Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Get it Over With

After Jesus handed the piece of bread over to Judas, he was ready to get this ordeal behind him. He told Judas, “What you do, do quickly” (John 13:27).

There are times when we know something negative is about to happen and we simply want it behind us. God does not required that we enjoy our trials, only that we trust him while living through them (Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 2:23).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Money, Money, Money

“Then leaning back on Jesus,’ breast, he said to him, “Lord who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, he gave it o Judas Iscariot, he son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him” (John 13:23-27).

Judas had been living a dishonest life (John 12:6). He loved money. It consumed him to the point of being willing to betray anyone, even the Savior. It was only after a lifetime of deceit and betrayal that Satan changed from influencing Judas to actually entering into him. When that happened he led Judas to his death (Mt 27:5).

There is a way that seems right unto a man, but that way leads to death (Proverbs 14:12).

Monday, February 27, 2012

Self Examination

We tend to see Peter as self assured pointing to the fact that he got out of the boat and walked on the water. He is the one who swore he would give his life for Jesus. But Peter also struggled with self doubt.

When Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray him, they were all perplexed (John 13:22). Each one, including Peter, asked the Lord, "Is it I?" (Mt 26:22).

Peter warns us all to be aware of the deceptiveness of evil lest we are lead astray by the error of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17; 1 Cor 11:28-31)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Losing a Friend

Contrary to what people want to tell themselves, these things were not easy for Jesus. People say, but he was the Son of God, or “He was God, of course he could resist sin”. But the scripture says Jesus was tempted in like manner as we are (Hebrews 4:14-16). He felt the pain of being betrayed. John writes that when Jesus thought about Judas, “He was troubled in his spirit (Jn 13:21).

We are not failures as Christians when we sorrow over the loss of a friendship. We are rightto grieve. We are never right to be revengeful (Romans 12:17-21)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just and Unjust

There is no indication that Jesus treated Judas any differently than he did the rest of the disciples, even though he knew from the beginning that Judas would betray him (Mt 5:45; John 6:64, 13:11).

My tendency is to pull back and hide myself from those I sense will betray me. Certainly we need to be wise in whom we place our trust, but scripture tells us to remain kind to those who are not kind to us (Mt 5:44; Romans 12:14, 18-21).

We will be able to do this only as long as we rely on God to do it through us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Too Important

Jesus, Son of God, God, Creator, Lord of the universe washed men’s feet. These were the men whom he taught, the men who would forsake him, even the man who had already betrayed him and would complete the transaction that very night.

Are we so important that we cannot we serve others (John 13:12-15)?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Peter Keeps Trying

Peter was shocked that Jesus wanted to wash his feet. Jesus told Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this (John 13:7). When Jesus told Peter if he did not allow Jesus to wash his feet that he would have no part of him, Peter quickly changed his mind. “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:9).

Jesus knew Peter was enthusiastic but clueless. So he addressed Peter where he was, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, and is completely clean…” But he again connected the physical world to the spiritual when he said “and you are clean but not all of you” (John 13:9-10). He was speaking of Judas who would betray him.

Forgive my presumption as I put it in modern vernacular. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it isn’t necessarily a duck. It might be a costume.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Peter Missed It

Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. But Peter could only see the humiliation of being a servant so he protested, “Lord you will NEVER wash my feet” (John 13:8).

Peter felt unworthy to have the Son of God wash his feet. He was right, none of us are. But that is the very point Jesus is making. If he who is perfect serves us who are so unworthy, then for goodness sakes we can serve one another.

Jesus is teaching, he who chooses manipulation over service values himself over the Son of God.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Servant's Towel

One of the most amazing truths is hidden in the story of Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet. It is right at the end of the last supper and the beginning of chapter 13. The treasure is in these simple words, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God… began to wash the disciples’ feet , and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded” (John 13:2-6).

Because Jesus knew his power and his position in God he was not afraid to be a servant. Are we?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Let's Be Careful

We are beginning to see the culmination of Judas’ life. When he first came to Jesus, he worked miracles along with the other eleven disciples (Mt 10:5-10; Mk 3:14-19). But he was overcome with his lust for wealth (John 12:4-6) until is corrupted his soul to the point of listening to Satan (John 13:2). He acted to fulfill that burning thirst in his spirit making a contract with the Pharisees to betray Jesus (Mt 26:14-16).

Judas sealed his fate when he took the bread from Jesus’ hand at the last supper. It was at that moment Judas became possessed by Satan (John 13:27).

It was a long tedious process for Judas to fight against the Truth and give himself over to his lusts which ultimately lead to his spiritual and physical death (Mt 27:1-5). Scripture tells us if we sew to the flesh we will reap corruption.

Let’s be careful out there (1 Peter 1:13-21)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Affected by Our Pain

Jesus deeply loved his family, his disciples and his friends. He knew it was getting close to the time that he would have to give his life. He thought about those whom he loved and how they would be affected by what was about to happen (John 13:1-2).

God allows us to go through painful experiences for his glory (James 1:2-4; I peter 4:12-13). As we pray for ourselves (James 1:5) Let’s not forget those close to us will also be affected and pray for them as well (john 17; Ephesians 6:18).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Father's Command - The Real Valentine

Jesus said he did not come to judge the world but to save the world (John 12:47). Be careful not to attempt to use this single sentence as a means to justify rebellion. Jesus did not say people would not be judged. In fact he said, “He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

Jesus told us the way to God both through his actions and through his words. He spoke all that the Father commanded him to speak and his words lead to eternal life (John 12:49).

