Posted in Devotions

John 3 Part 3–John the Baptizer

Wanna Be’s, it is a term people use to describe a person that longs to be “Center Stage” and does all the center stage actions, but alas is simply not the center stage guy.  Elvis’s impersonators, Comicon Star Trek impostors are a couple of the examples of Wanna Be’s that come to mind.  They go all out and invest their savings and community to “Be the Guy.” But no matter the expense or efforts, it is not destined to happen.

In contrast, John the Baptist was the complete opposite of a “Wanna Be”.  He was a warrior and a unique person for all of history.  He was sent to change the hearts of the Jewish people and prepare them for the Messiah. His ministry called on all who would listen to personally take responsibility for their sin and to change course.  

They were to repent and be baptized in recognition of their desire to be redeemed for their own sin. It was no longer to be a national issue where the day of atonement would package up a national sin problem.  Each person agreed with God that they were personally sinners and unable to live a perfect life.

John the Baptist never thrived on the limelight, and though He had an amazing following by the time Jesus started His ministry, the Baptizer knew it was time to turn out the lights, His party was over.  John’s disciples were sad, the Jewish leadership would become ecstatic, but John would never look back.  John the Baptist knew his mission was complete and all he had left to do is to support Jesus as the Messiah and let his own ministry fade out.

I am sure as John the apostle reflected upon Jesus and John and had heard the discussions thru the years about “The Baptizer” and about Jesus’ relationship and competition with His cousin.  Now reflecting on the story, John wanted all to know that John’s ministry was well purposed and well done.  In addition, John wanted the world to know that all that happened with our Lord was planned and inevitable. Jesus was doing exactly what the Messiah needed to do and was right where He needed to be!  

This passage also reminds us that we too are inevitably linked to our Lord and His plan for our lives.  We, like John the Baptist, are not “Wanna Be’s”.  God calls each of us to be like Him.  We no longer conform to the world’s pattern, but are transformed by the Holy Spirit, time in God’s word and prayer and fellowship with other believers. (Romans 12:1-2). He calls us to be His ambassadors. (2 Corinthians 5:20).  We are to live each day as John the Baptist did, announcing the great news of our Savior!

We do not ever lose heart, we do not listen to the jeering of the crowd, we simply follow the Lord’s lead with a grateful heart, a humble spirit, and a tenacious attitude to finish the race and keep the faith.

God Bless You!


22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[I] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Posted in Devotions

John 3 Part 2–Understanding John 3:16

Friday, we began to look at John 3:16…One look simply isn’t enough. As a father of 4 and “pops” to 3 additional treasures, each day I wake up to an understanding of the love of Abba, Father.  Our children’s lives are precious.  There really is no way to articulate the depth of love or willingness to sacrifice for these gifts placed in our lives.

We are willing to go to whatever lengths to assure their safety and quality of life.  We will work 3 jobs, forego any personal pleasure, sacrifice our personal dignity and release our hold on any other precious thing we have in our lives to assure our loved ones are cared for.

All of us who have parented would never hesitate to lay their lives down on the daily for their kids.  Now, imagine being the almighty master and creator of the universe. You provide a paradise to inhabit, every form of food and comfort to sustain.  You are watchful and engaged in the life of your chosen, but they still think they can do better on their own. 

You know they have to be allowed to make choices, even bad ones, if they are to ever love and feel loved. So, as you watch them turn their lives to a chaotic mess of fear and pain, you only have one thing left to give–yourself. So even as you begin that process, you know that many will refuse to accept the love being offered.  Even though that love comes at an enormous personal sacrifice. 

Still, because you love your chosen, you give up all that is precious for the chance that some will choose to accept the love and gift that you are providing.  When they do, you can restore the relationship destroyed by a world corrupted so deeply that it will never desire or even be able to right itself.  

Still, it is worth it for the few that look beyond their personal needs and desires and accept the gift that brings peace and restoration for now and for eternity.  John 3:16 is so simple to read, but it is also so profound in its depth of heartfelt love.  As a parent, and a grandparent, it seems impossible to miss the reason for our Savior and our faith.

