Daily Devotion Text

March 2, 2017

John 11:1-16

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died,15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Reflection Questions

John 11:1-6 Ÿ
• What are some ways in which God has redeemed painful experiences in my life “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through [them]”? Ÿ

• Are there any seemingly hopeless situations in my life through which Jesus may be glorified?

John 11:14-15 Ÿ
• Jesus said he was glad at how events turned out “so that you may believe.” Considering the fact that these were his disciples who had followed him all along, and already believed in Jesus, what can we learn about the nature of believing?

John 11:8, 12 & 16 Ÿ
• The disciples seemed preoccupied with safety concerns (v. 8), and then misunderstood Jesus (v. 12) and the situation (v. 16). Think about the role of fear in affecting people’s perception of reality or in hearing God’s word accurately. What are some fears that may be having a similar effect on my life right now?

March 1, 2017

John 10:31-42

31The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42And many believed in him there.

Reflection Questions

John 10:31-42 Ÿ
• Jesus’ “many good works” were met with acceptance, while his claim to “make [himself] God” elicited a violent response. In what ways does this parallel people’s responses to Jesus today? Ÿ

• Contrast the people’s response in vs. 41-42 to the response of the Jews. Ÿ

• What is behind this desire to separate Jesus’ good works and his claims about who he is? Ÿ

• How clear am I that the most important thing about Jesus is who he claims to be? Ÿ

• Are there some ways that I, too, want to separate aspects of Jesus that are widely accepted (his kindness, high ethics, etc.) from his claims to divinity?

February 28, 2017

John 10:22-30

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Reflection Questions

John 10:22-24
“The Feast of Dedication, now known as Hanukkah, was established as a memorial to the purification and rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus, [who successfully led a revolt against foreign occupying forces and who therefore was regarded as a Messianic figure].”

• Given that this happened during the Feast of Dedication, what might have motivated the Jews to ask the question about Jesus’ identity? Ÿ

• Why would approaching Jesus as a potential political deliverer from the Roman occupiers eventually lead to anger and rejection?

• How does this dynamic play out in people’s approach toward God in our day?

John 10:27-29 Ÿ
• What are the characteristics of Jesus’ sheep? Ÿ

• How do Jesus’ words “no one will snatch them out of my hand” encourage me in my struggles today?

February 27, 2017

John 10:10-21

10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 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. 16And 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. 18No 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.”

19There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Reflection Questions

John 10:10-15 Ÿ
• “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Who or what might be “thieves” in our day? Ÿ

• Reflect on the words that describe why Jesus came. In what ways does the gospel lead to an “abundant life”?

John 10:10-11, 14-15 Ÿ
• What are the characteristics of a good shepherd vs. a hired hand? Ÿ

• Reflect on the fact that, as the good shepherd, Jesus has ownership over my life. To what extent have I yielded to his claim on my life?

John 10:17-18 Ÿ
• Reflect on vs. 18 and what this means for me personally.

February 24, 2017

John 10:1-10

1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Reflection Questions

John 10:3-5
• Reflect on the words “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” To what extent does this characterize my relationship with Jesus?

• Am I heeding other voices that are muffling Jesus’ voice in my life?

John 10:7-10
“The sudden shift of metaphor from shepherd to gate seems rather strange to us, but in reality it is not. When the sheep returned to the fold at night after a day of grazing, the shepherd stood in the doorway of the pen and inspected each one as it entered. … After all the sheep had been counted and brought into the pen, the shepherd lay down across the doorway so that no intruder—man or beast—could enter without his knowledge. The shepherd became the door. The emphatic singular pronoun ‘I’ (ego) emphasizes that the shepherd is the sole determiner of who enters the fold and who is excluded. It parallels the later statement: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).”

• The thief represented “all who came before” (v. 8) who claimed some authority to guide the sheep. What modern-day sources of authority tell people how to live and where to find pasture? In what ways is it accurate that the end result of such thieves’ voices is to “steal and kill and destroy” people’s lives?

• What would it look like for a Christian to allow Jesus to be the exclusive “door” for his life to keep “thieves and robbers” out?

By smith
February 23, 2017

John 9:11-41

11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Reflection Questions

John 9:11-38
• What is the progression of how the man refers to Jesus (vv. 11, 17, 33, 38)?

• In my spiritual journey, how have I experienced this kind of progression in my understanding of who God is?

• How did the harsh interrogation of the man and his vigorous defense of Jesus before the Pharisees play a role in strengthening his faith? What does this reveal about the role of personal evangelism in strengthening my faith?

• How does the man manage to remain unshaken by the religious leaders’ intimidation and interrogation? Do I have this kind of clarity of personal testimony (v. 25)?

• In what way is a clear testimony of transformation threatening or irritating to those who want a world free from God’s activity (v. 34)? What does this show about the power of personal witness?

By smith
February 22, 2017

John 9:8-23

8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

Reflection Questions

John 9:8-17
• After the healing, the man finds himself alienated from his neighbors and in trouble with the authorities. What can we make of this turn of events?

• What implication does this have on what a new Christian can expect from those who knew him before?

John 9:19-23
• In what ways is this scene of the parents’ interrogation reflective of those in our world today who have “already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ” they would “…be put out” of the circle? What are some examples of such circles?

• Is there some way in which the parents’ noncommittal response is reflected in my life?

By smith
February 21, 2017

John 9:1-12

1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

Reflection Questions

John 9:2-3
• To what extent is the disciples’ view of sin, God, and life’s circumstances, as represented by their question, typical of how I react to others’ or my own misfortunes?

• What kind of relationship with God would such a view foster? How does Jesus’ response clarify this issue?

• Are there some ways in which I can respond to painful aspects of my past or my life today so that “the works of God might be displayed” through my life?

John 9:4-5
• Who is included in the “we” who Jesus says “must work the works of him who sent [Jesus]”? In what ways, and to whom, can I bring healing and Jesus’ light?

John 9:4-5
• What is the significance of the words, “while it is day; night is coming”? What are some windows of opportunity currently open to me that will close in the foreseeable future?

John 9:6-7
• What can I learn about obedience and blessing from the fact that this man obeyed despite his limited knowledge?

By smith
February 20, 2017

John 8:48-59

48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Reflection Questions

John 8:55
• In what two ways does Jesus describe his relationship with the Father?

• What constitutes a relationship with God? Contrast this to the Jews’ notion of what it meant to belong to God.

John 8:48-59
• The ongoing battle between Jesus and the Jews throughout this chapter ultimately boils down to the issue of who Jesus is and who they are. What are their differing answers to these two questions?

• What is the significance of Jesus’ claim in v. 58?

• Where do I stand on this question of Jesus’ identity?

By smith
February 17, 2017

John 8:31-47

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Reflection Questions

John 8:31-36
• Most people would say, “[I] have never been enslaved to anyone.” In what ways, and to what, are people enslaved?

• How has Jesus set me free from being “a slave to sin”?

John 8:37, 43-44, 47
• Jesus is addressing those who have already decided to kill him. What is the reason for their rejection of Jesus? How does Jesus’ warning – that the issue is not a lack of clarity but their hostile relationship with truth – apply today? Have I sometimes found spiritual issues confusing because my desires have clouded the truth?

John 8:44-46
• Consider the sobering statement here about lying. How truthful is my speech?

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