Love First

John 6:17-21 WEB

and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. [18] The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing. [19] When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid. [20] But he said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” [21] They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.


Jesus is generous-hearted giving grace to the lost and the disobedient. In our passage, the disciples are in a boat and crossing the sea instead of waiting for the Lord. Jesus went to the mountains to pray and was a long time. The disciples, tired of waiting for Jesus, headed across the sea. In their disobedience, they find themselves near destruction as the chaotic sea begins to rise and crash.

As the storm raged something unbelievable happened. The disciples saw an apparition on the water and became terrified. However, in his kindness, Jesus gave comfort to the disciples by telling them who he was. Next, he got into the boat and supernaturally took them to their destination. Jesus did not wag his finger or rebuke the disciples. Instead, he goes to the disciples, gives them comfort, joins them, and then takes them instantly to the shore.

Notice he didn’t comfort them while they toiled to the shore. Nor did he correct them and then leave them to strain against the rising sea. The disciples made some bad choices. But Jesus’ first concern is their wellbeing. In his care for the disciples, Jesus walks on the water. Jesus does the impossible to save and deliver his disciples.


Lord Jesus, thank you for the love you show me every day. Help me to trust you fully and obey your instruction. Help me live by the example you have shown and cause me to love people as you love people. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Celebrity Jesus

John 6:13-15 WEB

So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. [14] When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, “This is truly the prophet who comes into the world.” [15] Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.


Jesus did not relish glory. Instead, he turned away from opportunities to maximize his visibility. It seems he recognized he was a king but refused to put himself in a position to be promoted. Jesus realized his kingdom could only be given to him by God. More, he did not jump to the conclusion the crowd was demonstrating God’s will. Rather, he deliberately remains obscure.

Curiously, to protect himself, he goes to the mountain alone. It seems like he would take his disciples away from the uproar. Instead, he leaves the disciples behind. Could it be Jesus did not trust the disciples to have God as their number one priority? Or, perhaps he left the disciples behind to deal with the crowd. Regardless, Jesus does not seem to have anyone to encourage him. So, he withdraws to the secret place, where he received encouragement from God.

What does it look like to receive from God? In the above passage, it looks like time alone with God. It also looks like humility. It was humility that kept Jesus from receiving fame and glory. He did not relish time in front of an audience. He relished time alone with the Father. Jesus simply loved and trusted God and relied on him as his source of encouragement.


Lord Jesus, please help me look to you for encouragement. Deliver me from any desire for glory and create in me a humble heart. Help me trust you fully. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Resting While Working

John 5:17-19 WEB

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” [18] For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. [19] Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.


Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 talk about the rest of God. We are told to be diligent in our pursuit of rest. (Hebrews 4:11) Yet here is Jesus telling the Jewish leaders that he is working, and his Father is working. More, it says that Jesus could see what his Father was doing and chose to join him. Seeing is an activity that happens in the flesh. Notice the verses do not say Jesus envisioned what the Father was doing. Rather, it says he saw. So, he joined in the Father’s labor. In this alignment with the Father, miracles occurred.

How is it that Jesus had open eyes to recognize the work of the Father? The Bible says that Jesus prayed for a long time each morning in a secluded place. (Mark 1:35) The Bible also teaches that Jesus did not care what others thought. Instead, he consistently demonstrated placing God’s priorities first in his life. (John 4:27) But do these attributes account for Jesus having eyes that see and ears that hear?

Both of the above examples show us how to see and hear the Father. Before and after Jesus moved in signs and wonders he frequently prayed. (John 11:43, Mt 14:23) Also, Jesus considered doing the will of God more important than his own fleshly needs. (John 4:31-34) The Bible says in John 3:16 that the Father desires all people to come into a relationship with him. Since Jesus is the one who said John 3:16, we can be sure he believed the Father loved all people. Therefore, Jesus loved people more than himself. He did it because it is what he believed the Father wanted. So, prayer, desiring God’s will, and loving others more than himself seem to be the keys to Jesus’ supernatural success.

