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.  

Solidarity with Jesus

John 10:19-21 WEB

Therefore a division arose again among the Jews because of these words. [20] Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?” [21] Others said, “These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn’t possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?”


Jesus had trouble. In the verses above he is in a crowd and some of the people listening begin to accuse him of being demonized and insane. This is not so different from what believers experience today. In Christian circles, some would call Jesus demonized. At the same time, unbelievers today would likely call Jesus insane.

Jesus definitely had trouble at times when he was sharing the truth. Yet he spoke the truth anyways. Jesus did not get overwhelmed with a spirit of rejection or self-protection. Rather, he continued telling the truth which was a true act of love. Because Jesus loved others more than he loved himself he was able to stand for truth. Jesus also loved the Father more than he loved himself. That love helped him to defeat his flesh and stand for God.

Jesus experienced rejection and shame, yet, he did not turn against God. Instead, Jesus spent time in prayer, he knew the scriptures, and he testified to the truth. And many were saved. Today we are still mandated to witness to unbelievers with the hope that some will be saved (Mark 16:15-16). When we start sharing Christ, some will slander us and call us names. These are beautiful opportunities to lay our lives down, show the love of God, and stand in solidarity with Jesus.


Lord, please lead me into a love that is greater than my sense of self-protection. Teach me to love you and others more than I love myself. Help me to open my mouth and testify of your greatness and anoint me to lead others into a saving knowledge of You. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Righteous and Unrighteous Judgments

John 5:28-30 WEB

Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, [29] and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. [30] I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don’t seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.


The most famous verse about judgment in the Bible is probably “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged.” (Matthew 7:1 WEB) Jesus had the authority to judge but judgment was not his priority. In John 3:17 Jesus reveals his purpose is to save the world. And in John 3:16 Jesus reveals that the Father’s purpose is to save the world. Also, Jesus’ priority was to do the Father’s will. That is what made his judgment righteous.

The main piece of advice Jesus has for us regarding judgment is not to judge. He helps us understand the consequences are serious for the one who makes unrighteous judgments. More, we can recognize unrighteous judgments because they are not infused with the Lord’s purposes and priorities.  We can recognize unrighteous judgments by asking a couple of questions. First, is this judgment being made to help the person get saved? Second, what does this judgment do for the one making it?

It is easy to recognize unrighteous judgments such as gossip, but other situations may be more difficult. For example, some judgments are made for personal convenience. Telling someone to hurry up or slow down are judgments. They seem innocent until we recognize they do not help the one being judged.  

Judging other people can become a habit. When a person has a habit of judging they tend to lose their patience frequently. A couple of examples could be a person who often becomes angry at other drivers or at the person in front of them at checkout. Most people trace these two examples to a lack of patience. However, before the person’s patience was affected their attitude was affected and that is where the judgments are made.


Lord Jesus, please help me recognize when I am hearing or making an unrighteous judgment. Fill me with a desire to prioritize your will as my highest priority.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Granted for Life

John 5:24-26 WEB

“Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. [25] Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God’s voice; and those who hear will live. [26] For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.


When I read these verses, I think of Jesus’ time full of resurrected people. Yet, when we examine the historical record, there is no mention of a period when the dead spontaneously came back to life in significant numbers.  Verse 25 above says the dead will hear the Son’s voice and live. Yet, we can recognize that Jesus may not be talking about literal death. Instead, he is talking about spiritual life and death.  

He is talking about eternal life. The New Testament teaches that Jesus has been given the power to grant eternal life.  For this reason, we go to Jesus to ask for forgiveness and remission of sin in our life. It is Jesus we trust to grant us eternal life. It is Jesus’ words that people need to hear so they will believe and be saved. Once this happens it is said that person has passed from death to life.

Jesus is not boasting that he can grant eternal life. He is speaking the truth with love so that those who hear may be saved. As his followers, we also grant life. We do not grant life directly. Instead, we share the words and teachings of Jesus so that others may receive life from Jesus. Jesus’ words can be found in the New Testament of the Bible.

Occasionally, when reading the gospels of the New Testament, I notice that the Lord’s speech is plain. Not all of Jesus’ words are life-altering in appearance. Yet all of Jesus’ words are the most powerful words anywhere. They grant life because the Father deems it so. They do not grant life because they are amazing words. The words of Jesus are the closest thing we have to a direct conversation with the Father.


Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me life. Please bless me Lord that I may share your words with others so that you may grant them life also. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Birthplaces

John 4:43-50 WEB

After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. [44] For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. [45] So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. [47] When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. [48] Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.” [49] The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” [50] Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.


Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that made him a Judean. He was raised in Nazareth and seemed to base his ministry out of Capernaum of Galilee, yet still, he identified himself as coming from Judea. Jesus knew where he came from. He knew the stories of his miraculous birth. Jesus recognized he was from a better place and that is where he identified as his home country.

Every person who is in Christ has been born into the heavenly realms. This world is no longer our home. We are not from a certain country or continent, rather, we are from heaven. Having a correct orientation to our birthplace will define everything we do. Where we are born gives us a part of our identity. Where we are born gives us our purpose. Jesus knew he was born in a better place than Galilee, He knew he was from the royal line of David.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus returned to Galilee, it was that which was done in Jerusalem of Judea that caused the people of Capernaum to have an interest. It was that which originated in Jesus’ province of birth that caused interest in the Galileans.

Speaking of the first birth we all relate to a physical location on earth. Yet, when we experience the second birth that is by the Spirit, we have heaven as our hometown. Those things we get from our hometown of heaven will attract the attention of the lost here on earth. In the above text, Jesus chides the man for wanting to see a sign and then heals the child with no sign. Signs attract the attention of the world. But it is our faith that will help the lost make appropriate sense of signs when they come.


Lord Jesus, please help me identify as a person from heaven so that I can have a correct perspective on earth. Please let my life shine light into others’ darkness that I may lead some to salvation.