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Saturday, April 30, 2011

5/1/11 John 21:7-9

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

(James J. Tissot 1886-1894 Second Miraculous Catch of Fish)

Thoughts: As when Jesus called them to leave their fishing and follow him (Lk. 5), so here the catch of fish was unexpected.  They went from nothing to too full nets. Christ reminds them by this miracle that He will enable their lives to be fruitful.  Surely this was proved true by the 12- who changed the world.  It is also true that Christ takes us and makes us fruitful for Him as well. 

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to drop my nets and follow you.  I confess I have become entangled in the world.  Free me, that I might be fruitful for you.

John Calvin Abridged: The Evangelist shows that whenever we exceed our expectations, we should raise our hearts to God in thanksgiving, recognizing Him and His kindness. John goes before Peter in faith, but Peter exceeds John in zeal- throwing himself into the lake.

Friday, April 29, 2011

4/30/11 John 21:1-7 Fishing again

1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

(Konrad Witz Swiss Altarpiece 1444
Museum of Art and History, Geneva)

Thoughts: Jesus appeared at the Sea similarly to when he appeared at the Sea when called the disciples at the beginning of his ministry (Lk. 5:1-16). Peter and the disciples- who once left their nets- are fishing once more.  Jesus tells them to fish again, and Peter recognizes him.  Jesus was in reality calling them again to leave their fishing nets and feed his people.  Jesus continually calls us back to serve Him when we feel like leaving or when we in fact leave Him.  The resurrection is a second chance, and He gives us a second chance as well. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you continually call- even when I do not answer.  Give me ears to hear your call.  Strengthen my resolve to put you first.

John Calvin Abridged: When Christ breathed on Peter, he ordained him to apostolic office.  But he abstained form the exercise of his office for a short time, until he received power from God.  That Peter fished is not inconsistent with his call but was a part of his private life. God permitted them to toil all night and not catch in order to perform the miracle. Christ does not command, but rather gives advice, and they still tried again with great perserance.  So we should persevere when we are weary- expecting God to continue to work. If we dislike our calling because it seems unproductive or unfruitful, we should learn here to persevere. 

4/29/11 John 2:1-4 Purpose in Marriage

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied.

(Westminser Abbey)

Thoughts; On this day in which millions are watching a wedding, it might be asked why God even cares about marriage?  God cares about human relationships and human love.  He made us male and female- made for each other for love and for the joy of companionship together all of our lives, and for the joy of children (and thus the continuation of humanity).  Marriage and eternal love are the desires of almost everyone (90% say it is their goal).   Marriage is a boundary.  It is a boundary in which we commit the most vulnerable and important part of us to another human, and needs protection.  It is a boundary in that we forsake all others.  It is a boundary in that it is limited to the boundaries given in the Word of the Lord.  Why do we involve God in marriage?  We want and need His help, grace, blessing and love in order to make our love and relationships last.  We cannot manufacture God's blessing, we must humbly ask for it. 

Prayer: Your love, O Lord, develops my love.  Help me to grow in love for you and those you have put into my life.  Today, we also pray for blessing on William and Kate of England.

(Wedding at Cana, Paolo Veronese)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

John 20:30-31 Miracles to help us believe and live

 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

(Jesus appearing to disciples on the Road to Emmaus;
James Jaques Tissot 19th century)

Thoughts: The Evangelist tells us why he was writing this book. It is not to record an interesting story, to elevate a cause, to lift up the names of the disciples.  The goal is that we might have life.  He says this many other times- "In him was life" (1:4).  "For God so loved the world...that whoseverer believes...shall have eternal life" (3:16); "I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly (10:10).  The goal of telling these stories is that we might believe and have life.  Apparently, this is a reference to Jesus' making other post resurrection appearances not recorded here. The editing creiteria of whether a miracle was worthy of inclusion was whether it inspired belief and  brought life. Today much of our teaching and preaching is only to inform not to inspire or give eternal life.  As the Police said, there can be "too much information." 

Prayer: May I look for things that bring me to belief and life, Lord.

