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.

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.

The Depth of God’s Love

John 9:17-22 WEB

Therefore they asked the blind man again, “What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” [18] The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight, [19] and asked them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” [20] His parents answered them, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; [21] but how he now sees, we don’t know; or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself.” [22] His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.


Do you know what “being churched” means? It is modern-day teaching that if someone is stuck in sin they cannot overcome, they must be excommunicated from the body of Christ (I Cor 5:5). This is meant to lead people to repentance and it does, often. God knows how to save a sinner. The blind man was considered a sinner and he was afraid. He feared the repercussions from religious leaders if he said Jesus was God.

His parents were also afraid of the Pharisees. In Jesus’ day, the lives of Jewish people revolved around the synagogue. It would be traumatic for someone to be put out of the synagogue. To be put out of the synagogue was a tragedy. Of course, it was not really a tragedy. The Pharisees did it on purpose and with intent. The blind beggar and his parents were acutely aware their lives were going to be destroyed if they confessed Christ.

Did Jesus know the blind beggar was going to betray him soon? The Father certainly did. That is significant because Jesus was doing what he saw the Father doing. In other words, the Father knew the blind beggar was going to betray Jesus. And still, he healed him. Jesus did not push him away for his blindness. The Father did not push them away for their disbelief. The blind man and his parents were about to make a huge mistake and the Father knew how much they were going to need him.


Thank you, Father, for not rejecting me when I make mistakes. Thank you for accepting me and saving me. I trust you to keep me safe in your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Promises

John 8:56-59 WEB

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.” [57] The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” [58] Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM. ” [59] Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through the middle of them, and so passed by.


Jesus is talking to a crowd who has been calling him a demon. Now, taking it a step further, the crowd attempted to stone Jesus. But Jesus knew he could trust God. And so, Jesus just walked right out of that situation. He took one step at a time. Step by step, with stones in their hands, he walked through the middle of the crowd.

How did Jesus walk out of a raging mob intent on stoning him to death? He believed God. He believed the things he heard and saw from the Lord. Based on that belief he knew he was safe. Based on that belief he knew to pivot and walk away.

What we believe about God’s Word matters. Jesus had the Word of God in his heart and he had the scriptures. We have those same things. The Holy Spirit gently speaks to us and leads us. The Bible also leads us. If it is in the Bible, you can trust it completely. If you encounter a promise in the Word, let it guide your decision-making process.


Lord Jesus, please help me know your Word, trust your Word, and act based on your Word. Help me receive the promises and walk in them. Give me the grace to trust You more. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus’ Truth

John 8:52-55 WEB

Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’ [53] Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?” [54] Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God. [55] You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, ‘I don’t know him,’ I would be like you, a liar. But I know him, and keep his word.


White lies. American culture practically runs on them. We thoughtlessly go through conversational motions without realizing we casually tell white lies for the sake of good. But this was not Jesus’ problem. He did not tell white lies. Nor did he tell possible lies. He told what he believed to be true and for this choice, he was called a demon.

Jesus was also called a demon for bringing a new idea. That was, salvation comes from obedience to Christ versus obedience to the law. When you stop and think about how counterculture this idea of obeying Jesus was, it makes it easy to understand the crowd calling Jesus a demon.

Another reason for saying Jesus had a demon was because he said he knew God. Someone in our modern era would probably be called a demon for saying they knew God. It is stunning that Jesus went through everything we go through. Even being pressured to recant, he holds firm when he says of the Father, “…I know him, and keep his word.”


Lord Jesus, I want to be like you. Please forgive me for telling white lies to preserve myself. Help me trust you fully and teach me to kindly say the truth. Teach me to keep silent when appropriate so I do not cause harm in disagreement. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How Jesus Interacted with the Father

John 7:27-30 WEB

However we know where this man comes from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know where he comes from.” [28] Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know me, and know where I am from. I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true, whom you don’t know. [29] I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” [30] They sought therefore to take him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.


Do you believe you are from God? Jesus did. He believed he was from God (John 7:29), and he believed he knew God well enough to discern his will (John 6:4). He also believed he was sent from God (John 7:28-29). Being sent is a concept we are familiar with today. We get called by God, we get sent from God, we get sent from Church bodies. Jesus believed he was sent from God and that he was doing exactly what the Father wanted.

All practicing Christians long to be in the Father’s perfect will. These verses give me hope it is possible to know God’s will. Additionally, if I want to do the things Jesus did, I need to be familiar with the tools he used to interact with God and accomplish God’s will. Jesus developed a relationship with the Father through prayer (Luke 5:16), fasting (John 4:34), and obedience. I have access to these same tools.

I can pray for as long as I need to hear from God. I can also fast. Finally, with God’s help, I can obey the Bible and the Spirit of God. I can do what Jesus did. I can hear from God and obey. These verses give great hope to those endeavoring to be in the Father’s will. Jesus trusted himself to the Father. He trusted the Father’s motives. From this place of trust, the Lord is able to do great things for the Father.


Lord Jesus, please give me the grace to seek a relationship with the Father. Help me pray, fast, and obey so that I can learn to discern the Father’s voice, and some can be saved. Help me release my life so that I may enter a healthy relationship with God. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Stressed Out Jesus

John 7:3-10 WEB

His brothers therefore said to him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. [4] For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world.” [5] For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. [6] Jesus therefore said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. [7] The world can’t hate you, but it hates me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil. [8] You go up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fulfilled.” [9] Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee. [10] But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret.


This is a little humorous. Actually, It’s amazing. The Lord Jesus had brothers and he argued with them, and it’s in the Bible. This is one of those passages that show Jesus was a human. Yes, he is divine, but Jesus is also human. And he cut his brothers down like a pro.

Of course, Jesus is much more than an irritable, stressed brother. He is God. Being God, his divinity pops out even when he is being defensive with his family. In verse 6 of the above passage, Jesus says, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.” Jesus went right to the heart of the issue. He told his brothers they were full of themselves. He did not address their jealousy or critical spirits. Instead, he names the problem.

Pride. The brothers did not trust the Lord. They did what they wanted when they wanted, regardless of God’s timing. But Jesus did something different. He refused to think more highly of himself than he should. Jesus chose to wait for the Father’s timing. He was not in a hurry to go fluff up his audience. He wasn’t in a hurry. Jesus waited on the Father.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for thinking too highly of myself. I repent of wanting things in my time and ask you to give me the grace to wait patiently. I trust you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.


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I See You, Jesus

John 6:67-70 WEB

Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?” [68] Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. [69] We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” [70] Jesus answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”


I love this passage because twice it shows the Lord’s human vulnerability. Jesus and the disciples just experienced a ministry disaster. The Lord, teaching under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, told everyone to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Nearly all of Jesus’ followers left.

Can you imagine someone telling people to eat and drink them? The disciples who did not truly believe did not trust, so they left. And Jesus was left with the twelve. Notice in the verse he is specific when he says, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” Jesus was just a little proud. Just a little human. Just a little vulnerable. And so easy to overlook.

Part of the joy for me in reading the Bible is finding these little nuggets. Every verse that tells me about Jesus’ humanity is golden. More, verses in which I can see Jesus’ personality are special treasures. Jesus is our special treasure, and I love meeting him in the Bible.


Lord Jesus, please help me notice scriptures that give insight into your walk as a human. Help me know you better. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.