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.

Mary the Worshiper

John 11:1-4 WEB

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. [2] It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. [3] The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.” [4] But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.”


Mary is honored by the Lord for her extravagant act of worship. She had poured out a jar of perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped it with her hair (Luke 7:37-38). This wasn’t an easy act of worship. The jar of perfume was worth a year’s wages. It probably represented all or most of Mary’s savings. But she did not save it. When presented with an opportunity to worship from the overflow of her heart she cracked that jar and poured out all she had.

It was right for her to pour out all she had. It is likely that Mary was a prostitute before her salvation. So, what she gave up, her entire means of support, and the fruit thereof, was a holy offering (Luke 7:50). And it was also a seed. Jesus commemorated her for all time in his Word and it seems the Father wanted to honor the family even more. From this family of extraordinary worshipers comes the most extraordinary miracle of Jesus’ ministry.

In a few more verses we are going to learn Lazarus both died and was restored back to life. He was dead and in his tomb four days before the Lord arrived (John 11:39). This is because the Lord knew what was going to happen. The Father revealed it to him, and he revealed it to his disciples. Jesus knew by revelation that God and his son Jesus were going to be glorified. However, the Father chose to pour this glory out on Mary the worshiper, and her family.


Lord, let my worship be worthy of praise. Let gratitude and love for you rise in my spirit. Lord, I hope the overflow of my heart is a genuine act of devotion that pleases you. You are worthy of praise Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

From Shame to Glory

John 9:1-5 WEB

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. [2] His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” [3] Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him. [4] I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. [5] While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”


The man blind from birth was given a rare gift. He was wrapped in God’s glory. We can see that clearly because his story is in the Bible. To be included in the Bible is a glorious thing. Yet, he suffered greatly on his way to God’s glory.

The word says of Jesus that he is wrapped in Glory (Col 1:27). He accomplished this by giving his life away and dying on the cross (Heb 12:2). The path to true glory is not an easy path. God would rather help us mature into godliness than zapping us into glory (Heb 12:11). If Jesus’ just zapped us and wrapped us in glory, we would probably take that glory for ourselves.

A life wrapped in God’s glory will bring God acclaim (John 8:49). The question each of us needs to answer is how much of God’s glory are we willing to be responsible for? Of course, the blind beggar did not volunteer to be blind. God did that for his own purposes.


Lord, please help me glorify you in truth and bring fame to your name. 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.

God Rewards the Faithful

John 7:16-18 WEB

Jesus therefore answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. [17] If anyone desires to do his will, he will know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or if I am speaking from myself. [18] He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.


These verses help us accurately discern the motives of Christian teachers. In the above verse, Jesus said to see who is being glorified. He taught if the glory falls on the teacher, what they are saying is not from God. However, if the glory goes to God, the teacher is trustworthy.  

It is dangerous to take God’s glory. Those who take God’s glory are in imminent danger of the Lord breaking out against them (Isa 10:15, Acts 12:21-23). God jealously guards his glory. Furthermore, God clothes who he wants with his glory, for his own purposes (Isa 48:11). Not that it is some sort of lottery (Heb 11:6). If we want to be chosen for God’s glory, we must bear God’s shame (Mat 16:24-25). Any one of us can pick up our cross and carry it with joy (1 Pet 2:20-21). To rejoice in shame and suffering is a holy thing (Rom 5:2-3). It’s the type of faith that God wants to plant in the hearts of others (Isa 61).

God wants to glorify people who willingly serve without glory (1 Cor 15:43). There are stories in the Old Testament that show people chosen for service in a seemingly random manner (Jud 4:4, 6:14, 13:25,). Take Moses for example, his family showed faith when they saved Moses (Exo 2:1-3). Then, Moses showed great faith when God spoke to him (Exo 3:4). Through faith, Moses’ family won the Levites an inheritance guarding the Lord’s glory (Exo 28:1-3). We can clearly see by the example of Moses and his family, God rewards the faithful (Psa 27:13).


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for talking so much about what I have done and so little about what you have done. Teach me to honor you and give you all the glory. Humble my heart, Lord, that I will joyfully carry my cross. In Jesus’ name, 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.

Jesus Believed

John 5:41-44 WEB

I don’t receive glory from men. [42] But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. [43] I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. [44] How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?


Seeking glory is a real problem. It’s one of those sticky issues of Christianity. Unfortunately, we live in a society that teaches us to give and receive glory from one another. Yet this passage is clear, Jesus did not receive glory. He goes on to say those who receive glory from one another do not believe in God.

That is scary. It reminds me of the passage of scripture that says, “Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ [23] Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’” (Matthew 7:22-23 WEB) It is easy to tell if you are seeking glory or if you are seeking God. All you need to do is find something God needs done and do it. Then, keep it to yourself.