John Calvin Abridged: If the Evangelist did not say this, some would think his account was exhaustive. It is not that other events are unworthy of recording, but these recorded events edified faith.  It is important to know that the Gospel was sealed by a vast number of miracles.  Some may wonder why we have to have miracles at all because we have the promises of God.  But the purpose of miracles is to give aid to faith and to prepare our minds to receive faith.  Miracles without faith or doctrine only would bring a confused admiration- but the object of miracles is faith.  Christ alone has the title "Son of God" for He owns that title not by adoption but by nature.  We obtain eternal life by faith.  When we are apart from Christ we are dead to God, and it is only by His grace alone that we are restored to life. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4/28/11 John 20:24-29 Doubt and Faith

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

(Thomas by
Michelangelo Caravaggio 1602)

Thoughts; Thomas may be known as doubting, but he has more faith than most in America today.  He was willing to go to Jerusalem to die with Christ (Jn. 11:16). When Thomas did believe, he was willing to dive in wholeheartedly.  So he was willing to die, and so he worshiped Christ falling at his feet proclaiming him Lord and God.   He was a person, like many today, who wanted to see in order to believe.  He noted this in John 14 when he asked Jesus to show him the way (his answer was that he was the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father but by Him 14:5,6).  Jesus rightly holds up those who believe without seeing.  Thomas will go down forever as doubting, and many who arrogantly demand to be convinced by Almighty God, will be branded as doubting as well.  But those who are willing to believe without seeing will be commended. 

Prayer: Help me to stop doubting and believe, O Lord.

John Calvin Abridged: The unblief of Thomas is related so that the godly will be more confirmed in their faith.  Thomas' wicked unbelief is common to most people.  But another proof of the resurrection (an invitation to touch) was given because of his unbelief.  Christ readily yields to the improper request of Thomas in order to show us he really desires us to have faith.   

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4/27/11 John 20:19-23 The Message of Resurrection Peace

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Thoughts: Twice Jesus Invokes them to have peace in this short passage.  Jesus wasn't just saying "calm down" though they were probably pretty excitable about this one coming back from the dead.  Sunday evening they were huddled together in fear.  When He showed them his hands and his side- it was like showing them his driver's license- his identity was confirmed, and that brought then not only peace, but joy.  The second command to have peace for the task that was before them- being sent into the world as ambassadors of the gospel. The resurrected Jesus brings peace from worry and fear and peace for the calling we are given to fulfill.  If Christ were dead- the doors would remain locked.  If Christ did not say "Go into all the world... for Lo I am with you always" we would stay put instead of go out.  The resurrection assures us and also gives us courage to go out in His name. 

Prayer: May the peace of your resurrection ease my fears and strengthen me to speak for you.

John Calvin Abridged: The greeting of peace was a common Hebrew greeting.  It is a wish for all cheerfulness and prosperity of a happy life.  It would be similar to saying, "May you live well and prosper."  The second greeing of peace was to get their attention so that they would listen to his command to send them. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

4/26/11 John 20:16-18

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

(Greg Olsen)

Thoughts: Mary Magdalene does not call Him Jesus, but the titles- "Rabboni" and "Lord."  If she was married to Jesus like the DaVinci code and the gnostics say, then, she would have had a more endearing term.  While many husbands may want to be called "Lord" that would be a rare title indeed for a husband, even in those patriarchal days.  He was her teacher- teaching her about life and death.  He was her Lord, whom she followed, owing her allegiance her all to Him.  These are good titles for any of us to use of Christ.  He is not a dead teacher, and He is not a dead Lord. 

Prayer: Help me to have listening ears to hear you as my teacher and Lord.  Help me to have eyes that see you, the living Lord, at the tombs and heartaches of my life. 

John Calvin Abridged: Christ allowed Mary to make a mistake (not believing), but in one word He corrects it. John 10:3 says, "The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."  So in Mary we have an image of how we come to know Christ- He invites us by name as God calls His own sheep.  Mary's holding Him seems to disagree with the other gospels where Christ actually encourages the disciples to touch Him.  But here Mary threatens to touch him to the excess.  Christ does not forbid touching his body in order to remove doubt, but holding onto Him is unneeded.  Christ was concerned that they were overzealous about his bodily presence when this presence would eventually leave. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

4/25/11 John 20:9-16 Not Recognizing our Answer

9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

(Alexander Ivanov 1834-36)

