Devotion Text

April 18, 2017

John 20:11-19

JOHN 20:11-19 (ESV)

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

 

Reflection Questions

John 20:11-16, 19

  • Contrast Mary with the disciples, who were huddled together with “the doors being locked…for fear of the Jews.” What made Mary so bold?
  • Mary recognized Jesus when he called her name. How did I personally experience being called by Jesus during a time when I didn’t recognize him?

John 20:17

  • What is amazing about Jesus calling his disciples his “brothers” after they had deserted him?
  • Based on this, what are the criteria for being part of God’s family and having the right to call God my Father and my God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 17, 2017

John 20:1-10

JOHN 20:1-10 (ESV)

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

 

Reflection Questions

John 20:1

  • What is the relationship between Mary Magdalene going to the tomb early in the morning “while it was still dark” and her having the privilege of being the first to witness the empty tomb?
  • What drove her to a tomb in the dark by herself?
  • What lesson is here about spiritual hunger and about concretely living out my Christian confessions?

“The stone was not rolled away from the entrance to the tomb so Jesus could get out. He could have left easily without moving the stone.  It was rolled away so others could get in and see that Jesus was gone.”[1]

  • What can I learn about the heart of Jesus from the fact that the “stone had been taken away from the tomb”?

John 20:2-8

  • What do the disciples demonstrate about the relationship between hearing, responding, and believing?

Think about the process by which I came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus.

[1] Life Application Study Bible, study notes (co-published by Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991) 1925.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 16, 2017

John 19:19-42

JOHN 19:31-42 (ESV)

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

 

Reflection Questions

John 19:38-39

“Joseph’s action was courageous, for his petition was a tacit admission that he was a friend of Jesus and consequently an associate in whatever supposed subversion Jesus might have advocated. Joseph took the initiative and petitioned Pilate for permission to remove the body. His request was an open confession of his faith, for up to this time he had been a secret believer […] Like Joseph, Nicodemus was a secret disciple whose faith grew slowly…his cooperation with Joseph in the burial shows that his faith had finally matured.”[1]

  • What would have motivated Joseph of Arimathea to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body and Nicodemus to bring “a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds”?
  • What was the significance of their actions?
  • How do their actions show what my response to the cross should be?

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 14, 2017

John 19:16b-30

JOHN 19:16b-30 (ESV)

So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

Reflection Questions

John 19:25-27

  • What picture of the church is depicted through what Jesus told Mary and John about their relationship?
  • To what extent have I experienced the church in this manner?

John 19:17, 28

  • Reflect on Jesus’s words: “I thirst.” What do they reveal?

John 19:28-30

“The use of the perfect tense in ‘It is finished’ (tetelestai) signifies full completion of Jesus’ work and the establishment of a basis for faith. Nothing further needed to be done. Jesus’ act was voluntary and confident, for he had discharged perfectly the Father’s purpose and was leaving the scene of his human struggle. […] Jesus retained consciousness and command of himself till the very end.”[1]

  • Reflect on Jesus’ final words: “It is finished.” What truths are contained in this final declaration?
  • Reflect on the following passages in light of Jesus’ death on the cross. What personal connections can I make?

 

JOHN 10:14–18 (ESV)

14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

 

JOHN 12:27, 32 (ESV)

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.

32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

  • What ties me personally to the cross of Jesus?

[1] Ibid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2017

John 18:33-19:16a

JOHN 18:33-19:16a (ESV)

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

 

Reflection Questions

John 18:39-19:16

“Realizing that the priests were implacable and that resisting them would only endanger his career, Pilate finally gave in and ordered the Crucifixion. Certain features of Pilate’s examination of Jesus are significant. Pilate’s behavior shows that he was apprehensive of trouble. From the outset he was uncertain of his position. He oscillated between public confrontation with the Jewish mob and private interrogation of Jesus. Seven times in this brief narrative the author says or implies that Pilate ‘went out’ or ‘went in’ (18:29, 33, 38; 19:1, 4, 9, 13). Beneath his arrogant manner, there was an uncertainty that came from the conflict between Pilate the Roman judge and Pilate the politician. He finally succumbed to expediency.” [1]

  • How many times did Pilate declare Jesus’ innocence?
  • If he knew Jesus was innocent, why did Pilate fail to release him? What was the process by which Pilate came to the point of handing Jesus over to be crucified?
  • What did Pilate forfeit in order to preserve/secure his political position?
  • In what ways do people compromise the truth, or stop short of following inner convictions, in order to gain (or not lose) something in this world (e.g. fame, wealth, status, etc.)?
  • What have I forfeited in order to preserve myself in the past?
  • What is the irony of Pilate saying, “Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you”?
  • What can I learn about true power from Jesus’ response to Pilate?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for John chapter 19.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 12, 2017

John 18:28-19:1

JOHN 18:28-19:1 (ESV)

28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him.

 

Reflection Questions

John 18:28

  • Reflect on the irony of the Jews not entering the palace “so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover” while they were bent on having Pilate kill an innocent man.
  • Are there ways in which I am blind to the true state of my heart because of surface adherence to the Scripture?

John 18:33-19:1

  • What can I learn about Jesus’ heart through his interaction with Pilate?
  • Contrast Jesus’ view of truth with Pilate’s view of truth as revealed by his action (19:1).
  • What evidence is there in my life that I am on the side of truth?

 

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2017

John 18:15-27

JOHN 18:15-27 (ESV)

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Reflection Questions

John 18:15-18, 25-27

  • Reflect on the picture of Peter warming himself by a fire while Jesus was inside being interrogated and beaten. What does this reveal about human nature, and how does this apply to me?
  • Are there some parallels between Peter’s denial of being associated with Jesus and the way I live?

John 18:19-24

  • In what ways are people like “one of the officers” who struck Jesus?
  • What can I learn from what Jesus says in v. 23 about how to respond to words spoken to me?

 

 

 

 

 

April 10, 2017

John 18:1-14

JOHN 18:1-14 (ESV)

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Reflection Questions

John 18:1-8

  • Reflect on the fact that Jesus went out to meet the approaching soldiers “knowing all that would happen to him.” What is my reaction when I need to move toward danger, discomfort or pain in the process of obeying God’s will?
  • What must Jesus have been like given the fact that those who came to arrest him “drew back and fell to the ground” upon meeting him?
  • How did Jesus express his concern for his disciples till the end?

 

John 18:11

  • What does Jesus’ statement reveal about His approach to “the cup that the Father has given [him]”?
  • In what ways have I been (or am I being) tempted to “not drink the cup that the Father has given me”?
  • What is the “sword”Jesus calls me to put away, because I wield it to avoid the way of the cross?

 

 

 

 

 

April 7, 2017

John 17:24-26

JOHN 17:24-26 (ESV)

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Reflection Questions

John 17:24

  • What is revealed about Jesus’ heart in his prayer for the disciples to be with him in his glory?
  • What assurance does this give me?

John 17:26

  • How am I experiencing the process Jesus describes in v. 26?

 

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2017

John 17:20-23

John 17:20-23 (ESV)

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Reflection Questions

John 17:20-23

  • According to this passage, what is the basis and motivation for Christian unity?
  • What is the relationship between oneness with God and oneness with the people of God?
  • How does Christian unity show the world the reality of Christ’s incarnation (cf. Acts 2:44-47)?
  • Am I experiencing this kind of oneness with the people of God? If not, what may be the reason?
  • How does Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples show me what my priority should be?

 

 

 

 

 

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