September 20th

John 11-12

  • 11:1-4 – These are the same Mary and Martha from the story when Martha does all the work and Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. As this passage states, Mary is also the one who anoints Jesus’ feet. Clearly they knew Jesus well and followed him faithfully.
  • 11:5-16 – The disciples try to keep Jesus from returning to Judea because it is dangerous there. Jesus wants to go raise Lazarus from the dead and he knows his disciples’ faith will be strengthened by seeing it. This is why he says that he’s glad, for their sakes, that Lazarus died.
  • 11:25-27 – Jesus offers another “I am” statement. Martha believes in the resurrection of all believers that is to come, but Jesus lets her know that he determines when resurrection occurs. Martha knows Jesus’ identity and his faith in his abilities.
  • 11:35 – The shortest verse in Scripture. Also, one of the most obvious displays of Jesus feeling human emotion.
  • 11:39 – Even those of us who believe deeply in Jesus’ abilities are hindered by our own understanding. Martha thought of the earthly facts – dead bodies decay and stink – she wasn’t thinking that all things are possible through Christ.
  • 11:49-53 – Caiaphas had insight into Jesus’ future though it doesn’t indicate whether, at this time, he was for or against Jesus.
  • 12:1-8 – This story is mentioned when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead even though it is written to have occurred after that. Mary is known for her devotion to Jesus and has great reason to be considering he raised her brother from the dead. Many people question why Judas’ comments are dismissed since they sound pretty valid, but he actually had no intention of helping the poor with the money. He wanted it himself.
  • 12:12-15 – Though brief in this gospel, the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, which we call Palm Sunday, is one of few stories included in all four gospels. “Hosanna” means “save us”. The people of Jerusalem, who will soon have him killed, cry out for Jesus to save them. The donkey colt fulfilled a prophesy of the Messiah.
  • 12:23-24 – Jesus knew that in order to conquer sin and for his mission to multiply, he had to die.
  • 12:29 – This is the second recording of God speaking audibly directly to or about Jesus. The first is during his baptism.
  • 12:34-36 – The people could not understand how he could be the Christ and die since their law said the Christ would live forever. They couldn’t reconcile the two. Jesus simply encourages them to follow him while he’s still there.
  • 12:42-43 – A very convicting passage. Too often we care more about what others think than what pleases God.

September 19th

John 9-10

  • 9:2 – It was common belief that any physical or mental disability was caused by sin.
  • 9:5 – Another I am statement. Jesus refers to himself as “the light of the world.” This is why he says it is day now – because he was present. He’s referring to “night” as when he is no longer on the earth.
  • 9:21-23 – Whether the parents knew the healing was from Jesus or not, they were more afraid of the religious leaders than they were loyal to Jesus.
  • 9:25 – A beautiful statement of faith! This is one we can all take note from. When people argue the validity of God or the saving power of Christ, all we need to say is, “I don’t know much. All I know is I once was blind but now I see.” Feel free to fill in your own story of “blindness”.
  • 9:34 – The religious leaders find a way to discount the man’s story saying he is simply a sinner and they can’t learn anything from him.
  • 10:3-4 – Sheep know their shepherds voice so they follow his instructions. Note that we just read an example of this with David. He was close with God and knew his voice so he had open conversations with him and knew where God was sending him and what he was calling him to do.
  • 10:7-9 – Another I am statement. Basically, Jesus is the passageway to God. He is also that which closes us off from things we do not need to participate in.
  • 10:10 – A very clear comparison between the thief and Jesus. One steals, kills, and destroys, the other brings abundant life. Seems like an easy choice.
  • 10:11 – Another I am statement. Jesus, as the good shepherd, will and does lay down his life for our good.
  • 10:16 – This explains that not only Jews will be saved, but gentiles as well. They are from different flocks, but both will be saved.
  • 10:24-30 – The Jews wanting Jesus to explain his identity plainly is ironic since this gospel, far more than any other, has clearly revealed Jesus’ identity.
  • 10:26-27 – Jesus’ sheep were those who believed in and followed him.

10:31-42 – Once again the religious authorities attempt to stone Jesus because they think he is blaspheming while others continue to believe in and follow him.