Thoughts: The concept of the resurrection was foreign to the disciples.  They tried to return to life as it always had been - back to the same old place- but they could not.  When we encounter the living Christ, we cannot expect to go back to the same old way of life with the same old habits. 
Mary did not know but her prayers had been answered.  Jesus was found- she only had to open her eyes to see that Christ was not lost or stolen at all.  In fact, He was very present to her.  Both Jesus and the angels asked the same question, "Woman, why are you crying?"  Many times we cry as if God is not in control.  The resurrection means that the worst life can do to us will not triumph over God and His purposes.  Sometimes we still weep or complain or worry when the answer is right before us.

Prayer:  Help me to trust in you, Lord.  Help me to change my life in ways that please you.

John Calvin Abridged: There were probably other women there with Mary, though they were not mentioned.  The disciples saw the empty tomb and were consoled and joyful.  The women [saw the empty tomb and] tormented themselves with idle and useless weeping.  Such weeping was fueled by this-world thinking and superstition that kept them near the tomb.  In Mary we see an example of mistakes into which the human mind frequently falls.  Though Christ presented himself to her, her mind blinded her from seeing the true Jesus.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

4/24/11 John 20:1-8 He is Not Here! Easter

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

(Peter and John running to the tomb-
Eugene Burnard 1898)

Thoughts: The first reaction to the resurrection was not expectation, but surprise and curiosity.  Mary went to the leaders asking for help for she did not know where Jesus' body was.  There is also excitement- for Peter and John were running.  There was no doubt in the eyes of John, Peter, and Mary that the tomb was empty.  Mary wondered where someone placed the stolen body- but she did not doubt the emptiness of the tomb.  John believed in the resurrection of Jesus.  How much evidence does it take for us to believe in God?  Are we willing to believe, or are we more willing to doubt and be skeptical.  Faith has its first motion in a willingness to believe. 

Prayer: When I see you at work, help me to believe.  Help me to believe in the power of your resurrection.

Friday, April 22, 2011

4/23/11- John 19:30-42 Significance of the Burial of Jesus

Christ, Meaning of the Burail(1 Sam. 2:6).  For the Hebrew mind, death was not nearly a symbol of hopelessness as the grave (sheol) was (cf. Ps. 88,89).  Ezekial 37:13 says, "Then you will know that I am the Lord when I open graves and bring you up from them."  The power of the grave is staggering, but even that cannot compete against God's power for life. 
Prayer: May I believe in your power to raise me up even when all othe rhope is gone. 

John Calvin Abridged: This passage edifies our faith: 1) it shows how scripture is fulfilled in Christ; 2) The Jews were concerned about their laws regarding cleanliness, but not that an innocent man had been killed. (video of Church of the Holy Sepulchre built around the site of the grave of Christ). 

4/22/11 Images of the Crucifixion

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Thoughts: There are many different images given of the crucifixion of Christ.  Just as each gospel gives us a different snapshot of the real event, so a painting gives us a different portrait from the artisits perspective.  Rembrandt's is probably my favorite as he has himself putting Christ on the cross. 

Prayer: Though I have seen these passages a million times, help me to see them anew this day- from different perspectives.  Help me to appreciate your cross, your sacrifice for me, O Lord.
(Rembrandt c 1633)
(Bonzino 1545)

(Greek Icon Athens)


(Tinoretto 1565)

(Vouet 1622)

(Matthias Grunwald 1515 John the Baptist pointing to Jesus as the Lamb of God)
(Jame Jaques Tissot 1894 from the perspective of Jesus)

(Hans Meling d. 1480 - Budapest Museium)

(Michelangelo 1540)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4/22/11 John 18:36-40 Truth for Convenience

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

(Pontius Pilate. Duccio di Buoninsegna)

Thoughts: Pilate had been in trouble at least twice and was on the edge of being recalled as governor.  He had brough pagan insignias into Jerusalem at night- and when people objected, he surrounded them with his soldiers and threatened to kill them.  They would not back down, so Pilate did.  Later he robbed the Temple treasury to pay for an acqueduct, Again when people objected, Pilate threatened, beat, and even killed some.  Now, Pilate was confronted with a real King of truth and justice. But He was too busy trying to save his own skin to be interested in truth or justice.  Many are like Pilate today- Machiavellian, manipulative, and utilitarian in our views- with the only real value being our survival.  But true survival is shown by the resurrected one- who is truth embodied.  If we tell the truth and leave the rest in God's hands, we will find more than survival. 

