Some Greeks Seek Jesus

John 12:20-26 

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.My Father will honor the one who serves me.



Some Greeks Seek Jesus

The “not yet” is over; the appointed hour has arrived. The time for Jesus’ passion is at hand. The Pharisees lamented, “The world has gone after him” (12:19). They simply had no clue how fully their words would be fulfilled. With the arrival of the Greeks, we are given a preview of the enormous harvest of nations that has been secured by the death of Jesus—the eschatological kernel of kingdom wheat. In Jesus we see the promise to Abraham fulfilled that he would be the father of many nations (Gen. 12:1–3).

These Greeks were seeking Jesus because Jesus was seeking them. He came into the world to seek and to save the lost. Apart from the sovereign grace of God, the message of the cross is foolishness to the Greeks and a scandal to the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22–24), just as it is to us—but for the grace of God.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

 

 

Triumphal Entry

John 12:9-19 

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of himmany of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. 

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorifieddid they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”



The Triumphal Entry

Jesus is his own “public relations firm”—and his own interpreter. The choice to ride into Jerusalem on a young donkey wasn’t just to fulfill prophecy but to contradict the prevailing notions about Israel’s Messiah. The waving of palm branches wasn’t just an act of enthusiastic praise; it was a statement of nationalistic pride. But Jesus didn’t come into Jerusalem as a political, economic, and social advocate for Israel. He came to establish a kingdom reign over all nations, including Israel and Rome—a reign of grace in the hearts of his followers and a reign of peace over all he has made. Jesus makes us joyful prisoners of hope by rescuing us from the empty promises of hype (Zech. 8:9–12).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Mary Anoints Jesus

John 12:1-8 

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”



Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany

The contrast between Mary and Judas could not be bolder. Mary reclines at Jesus’ feet in adoring love, offering extravagant devotion—anointing him for his burial. Judas sits in condescending arrogance, not only questioning Mary’s action but judging Jesus’ willing acceptance of such a gift. One is a worshiper; one is a thief. One gives sacrificial honor; the other seeks personal gain (Matt. 26:15). One demonstrates the way of grace; the other, the way of sin.

This story should remind us of a similar scene recorded in Luke’s Gospel, where an unnamed sinful woman washes Jesus’ feet with her tears, while Simon, a self-righteous Pharisee, “murders” Jesus in his heart (Luke 7:36–50). Those who have been forgiven much love much. Those who are greedy for much are greedy for more.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

The Plot to Kill Jesus

John 11:45-57 

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea.Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.



The Plot to Kill Jesus

Here is another example of the use of irony in John’s Gospel (cf. note on 9:13–34). Caiaphas, the high priest, unwittingly prophesied that Jesus’ death would be a vicarious, substitutionary atonement. The God of all grace is sovereignly at work, at all times and in all places. He sits in heaven and laughs derisively at those who plot and scheme against his saving purposes in his Son (Ps. 2:2–4).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Jesus Raises Lazerus

John 11:38-44 

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”



Jesus Raises Lazarus

The death and resurrection of Lazarus were a precursor of Jesus’ impending death and resurrection. Jesus had already spoken of the day when “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out” (5:28–29). Here we are given a “preview of coming attractions.” The apostle Paul spells out the vital connection between Jesus’ bodily resurrection and ours (1 Cor. 15:12–23). If the dead are not raised, Jesus wasn’t raised, but if Jesus was raised, we too shall be raised. The real loser in view is death itself, and more expressly Satan, who holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14). The resurrection we presently enjoy through our union with Christ (Eph. 2:4–7Col. 3:1) will one day segue into the resurrection of our bodies.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Jesus Weeps

John 11:28-37 

After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind manhave kept this man from dying?”



Jesus Weeps

Jesus identifies with us in our pain and loss. He comes to us in our weakness and brokenness. Though he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus wept when he saw the tears of Mary and her companions. This is Jesus being truly human. As God incarnate, Jesus shows us what he, as God, created man to be—a whole-hearted lover of God and a compassionate lover of fellow image-bearers—summarized in the two great commandments (Matt. 22:34–40).

