Category: Gospels

What are we to do with Jesus?

Scripture reading for November 7th: Ezekiel 31-33, John 11

John 11:47-50 “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what He did, believed in Him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priest and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this Man performs many signs. If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.””

Jesus had just raised His friend Lazarus from the grave after three days. Many Jews who witnessed this became believers in Jesus as the Messiah. Some were of another opinion and went to tell the Pharisees and the high priest, Caiaphas. The council of seventy was convened to discuss the problem of Jesus. There was concern that Jesus would continue to make converts and this would bring the judgment of Rome upon the Jews and they would lose everything. Caiaphas spoke out, advocating Jesus’ death to save the nation. Little did he realize that the Spirit of God spoke through him in prophetic truth. Jesus would not only save the nation, but all the children of God scattered among the nations. This set in motion Jesus’ death by crucifixion.

John 11:51-53 “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and no for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put Him to death.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your Word revealing Your plan of forgiveness for us as wicked sinners. Thank You that Jesus Christ, Your Son, willingly and freely came to earth to give His life in place of ours. Use me to share this amazing Good News and call people to repentance and faith and eternal life in Your household forever.

Ezekiel 33:10-11 “”And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?””

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“One flock, One Shepherd!”

Scripture reading for November 4th: Ezekiel 28-30, John 10

John 10: 14-19 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.” There was again a division among the Jews because of these words.”

Jesus used a familiar illustration for His instruction of the Jews concerning His role and mission on earth. He was the “Good Shepherd” who knew and loved His sheep. His sheep would listen to His voice and knew Him as their “Shepherd”. As a Good Shepherd, Jesus stated plainly that He would lay His life down for the sake of the sheep, a reference to the crucifixion to come. This would protect them from the ‘wolf’, or Satan. Jesus plainly stated that His Father loved Him and this obedient sacrifice was assigned to Him by the Father. These amazing words brought division among the Jews. Some said Jesus was demonically possessed or insane and others refuted them with the fact that Jesus had opened the blind man’s eyes. And Jesus had a bigger flock as well–His sacrifice was for the whole of mankind!

John 10:4-6 “When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what He was saying to them.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the loving and merciful gift to us ‘sheep’ of the ability to hear Your voice and know Your Son, Jesus Christ, as the “Good Shepherd” Who laid His life down on the cross for me and all who will choose to believe on Him. Protect me always from the voices of strangers and assure me daily of Your precious love and promises of eternal life in Your presence.

Ezekiel 28:25-26 “”Thus says the Lord God: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.””

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Jesus: Light of the world!

Scripture reading for November 3rd: Ezekiel 25-27, Psalm 85, John 9

John 9: 1-7 “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him Who sent Me wile it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, He spit on the ground and made mud with saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”

Jesus came to this earth to fully obey His Father and reveal His Father’s great love and compassion for those living in the darkness of sin and this fallen world created by Adam[s disobedience. As Jesus walked by on the Sabbath, His eyes saw a man blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus why this man was born blind. They assumed it was because of sin–either the man’s or his parents. Jesus declared that neither was the real issue. The Father sent Jesus into this fallen world to be the “Light of the World” and to open blind eyes to the hidden reality of their Father’s love and compassion. God our Father gives to sinners freely and generously what they don’t deserve or can’t get for themselves. Blind eyes opened bring forth the harvest God our Father desires! Praise our Lord!

Psalm 85:10-12 “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You that you are always working to bring salvation and light to those in the darkness of sin and death. You are the Light of the world! Your steadfast love and faithfulness are on display in Your Son Jesus Christ, the Righteous Servant. You have given us what is truly good for us, forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Your Presence. Let the earth bring forth the harvest of souls!!

Ezekiel 26:20 “. . then I will make you (the city of Tyre) go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the world below, among ruins from of old, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set beauty in the land of the living.”

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Whose father is yours?

