A Loving Relationship with Jesus

John 14:13-15 KJV

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [14] If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. [15] If ye love me, keep my commandments.


Jesus believed. He believed that he was going to the Father and that he would continue to help the disciples. This statement makes it plain that Jesus believed he was going to heaven, and he believed he would have the authority to answer prayers. These verses testify to the fact that Jesus knew he was divine. He assumes he will have divine authority in heaven and that he will be able to use that authority to assist the disciples.

Jesus loved his disciples. He wanted them to be safe after he ascended to the Father. More, Jesus wanted them to be obedient based on their love for him. He shared with his disciples that he was going to help them. He revealed his love and concern for the disciples in this promise. More, he goes on to ask the disciples to return his love. The way they could do this was to keep his commandments.

These verses reveal intimate details about Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. To begin, he was modeling the right behavior to the disciples. He was teaching them the meaning of the gospels which is to love all people. Here, Jesus asks them to reciprocate the love they receive from him. As he cared for the disciples, he wanted them to care for him. So, while his statements reveal he knew he was divine, they also reveal that he was human. Jesus wanted his love reciprocated.


Lord, please help me reciprocate your love. Teach me to honor and love you in a way that is proper. Reveal yourself to me from your Holy Word so that I might love you better. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How Jesus loved

John 13:34-35 WEB

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. [35] By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Jesus loved the disciples. He walked with the disciples and cared for them. How did Jesus love his disciples? He loved them by caring for their many needs. First, he fed them and gave them rest. Next, he taught his disciples the truth. Finally, Jesus prayed for the disciples and answered their questions. To begin, Jesus cared for the disciples’ physical needs. He both fed them and gave them rest. In Mark 6 and Matthew 15 Jesus feeds thousands of seekers. He literally broke up fish and bread and miraculously multiplied it to feed the large crowds. In addition to feeding the disciples he gave them rest (Mk 6:31). When they grew weary from ministry, Jesus pulls them aside and lets them rest.

Jesus loved the disciples. Not only did he feed them and give them rest, but Jesus also taught the disciples. He taught them to walk in faith turning away from sin. Jesus taught the disciples everything the Father was releasing (Mt 7:28-29). Additionally, Jesus rebuked sin and praised faith. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus blatantly rebukes Peter and calls him a stumbling block. This happened because Peter was trying to protect Jesus. However, Jesus did not appreciate the gesture but instead calls Peter Satan. In Luke 17:3 Jesus teaches the disciples to rebuke those in sin. Jesus also taught the disciples to behave and think faithfully. In Matthew 16:17 Jesus praises Peter for his insight into the things of God.

Jesus fed the disciples and taught them the difference between faith and sin. He also prayed for them and maintained an intimate relationship with the disciples. Jesus prayed for his disciples and those they brought to him. In John 11 Jesus prayed for Lazarus to come back from the dead. In this same passage, both Martha and Mary have intimate conversations with Jesus. Also, at the Last Supper Jesus let the disciples lean against his breast and ask him questions (John 13:25-26). Jesus loved his disciples and was intimate with them.


Lord, help me love like you love. Not as the world loves with flattery and half-truths, but real love that comes from you. Help me care about other people’s physical and spiritual needs so that I can discern how to love each one. Put truth in my mouth along with kindness and gentleness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

A Servant’s Heart

John 13:12-14 WEB

So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? [13] You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. [14] If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.


Washing feet was a servant’s task. Religious and civic leaders did not wash their own feet. A servant washed their feet when they gathered. So, it was almost an offense to the 12 for Jesus to wash their feet. When he is done washing their feet, he puts his outer wrap back on and tells them to go and do likewise. This was probably an offense as well. The 12 thought they were going to rule the 12 tribes of Israel in eternity (Mt 19:28). It would not have been natural for them to take up feet washing. But that is what Jesus asked them to do. During Jesus’ ministry, he showed the example of servanthood. He was on a mission for His Father, and it required humility and service. Jesus did not mind.