God Bless You


 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Posted in Devotions

John 3 Part 1–The Night With Nicodemus

For the Pharisees, Jesus was considered at best an annoyance and at worst a false prophet.  So, for one of the leaders, Nicodemus to seek Jesus out and talk to Him, that was a big deal.  Jesus was not impressed.  Jesus was extremely disappointed in the religious leaders.  They had no concept, really, of who the God that they served really was.  They taught as though they served a rigid, uncaring, and distant God.  One who was waiting with a stick to smack anyone that walked out of line.

Jesus shot right past that to the truth.  He taught this very religious man that salvation had nothing to do with the physical acts of serving God.  He told Nick–You have to be reborn. One needs a new spiritual life to follow God.  That truth was so foreign to a religious leader that it set Nicodemus on his head.  

Jesus simply laid it out.  Our sin has made us like the Israelites in the desert.  When they had moved so far away from God,God sent snakes to take them out.  Then, at God’s direction, Aaron fashioned a snake and placed it on a pole. The pole was raised up so that anyone that would look and believe would be saved.

Jesus told this leader; God has sent His son to be the one lifted up. Jesus would be the salvation for anyone that would believe. God was not the distant and exacting task master looking for ways to exclude His chosen.  Instead, God so loved us that He sent His only Son to be the redeeming sacrifice for our sin.  God’s acts were the acts of a loving Father hoping to redeem what sin had destroyed.

Nicodemus left that night armed with the truth; Jesus laid it out.  Funny thing is that the truth of John 3:16 is shared more than about any verse in the Bible.  We have all seen the sign at events.  Most children learn that verse as one of the staples of Sunday school.  Even now, we need to cling to the truth that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son! This loving Father did that so that those who would believe would not perish but have eternal life.

God Bless you


1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still, you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things, and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

Posted in Devotions

John 2 Part 2–Jesus Clearing the Temple

Jesus was on His way.  He had His A team; He had completed His first public miracle, and now they were off to Passover in Jerusalem.  When Jesus and the apostles arrived, it was clear that what He saw was less than pleasing. The fanfare that was happening in the temple courts rivaled a flea market. The Lord became enraged as He witnessed the bartering, the corruption, the exploitation, as well as the indifference shown by the temple leadership.

Jesus cleared the temple.  He didn’t politely claim His dissatisfaction–He ran the crooks and corrupt people out! This was, after all, His Father’s house.  I love how the Message bible described the scene; Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!  There was little doubt or confusion about the message!  Then when the leaders complained and demanded for Him to show them His “Heavenly Badge”, Jesus spoke prophecy. I will tear the temple down and rebuild it in 3 days!

I can almost picture John recounting the story in his mind.  He, now several decades later, remembered the event with eyes on the cross. Jesus did not personally destroy the temple; the Romans would do that.  Instead, the Lord turned the entire message on its head.  Jesus made the relationship between God and His chosen personal rather than national.  They no longer needed merchants to sell lambs and doves for sacrifice; Jesus became that sacrifice.  People no longer had to purchase atonement; Jesus was their atonement!

Jesus is our atonement as well.  He was not timid, nor was He wishy washy! Jesus came with a mission to right what had become so wrong.  He came to restore fellowship between a God that loved His own and the very ones that He loved.  Jesus had no illusions about why He came.  Jesus came to die!  So, to see the very leaders exploit those that God adored demanded action. It is a great gift that Jesus came not only to show the people the true nature of the Father, but He also came to show the religious leaders how far they had ventured from the truth!

God Bless You


13-14 When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.

15-17 Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

18-19 But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.”

20-22 They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

23-25 During the time he was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. But Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them.

Posted in Devotions

John 2 Part 1–Let the Games Begin

So, Jesus had now completed the preparation for ministry and change.  Knowing God does nothing by chance, it is very telling that Jesus used a wedding and wine to make His formal introduction.  As we read the passage, one could think that the first miracle was a coincidence, and that Jesus was simply honoring His mom by doing this miracle.