September 18th

John 7-8

  • 7:2 – The Feast of Booths, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of the Ingathering, is the last of the 7 festivals Jews were to observe. During it, Jews put together a small, quickly built hut to eat their meals in. It is a time of remembering when their ancestors lived in small, quickly built huts for 40 years in the desert. It was later used to celebrate the harvest.
  • 7:10-13 – Jesus’ ministry caused a huge ruckus amongst the religious authorities. He was starting a movement that didn’t fit in their constraints and they felt threatened.
  • 7:16-18 – A good way to check ourselves. Are we seeking glory for God or for ourselves – a good way to know whether or not you should continue what you’re doing.
  • 7:26-28 – The people of Jerusalem who begin to question if Jesus really was the Christ or not raise the point that they know where Jesus came from, which means he can’t be the Christ. They think they know where he came from as in Mary’s womb and Nazareth his hometown. But truly, Jesus comes from God.
  • 7:31 – Meant to be a sarcastic question with the understanding that Jesus was the Christ.
  • 7:37-39 – The Holy Spirit was given to the believers on Pentecost after Jesus ascended to heaven.
  • 7:41-42 – Clearly the crowd did not know where Jesus was born or what his lineage was.
  • 7:45-52 – The Pharisees’ sense of status made them believe that they would be the first to recognize a Messiah and that he would play by the same rules as them.
  • 7:53-11 – There is a portion in Mark and this portion in John that both say they were not included in the earliest manuscripts. This means that they were not included in the first written accounts of these gospels. They were either found later or possibly written later. It is important to note that those who formed and finalized the canon felt that this portion of Scripture was beneficial for salvation and knowledge of Christ.
  • 8:2-11 – Yet again, the religious leaders try to catch Jesus disobeying Mosaic Law. Instead of condemning the woman based on Mosaic Law, he finds a faithful way to show grace. It is key that he does not condone her sin. He forgives her and then instructs her to leave that sin behind.
  • 8:12 – One of Jesus’ “I am” statements that reveals something about who he is. Light shines in the darkness and reveals sins. Life is found when we are freed from sin.
  • 8:13-20 – John puts a large emphasis on where Jesus was from and where he was going. He and the Father seem to be the only ones fully in the loop and the religious leaders are totally out of it.
  • 8:23-24 – Just like us, the people who lived when Jesus did also needed to believe that he was the Son of God and Savior of the world.
  • 8:34-36 – Being a slave to sin means that it has power over you and controls you. Sin is that powerful. When we allow it into our lives and takes power over us. Jesus is the only one who can free us from this slavery.
  • 8:42-43 – Jesus is much more open in the gospel of John about his relationship to God – specifically, father/son.
  • 8:52-53 – The Jews held Abraham in such high esteem that it was impossible for them to view this man from Nazareth as greater than Abraham.
  • 8:58 – Jesus refers to himself here as “I am” which is what God referred to himself as when Moses asked who, should I tell the Pharaoh, sent me. This makes the Jews mad and further solidifies that he is the Son of God.

September 17th

John 5-6

  • 5:2-9 – We often read these stories and think they’re neat or nice but fail to feel the weight of it. The man beside the pool had been an invalid for 38 years! 38 years is a long time to be sick or disabled! And then suddenly, with just a word, he is able to walk. That’s incredible!
  • 5:9-17 – The religious leaders were very intent on keeping the law. Note that they did not rejoice that the crippled man was healed, they noticed his infraction of picking up his mat. We can tend to be pretty bad about that too. “Sin no more” is also an interesting statement because you wonder what sin of this man Jesus is referring to. He says the same thing to the woman at the well, but he was addressing a specific sin.
  • 5:25-29 – This passage tells us that there will be a resurrection for the dead and both believers and non-believers will be judged by Christ.
  • 5:45-47 – The Jews based their holiness and worthiness on Moses’ law. When Jesus says it is Moses that will accuse them before God and not him, he is expressing that none of them have succeeded in meeting Moses’ standards and thus none can be justified before God.
  • 6:5-14 – The Feeding of the 5000 is one of very few stories found in all four gospels. Palm Sunday is another.
  • 6:15 – Jesus made many strategic moves to keep the people from forcing him into positions that weren’t God’s will. This is why he often withdraws and regularly told people not to reveal his identity when he performed miracles.
  • 6:25-34 – Particularly in verse 29, the people question Jesus basically asking what’s special about him. Moses had provided manna in the desert for their ancestors. What could Jesus do? Jesus explains that the bread he provided was actually from God.
  • 6:35 – Throughout the rest of John’s gospel, there will be a number of “I am” statements from Jesus. Each reveals a little more about his true identity as God’s Son, the Messiah, the Savior. This one speaks specifically to how Jesus provides for and fills us.
  • 6:40 – This relates back to our reading on 5/8 in chapter 5 when it talks about a resurrection of all people when Jesus returns.
  • 6:41 – Basically, Jesus is the way God will provide salvation and eternal life for believers.
  • 6:47-51 – God provided for the physical needs of the Israelites in the desert. God uses Jesus to take it a step further by offering himself up for people’s eternal needs.
  • 6:52-58 – Jesus did not actually intend for the people to gnaw on his body. He did, however, intend for them to practice communion (which began with the last supper), and to allow his body and blood to be what sustained them.
  • 6:67-69 – Peter is the only disciple who publicly identifies Jesus as the Messiah or Son of God.