Prayer: Help me not to value my skin over truth, Lord.

Jhn Cavlin Abridged: Jesus says "My kingdom is not of this world" which admits He is a king, but is innocent of being in conflict with the political government or order.  Jesus says that He speaks the truth and was born to do so.  We should not have a problem trusting in Him as He speaks what is true since He is commissioned by God to do so.  In Pilate's asking, "What is truth" we see a disease common to all humans.  For though we are aware of our ignorance, few are willing to confess it; consequently, many reject true doctrine.  Then the Lord, blinds the proud but lifts up those who are willing to submit to Him. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4/21/11- John 17:17-24 Jesus Prayer in the Garden

17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

(Olive Grove at Gethsemane- traditional site of the prayer of John 17- the author there last year).

Thoughts: This is the meat of Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (according to John)  before His arrest. Typically, Jesus not only prays with His prayers He also teaches.  Here are some of the key teachings found here:
1) The Word of God is true and reliable; 2) He desires oneness among His followers- this is His chief prayer for those who follow Him in the future (us); 3) He wants us to see His glory- especially as He goes to face His immanent death.  There is purity, love, and purpose here.  The purity comes by adhering to the Word of God.  The unity comes when we seek to obey it; The purpose comes when we seek to glorify God and pay attention to His glory above all else. 

Prayer: May your Word and love grow in me that I might glorify you, O Lord. 

John Cavlin Abridged: There are fanatics who prattle on about sanctification but neglect the truth of God by which He sanctifies us to Himself.  Real truth is found nowhere else. True, God alone sanctifies us, but He does it by the Word.  Those who neglect the Word become more and more polluted.  The end of our happiness consists in unity. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4/20/11 John 16:19-33 Peace and Joy at the Cross

19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, 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 entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

(Giotto- Nativity 1300s)

Thoughts: Jesus said several times "in a little while"; "a time is coming."  He was trying to prepare his disciples for his crucifixion and death.  But, at the same time, He was encouraging them to persevere with peace into joy.  He said He would give them a peace that doesn't make sense.  He was also going to give them a joy that no one can take away- for it is stronger than death.  We can face our crosses with peace and joy because of the hope of the resurrection. 

Prayer: Give me grace, O Lord, to persevere through my crosses with your great peace and wonderful joy. 

John Calvin Abridged:  It was not that their sorrow would go away, but it would be swallowed up with a spiritual  joy.  He uses the image of a woman about to give birth to say that sorrow or pain would not only end in joy, but it had joy within it.  Teh value of the joy is increased by its perpetuity- that it will not go away. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

4/19/11 John 16:12-18 Experiencing God

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

(Rainbow around the Bend)

Thoughts: Jesus was concerned that the experience of God the disciples had would not dry up, and that their hope would not wither.  So He spoke of the Spirit guiding us, leading us into the future.  While Christ would not be seen, this was not a permanent condition.  After the cross is the resurrection. After the valley of the shadow of death there is the prepared table in His presence.  Our hope does not depend on our emotional experience of God.  His promise and His Word keep us strong when our feelings are weak. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to put my hope in you, and not fade. 

John Calvin Abridged: He did not want to overwhelm them, so his object was to give them the hope of progress.  The Spirit had led the Apostles into all truth, and the Spirit passes on the wisdom from one generation to the next.  Whoever thinks that something must be added to their doctrine as if it were half perfect or unfinished not only accuses the Apostles of dishonesty but blasphemes against the Spirit.  If we do not wish to be ungrateful to God, then let us find satisfaction with the writings inspired by the Spriit (2 Tim. 3:17). 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

4/18/11 John 16:1-11 Spirit convicts

1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
(Persecuted Christians in Pakistan- left picture of Joseph Francis a lawyer in Pakistan trying to repeal Muslim blasphemy laws.  He has received many death threats).


