Sunday Devotional: John 12:20-22

 “Now some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival.  So they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested of him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”

Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.”  (John 12:20-22)

These verses in the book of John take place right after the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the week leading up to his death.  People from all around were coming into Jerusalem.  This included some Greeks which these verses mention.  These Greeks had heard all about Jesus and the works He had done.  And they wanted to see Jesus.

They went to Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples and asked Him.  Then He told Andrew (maybe in excitement, maybe in bewilderment that Greeks wanted to see Jesus) and then the two of them went to tell Jesus.

There are some people today that hear about Jesus and come to us.  They want to know about Jesus.  This should bring us joy and encourage us to point them to Jesus.  There are times when we are going out to fulfill the Great Commission that people will come to us.  They will find out that we are followers of Jesus and like Philip ask us “We want to see Jesus.”

This week, let us as we go point people to Jesus and hopefully we have an encounter like Philip and Andrew had where they come to us wanting to see and know Jesus.

Sunday Devotional: John 15:12-17

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:12-17

One of the best things in the world is to have a good friend.  One that is there with you through thick and thin.  One that you can rely on and trust.  One that cares about you and your well being and wants the best for you.

It is such a blessing to know that as a follower of Jesus, not only is He our Lord and Savior, He is also our friend.  He tells His disciples in John 15 about how much they should love one another and what that entails.  Jesus wasn’t one to just say and not do.  He also showed His love and what that meant giving of His life.  He embodied what it meant to lay down His life.  He did this so that we could have a restored relationship.  He did this so that we could call Him friend.

This week, let us live in the love that Christ has given to us.  Let us share that love with others.  And let us remember the true friendship we have with Jesus as followers of Him.

Sunday Devotional: 3 John

“The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.  For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.  For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.  Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.  So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.  Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink.  I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.”

3 John is a letter that gives a practical example for followers of Jesus showing love in truth.  John, the apostle, wrote the letter to Gaius.  Gaius was a leader in the church of his city and he had received a group of traveling missionaries.  He took care of these missionaries while they were in the city and John wanted to thank Gaius and encourage him to keep serving the Lord in this way.

Gaius was loving on these missionaries and through this was able to take part in the work that they were doing in spreading the Gospel.  This week, let us love on those around us in truth.  Let us encourage those whom God has called to serve around the world.  And let us be a part of the work that God has called us to do in sharing the Good News.

Sunday Devotional: 2 John

“The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.  And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.  And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.  For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.  Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.  Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,  for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

The children of your elect sister greet you.”

The letter of 2 John is one of the shortest books in the New Testament.  However, there are a lot of important things in this brief letter.  The main thing is the importance and the interconnection between truth and love.  John made it a point throughout the letter that the wrote to a congregation that he knew and loved to emphasize this.  Truth and love are intertwined.  You cannot separate the two.  If there is love but no truth, then there is not real love there.  If there is truth but no love, then it is legalism and not the whole truth.

Jesus was all about truth and love.  He was the way, the truth and the life.  He demonstrated His love for us.  If we are to be followers of Jesus, we need to be about truth and love in our lives.  This week, let us show love and speak truth together to others and to ourselves.

Sunday Devotional: John 21:15-23

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”  He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.  Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”  (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”  Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”  When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”  So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”  (John 21:15-23)

These verses are some of the more well known verses.  It is the story of Peter and Jesus talking after the resurrection and Jesus forgiving Peter and giving him a mission.  We all fail.  We all mess up.  But the great thing is Jesus forgives us when we repent.  And what’s even better is He still wants to use us for His kingdom.  He had a plan and purpose for Peter: “feed my lambs”, “tend my sheep”, “feed my sheep”.  He has a plan and purpose for your life too.  You just have to be open and ready to receive it.

The other big thing from this story is to focus on one’s own mission.  We sometimes get caught up in what other people are doing or how God is using them.  We have to be responsible for what God has called us to do and not worry about what others have in store.  Peter got caught up in worrying what would happen with John.  Jesus reminded him that it wasn’t Peter’s place to focus on John.  Peter was to focus on following Jesus.

This week, let us repent, let us accept forgiveness, let us be ready to follow Jesus and serve Him in whatever roles He has called us to do.

Sunday Devotional: John 1:35-42

“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).”  (John 1:35-42)

This is the account of the first disciples who followed Jesus.  Each one heard and met Jesus in different places, but the same invite was given to them.  They were each given the opportunity to follow Jesus.  We are given that same invitation, to follow Jesus.  We are given the same invitation to “Come and you will see” who Jesus is.

This week, let us be like Andrew and Peter and not only follow Jesus but invite others to follow as well.

Sunday Devotional: John 1:6-8

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” John 1:6-8

Last week’s Sunday Devotional looked at the first five verses of the book of John.  This week we look at the next few verses in the chapter.  Here we see John (the disciple) talk about John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was a forerunner to Jesus.  He was one who was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry.  That was his calling.  He was to be a witness.  He was to point others to the light (Jesus).

John the Baptist knew his role and accepted it.  Even though his role came with tough times and hardships, he accepted it because he knew who he was serving.  We as followers of Jesus are also called to bear witness to the light.  That is our calling in life if we are Christians.  We are to point others to Jesus.  It is not easy and it is not without hardships but we know who we serve is worth it.