Jesus wants us, his disciples, to feel the same way. We are to be mission-minded as we become servants to one another. Things are not so different today. When people imagine themselves having a large ministry, it is not natural to think about feet washing. But that is what Christians are called to do. We must bow our hearts before the Father in humility and willingness to serve as He served. That may mean washing feet, or it may mean taking that poor family to the food bank. There are many ways to serve.

Jesus served. He was the disciples’ Lord and Teacher. He is also our Lord and Teacher. We must not look at Jesus and say, “He was God, of course he could.” We must not use his Godhood as an excuse not to imitate Him. Rather we must say to ourselves, “the Lord and Teacher served both the lost and the saved. I must also serve.” When we serve, we are opening avenues to plead with others to be reconciled to God through Jesus. To the lost, that is salvation from eternity without God. To believers, it is encouragement in the Lord as we refresh one another.


Lord, please give me a heart for service. Help me recognize opportunities throughout my day to serve. Help me lay down my own interests and care for another’s interests. Help me trust you with myself and with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Conservative Jesus

John 10:34-36 WEB

Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ [35] If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken), [36] 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?’


That phrase, “and scripture can’t be broken,” is intriguing. Why did Jesus include this? He is talking to Pharisees, men who are experts in Scripture. But Pharisees were also experts in the Talmud. The Talmud was a book of approximately 400 rules which, at times, contradicted the Scripture. This is the error Jesus is addressing in these verses.

Including “and scripture can’t be broken” Is also interesting because Jesus does not appear concerned about modernizing the Scripture. He is Conservative. He takes the Scripture as fully divine and to be obeyed in heart first. This was a radical idea but with a very conservative approach on Jesus’ part. Jesus is speaking to the conservatives of the times, and yet, he had many rebukes for their wrong heart issues.

And there is a heart issue here. The Pharisees have grown cold towards God. They have become orthodox instead of conservative. They have come up with a book to explain the scripture. That book, the Talmud, was given greater authority by the Pharisees than they gave the Scripture. The Talmud was a cruel taskmaster. Worse, any Jewish person caught breaking the Talmud would be kicked out of the sanctuary. So, a scripture obeying Jew could be barred from the temple because of a contradiction in the Talmud.


Lord, help me discern false teachings. Help me always place the authority of the Bible above and help me live its message of love and obedience. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Guilt that Remains

John 9:39-41 WEB

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” [40] Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” [41] Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.


The Pharisees were a religious group intent on obedience to God. In their intense desire to obey God, they wrote approximately 400 rules every Jewish person was meant to obey. The book of rules was called the Talmud. During Jesus’ day, the Talmud was the authoritative text of the Jewish religion, Judaism. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were about the only people that could properly obey the Talmud. This was because they studied the Scripture and Talmud daily. They did not have other employment. Instead, they spent all their time focused on obedience to God.

Because they knew the scriptures Jesus said their eyes were open. That meant they understood the scripture had authority over the Talmud. The Pharisees considered anyone a lawbreaker if they disobeyed the Talmud to obey scripture.  In fact, the Pharisees were professionals at policing and enforcing the Talmud. Anyone caught breaking the rules of the Talmud were put out of the synagogue, an extremely traumatic life outcome.

The Pharisees had just thrown the man who had once been blind out of the synagogue. He went to them to have his healing confirmed. However, instead of rejoicing that the Father had healed him, they were more concerned that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Doing anything on the Sabbath, even healing someone, was outlawed in the Talmud. This upset Jesus. The scriptures testified of the Father’s kindness and goodness. Therefore, to outlaw kindness and love on the Sabbath was disobedient. Because they knew this Jesus hurls the truth at them and declares them fit to be judged.


Father, forgive me for caring more about rules than about people. I long to be righteous in my obedience to the Bible and I long to be holy in my love towards others. Help me repent, Lord. This is inner work and I need you to come and show me the best way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Demonstrates the Gospel

John 9:32-38 WEB

[32] Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. [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. [35] Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” [36] He answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” [37] Jesus said to him, “You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you.” [38] He said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped him.


Jesus showed the blind man, great love, as he healed him and his life. When Jesus first encountered the man who was blind, he was begging to support himself. Also, he was considered a sinner. So, when the blind man asked Jesus to heal him, even though it was the Sabbath, Jesus healed him. When Jesus healed the blind man, he made spit paste, rubbed it on his eyes, and told him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. At first glance, it looks like Jesus is humiliating the man.

