John 13:3-5

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God;” (v. 3 NIV)

Jesus knew Himself inside and out, as God’s Son and the human representation of our Creator and Father God. He knew His strength (power), identity, and destiny.
HIS STRENGTH – that the Father had put all things under His power
HIS IDENTITY – that He had come from God
HIS DESTINY – that He would be returning to God
Knowing who He is, fully understanding Himself, He chose to serve others.

Do we know ourselves? Do we know who we are when we are followers of Jesus, when we are “in Christ,” as the Scriptures describe His followers?
OUR STRENGTH – that we can do ALL things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13) and we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5)—through Whom ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26).
OUR IDENTITY – that we are daughters and sons “of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-27 NIV), upon whom He lavishes His love (1 John 3:1)
OUR DESTINY – that our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await our Savior’s return, who will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21); that He has given us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us as a deposit to guarantee our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14) that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for us who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of His salvation upon His return. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
When we know who we are in Christ, we can set ourselves aside confidently and serve others, following the example of Jesus.

When Jesus demonstrated serving others in the upper room as He washed the disciples’ grimy feet, He went through some basic steps and movements which can be insight for us as we move ourselves toward selfless service to others. (See John 13:4-5.)

GOT UP“so He got up from the meal” (v. 4)
Jesus left His comfortable situation or position at the table. He didn’t just lie back and describe His idea to the group or preach to them as He’d often done in other settings. This time, He chose to set an example for them right before their eyes.
How willing are we to get up from wherever our comfort zone has us?

TOOK OFF“took off His outer clothing” (v 4)
He let go of His image among those around Him. They had been perceiving Him as a Teacher, leader, Messiah, and Son of God. His actions most likely raised a few eyebrows in wonder.
When we’ve been known in one way by those around us, do we have the boldness to step out in ways the more closely reflect our Savior?

WRAPPED“wrapped a towel around His waist” (v. 4)
Jesus chose to reflect the image of a servant in the culture around Him. He never did espouse the image that so many expected the King of Kings to have—not in His lowly birth in a stable to His death on a tree.
Will we conform to this world’s pattern of behavior and expectations or choose to imitate Jesus?

POURED“He poured water into a basin” (v. 5)
He prepared the tools for serving others. Not even waiting around for someone else to do something or hand Him something, Jesus got what He needed and did what was required so that others could be blessed by His genuine humility.
For what are we waiting?

BEGAN TO WASH“began to wash His disciples’ feet” (v. 5)
As Jesus washed the feet of the men who had walked hundreds of miles with Him, He cleansed toes, soles and heels of some who doubted, angered easily, were proud, thought they should have places of honor, and one who would betray. He showed no favoritism as He served those with Him.
When we serve, are we looking for certain recipients or willing to serve any the Lord puts in our path with the resources or means that He provides?

DRYING“drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him” (v. 5)
Jesus involved Himself fully in completing His service to others. He didn’t ask someone in the room to hand Him a towel or to follow Him and do the drying. He used what He had with Him to complete the service He started. At other times, He did delegate tasks to others in order to serve. In this particular instance, He chose to be the servant, allowing the others to experience the blessing of being served.
How’s our follow through when the Lord prompts us to serve with what He’s equipped or supplied us?

A number of years after our Lord showed us this example of serving others, He used the pen of Paul to exhort us. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7). In another passage, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians prompts us to “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men” (Eph 6:7).

Jesus took several opportunities, like the one recorded by John, to demonstrate His servant’s heart and to draw us to follow His example. Now, the willingness, boldness, Christ-likeness, initiative, impartiality, and follow-through are traits we can choose to employ … or not. Will we seek to be served or serve like Jesus?

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Mark 2

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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After being raised with so many prophesies about the coming Messiah, the people expected an earthly king to come set up a new empire, take over their rulers, and redeem the land.  They couldn’t see past the bounds of this visible creation around them … except a few!

There were those who saw with new eyes the One who had come to save, to bless, to reign.  That was You, Jesus!  While those so bound by all they had known couldn’t see who You longed to be to them, there were others who saw You and believed.  Those followers knew and freely acknowledged Your AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE, Your POWER TO HEAL, Your DESIRE TO SAVE, Your INTENT TO CHANGE, and Your SOVEREIGNTY TO REIGN.

AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE (v 1-12)

“…that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” (v 10 NIV)

Thank You for offering forgiveness when I deserve none, for extending grace when wrath should be my portion.  Thank You for You mercy that You renew with each new day.

