Month: March 2017

March 17, 2017

John 13:31-35

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Reflection Questions

John 13:31-32

  • With regard to the impending cross, Jesus repeated the word “glorify” five times in these two verses. What does this reveal about his perspective towards the cross?
  • Contrast Jesus’ definition of glory to the world’s definition of glory.
  • How did God glorify Jesus through his voluntary death on the cross?


John 13:34-35

“As I have loved you: The command to love wasn’t new; but the extent of love just displayed by Jesus was new, as would be the display of the cross. Love was newly defined from His example.”[1]

  • What is the significance of Jesus giving this as his final commandment to his remaining eleven disciples before his crucifixion?
  • How does this clarify what the purpose of my life should be?

[1] David Guzik, Bible Study Resources (2000), <>.



March 16, 2017

John 13:21-30

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Reflection Questions

John 13:21
“’Troubled’ is the same verb used of Jesus’ agitation at the grave of Lazarus (11:33) and at the request of the Greeks to see him (12:21).  As “the hour” approached, the bitterness of the betrayal Jesus anticipated became known. The desertion by many of his disciples evoked an expression of disappointment; here, the injury was felt more poignantly. The quotation in 13:18, which the author cites as prophetic of Jesus’ feeling, contains in its context an allusion to “my close friend, whom I trusted” (Ps 41:9). Among the sorrows contributing to the agony of the Cross was the voluntary and selfish defection of Judas.”[1]

  • Reflect on the fact that Jesus was “troubled in his spirit.” How does this match my view of Jesus?  What implication does this have on how I should view acts of betrayal toward Jesus today?


John 13:27-30

  • What may have been the heart of Jesus as he told Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly”?
  • Notice the progression between Satan prompting Judas (v.2) to Satan entering into Judas (v. 27). What steps could Judas have taken to arrest the downward spiral of sin’s increasing hold over his will?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for John chapter 13.


March 15, 2017

John 13:1-20

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Reflection Questions

John 13:1-5

  • What did Jesus do with the knowledge that “his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father”? Why did Jesus choose this as his final lesson for his disciples?


John 13:6-9

“This was a world where roads were dusty and sandals were worn daily […] The task of foot-washing was so menial that according to some Jewish sources, Jewish slaves were exempt …”[1]

  • What may have been going on in Peter’s mind as he refused Jesus’ offer to wash his feet?
  • What are some ways in which people respond to Jesus like Peter did?
  • What can I learn from this passage about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus?


John 13:12-17

  • Reflect on the words: “I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you…blessed are you if you do them.” How seriously have I taken the example of Jesus’ concrete humility and loving service for his disciples?  In what ways have I taken on tasks that others do not want to do in order to serve others in love?
  • In what ways has following the example of Jesus become a blessing in my life?

[1] Gary M. Burge, The NIV Application Commentary: John (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 368-369.


March 14, 2017

John 12:36b-50

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”

41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Reflection Questions

John 12:37-40

“God appointed the prophet to preach to the inhabitants of Judah but warned him in advance that his mission would not be successful. The verbs as given in Isaiah 6:9-10 are imperatives. Isaiah was told to announce his message even though it merely hardened the hearts of those who heard him. God offered the opportunity of faith, but the very offer made the recipients of it more obstinate. John interprets the prophecy by its effect rather than by its intention. It was not God’s desire to alienate his people; but without the offer of faith and repentance, they would never turn to him anyway. The cumulative effect of unbelief is a hardened attitude that becomes more impenetrable as time progresses.”[1]

  • What was the reason the Jews could not believe in Jesus despite all the miraculous signs he had done?
  • How can continuing to see the work of God and yet refusing to believe cause a person to become blinded and hardened?
  • Are there some ways or areas of my life in which I am allowing my heart to harden because I am persisting in not responding to God?


John 12:42-43

  • What was the problem of these leaders who would not confess their faith “for fear of the Pharisees […] so that they would not be put out of the synagogue”?
  • What fears prevent me from making my faith public?


John 12:47-50

  • What has been my attitude toward the word of God that “is eternal life” when believed, but “will judge [me] on the last day” if rejected?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 12.

March 13, 2017

John 12:25-36a

25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Reflection Questions

John 12:25-28

  • How does Jesus’ prayer in v. 27 demonstrate what it means to live out v. 25?
  • Reflect on Jesus’ words: “but for this purpose I have come to this hour.”
  • Have I faced situations where I wanted to pray, “Father, save me from this hour” but faced it for the glory of God’s name?