Scripture reading for November 2nd: Ezekiel 22-24, Psalm 134, John 8

John 8: 39-44 “They answered Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill Me, a Man Who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to Him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of My own accord, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My Word. Your are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

The Jews came to Jesus and Jesus told them that if they would abide in His Word, they would know the truth and the truth would make them free. This offended them and they claimed that they were never slaves and did not need to be free. Jesus stated that everyone who sinned was a slave of sin. Freedom from sin could only come through Him. This really offended them and they were seeking to find a way to kill Jesus. Jesus carefully explained that if they were truly Abraham’s children, and God was their Father, they would love Him and believe His Word. But since they sought to kill Jesus and rejected the truth, they were under their true father, the devil. The fruit of this fatherhood is murder and lies! The fruit of true children of God is love, joy, peace and humble obedience and intercession for God’s people.

Ezekiel 22:30 “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.”

Prayer: Holy Father, thank You for revealing Your love and heart to me through Jesus Christ, Your Son. I respond to Your love by loving You and seeking humbly to obey. I stand against the evil one, Satan, and his lies and murdering ways. Forgive those who are under that spirit and use me to share Your love and the Gospel that they might be saved and bless Your Name forever and ever.”

Psalm 134: 1-2 “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!”

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Muttering and mixed opinions

Scripture reading for November 1st: Ezekiel 19-21, John 7

John 7: 12-18 “And there was much muttering about Him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, He is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of Him. About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when He has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but His Who sent Me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on My own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of Him Who sent Him is true, and in Him there is no falsehood.”

The people who heard Jesus, other than His disciples, had mixed opinions about Him and His teachings. Some considered Jesus was possibly Elijah the Prophet or maybe the Christ, and others felt that His teaching was contrary to the truth. Jesus spoke plainly to explain why there were conflicting opinions. He stated that His teaching was not His own, but came from God the Father Who had sent Him to earth. He explained that motives of the heart determine how His teaching was received. Those who truly wanted to do God’s will would know that His teaching was from God. Those who had other motives of judging or self-promotion would not know the truth, thus division would result based on heart motives.

John 7:40-43 “When they heard these words, some of people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was? So there was division among the people over Him.”

Prayer: Father God, You alone know our hearts and the motives and opinions we hold. Forgive us for selfish motives and opinions instead of seeking to do Your will alone. Examine my heart and cleanse my motives. I believe Jesus is God’s Son and Your Word is truth to be listened to and obeyed. I desire to worship You only and find my will in Yours.

Ezekiel 20:30-32 “”Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and go whoring after their detestable things? When you present your gifts and offer up your children in fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.””

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The Father’s will to save!

Scripture reading for October 31st: Ezekiel 16-18, John 6

John 6:35-40 “Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him Who sent Me. And this is the will of Him Who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Jesus, talking to a crowd of people, declared that He was the ‘Bread of Life’ that God sent down from heaven to satisfy those that were hungry and the true drink. He could do this because He Himself had fully obeyed His Father and did His will fully. Jesus explained that through Himself, the Father was drawing all men and women to salvation that would include resurrection from death. The Father would draw all men and women to Himself through the Son by raising Him from the dead! As people would look upon the crucified, buried, and resurrected Son, they too would believe and receive Life Eternal through the “Living Bread”.

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for sending true Bread of Life in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for drawing me and all men to repent and believe in Him and receive Your promise of Life eternal. Thank You for Your call to repentance and faith and that You do not desire anyone to die or perish, but all to have life. Jesus is truly the Way to You, the Truth, and Life Eternal.

Ezekiel 18:30-31 “”Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.””

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Moses wrote of Jesus

Scripture reading for October 28th: Ezekiel 13-15, Psalm 136, John 5

John 5: 43-47 “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The Jewish religious leaders were always zealous for the law of Moses and for their rules concerning keeping it. They had come against Jesus’ healing of the man lame from birth because He violated their view of keeping the Sabbath and claiming to be one with His Father. Jesus challenged them and their religious rules. He stated that Moses would be their accuser on judgment day. Moses wrote about Jesus. If they really believed the writings of Moses, the Pentateuch, they would believe in Jesus. If they failed to believe Moses’ writings, they would not be able to trust Jesus’ words either. They were guilty of self-glorification and confirming one another but had not sought the glory that comes from God.