POWER TO HEAL/DESIRE TO SAVE (v 13-17)

“…Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do.  I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” (v 17 NLT)

Here I am!  Right here!  Yes, me, the sinner sitting here.  I’ll gladly accept Your healing, especially the kind that heals the wounds and scars caused by my sin.

INTENT TO CHANGE (v 18-22)

“…new wine needs new wineskins.” (v 22 NLT)

When You step into a life, into a circumstance, into a culture, there’s no doubt that something new and better will follow close behind.  You take every little detail of my life and weave it into that which is the very best for me.  Here’s my heart … Renew, renew, renew it, Lord!

SOVEREIGNTY TO REIGN (v 23-28)

“The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the Sabbath.  And I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath!” (vv 27-28 NLT)

Your aim in establishing a Sabbath was to guide Your people into a regular time of rest and worship.  Your intention incorporated the opportunity for our bodies and spirits to be rested, refreshed, and renewed.  Your focus wasn’t on all the “don’t do’s” (like the Pharisees and such), but rather on the “do do’s,” like resting in You, being still and acknowledging You as God of all, worshipping You … simply for who You are, regardless of the wondrous things You do.

Thanks for calling me to follow You, Lord.  Thanks for extending Your hand, so I can hold it as we stroll along.  I’m with You.  I know You know the best route, so I choose to follow You, merciful Healer, mighty Savior, Sovereign King!  May my heart be moldable so You can form me into the likeness of You.  Amen.

John 21

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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What if the word meanings were more spelled out in that conversation in this passage…?

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love Me more than the rest of these people here?  Do you love Me with a willful, purposeful affection like the Father’s?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said.  “You know the facts; You know that I care a lot for You.”

Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, can you say with certainty that you love Me?  Do you put your whole self into that love?”

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, I’ve told You the facts, so I know You know, that I care for You.”

Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.”

The third time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you at least love Me like you love your friends and neighbors?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?”  He said, “Lord, You know because of the time we’ve spent together, that I really appreciate and care about You.”

Jesus said, “Feed My sheep … Follow Me!”

(John 21:15-19 “literally” paraphrased as influenced by the original Greek words used in their conversation.)

Forgive me, Father, for the times when my love for You appears only as a fondness for You.  Cause my heart’s embers to be continually stoked and stirred, on fire for You with a holy passion to love at all costs.  (Yeah, that’s a HUGE thing — and yet I know that You’re already at work on me in that anyway.)

“You, Lord, are a brilliant, radiant, burning flame, glowing with colors that warm my soul.  You, Lord, are the fireside I will sit by for all eternity … Lord, teach me to give my very all to this life that You’ve given me, but to always remember to save my heart for You.  Eyes speak so easily: the giving, reaching-to-touch, love-filled words our mouths so desperately try to say. Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, ‘Jesus loves you.'”  — Kathy Troccoli, My Life Is in Your Hands, p. 71, 28, 24

In YOU alone, Jesus, I find everything I will ever need.  My heart has found a Home only in You.  May others encounter me and KNOW assuredly that they’ve been touched by You.  Live Your life over again through me, as You transform me to be just like You.  Amen.

John 20:19-31

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“… Peace be with You!” (v19 NIV)

You popped into a locked room, Jesus!  Good thing You conveyed Your peace in that instant.  From some other reading, I understand that phrase to have been a common Hebrew greeting; so it would’ve been like You suddenly appearing inside a locked room today and saying, “Hi!”  Then, You showed Your hands and side, like saying all together, “Hi! It’s Me!”

“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'” (v 21 NIV)

Here Your words of greeting reassured Your disciples of Your real presence.  Your appearance before them served to “renew their devotion and their hopes but it also renewed their commission as disciples.”  (Tenney, p. 193) ** You’d commissioned them with Your message to take to people and then You died.  Now, You were alive again and Your message carried on through them!

You had come into the world to fulfill Your Father’s purpose and You did it completely.  Next, You expected Your disciples to continue Your work in Your absence.  You’d been sent by Your Father to (1) SPEAK HIS WORDS; (2) DO HIS WORKS; and (3) LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR THE SALVATION OF MEN.