September 16th

John 3-4

  • 3:5 – Anytime you see, “truly truly” it signifies that you should listen to that. This is placing emphasis on what is about to be said.
  • 3:2-8 – Being born of water and the spirit references when John the Baptist said he baptized with water, but Christ would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit. When we receive Christ as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit as our guide. This is necessary for salvation and faithful living.
  • 3:16-17 – Some of the most crucial words that our faith revolves around. Through belief in Christ, we receive salvation and eternal life because Christ came to save, not condemn.
  • 3:18-20 – It is easy to love the darkness because it is easy and we can hide in it, but the light
  • 3:25-30 – While John’s disciples viewed Jesus as competition, John recognized that he had simply paved the way for Jesus. His explanation in verse 30 of his relationship with Jesus is one that we should all model after.
  • 3:34 – When God sends people they have his words because he fills them with the Spirit. Often we worry about “what to say”, but we need not worry because if we’re sent by God he will give us the words.
  • 4:7 – Procuring water was a woman’s job. It was unheard of for a man to speak to a woman he was not married or related to in public, but even more unusual because he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jews hated Samaritans because they considered them half-breeds.
  • 4:7-15 – Though Jesus is trying to offer the woman something much more important and life-giving than regular water, she cannot understand what he is offering.
  • 4:16-18 – Jesus calls out the woman’s sins to prove that he is not an ordinary person.
  • 4:25-26 – Jesus rarely reveals his true identity so explicitly and when he does, he tends to reveal it to the most unlikely characters.
  • 4:35-38 – Jesus wanted his disciples to begin bringing people to salvation based on the work he and the prophets before him had already done. They didn’t have to do the initial work, but could push the message home.
  • 4:39-42 – Jesus originally came to bring salvation to the Jews, but throughout his ministry he extended it to others as well.
  • 4:47-54 – Jesus frequently rewards people who believe without having seen a miracle or been told specifically who he is.
  • 4:54 – Though John’s gospel doesn’t enumerate all of Jesus’ miracles, clearly the writer wanted the readers to recognize that this was Jesus’ second miracle in a particular place.

September 15th

John 1-2

  • John’s gospel is different from the other 3, which are known as the Synoptic Gospels. They all draw from each other, while John’s gospel does not as much. John’s gospel is where we find the “I am” statements. These are statements where Jesus says, “I am…” and reveals something about himself.
  • 1:1 – “The Word” is Christ. This explains to us that Christ has been present from the beginning. He did not enter into existence at birth, but always been just as God the Father has always been.
  • 1:6-8 – This refers to John the Baptist. Many wondered if he was the one they had waited for, but he was not, he simply came to prepare the way for Christ.
  • 1:9-13 – Christ came first to save the Jews, his own people, but many did not recognize him or believe that he was the Messiah. All who did were made children of God.
  • 1:14 – “The Word became flesh” explains the coming of Christ as a human. Instead of the birth narrative we read in Matthew and Luke, this explains the coming of Christ.
  • 1:17 – Moses gave the law. Grace and truth came through Jesus. The law did not make room for grace, but God offered that through Christ.
  • 1:20-23 – John does not claim to be anything he’s not, but quotes Isaiah, a verse the religious leaders would have certainly known, and explains that he’s preparing the way for the Messiah to come.
  • 1:31-34 – The other gospels give accounts of John baptizing Jesus and the Holy Spirit descending and landing on him.
  • 1:45-46 – This is the greatest evangelism tool ever – simply inviting someone to come and witness for themselves the goodness of God that you’ve witnessed. The context is that Nazareth was a small town not known for anything great.
  • 1:51 – Jesus referring to the angel’s ascending and descending harkens back to Jacob’s dream of angels going up and down a ladder. Jesus is intended to be the connection between heaven and earth, that’s why the angels are able to ascend and descend on him.
  • 2:1-11 – This is considered Jesus’ first miracle. It seems clear that Jesus does not feel ready to begin his ministry of miracles.
  • 2:13-17 – In Matthew this story occurs in the last week of Jesus’ ministry, but also during Passover. This story is often referenced when confirming that Jesus felt true human emotions.
  • 2:18-23 – The temple was in fact destroyed after Jesus’ death, in 70 AD, but here, Jesus is referring to himself as the temple.