But as the incarnate God, Jesus’ tears in front of Lazarus’s tomb are of a different order. This is Jesus feeling the weight of the fall—the violation and disintegration of the way things were meant to be. His holy tears are those of the Creator grieving over the forfeiture of beauty through the intrusion of sin and death. Once again, in the incarnate Lord, we see the heart of the Lamb who would offer his life to overcome our sin and death.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

John 11:17-27

 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God,who is to come into the world.”



I AM the Resurrection and the Life

Jesus delayed coming to his beloved friends until he was certain Lazarus was dead. Martha and Mary were incredulous about Jesus’ decision to wait. “Lord, if you had been here . . .” (v. 21). The discipline of delay is one of the hardest lessons we must learn, as followers of Jesus, especially when it is God who does the delaying. Only grace can enable us to accept God’s rich vocabulary of answers to our earnest prayers—“yes,” “no,” “not yet,” or even “yes, but it’s going to feel like no”—because we trust that he “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

The more deeply we know and walk with Jesus, the more readily we accept God’s glory as our greatest good, even when it feels like such a momentary bad. As “the resurrection and the life,” Jesus is always writing better stories than we could ever pen. Martha and Mary would soon find this to be true.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

The Death of Lazerus

John 11:1-16

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”



The Death of Lazarus

Jesus enjoyed a special relationship with Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. This family gave him welcome and oasis in a world of conflict and escalating hostility (cf. Luke 10:38–42). Perhaps it was precisely because of Jesus’ great love for this family that he entrusted to them a very difficult story, a hard providence: the sickness and death of Lazarus.

The gospel is a story of our God doing all things well, not all things easily. His name is Abba Father, but this does not mean that he leads his children in a life of complacent ease and comfort. Indeed, upon hearing about Lazarus’s sickness, Jesus waited two days longer before responding—apparently so that his compassion could be revealed by a more glorious expression of divine power, expressed according to divine wisdom and timing. God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8). They are much better.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

I and the Father are One

John 10:22-42

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apartas his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.



I And the Father Are One

The Lamb of God is God the Lamb. Could Jesus have been any more explicit about his identity and purpose as the Messiah? Apparently many Jews still felt he was veiling his identity. But the issue wasn’t one of information but of illumination. Jesus’ sheep hear his voice. They understand him because they know him.

But more glorious than knowing Jesus is being known by Jesus (Gal. 4:9). To be known by Jesus is to be held secure by the grip of his grace. No one can snatch believers from Jesus’ hand or from the Father’s hand. Why? Because Jesus and the Father are one—they are both divine, acting with power and purpose that human forces cannot negate. This is an affirmation both of Jesus’ deity and of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. The Jews certainly took it as such, because they wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

I Am the Good Shepherd

John 10:1-21

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon.Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”



I Am the Good Shepherd

The imagery of sheep, shepherd, and sheepfold was a central part of Israel’s heritage—both as a Bedouin people and, more significantly, as the people of God (Psalm 23). By choosing this symbol, Jesus accomplished two things. He drew a strong contrast between himself and the shepherds of Israel. He also declared himself to be the messianic Shepherd for whom Israel hoped (Zech. 13:7–9).

The sheepfold was commonly attached to the shepherd’s home. Thus, to enter the sheepfold was to come home. As the “door of the sheep,” Jesus is the only means of coming home to God—of becoming a member of the household of faith. Jesus is the merciful Shepherd who provides shelter, security, and pasture for his beloved sheep. The shepherds who preceded him in Israel’s history were mercenaries—fleeing the sheep quickly when under threat; and fleecing the sheep regularly for personal gain.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, whose “goodness” cannot be overstated. Like David, the shepherd-king, Jesus risks his life to care for his sheep (cf. 1 Sam. 17:34–37). He knows his flock by name, and each of his sheep recognize and love his voice. Though the gospel is not a private story, it is most definitely a personal one. Jesus delights in his whole flock, and in each one of his sheep. Jesus’ flock and sheepfold is enormous, exceeding the borders of Israel. He has come for lost sheep from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9).

But as the promised King, the greater David, Jesus literally laid down his life for the sheep on the cross. What a glorious paradox: The Good Shepherd became the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Even throughout eternity, Jesus will be known as the Lamb who shepherds his people and guides them to “springs of living water” (Rev. 7:17).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind (pt. 2)

John 9:35-41

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.



Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind (Part 2)

The whole of the Christian life consists of getting to know Jesus better and better. Jesus sought out the healed man in order to confirm his saving faith. Once again for John, the prevailing question in his Gospel, and in our lives, is, “Who is Jesus?” Jesus is the promised Son of Man (Dan. 7:13–14Matt. 26:64), who one day will rule over all nations (Rev. 11:15). The gifts of God must lead us to the true and final gift of God: Jesus himself.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

John 9:1-34

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said. 

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.



Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

Before Jesus healed the blind man, he challenged the prevailing notion that there is a one-to-one correlation between our physical maladies and our character. We live in a fallen world where even good people experience terrible loss and pain. But though the gospel of grace doesn’t immediately negate the reality of painful consequences resulting from poor choices or a corrupted creation (Gal. 6:8Rom. 8:22–23), it does place us in a larger story. We are not blind to our world’s present brokenness, nor are we fatalists about our future. Rather, we are followers of Jesus, graciously incorporated into his redeeming purposes for our world.

Instead of asking, “Why did this happen to me? Who’s to blame?” we begin to ask, “Where is God in this situation? What is he up to? How may his glory ultimately shine through this?” Grace leads us to ask more vertical questions and fewer horizontal ones. Only the gospel of eternal purposes and hope beyond this world can enable us to accept suffering as a normal part of the Christian life. For the ultimate suffering, condemnation, and separation from the Father in hell has been undergone by Jesus in our place. All current suffering in the lives of those who are in Christ can therefore only be by the loving hand of a caring Father, who is training us to walk with him—and enabling others touched by our lives to do so also, as they walk through this broken world with us. 

He who said, “Let there be light!” now says, “Let there be sight!” The spit and clay used in this miracle echo the elements of the first creation (Genesis 1–2). Even more profoundly, they also announce that, in Jesus, the new creation order has arrived. He who created man from dust now uses dust to restore him. The “sent one” (Jesus), sent the healed one to the pool of “Sent” (Siloam). He who was sent into the world to lift the curse of sin is here. Superstition is trumped by the truly supernatural, and the saved are sent in witness.

Jesus’ miracles are reminders of the day when there was no brokenness (Eden) and of the firstfruits of the day when all brokenness will be removed forever (the new heaven and new earth; Rev. 21:1). Miracles are not primarily for our comfort but for God’s glory—for declaring the power present in and the praise due to the person and work of Jesus. The conversation between the healed man and the Pharisees is filled with gospel irony. He who sees for the first time in his life reveals the long-standing blindness of the Pharisees. They only see the law, but the healed man sees the Messiah, to whom the law points. In their hubris, the Pharisees can only boast about Moses; in his humility, the healed man only boasts about Jesus. The Pharisees charge the healed man with walking in the darkness of sin; but he sees the Light of the World—the Son who made the sun and everything else. The Pharisees excommunicated him from the life of the temple; Jesus made him a living stone (1 Pet. 2:4–12) in the only true and lasting temple—Christ himself (John 2:19–22Rev. 21:22).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

John 8:31-59

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” 

48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed!Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. 



The Truth Shall Set You Free

Jesus promises a freedom that no one else can give based on truth that he alone possesses. As the Messiah, he has come to set prisoners free (Luke 4:16–21Isa. 61:1–3). True freedom can be found only in the “right paternity”: not everyone who claims Abraham as their father has God as their Father, “for not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Rom. 9:6). None can claim God as their Father who won’t have his Son as their Savior.

If our spiritual genealogy includes only our earthly heritage (as was true of the “children of Abraham” in this passage), we may be religious, but we are still spiritual orphans. True spiritual heritage requires a connection to one who existed long before Abraham, namely, Jesus: “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Only through the gospel can we be rescued from the dominion of darkness (Col. 1:13), where Satan is father, and be brought into the family of God, where we are given the full rights and delights of the children of God (John 1:12Gal. 4:51 John 3:1–3).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

I Am the Light of the World

John 8:12-30

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come. 

