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What's in a name? Just one little sentence "Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon. You will be called Cephas (Peter).” v42
We read of other times that God changed a name; from Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel. It shows me that Jesus cares, he looked at Simon and saw what he could become a Peter, a rock. Just like that he tells us we have a new name with him, beloved, cherished, and that the past is behind us and that His divine plan will come to be.

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John writes about the first miracle that Jesus performed. He tells the servants to fill the jugs up with water. A strange idea but the servants obeyed. Then the plain water becomes the very best wine. Sometimes we don’t understand what Jesus’ plan is, but when we obey Him, miracles happen! It showed everyone the amazing power that Jesus has over nature. And finally, v. 11 tells us the disciples believed in Him. Who do you know that needs to know the power of Jesus in their life?

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John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. He was sent ahead to prepare the way for the Messiah. But when they started to cross paths, many people were confused about what they thought were mixed messages. John clarified it by telling the story of the wedding. He shared that there was only one groom and that was Jesus. His bride was/is the church (all the people who have accepted him as their Lord) and that John was the “best man”; the friend of the groom who had many duties to get things ready for the groom. John was merely getting things ready for the true groom. Christ never brings confusion.

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The Gospel of John is different than the first three because John does not record Jesus’ birth or early life. And he only records seven miracles. John is often called the Love Gospel because he was showing that Christ was fully God but also fully human. Jesus could identify with every feeling we all have. In v. 6 Jesus was tired, in v. 31 Jesus needed food and in v. 21 He talked to everyone no matter what others thought. As you read the book of John, notice how human Jesus was. He was compassionate, angry, and trustworthy. We are not alone. He understands. Who do you know that needs to hear about His deep love and compassionate love?

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Do you ever feel like maybe God took the day off and isn’t there for you? If so, v. 17 will change that! Jesus directly says, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too, am working.” For this reason the Jews tried to kill Him. They wanted everyone to keep the Sabbath holy. Yes, God did create the world in six days and rested on the seventh. That was to teach us to rest. But God continues to love and care for us everyday. Jesus was showing how much He cared by healing someone on the Sabbath day. Doing this proved His equality with God. While it infuriated the Jewish leaders, it can give us great peace. Jesus is always there for you, every second of every day.

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What am I here for? What does Jesus want from me? That is the same question the crowds asked in v. 28. They were expecting to hear a lot of rules. He answered them, “The work of God is this: to believe the one He has sent.” That’s it. The end. Now, once you start truly believing, you fall in love with Jesus. Then you naturally want others to know. You naturally want to share the love. Many things happen because “You believe in the one He has sent.” Nothing more is required! What are you here for?

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“For me the right time has not yet come.” v. 8 This is the response Jesus gives when everyone else is going to an important Jewish feast. There was nothing wrong with the feast, as a matter of fact; it was a reminder of the wonderful things God had done for them. But even though everyone else does even the right thing, it may not be right for you. Jesus relied on His Father to tell Him the right time to move forward. We too must become more cognizant of what Jesus wants us to do, rather than running ahead with our own great ideas. Like Jesus, may we have the discipline of stopping and praying and waiting to hear what Jesus is telling us. He will answer.

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Our country is based on freedom. We are so very blessed to live in a place where we are free to do so many things others cannot do. In this chapter John records Jesus talking about a different kind of freedom. He is talking about a freedom that can come only from knowing Christ. He says in v. 32 that, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” And again in v. 36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This freedom is not outside of us, dependent on the laws of the country where we live, but this freedom dwells inside of us. Freedom from sin, from guilt, from the need to judge or be judged by others… Ask God to allow you to walk in true freedom so that you can be free indeed!

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What a great story. Jesus heals a blond man on the Sabbath and the Pharisees just cant get over it! They want something to accuse Jesus of doing so that they can get rid of Him. So they keep digging and interrogating the one who was healed. When the man was tired of being questioned, he says, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I do not know, but one thing I know. I was blind, but now I see.” It was the facts, plain and simple. Sometimes we want to read so much more into a story. We get diverted by a side issue that distracts us from the true miracle that Jesus did in our lives. Jesus is telling you – don’t be blind to what I’ve done in your life!

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Jesus is our Good Shepherd. What does that mean to us?

  1. He protects us from outside forces.

  2. He provides food/daily needs for us.

  3. He knows us each personally and knows when we are in danger.

  4. He comes after us when we stray.

  5. He laid down His life to protect us from death and evil.

  6. We can follow Him knowing that He will lead us to green pastures.

  7. Best of all, He gives us eternal life and no one can snatch us out of His hand!

When we are following what God wants us to do, we are safely in His will. The disciples were worried because last time Jesus was in Judea the leaders tried to kill Him. So when He said that He was going back (V. 9-10) they were anxious. He gave them the analogy that if He was doing exactly what God wanted Him to do, it is as if He was walking down the road in broad daylight. But if we are not seeking God’s will first in our lives- then we stumble as if we are walking in the dark. Where do I need to seek out God’s will for me so that I do not stumble?

