Just when all hope seems lost, Christ steps into the situation, and changes everything. His followers, His friends, they found out how much He could change in the gospel of John, chapter 20. As we rejoin them, they were in bad shape: all mourning, many terrified, convinced their hope had been snuffed out when Jesus died. Most were huddled in a room, hiding from the Pharisees, expecting to be killed if — no, when — they were caught.
They were exactly the kind of people who needed the kind of transformation only Jesus could bring. In truth, they may be more like you and me than we would like to admit.
Continue reading “John 20 – Three Appearances”
“It is finished.”
Jesus’ final words from the cross echo throughout every generation. To His friends and family at the cross, it must have sounded like an admission of defeat, of giving up. To His enemies, they sounded like their victory, as this one who claimed to be God, this one whose words had proved so revolutionary in the past, this one was finally silenced.
They were wrong.
Continue reading “John 19 – “It is finished.””
As the gospel of John nears its conclusion, we transition from words to action. For the previous few chapters, we saw Jesus teaching His disciples, praying for them and for us; but in John 18, the pace quickens.
Continue reading “John 18 – Bad Times”
“That they may be one as we are one.”
In Jesus final moments before His betrayal, arrest, trial, beating, and execution, He prayed for His disciples, both the ones with Him at the time and all who would follow after. You can find the prayer in John chapter 17, and I hope you’ll take some time to read it.
As I did, I was struck by one request Jesus made for all of us: Continue reading “John 17 – a Prayer for Us”
(All the quotes that follow are my own paraphrase of the Scriptures, obviously. The part of “The Disciples” will be played by me — since we don’t know what they said, if they said anything at all, I’m going to imagine how I would have reacted if I were there.)
Continue reading “John 16 – Bad News and Good News”
I remember a summer when my Mom and Grandma grew grapes in our backyard. The vines grew along a fence, tangling here, there, and everywhere. I was young enough I wasn’t much help, but I was only in it for the grape jelly, anyway.
I don’t remember much about how to care for them, but the vines fascinated me. The flow of one vine sprouting, spiraling, and flowing in every twisty direction made a maze of vines nearly impossible to follow.
In John 15, Jesus used the image of that tangle of vines to explain His relationship to His followers because they needed to understand three roles: God the Father’s, His own, and ours. If we’re going to follow Jesus, we need to understand where we fit in.
Continue reading “John 15 – Vines, Branches, and Gardeners”
The time was drawing near for Jesus to return to His Father, and as the Passover celebration continued, Jesus (having taught His disciples about humility and love, and then predicted His betrayal) began to give His disciples some parting gifts to aid them in their journey, which would soon have to go on without His physical presence.
Some of these gifts can be found in the 14th chapter of the gospel of John, and I encourage you to go read all about them, now, since they can be yours, too, if you accept them.
I’d also be more than happy to tell you about them…
Continue reading “John 14 – Parting Gifts”