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“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).

May 8, 2017

An hour is coming when the resurrecting life of Jesus will raise all of humanity bodily. The resurrection of the body is both the hope and the dread of the Christian faith. For the “voice” of Christ will call and all will “come forth” just as Lazarus did. Those who have believed in Jesus will be raised to eternal life with Him. But those who have not believed will be raised to “condemnation,” which is the judgement of God already passed against them because of their sin.

The resurrection of the righteous will come first, preceding the resurrection of the condemned. There is much more on this in the Scriptures, yet this point is to be understood: The resurrection of the body is central to Christ’s teaching. This is not to be understood as a metaphor, but a reality. Christ taught the resurrection of the dead, then He proved it by being raised from the dead on the third day.

“This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee” (John 4:54 NKJV).

May 6, 2017

The gospel of John recorded seven “signs” of Jesus. These were miracles, yet John chose to call them “signs” because he wanted to emphasize their purpose, namely, that they pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.

John wrote, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).

John wanted his readers to take their eyes off of the miracles and put them on the Miracle-worker, Jesus. In this second sign, Jesus healed the nobleman’s son in Cana without even going to see him. He healed him with a word. And the nobleman, an officer of the king, believed in Jesus as his true King from that day forward.

The Word of Triumph

April 2, 2017 | John 19:28-30 | crucifixion, jesus

Do you ever feel defeated? Have you ever felt as if you were a failure at everything? School, work, marriage, parenting, etc? Do you ever feel defeated by sin? Like certain sins continue to beset you? Jesus took what looked like complete failure and turned it into total triumph!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus let out a triumphant cry from the cross that He had finished the work of salvation. This salvation is a finished work, yet we still have to respond to it.

The Word of Distress

March 26, 2017 | John 19:28-29 | crucifixion, jesus

Are you thirsty today? Would you admit your thirst? What are you thirsty for? What desire goes unsatisfied, so that you thirst for it always? As Americans, we rarely go thirsty for basic needs. Food, water, clothing, housing… most of us have these needs met. Yet, our thirst remains. Have you tried to quench your thirst with material things? You spend money you do not have to purchase things that will not satisfy. Yet, the thirst remains, so you keep spending. You thirst for love and relationship, so you give your body away, and settle for sexual lust rather than waiting for covenantal love. So your thirst remains. We thirst for significance, for meaning, for happiness, yet the more we have, the more we drink from every worldly fountain, the more we thirst!

Jesus cried out with the constant cry of all humanity, “I thirst.” Jesus took on our thirst that we might be satisfied. He poured out his life that we might be filled.

The Word of Care

March 12, 2017 | John 19:16-27 | crucifixion, jesus, relationships

Have you ever wondered whether God cares? Especially asking, “Does God care for me?” I’ve heard some say, “I’m sure God has better things to do than care about my little problems. Shouldn’t He be busy solving world hunger or peace on earth?” What do you think? Does God care for the details of your little life? Or is He too busy running the universe? In this third word from the cross, we will realize how much God cares for us. He cares for the big stuff and He cares for the little stuff too. There’s no detail too small for His loving care. In the third saying of Jesus from the cross found in the gospel of John, Jesus revealed the loving care that He had for His mother. We can know the loving care that Jesus has for us.

A Christmas Carol

December 11, 2016 | John 3:16-18 | christmas, movies, popular culture

Several movies and plays have been based on Charles Dickens’ book, which was first published in London in 1843. The most recent movie version was by Disney featuring the voice-over of Jim Carrey. We learn in this movie that Scrooge doesn’t know how to “keep” Christmas until several spirits visit him and bring about a change of heart. But does the book and movie miss what it means to keep Christmas?

Worship and Witness Is…Foundational

September 4, 2016 | John 4:7-42 | discipleship

We are all worshipping, but sadly many are worshipping false idols which leave us in lack or with a void. We put our hopes and dreams and affections in things that neither help us nor ground us in anything. Right worship puts the foundation in our lives. Some of us put worship on this day or in this box, we put our witness in this box, but the call to Christ is a completely de-compartmentalized life of worship. The truth is everyone worships something and everyone bears witness to that worship, but God has called us to a specific worship and witness.

In the gospel of John, Jesus revealed Himself to a Samaritan woman as the only foundational way to worship and witness God. We can receive Jesus as the only true foundation for our worship and witness.

‘He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”’ (John 21:17 ESV)

June 2, 2016

After Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to his disciples many times. On one occasion he asked Peter three times whether he loved him. Certainly this was connected to Peter’s denying Jesus three times before his crucifixion. In this manner Jesus helped restore their relationship, giving Peter the opportunity to renew his pledge of love, even reminding him of his earlier promise that he was willing to die for Jesus. When we make a commitment to Jesus, as Peter learned, he helps us to keep it. Jesus loved us first and it is His love that enables us to commit to love him back. Coincidently, this OYB reading falls on June 2nd, my wedding anniversary. On this day 37 years ago, Robin and I committed to love one another until death do us part. The Lord has blessed us by helping us keep that commitment to Him and to one another, and to grow even more in love as the years have passed. Jesus still asks His followers, “Do you love me?” It’s a question of relationship, not religion. It’s an invitation to commit your life to the One who is Love itself.

‘Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”’ (John 20:28 ESV)

June 1, 2016

Thomas didn’t see the risen Jesus when he first appeared. Even though Thomas had followed Jesus as one of the Twelve, he still doubted until he saw the risen Lord for himself. When the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, his confession of faith was to ascribe divinity to Jesus. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and God. It was Jesus who addressed Thomas’ agnosticism. He invited Thomas to see and touch and believe. It was Jesus who helped Thomas with his unbelief. Where are you doubting the Lord today? Wherever you are still worried and troubled, in that very area, you are still doubting Christ’s Lordship, in that very area you are in a state of unbelief. Confess your unbelief to Jesus. Declare him Lord over the arena of your anxiety saying, “I trust in you Jesus, for you are my Lord and my God!”

‘When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit’ (John 19:30 ESV)

May 31, 2016

The final words of Jesus on the cross were not words of defeat, but of ultimate victory. He shouted, “It is finished!” His last words expressed exultation at accomplishing the task He had come to complete. In the Greek, it is one word: Τετέλεσται (Tetelestai), which is in the perfect tense. The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect. In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence. It might also be translated: “fulfilled, accomplished, paid-in-full.” Essentially, Jesus, with this one word, “tetelestai,” announced that He had accomplished His God-given mission, fulfilling every prophetic detail, and paid-in-full the price for our sins, so that we might be forgiven and receive eternal life. His salvation work is complete and its finished results are even now in existence for those who would believe on Him.