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?






April 5, 2017

John 17:6-19

JOHN 17:6-19 (ESV)

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Reflection Questions

John 17:6-19

  • What did Jesus pray for his disciples, and what can I learn from the fact that these are the issues he prayed about?

John 17:11, 14-18

  • According to vv. 14-16, what are the characteristics of Jesus’ disciples? Are these evident in my life?
  • What are the unique challenges Christians face as those who are “in the world” but “not of the world”? What is the role of the word in this context?
  • How have I experienced the sanctifying work of God’s word in my life?

John 17:19

  • How is Jesus’ love for his disciples manifested in this verse?
  • For whose sake do I need to consecrate myself in order that “they also may be sanctified in truth”?






April 4, 2017

John 17:1-5

JOHN 17:1-5 (ESV)

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Reflection Questions

John 17:1-5

  • What “authority over all flesh” has Jesus been granted?
  • What is my view towards Jesus’ authority over my life? What is the implication of rejecting Jesus’ authority?
  • Notice Jesus’ definition of eternal life. What are some wrong notions of “eternal life” that people hold?
  • In what ways can I pursue eternal life today?

John 17:1, 4-5

  • What brings God glory?
  • What specific work do I need to carry out on earth to bring God glory?






April 3, 2017

John 16:25-33

JOHN 16:25-33 (ESV)

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Reflection Questions

John 16:31-33

“‘You will leave me all alone’ reveals Jesus’ disappointment and emotional tension. The sympathy and support of these men, imperfect as they were, meant much to him. Nevertheless, his chief resource was the Father, whose purpose he came to fulfill and by whose power he was able to execute it.”[1]

  • How could Jesus say, “Yet I am not alone,” in the face of the disciples’ imminent abandonment?
  • Are there some situations in which I need to cling on to this fact that “[y]et I am not alone, for the Father is with me”?

“Jesus imparted to his disciples the information concerning his death and his provision for them that they might be calm and confident in the face of disillusionment and apparent disaster. […]  Even in the hour of his greatest suffering he had an unshakable confidence in the victorious purpose of God. Jesus did not overlook the trial that would affect them as well as himself, for that was inevitable in a world alienated from God. He did proclaim victory over it.”[2]

  • What can I learn about Jesus from the fact that he told his disciples to “take heart” right after telling them about their imminent failure and disloyalty?
  • How do the cross and resurrection of Jesus allow me to “take heart” despite my failures?
  • How does the triumph of Jesus help me to “have peace” in the midst of tribulations?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 16.

[2] Ibid.






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.





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