Thoughts: The disciples had already asked "where are you going?"  Thomas asked it in John 14:5, and was told He was going to the Father.  Jesus was trying to steel their nerves by pointing out that they would be persecuted and even killed- as He was.   But Jesus would send them a helper- the Holy Spirit- the advocate (think lawyer) who speaks up for them and us.  The Spirit would even convict their persecutors of their own sin.  The Spirit shows us what is right and wrong, and inspires us to respect and fear God properly.   Most often the Spirit speaks through scripture.  The problem of our day is we want to leave scripture out of our debates.  But today we need to hear the Spirit more than ever.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to see my sin.  Convict me, show me where I am wrong, and lead me in your righteous path.

John Calvin Abridged: Christ does not send his followers into the spiritual battlefield unarmed.  He equips them by telling them what to expect, and sending the Spirit to them as an aid.  This was not just spoken to the apostles, but to us as well.  So ministers of the gospel should expect to be reviled even by the pillars of the church. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

4/17/11 John 15:26-27

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

(Polycarp of Smyrna- 86 Years Have I served Him- How can I blaspheme my King now? Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle)

Thoughts: The Spirit testifies- usually through scripture- and never against scripture.  This is a principle that is often overlooked in our day of disobedience to Christ.  We want the Spirit to testify despite what scripture says.  But the Spirit inspired the writers of scripture.  God does not need to repent or lie or change.  The Spirit testifies about the Son- not the Son apart from scripture.  While scripture does not contain all truth, it does contain the truth about the Son.  We too are called to testify- despite the heretics, despite the despisers, despite those who will try us. 

Prayer:  Give me ears to hear you, Holy Spirit, testifying.  Give me strength to testify with you.

John Calvin Abridged: Christ explains to them that the Gospel should not be less valued because it has many adversaries; when the world rales against us, our protection lies in the Holy Spirit. The single witness of the Spirit is a safe haven and drives away all false witnesses to the Gospel.  The Spirit fixes our faith on Him alone. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

4/16/11 John 15:16-25 Hate, Love and The Choice

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

Thoughts: This passage speaks of the hate of the world (which we should respect if we follow Jesus), and the call to love one another.  Between these two extremes are the words "I chose you to go and bear fruit."  We are chosen to be a different people.  Not a people who retreat from the world, or a people who give into the world- so the world will not hate us, but a people who will transform the world with the love of God. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your grace that calls us out of the world and to make the world a better place.  Help me to bear fruit for you today. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

4/15/11 John 15:9-15 Friendship with God

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Thoughts: The Maker of the Universe is not oblivious to us.  In fact, He calls us His friends.  Friendship means he offers us His love- and asks us not to leave it.  Friendship means listening and trying to please. He also will listen to us- saying He will give whatever we ask in His name.   Jesus wants us as friends to be freinds with each other- loving each other.  In many ways, friendship with God sums up Christian faith- it is a relationship of love. 

Prayer:  Lord, thank you that you offer your hand in friendship.  Help me to take it, and to extend mine to others in your family of faith as well.
John Calvin Abridged:  Since it is proper that we relegate our life according to His commands, we should ask, "What is it you command?"  The answer is repeated often: Mutual love.  Christ seeks to inflame our love for one another by pointing out His example of laying down His life for us.  The ungodly through contempt of the Gospel and its commands, renounce His friendship.  He has condescended to us far more than we condescend to each other by calling us friends. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4/14/11 John 15:5-8 Doing Nothing or Doing the Impossible

 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Thoughts: It is a bold statement that apart from God we can do nothing.  Yet, if God gives us life, and protects us from disaster, plague, and leads us to the right place at the right time- then we really can't claim ultimate credit by ourselves.  Yet in another sense- all the things that we do apart from God and for our own glory amount to nothing.  Human accomplishments apart from God are like the poem Ozymandus by Shelley- where the broken ancient statue, surrounded by miles of desert sands, boldly states- "Look on all my accomplishments... and weep."  Yet the angel told Mary (Lk 1:37), "Nothing is impossible with God."  Jesus said, "With God, all things are possible." (Mt. 19:26).  By ourselves, our work is in vain.  But when we plug into God the sky is the limit. 

Prayer: Give me grace to believe in your ability and possibility. 

