New Testament In a Year: June 12 – John 21

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John 21
(15-19) Jesus and Peter
Peter denied Jesus the Christ three times. Now, he is asked three times by Jesus, “Do you love me?” Peter does not reply with his usual braggadocious self-assuredness. Aware of his earlier failure, Peter is no longer confident in his own knowledge. Instead, he responds by saying that Christ knows that he loves Him. In order to feed Christ’s sheep, Peter will need a great love for Him, His work, and His people. Christ warns Peter that he will die for his faith, but tells him to “Follow Me” anyway.

Our love for Christ should outweigh the risks, trials, and tribulations that often come with believing in Him.

(20-25) Jesus and the Beloved Apostle
Jesus the Christ has a unique purpose and plan for each of His followers. We are not to be concerned with what His plans are for others, like Peter was concerned about John. We are only to focus on finishing the race He has given us to run and completing the job(s) that He has given us to do. We are to focus on following Christ, not on whether or not others are following Him.

John wrote his Gospel in order to prove that the testimony and miraculous works of Jesus were true. But even with 66 books of the Bible and countless bookstores and libraries dedicated to Christian writings, the half has not yet been told of Jesus the Christ.

Favorite verse: (25) Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

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New Testament In a Year: June 11 – John 20

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John 20
(1-10) The Resurrection
It took Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John some time to process that Jesus was no longer in the grave. If they remembered that Jesus had told them He would rise again, they certainly didn’t act like it. When Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty, she said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” She did not say, “The Lord is risen just like He said He would.” She thought that Jesus was still dead and Pilate’s soldiers had moved Him to another tomb.

(11-18) Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Because Mary Magdalene believes that Jesus is still dead, she stands at the tomb and weeps. Only when Jesus appears to her does she remember His words and believe that He has risen exactly like He said He would. She does not keep the good news of the resurrection to herself. She immediately goes and tells the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” Every Christian who knows the Lord has a duty to tell others how they can know him too. Rick Warren said, “We have the greatest news in the world, and sharing it is the greatest kindness you can show to anyone.”

(19-23) Jesus Appears to the Disciples
In John 16, Jesus the Christ promises that the disciples’ sorrow will turn into joy. That is exactly what happens in this passage. The sorrow they felt during Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial was not erased. With His resurrection, it was simply transformed into joy. Verse 20 says, “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”

(24-29) Jesus and Thomas
Thomas said that he would never believe the resurrection until he saw the Lord for himself. Faith, however, does not require sight to believe. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. We do not have to see Jesus to believe that He is the Christ. Our present belief makes way for future sight.

(30-31) The Purpose of This Book
The purpose of the book of John and much of the purpose of the entire Bible is for us to read it and believe that Jesus is the Christ. When we believe this, we are given eternal life and everlasting love in His name.

Favorite verse: (18) Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

New Testament In a Year: June 10 – John 19:23-42

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John 19:23-42
(23-27) The Crucifixion
Even as He hung in agony on the cross, Jesus’ mind was on others. He thought about His mother and gave her into the care of His disciple, John.

(28-30) The Death of Jesus
Jesus fulfilled all of Scripture.

(31-37) Jesus’ Side Is Pierced
And in fulfilling Scripture, He fulfilled the will of His Father.

(38-42) Jesus Is Buried
I imagine that Heaven will have the biggest and most beautiful garden ever. God seems to have a “thing” for gardens. The beginning and the tragic fall of humankind happened in the Garden of Eden. Jesus the Christ labored in prayer to His Father and was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus the Christ was buried in the Garden of Golgotha. And, finally, we have the Garden of God in Heaven. Revelation 2:7 says, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” The Biblical word for paradise also means garden. According to Dictionary of the Bible, “Paradeisos” is used in the Greek Bible more than thirty times, especially in Genesis, where it means God’s garden or Eden.

In the original Garden of Eden, sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin. In the Garden of Golgotha, sin was overcome through one man, and death was conquered. In the future Garden of God, creation and the Creator will be reunited perfectly again.

Favorite verse: (30) When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

New Testament In a Year: June 9 – John 19:1-22

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John 19:1-22
(1-16) Jesus Delivered to Be Crucified
Pilate could not understand why Jesus would not answer his questions and did not seem to fear him even though he had “power” to crucify Him. Jesus understood that it was not really Pilate, the Jews, or anyone else giving Him over to be crucified, but God. Everything was happening and everyone was acting according to God’s plan. Pilate had authority over Jesus because God gave him that authority for that moment in time.

Favorite verse: (22) Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

New Testament In a Year: June 8 – John 18:19-40

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John 18:19-40
(19-24) The High Priest Questions Jesus
Jesus had nothing to hide. All of His works were right. He spoke honestly and out in the open. The high priest tried to catch Him saying something wrong, but he was unable to do so.

(25-27) Peter Denies Jesus Again
Just as Jesus predicted, Peter denied Him three times. I would think that Peter would be walking on eggshells, on high alert for the questions people would ask to get him to deny Jesus so he could avoid answering those questions. But Peter was confident in himself. He was not abiding in Christ or depending on Christ to keep him from falling. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Times of stress and uncertainty are even more reason for us to rely on Christ to keep us from doing things that we will later regret.

