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This morning, the children are having their Vacation Bible School program, so we will not be meeting in person. However, we invite you to watch their program, and read this lesson.
As we are not meeting in person, take some time to think about your past week. If you have any joys, concerns, or prayer requests you would like to share, you can comment on this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
Lead us from death to life,
From falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world and our universe.
Let us dream together, pray together and work together,
To build one world of peace and justice for all.
This week's lesson is on John 12:44-50.
John’s Gospel focuses on the bulk of Jesus’ public ministry; his miraculous works and teaching. John records seven of Jesus’ miracles and seven of Jesus’ teachings. But throughout this section of the Gospel, Jesus’ audience were unable and unwilling to accept his teachings. They saw his miracles and enthusiastically received him. However, far too often they failed to rightly understand his teachings. Jesus did not fulfill the hopes and wishes they desired from a savior or messiah.
Half of John’s gospel is dedicated to the events of Jesus’ final week. A Savior who does miraculous acts and provides eternal teaching is nothing without the events of the Passion Week.
This weeks Scripture text serves as Jesus’ final public discourse to his generally unbelieving audiences. The reality was highlighted in the nature of Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem. Many people celebrated his entry but there would be other people who would call for his crucifixion several days later. As a result of their unbelief, many people would experience certain consequences and judgement.
The concept of belief and resulting action from belief serve as Jesus main point. If a person believes in him, then that person also believes in the God the Father. This statement equates Jesus with God the Father. If a person rejects Jesus, they also rejects God.
In Jesus, God had come and was present among humanity. The glory of the Son of God was the same glory of the Father.
For people to see clearly and know the direction they are headed, they must have light. Jesus declares himself to be he one who will cast spiritual light for the world. The totality of his person and work has been to provide spiritual light to each person who believes in him. Following the will of God is doable as the light of Jesus shines on his disciples.
The Spiritual light of Jesus exposes the dark ways of the world. Spiritual darkness is unable to overcome this spiritual light. While some people wander in spiritual darkness, people who believe in Jesus and his words received spiritual light.
Jesus words bring spiritual renewal and cleansing. Ultimately, discipleship in the way of Jesus leads to eternal life.This hope finds its basis on the words of Jesus, words that bring life.
Jesus’ task while on earth was to declare the words of his Heavenly Father so that all people might hear him, believe in him, and have everlasting life. God’s purpose for Jesus is to bring salvation to the world. The opportunity remains for people to repent and receive forgiveness. There will be a time for eternal judgement but in this moment Jesus had come to bring light of eternal life,
Jesus acknowledged that not all people will follow him as a disciple. Some will reject him and will not accept his word of teachings. For those who reject him Jesus’ words will be their judge and will condemn them.
Discipleship is predicated on remaining in Jesus’ word. Love for Jesus is demonstrated by keeping his word. Cleansing is effected by means of Jesus’ word. Eternal life is contingent upon keeping Jesus’ word. Jesus’ word is in fact the point of division between those who follow him and those who don’t , those who are in Christ and those who are not. Jesus true disciples are those who confess and believe that he has the words of eternal life.
Jesus time on earth is a perfect example of humble submission and obedience to his Heavenly Father. Through his obedience, Jesus was faithful to his Father-he spoke only what his Father commanded of him. Therefore, he calls his disciples to follow him with love and faithfulness.
All of Jesus’ work, as well as John’s purpose in writing his Gospel, has eternal life a its ultimate objective. Jesus did not only come to bring physical healing, but also spiritual life. By obeying the Father’s, Jesus made eternal life- physical and spiritual- available to humanity.
Jesus faithfulness in following the commands of his Heavenly Father gives opportunity for humanity to receive this life. The reception of this life starts with and requires belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to the Father. For disciples who adhere to this belief and follow the New Testament plan of salvation, a new life will results.
Jesus bears light to all who would believe. Belief in Jesus leads to spiritual cleansing and renewal. A person can’t claim to be a disciple of Jesus and not obey him and his Word. Disciples of Jesus “live in Him” and so they “Must live as Jesus did.
After this teaching, Jesus’ public interactions would be greatly limited. He would celebrate Passover with his disciples and give them his final teaching before his trial and crucifixion. Therefore , we can look at Jesus’ teaching as his final public teaching (and warning) on the saving nature of his Word.
True belief requires confession that Jesus is Lord and a life change resulting from that confession. Disciples of Jesus priorities obedience as his light direct their actions. In Jesus’ time, many people saw God’s miraculous power at work in him. But when time came to listen and obey his words, many people stopped following him. For this reason, Jesus taught of the necessity of belief and of judgement.
Later in John’s Gospel Jesus said, “If you love me , keep my commands”. Love is demonstrated by right belief and hearing and obeying Jesus’ words. All believers must faithfully abide in Jesus’ words. In the future, his word will judge all humanity, Disciples love and follow him!
Jesus’ words will transform us and lead us into a life that bears the fruit of obedience. Jesus has brought spiritual light into the world. Will you receive It?
Heavenly Father, we want to faithfully listen to and follow the words of your Son. Show us how to make his word primary in our lives so that it will transform us. Remove any distractions that prevents us from from faithfully obeying your Son. Reveal to us how we might live as a witness to your salvation. In the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen
What things prevent people from seeing God and his work in the world?
How might believers be not only hearers of God’s Word but also doers of his Word?
What obstacles prevent you from following God’s Word?
This week's benediction is from the New Century Version.
Next week's lesson will be on John 11:17-27, 38-44.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.