21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”

23 But he continued, “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; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

25 “Who are you?” they asked.

“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “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 but speak just what the Father has taught me.29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.



I Am the Light of the World

At the end of the first day of the Feast of Booths, four golden lamps were lit in the temple courts amid great rejoicing. Singing and celebration, with music and dancing, continued through the nights of the feast, and the entire city was illuminated by the temple lights. It is in this context that Jesus makes his startling claim to be the Light of the World.

Light is a rich Old Testament symbol. It was the first thing God created (Gen. 1:3). During the exodus, the people of God were led in their journey by a pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21–22). The psalmist taught that “the LORD is my light” (Ps. 27:1). The coming age of the kingdom would be a time when the servant of the Lord would be as “a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6), and a time when God himself would be his people’s light (Isa. 60:19–22Rev. 22:5).

Jesus was boldly saying, “The promised day of light has arrived. I am the source of everlasting joy.” He is the sun by which we see all things. 

The hostile reaction of the Pharisees to Jesus’ words is understandable, but rather than backing down, Jesus intensifies his claims. The accused now becomes the accuser—the witness takes the role of prosecuting attorney. Jesus is from above, they are from below; they are of this world, Jesus is not of this world. They charged Jesus with sin; they will remain in their sins unless they believe on him.

The gospel is an unrelenting assault on graceless religion, on all the ways we try to avoid grace. It is also a powerful demonstration of the sovereignty of God. In that very unlikely moment, many believed in Jesus. God can save anyone, anytime, anywhere. He is not constrained by human intuitions about who is really “save-able.” Grace confounds our law-saturated, self-accomplishing expectations of what activates divine mercy.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Neither Do I Condemn You


John 8:1-11

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”



Neither Do I Condemn You


A reflection on John 8:2-11.


“Shame on you, Whore!” 

She was married, but not to the man in whose arms she had been laying. Suddenly the door had burst open. Oh no! Instantly she was in the grasp of angry men who dragged her — and her forbidden secret — out into the street. 

“Adulteress!” The name pierced her like an arrow. Scandalized, loathing looks bored into her. Her life was undone in a moment, by her own doing.  

And it was about to be crushed. They were talking about stoning! O my God, they’re going to stone me! God, please have mercy! 

But God’s verdict on her case clear:

If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel (Deuteronomy 22:22). 

“Both shall die!” She was going to die! But where was he? Why hadn’t they grabbed him?

No time to think. She was being half pushed, half pulled through Jerusalem. She was despised and rejected; as one from whom men hide their faces. 

The temple? Why are we entering the temple? Suddenly she was thrust in front of a young man. A man behind her bawled, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.” O God! O God! she begged silently. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 

The Teacher said nothing. He looked at her, then at her accusers. Then he bent down. She stood in frozen exposure. Why was he writing in the dirt? Men on either side of her were clenching brutal stones. Impatient prosecutors demanded a ruling. 

The Teacher stood back up. She held her breath, eyes on her feet. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her,” he said.

The crowd of judgment hushed to whispers. Confused, she risked a quick glance at him. He was writing in the dirt again. She heard murmurs and disgusted grunts around her. Then shuffling. A stone dropped with a dull thud beside her. Its former holder whispered, “Slut!” as he passed behind her. But they were leaving! No one grabbed her. 

It took some courage to look around. Her accusers were gone. She looked back at the Teacher. He was standing, looking at her. She dropped her eyes again.

“Woman,” he said, “where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more.” 

________

Forget for the moment the self-righteousness of the accusers and the apparent injustice of the adulterous man’s absence. Did you really hear what Jesus said? This woman’s guilt was real. She committed the crime of adultery. God, through Moses, commanded her death. 

But God the Son simply said, “Neither do I condemn you.” Now, if God violates his own commandment and lets the guilty go unpunished then God is unjust. So how could he possibly say that to her?

Here’s where the news gets really good. God fully intended for this sin of adultery to be punished to the full extent of his law. But she would not bear her punishment. She would go free. This young teacher would be punished in her place. Might he have written theses words from Isaiah in the dirt?

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

Every one of us, in a sense, is that woman. Our horrible sins — our shameful lusts, destructive tongues, murderous hatred, corrupting greed, covetous pride — stand exposed before God as starkly as in that temple courtyard. Our condemnation is deserved.