John Calvin Abridged:  So long as we are separate from him, we bear no fruit that is good and acceptable to God, for we are unable to do anything good.  There is our remedy provided for our fruitless poverty, and it is found in asking God. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

4/13/11 John 15:1-4 Avoiding Pruning

 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Thoughts: Who wants to be cut off by God?  Who wants to be pruned or shaped up by God?  How do you avoid being cut off or pruned?  Jesus gives the answer- it is by abiding, remaining, staying in Him.  How do we abide in Him?  We abide by listening (through the Word and Spirit), praying, obeying and serving, being with his people, and spreading His love.  The key is to abide in Him and for Him to abide in us.  We are in Christ and Christ is in us- like we are in the air, and the air is in every cell of our bodies. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to abide in you.  Be near to me, and help me to be near to you. 

John Calvin Abridged: We are by nature barren and dry except when we are ingrafted into Christ.  Can any one who is engrafted into Christ be without fruit? I answer, many are supposed to be in the vine, according to the opinion of men, who actually have no root in the vine.
Thus, in the writings of the prophets, the Lord calls the people of Israel his vine, because, by outward profession, they had the name of The Church.

Monday, April 11, 2011

4/12/11 John 14:25-31 The String Around Our Finger

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.

Thoughts: The good news we have a reminder.  It is not a string around our finger, but the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit stirs up and convicts the worldly.  But the same Spirit comforts and gives peace and reminders to the godly.  The world's peace is an absence of things.  The world's peace is an absence of noise, an absence of busy-ness, and absence of war.  Death could be a definition or even a way to achieve the peace of the world- for death is quiet, still, and has not struggle.  But God's peace (shalom) is a wholeness.  It is oneness with God.  It is meaning and hope in the midst of meaninglessness and despair.  Jesus gives a peace we would not otherwise have- and it comes by His Holy Spirit. 

Prayer: May your peace fill my life, O Lord.  Fill me with peace that I may witness to you- the Prince of Peace. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

4/11/11 John 14:15-21 Obedience and the Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

(Moses- Dore)

Thoughts: The prerequisite for the help of God; the advocate of God; the Holy Spirit is to love God and to show that love by keeping his commands.  People often ask how God rewards us in this life.  The best reward for loving God and keeping His commands is the Holy Spirit.  The commands of God were given by the Spirit, and the Spirit convicts and applies the commands to us today.  God does not leave us alone in life.  A person in love (think back to that first date) listens intently to how to make the other person happy.  So we, if we love God, should listen to Him and for Him.  The best way to listen, according to Jesus' own words, is to listen to the Scriptures. 

Payer: Lord, help me to show love for you by loving you and listening to you. 

John Calvin Abridged: The love the disciples had was incomplete as it mixed superstition (or sentiment) in it.  They wanted Christ to stay in this world.  Our love for Christ is at fault if we stray from pure obedience.  Jesus was given by the Father as a comforter, but when He leaves He will give another Comforter- the Spirit.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

4/10/11 John 14:8-14 Power in Jesus name

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

(Philip by J Tissot)
Thoughts: If you want to know what God is like- look at Jesus.  That is what Jesus is saying here. Jesus is pointing out His oneness with the Father.  God shows Himself through Jesus.  His words are from the Father. The miracles are from the Father.   But Jesus is making a unique and differentiating claim here.  Sure, God dwells in those who believe, but we cannot say what Jesus said in 13 and 14 that He will answer prayer that is made in His name.  In our day, in an effort to not offend anyone we water down our prayers and many refuse to pray in the name of Jesus- lest someone cannot join us in our prayer.  But that is almost like mailing an envelope out with only half an address.  There is a closeness that the Son has with the Father that we do not have.  That closeness involves power- especially power to answer prayer.

Prayer:  Lord thank you that you came to show us what God si like.  Thank you that you empower our prayers.

John Calvin Abridged: Christ rightly reproves Philip for not having pure eyes of faith surely caused by ingratitude.  Today many, not satisfied with Christ,  wander off into speculation apart and beyond Him, and make little progress in ther faith.  When Christ says He is one with the Father He is not speaking of His divine essence, but He is indicating He is the Image and Portrait of God the Father.