(33-40) My Kingdom Is Not of This World
Pilate should not have asked, “What is truth?” but “Who is truth?” Jesus the Christ is the truth, and He came to “bear witness” or prove that it was true that He was the truth.

Favorite verse: (38) Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.”

New Testament In a Year: June 7 – John 18:1-18

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John 18:1-18
(1-11) Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
Even above the accounts of Jesus’ arrest in the first three Gospels, this passage shows that Jesus’ life was not taken from Him. He willingly gave it up. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all used the term “seized” when they described Jesus being betrayed and arrested. But Jesus did not resist arrest or try to run away after Judas led the soldiers and officers to Him. Jesus did not hide behind His disciples. Instead, He came forward and asked, “Whom do you seek?” The soldiers told Him, and Jesus readily answered, “I am he.”

With this bold answer, verse 6 says “they drew back and fell to the ground.” Maybe they were shocked that Jesus did not shirk or try to evade them. He seemed ready, perhaps even earnest about going with them to the high priest. Jesus was not surprised with their actions. He knew all that would happen to Him, and was not afraid. Since His Father had not removed the cup from Him, He was willing to drink it.

Favorite verse: (11) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

New Testament In a Year: June 6 – John 17

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John 17
(1-26) The High Priestly Prayer
Jesus the Christ is our high priest. Before He left His disciples, He prayed for them and for us. Since His departure, He has not stopped praying for us. Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and is interceding for us each and every day.

Jesus told His Father, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” At the end of my life, I hope that I will be able to say the same. I hope that I will be able to say I have accomplished the work that God gave me to do and have glorified Christ on earth with my life. I hope that I will be able to say I used everything God gave me to use.

Christ is no longer in the world (physically). But He is in the world (spiritually) through us. Christ knows how tough it is to be in the world, which is why He is praying for God to keep us in His name so that we will remain one with Him. He does not want one of us to be lost. He wants His joy to be fulfilled in us. Christ is not praying for us to be taken out of the world, but for us not to become the world. We are Christ’s hands and feet, and if we are taken out, how will the world know of His love? We have been sent into the world for the same purpose that God sent His Son into the world: to seek and to save that which was lost.

Favorite verse: (9) I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

New Testament In a Year: June 5 – John 16

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John 16
(4-15) The Work of the Holy Spirit
Jesus the Christ promised His disciples that when He left them, He would not leave them alone. He would send the Holy Spirit to them and the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth. Even with this promise that they would not be left alone, the disciples were still sorrowful at Jesus’ imminent departure. Their future seemed dark without Him. Despite their sorrow, Jesus assures His disciples that it is to their advantage for Him to go away. His arrest, His beating, His mocking, His crucifixion, His death, His burial was to their advantage. I’m sure the disciples were asking: How can this be?

But if Jesus had not gone away, the disciples would have remained babies in their faith. They would never have had opportunities to do even greater things than Jesus had done. The disciples would never have been clothed with power from on high. They would have never branched out on their own, preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth and making disciples of all nations. It was to their advantage that Jesus left, and to our advantage as well. Marcus Dods said, “The withdrawal of the bodily presence of Christ was the essential condition of His universal spiritual presence.”

(16-24) Your Sorrow Will Turn into Joy
Even though they only whispered it among themselves and never asked Him directly, Jesus knew the disciples wanted more clarification about His words. So He continued to explain things to them. Jesus already knows when we have questions for Him, so we might as well ask them.

The disciples experienced sorrow at Jesus’ death, but Jesus’ resurrection turned that same sorrow into joy. Their sorrow was not erased or replaced, but simply changed into joy! Christ does not replace our hardships or erase our troubles. He simply transforms it into something better and beautiful.

(25-33) I Have Overcome the World
Jesus said, “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone.” Judas had already betrayed Him. Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him. He also knew that the rest of His disciples would flee when He was arrested, and would leave me alone. Yet, Jesus did not consider Himself alone, because He knew His Father was always with Him.

We are never alone either. This is why Christ encourages us to take heart in a world full of tribulation. In Him, we have peace. In Him, we are loved. In Him, we are wanted. In Him, we have a friend. He has overcome the world.

Favorite verse: (33) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

New Testament In a Year: June 4 – John 15

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John 15
(1-17) I Am the True Vine
Christ is the vine. We are the branches. If we cut ourselves off from Christ, we cannot do any everlasting good works on our own. Our faith will wither, causing our good works (fruit) to die. When we abide in Christ, we show our dependence on Him. He is able to abide in us and is able to grant whatever we ask of Him according to His will.

Christ wants us to love others the way He loves us. How does Christ love us? His love for us is flawless, even though we are flawed. He loves us completely, even though we are incomplete. He loves us perfectly, even though we are imperfect. He loves us with certainty, without shame, without abandon, regardless of our own awkwardness, doubt, fears, and confusion. Do we love others like that?

Besides loving us, Christ also considers us His friends. Not servants or workers or followers, but friends. He has called us, chosen us, and appointed us to bear good fruit and accomplish great things on His behalf.

Favorite verse: (9) As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.