What An Effective Witness for Jesus Does

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 9:24-34.  Let’s go!

John 9:24-25 (NIV) 
24  A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25  He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

On verses 24-25:  When questioned again by the Pharisees, the “once was blind but now I see” man is not afraid to testify about what Jesus has done in his life.  He didn’t claim to have all the answers. Rather he simply boldly shared his experience about the difference Jesus made in his life.  To be an effective witness for Jesus, you don’t need to have all the answers, but you do need to be willing to share your story.

John 9:26-34 (NIV) 
26  Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27  He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
28  Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses!
29  We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30  The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.
31  We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.
32  Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.

Not Afraid to Identify with Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 9:13-23.  Let’s go!

John 9:13-16 (NIV) 
13  They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 
14  Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 
15  Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” 
16  Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.

On verses 13-16:  In response to Jesus giving sight to a blind man on the Sabbath day, some Pharisees fixate on their little rules – how Jesus healing on the Sabbath was a violation of their Sabbath day rules – all the while missing what really matters to God.  May we not make the same mistake.  May I not be so focused on my own little man-made system being challenged that I miss the big things that God is doing. 

A Big Reason Why God Allows Suffering

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 9:1-12.  Let’s go!

John 9:1-3 (NIV) 
1  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 
2  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 
3  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

On verses 1-3:  When the disciples saw a man blind from birth, the disciples immediately assumed that the man’s blindness was somebody’s fault.  The only question for them was “Who is to blame?”  But Jesus didn’t play the blame game.  Instead, Jesus explains that the reason why this man was born blind was not due to this man’s sins or his parents’ sins, but so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.  What can we learn from this?  When God allows pain in your life, it is not because God is not there or He doesn’t care, and it’s not necessarily because you have sinned.  Rather God allows pain and hardship ultimately because He has plans to display His power and glory through your life in ways that neither you nor others could have foreseen.  Pain is a canvas on which God loves to paint His glory.

The Most Important Question You Will Ever Answer

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 8:48-59.  Let’s go!

John 8:48-59 (NIV) 
48  The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” 
49  “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 
50  I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 
51  I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 
52  At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 
53  Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” 
54  Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 
55  Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 
56  Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 
57  “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 
58  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 
59  At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

On verses 48-59:  Here in these verses Jesus makes some incredible claims:

–        Jesus claims that if you obey his word, you will never die (v51)

–        Jesus claims that he has special knowledge of who God is (v55)

Jesus, God’s Perfect Offering

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 8:12-20.  Let’s go!

John 8:12-20 (NIV) 
12  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 
13  The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” 
14  Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 
15  You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 
16  But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 
17  In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 
18  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” 
19  Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 
20  He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.

On verses 12-20:  I find it powerful and interesting to think that when Jesus said these things about him being the light of the world (v12), giving people the light of life (v12), passing judgment on no one (v15), and standing with the Father (v16), Jesus said all these things “in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put” (v20).  In other words, even as people were giving their imperfect offerings for God, Jesus was right there, being given as God’s perfect offering for people. 

Not Condemned Because of Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 8:1-11.  We’ll also take up John 7:53 as part of it.  Let’s go!

John 7:53-8:1 (NIV) 
53  Then each went to his own home.
1  But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

On 7:53-8:1:   Why did Jesus go to the Mount of Olives?  To pray.  See, for example, Luke 22:39-41.  This was an important secret to Jesus’ success: Jesus prioritized time praying to the Father.  He would go out of his way to do so, and in so doing he experienced a peace, a power and a wisdom that the world could not give.  As we like to say at Thrive, much prayer, much power.  Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power.  Be a person of prayer and you will experience God’s power.

John 8:2-6a (NIV) 
2  At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
3  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
4  and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
6  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him…

Come Thirsty to Jesus + What Pressure Does

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 7:37-52.  Let’s go!

John 7:37-39 (NIV) 
37  On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
38  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
39  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

On verses 37-39:  Jesus, who often sat when he taught, stands for emphasis and makes the invitation for all who are thirsty to come to him and drink.  The promise Jesus publicly gives here is the same promise Jesus privately gave to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:13-14: that those who believe in him will have flowing from within them streams of living water.  Streams of living water are a reference to the Holy Spirit.

Get to Know Jesus Better

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 7:25-36.  Let’s go!

John 7:25-26 (NIV) 
25  At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?
26  Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?

On verses 25-26:  Some in Jerusalem wondered why the Jerusalem authorities were allowing Jesus to preach publicly if they considered him to be public enemy number 1 (v25-26).  By not doing anything seemingly to stop Jesus, the religious leaders were seen by some as possibly approving of Jesus’ claims.  What can we learn from this?  When you’re silent on an issue, you may give others the impression that you accept the status quo as being okay.  May you have wisdom to know when to speak up and when to remain silent, and when you do speak up, may you speak up with wisdom.

John 7:27 (NIV)
27  But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”

Wisdom from the Father

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 7:14-24.  Let’s go!

John 7:14 (NIV) 
14  Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 

On verse 14:  The Feast of Tabernacles lasted 8 days.  According to some scholars, it had been approximately 18 months since the last time Jesus visited Jerusalem.  Many were expecting Jesus to make a public appearance at the Feast, but Jesus does not appear when everyone expects.  Only when the Feast is halfway through did Jesus begin to teach in the temple courts.  There he amazes the crowd with his teaching. 

John 7:15 (NIV) 
15  The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?”

On verse 15:  When the Jews ask, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?”, some scholars read this as the Jews simply being amazed that a man without formal rabbinical training like Jesus could teach with such wisdom and power.  However, there is probably also a streak of skepticism in their question as well. 

From Not Enough to More Than Enough

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 6:1-15.  Let’s go!

John 6:1-5 (NIV) 
1  Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 
2  and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 
3  Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 
4  The Jewish Passover Feast was near. 
5  When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”

On verses 1-5:  Notice that when Jesus sees the crowd, his heart goes out to them and he wants to serve them.  When he sees the crowd, he probably envisions fields ripe for harvest. What do you see when you see crowds in your city? Like Jesus may you have a heart for the people around you.  Like Jesus, may you desire for God to work powerfully in their lives. As we will see in this passage, multitudes will be blessed when the hearts of a few willing and courageous individuals match the heart of God.