Psalm 136:13-15 “. . to Him Who divided the Red Sea in two, for His steadfast love endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for His steadfast love endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for His steadfast love endures forever; . . .”

Prayer: Father, You are indeed a loving God Whose love and truth endures forever! Thank You for Your Word and Your Son, Jesus Christ Who is the subject and object of Your Word. I believe all of Your Word and through Jesus know You as my loving Father and through Jesus’ blood I have true peace with You and know that You are the Lord of heaven and earth! Empower me today in sharing Your steadfast love.

Ezekiel 13:9-10 “My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of My people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord. Precisely because they have misled My people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash.”

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Accomplishing the Father’s work

Scripture reading for October 27th: Ezekiel 11-12, Psalm 83, John 4

John 4: 34-39 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”.

Jesus had talked with the Samaritan woman at the well, violating all norms of that day. His disciples had gone into town to purchase food and Jesus stayed by the well to minister to a woman who had had many husbands. He drew her out by asking her for a drink of water and then told her He had living water that would quench her thirst once and for all time. He also revealed to her that He was the Messiah, called Christ. She ran to town and told of this encounter to everyone she met. She and the townspeople streamed out to see Jesus. This is where Jesus shared this word about the white harvest and the Father’s work. Following Jesus is about accomplishing the Father’s work of bringing lost people to Jesus.

Psalm 83:1, 18 “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold Your peace or be still, O God! . . .that they may know that You alone, Whose Name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your amazing work of creation and new creation. Thank You that You see people as Your great ripe harvest and for commissioning Your Church to enter into Your work of sowing the Word of the Gospel and bringing many to Jesus Christ, even from the ends of the earth and from among those who were once far away and enemies. Use me today to sow or reap or raise up workers!

Ezekiel 11:17-19 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, . . .”

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Jesus–the Light of Life!

Scripture reading for October 26th: Ezekiel 7-9, John 3

John 3:16-20 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the Light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the Light and does not come to the Light, lest his works should be exposed.”

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, had come to Jesus at night to ask some questions. Jesus spoke plainly to him concerning his need of new birth by faith. He then declared to Nicodemus the path of eternal life–believing on Him! Nicodemus coming to Jesus in darkness to find true ‘light’ is a parabolic story. All mankind is in the dark concerning the Father and eternal life. Sin has darkened each soul. Darkened souls don’t like the light, because it exposes them. They think they can hide in the darkness and continue to do their own things. But God sees it all and has provided a remedy by sending Jesus Christ. Those who believe on Him will escape God’s wrath against sin and find grace and life in the Light.

John 3:35-36 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great love. Thank You that You did not justly condemn me to eternal death under Your wrath but offered Your only Son to take my place and bear the curse of my sins on the cross of Calvary. My prayer today is for each of my family to receive that love through believing in Jesus Christ and living a life of faith and holiness out of honor and respect for all Your love provided.

Ezekiel 8:12-13 “Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, “The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.” He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.””

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Zeal for Father’s house!

Scripture reading for October 25th: Ezekiel 4-6, Psalm 82, John 2

John 2: 13-17 “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple He found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And He poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And He told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make My Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume Me.””

Jesus Christ came to show the heart of His Father to lost mankind. He healed, cast out devils, and taught the Gospel of the Kingdom of heaven. But as Jesus visited the temple, early in His ministry (and again towards the end), He found money-changers, greed, idolatry, and worldly trading. His holy anger caused Jesus to drive out those who were buying and selling. These worldly Jews were hindering God’s purposes for the temple. It was to be a house of prayer for all people and not a house of trade and money grabbing. The Father’s heart of passion for the needy, the broken, and the nations was to show compassion and mercy and the Father’s love. Jesus would demonstrate that in His passionate death.

Psalm 82:3-4 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus Christ to Your temple on earth to show all Your love and compassion as well as Your holy anger against those who would hinder the poor and needy from coming to you. Forgive me for failing to be a house of prayer for all people and nations. Remove any hinderance in my life that may keep others from coming to Jesus Christ and finding help for their need of a Savior.

Ezekiel 6:13-14 “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing aroma to all their idols. And I will stretch out My hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

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