April 15. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 21.

Saturday, April 15                John 21 

Your Failure can be the Prelude to Promotion

Out of our greatest defeats can come our greatest victories. There is little doubt that Peter’s all-time low point was when He denied knowing Jesus.  He did it three times cowering even at the questions of a young girl.

This moral failure would seem to be the end of Peter’s possibilities as a leader. But, the defeat of denial was a set-up for transformation and even elevation.  When we are broken, we can become stronger than ever. Continue reading

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April 14. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 20.

Friday, April 14                    John 20

Just As I Am

One of the remarkable aspects of the Bible is the manner in which it describes the foibles and failings of major characters. No one (except the Son of God) escapes the candor about human failings. All Old Testament heroes (David, Moses, Abraham, and on and on) are depicted warts and all. They were great men but also flawed men. Continue reading

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April 13. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 19.

Thursday, April 13               John 19

The End – or the Beginning?

One of my favorite characters from history is Winston Churchill.  His bravery, clarity, and skill at turning a phrase was crucial in the unfolding of 20th Century history. At the depths of World War II drama, he said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

As we read John chapter 19, it appears the forces of evil have finally silenced the voice of Jesus.  He is scourged, spitten upon, crucified, and buried. But, this is not the end. It is the end of the BEGINNING!

In three day, He will rise from the dead more powerful than ever. While I am not a huge Star Wars fan (it’s a fascinating cultural myth), I am reminded of Obe Wan Kenobi’s words in the original “Star Wars”: “IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN, I SHALL BECOME MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE.”

 That is exactly the story of Jesus.  The forces of world evil coalesced to put Him down. Yet, He rose!

 It is worth our time to plumb the depths of each moment in this “John chapter 19 drama.” Read it slowly and savor the depth. Face value: Jesus loses. But from big picture: HE WINS.

And He can win in your life.  No matter how dire the circumstances. We believe in the power of resurrection. This is “God territory.” Submit yourself to the living God through His Son Jesus Christ, and your worst days can become the set-up for your greatest victories.

This is the Gospel.  This is the story of Jesus. This can be your story, too. ONLY BELIEVE! This is scandalously simple – simple enough for you and me.

 

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April 12. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 18.

Wednesday, April 12            John 18

The Choice

In the course of events leading up to the Crucifixion, there is a moment that stands out as a diagnosis – a gut check on the human race (John 18:39-40).

The Roman prefect Pontius Pilate was caught between his conscience and political expediency. Personally, he did not want to convict Jesus. But, politically he was pressured to put this prophet away. In an act of desperation, he brought out the worst criminal in his prison: Barabbas. Matthew’s Gospel refers to him as “a notorious criminal” (Matthew 27:16).  John calls him simply “a robber” (John 18:40).  As custom dictated, one prisoner might be released by consent of the people during the Passover Feast.  Pilate hoped the people might come to their senses and choose Jesus over this profoundly evil man. Continue reading

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April 11. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 17.

Tuesday, April 11                  John 17

The Real Lord’s Prayer

What if you could eavesdrop and listen to Jesus as He prayed?  What do you think you would hear?  John 17 is just that.  It is the longest prayer of Jesus we have in Scripture.  It has been called “the Holy of Holies.” Continue reading

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April 10. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 16.

Monday, April 10                  John 16

The Source of Our Confidence

Confidence is an incredible quality.  It arises from the absolute certainty that what we are doing or saying is correct and called for.  Confidence makes us courageous.  When we lose it, we are hesitant and uncertain of ourselves.  Doubts fill our hearts bringing insecurity and fear. Continue reading

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April 9. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 15.

Sunday, April 9                     John 15

Unbelievable Love

“Greater love has no one than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

“Love” is perhaps one of the most widely used but grossly misunderstood words today. Modern usage tends toward narcissistic emotions of approval, attraction, or pleasure.  “I love baseball.”  I love cheesecake.”  “I love my home.”  Continue reading

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April 8. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 14.

Saturday, April 8                  John 14

The Help We Need

It was British author and poet G.K. Chesterton who said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”  The factual, moral, and philosophical foundations of Christianity have never faltered when honestly considered.  More often, the ideals and demands of Christianity have seemed impossible to fulfill, and therefore left untouched and unengaged. Continue reading

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April 7. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 13.

Friday, April 7                                  John 13

Holy Meal – Holy Service

In many ways, John’s Gospel is different from the other three Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  These first three are called the Synoptic Gospels.  “Synoptic” means “seeing together” or “of similar view.”  They are in so many ways similar – even to the point of identical words in many places.  But John is different.  Continue reading

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April 6. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 12.

Thursday, April 6                 John 12

The Triumphal Entry: a Study in Contradictions

Nearly half of John’s Gospel is written about the last week of Jesus’ earthly life.  Nine chapters (12-20) focus on the last 6 days.  Then chapter 21 is set in the 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection up to His ascension into the heavens.

Continue reading

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