September 14th

Mark 15-16

  • 15:15 – Key phrase – “wishing to satisfy the crowd.” We often do things to satisfy a crowd that hurts our relationship with Christ.
  • 15:19 – Striking his head with the reed was intended to force the thorns deeper into Jesus’ head.
  • 15:23 – At the last supper Jesus explained that he wouldn’t drink wine again until he drinks it with his disciples in his father’s kingdom.
  • 15:35 – Jesus quotes Psalm 22 here.
  • 15:38 – The temple curtain separated the holy of holies, where one could encounter God, from the areas where sinful people could be. Jesus’ death literally broke down that barrier.
  • 15:39 – Not insignificant that it is a gentile who recognizes Jesus’ identity.
  • 16:16-18 – These verses have been used to justify some of the more extreme versions of Christianity.

September 13th

Mark 13-14

  • 13:11 – An example of how God provides exactly what we need.
  • 13:32 – Many people and groups try to predict when Jesus will come back, but none should be trusted because no one knows.
  • 14:3-9 – This story is also found in Matthew. One significant addition to Mark’s version is in Jesus’ response to the naysayers. He says, “whenever you want, you can do good for them.” It seems to suggest that they denounce this woman for not tending to the poor and yet they don’t either.
  • 14:36 – A great example of how we should pray. We present all our requests to God, but always have an attitude of submitting to His will.
  • 14:38 – Jesus’ words, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is true of us in a number of temptations we face. We intend to do God’s will and honor him, but often our ability to withstand it is too weak.
  • 14:51-52 – The mention of this young man is found nowhere else in the Bible and has very little explanation.
  • 14:61-63 – This is the first time Jesus openly calls himself the Son of God. He normally followed people’s questions about his identity with a question. The chief priests believed this gave them grounds to charge him with blasphemy.
  • 14:66-72 – Peter was convinced he would never deny Jesus. His denial and the fulfillment of what Jesus said gives Peter great grief.

September 12th

Mark 11-12

  • 11:9-10 – “Hosanna” means “Save us!”
  • 11:15-18 – This passage is often sited when describing Jesus’ humanity and how he felt real human emotions.
  • 11:27-33 – Jesus was adept at sidestepping the religious leaders’ attempts to incriminate him.
  • 12:1-12 – This parable describes God sending prophet after prophet to the Israelites trying to get them to repent and follow him. Over and over the prophets were rejected. Finally God sends Jesus and Jesus too is rejected and killed.
  • 12:13-17 – The image of Caesar is on the coin but the image of God is on us. We can pay our taxes as designed but give our lives to God.
  • 12:28-34 – Finally a religious leader appreciates Jesus’ answer and answers wisely as well. Jesus does not hold a grudge because of the other religious leaders’ manipulation and trickery. He instead encourages him.
  • 12:38-40 – Jesus puts the scribes’ desire to be in places of honor and noticed for their holy actions in contrast with what he has instructed his followers to do – humble themselves and let the last be first.
  • 12:41-44 – It’s not the amount but the sacrifice that God values.

September 11th

Mark 9-10

  • 9:13 – John the Baptist was often compared to Elijah.
  • 9:24 – Often our problem is unbelief. We may believe in God’s power and ability in certain areas of life, but in others we think we need to handle it.
  • 9:38-41 – Jesus makes similar comments multiple times regarding people who didn’t officially follow him. As long as they were serving others and not preaching a false message, Jesus felt like they were on the same team.
  • 9:42-48 – Whatever it is that causes us to stumble, we should remove.
  • 10:15 – How do you think a child would receive the kingdom of God?
  • 10:17-22 – Though this young man is often seen in a negative light, note that Jesus looks on him and loves him. The young man simply had his priorities out of order. He loved his things more than he wanted to follow Jesus.
  • 10:29-30 – What we sacrifice for God, he repays 100x.
  • 10:31 – Much of Jesus’ ministry was combatting cultural norms and flipping them upside down.
  • 10:35 – A pretty bold request.
  • 10:42-45 – We are often concerned with status and being recognized for our skills and accomplishments. Jesus calls us to serve if we hope to lead.
  • 10:52 – Many who were healed or who had demons removed would go and tell about what Jesus did. Bartimaeus, on the other hand, followed him. And here’s a rockin youth group song that tells the story.