John 12:30-36

  • Recall v. 24, in which Jesus refused to remain a single seed that does not die. How does Jesus willingly laying down his life cast out the “ruler of this world”?
  • In what ways am I still listening to the “ruler of this world”?
  • Reflect on how v.32 has worked out in history and in my life
March 10, 2017

John 12:20-26

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Reflection Questions

John 12:20-26

  • Reflect on the link between glory and becoming “a grain of wheat [that] falls into the earth and dies” as it applies to Jesus’ life. How does the Christian understanding of glory differ from the world’s definition?  In what ways have I embraced the life of becoming a grain of wheat that falls and dies?
  • In what ways am I a recipient of others’ death?
  • What are the ways in which people “lose” their life because they “love” it too much?
  • Do I view my life as one I need to cling on to or one I need to spend?

John 12:26

  • Reflect on the call and promise contained in this verse. What is my response to this verse?
March 9, 2017

John 12:9-19

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Reflection Questions

John 12:9-11, 17-19
• Think about the absurdity of the chief priests’ plan to put Lazarus to death. What does this reveal about people’s relationship to truth?

John 12:12-19
“Hosanna” is a Hebrew expression meaning literally “Save now!” It may be interpreted as a plea for immediate action on the part of the king (John 12:13).”
“There is no doubt at all that Jesus’ claim was a messianic claim. […] The point is that a king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war; he came riding upon [a donkey] when he was coming in peace. This action of Jesus is a sign that he was not the warrior figure men dreamed of, but the Prince of Peace. No one saw it at that time, not even the disciples, who should have known so much better.”

• When the crowd cried out what they did in v.13, what picture did they have in mind of who Jesus was and what he would do?

• How would their expectations of Jesus have overshadowed the truth of who he was and what he came to save people from?

• Am I interested in Jesus more for solving my life problems than for finding peace with God?

• When were the disciples able to understand fully all that was taking place?

• Why is the death and resurrection of Jesus the key to understanding the person of Jesus?

March 8, 2017

John 12:1-8

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

Reflection Questions

John 12:1-8
“Spices and ointments were quite costly because they had to be imported. Frequently they were used as an investment because they occupied a small space, were portable, and were easily negotiable in the open market. Mary’s offering was valued at three hundred denarii (v. 5) approximately a year’s wages for an ordinary workingman. Perhaps it represented her life savings. […] Wiping his feet with her hair was a gesture of utmost devotion and reverence. The penetrative fragrance of the ointment that filled the house told all present of her sacrificial gift.”
• Reflect on Mary’s outpouring of this expensive perfume. Why was this appropriate in light of what Jesus was about to do (vv. 23-24)?

• What fundamental difference between Mary and Judas was revealed by his objection to what she did?

• With whom can I identify more?

• Think about the progression of Judas’ actions–“used to help himself” to the communal money to “was about to betray [Jesus].”

• How might things have changed for Judas if he had been honest about what was going on in his heart?

John 12:5-6
• Judas expressed outrage by pretending to care for the poor. Are there some ways in which I use similar means to hide what is really going on in my heart?

March 7, 2017

John 11:45-57

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

Reflection Questions

John 11:45-53
• What were the two responses of those who witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead?

• How was it possible for two groups of people to see the same thing and respond in such drastically different ways?

• What was the real motivation behind the chief priests’ and the Pharisees’ opposition to Jesus (v.48)?

• To what extent is it still true to this day that people resist Jesus mainly because he threatens their autonomy and security?

John 11:49-52
• Although he would probably give a different meaning to his words, Caiaphas, “who was high priest that year,” unwittingly prophesied that Jesus “would die for the nation.” What can I learn about how God works from the fact that he was faithful to the office of high priest till the end, although Caiaphas was faithless?

March 6, 2017

John 11:38-44

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Reflection Questions

John 11:39-41
• Think about Martha’s response. Is it understandable? What perspective does her response represent?

• In what ways am I like Martha in how I think about what God can do in my life or in the lives of others?

• Jesus, who has the power to raise the dead, asked the people gathered there to “take away the stone.” What is the lesson behind this?

John 11:43-44
• What were the two things Jesus commanded, first to Lazarus and then to the others?

• How have I responded to both commands to “come out” and be “unbound”?

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