. He is doing and saying things that are quite bizarre to them.
When a Christian reads the book of John, we don’t question why Jesus would want for us to eat his body and drink his blood. To one who has no knowledge of the impending crucifixion and the implementation of the Lord’s Supper that precedes it, this would be an alarming statement. Many fall away and stop following because they don’t know that Jesus will be the Lamb of God, broken and bleeding for the world.
But we do. And Peter saw that, somehow, in his calling he knew that he had to hold on.
We of course know that he will drop out too.
But he will be restored.
So, for us today, it’s the reminder, there are times that we get it right, and times that we don’t. But in all things, there is a chance to say, “Jesus is Lord, and I’m sticking with you!”
Week 42, Day 4
October 20, 2022
Scripture: John 4
“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”” (John 4:42)
The Father with a sick son comes to believe when his son is healed.
The woman comes to believe when Jesus reveals that he knows her through and through.
The community comes to believe after spending time with Jesus, discovering him to be the Messiah, the Savior of the world. The Samaritan woman shares her story with them.
Today, come find yourself drawn to this wonderful story of Jesus revealing himself to a variety of people. Jesus is the Living Water, in him we will never thirst again.
Come and believe Jesus to be the Savior of the world.
Once we learn of who he is, the response is to continue the work of the Samaritan woman today.
Share your testimony with others that they might come to believe as well.
Who can you share Jesus with today?
Week 42, Day 2 and 3
October 18-19, 2022
Scripture: John 2-3
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16–17)
“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The person who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:31–36)
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
Today is a good day to trust in the Lord.
It can be difficult to remember these truths, but John 3 might be one of the most important scriptures in all the Bible. It teaches us:
God loves the world.
He’s given us his Son.
Belief in Him offers us salvation and eternal life.
God is in control.
In a world that feels overwhelming in which we have great fear and loss. God is in control, and the one who is in control loves us through and through.
When we believe the falsehood, we have fear: God is angry, God doesn’t care for us, there is no hope for life, only death, everything is out of control… Where there is falsehood, there is fear.
Where there is the Truth, and the Spirit, and an understanding of God’s love, there is hope, peace and deliverance. There is salvation in Jesus, the Truth. He holds all things together.
Today’s a good day to trust in the Lord.
Apart from him is death. In him is Spirit and Life.
Week 42, Day 1
October 17, 2022
““How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”” (John 1:48–51)
Nathaniel comes to believe in Jesus and declare him “Rabbi, Son of God and King of Israel!” Oh, to have Nathaniel-like allegiance. He gave it to Jesus because Jesus saw him under the fig tree. Pretty incredible when you think about it.
I don’t buy a product on Amazon unless it has over a thousand good reviews. I have a hard time committing to anything without a thorough analysis, and even then, I often regret it.
Nathaniel’s review of Jesus went something like, “He everyone! I found what we have all been looking for! He saw me under a fig tree, and he wasn’t there! I was, I WAS Under the FIG TREE!”
He gave his allegiance; he believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and King of Israel.
Jesus was excited to tell him, that if the fig tree wowed him, then just wait, and see what is to come. His mind will be blown! The Best is Yet to Come!
Jesus was with God in the beginning, and all things were made in him and through him. The Gospel of John is written that we would come to believe and give our lives to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and King of Israel. He is the Messiah. Some are Nathaniel’s, they hear about Jesus and come and believe. It’s been what they’ve been missing all along and the simplest of encouragements leads them to the truth of who Jesus is. Others require quite a bit more information. Both though, have their place in the kingdom of God. Today, we celebrate Nathaniel’s faith. May it be our own.
Come and believe! Greater things are to come!
Week 41, Day 5
Scripture: 1 Peter 5
October 14, 2022
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your fellow believers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:6–10)
Cast all your anxiety on God.
The number one industry in America is fear. Consider all of the ways in which we are made to feel anxious. Thousands of advertisements reminding us of what we are missing and what we can’t live without, are supplemented by a barrage of horrifying news articles and videos. WE are attacked by all fronts. The enemy prowls around looking to devour.
Cast your anxiety on God. Give the concerns of your heart and mind to God.
I’ve learned that reading, praying and meditating on Psalm 23 is really good for my heart and mind. This is an act of humility. “The Lord is my Shepherd.” That’s an expression of humility. “God you are the leader of my life,” puts us in a position of humility.
I also enjoying praying the Lord’s prayer to remind myself that I have all I need in Christ. God is caring for me.
These practices help me to turn the anxiety of my heart and mind over to God, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
God is with us. The devil may prowl, and look to devour, but we know that God will, in his grace, “restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
God be with you. He will lift us up.
Week 41, Day 4
October 13, 2022
Scripture: 1 Peter 4
“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”” (1 Peter 4:14–18)
After my baptism I heard several well-intended Christians tell me that I needed to be careful. Because I made a good decision for Jesus, they said, “Satan is going to be on the attack.”
A few days after I was baptized, I received a detention from my teacher because I continued talking during class and was disruptive. On the long walk from the bus stop to my house, I had to think about what I was going to tell my parents, and why I got a detention. I handed the note informing my mom of my detention and I told her, “Satan gave me a detention.”
To my surprise, my mom didn’t buy it. I got in trouble for blaming Satan for my poor behavior.
This is a lighthearted look at a text that teaches us an important lesson on life as Christians. If we suffer because of the evil we do, there is shame in that and we need to take ownership of it. But for the Christian who suffers because they are following the will of God, well that suffering is in fact a blessing and will glorify God because of it.
Let us endure suffering for the glory of God, not for our wrongdoing, but for the sake of the glory of God. Let us hold unswervingly to our faith. May the persecution we face be, not because of our wrongdoing, but the pressure and difficulty of walking in faith and trusting in God in a world that is hell-bent against him.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.