And yet, Christian, Jesus speaks these stunning words to you: “Neither do I condemn you.” Why? Because he has been condemned in your place. ALL your guilt has been removed. No stone of God’s righteous wrath will crush you because Jesus was crushed for your iniquities. 

Jesus was the only one in the crowd that day who could, in perfect righteousness, require the woman’s death. And he was the only one who could, in perfect righteousness, pardon her. Mercy triumphed over judgment for her at great cost to Jesus. And the same is true for us. 

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).


*This devotional was originally posted on Desiringgod.org.


Blessings.

The Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders

John 7:45-52

Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”



The Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders

Nicodemus, who earlier sought out Jesus in the darkness, now seems ready to become his defender. While not actually making declarations of Christ’s true status, he at least tries to slow down the plans of Christ’s enemies. Nicodemus is not yet ready fully to declare his loyalty to Christ, but there has been movement in his heart that will mature further in its dedication (cf. 19:39–42).

Though the change may come in stages, knowing Jesus ultimately changes everything about us. To borrow some phrases from an old hymn, the gospel “charms our fears” of rejection and “breaks the power” of our addiction to people’s approval. For we have, in Christ, the approval of God himself. He is our Father who sings over us (Zeph. 3:17).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Can This Be The Christ?

John 7:25-44

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.

33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”

35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks,and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were dividedbecause of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.



Can This Be the Christ?

The Feast of Booths was a joyful celebration in Jerusalem. It commemorated the ingathering of the fall crops and the years the Israelites spent living in tents as they journeyed through the wilderness (Lev. 23:33–43Num. 29:2–38). Two symbols—water and light—played a significant role in this high feast. During the course of the week, water was drawn from Siloam and poured upon the altar, in commemoration of the refreshing stream that had come forth miraculously out of the rock at Meribah (Ex. 17:1–7).

Jesus’ loud invitation to the thirsty was a startling, even scandalous declaration. He was claiming to be the rock that Moses struck in the wilderness—the rock from which life-sustaining water flowed (see also 1 Cor. 10:1–4). But Jesus was also looking ahead to the day of Pentecost, when “in the last days” he would pour out his Spirit (Joel 2:28–29Acts 2). After his ascension, the Father gave the Spirit to Jesus without limit (John 3:34), and Jesus gives us the Spirit without reservation (John 1:33)—both enabling us to believe and confirming that we do believe (Eph. 1:13–14).


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Jesus at the feast of Booths

John 7:1-24

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do.4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my timehas not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesusand asking, “Where is he?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders. 

Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”

16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”



Jesus at the Feast of Booths

In John 7–8, Jesus’ Christological claims grow even more dramatic, and the response of the Jews grows increasingly hostile. Nothing is as disruptive as grace. The Jews wanted to put Jesus to death. Indeed, they did put him to death, but only at the appointed time (see 7:6) and only for God’s saving purposes (Acts 2:23–24). God’s sovereignty never sleeps. Even the most disastrous and inexplicable of events are under his wise, governing hand.

Even members of Jesus’ own family struggled with their half brother’s identity—coming to faith only after his resurrection (Mark 3:21Acts 1:141 Cor. 15:7). None of us can presume upon our relationship to Jesus. It comes by grace alone through faith alone. We too, like Nicodemus, must be born from above so that we might believe from within. 

In dramatic fashion, Jesus moved into the temple courts and began to teach. His words generated astonishment and rage: astonishment because of the depth of knowledge he possessed as a seemingly untrained rabbi; rage because his teaching exposed the people’s sin. At the same time his teaching further distinguished him, his earthly authority, and his heavenly status.

The gospel of grace that comes to us because of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done in our place does not land on people in a neutral way. It is either received with joy or rejected with contempt. The gospel is the aroma of life to some and the aroma of death to others (2 Cor. 2:15–16). There is no middle ground.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

God Came Down

God Came Down

 

The allure of Christmas has a strange power over us, even the unbelieving and seemingly secularized. The season has a kind a draw, a type of “spirit” or “magic,” that makes the winter solstice festival every bit as big today, in an increasingly post-Christian society, as it was in the 1950s.

