September 24th

Luke 1

  • 1:1-4 – The writer of Luke is an intelligent, orderly person intent to write a logical, organized version of the story of Christ’s life. He also addresses his letter to Theophilus.
  • 1:9 – Only one priest entered the holy of holies at a time. An extensive cleansing ritual occurred before the priest entered.
  • 1:17 – John the Baptist was often considered the second coming of Elijah.
  • Luke’s birth narrative is more from Mary’s perspective.
  • 1:30 – “Do not be afraid” is a common greeting when people encounter God, God’s presence, or angels.
  • 1:37 – Elizabeth’s pregnancy was used as a testament for Mary that nothing was impossible. Pregnancy in old age. Pregnancy in virginity. God is not bound by our human constraints.
  • 1:38 – A powerful statement of submission to God’s will no matter what.
  • 1:39-45 – Elizabeth and her unborn baby, John, both recognize the identity of Christ even before his birth.
  • 1:46-55 – Like Hannah in the Old Testament and Zechariah, Mary praises God for her pregnancy through a song or poem-like piece. It is often referred to as “Mary’s Magnificat”.
  • 1:68-79 – Zechariah’s song serves as both a praise song to God and a blessing for John.

September 23rd

John 19-21

  • 19:11 – In order to fulfill his purpose, God gave Pilate authority over Jesus’ future. Pilate is clearly tormented over this decision he’s been given.
  • 19:19 – It seems that Pilate may have had some sort of belief in Christ. The Jews did not want the inscription he wrote because it seemed definitive when they were trying to argue that he was a liar.
  • 19:24 – This is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:18. If the Jews had been in charge of the crucifixion, they might have known that. The Romans would not have.
  • 19:31-33 – Crucifixion would work faster if someone’s legs were broken. During crucifixion, what actually killed you was suffocation. As painful as it was, you would have to push yourself up with your legs on the nail in your feet or ankles and take a breath. If your legs were broken, you couldn’t push up and you would suffocate.
  • 19:38 – “For fear of the Jews” refers to the religious leadership who was trying to squash the Jesus movement and ultimately orchestrated Jesus’ death.
  • 20:4 – Like at Jesus’ trial, this disciple other than Peter is unnamed, but present.
  • 20:6-7 – An interesting note on Jesus’ burial cloths being left behind in the tomb is that when Lazarus was raised from the dead, he came out of the tomb still wrapped in burial cloths. Whether significant or not, it’s an interesting contrast.
  • 20:14 – No one who encounters Jesus after his resurrection recognizes him immediately.
  • 20:24-29 – We, like Thomas often need proof in order to have faith. Jesus reminds Thomas that those who believe without seeing are blessed.
  • 20:30-31 – It’s powerful to think that the gospels were written so people like you and me would believe in Jesus.
  • 21:7 – Peter and the unnamed disciple are mentioned together again. Once again, the unnamed disciple makes the discovery and Peter takes extreme action to get to Jesus.
  • 21:15-19 – Some say that Jesus asked Peter if he loved him three times as a sign that he forgave him for the three times he denied Christ during his trial.
  • 21:25 – Sure makes you wonder what else he did.

 

September 22nd

John 16-18

  • 16:5 – One major theme throughout John is where Jesus came from and where he’s going. He continually alludes to going somewhere and no one seems to understand what that is.
  • 16:7 – The Helper that is to come is the Holy Spirit.
  • 16:16-22 – Jesus will go away when he’s crucified but will only be gone for a short while until he’s raised from the dead.
  • 16:29-32 – Though the writing had been on the wall for a while, the disciples finally understand where Jesus is going and where he came from. They finally recognize who he truly is.
  • 16:33 – A beautiful reminder that even though there is trouble in the world, and the faithful will face persecution, we have hope in our Savior.
  • 17:6-20 – Jesus’ final prayer for his followers.
  • 17:20-26 – Now Jesus prays for all those who will come to believe as the disciples continue to share the gospel after Jesus’ death. Isn’t it cool to know that Jesus prayed for us?
  • 18:2 – Many wonder how Judas knew where to find Jesus. Though we view Judas as a horrible person because he betrays Jesus, as a disciple, he was actually a close friend of Jesus’ and knew his patterns and regular places.
  • 18:10-11 – Another example of Peter’s zealous action. Once again he wants to stop Jesus from his fate. Though certainly done with good intentions, Jesus reminds him that he has a greater purpose that Peter will not be able to stop.
  • 18:14 – Look back on May 20th, John 11:49-50. It’s still uncertain if Caiaphas believed in Jesus as the Messiah or not, but he clearly had insight into what was to come.
  • 18:15-17 – This is the only mention of another disciple going with Peter to the trial. It is interesting that his name is not mentioned. Some people believe that this disciple as well as the “beloved disciple” is John, the writer of the gospel.
  • 18:27 – The first denial was in yesterday’s reading.
  • 18:29-32 – Pilate, a Roman official, had no interest in the Jews’ accusations. Pilate was a low-ranking official. Though his existence has been historically confirmed, if not for this incident with Jesus, there would have been little record of him.
  • 18:36 – Jesus’ power comes from God, not from normal earthly forces like money, military prowess, or strength. This is why he didn’t have an army of followers fighting to set him free.

September 21st

John 13-15

  • 13:4-17 – Jesus lowers himself to the lowest household job. He becomes a servant to his followers to show them how they are to serve those they lead. Peter is resistant to Jesus’ acts of kindness because he doesn’t feel that this is an act meant for the Messiah.
  • 13:23 – John’s gospel is the only one that singles out or even refers to a “disciple whom Jesus loved”. Some say it may be John referring to himself.
  • 13:34-35 – Often people don’t recognize our faith. The main culprit is that we do not love one another.
  • 13:36-38 – Peter truly believes in his commitment to following Christ, but Jesus already knows Peter’s limits.
  • 14:6-7 – Another “I am” statement declaring that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Because they know and believe in Jesus, they also know the father.
  • 14:10-11 – This is clear proof of God as Trinity. The father and son are inseparable in substance and are fully connected. Knowing the Son means knowing the Father as well.
  • 14:13-14 – This passage begs the question, “well, what about when our prayers aren’t answered.” Many would argue that the prayer wasn’t in alignment with God’s will and this may be true. The great comfort in all this is that all earnest prayers come to fruition in eternity where there is no suffering or pain or hardship.
  • 14:15-17 – Jesus is telling the disciples that the Lord will send the Holy Spirit to counsel and guide believers when Jesus is no longer on earth.
  • 14:27-29 – It would have been very scary for Jesus to simply leave and the disciples to not understand where he went. He offers them peace and tells them what will soon happen so the completion of what Jesus says will help them believe in his identity even more.
  • 15:4-11 – Beautiful imagery reminding us that we must stay connected to Christ, the source of anything good that can come from us. When we are connected to him, we bear good fruit.
  • 15:12 – Jesus repeats a commandment he gave in the reading two days ago. Repeating a commandment solidifies its importance.
  • 15:17 – He repeats the command to love one another a third time. Clearly this is a crucial command that he intends for all believers to follow.
  • 15:20-21 – Jesus prepares his disciples to receive the same persecution he has received. We, as believers, should expect the same if we are living like Christ.
  • 15:22 – If the persecutors had not known Jesus, they could have claimed ignorance.

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.