The truth is, Jesus was about to start changing a number of the paradigms the Jewish people had formed about His Father, Adonai. The idea of changing water into wine at a wedding feast shows many great attributes of the Father.  Jesus had compassion for the family of the bride.  In their culture, such things as running out of food or wine at a celebration would cause a life of shame. It would signify poverty, or callousness to the friends and family. Jesus had compassion and saved face for the family.

Additionally, God was sending the signal, I am not a mean, silent, or uncaring God.  Instead, I love to celebrate.  This is a time of restoration, so let’s celebrate. As Jesus would remind His followers at a later time, we do not fast and mourn while the groom is here, that comes later after He is gone.  

Finally, Jesus wanted to communicate His Father’s attention to the lives of those He loves.  Think of it, He started with a miracle of provision.  Jehovah Jirah, God our provider. God cares for the needs of HIs chosen.  there are no needs that are too great or small.  Saving face for a family is not off limits, restoring community, not out of line.  God cares about all of it!

In our lives, we sometimes think that we cannot pray for the little things, we do not want to trouble God.  Jesus was showing us that there is nothing too small for a child to ask their Father.  He hears us and will protect, prepare, and provide for the needs of those He has chosen! Sometimes, the ask seems silly, but usually those are the things that seal our confidence that God hears our prayers!

God Bless You


On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

Posted in Devotions

John 1 Week 2–Calling the A-Team

When we look at the life and ministry of Jesus, we must understand the context of the times and Jewish leadership.  To be a Rabbi, one had to reach the age of thirty.  Then building a group of students became a matter of reputation and charisma.  Jesus was not formally trained by the likes of Gamaliel or other noted Rabbinical stand outs.  He was from Nazareth, poor, and an artisan.  So, when Jesus began the ministry, he picked young men probably 18ish years old. 

As Jesus came up from the Baptism of John, He made quite a splash…John the Baptist proclaimed Him Messiah! So, John’s followers like Simon, Andrew, James and John were already there and seeking to be taught.  Jesus’ call was the promise of a life of prestige for a young Jewish man. Little did these men know that Jesus’ call would ultimately change their entire view of Adonai and it would drive them to a mission to change the world as promised in God’s call in Exodus 19:6.

It had to be overwhelming to leave one’s life and livelihood and follow the young Rabbi. Still, as John reflected, he considered the call of the apostles as page 1 material.  We need to also understand, once we recognize the deity of Christ, the mission of Christ, then we must come to terms with Jesus’ call to a life of service and commitment. 

From the 1st call of Andrew, Jesus has only had one level of membership.  All-in.  He was never religious; He would never accept a casual nod.  Throughout our Lord’s time on earth, he had several that wanted to just purchase the basic membership.  Nicodemus, the rich young ruler and others.  Jesus quite lovingly but directly made the terms abundantly clear–“If anyone would come after me; let them deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.

History reminds us that these, His apostles did just that. John, while lovingly recounting the story, prioritized the events for all who would come to the Master.  Know His sovereignty and deity as God, Believe in His message and mission, then, wholly and completely commit to following Him as Savior and Lord.

God Bless You


35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[g]).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe[h] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you,[i] you[j] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[k] the Son of Man.”

Posted in Devotions

John 1 Week 2–John’s Podcast with the Pharisees

While studying John, I have looked at several translations of the Bible and commentaries. The Voice is a modern language, dynamic equivalent English translation of the Bible developed by Thomas Nelson (a subsidiary of News Corp) and the Ecclesia Bible Society. The team developing The Voice numbered more than 125 scholars, authors and artists.[3] The team included Greek, Hebrew and Latin scholars, Biblical scholars, poets, authors, musicians and pastors.[3]

I loved the way they handled this section of scripture.  They reshaped it into an interview format and gives an accurate but more interesting translation of the discussion.  What is more captivating is the probability that John was probably sitting at John the Baptist’s feet during the discussion and could feel the disdain John the Baptist had for the religious leaders. 