Jesus’ supernatural miracles proved that Jesus was aligned with the Father.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus thought He was God or thought He was equal to God. The Jewish leaders, out of jealousy, interpreted Jesus’ motives as evil. However, Jesus did not step out in the flesh. He waited to see what the Father was doing and joined him. Even when he worked, he was fully resting in the Father.


Lord Jesus, please help me pray, desire your will, and rest in you. Give me eyes that see and ears that hear so that I can join you in what you are doing. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Fruit and Authority

John 5:9-17 WEB

Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. [10] So the Jews said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat.” [11] He answered them, “He who made me well, the same said to me, ‘Take up your mat, and walk.’ ” [12] Then they asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your mat, and walk’?” [13] But he who was healed didn’t know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place. [14] Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” [15] The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. [16] For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. [17] But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.”


The works of Jesus are good fruit. As Christians, we are often told that we should evaluate the fruit of a person’s life. In the above passage, Jesus has just healed, delivered, and restored a man. Jesus’ works bore good fruit. It is understandable that the healed man felt gratitude and loyalty to Jesus. Still, the man was under Jewish law.

The healed man had honor for the authority of the religious leaders. So, in accordance with the law, he went to the leaders to be declared healed. Here is where something interesting happens, the man who was healed followed the fruit. That is, he judged the fruit and showed loyalty to Jesus. Also, just a few lines later the man is telling the Jewish leaders what they want to know. The man did not dishonor the legitimate authority of the religious leaders.

Jesus was a man under authority. He watched and prayed and did what the Father showed him. When the Father showed him healing on the Sabbath, he obeyed. It did not matter doing a healing on the Sabbath was the best way to get into trouble with the religious leaders. Accordingly, it was not long until Jesus was challenged by religious hypocrisy.

The Jewish leaders persecuted Jesus for working on the Sabbath. Jesus answers them boldly when he says he is under the authority of the Father. In the same way believers are to name Jesus, Jesus named the Father. He truly did suffer as we do today. He faced challenges on behalf of the Father to serve His glory. He trusted the Father enough to obey him. He trusted the Father enough to bear good fruit.


Lord Jesus, please help me trust you enough to obey your word. Help me see what you are doing so that I may join in the work. Please forgive my love for the approval of others. Help me trust, obey, and bear good fruit. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Healed or Restored?

John 5:4-9 WEB

for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. [5] A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. [6] When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” [7] The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.” [8] Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.” [9] Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.


Being healed and being restored are two different things. A doctor can heal but they cannot restore. A boss at work or family leader may be able to restore but they cannot heal. In the above text, Jesus healed the man and restored him. Jesus’ admonition to take up his mat and walk deals with the man’s need to be both healed and restored.

When Jesus asks the man if he wants to be healed, the man answers indirectly and says, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool…” Jesus asked a question about the man’s situation and the man immediately blames those around him. So, this is the first thing Jesus deals with in this newly healed man when he says, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.”

Notice the Lord did not tell someone to help the man to the water. Nor did he reprimand those around for not caring about the man. No one questioned anyone’s motives. Jesus simply challenges the man to walk in the Spirit. He challenges the man to do the impossible, get up.

So, the man got up. He did not wait to be asked again. He did not wait for a full explanation of how he was supposed to get up. The man waiting for 38 years by the pool quickly took ahold of the opportunity the Lord gave him, and he got up and walked.

The opportunity to be healed came with a specific challenge. The man had to pick up his bedroll on the sabbath to obey the Lord. This was direct disobedience to the fathers of the Jewish faith who said a person cannot carry their bed on the sabbath. Yet, obeying the fathers did not get the man healed.

