Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no other way to the Father except throughJesus. Jesus is the One that sets apart Christianity from false religions. Jesus is the way and when we seek Him and get a relationship with Him then we get to know the Father. Jesus speaks of how He is one with the Father which the disciples didn’t yet understand. They didn’t understand what He was talking about yet nor understand how they could be with Him.
 
            Anyone who beleives in Jesus will also do the things that He did in the flesh and even greater things because we have the Holy Spirit through what Jesus conquered at the cross. Our lifestyle should look similar to all Jesus did in His ministry; we should be sharing the gospel with others, we should be laying hands on the sick and in Jesus name seeing them healed, we should be active disciples. Jesus said that if we really love Him, we will keep and obey His commandments. Our lifestyles and actions should be a reflection of our love for Jesus. This isn’t about being legalistic in any way, however its simple; whatever we beleive and feel on the inside will be shown by our actions. If our hearts are for Jesus and we are surrendered to Him our actions should show that. If someone isn’t surrendered to Jesus or they don’t love Him yet then their actions will show that as well. It is a good self check to asses our actions regularly,ask God where we fell short and ask that He renews our minds in those areas. Again, this isn’t about legalism its about loving Jesus so much that our life shows that to Him and all who are around us. A Christian means to be like Christ; we should want our actions and our walk to be like Him if we are going to call ourselves Christians.

            Jesus also said that anything we ask the Father in His name, He will do so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. When we pray for something and God answers our prayer, don’t hold it in, share it so that it can be celebrated and He can be glorified in it. Share what He has done.

            Again, Jesus mentions that if we love Him we will keep His words and commands. So many beleive that there is no action needed in the Christian walk, some believe merely saying you beleive and love Jesus is all thats needed. Jesus mentions twice in this chapter that if we truly LOVE Him we will keep His words and His commands, this requires action on our parts. This requires actions by us to dedicate time in Him and His word and obeying what His word says and not merely reading it to read it. When we get in the word we should be transformed by it, its not a bullet point to check off of a to do list. When we get transformed by the word we are able to obey the commands and it comes through surrendering and working with God to renew our minds. We have to choose to let God renew our minds and when we do this our lifestyle and actions show that we really do have love for Jesus. We should have so much love for Him that we want His word to change our hearts and we should want to be like Him and have our actions be like His and the mere thought of disobeying His commands should be revolting to us. Reference James 2:14-26; faith without works is dead, our actions matter.

            Jesus also mentions the coming of the Helper, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, our advocate, intercessor, counselor, and strengthener. The Holy Spirit is how we can be guided by God through life and stay in Him and Him in us. Through the Holy Spirit we are not orphans we are one with God the Father and Jesus. The Holy Spirit teaches us as we walk with Christ so that we can know Him more deeply.

            Jesus gives us peace, not the way the world does but a supernatural internal peace. We can be in the middle of a storm which is the opposite of peace yet be cloaked in His peace in the midst of it. We do not need to let our hearts be troubled nor be afraid. We need to accept and allow His perfect peace to keep us grounded in Him in every storm.

            Jesus told them all of these things so that way, when it came to pass it would give them more faith. God will give us prophetic messages for many reasons but one of the reasons is so that whenever the message comes to pass our faith will grow from hearing His word and seeing His magnificence.

            To end this chapter, Jesus said that satan, the ruler of the world was coming but that the devil had no claim on Him. The devil had no power over Jesus or anything that he could use against Jesus, but Jesus didn’t fight what was about to happen because He knew what the Fathers plan was and was in aggreance with it. HE only wanted to do what the Fathers plan was and thats how we should be, always.

 

John Chapter 13:34

            Before we dive into this entire chapter I want to highlight the end of the chapter, specifically verse 34, where we are given the commandment to love one another. 

            We are in the easiest time of year to show love to one another. In this Christmas season whether one is born again or not, giving and showing acts of love and kindness is celebrated.  The born again know its because we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, the birth of the Messiah and we love to celebrate that and show love to one another and give to others imitating the way our heavenly Father loves to give to us. After all, He gave the greatest gift of all when He gave us Jesus. To the secular world they too love to celebrate the giving and the love this time of year even though they don’t fully understand it. This is an amazing time of year to step out one step further in showing love to others.