Friday, April 8, 2011

4/9/11 John 14:4-7 The Narrow Way

4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

(Thomas by Carravgio 1602-1603)

Thoughts: Thomas is often remembered as the Apostle who doubted, and was told by God to put his fingers in Jesus' wounds.  Yet this one who doubted really wanted to be with Jesus.  He wanted to go the way Jesus was going. In another instance, Thomas had said, "Let us go that we might die with Him."  But it is in Jesus' death that the way was made for Thomas and for all of us.  Jesus made a narrow claim that would be uncalled for if it were not true.  He is not just A way or A truth but THE way and THE truth with NO one coming to the Father but by Him.  In our day of trying to devalue the Christian faith to make it only one way among many, this statement stands out as unique.  These are not the narrator's words, but Jesus' own words and claims about Himself.  It was because of this unique claim that the Romans (and many in our day) have a problem with Christian faith, and the leaders of the Jews at the time considered His tremendous claim to speak against their idea of truth. 

Prayer: Help me Lord, to follow in your way and to find you at the end of the road.

John Calvin Abridged: In order to fortify their faith Jesus points out his death is not the end but a passageway to the Father; and they know the way to go to participate in the same glory.  Thomas shows his confusion.  But before we enter a road we must know where we intend to go.  He is the life- and the way to obtain that life is to become a new creature.  Seeking God elsewhere than in Christ tears Him away from His true and solid dignity.  The way refers to the beginning of faith; the truth refers to the perfection of faith. The meaning of this is: “If any man turn aside from Christ, he will do nothing but go astray; if any man do not rest on Him, he will feed elsewhere on nothing but wind and vanity; if any man, not satisfied with Him alone, wishes to go farther."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4/8/11 John 14:1-4 You may be also

 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

(1897 Unknown artist of Bible placard)

Thoughts: Jesus is giving his explanation of the meaning of his death (his eschatology).  His death is in order to help us.  He is the One who is about to suffer, yet His concern is that we not be troubled but be comforted.  Heaven is where Christ is.  Hell is where God is not present at all. 

Prayer: May my heart long to be where you are, Lord. 

John Calvin abridged: Christ has a good reason to encourage his disciples for they are about to suffer a terrible test.  He not only tells them to be steadfast as they witness the terror of the cross, but also tells them where to go for courage- in their faith.  He holds himself out as the object of our faith (believe in God, believe in me).  Christ did not want them to think that when he ascended into heaven he did not think of them any more.  There is room for them and many more where He is going.  Christ did not ascend to heaven to dwell there alone; rather it is a common inheritance for all of us who believe. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4-7-11 John 13:33-38 Meaningful Love

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.  34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

(Peter crucified upside down, Michelangelo)

Thoughts: Jesus was thinking about two things- death and love.  Jesus speaks here of his death and Peter's too (he "will follow later").  Peter says he will lay down his life- but he is not ready to do so when Christ was arrested and all others were scattered.  Tradition says Peter died during Nero's persecution in Rome about 67 AD, and that he was crucified upside down.  Jesus reaction to thinking about his death was to think about what He will leave behind.  He wants them (and us) to love one another as He loved us. In the face of the most meaningless thing in life (death)- we are called to do the most meaningful thing (love one another).  The love Jesus speaks of is not the surfacey-sex that the world elevates, but real human love.  For Jesus the last and most important thing is real true love for others- especially those of the household of faith. .

Prayer: Give me grace to love others as you have loved me.

John Calvin Abridged: Christ restrains Peter's excessive desire here.  We are taught by this passage to subject all our excessive desires to our Lord.  Peter was not yet ripe for bearing the cross.  But as a blade of corn must be shaped and get stronger, so Peter needs to be shaped adn formed by time.  As Jesus bears with Peter, so we should learn to be patient with the weaker brethren. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4/6/11 John 13:27-30 Judas Left

 So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night

(Judas Leaving)

Thoughts: John was reflecting back over the worst tragedy of history.  He recognized that things were said that just didn't register at the time.  God speaks to us through the events in our lives.  It is good to reflect back on the good that happens in our lives but also the bad.  John realized Jesus was again prophesying that Judas would betray Him (showing his divinity), but the Apostles did not get it at the time.  Sometimes reflection back on events give us a new appreciation of God. 