But Jesus does not humiliate people, that is Satan’s method. Jesus sent the man to the pool of Siloam because it would lead to a greater healing, inner healing. Jesus did not rub spit on him to shame him. Jesus doesn’t hurt people, but Satan is intent on our destruction. So, it was with the man who was blind. It’s clear from the text scripture the man born blind had spent time at the synagogue because he has a doctrine; if you worship and obey God, you will be blessed.

Why did the beggar who was blind his entire life develop a doctrine? Because he loved God. Though he had fallen into an unhealthy lifestyle, Jesus knew what was in the man’s heart. Jesus knew this was a backslidden believer. So, he was careful to heal the man just the way the Father showed him. Then, when the priest threw the man out of the Synagogue, Jesus found him and led him to salvation. I do not think it felt great for Jesus to be told to wipe spit paste on the man. But Jesus was so convinced about the Father, he obeyed, perfectly. Jesus’ love and obedience worked salvation in the once blind man’s life.


Lord, please help me learn to hear from you so that I can lead the lost and backslidden to you. Show me how to love people as you love people. 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.

Righteous Judgments

John 7:21-24 WEB

Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel because of it. [22] Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy. [23] If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me, because I made a man completely healthy on the Sabbath? [24] Don’t judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”


I have always wondered how to define “righteous judgment.” Then, when I read the above verses, I realized, the Bible is full of Christ’s judgments. If there is anyone who gives righteous judgments it’s Jesus. Most people are familiar with the Lord’s judgments against religious leaders. However, the Lord made all sorts of righteous judgments. Three that caught my attention include the demoniac of Gadarenes, the woman who receives scraps under the table, and the believing centurion.

Luke 8:27-39 is the story of the demoniac of Gadarenes. The main judgment in this cautionary tale is against the people of Gadarenes. After silencing the demons in the man and finding out their name, Jesus sends the spirits into a herd of pigs and the pigs die. When the people of Gadarenes learn of the financial loss, they ask Jesus to leave.

There is a bit of misdirection at play here by the author of the book of Luke. While the reader is focused on the demoniac, Jesus judges the townspeople. The people of Gadarenes do not express a word of praise that a man’s life was saved. Nor do they express a word of remorse for raising pigs, something no believing Jewish person would do. Instead, they focus on the financial loss. Moreover, the townspeople do not seem to recognize they are being judged. The righteous judgment is, one single human being has more value than money. Even when that money is the lively hood of an entire town of God’s people.

Next, I have always liked the story of the woman who received scraps under the table. In Mark 7:24-30 we learn the woman is Greek and has a daughter who is demonized. The woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and he deflects her request calling her a dog. However, instead of getting upset or discouraged, the woman presses into the hope of God’s goodness and humbles herself before the Lord. He says she has great faith and heals her daughter.

This is another interesting use of distraction. While everyone is focused on Jesus calling the woman a dog, he judges his disciples for their prejudice. The Lord reveals the prejudice of the disciples when he grants the woman’s request. At the same time, he judges their arrogance for believing Jewish people are better than all others. The righteous judgment of the Lord in this story is all believing people can receive from God, even those others call unworthy.

Finally, Matthew 8:5-16 is the story of the Centurion’s faith. As Jesus enters Capernaum, he is approached by a Roman Centurion. The man asks Jesus to heal his paralyzed and tormented servant. When Jesus agrees to come, the Centurion says if he will only say a word, it will be enough. He goes on to explain his understanding of authority and expresses great faith at the same time.

Interestingly, this judgment explores the faith of the disciples compared to the faith of a Roman Soldier. The soldier is judged faithful, and his servant is healed. Meanwhile, Peter’s mother is sick. Instead of asking the Lord to say a word of authority for her healing, the disciples wait until Jesus can touch her. Peter’s mother does not get healed until Christ arrives. Finally, Jesus goes on to deliver and heal all who are sick or demonized.

