Month: March 2017

March 31, 2017

John 16:16-24

JOHN 16:16-24 (ESV)

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Reflection Questions

John 16:17-24

  • In what ways do Christians today “weep and lament” while the world rejoices?
  • How will our sorrow “turn into joy”? How is this joy unlike the world’s joy?
  • What should be my perspective on present suffering?






March 30, 2017

John 16:5-15

JOHN 16:5-15 (ESV)

But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Reflection Questions

John 16:8-11

  • How have I experienced the Holy Spirit’s work of convicting me of sin, righteousness and judgment?

John 16:12-15

“Jesus told his disciples directly that the revelation to date was incomplete. They were not sufficiently mature to understand all he wished to impart. A second function of the Holy Spirit would be to lead them into the full comprehension of all he could give them.”[1]

  • What can I learn about Jesus from the fact that although he had so much to say to the disciples, he told them only what he knew they could bear?
  • Are there some situations where I need to cling on to the fact that “when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide [me] into all the truth”? How does this provide encouragement for the work God is asking us to do in ministering to people in all stages of their spiritual journey?

[1] Gary M. Burge, “John 16:4b–33” In The NIV Application Commentary: John (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 433-457.






March 29, 2017

John 16:1-7

JOHN 16:1-7 (ESV)

1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

Reflection Questions

John 16:1

  • Reflect on why Jesus “said all these things.” What is the role of Jesus’ words in keeping me steadfast?
  • Reread chapters 13-15 with this in mind.





March 28, 2017

John 15:18-27

JOHN 15:18-27 (ESV)

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Reflection Questions

John 15:18-21

  • Why does the world hate Christians? How does this match my view of Christian life?
  • What is my relationship with the world? What does this reveal about my Christian identity and my value system?
  • What values do I hold that are “of the world”? What values do I hold that are not of the world?

John 15:22-27

  • What made those who rejected Jesus “guilty of sin”?
  • In what ways does the world hate Jesus “without a cause”?
  • What responsibility do I have towards the word of God I have heard and the works of God I have witnessed?
  • What is revealed about Jesus’ heart for the world from the fact that he commanded his disciples to “bear witness” about him right after he told them that the world “will persecute” them?





March 27, 2017

John 15:12-17

JOHN 15:12-17 (ESV)

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Reflection Questions

John 15:12-15

  • Reflect on v.13 and the great love demonstrated by Jesus on the cross.
  • According to v.14, what is the appropriate response of those who Jesus claims as friends by laying down his life for them?
  • What is the difference between a “friend” and a “servant”?
  • What responsibility do I have since Jesus has “made known to [me]” “all that [he has] heard from [the] Father”?

John 15:12, 17

  • Reflect on the repeated command to love one another.
  • What is the basis on which this command is given?





March 24, 2017

John 15:1-11

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Reflection Questions

John 15:1-8

“Pruning is necessary for any vine. Dead wood is worse than fruitlessness, for dead wood can harbor disease and decay. An untrimmed vine will develop long rambling branches that produce little fruit because most of the strength of the vine is given to growing wood.  The vine-grower is concerned that the vine be healthy and productive. The caring process is a picture of the divine dealing with human life. God removes the dead wood from his church and disciplines the life of the believer so that it is directed into fruitful activity.”[1]

“The connection is maintained by obedience and prayer. To remain in Christ and to allow his words to remain in oneself means a conscious acceptance of the authority of his word and a constant contact with him by prayer.”[2]

  • Why is the relationship between the vine and the branch a particularly apt description of my relationship with God? How is fruitlessness and withering away an accurate picture of a life that does not remain in Jesus?
  • What is surprising about the fact that the vinedresser prunes the “branch that does bear fruit”?
  • How does the word of God “prune” or “clean” a person?

Notice that there is no command to bear fruit, but only the command to “abide in me.”  What is the significance of this, and how does this apply to me?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 15.

[2] Ibid.





March 23, 2017

John 14:27-31

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Reflection Questions

John 14:27-29

  • Why was Jesus able to offer his peace to the disciples in the middle of telling them about his death?
  • Contrast the peace that Jesus gives and the “peace” the world gives.
  • Do I have this peace of Jesus?


John 14:30-31

  • Why does the “ruler of this world” (i.e. Satan) have “no claim” on Jesus?
  • What is the relationship between doing as “the Father has commanded me” and freedom from the influence of “the ruler of this world”?





March 22, 2017

John 14:15-26

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Reflection Questions

John 14:15-26

“Jesus in his reply did not discuss the question of post-resurrection appearances. He focused the disciples’ attention on the broader revelation that would come to them through obedience to his known teaching and through the work of the Holy Spirit. The reality of Jesus’ and the Father’s presence would be conditioned on obedience. […] Obedience is not, however, the condition of God’s love for men but the proof of their realization of his love and of their love for him.”[1]

  • What is the relationship between knowing God, loving God, and obedience?
  • Why is it impossible to get to know God without obedience?
  • What do I need to obey in order to grow in my knowledge of God?
  • What is the role of the “Helper,” “the Spirit of truth,” in a disciple’s life?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 14.





March 21, 2017

John 14:1-14

1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Reflection Questions

John 14:1-4

  • How did Jesus describe heaven?
  • Reflect on Jesus’ promise in this passage and the personal way in which he anchored his promise. What is the basis of my assurance that I will be with Jesus in the father’s house?


John 14:5-7

“Jesus’ reply is the ultimate foundation for a satisfactory philosophy of life. First, it is personal. He did not claim merely to know the way, the truth, and the life as a formula he could impart to the ignorant; but he actually claimed to be the answer to human problems. Jesus’ solution to perplexity is not a recipe; it is a relationship with him […] He is the truth because he has the perfect power of making life one coherent experience irrespective of its ups and downs. He is the life because he was not subject to death but made it subject to him. He did not live with death as the ultimate end of his life; he died to demonstrate the power and continuity of his life.”[1]

  • Reflect on v. 6. In what ways has Jesus been the way, the truth, and the life for me?


John 14:12-14

“He wanted to impress on the disciples that he was not disbanding them in anticipation of his departure but, rather, he was expecting them to continue his work and do even greater things than he had accomplished. Such an expectation seems impossible in the light of his character and power; yet, through the power of the Spirit whom Jesus sent after his ascension, there were more converts after the initial sermon of Peter at Pentecost than are recorded for Jesus during his entire career. The influence of the infant church covered the Roman world, whereas Jesus during his lifetime never traveled outside the boundaries of Palestine. Through the disciples he multiplied his ministry after his departure. […] The power of the disciples originated in prayer. Jesus could hardly have made more emphatic the declaration that whatever they should ask in his name, he would do… The answer is promised so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. The disciples’ obedience to him will be the test of their love.”[2]

  • What are the things I need to ask in Jesus’ name in prayer, and the “greater works than these” that I will do in order “that the Father may be glorified in the Son”?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 14.

[2] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 14.




March 20, 2017

John 13:36-38

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Reflection Questions

John 13:36-38

  • According to v. 36, how did Jesus pave the road for me to follow him?
  • How did the cross enable Peter, who once disowned Jesus “three times,” to follow him to his own death?
  • Consider Peter’s heartfelt confession of devotion to Jesus. Did he mean it? Did he know he would deny Jesus only hours later?
  • What did Jesus know that Peter did not?
  • Reflect on the frailty of human resolve, the generous heart of God, and our need for grace shown through this incident.



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