Encouraging Jesus

John 12:27-30 WEB

“Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But for this cause I came to this time. [28] Father, glorify your name!” Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” [29] The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” [30] Jesus answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes.


Jesus had just finished telling the crowd that a grain of wheat must die to be fruitful (John 12:24). Afterward, he was troubled in his Spirit. It seems clear at this point Jesus realized he was going to die. He was stressed because of this coming trouble. Yet, he did not turn away from the purposes of God. And as his growing understanding came to full fruit, the Father reached out and said that glory is coming. And Jesus believed.

He always believed. From the time he was a child Jesus believed in God and believed in his destiny in God. He did not always know how hard it was going to be. He didn’t pick the Apostles and joyfully declare they were on a death march. No, he gave the disciples hope that they would see God if they followed him. And in fact, the Apostles and the disciples all saw the miracles. They all ate the bread that Jesus multiplied (Mat 14:18). They saw the blind eyes open (Mat 12:22), and they saw men white with leprosy healed before their eyes (Mat 8:1-3). They had experienced God’s glory.

Now it was time for God to glorify his name. In fact, the voice from heaven said that God’s name had already been glorified. Moreover, the Jewish people refrained from speaking the name of God. Instead of calling him Yahweh, they called him Lord. So, God’s name was glorified in the Jewish people. But now he was going to glorify it again. This time the glory was going to be in the name of Jesus. When God said he would glorify his name again it was a promise to Jesus. It was a promise made after Jesus realized he was going to die and decided to continue with God.


Lord, when difficult things are expected of me, please help me say yes to you with full confidence. Help me recognize when you are asking me to do something for your glory and not for my glory. Let me be joyful in the offering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Planted by God

John 12:23-26 WEB

Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24] Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. [26] If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.


Jesus taught a mentality that modern science may have called suicidal. He calls for us to abhor our own lives in preference for a life in God. The Lord goes so far as to say, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:25). Everything we know about having a successful life is nothing in the light of the gospel. According to this passage we are to die. But if we are faithful to serve Jesus, the Father will honor us.

How does the Father honor a person he has told to lay down their life? Once we lay our lives down, he often gives us our lives back. Jesus is the only one who needed to die for the salvation of the world. However, working out our salvation some will be called to martyrdom. Most will not. Most people who commit their whole life to Jesus will prosper. It is impossible to stop wanting goodness and the fullness of life. But with God it is possible.

There are so many ways to lay down our lives. A stable, committed prayer life is a small death to self. Reading the Bible daily is another way to lay our lives down. The same can be said for tithing. It can also be said for going to church every week. Laying down our life could be following the Spirit to a new job. It may be when we humble ourselves to the ungodly for the sake of their salvation. We show others the way to salvation through our righteous behavior and our holy mindset. If we lay our lives down for the sake of obedience, it proves we serve and love Jesus.


Lord, teach me how to lay my life down for you. Teach me how to humble myself to you in obedience and righteousness. And teach me to lead others to you through love and holiness. I want to love you and others more than I love myself. All things are possible in you, Jesus. I trust you to teach me how to lay my life down. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Take Away the Stone

John 11:39-43 WEB

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” [40] Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?” [41] So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. [42] I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” [43] When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”


Jesus had high expectations. Martha’s brother had been in the tomb for four days. There was nothing left to hope for in this life, Lazarus was gone. Still, Jesus reproves Martha for her lack of belief. He expected her to believe in a hopeless situation. Not only that, but she was also in pain. With Lazarus dead, Martha had many things to worry about. Regardless, the Lord does not shield Martha from the truth but instead reproves her.

It’s stunning. Martha was arguing with the Lord. She had just confessed that Jesus was the Messiah (John 11:27). Martha exulted in the revelation that Jesus was divine. But at the first small test, she fell. Instead of focusing on Jesus, she had her eyes on the situation. This resulted in Martha openly contradicting the Lord. If her mind had been set on belief and trust, Martha would have kept her first awareness of Jesus. But she clearly doubted. And because she doubted, she questioned. Because of doubt she openly demonstrated disbelief.

But Jesus believed. And all those that rolled the stone away believed. In the face of Martha’s instability in her walk with Jesus, he remained stable. He was faithful to Martha, Mary, and all those who trusted him for leadership. Martha slipped in and out of faith but Jesus remained faithful (Rom 3:3-4). Jesus believed to the point of confidence, so he called out boldly, “Lazarus, come out!”


Lord, please help me trust you and believe your Word. When difficulties arise lend me your grace that I may stand stable in my faith. Help me keep my eyes on you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Groans

John 11:33-40 WEB

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, [34] and said, “Where have you laid him?” They told him, “Lord, come and see.” [35] Jesus wept. [36] The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” [37] Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?” [38] Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. [39] Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” [40] Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”


God hates disbelief. In this story, Jesus groans twice. The first time he groans he is with Mary crying in despair. The second time he groans the Jews were murmuring doubtful comments. In the first instance, Mary is at his feet and has just lamented Jesus could have saved Lazarus (John 11:32). In the second instance, the Jews were questioning why Lazarus died. Thus, Jesus had much to groan about. However, it is the disbelief that makes this situation so troubling. In other places in the scripture, it says that Jesus was limited in the miracles he could perform because of disbelief (Mat 13:58). When Jesus followed the Father’s direction and waited to come to Bethany to heal Lazarus, he took a risk.