Why does Christmas have this magnetism, even in a society that has tried to empty it of its origin in Christ? The real magic of Christmas is not gifts and goodies, new toys and familiar traditions, indoor warmth and outdoor snow. What lies at the very heart of Christmas, and whispers even to souls seeking to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), is the most stunning and significant fact in the history of the world: that God himself became one of us. The God who created our world, and us humans at the apex of his creation, came into our world as human not just for show, but for our salvation. 

Christmas is supernatural. And our naturalistic society is starving deep down for something beyond the natural, rarely admitting it, and not really knowing why. Christmas taps into something arcane in the human soul and woos us, even when it’s inconsistent with a mind that professes unbelief.


He Came from Heaven

For those of us who do gladly confess the Christ of Christmas — as our Lord, Savior, and greatest Treasure — we know why Christmas is indeed enchanted. Because at the very heart is the essence of the supernatural: God himself entering into our realm. At Christmas God “came down” (Genesis 11:5), not just to see the Babel built of human sin, and inflict righteous judgment from the outside, but to be human and work his mercy from within.

The glory of Christmas is not that it marks the birth of some great religious leader, but that it celebrates the long-anticipated coming of God himself — the arrival for which God wired our souls from the beginning to ache. “Bethlehem . . . from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).

   Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
      let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 
      let the field exult, and everything in it!
   Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 
      before the Lord, for he comes, 
      for he comes to judge the earth.
   He will judge the world in righteousness,
      and the peoples in his faithfulness. (Psalm 96:11–13)

What God so stunningly reveals at that first Noël is that when he himself finally does come, it is not in cloud or wind or fire or earthquake, or even simply in a still, small voice. But he comes in the fullness of his creation: as human. He comes as one of us, and dignifies our own species in doing so. He comes not as a bird of the air, beast of the field, or great sea creature. Even more impressive than a talking lion is God himself as fully human. Christmas marks his “being born in the likeness of men” — the very God who made man, and has long endured our sin with great patience, now scandalously “found in human form” (Philippians 2:7–8).


He Came as a Servant

It is wonder enough that he “came down” at all. But when he did, he came not in human glory and comfort and prestige, but he “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). He came not only as creature, but in poverty, in weakness, in humility. He came as one who rose from supper, 

laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:4–5)

For a brief moment, on the hill of his transfiguration, three of his disciples caught a glimpse of the divine-human glory for which he was destined. “He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:2). But the Jesus they knew, day in and day out, on the roads of backwater Galilee was no dignitary. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). His disciples learned firsthand that “even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).


All the Way to Death

Such service extended, and deepened, far beyond the mere inconveniences of life, into costly self-sacrifice, even the final sacrifice. He came not just to serve but “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

It was one thing to wash his men’s feet. That was unforgettable, but only a tiny foretaste of his true service. It was another thing to rise from supper, lead them out to the garden, wait in agony for his captors, and walk alone the literally excruciating path that foot-washing anticipated: “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).


To Rescue His People

But this was no mere descent from heaven, as a servant, all the way to death. This was descent for a purpose. This was humility on mission. The death that God himself came to die was no an accident of history. He came to die, and live again. The extent of his people’s rebellion was matched, and surpassed, only by the extent of his final sacrifice. And in so doing he showed us the very heart of love — his own and his Father’s. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 


*This devotional was originally posted on Desiringgod.org.


Blessings.

The Words of Eternal Life

John 6:60-71

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)



The Words of Eternal Life

That the crowds were offended by Jesus’ scandalous words is not surprising, and Jesus warned that there would be even greater grounds for offense in the coming days. Jesus didn’t come to win a popularity contest but to give his life as “a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus are foolishness, even offensive to the natural mind (1 Cor. 1:18Gal. 5:11). For the gospel reveals the depth of our need and our total inability to save ourselves. When we trust in our own cleverness or obedience or resources or abilities, we abhor God’s grace. But when God kindly deconstructs our vaunted self-sufficiency, our hearts come alive again. The Father generously grants many to believe on Jesus (John 6:39–40), and the Spirit gives life to all who call on his name.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.