            In John 13 we are commanded to love one another, this is how God operates, through love. We are to mirror Him and operate in love as well. God is love, He made us in love in His image so this commandment shouldn’t be a hard thing for us to accomplish, it should be our natural default. If its hard to love one another or show love, this is something that I would encourage you to spend time in prayer with God on. Often times if we struggle to show love to others its because we are having a hard time receiving the love that God is trying to cover us in. He doesn’t command us to do something that is out of reach.

            All He does is out of love. We should strive to be in the place where all we do is out of love too.  We should be praying for God to renew our minds to naturally do all things in love. Recently I heard that there are some christians who beleive that God uses the devil as a tool to toughen up Christians and make them more in Gods image. To me, I say that doesn’t sound like love at all. God is love and uses love to teach us things and help us grow in love in Him. God doesn’t use evil to teach christians, though we may learn in times of trials; He uses love, His language is through love. Gods character is love, and He made us in His image. This means our character traits should be in love too. Our actions should be love based actions, our motives should always be in love. We shouldn’t operate through evil ways to do anything, we should always operate and do all things in love.

            This Christmas week I encourage you to step out and show love to someone you wouldn’t maybe typically show love too. Make someone Christmas cookies, give someone a Christmas card that shows them how much you appreciate them. Its not about the money, its about the thought that goes into the action of going out of your way to show love. Ask God who needs to feel loved right now, for some this is a hard time of year. Ask God to highlight those who need extra love and what will touch their heart the most. Again, its not about the money, it could even be something as simple as a hand made card, its the thought not the price tag. Go forth and love one another and have a very Merry Christmas.

 

John Chapter 13

            In this chapter Jesus takes a servant towel and begins to wash His disciples feet. Peter, without thinking first or having a filter, told Jesus no, that He (Jesus) would never wash his feet. Jesus replies that if Peter didn’t let Him wash his feet then Peter will have no part in Jesus. Again, without a filter, Peter replies that Jesus can wash his hands and head too. Having a filter can be an important thing, having the patience to wait upon the Lord before we quickly respond to things out of emotion is always a good idea. There are moments when speaking without overthinking is good, but for the most part we should be aiming to seek the Lord on things before jumping to respond off of feelings/emotions and reactions. Taking every thought captive is key on how to do this. Remember, there is life and death in the power of the tongue, this reason alone should motivate us to watch what we say before we say it.

            What did the foot washing mean? When we repent, surrender to Jesus and get born again we get our sins washed away through the blood of Jesus. However, we will still have times where we may sin, in this we need to continue to confess and repent of our sins. We don’t need to get reborn again. Jesus was showing them that they wouldn’t need to be fully bathe after already bathing. In those times one would get their feet dirty when walking the dirt roads to go anywhere so they would wash their feet often when they would get home, but they wouldn’t need to bathe their whole bodies when just their feet were dirty. When one is born again and sins, they don’t need to ask to be born again or get water baptized over and over again, they merely need to repent of the sin and keep on in their journey with Jesus.

            Jesus also told them that they should learn by example, Jesus grabbed a servants towel and then washed their feet so that they may go and do the same to others. We do this when we share the gospel with others and
introduce them to Jesus so that they may decided to get born again. 

            Jesus said that He wasn’t speaking this to all of them, because He already knew who was going to betray Him and who wasn’t fully committed to Him. Jesus, feeling troubled in Spirit, finally told the disciples that one of them would   betray Him. The disciples wanted to know who it was, and Jesus said that whoever He hands the bread after it was dipped is the one who will betray Him. He then handed the bread to Judas Iscariot and said what you are going to do, do it quickly without delay. The disciples thought that sense he was the treasurer that we was possibly going to go by something, or give money to the poor; they didn’t understand.

            Take note of this as well, Jesus knew the whole time that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. Yet He didn’t operate off of hurt feelings or emotions, He didn’t allow any of that to get in the way of what He knew had to be done. He followed Gods plan and didn’t allow anything to get in the way.  He didn’t treat Judas differently or be mean to him everyday because He knew that Judas would betray Him. If we had to work with someone and we knew that they would betray us in an awful way, it’d make us not want to work with that person. Yet Jesus didn’t complain, He didn’t pull Judas aside and yell at Him, He treated Him the same as the other disciples. One way we know this is because of all of the testimonies from he disciples we never see one count of Jesus treating Judas differently from the rest like an ugly duckling. In fact, when Jesus said one will betray Him they couldn’t even figure out who it was. Jesus still treated Judas in love. For the average person today that would be a hard thing to do, yet not impossible thanks to the Holy Spirit.

