I have come into the world as a light ...


Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. ...
Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. -John 12:37,44-46 NRSV


Do you find it odd that faith is the switch that turns on the lamp of God? Before I believed I could not see the truth about God because I was in darkness. Then in a moment something was born inside of me and my life changed. I was blind to many signs and then I bowed my heart and began to see. Faith had given me vision I previously lacked.

One of the things that I could not see was that God looked like Jesus. This is the thing that many of the Jews, and many today, stumble over. It is difficult for some to see a man like Jesus as the Messiah. Many people then, and people today, want Zeus not Jesus. They really want God to look like an avenging warrior and not a loving shepherd.

Open our eyes Lord that we may see the real you - that we may see Jesus.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

It was for this very reason I came to this hour.


My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” -John 12:26-28 NRSV

Like Jesus, our soul can be troubled when we consider the difficult path that we are sometimes called to walk. The patient that has received a cancer diagnosis. The mom or the dad who watches their child battle an addiction. There are things in life that trouble our soul so much. Yet in the midst of it we sometimes hear a voice calling us to glory.

As I read these verses I remember that old hymn that refrains, "It is well with my soul". In times of gut-wrenching trouble we can know that all is well when we understand that the name of God is being glorified in our lives. This thought gives me so much courage to meet the challenges of my day. I long to one day hear the Father speak of how we glorified him.

We live our hearts to you dear Father. Help us to know that we are here to reflect your glory in our troubles.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it ...


Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. -John 12:24-26 NRSV

What do you think it means to love or hate your life? Jesus certainly is not speaking about narcissism or some sort of self loathing. And I do not think that he is talking about self image or mental instability. He seems to be talking about denying ourselves and picking up our cross. In a sense this kind of seed planting is the only way to follow God.

Have you ever thought of self-denial as a way to plant a seed? Is it possible that our lives can be so much more when we serve others in this way? Could it be that this kind of death is synonymous with unconditional love? I wonder what kind of harvest could be reaped if we embraced this kind of seed sowing? Perhaps we can begin today with a solitary seed?

Teach us Lord to die to self in such a way that many seeds would be produced from a solitary seed.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Seated on a donkey’s colt ...


Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. -John 12:14-16 NRSV

Images of Palm Sunday come alive with shouts of Hosanna as Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. But unlike powerful leaders before him, Jesus enters on a humble donkey and not a powerful steed. I think that the imagery could not be more accurate yet so unlike what his followers were wanting. Most were wanting a powerful Zealot and not a humble Messiah.

This image centers me. It is such an unwanted reality check. Knowing that Jesus would be slain within a week of his entrance sobers me. I really do not want that man on the donkey to lead me. In truth, I want that powerful Zealot. I want to gallop on a horse and not amble on a donkey. Jesus brings me back to reality and shows me what humility is all about.

Help me today Lord to humble myself, pick up my cross and follow you.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

You will always have the poor among you ...


But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” ... Jesus replied ... You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. -John 12:4-5,8 NRSV

Jesus words ring true some two millenia after he spoke them. Two thousand years of human progress. Centuries of Christianity. Yet the poor are still among us. Kids still go hungry. The disenfranchised and impoverished remind us that we have not come all that far. Millions of believers have closed their ears to the cries of the poor in their cities.

I write not to shame but to remind myself of how the presence of the poor is God's call for us to be like Jesus. We are called us to care for the least of those among us. God commands us to care for the sick, the thirsty, the hungry, the imprisoned and those without hope. These are our brothers and sisters. We are our brother's keeper.

Thy kingdom come Lord Jesus. As it is in heaven let it be here on earth. Help us to care for those you love.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

It was worth a year’s wages.


Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ... “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” -John 12:3-5,7-8 NRSV

Ever wonder what prompted Mary to be so generous? Can you relate to this sort of extravagance? In an instant she poured out a year's wages. In an act of worship she wiped Jesus' feet with her hair. This speaks so deeply about her love for the One who returned her brother from the grave. Yet I think that most do not understand this kind of love and worship.

This has always been true about worship. Folks who have not had a spiritual birth find it difficult to understand worship - especially when it involves extravagance. Many are comfortable with a worship that gives what is required but few have experienced a form of worship that involves real sacrifice. It is what separates worshipers from religious people.

All to Jesus I surrender. All to you I freely give. Teach me Lord what it means to really worship.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

He prophesied that Jesus would die ...


Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. -John 11:49-53 NRSV

I think that most of us are somewhat shocked by the idea that religious leaders would plot such a heinous murder. The rationalization of their high priest reeks of cowardice. Yet in the midst of such vile behavior we can see God working behind the scenes. Though we, like the writer of this gospel, can only see it in a historical sense.

This gives me hope. When we are experiencing awful things ... when the actions of other people are causing us pain and suffering ... it is comforting to know that God is working behind the scenes to bring about something good. For sure, we need hearts of faith to believe something this outrageous but perhaps this is what it means to trust with all of our heart?

I am reminded Lord that you are our strong tower. We who trust in you will not be ashamed.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.