Daily Devotion Text

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?

February 16, 2017

John 8:12-30

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

Reflection Questions

John 8:12-13
• Reflect on Jesus’ words: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

• Do I agree with Jesus’ assessment that this world is in need of light?

• How has following Jesus led me out of darkness and into the “light of life”?

• If this is indeed who Jesus is, how does this affect how I view my life and approach my future?

John 8:23-28
• Reflect on the anguished heart with which Jesus would have spoken v. 24: “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

• What about the cross (where Jesus was “lifted up”) causes people to know that Jesus is indeed the one he claimed to be (v. 28)?

• If Jesus is truly known only through the cross, how important is it for Christians to meditate on Jesus and his death on the cross?

John 8:29
• What are the reasons for Jesus’ confidence against all the opposition?

February 15, 2017

John 8:1-11

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Reflection Questions

John 8:3-9
• What caused the accusers to go away “one by one, beginning with the older ones”? What can I learn about the nature of sin from the fact that the older ones were the first who went away? Has the awareness of my own sinfulness grown or lessened over the years?

• Do I need to drop a stone I have picked up in accusation of someone?

• What would have been the accusers’ view of themselves as they came? What would have been their view as they left? What did they miss?

• How did the teachers of the law and the Pharisees treat the woman caught in adultery? How did Jesus treat her? What can I learn about Jesus from this? How does this give me courage to come to Jesus with my sins?

John 8:10-11
• What did the woman caught in adultery deserve? What did she receive from Jesus? How would she have responded to Jesus’ command, “Go now and leave your life of sin”?

• How have I personally experienced the words “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more”?

February 14, 2017

John 7:37-52

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Reflection Questions

John 7:37-39
“On the seventh day, the priest would climb the altar steps and pour the water onto the altar while the crowd circled him and continued to sing. On the seventh day of the festival, this procession took place seven times. Judaism saw this water ceremony on multiple levels . . . Needed rainfall and water ceremonies lead to memories of miraculous desert water, water given from heaven, which concludes with Jesus’ offering himself as the source of the water of life.”

• Notice that the invitation is to anyone who is thirsty. In what ways does “thirst[y]” describe the heart of a person who is sincerely grappling with the human condition? What kinds of people do not “thirst”?

John 7:40-44
• Though there was lively discussion about the identity of Jesus, with some people hitting upon exactly the right answer (v. 41), what was ultimately missing in the people’s response? What does this show about the limitation of discussions?

John 7:45-47
• What is remarkable about the guards’ response, given their station in life and what they were told to do? Are there ways in which I blindly act out of my assigned role rather than think for myself, discern situations, and decide on a course of action?

John 7:47-52
• Think about the Pharisees’ reasons for rejecting Jesus. In their unreasoned prejudice, which groups or individuals do they revile? What does this show about the effects of pride? Is there some way in which my prejudice, pride or stubbornness has hardened me, causing me to revile or demonize others?

• What contradiction does Nicodemus point out? What should this have caused in the other Pharisees? Do I pause and allow myself to repent when my contradictions or pride are pointed out?

February 13, 2017

John 7:25-36

25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

Reflection Questions

John 7:25-30
“There was a popular tradition that the Messiah would simply appear. But those who believed this tradition were ignoring the Scriptures that clearly predicted the Messiah’s birthplace (Micah 5:2).”

• Why did the people conclude that Jesus could not be the Christ? How does their conclusion reveal their ignorance of Scripture? • Are there popular notions about God or Christian life that people hold onto, though they contradict Scripture? Are there some ways in which I have ideas about God and Christian life that are not founded on Scripture?

John 7:25-36
• What is Jesus’ message regarding where he is from (v. 29) and where he is going (v. 33), and the “little longer” that they have to discover who he really is? Given this message of urgency, what can we make of the debate and speculation about Jesus in this passage?

June 13, 0015

Acts 15:12-21


Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.


Commentary for Chapters 1-11





Bible Text

Acts 15:12-21 (ESV)

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.

15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 “‘After this I will return,

   and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;

   I will rebuild its ruins,

     and I will restore it,

17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,

    and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,

     says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known  

   from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

Go Deeper

Acts 15:14-18

  • God surprised many of the first Jewish believers by revealing His long planned desire to include the Gentiles as part of His people. How does this encourage and challenge me with regards to people in my life who don’t yet know God?

Acts 15:19-21

  • How do James’s sentiments differ from those expressed by the Pharisee believers earlier in the chapter (v.1, v.5)?  Why does James say that they should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God?  Are there ways that I or other Christians might make it difficult for others to turn to God through our actions, words, and lifestyle?

Acts 15:20

  • Although these were not required for salvation, what compromises were the Gentile believers encouraged to make in order to promote unity with the Jewish believers?  Are there some “rights” that I can voluntarily give up in order to promote unity with my brothers and sisters as well?


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