They so wanted to “catch” John the Baptist, ironically Jesus appeared the next day.  During that period John the Baptist was a rockstar with crowds rushing to him to be baptized for the remission of their sin.  John knew; however, He was to be the warmup band.  He was there to prepare the people to anticipate a spiritual savior, not a warrior king.

So, Jesus came, and John the Baptist was in awe and wanted to show true allegiance.  Jesus was baptized, and John told the group when Jesus came out of the water, God’s prophecy was fulfilled!–the trinity together…Father, Son, and Spirit. What’s more, the Father showed John the Spirit of God resting on the Son like a dove! Prophecy confirmed and no doubt in John the Baptist’s mind. So there sits John, young fisherman as this mighty teacher said not me…Jesus! Is it any surprise then that He would follow Jesus without question, I think not.  

John wanted us to know this was no small undertaking.  He bet his life on it!  It makes that decision more palatable to know that He learned of the Lord from the one sent to announce His arrival!  God planned and executed our redemption path carefully and executed that plan flawlessly.  John knew it and wanted to give everyone, even the religious leaders, the opportunity to know him personally, just like John!  

God Bless You 


19 The reputation of John was growing; and many had questions, including Jewish religious leaders from Jerusalem. 28 So some priests and Levites approached John in Bethany just beyond the Jordan River while he was baptizing and bombarded him with questions:[a]

Religious Leaders:  Who are you?

John the Baptist: 20 I’m not the Anointed One, if that is what you are asking.

Religious Leaders: 21 Your words sound familiar, like a prophet’s. Is that how we should address you? Are you the Prophet Elijah?

John the Baptist: No, I am not Elijah.

Religious Leaders: Are you the Prophet Moses told us would come?

John the Baptist: No.

Religious Leaders: 22 Then tell us who you are and what you are about because everyone is asking us, especially the Pharisees, and we must prepare an answer.

23 John replied with the words of Isaiah the prophet:

John the Baptist: Listen! I am a voice calling out in the wilderness.
        Straighten out the road for the Lord. He’s on His way.[b]

24-25 Then some of those sent by the Pharisees questioned him again.

Religious Leaders: How can you travel the countryside baptizing[c] people if you are not the Anointed One or Elijah or the Prophet?

John the Baptist: 26 Baptizing with water is what I do; but the One whom I speak of, whom we all await, is standing among you; and you have no idea who He is. 27 Though He comes after me, I am not even worthy to unlace His sandals.[d]

The mystery of Jesus’ identity occupies His contemporaries and will continue to occupy generations of believers for centuries to come. As the twelve journey with Him, it gradually becomes clearer who this man is, where He comes from, and how His existence will profoundly affect the rest of human history. The question of “Who is this man?” cannot be answered overnight.

29 The morning after this conversation, John sees Jesus coming toward him. In eager astonishment, he shouts out:

John the Baptist: Look! This man is more than He seems! He is the Lamb sent from God, the sacrifice to erase the sins of the world! 30 He is the One I have been saying will come after me, who existed long before me and is much greater than I am. 31 No one recognized Him—myself included. But I came baptizing[e] with water so that He might be revealed to Israel. 32 As I watched, the Spirit came down like a dove from heaven and rested on Him. 33 I didn’t recognize Him at first, but the One who sent me to baptize told me, “The One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit will be the person you see the Spirit come down and rest upon.” 34 I have seen this with my own eyes and can attest that this One is the Son of God!

Posted in Devotions

John 1–John the Baptist

God knew Jesus’ arrival was critical.  God had prepared John the Baptist to change the hearts and thoughts of the people so that they would be ready for Jesus’ coming.  There had been no written prophecy and no prophetic leadership in Israel for several hundred years, and the people needed to be ready for the heart change that God had in mind. God sent John the Baptist to remind the people to turn their lives around and repent from a life of independence from the Lord.

The people were ready to hear the truth and came out in droves to change their lives and be baptized in repentance for their sin.  This caused a major stir in the religious community and so they wanted to stop John from claiming the place of Messiah.  What is ironic, however, is that John was clear in his message that he was not the Messiah but the one to prepare the way for the Messiah.  This drove the leaders crazy.  As John’s crowds grew and the people’s hearts were ready; It was then time for Jesus appearance on the scene.  