The people saw the signs and still refused to believe. (v.38) One of the hardest things for us to live with is when we have friends or family who do not know the deep joy we experience through Jesus. Even in Jesus’ day, there were people there who saw the healing and miracles with their own eyes and still “chose not to believe in Jesus.” It is a gift and a huge responsibility that God gives us- the freedom of choice to believe or not to believe.

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In Biblical times everyone walked dirt roads in sandals, therefore it was the custom for the servants to wash their master’s feet on arrival to the house. But Jesus washed the disciple’s dirty feet? Unheard of! Why are we surprised? Jesus always did things that shocked us. This was no different. He knew that he would be crucified and had little time left to impart some important lessons. Do you think the disciples remembered this act of service? He was showing us all how to behave towards one another. We need to serve each other, to show love and honor to all we encounter. No matter how important we are, we should never think we are too special to do menial tasks. What do I think I am too good to do?

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“I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me.” (v. 6) Red letter words. Out of Jesus’ mouth. As clear as it can be said. There is no other way. In today’s society people often believe there are many different ways to God through various religions. But Jesus’ words leaves no doubt. There is only one way to God - through Jesus Christ. Not a religion but a relationship, with the one who created you.

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“This is my command: Love each other.” v 17. Jesus specifically said this to the Christian believers as He continues to let them know that the world would hate them the same way they hated Jesus. He was reminding us that life would be hard enough- therefore, be great encouragers of each other, building each other up. What Christian brother or sister do you need to encourage today?

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“I have told you these things, so you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.” v.33 Boy do we have trouble! At some point we have all experienced pain, sadness, hurt, rejection, or loss. Jesus understands! He forewarned us and promised us His peace through all of life’s storms. He has overcome evil and death. Because we know our future in Him, we can know His peace. What pain can I release to Him today so that I can accept His abiding peace?

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Jesus prays for us…. for us!! He prays that we may be one body in encouraging and edifying all Christians. He prays that through us the rest of the world may believe in Him. He prays that we know how much He loves us. May we pass that love on to everyone. God, help me to be uplifting towards all you put onto my path so that they see you through my actions.

Peter stepped forward and cut off the servants’ ear with his sword. He was trying to fix Jesus’ problem. How often have we been guilty of trying to fix, correct, or protect someone for whom God has different plans? Perhaps God is trying to teach them something, or lead them on a new path, and we step in the way? This does not mean that we do not act in love and offer help, but we should be certain that we have prayed about it and are not trying to take over God’s plan. This might be very difficult. Where do I need to move back and allow God to step in?

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There are times when we think Jesus can’t take care of us. He can’t fix the problem. He can’t change a damaged heart. He can’t… it’s beyond even Jesus’ ability. Maybe it looks like that. Maybe nothing has changed for a very long time. Maybe we are giving up hope that He can do something. Let me encourage you with these verses in John 19: 25-27. Jesus was hanging on the cross, in no position to help anyone or do anything. He was dying, unable to function properly; but even in that time, He fixed a problem. He cared so much for His mother, that He wanted her taken care of after He was gone. Just like that, He is thinking about you and your well being at all times. He CAN take care of you. He WILL take care of you, even when it looks like an impossible situation.

We have now read the Gospel Story through 4 times and know how amazing resurrection day was. John tells the story and then at the end of the chapter, he tells us why he has even bothered to write it all down. “But these are written that you may believe…” and that “by believing you may have LIFE…” No questions about why it’s important to read the Bible. No room for debate that it can change lives by giving life. 

Since you have gotten into the habit of reading a chapter a day, why not continue on and read the whole New Testament. There is LIFE in the Word!

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Crazy Peter… denying Jesus 3 times and then leaving the ministry to go back to his old life as a fisherman after Jesus dies. Compassionate Jesus… meeting Peter where he is in the fishing boat, giving him a miracle of many fish, and then reminding him 3 times that just because he messed up, Jesus still has a job for him to do. I see me in Peter and I’ve seen Jesus come to me in the same way, loving, forgiving, and compassionately restoring me to my calling. Remember, when we mess up or leave what we know God has called us to do, He is there to restore us and remind us of who we are in His Kingdom! Do you need to confess that you have gone back to your old way of life? Allow God to restore you back to His plan for you.