I used to wonder about my need to tell my every accomplishment. I knew it was wrong, but I could not quite get to why it was wrong. This passage helped me understand. It makes it plain. When I need people to see my accomplishments, I am seeking glory. There are appropriate times to share our accomplishments. What I am talking about here is a daily need for praise and adoration that leads you into a habit of self-promotion.

Self-promotion is a way to receive glory. On the other hand, Jesus was great at keeping things to himself. He even tried to restrain people from telling the miracles that were happening, “Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” [30] Their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, “See that no one knows about this.” [31] But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land.” (Matthew 9:29-31 WEB) Strangely, the more Jesus tried to keep things to himself, the more his fame grew. With no self-promotion, God was able to position Jesus where he was meant to go.  

Jesus believed the things he told others. He believed in God so much that he was obedient to death on a cross. Jesus understood before he died that God was going to ask him for his life. “As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” (Matthew 17:9 WEB) Jesus was willing to be humiliated by the shame of the cross because he genuinely believed in God.


Lord Jesus, please help me recognize when I am seeking glory for myself. Please give me the grace to learn to give myself away for your glory. Help me come higher in my relationship with you Jesus. Help me trust you to get me where I am meant to be so I can give up endless striving. 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.

Wise yet Harmless

John 4:1-3 WEB

Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John [2] (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples), [3] he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.

Jesus epitomized the scripture that says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 WEB) When he learned he had attracted the attention of the Pharisees he departed Judea and went to Galilee. In chapter 3 of John, John the Baptist pronounced Jesus as the way to heaven. John as much as declared Jesus the messiah. Jesus’ response to this was to pack up and leave the area.

Jesus understood the Pharisees hated him. While professing zeal for God, they demonstrated with their behaviors that they actually despised God. What they liked was the glory of standing before the people. Jesus was threatening their glory.

Have you ever heard a minister preaching compromise? Why would they do this? The exact demonstration of hatred for God may have changed, but the root cause of the sin is the same. Namely, a desire for people to glorify themselves rather than God. Preaching the untainted gospel has with it the risk of people rejecting the messenger.

Jesus was often scorned and rejected by those to whom he ministered, On the other hand, many were saved as well. This is important to notice. Jesus experienced both rejection and acceptance. He told his disciples to shake the dust from their feet when they were rejected. Literally, to pronounce condemnation on those who rejected their message.

Can you imagine a modern-day preacher declaring condemnation for rejection of the gospel? They would be heckled and counted as a hypocrite for such preaching. People still have little tolerance for the untainted message of the gospel. That message is that Christ alone saves those whom he will and rejects the disobedient. Telling people that Jesus will save them is not too hard. On the other hand, telling people they must be obedient to the whole Bible or face eternal torment is not accepted by most people.

People want salvation to be a democratic affair. As if we can choose which passages are relevant while declaring others irrelevant. Some of this has been caused by modern-day zealots. Ministers who teach a heartless gospel of condemnation drive the lost away from God. They preach to a mouth-foaming crowd that wants confirmation that they are better than everyone else. But the word of God does not counsel this. Rather, it says to be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove.

As Christians, we have to learn to declare the truth from a place of love for the world. The Father desires the world to be saved (John 3:16). We can declare condemnation for the lost in love. We can plead with the lost to turn their hearts fully to the Father through the grace of Jesus Christ. We can demonstrate obedience thereby duplicating it in those who are new in the Lord.

Lord, please help me walk wisely while remaining harmless to those with whom I share the gospel. Please forgive me for being immature and heartless. I’m sorry for withholding love from the lost. Please forgive me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Eternal Glory

John 3:13-15 WEB

No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. [14] As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, [15] that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Do you think there is a difference between eternal life and salvation? The word of God clearly says that one must both believe and confess to be saved. But in the text scripture it says plainly that to receive eternal life one must believe. The word of God says,

“that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 WEB)

So I ask again, is there a difference between salvation and eternal life? Yes, I am sure there is. Salvation goes along with sanctification and redemption. In Ephesians it says,

“in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7 WEB)

It is a process of God repairing our lives and delivering us from unrighteousness that keep us in sin. In the book of Acts, the Bible teaches,

“having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15 WEB)

Eternal life is simply that, resurrection to a life in God. So, how can we understand what is at stake and what is expected of us by God? We turn again to the word. The Bible teaches a difference between those who will be admitted to heaven, and those that will be both admitted and granted entrance into God’s presence. What is at stake is an eternity qualified to be near God. The word refers to this as the elect and in other places as the bride. The bride is those people who endured the pain and humiliation of public confession. They are the people who allowed God to heal their most difficult wounds and sin. The Bible says,

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; [26] that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, [27] that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect.” (Ephesians 5:25-27 WEB)

“Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10 WEB)

Yes, believing gets you into heaven, but confession is required if you want eternal glory in the presence of God.

Lord Jesus, I want to spend eternity in your presence. Please lend me the grace to confess you; to humble myself to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.