            Jesus then said that now was the time for the Son of Man to be glorified and God is glorified in Him. He then tells them that He will only be with them a little longer, yet they still had no idea what He was talking about.
Often times God can give us a message and we can miss it because our minds are still too carnal. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to aid us in the renewing of our minds. As we grow in Christ we will be able to understand His messages more clearly.

            Jesus tells them that where He is going they cannot go, to us its obvious to what He was talking about, to them they probably thought He was going to travel to another land that for whatever reason they weren’t allowed to travel too with Him. Jesus told them that they couldn’t go with Him then gives them a new commandment, that they would love one another.

            Love is what is supposed to set us apart from the world. People should be able to look at us and see that we act and operate through love and that we must belong to Jesus because God is love. Unfortunately there are too many Christians who don’t know how to walk in love yet and their actions can unintentionally come off as not only opposite of love but also in hypocritical ways. This is one of the biggest reasons unbelievers don’t want to follow Jesus, because they see His “followers” as walking in hate and judgment and this comes off as fake and hypocritical.

            In order for us to walk in love we first need to repent, then seek God. God is love, to show love to others you need to first know that God loves you and receive His love. We can’t give what we don’t have, to give love and walk in love we have to first receive His love. I say receive because He is already freely giving His love to us, we just may not be fully receiving it.  When we fully receive His love it will make it natural for us to walk in love and show love to others. If you struggle with showing love to others, seek God, ask God to help you remove whatever is blocking you from truly receiving His love, spend time getting to know Him more.

            Peter then says that wherever Jesus is going, Peter will go too, He will lay down His life for Him. To this Jesus replies that before a rooster crows he will deny Jesus three times. Its easy to vocally say that we surrender and give our lives to Jesus. Its another thing to truly do it. We need to not just talk the talk but we need to actually walk the walk. Its not by our works rather its by our transformation in Christ by our relationship with Him. New Years is a great time to re-evaluate where you are on your walk with Jesus.  This is a great time to ask God to show you what you need to let go of, what you need to repent of, what you need to keep doing, what you need to make changes with, maybe relationships you need to let go of or work on. This is a great time to ask God what we need to do differently to work on our relationship with Him, what we need to keep doing to know Him more and what He wants us to really focus on this year. I encourage us all to seek the Lord this week and really allow Him to show us what we need to this year to grow in Him, know Him more and be able to fully obey the commandment He gave us; love one another. God never commands us to do something that isn’t possible, its fully within our reach.

 

            It was six days before Passover and Jesus was back in Bethany with Lazarus (whom He hadrose from the dead) and his family for supper. The picture that is painted here is incredible to ponder. Lazarus, who was dead but Jesus rose to life is reclined at the table next to Jesus who is sitting back and enjoying the company. Martha was there serving and Mary came up to Jesus with a pound of perfume and began to anoint His feet with the perfume, wiping it with her hair. This perfume was expensive, some theologians beleive that to buy this expensive perfume Mary had to have spent her life savings on it. She gave all that she had to get this perfume to anoint Jesus with because she loved Jesus so much and wanted to bless Him and shower Him with her love. Her heart was postured on Jesus and nothing else mattered, especially finances. This is how we should be, we should have our hearts postured on wanting to worship and love Jesus regardless of the cost.


            Judas didn’t like this at all, he saw the expensive perfume being poured on Jesus’ feet and instead of seeing the beauty in how much Mary loved Jesus, Judas saw wasted money. Judas didn’t se this is an act of love and worship rather a waste of money, yet he tried to make it sound like his motives were good. Rather than being honest he lied and said that the money would have better served the poor rather than expensive perfume to dump on Jesus’ feet.  When the enemy tries to put a nasty thought in your head he will try to make it seem good by manipulating and twisting the motives. The truth was, Judas didn’t care about the poor, he was in charge of the money and had been steeling from it and he wanted the perfume to be sold so that the money could go to them and he would be able to steel from it. He wanted to benefit from it, he didn’t care about the poor and he didn’t care to see Jesus being adored by Mary, he was completely filled with greed.


