April 12 — John 4 — I am He. The encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan woman shows an interesting progression of understanding about the person of Jesus. When she was told that He could give “living water” (v. 10), she asked, “Are you greater than our father Jacob?” (v. 12). Much greater! When He revealed her marital history, she elevated her assessment: “You are a prophet” (v. 19). After she mentioned the anticipated Messiah, Jesus made the very clear identification, “I who speak to you am he” (v. 26). Is it true? That was the question she hurried to ask the townspeople: “Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29). After they heard from Him themselves, they concluded: “…this is indeed the Savior of the world” (v. 42). Greater than Jacob and a prophet, He is the Christ who came to bring salvation to the world.
April 13 — John 5 — Truly, Truly. Only the Gospel of John records the double “Truly, truly” expressions of Jesus, where it appears 25 times. Jesus used it often to introduce very important statements. There are three of them in this chapter and they all have something to do with life. The first statement was about Jesus doing what He saw His Father doing: “As the Father … gives them life, so also the Son gives life” (v. 21). The second statement says that the one who hears and believes Jesus, “has eternal life, and … has passed from death to life” (v. 24). The last statement (v. 25) looks forward to Christ’s return when the righteous will participate in “the resurrection of life” (v. 29). Jesus’ coming to earth has everything to do with life: eternal life now in terms of quality and eternal life later in terms of time. That is true life … truly!
April 14 — John 6 — Fickle Followers. When the crowd of 5,000 men saw Jesus’ food-multiplication miracle and ate their fill, they exclaimed, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (v. 14) and they wanted “to make him king” (v. 15). So far, so good. The next day, back in Capernaum, however, they asked Jesus, “What sign do you do, that we may see and believe you?” (v. 30). The sign of feeding the 5,000 was not enough; they wanted a more dramatic sign, like Moses’ manna from heaven (v. 31). Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life … that comes down from heaven” (vv. 48, 50). After figuratively identifying this bread with His own flesh, many of His followers took it literally, grumbled, took offense (v. 61), and “turned back and no longer walked with him” (v. 66). His twelve apostles, however, remained loyal and Peter declared for all of them, “We have believed … that you are the Holy One of God” (v. 69). From fickle to faithful, there are also many people today who are spread along that spectrum of allegiance to Jesus. Are you pushing the upper limit of faithfulness?
April 15 — John 7 — Wanted. Jesus was a wanted man. There are six comments in this chapter about people seeking to arrest or kill Him. He avoided going to Judea (v. 1) and hesitated about going to the Jerusalem Feast of Booths because of it. Why did they want to kill Him? It centered on the matter of belief. At this point, “not even his brothers believed in him” (v. 5). The problem with the people in Jerusalem was that it was obvious that Jesus was from the northern area of Galilee because of His accent, while they knew that Scripture predicted that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem in the south (vv. 41-42). Why didn’t Jesus just show them His Bethlehem birth certificate? J Maybe it was because God never gives enough information to remove our need for faith. I love the response of the Levite officers who failed in their task of arresting Jesus: “No one ever spoke like this man!” (v. 46). Instead of arresting, they were arrested by Jesus. There were some, however, who wanted Jesus in a positive way: “… many of the people believed in him” (v. 31). To those, Jesus promised the “living water” (v. 38) of the Spirit.
April 16 — John 8 — Levels of Belief. This chapter says a lot about believing. One critical level is the belief “that I am he” (v. 24), apparently referring to the Jew’s acceptance of Him as the Messiah. Some did believe on that level: “many believed in him” (v. 31). In the next verse, however, Jesus challenged others “who had believed him” (v. 32). They apparently believed something about Him or what He said or did but it was not complete. The test for being a true disciple—fully believing in Him—is, “If you abide in my word” (v. 31). That speaks of fellowship and obedience. His challenge to those marginal believers continued, saying that “my word finds no place in you” (v. 37). They weren’t true disciples, in fact, Jesus told them that their father was the devil (v. 44), saying that the reason they didn’t hear “the words of God” was because “you are not of God” (v. 47). If we know God’s truth and abide in His Word, we are truly believing disciples.