We have received the same commission (Mt 28:20).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Which Way?

There are difficult circumstances that cause us to feel isolated, unsteady and confused. We wonder what to do next. Which decision is the correct one? The Disciples were about to face that kind of a dark hour. Yet Jesus said to them, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).

The light of Jesus permeates every part of our lives. Even when life seems at its darkest, we have hope that God will direct our steps (Isaiah 30:21; Ps 37:23-24; Romans 8:28-29; 34).

If you are not sure what to do, stand still, wait. Listen to that still small voice. Then trust that God is directing you steps and move forward.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valuing Self Judgement

When I was a young girl I heard that Jesus’ sacrifice saved us from the wrath of God. Though this statement is true, I misunderstood. I thought it meant God the Father was angry and mean to people who had not yet accepted Christ. I thought of God as angry and Jesus as loving.

I did not understand that who Jesus is exactly as God the Father. If the Father is angry at sin, so is the Son. If they Jesus loves us, so does the Father. If Jesus wanted to save us, so did the Father.

God’s wrath is only against those who abuse his Son. Jesus took our sins upon himself, willingly suffering for us so that we could become one with him and his Father (John 17:20-23). When we refuse to accept Jesus’ forgiveness, we are valuing our judgment over God’s grace. We are worshiping ourselves and saying Jesus died for no purpose. Is it any wonder the Father would be angry?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love of Praise

John tells us many of the Pharisee rulers did believe that Jesus was the messiah. But they did not openly confess him because they were afraid of being kicked out of the synagogue. Then John gives us this sad commentary, “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

Following God can mean the loss of respect from some people. Occasionally it may even mean the loss of social position. Jesus said we must love him more than any other person, position or possession. Whenever there is a conflict between God’s ways and the ways of our family, friends, or society, we choose to respond as Jesus would (Mt 10:37-39; 1 John 1:6).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lest They Repent

Before we leave this difficult passage about God hardening hearts and blinding eyes, we need to address the phrase, “lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them” (John 12:40). Why would God be upset if they would repent and he heal them? Isn’t God interested in all coming to repentance? (2 Peter 3:9). Yes, that is why I do not believe he is speaking of individuals. He is speaking of the Nation as a whole.

This passage is better understood when we read Romans 11:25-32. I encourage you to read the entire passage. But in summary, the Nation of Israel was blind to who Jesus was so that the message would be taken to the Gentiles. But God will not leave them blind (Romans 11:31). God teaches both Jews and Gentiles that we all need his mercy.

And what we need, he supplies (Jeremiah 9:24).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stubborn Rebellious Hearts

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them” (John 12:40).

Someone will say, “If God blinds people’s eyes so they cannot see the truth, I want nothing to do with him.” It is not easy to reconcile a loving God with one who will deliberately blind people’s eyes and harden their hearts. Yet are there not times when we too have to cut people out of our lives. When it becomes clearly evident an individual is not interested in a healthy relationship but only wish to manipulate or hurt us, it is time to end the acquaintance.

Yes, God is love. Yes God is merciful. He is also just. He will not continue to allow the abuse of his Son (Genesis 6:3; Proverbs 2:22; Proverbs 29:1).

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Difficult Words

We have come to a very difficult passage. How can we understand his next words? “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them” (John 12:40).

Jesus is quoting Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 6:10. The nation of Israel had known the truth for centuries and had refused to obey it. So the light they did have was removed and their nation was eventually taken captive.

So those who continually refuse the light that has been given them will eventually lose even that light (Luke 8:16-18).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Demands of Man

During a discussion in a philosophy class in college a student speculated angrily, “Maybe if God came to earth, I might believe.” That student would more than likely be like the Pharisees. “Although he had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in him” (John 12:37).

If we honestly ask God to reveal himself to us, he will. But he is never coerced into doing things man’s way. He will reveal himself in his own way, in his own time. Not because he is like rebellious man who insists on his own way, but because he is loving and knows precisely what we need and when we need it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To Believe in the Light

Look at Jesus’ instruction about the light again. “While you have the light, believe in the light that you may become sons of light” (John 12:36).

What does it mean to believe in the light? Webster defines to believe as “to take as true, real, etc. 2 to trust a statement or promise of (a person) 3 to suppose or think, to have trust, faith or confidence in.”

To believe in the light is to make all our decisions based on that light. To live everyday according to what Jesus taught; to avoid what he told us to avoid; to act as he told us to act; to speak as he told us to speak; to be what he told us to be; in other words, to have the Character of Christ.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blinding Light

“While you have the light, believe in the light that you may be sons of light” (John 12:36). In Mathew 5:14 Jesus said we are the light of the world. When Christ lives in us we become sources of light to people around us.

Some people are blinded by the light. It is like being in the dark and someone flips on and off a light suddenly. We are aware that a light has been present, but we cannot see to move until our eyes either adjust to the dark again or the light remains on.

That is partly why some respond negatively to believers. Just make sure they are reacting to the light within you and not to any annoying traits of self righteousness.