            Jesus told Judas to leave her alone so that she may keep the rest of the oil for the day of His burial. He said that they will always have the poor but He will not be there forever. Jesus could read Judas’ mind and knew his motives yet didn’t call him out on it, instead He prophesied what was to come and none of them seemed to understand that at that moment.


            A large group of Jews had heard that Jesus was there and that He had rose Lazarus from the dead so they came to see for themselves. The chief priests knew this and plotted to kill Lazarus as well, because as long as Lazarus was alive he was leading people to Jesus and more and more Jews were walking away from the traditions and teaching of the Jewish leaders. The chief priests wanted the Jews to forget about the miracle so they’d keep following the Jewish leaders but as long as Lazarus was there it was a constant reminder of what Jesus had done.


            The next day, when the large crowd who had come to the Passover feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took branches of palm trees in homage to Him as King and went out to meet Him. They began shouting praises to Him; Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it to fulfill prophecy. The disciples were unsure why He sat on the donkey but once they saw Him on a donkey and people praising Him with the palms they remembered the scripture. The people who were with Jesus when He raised Lazarus’ from the tomb went and told everyone the testimony and it caused more and more people to come see Jesus. This only angered the Pharisees even more. The Pharisees were so terrified of losing their following and their power.  There could have been some whose hearts were in the right places, unfortunately they were overshadowed by the ones who were seeking to kill and murder to “protect” their religion.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! This is an incredible day to give extra thanks and praise to God and all that He has done for you. Begin reminding yourself all that God has done in your life, meditate on His goodness and bring that heart posture to this Thanksgiving day to give thanks to Him and to share your testimony with others so they too can see how great our God is.

 


            The chapter continues by the Gentiles wishing to see Jesus and asking Philip if they could see Him. Jesus said that the time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified and exalted. Jesus spoke prophetically and called things forth even though it may not have made sense to the disciples. Often time when we hear prophetic words they won’t make sense with what is going on in the natural, but that’s the whole point. The prophetic is the word from God that calls forth His will into action. God tells His prophets His plans, and then the prophets will share with the body on God’s perfect timing. Jesus then prophesied His fleshly death which confused the people. They didn’t understand how He was eternal yet about to be lifted up.

            We often times miss the message in prophetic words because we interpret wrong, we tend to interpret things off the current knowledge and wisdom we have which might not be enough to correctly interpret the word given in that moment. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us to understand interpretations of prophetic words.

            Jesus is the light in the darkness and those who follow Him will stay in His light and glory. To follow Him we have to beleive and trust in Him, we need to stay out of doubt. After all the miracles He performed some still doubted and had disbelief. Even though the light was right in front of them, some couldn’t see it. We have to be open to receive Jesus and we have to surrender fully to Him. We have to choose Him above all else to be in His light and stay in His light. The moment we lose focus of Him and intimacy with Him, our light dims and it slowly begins to get dark. The dark wants to devour those who beleive. The enemy wants to pull believers into distractions and being busy in hopes to dim His light in them. God will never force us to stay in communion with Him, we have to choose to fight to stay in His light. We do this by spending time with Him, reading His word, worshiping Him and continuously surrending to Jesus in all things with every knew opportunity that arises to surrender.

            Verse 42 says that there were pharisees who believed Jesus was the Song of God yet they wouldn’t confess it out of fear that they would be rejected and kicked out of the synagogue.  They feared losing their approval and stature that the synagogue provided them, they weren’t willing to surrender. We need to do more than believe, we need to surrender. Anyone who believes and trusts in Jesus will no longer live in darkness, they will live in light. When we trust in Jesus our actions will show it, we will show a life that is surrendered; we have to choose.

            Even Jesus had a choice, HE states that the words He spoke were not on His own initiative or authority but the Father Himself who sent Jesus. He had to choose to say what the Father said and not say anything else. He had to choose to execute the will of God, He wasn’t forced to do it. God never forces anything to do anything, everyone always has free choice.

 

            By the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days. Many of the Jews were there to comfort Martha and Mary; as soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went to meet Him while Mary stayed in the house. Martha told Jesus that had He been there He could have saved Lazarus but even though he is here later, she knows that whatever Jesus will ask God, He will give Him. Jesus looked to Martha and told her that Lazarus will rise again.