For 38 years the man’s life was bankrupted by his illness. Yet in one simple conversation, Jesus heals him, challenges his faith, restores him, and gives him the opportunity to publicly name Jesus when asked why he is carrying his bedroll. When Jesus heals, he does a complete work. When we try to get people healed without the Spirit of God, the magnitudes of goodness are not there.  On the other hand, the goodness of Jesus’ intervention seeps into all the areas and lives connected to the person being healed.


Lord Jesus, please increase my belief in your willingness to heal. Help me say yes when you ask me hard questions. Help me desire your wholeness more than I desire the world’s acceptance. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.  

Those who will Receive

John 4:39-42 WEB

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” [40] So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. [41] Many more believed because of his word. [42] They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”


Jesus prophesied over the Samaritan Woman at the Well and she believed. The Samaritan woman took her belief and ran back to her town proclaiming the Lord. And many of the townspeople believed because of her words and many more believed when they heard Jesus speak. Jesus stayed for two days to preach to the city of Samaria, a city that no righteous Jew would even step their foot into.

Isn’t it amazing how the weak and disenfranchised so often respond joyfully to the message of Christ? It is hard to convince a person who has everything that they need Jesus. But go to someone who is outcast and neglected, you will find a receptive group that will receive the gospel message. So, why do we not focus on serving the poor? Probably because it cost money to run any ministry and the poor do not have much to tithe. It’s hard to reach the reachable because people in the middle class do not want to support the work.

Reaching the poor means that those in the middle and upper echelons financially, who are in Christ need to donate and keep donating. Unfortunately, what tends to happen, especially in the USA, is when it turns out the poor are going to continue being poor the wealthy turn away from them. It’s the mentality by the wealthy they are giving the poor a chance and when the poor do not use that opportunity correctly the wealthy turn to other projects.

Many that are poor are going to require years of ministry to overcome the challenges their life of poverty has burdened them with. Yes, a few reach out to Christ and get their situations turned around. But those few are not the majority. Most people in poverty have learned the thinking, habits, and behaviors of the impoverished. They lack money, education, and most significantly the acumen to socialize with the middle class. It is painful for those with mental poverty to interact with people that have a healthier perspective.

The only solution for that mental poverty is time with the Lord, time in church, time reading and learning the Bible, and time with healthier people. The challenge is people with a poverty mindset are hard for healthier people to socialize with. It is an all-out act of love to simply look past the awkward moments and choose to remain in close connection with someone locked in poverty.

However, it is worth remaining in connection with the poor. Ask any minister who is moving in signs and wonders, and they will tell you it is the poor who receive the most supernatural attention from the Lord. Remember, he came to seek the lost. It is the sick who need a physician.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for struggling to connect with those in poverty. Help me have the grace to remain in connection with the poor. Please help my life bring healing and salvation to those who will receive healing and salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Natural or Supernatural

John 4:30-33 WEB

They went out of the city, and were coming to him. [31] In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” [32] But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” [33] The disciples therefore said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”


The people of the Samaritan village were coming to Jesus. They believed the Samaritan woman when she asked, “Could this be the Messiah?” (John 7-29) Meanwhile, the disciples are worried about earthly matters. As such they are coaxing Jesus to eat. They may even feel that if he eats, he will come back to his senses and leave Samaria.

But Jesus isn’t going anywhere. He chides the disciples telling them he has food they know nothing about. Jesus is talking about doing the will of his Father, but the disciples are stuck thinking about the carnal issue of food. Even with Jesus sitting at the well, waiting to share the good news with the people that are coming to him, the disciples are too dull to understand something spiritual is happening.

The disciples discuss with each other, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Likewise, while the Samaritan woman is calling Jesus the Messiah, the disciples are calling him Rabbi, or teacher. This woman whom Jesus as much as called a harlot in the preceding verses, understands that something important is happening. But the disciples just see another embarrassing situation with Jesus.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for being too embarrassed to share the gospel with the lost. Please forgive my judgments against people who are different from me.  Please bless me with the grace to understand when something supernatural is happening so that I do not uproot what you are doing in others’ lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.