Prayer: As I look back on my life, Lord, help me to see your hand, and to hear your Spirit.

John Calvin Abridged: If it was Satan's design all along to use Judas why does it only now say that "Satan entered him?"  Just as Christians grow in their faith all along, but only on occassion are said to be "filled with the Spirit" so Satan filled Judas here.  It was an utter act of kindness that Jesus offered Judas the sop.  But this only hardened his heart more.  We are told to love our enemies (Rom. 12:20) but this is like heaping burning coals on their heads.  If they are incurable, kindness only hardens their hearts.

Monday, April 4, 2011

4-4-11 John 13:22-27 Unworthy Communion

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

(Leonardo Da Vinci Last Supper- Judas)

Thoughts: Paul said there are dangers in taking communion in the wrong way- in an unworthy manner (1 Cor. 11:27,34).  Judas certainly set a precedent of taking communion with fake faith.  Before we take the Lord's Supper we are called to examine ourselves. The Old Presbyterians took this so seriously that they restricted communion to only four times a year and each person was examined by an elder and given a token if they passed the spiritual examination.  We take communion lightly today, but should seek this Supper as an opportunity for repentance and holiness.
     Yet, there is also a sense in which none of us are worthy- or perfect.  We come to the Lord's table humbly, in need of grace to make us better.  If we waited until we are perfect, none of us would take communion.  Martin Luther shook when he first gave communion because he knew he was unworthy. Perhaps- the balance is we need to have sincere faith, but also come humbly to meet with our Lord.

Prayer: When I come to commune with you, may I come with true gratitude in my heart and sincere faith.

John Calvin Abridged: Why did Jesus give a dipped sop to identify the traitor when He could have openly pointed to him by name?  This teaches us that when hypocrites are concealed, we should be patient until they are seen in the light. Judas sat among the other apostles, but was condemned by the mouth of the Judge.  No one who holds a place among the children of God is in any better place than was Judas.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

4/4/11 John 13:18-21 Betrayal Predicted

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” 21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

(Last Supper- Judas leaving; Karl Henry Bloch 19th century)

Thoughts: Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9 which is a prophecy of betrayal of the king.  He also prophecies more specifically and measurably that Judas would betray Him.  He says he is telling this ahead of time so that they would not surprised, and that they would believe in his divinity.  Jesus affirms that He is sending them out as the Father sent Him out.  Jesus sends us out into the world.  Sometimes we are accepted, sometimes we may be betrayed.  But we are still called to go.

Prayer: Help me, OLord, to be loyal to you.  Keep me from betraying you, but instead help me to serve you.

John Calvin Abridged: One among them is the very reverse of a disciple.  He encourages them to persevere in their calling even when Judas falls away.  He attributes their perseverance to their election.  For if God did not choose us, we would blow away like the leaves in the wind. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

4/3/11 John 13:12-17

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Thoughts:  Jesus performed the lowly, humble service- washing feet, dying a slave's death as a sacrifice for us.  So we should not expect to live above others.  Some of the people who are most admired are the retired CEO who works on a Habitat House for someone who he has never met.  Or the nurse or teacher who goes the extra mile for someone who complains too much.  In the movie "Ghandi" Ghandi's wife did not want him to clean toilets, but he said it was good for him.  She thought it was detestable. 

Prayer:  Give me grace, O Lord, to be a servant.  Give me eyes to see. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

4/2/11 John 13:6-10 Jesus Serves Us

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

(Jesus Washing the Disciples' Feet- James J. Tissot)

Thoughts: The washing of the feet was a symbol of the washing of the soul from sin.  Unless Jesus serves us (especially on the cross) we can't be a part of Him.  Jesus served us by coming down from heaven to earth.  He served us by healing the sick, by teaching us how to live.  He served us by his sacrificial death on the cross.  Unless we allow the God of the universe to serve us, then we are left in our sin.  Jesus also sets us an example to serve others too.  As He humbled himself, we should humble ourselves. Jesus shows us the full extent of his love in that He serves us. 

Prayer: Thank you for your service to me.  Help me to serve others by your grace and strength.

John Calvin Abridged: Peter's modesty would be commendable, except that obedience is of greater importance than modesty.  We are taught to obey Christ even if we do not perceive the reason why.