            First lets look at the faith Martha had, even though her brother was dead she knew that whatever Jesus asked God, it would be given. She knew that somehow someway Jesus could still perform a miracle, why else would she say that? Had she been without hope she surely wouldn’t have said that, deep down she had faith that He could do something. I don’t think she was aware of exactly what that something would be, especially because next Jesus told her that Lazarus will rise again and she thought Jesus was referring to the carrying away of the church at the end of age. Despite not knowing what Jesus meant she had faith that Jesus could do something to fix the situation and bring good of it. We need to always keep our faith alive and strong, we don’t need to always understand the way or the outcome but simply having faith that God will provide and has a plan is what we need to focus on. Its a reminder to keep your eyes on Jesus, not the storm around us.


            Jesus said that He is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Him, though they were dead, shall live. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and we get born again, we will live with Him eternally and shall never die. When we see that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and we make Him our life, we will live in Him eternally.


            Martha went and got Mary to come see Jesus, when Mary saw Jesus she fell to His feet, wept and said that had He been here Lazarus wouldn’t have died. Jesus groaned when He heard what Mary felt and when He saw her and the Jews that followed her all weeping. Groan in greek means to show discomfort, to sigh, to express grief or frustration. A few verses later it says that Jesus wept. I beleive it was hard for Him to see how sad all these people were, and also how they had given up and accepted that Lazarus was gone purely because they didn’t know any different. This isn’t how it was meant to be and was another confirmation that things had to change. Jesus was going to change the world in more ways than they knew, in more ways than raising Lazarus from the tomb.


            Jesus told them to move the stone blocking the tomb to which they argued, they said that surely he would stink by now because its been four days. Jesus said, ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?’ We have to beleive, we have to have our faith strong in the Lord, we can’t afford to entertain doubt, no matter how impossible or odd it may seem. They rolled the stone away and Jesus went into the tomb, He lifted up Lazarus’ eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.’ As Jesus said this, Lazarus began to cry out and he came forth. He had been wrapped and Jesus told them to loose him and let him go. Lazarus who was dead for four days was now fully alive.


            After this miracle some saw and believed yet some still doubted. Not only did some doubt but they went to the Pharisees to tell them about what had happened. The Pharisees then gathered and held a meeting to figure out what to do, they feared that if they did nothing everyone would follow Jesus because of the miracles He did (light is contagious). They feared that if everyone followed Jesus it would upset Rome and Rome would wipe out religion altogether. Its sad how much fear gripped their hearts, fear of their traditions going away; so much fear that they would rather deny the Son of God than loose their traditions. Caiaphas, the high priest, then decided that they would sacrifice Him in order to keep their traditions and peace with Rome. So Jesus went to the wilderness after this and didn’t walk openly amongst the Jews anymore because He knew what Caiaphas was plotting and He was waiting for His time.


            Fear of change can create awful mindsets. Its important to never operate out of fear, and to be open to change. Be open to being uncomfortable, in fact embrace it. We never want to get so stuck in our ways like the Pharisees did that we miss a move of God. The Pharisees had God in a box and didn’t even realize it, we need to learn from their mistakes. We should seek relationship with Jesus, not religion.

 


1 Corinthians 13


            This chapter has repeatedly shown up this week and I feel its something we need to dive into which is why I’m adding it to this weeks bible study, as an extra.. This whole chapter is about love, how we should be doing things in love. With love we can have hope and faith, but faith and hope will not exist without love. Love conquers all. Why? Because God is love, and in God everything is possible.


            This chapter gives us illustration to help us understand what is being done in love verses what is being done not in love. Love is: patient, kind, nice, it rejoices in truth, it protects, trusts, hopes and preserves. Love is not: rude, proud, self-seeking, easily angered, boastful, it doesn’t keep records of wrongs, it doesn’t delight in evil and love never fails.


            If you are doing something in love it will not fail.


            We as the church should be praying for the world, for our country, for our cities, for our families, for our friends etc. However, its good to put ourselves in check sometimes with our prayers. Our prayers always need to come from a place of love, that’s when they carry real authority in Jesus. However, if we are praying it isn’t done in love, its maybe self-centered or a reaction to anger; well that’s not going to carry much authority with it. We need to always make sure we are coming from a place of love. Love never fails and love endures all. Jesus never fails and He endures all.