It was a risk for Jesus to tell his disciples that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. It was a risk to the lives of the disciples to be in Bethany of Judea. There were many seeking to arrest the Lord and his companions (John 11:8, 16). So, to see the disbelief, and to have so much pressure on him, Jesus groans. We know from the scripture Jesus had times when the miracles would not flow. This created pressure on Jesus. This forced Jesus to walk in faith. He had to take a risk with every miracle. Now, he is going to do something he has never done.

Jesus is about to raise Lazarus from the dead. But he has a problem, there is a real lack of faith from everyone. The sisters are in despair, the Jews are murmuring, and the disciples are unhappy. Jesus needed to raise their faith. So, he gives them a task. Remove the stone. It took faith to move the stone. Lazarus had been in the grave for four days and his body should have been in a state of decay. To move the stone was an unclean act. Being unclean disqualifies one from going into the temple. Therefore, this was truly an act of faith. And that mustard seed of faith was enough. Lazarus was about to be called out of the grave.  


Lord give me a discerning ear to hear from the Holy Spirit. Lead me into obedience that can move mountains. Give me wisdom and cause me to mature in my faith. I trust you, Lord, with this process. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hope or Doubt?

John 11:20-27 WEB

Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. [21] Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. [22] Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” [23] Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” [24] Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” [25] Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. [26] Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [27] She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”


Jesus told Martha a secret. He told her he was, “the resurrection and the life.” Jesus had enough confidence in Martha to tell her something new, a revelation. Why didn’t he give this revelation to his disciples first? It’s probably because Jesus knows the heart of all people. He knew he could entrust the truth to Martha. She would not throw it away in doubt.

Martha did not doubt the Lord even after Lazarus died. She acknowledged anything was possible with the Lord. Even in her brother’s death, Martha had hope. So, she ran to the Lord. When she saw him Martha lamented that Jesus could have saved Lazarus. However, she quickly moves past sadness and goes straight to the victory. She said, “Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Martha had hope.

But Mary stayed behind because she did not have hope. She had given the Lord everything she had and still, he did not answer her call for help. She was immobilized by her grief. Lazarus was the provider of the home. Moreover, Mary had given up a sinful lifestyle that she probably profited from. That left her only one option, trust Lazarus. Then Lazarus died. And Jesus didn’t show up. Mary had just recently given him her most precious possession. And now, she was spiritually bankrupt. She came to a crisis of belief because things did not go how she expected. Her life was not going as she expected.


Lord, help me seek you so I may serve you. Help me remember I do not serve myself but I serve you. When things look different than I expect, help me stand steady in my faith, nothing wavering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

True Victory

John 10:36-38 WEB

do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’ [37] If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. [38] But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”


The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Jesus told the Pharisees he and the Father were one, but the Pharisees did not believe him. So, he offered the miracles for proof. God validated Jesus through the works he did. Jesus opened blind eyes, healed leapers (Mat 8:3), and healed the sick. He miraculously increased food and fed multitudes (Mark 6:44). He offered these works up as proof of what he was saying about himself. He offered up scripture as proof (John 10:34-35). But no matter how much evidence he produced, the Pharisees could not get past him being a Nazarene from Galilee. They were looking for a Judite from Bethlehem (John 7:42).

Why didn’t Jesus just explain his situation to the leaders? He could have told them his mother and father were both from the tribe of Judah and due to the census, he was born in Bethlehem. So why didn’t he do that? Since Jesus only said what he saw and heard from the father (John 8:38), it must be the Father did not want Jesus to explain himself. The Father was not taking Jesus to the palace. His goal was not for the Pharisees to understand. The Pharisees claimed to understand and the Father held them accountable for that.

But he also held Jesus accountable for his destiny. If Jesus had disobeyed the Father by justifying himself to the Jews, he would have missed the cross. He would have missed the true victory. Jesus’ cross led to the greatest victory of all time, victory over death. We also have a cross we are called to. If the Father leads either to the left or the right, at junctures we are going to have to lay our will down for the Father’s will. Those small deaths of the self, lead to true victories in our everyday lives.


Lord Jesus, please give me the grace to lay my life down when you ask me to. Help me not engage in dead works but save me with your grace. Increase my spiritual hearing so I do not miss instruction from you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I and the Father are One

John 10:30-33 WEB

I and the Father are one.” [31] Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. [32] Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?” [33] The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”


This is one of Jesus’ most bold statements. He claimed to be equal to God. The Jews were outraged by Jesus’ statement that he was one with God. They became so upset they took up stones to kill Jesus. Jesus asked them, “for which work do you stone me?” Regardless of the miracles and wisdom Jesus demonstrated to the Jews, they would not believe he was from God. Instead, they were determined to destroy the works of God wrought through Jesus.