So, in Your absence, You now expect Your disciples (including me) to (1) DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE (15:27); (2) DO GREATER WORKS THAN YOU HAD DONE (14:12); and (3) GIVE MY LIFE IN YOUR SERVICE.  In carrying out Your work, I am blessed “with all the privileges, all the protection, and all the responsibilities that You had during Your ministry.” (Tenney, p. 193) **

“… Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with You!’  Then He said to Thomas …” (vv 26-27 NIV)

Another arrival, another greeting — this time for the purpose of undergirding the faith of just one of Your disciples…  You are genuinely concerned about the faith of EACH ONE who follows You.  You meet EACH ONE at the point of his/her deepest need.

“Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book.  These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way He personally revealed it” (v 31 MSG).

Thank You, Jesus, for revealing Your Father’s love for me through the choice You made to die in my place, for all the sin I have done or will ever do.  Thank You for securing an eternal home for me by Your death on the cross.  Thanks for the purpose and mission You have given me to carry out in Your absence, until Your return, as You make me just like Jesus.

Your mission for me: “God has created me for such a time as this for the purpose of helping children, youth and adults apply His Word to life, through interpersonal relationships, resource connections, an intercessory prayer” Col. 1:28-29 NIV

**John by Merrill C. Tenney, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981.

John 20:1-18

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“… she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?’

“Thinking He was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary’ …” (vv 14-16)

“… He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.”  (John 10:3)

You know my name.  You use my name.  I’m sure You even had a part in what name I have … Even in the meanings often connected with my name … well, it just looks like YOUR handiwork: My first name means “pure one.” My middle name means “wise discerner.” My last name sounds close to a name that means “consecrated to God” … a tall order: “pure, wise and consecrated to God” … THAT only YOU could fill — a person being shaped by Your powerful and loving, creative and accurate hands into the image of Jesus.

That morning in the garden when You called Mary by name … that MUST have been QUITE an experience for her!  And the moment she recognized You was when You spoke her name.

“His sheep follow Him because they know His voice” (John 10:4)

How wonderful it is to be known intimately by You, to know that You know me!  I think of this: “Jesus knows me, this I love!”

Thank You for Your continual presence and how vitally a part of each hour of my life You are!  You walk with me.  You talk with me.  You ride in the car with me.  You work with me … just everything … on and on.

Thank You for Your faithfulness and never-ending love!  Here’s my whole being … keep making me just like Jesus … as I listen for the sound of Your voice.

John 19:17-42

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’

With that, He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.” (v 30)

“Accomplished,” “fulfilled,” or “paid in full” — Your death, Lord, took care of all sin for all time all at once at just the right time.  HOW I THANK YOU!!

You suffered so much for me … for each person in Your creation.  Your sacrifice covered my most visible sins and my hidden sins, my sins I commit and my sins of obedience I omit.

All glory and honor to You, Jesus.  My heart leaps with joyful gratitude at the thought of the freedom from sin You have given me.  Thank You, Lord, thank You!!

John 18:8 – 19:16

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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Near the end of Your life on earth, Lord Jesus, Your path intersected with a man known as Pilate.  If the way he handled You and the Jewish leaders is any indication of His leadership style in other matters, he seems to be quite the crowd pleaser, who doesn’t like to make the final decision on his own.  In this passage, four different ways that he attempts to deal with You are revealed:

(1)  YOU do it (18:31)  “Take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own law.” — Here Pilate is handed a decision he doesn’t want to mess with and he tries to hand it off to others.

(2)  Let’s NOT do it (18:39)  “But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover.  Do you want me to release the king of the Jews?” — He tries to get out of the whole scenario by simply offering to release You, Jesus, appealing to a custom between the Romans and Jews at Passover.

(3)  Will THIS do it? (19:1-3)  “Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged …” — Hoping to pacify the Jews with another idea, he just let the soldiers beat up on You for a while and mock You.

(4)  How do YOU want to do it?  (19:15) “… ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate answered.”  —  Still not wanting to be the one to finalize Your fate, Jesus, he seeks the opinion of the people facing You, pressuring him.  Verse 16 shows that he gave in to their demands.

At the very start, Pilate could’ve said “no.”  He had the authority to do so.  Instead of making a decision that was obviously contrary to the crowd, he squirmed, avoided the decision, and let the throng make it for him.  (Granted, the result of his actions had always been part of Your plan and had he released You, someone else wouldn’t have put You on the cross–just because that’s why You came.)

Lord, when I’m faced with decisions to make between wrong and right, strengthen me to stand in Your power and make the decision in line with Your will.  Keep me from shifting blame, attempting to escape, offering a peace-offering, or letting others choose for me.

Infuse my mind with Your Word as You transform my heart to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.