Monday, August 31, 2009

Verses 3-8

Jesus explains that he is our spiritual vine and we are his fruit-producing branches.

This image encourages meditation more than analysis.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lesson From the Vinyeard

Plants grow better when they've been pruned.

God prunes unfruitful people from his vine.

What exactly does the word "unfruitful" mean here?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Outline of John 15

  1. Jesus Is the Vine, We Are the Branches
  2. Love and Hate, Multiple Perspectives

Friday, August 28, 2009

Come Now, Let's Leave

Jesus reminds his disciples that returning to the Father is a good thing.

It didn't seem like a good thing, though.

What good things do we mistakenly identify as bad?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Verses 25-27

Jesus says we now have the Holy Spirit and peace.

What more could we need?

Why do I sometimes feel like I have access to neither?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Verses 23-24

Jesus says:

If I love Jesus, I will obey. This is the original conditional statement.
If I do not love Jesus, I will not obey. The inverse is true.

This means that if I won't obey Jesus, then I don't love him.
And if I obey, then I love Jesus.

Obedience = Loving Jesus

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Judas

The other Judas asks Jesus a question (v. 22), and I struggle to see how Jesus' reply answers him (vv. 23-28).

What do you think, dear Readers?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Verses 8-21

Philip follows up with a comment that clearly indicates he and the other disciples have missed a major point:

Jesus = God the Father


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where Are You Going?

Doubting Thomas presses Jesus for details.

"Where are you going?"

Jesus explains that it doesn't matter, because he himself is the destination.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Father's House

In verses 1-4, Jesus gives us a brief glimpse into heaven.

It's like a mansion "with many rooms."

This is a picture of abundance and has a very different feel than Matthew 7:13-14.

Matthew 5:1 describes Jesus' audience in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. Crowds follow him to experience his teaching. Jesus emphasizes the difficulty of getting through the narrow gate because his audience is the crowd.

In John 14, Jesus' audience is his 11 faithful disciples. Despite Peter's denials in a few hours and everyone else's desertion, Jesus anticipates their ultimate faithfulness and reassures them.

People on the road to heaven need reassurance. People on the road to hell need reality.

Jesus provides both.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Outline of John 14

Jesus: Everything will be OK.
Thomas: Are you sure?
Jesus: Yes.
Philip: But we need the Father.
Jesus: Same difference. And the Holy Spirit will help.
Judas: Why all the secrecy?
Jesus: We (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) have it covered.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Intentions

At the end of the chapter, Peter insists that he will be faithful to Jesus to the very end.

He's right.

But not until the second time Jesus leaves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Verses 31-35

Loving is not a new command. Loving like Jesus is the new command.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Verse 30

"It was already night."

The night of the first Passover, nobody left during the first part of the night. That would have put the Hebrews in the path of the Death Angel. (Thanks for sharing this insight, Pastor David.)

Judas left at night, and he was as good as dead.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Verses 18-30

Jesus tells his disciples, in different ways, that Judas is going to betray him.

How did they misunderstand the bread?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Follow My Example

Be as humble a servant as Jesus.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Full Extent of Love

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase, "Full extent of love?"

Unless you're already familiar with the story, probably not stinky feet.

Jesus does the unexpected, right up to his last night on earth before being crucified.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Outline of John 13

The Last Supper

  1. Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
  2. Jesus Tells Judas to Do His Thing
  3. Jesus Tell Peter He'll Mess Up

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Whose Words?

Jesus was sent to speak his Father's words.

Jesus is God, but he didn't speak his own words.

Whose words do I speak?  And you, dear Reader, whose words do you speak?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


In verses 41-43, John reminds us that our relationship with God is heavily influenced by our desire for praise.

From whom do I seek praise?  How about you, dear Reader?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Verses 37-40

John explains in verses 37-40 that Jesus' rejection is predicted by Isaiah.

Monday, August 10, 2009


In verses 31-36, Jesus confronts his opponents with a surprising claim, that the Messiah would be "lifted up." This was a euphemism for death by crucifixion.

The crowd didn't ask Jesus what he meant, but immediately questioned Jesus' understanding of the Torah.

Their questions were not unjustified, simply misguided.

I wonder what confusion would be generated by the Church's contemporary views of scripture, particularly Revelation.

After this public disagreement, Jesus "hid himself." This seems like a smart move after such a significant disagreement.

Avoiding further argument with opponents is not always a mistake.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Verses 27-30

We learn in these verses that being crucified does not come automatically to Jesus.  He acknowledges how upset he is.

But Jesus tells the crowd that even if they are not comfortable with his fate, he is.

God's voice is for our benefit, not Jesus'.

What kind of faith would it take to be able to say, "Yeah, we all just heard God, but I didn't need that reassurance"?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Verses 20-26

Jesus compares his death to the growth of a seed into a plant.

A seed won't sprout until it is buried, like a corpse.

Jesus' full sacrifice will not come fully until after he becomes a corpse.

We must lose our lives to save them.

How does this lesson apply to my life today?

How does it apply to your life, dear Reader?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Verses 20-22

Some visitors from out of town ask Philip about meeting Jesus.

Philip goes to Andrew, who goes to Jesus.

Andrew is a connector, not a front-line kind of person.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


In verse 19, we see the Pharisees complaining about Jesus' popularity.

How much damage does my jealousy cause? What trouble does your jealousy create, dear Reader?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This feels like deja vu.

Again, as I read about Palm Sunday and Jesus' triumphal entry in verses 12-18, I'm struck by how enthusiastic the crowd is on this day.  And then I remember that on Thursday, Jesus is led away to slaughter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

In verses 9-11, we learn that Jesus' enemies plot to kill Lararus as well.

They want to leave nothing to chance.

No matter how much people resist God's will it will be done.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Deuteronomy 15:11

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brother and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Verses 7-8

The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary writes, "His comment on the poor was not a justification for tolerating unnecessary poverty; but it was a hint to Judas that if if were really concerned about the poor, he would never lack opportunity to aid them."

I wholly agree with the first part of this quote, but I'm not convinced Jesus would waste a hint on Judas like this.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Verses 7-8

Jesus defends Mary's "waste" by reminding his disciples of his upcoming death.

What I find curious is Jesus' statement, "You will always have the poor with you."

Why does he say this?

I plan to pursue this question tomorrow.