John 12:1-8 – Extravagant Worship

Read John 12:1-8

We are approaching the beginning of Holy Week 2023. During this time every year, we remember the sacrifice and miracle that took place because of how much God loves us. Beginning with Palm Sunday, we’ll walk together with Luke and the other gospel writers through some of the events of Jesus’ last week. It’s our special time to reflect on the immense sacrifice Jesus made to pay for our freedom from sin and death.

Our reading today sets the scene for what is to come and challenges us in our own worship practices. The Passover celebration was about to start, and little did the folks attending this dinner party know these were Jesus’ final days. Jesus knew, and his startling words about his burial must have shocked his friends.

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John 13:1-17 – Servant Leadership

Read John 13:1-17

Jesus washing his disciples feet

Imagine you’re with Jesus to share a meal, and, all of a sudden, he wants to wash your feet! I think I would have been a little bit like Peter, aghast at what the Messiah was doing. In those days, a lowly servant was the one who would cleanse the master’s feet. After all, in those days, dusty roads and sandals would leave dirty, smelly feet.

But Jesus’ response surprised me. Did it surprise you when he said, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” What does that even mean? Clearly, the lesson Jesus intended from this experience went beyond having clean feet or doing something nice for others. To not belong to Jesus would be a frightening reality.

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John 20:1-31 💚 Experience the Resurrection

Read John 20:1-31

light shining through the door illuminating an empty tomb

It’s always good to remember Jesus’ resurrection. It’s one of the key passages to our faith. Notice that Jesus told his disciples what would happen, but they were still surprised when it did. Doesn’t that speak volumes of the integrity in Jesus’ promises to us as well?

Who do you most identify with in this passage? Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, the disciple Jesus loved (presumably John), Thomas, or the disciples in general? How do you respond to the news of Jesus’ resurrection?

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John 17:1-26 💛 Jesus Prays for You

Read John 17:1-26

Jesus teaching and praying for his disciples

Did you get goosebumps or simply weep when you realized Jesus was praying for you in today’s reading on prayer? It doesn’t matter that we weren’t one of the followers walking in person with Jesus. We are walking with him now! What a beautiful plea on our behalf to God the Father!

Jesus would have precisely known the right words to say. He knew the human frailty that limits each of us. He had firsthand knowledge of the evil one’s schemes to mess us up and get us off track. What applied to his closest followers also applies to us when we accept his call on our lives, that is when we devote ourselves to living the Great Commission we read about in our reading from Acts 2.

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John 14:15-29 💛 You Are Not An Orphan

Read John 14:15-29

Friends - two stuffed bears sitting in a field one with the arm around the other

Jesus is not going to leave his disciples (or us) alone as orphans. Our reading today kicks off our new theme of “The Holy Spirit & Prayer.” We see exactly when and where Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples. It was during his last meal with them. He was dropping a lot of truth bombs on them that night. Jesus was cramming some important stuff into this time with them.

You know how it can be when you’re getting ready to leave after a visit. You think of all the things you wanted to say the whole time but either didn’t find the right time to say or simply ran out of time. Either could be happening here. But clearly the disciples are starting to get a little nervous. The things Jesus was saying that night must have left them with more questions than answers.

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