Jesus was now 30 and ready for Rabbinical service, and So He came to John to be baptized and when that occurred, God said let the games begin!  We will never know the impact John’s preaching had on the people of Israel.  We know that many of the disciples had been John’s followers prior to Jesus’ ministry. We do know that John never needed to be the center of attention.  He simply needed to prepare the way for Jesus to take center stage. John did so without question and will be remembered as one of God’s great ones because he did!

God Bless You


19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[c] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”[d]

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with[e] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John Testifies About Jesus

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[f]

Posted in Devotions

John 1–Jesus the Creator and Re-Creator

It is easy to overlook the magnitude of Jesus’ placement at the beginning of the world.  He and the Father were side by side and preparing to create men in God’s image so that there would be fellowship between God and man.  Only then, did the Father say. “Let there be light!”

Preparing the earth for man’s arrival was no small task. The specificity, the beauty, and the cyclical alignment of all things in the world required exponential planning, power, and insight. Even now, as the earth has aged, we still notice God’s handiwork in all things great and small.  God planned that as well.

It was with that attention to purpose, plans, and detail that God also created us.  The inconceivable truth for many who fail to follow and some that do is that God created men knowing that they would fail to live out the peaceful and purposeful plan that God built and executed for them. 

That elephant has planted himself for generations in the living room, on the couch, with a glass of sweet tea.

The short answer is “That for us to be us, we had to be able to choose!” God knew that. God also knew that giving people the ability to choose also gave people the ability to choose poorly. So, with the same attention to detail used to create the universe and all contained within, Father and Son created a way for beings who could choose to recover from the ridiculous choices that they make.

Jesus was that well-conceived and well-executed plan. Jesus re-created life for us in the same amazing way that He first created the universe.  The re-created method of having a personal relationship with Adonai accounts for men’s ability to choose and men’s ability to choose poorly. 

John’s friend Jesus was that well-conceived and well-executed plan. Jesus re-created life for us in the same amazing way that He first created the universe.  The re-created method of having a personal relationship with Adonai accounts for men’s ability to choose and men’s ability to choose poorly. 

So, once again, John’s preface to the story of Jesus spotlights Christ’s deity, His love, and His desire to reveal the Father’s love. and God’s complete plan for our lives! The Greatest Creator and Recreator that has ever existed saved the best work for the last!

God Bless You

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Posted in Devotions

John 1–Jesus the Light and Life of the World

One of the distinctions that appeared in Jesus’ ministry was His deity.  He was not simply a great man, a great teacher, a healer, or a prophet.  Jesus was God.  As God, Jesus was the most inclusive man alive. Jesus hugged lepers, He regularly dined with the tax collectors and riff raff, within the communities.  Jesus treated women with more love and respect than any in His culture, and Jesus was the hardest on the religious leaders, because they were so rigid and hypocritical.

Jesus wanted the world to understand that while relationship with Him was inclusive, it was also exclusive! Jesus made clear that there were not multiple routes to reaching the Father.  Jesus Himself was the light and the life for the world.  That was drove the leaders in Israel so mad.  They had long ago put their entire spiritual investment into religious life.  Following a set of laws and traditions.  They had a pat formula that if followed to the letter was their hope for and in glory.

That is what makes Jesus revelation regarding being the light and life to the world tough.  Unless one truly believes that He is Lord; not religion, tradition, or activity, then they will never experience the peace and security of salvation.  One simply cannot earn nor maintain the credit needed obtain or to keep a gift.  So, placing your hope on your own “goodness” or your own accomplishments are  frankly a form of idol worship.  Even sadder, it is yourself that really sits on the throne.

As John began to reflect, he thought it critical for folks not only to know Jesus was God, but, also to understand that since He is God; our life and worship should be about Him and not about ourselves—for He is the light and life of the world.

God Bless You

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.