Why did the Jews want Jesus dead? In our day and age, many mentally ill people say they are God. We don’t persecute them, instead, we pity and dismiss them. It was likely the same in Jesus’ time. There were probably many people who thought they were from God or had a revelation from God. So, why did the Jewish leaders reject Jesus instead of just ignoring him? They rejected him because people were listening to him.

Not only were people listening to Jesus, but people were believing in his message. This was perceived to be a threat to the positions and status of the Jewish leaders. The leaders had their positions at the will of the Romans. They feared the Romans more than they feared God. More, Jesus was perceived to be a threat to their positions. In short, they were jealous. In their jealousy and self-preservation, they despised the goodness of God and rejected Jesus.  


Lord, please forgive me for harming others because of jealousy. Reveal to me any jealousy that I do not recognize and lead me into repentance. Please give me a genuine love for all people so that I celebrate their successes instead of feeling threatened. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus’ Message

John 10:25-28 WEB

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. [26] But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. [27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.


Do you ever have trouble believing Jesus? Do you ever have questions about God’s word? The Bible says Jesus is the word. No, he is not the ink or the pages of the Bible, but he is found in the message of the Bible. To trust the Bible is to trust Jesus. Likewise, to not believe the Bible is to not believe Jesus. Those who believe Jesus are his sheep.

You can tell if you are a sheep. Do you love the Bible? Again, not the pages or the ink, but the message it contains. In the Bible is Jesus’ message and thereby Jesus. When we follow the Bible, we are behaving like the Lord’s sheep. However, if we do not read the Bible, we are rejecting Jesus. How can you ever obey someone you won’t listen to? When you read the Bible, you are listening to Jesus.

It’s not enough to read the Bible. Even demons do that. It is obedience to the Bible’s entire message that reveals a true sheep. We are not saved by reading the Bible, we are saved by grace through Jesus. However, a symptom of salvation is a hunger for God’s whole message. If you are a sheep and you are not hungry for God’s word, then your conscience may be seared. To remedy a seared conscience, you must repent and ask God, persistently, to give you a hunger and thirst for His Word.


Lord, please forgive my disbelief and help me trust you more. Give me a thirst and hunger for your Word and give me an understanding of what I read. Help me activate the Word of God in my life and become obedient to its full message. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Miraculous Signs

John 10:22-25 WEB

It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. [23] It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. [24] The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” [25] Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me.


No matter how many people Jesus healed, many Jewish people refused to believe. They demanded signs and refused to believe the testimony of others (1 Cor 1:22). They wanted to see a spectacle, a miracle, and they were not going to believe until they did (John 6:30). Jesus was the chosen of God (John 5:36). However, Jesus did not do miracles at his discretion. Jesus did and said what he saw and heard (John 3:32).

When the Jews demanded an answer from the Lord, he spoke what he heard. He told them to look at the previous signs and make a judgment. How many signs did the Jewish people need? Always one more. It is the same in the lives of many modern-day believers. No matter how many times the Lord intervenes in some believers’ lives, they refuse to trust him. They are constantly seeking signs. This behavior opens believers up to demonic influence (1 Thes 2:9).

Following signs is dangerous. We must remember the signs God has already performed. We store these in our hearts. Then, when our faith is challenged, we can think about the past moves of God and believe. However, God does not perform miracles so people will believe. He performs miracles to both help his children, and to place his seal of approval on godly ministers and believers (John 5:37, 10:25). The one by whom a miracle comes, if they are performed in Jesus’ name, is the chosen of the Lord.


Lord, please help me call to mind your past moves in my life. I repent of needing to see signs before I will believe. Help me trust you on good days and difficult days. Give me eyes to see your miracles. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Saved by Love

John 9:23-25,33-34 WEB

Therefore his parents said, “He is of age. Ask him.” [24] So they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” [25] He therefore answered, “I don’t know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see.” [33] If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” [34] They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out.


Chapter 9 of John is the story of the blind beggar. Throughout the chapter, there are 12 references to the blind man, and 1 reference to the beggar. This really moves me. All my life I have heard this story called “The Blind Beggar.” Yet in the chapter about him, there is only one small reference to his lifestyle. Jesus did not humiliate this man by bringing up his shame. Instead, he comes alongside the man to heal his vision and to heal his heart.

Religion will humiliate a person for their sins. Love does not. Love covers a multitude of sins. In this story of the blind man, Jesus demonstrates his love. For example, Jesus never called him a beggar; Jesus never rebuked him for his sin. In the end, Jesus leads the blind man to repentance and to the safety of a right relationship with God.  John chapter 9 reveals Jesus was intent on healing and restoring the once blind man.

It’s clear Jesus healed the once blind man. It’s also clear Jesus was intent on healing this man on the inside. First, he healed his eyes so that he could see. Next, he gives the man a command which allows him to take a step of faith. Finally, he finds the man who was blind and leads him to salvation. Jesus demonstrates the gospel in this chapter. He leads a sinner to repentance through love.


Lord, help me grasp what true love looks like in a relationship. Help me love all people and help me lead sinners to repentance. Anoint me with the grace to love, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.