The judgments in this tale compare the faith of the disciples to that of a believing Roman. They also compare the compassion of Christ against the compassion of the disciples. The judgment here is that the disciples are found less faithful than one they consider to be an enemy and God responds with goodness to all who come in faith.  

What ties all these judgments together? God’s love. Jesus loves all people, and he calls judgments righteous that recognize the worth and acceptance of all believers. Rebuking prejudice, faithlessness, and hardness of heart, Jesus uses righteous judgments to adjust the disciples’ thinking. More, Jesus does not call out the shame of his disciples directly. Instead, he protects them while he heals their hearts and corrects their thinking. Lastly, these judgments are all indirect which probably means those with unbelieving hearts would miss the true meaning.


Lord Jesus, please teach me to judge righteously. Forgive me for past unrighteous judgments and reveal to me how you would judge the circumstances and situations of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Gathering Scraps

John 6:10-12 WEB

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. [11] Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired. [12] When they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost.”


It seems strange for Jesus to demonstrate such generosity coupled with frugality.  On one hand, he miraculously produces a feast so even the least person could eat all they wanted. On the other hand, Jesus tells them not to lose the scraps.

Jesus did not want to lose the scraps. Somehow, Jesus manages to feed the people, demonstrate God’s love to everyone, and teach the disciples an important lesson. It seems clear he does not approve of loss. Jesus does not approve of waste.

Waste is an epidemic in our modern society. We buy things and keep them until we are bored with them or until they break. Then, we throw away what we no longer care about and run out to buy more. The trash dumps around the world testify to the magnitude of waste.

Of course, garbage is not Jesus’ main concern. His main concern is people being reconciled to God the Father and coming into a saving knowledge of himself. So, when I hear Jesus talk about waste, I immediately think of people. Do we ever throw people away?

Those people in our lives that take more than they give are an opportunity. Difficult relationships are not meant to be wasted, to be thrown away. Difficult people remind me of the scraps. They are the people no one wants. Yet, the people that are leftover are the very ones I think Jesus would tell us to gather.


Lord Jesus, please teach me to be both generous and frugal. Help me Lord as I turn towards those people that are easy to ignore. Protect me from harm as I open my heart to those that are less desirable. Help me make use of every opportunity to bring healing and salvation to those you bring into my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

In Spirit and Truth

John 4:19-23 WEB

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. [20] Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” [21] Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. [22] You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. [23] But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers.


Jesus had just told the woman secrets that He could only know through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 4:17-18). She had the spiritual acumen to understand that something supernatural was taking place. Jesus goes on to confirm this when he says, “true worshipers will worship…in spirit and truth.”

Confirmation is great when it happens. However, everything that comes from the Father is not confirmed immediately. When we walk in the Spirit and in the knowledge of Biblical Truth, we are going to encounter the supernatural. God is real. Thus, when we are in a relationship with Him, he will reach across the boundaries of reality and change things for our benefit and the benefit of others.  

When these supernatural circumstances happen, they may slip by if we do not have the spiritual acumen to notice. Often the supernatural can seem like a coincidence or a possible, but natural, outcome. Thus, doubt arises. However, we must believe that God is real and that he is truly participating in our relationship with Him. This foundation of belief will make it possible to receive directly from the Father.

The word says in James 1:6-8 that a doubter will receive nothing from God. This is not a judgment; it is a statement of fact. To receive you must believe God is working. If you do not fully believe, you will not accept what God is doing. Therefore, you will miss what God is doing. You will receive nothing. To receive from God, you cannot doubt. Moreover, you must worship him in Spirit and Truth.

When you accept the spiritual nature of your relationship with God your acumen to perceive the supernatural will rise. You will be able to participate in what God is doing in your life and in the world around you. The relationship you have with God will become real and vibrant. And in that place, just like Jesus, you will both receive and have an abundance to share with the lost.


Lord Jesus, help me to perceive your works in my life and in the world around me. I do not want to miss a single word you whisper. I do not want to miss a single thing you do. Please help me worship in Spirit and Truth so that you and I will have a vibrant relationship. Help me perceive the supernatural so that I will be filled and have an abundance to share with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.